Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

R.I.P. John Macquarrie (1919-2007)

macquarrie1.jpgAs reported here and here, Rev. Dr. John Macquarrie, died on 28 May 2007.  Macquarrie was an Anglican priest and theologian whose thought interacted with the existentialism of Heidegger and Bultmann, but whose theology had more in common with orthodoxy than did many existentialists.  His Principles of Christian Theology was one of the textbook options for introductory theology classes when I was in seminary.  Though I cannot say he was a major influence, I learned much from his writings.  Rest in peace, servant of our mutual Servant Lord.

A bibliography of Macquarrie’s writings can be found here.  Since Macquarrie began as a minister in the Church of Scotland (i.e., a Presbyterian in American terms) and then converted to Anglicanism, he would have been a good candidate for Ben Myers’ series on “Encounters with Tradition“.

June 1, 2007 - Posted by | Obituaries, theology


  1. Oh no! I don’t have words to say how distressing this news is! No other philosophical theologian save Karl Rahner has more influenced me. Macquarrie’s clarity and insight really was astounding.

    I was lucky enough to have had a couple of beers and a long talk with him back in the 1970s. He came to the University of North Carolina, where I was an undergraduate, and gave a talk. I don’t have the slightest recollection of what he said, although I now know that it was an early version of one of the chapters in In Search of Deity. During the question and answer session, I disagreed with something he had said. After the session was over, he came up to me and invited me to continue the dialogue. I think I learned more during that hour and a half with Macquarrie than I did in four years of college.

    May light perpetual shine on John, the servant of God!

    Comment by Kerry | June 2, 2007

  2. Yeah, in my mind Macquarrie was always the symbol of the Anglican via media. Who else could have combined existentialism (Heidegger and Bultmann) with mainstream Christian thought so well?

    My anti-foundationalism was always suspicious that Macquarrie founded his theology on existential philosophy–but I had to admit that, unlike with Tillich, the result was still recognizably Christian theology!

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | June 2, 2007

  3. Reading Macquarrie’s Principles of Christian Theology in college was an influence that made me start to take Christianity seriously (I was really into existentialism at the time). I also recently read and greatly enjoyed his Mary for all Christians.


    Comment by Lee | June 2, 2007

  4. As an Anglican, I offer this prayer for my brother.

    Depart, O Christian soul, out of this world;
    In the Name of God the Father Almighty Who created you;
    In the Name of Jesus Christ Who redeemed you;
    In the Name of the Holy Spirit Who sanctifies you.
    May your rest be this day in peace,
    and your dwelling place in the Paradise of God.

    Comment by Monk-in-Training | June 3, 2007

  5. Dear Friends:
    It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of this great theologian and brilliant philosopher whose book, “Principles of Christian Theology” was my theology text book in seminary. Please convey to his entire family our deepest sympathy and very sincere condolences. May he rest in peace and rise in glory and may God in his love and mercy shed light, peace, and refreshment upon his soul both now and forevermore. Amen.
    Fr. William Guthrie+
    Rector, Christ Church
    East Orange, NJ
    Diocese of Newark

    Comment by William A. Guthrie | June 4, 2007

  6. It is with great sadness that I learned of Dr. John Macquarrie’s death. I never met Dr. Macquarrie, however, his writings have had a profound influence on my understanding of Christianity. I considered him a mentor and regarded him as one of the great theological thinkers of recent history. In a world of extreme ideological positions, he had a stabilizing effect. He is missed. Thank you Dr. Macquarrie.

    Comment by Jack R. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. | July 25, 2007

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