Friends of mine know that Donald G. Bloesch has had a shaping and formative influence on my thought and life for at least three decades. Dr. Bloesch, now a retired professor of theology at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary (Iowa), continues to bless many of us by his prolific writing ministry. I had the unique honor of sharing a meal with Don again this past Monday afternoon. He is in good health, was encouraging to me as always, and recently celebrated his seventy-eighth birthday. He still has a keen mind and a lovely spirit and is working on four new books at the present time. Dr. Bloesch has often supported me very deeply (he is one of my stated formal Advisors to ACT 3) and has frequently shared in the ministry of ACT 3 personally. Don and Brenda, his kind wife, were also present at a lovely ACT 3 event we held at the seminary on Tuesday evening. It was a real joy to be with this special teacher/mentor again. It was also a pleasure to meet with about twenty to twenty-five folks, including six who are presently professors at Dubuque Seminary, the Unversity of Dubuque, Wartburg Seminary and Emmaus College.
Don Bloesch has worked within the mainline church for a lifetime and yet remains a solid evangelical and Reformed thinker and writer. His seven-volume magnum opus, Christian Foundations (InterVarsity Press), is perhaps the best such work published since 1950. I encourage serious readers to study the work of Don Bloesch. Everything he has written is quite good and some of it is absolutely outstanding. You may not always agree with him (I do not) but you will have to think more deeply and you will be wonderfully led in the process by a true giant of the evangelical faith who remains a humble and godly Christian man to this day.
Don previously published two books that he calls the Theological Notebook. The demand for these was so small that none of the larger publishers wanted to invest in it. (If all of these journals are published there will be nine of them in the end.) Wipf & Stock, an academic reprinting company in Oregon that is worth your interest and support, began to publish these volumes recently and the third volume was thus recently released, Theological Notebook III. These books are really the personal journals Don kept over the course of his lifetime of theological and personal thought. What makes them so unique is that they are the rich daily devotional reflections of a person who happens to be a world class theologian. They are literally filled with incredible insights and sayings that push me to think more deeply about God and faith. Here, as an example, is an entry for 1971:
The Bible is capable of deceiving when it is not read in a spirit of faith, just as the blessed sacrament is capable of causing sickness when it is not received in a spirit of repentance.
Here is another similar reflection on Scripture from the Theological Notebook III, written 1972:
While there is a direct unity between the person of Jesus and the person of the heavenly Christ, there is only an indirect unity between the Holy Scriptures and the Word of God. The Holy Spirit reveals what he intended to teach the human author and what that author faintly grasped; so the key to the unity between the heavenly wisdom and the scriptural words lies in the action of the Holy Spirit—his past action and his present action.
Along with these kinds of theological affirmations come numerous devotional thoughts that are rich and helpful, such as this one, also written in 1972:
The Christian way to overcome depression is to give, forgive, give in and never keep score.
That one cuts me very deeply but it also brings renewed spiritual health at this very moment in my life.