From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Renowned theologian John H. Leith dies
PCUSA NEWS <PCUSA.NEWS@ecunet.org>
13 Aug 2002 15:08:01 -0400
Note #7382 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:
Renowned theologian John H. Leith dies
by Alexa Smith
LOUISVILLE - The Rev. John Haddon Leith, a prolific theologian who taught at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia for 31 years, died late yesterday at Greenville Memorial Hospital in Greenville, S.C.
He was 82.
The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Foothills Presbyterian Home in Easley, S.C., where Leith was a resident for the past several years. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Greenville Presbyterian Church near Donalds, S.C., and Leith will be buried in the church cemetery. Former students have been invited to be honorary escorts at the funeral.
"John Leith was an important theologian who taught and loved the Reformed tradition. He did much to pass on this tradition through his teaching and writing. For him, Reformed theology was a living, vital way of understanding of our Christian faith. His steady commitment to the Reformed faith was always strong and the resources he provided for studying it through the years puts generations of students, pastors and scholars in his debt," said the Rev. Donald McKim on behalf of Westminster/John Knox Press, the publisher of many of Leith's books. "Leith's writings were models of clarity that communicated his passionate commitments.
"Westminster John Knox Press is grateful to have been John Leith's primary publisher and joins with others in celebrating the contributions he made to theological studies and to the church."
Born Sept. 10, 1919, in Hodges, S.C., and reared in Due West from age 10, Leith was the son of the late William H. and Lucy Haddon Leith. He received the B.A. degree from Erskine College in 1940 and the B.D. degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1943. In 1946, he received the M.A. from Vanderbilt University and in 1949, the Ph.D. from Yale University.
Honorary degrees were bestowed upon Leith by Erskine College, Davidson College and Presbyterian College.
Leith was licensed and ordained in the Presbyterian Church in the United States in 1943 by South Carolina Presbytery. He served pastorates at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church in Mobile, Ala., Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tenn., and First Presbyterian Church in Auburn, Ala., where he was named pastor emeritus.
Leith was the Pemberton Professor of Theology at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia from 1959 to 1990.
In a statement released Aug. 13, Louis Weeks, the seminary's president, described Leith as "one of the best-known twentieth-century pastors and educators within the Presbyterian tradition and mentor for generations of pastors and church leaders here and more broadly in the church ...
"Leith, one of the church's most significant theological voices, devoted himself throughout his 60-year career to building up the church through the training of clergy and through his theological insights," said Weeks.
Leith was a member of New Hope Presbytery, the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic, Omicron Delta Kappa, the American Society of Church History, the Society for Reformation Research and the Calvin Studies Society, of which he served as president from 1978 to 1982. He was also a Kent Fellow, Society on Religion in Higher Education.
Leith authored 15 books and many articles with over 400,000 books currently in print. His books have been used in theological education worldwide.
He is survived by two children, Henry White Leith and Caroline Haddon Leith, both of Richmond, Va.; one brother and sister-in-law, William Harold and Nancy Allen Leith of Easley; one sister, Mary Evelyn Leith Ellis of Decatur, Ga.; and three grandsons, John Leith Jackson, Henry Leith Jackson and Douglas Killough.
His wife, Ann White Leith, died in 2000.
Memorials may be made to the Foundation for Reformed Theology, 200 West Trade St., Charlotte, N.C. 28202.
"As a theologian and a consummate churchman, John Leith will be sorely missed. I'm grateful that his theological legacy will live on in his numerous Westminster John Knox Press publications," said Davis Perkins, publisher of Westminster John Knox Press.
Send your response to this article to firstname.lastname@example.org
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send an 'unsubscribe' request to
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .