Lewis B. Smedes, 81-year-old professor emeritus of theology and ethics at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California, died December 19 from complications after a fall at his home in Sierra Madre, a nearby suburb.
"Fuller Seminary has lost one of its great faculty leaders," said Fuller president Richard J. Mouw. "He embodied a unique blend of intellectual rigor, pastoral warmth and eloquent expression. More than one of his former students has said that while his class lectures were unforgettable, it was worth coming to class just to hear his opening prayer."
Smedes, whose book Forgive and Forget has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, had an "irenic personality" that could be "open" to readers "without compromising principles," according to John Loudon, executive editor of Harper SanFrancisco, which published that work and several others by Smedes.
This fall, Smedes finished a spiritual memoir, titled, My God and I, which Eerdmans will publish in the spring of 2003.
For twenty-five years, Smedes was on the full-time staff at Fuller, first in the department of theology and ethics from 1970-1990, where he served as department chairman. He then became chairman of integrative studies in the school of psychology from 1990 until his retirement in 1995. In 2001, he was honored with the creation of the Lewis B. Smedes Chair of Christian Ethics at Fuller. Dr. Glen H. Stassen holds this professorship.
Smedes earned his first two degrees at the heart of the Christian Reformed Church's educational system: an A.B. from Calvin College and a B.D. from Calvin Theological Seminary. He earned a Th.D. at the Free University of Amsterdam, where he taught immediately before coming to Fuller. Earlier in his career, Smedes taught at Calvin College, and ...