Over the past year the church has lost several faithful theologians and authors who have helped shape evangelicals both in America and throughout the world. Here are six men who died this year who were particularly influential on those of us here at TGC.
Mike Ovey died on January 7 at the age of 58. Ovey (PhD, MTh, MA, BCL, BA) was principal and lecturer in doctrine, apologetics, and liturgy at Oak Hill Theological College in London. He trained at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and worked as a curate for four years at All Saints, Crowborough, before teaching for three years at Moore Theological College, Sydney. Ovey was a regular contributor to TGC and wrote a regular column for our academic journal, Themelios.
“His theological home was the confessional Anglicanism in which he had been nurtured,” Don Carson said, “but he was brother and friend to all who upheld and proclaimed the gospel in any nation and in any culture.”
Ovey was the author of Your Will Be Done: Exploring Eternal Subordination, Divine Monarchy and Divine Humility, co-author of Confident: Why We Can Trust the Bible, and contributed essays to several books, including Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution.
See also: Best Possible Gift: The Legacy of Mike Ovey (1958–2017)
Haddon W. Robinson died on July 22 at the age of 86. Robinson (ThM, MA, PhD) was the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching, senior director of the Doctor of Ministry program, and former interim president at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Robinson also taught at Dallas Theological Seminary and served as president of Denver Seminary. He was also a former senior editor of PreachingToday.com and taught through the radio ministries Discover the Word and Our Daily Bread.
In 1996, Robinson was named in a Baylor University poll as one of the “12 Most Effective Preachers in the English Speaking World.” In 2006, he was recognized by Christianity Today in the top 10 of its “25 Most Influential Preachers of the Past 50 Years.” In 2008, he received the E. K. Bailey “Living Legend Award.” And in 2010, Preaching magazine named him among the “25 Most Influential Preachers of the Past 25 Years.”
Robinson was the author of more than a dozen books, including his classic on expository preaching, Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages.
Robert L. Thomas
Robert L. Thomas died on September 6 at the age of 89. Thomas (ThM, ThD) taught at Talbot Theological Seminary (now Talbot School of Theology) and at The Master’s Seminary, from which he retired. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in 1990, and is best known for his scholarship as a member of the translation committee of the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
Thomas was an editor of the NASB Exhaustive Concordance, which was awarded the Gold Medallion Book Award as the outstanding Bible reference work of 1981-82 by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.
Nabeel Qureshi died on September 16 at the age of 34. Qureshi (MD, MA, MPhil) was an apologist, a contributor to TGC, and a speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). He was born in California to Pakistani immigrants who fled religious persecution at the hands of fellow Muslims. He converted to Christianity from Islam during his college years.
In 2014, Nabeel published his first book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity, which was a New York Times bestseller and awarded the Christian Book Award for both “Best New Author” and “Best Non-Fiction Book” of 2015.
See also: Nabeel Qureshi (1983-2017)
Harry Blamires died on November 21 at the age of 101. Blamires taught in the in the English department at King Alfred’s Church of England Teacher Training College (now Winchester University) from 1948 until his retirement in 1976. At Oxford University, Blamires was influenced by this tutor—and later friend—C. S. Lewis.
Blamires published more than a dozen books but is best known for his influential 1963 work, The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think?
R. C. Sproul
R. C. Sproul died on December 14 at the age of 78. Sproul (MDiv, Drs) was one of the most prolific and influential Reformed theologians in the modern era. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Sproul served as co-pastor at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, a congregation in Sanford, Florida, and founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries. He produced more than 300 lecture series and taught through his radio show Renewing Your Mind, and his ministry’s Tabletalk magazine.
Sproul was the author of 90 books, including the classics The Holiness of God and Knowing Scripture.
See also: R. C. Sproul (1939–2017); 40 Quotes from R. C. Sproul (1939–2017); and The Numinous and R. C. Sproul.