Benjamin A. Reist

The Christian Century, November 26, 2014 | Go to article overview

Benjamin A. Reist


Benjamin A. Reist, professor emeritus of systematic theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., died September 15 of complications arising from Alzheimer's disease. He was 87.

Reist began his career at Wellesley College in 1952. He assumed a professor ship with SFTS in 1957. Early in his career he published works on Ernst Troeltsch and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and upon his retirement he wrote a reflection on John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Jana Childers, SFTS dean, called Reist "one of the mighty lions of God" as a scholar and leader.

"Our mighty lion of God had a magnificent voice," she said, yet he "made room for the voices of thousands of others."

He was a major figure in the creation and early development of the Graduate Theological Union and a founding member of the board of directors of the Center for Theology and Natural Sciences. Reflecting on his life in 1988, Reist wrote that "my professorship was, and remains, a function of my ordination ... and I continue to think of theology as being in order to [fulfill] the proclamation of the Gospel. …

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