Saddened to read of Tom Oden’s death yesterday. I have gone to Oden again and again in research and for personal benefit.
Oden was mainline liberal Methodist scholar for many years until he came into contact with the early Church Fathers. And then it was ignition, orthodoxy on fire.
Among many Evangelicals he is best known for editing the IVP series, the Ancient Christian Commentaries series, which was a commentary on the whole of the Bible referring only to the Church Fathers of the first five or six centuries of the Church. Oden’s mission was to call the Church back to its DNA in the age of classical Christianity before the multiple divisions in the Church which produced their own angular versions of the faith. This was a massive undertaking.
I have just read Oden’s memoir before reading of his death, “A Change of Heart.” His output was amazing. One can only imagine what his contribution might have been had he been an Evangelical the whole of his academic career. His critique of mainline liberal Protestantism stands as a testimony to its hollowness and capitulation to the streams of history rather than a foundational commitment to the “faith once delivered.”