Dr. Thomas Oden, A theologian who made made no new contribution to theology

Who is Thomas Clark Oden?


Thomas Clark Oden was an American United Methodist theologian and religious author. He is often regarded as the father of the paleo-orthodox theological movement and is considered to be one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.

Quotes & Works

  1. “The heart of my story is that the first part of 40 years of my life, I was way, way out there on a path that I had to go on in order to come back like the prodigal son to the father,” Oden told Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a 2015 interview. “But eventually I did and by my 40th year, I became deeply invested in listening carefully to the classical Christian consensus … of the ancient Christian writers and their interpretation of Scripture.”
  2. On Passing
    • Mark Tooley, Institute on Religion & Democracy president
      • “Tom is now with the early saints whose lives and teachings he studied so closely,” said Institute on Religion & Democracy president Mark Tooley, who called him “a dear friend and counselor, a brilliant and cheerful warrior for good causes, irreplaceable.
    • Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
      • “What a loss to us all is the death of [Oden]. He is a hero of orthodox conviction,” tweeted Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
  3. Paleo-orthodox
    • Fred Sanders
      • Fred Sanders, theology professor at Biola University, remembered Oden as a “paleo-orthodox champion of the classic, consensual Christian tradition.”
    • Michael Patton, Credo House

      • Oden coined the term paleo-orthodox, explained here ,  here by Credo House’s C. Michael Patton as:

        • This is the belief that the Christian faith can be found in the consensual beliefs of the church. This is a form of “consensual orthodoxy” (consensus fidelium). This search for consensus follows the dictum of Saint Vincent of L’rins: quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus, “that which was believed everywhere, always.” Normally, according to Thomas Oden, who coined the term “paleo-orthodoxy,” this consensual faith can be found in the first five centuries of the Christian church (Oden, Requiem: A Lament in Three Movements), before the “speculative scholasticism” of western Catholicism. The idea of theological progression is normally thought by strict adherents of Paleo-Orthodoxy as a post-enlightenment influenced methodology that should not be followed.

  4. Prolific
    • Oden wrote and edited hundreds of books, articles, and essays and gave speeches on such topics as church and the world, church controversies, evangelicalism, Kierkegaard, the Methodist church, church discipline, John Wesley, postmodernism, and others. His first volume with InterVarsity Press was Two Worlds (1992), which discussed the dichotomy of perishing modernity and emerging post modernity, and their impact on Christianity. He quickly followed this with the launch of the [ACCS] in 1998, forever changing the face of IVP’s publishing program.
  5. Association of Classical and Christian Schools

    • J. I. Packer

      • The ACCS’s patristics exposition was praised by Packer as “badly needed for several centuries, and the whole Christian world should unite to thank those who are undertaking to fill the gap.”
    • Joel Scandrett, director of the Robert E. Webber Center at the Trinity School for Ministry

      • One of Oden’s many former students, Joel Scandrett, director of the Robert E. Webber Center at the Trinity School for Ministry, said the theologian “passed on to me and generations of students his great love of the Triune God and the ancient legacy of patristic exegetical and trinitarian theology.

      • “His lifetime of work,” said Scandrett, “reveals that Christians need to rely upon the wisdom of the historical church, particularly the early church, rather than exclusively on modern scholarship and theology.”

  6. He made no new contribution to theology
    • Oden told CT in 1990 that he dreamed his epitaph would read: He made no new contribution to theology. He said:
      • In my dream I was extremely pleased, for I realized I was learning what Irenaeus meant when he warned us not to invent new doctrine. This was a great discovery for me. All my education up to this point had taught me that I must be compulsively creative. If I was to be a good theologian I had to go out and do something nobody else ever had done. The dream somehow said to me that this is not my responsibility, that my calling as a theologian could be fulfilled through obedience to apostolic tradition.


  1. Dr. Thomas Oden, author of How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind
    • Profile
      • Dr. Tom Oden, author of How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind, speaks with Dr. Jerry Pattengale of The Green Scholars Initiative about the role of Africa in the early Church
    • Videos
      • Video #1
        Channel :- InterVarsity Press
        Published On :- 2014-Jan-6th
  2. Libyan Christianity 1: A Libyan History Awaiting Discovery – Thomas C. Oden
    • Profile
      • Thomas Oden, professor of Theology Emeritus, Drew University; General Editor, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, explores historical Christianity by means of understanding the ancient culture and historical underpinnings of the people of Libya.
    • Videos
      • Video #1
        Channel :- Dallas Theological Seminary
        Published On :- 2012-July-27th

In depth

Dr. Thomas Oden, author of How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind

  1. 215 to 230 AD
  2. Christians in Palestine
  3. Intellectual Energy from South to North

Libyan Christianity 1: A Libyan History Awaiting Discovery – Thomas C. Oden

  1. Struggle of Rural Christianity
    • Conflict
      • North South Conflict
      • East west conflict
      • Christian/Islam Conflict
    • Undercurrent
      • Visa
      • Lockerbie
  2. Archbishop
  3. Socialism


  1. Wikipedia
    • Thomas C. Oden


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s