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Died: George Lindbeck, Father of Postliberal Theology

Nature of Doctrine author was a “missionary to postmodernity.”
Died: George Lindbeck, Father of Postliberal Theology
Image: Gabe Cooney / Courtesy of Yale Divinity School

Ecumenical theologian George Lindbeck, who helped define the postliberalism movement that transformed 21st-century Protestantism, died earlier this month at age 94.

A Lutheran scholar who spent more than half his life on faculty at Yale Divinity School, Lindbeck passed away on January 8 in a Florida hospice. He spent his final years in assisted living after suffering a brain aneurism in 2009.

Lindbeck’s influential 1984 book, The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age, established a theology that rejected modern liberal Protestant thinking that defined religious truth by common personal experiences, and instead proposed a “cultural-linguistic” approach that saw the creeds and practices of faith communities as the basis for religious understanding.

“Whatever else postliberalism is, it was meant to be an apologetic help to be a credal or mere Christian in our age,” wrote George Sumner, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. “That ...

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