Scholar Bernard Ramm, best known for drawing evangelical theology into dialogue with science and culture, died August 11 in his home in Laguna Hills, California. He was 76, and had suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

In his career, Ramm wrote 18 books and well over 100 articles and reviews for journals and magazines, including CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Though his knowledge and reading covered a breadth of topics, his writing concentrated on Christian apologetics, the Bible and science, and scriptural authority. Ramm was honored in 1990 by the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion with the presentation of a festschrift in his name.

Ramm was born in Butte, Montana, in 1916. “The gospel came to [me],” as he later wrote, at age 17 at a summer camp through the witness of his brother. His conversion radically and deeply changed his life and produced a lifelong love for Christ that was respected and admired by friends and theological opponents alike.

After completing undergraduate work in speech and philosophy at the University of Washington, Ramm studied at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He began his academic career in 1943 at the Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary and moved next to the Department of Philosophy and Apologetics at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA). He earned his master’s and doctorate in philosophy at the University of Southern California. His longest tenure came at American Baptist Seminary of the West, where he taught from 1959–74 and 1978–86.

Ramm’s central interest, according to Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson, coauthors of 20th Century Theology, “was that of showing the interface of the Bible—that is, of Bible-centered theology—with the totality of human knowledge, which in the twentieth century has been focused primarily on science.” His openness to modern theology, however, most notably Karl Barth’s, caused some conservative scholars to question Ramm’s evangelical credentials during his later years. Still, Ramm continued to describe himself as an evangelical.

Ramm was influential in the founding of the American Scientific Affiliation, and he taught frequently at Young Life seminars.

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