Gabriel Fackre born Jan 25,
1926 and raised in Brooklyn, New York, is Abbot Professor of Christian Theology Emeritus
at Andover Newton Theological
School in Newton, Massachusetts, having been on the faculty for 25 years before
retiring in 1996. Previous to that he was Professor of Theology
and Culture at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, teaching there from 1961 through 1970.
Fackre has also served as visiting professor or held lectureships
at forty universities, colleges, and seminaries. He and his spouse,
Dorothy Ashman Fackre, married in 1945, were students together at
University and the University of Chicago
Divinity School and later the parents of five children and
grandparents of eight. Dorothy, also an ordained clergyperson,
served with Gabriel in congregations in the Chicago stockyards
district and in the greater Pittsburgh steel mill towns of
Homestead and Duquesne, Pennsylvania for 12 years.
Having been involved together
in theological, ecclesiastical, and social issues throughout their
marriage, they are currently writing a joint memoir.
Theology, ethics, and mission
Fackre has written in the fields of theology, ethics, and mission
in thirty books and monographs, among them five volumes of a
projected seven-volume series in Christian doctrine, The
, and chapters and encyclopedia entries in
another ninety volumes and over three hundred articles and book
reviews. He is past president of the American Theological Society.
Fackre has been involved, often with his spouse, in various efforts
in social action, beginning with their spearheading a campaign to
bring Nisei students from World War II internment camps to Bucknell
and taking part in a Quaker “peace caravan” in the closing year of
the war. At Chicago, Fackre and another Divinity School student led
a walk-out and protest at the Quadrangle (faculty) Club, where they
worked as waiters, at the refusal by the majority of its members to
include in membership an African-American professor, a policy
shortly thereafter overturned. While at Chicago, after a summer
student trip to study “The Church and the Working-Classes in Great
Britain,” Fackre and his wife served a mission congregation in the
back-of-the yards district, then spent a decade in a two-point
mission charge in the steel mill towns of Homestead and Duquesne,
Pennsylvania addressing issues of the working poor.
In the decade of the 1960s when Fackre was a professor at Lancaster
Theological Seminary in the same state, they, with their children,
helped to found a network of “freedom schools’ for young black and
white Lancastrians, and participated in demonstrations for civil
rights in the city. Fackre also took part in the initial civil
rights demonstration in the city protesting hiring policies at
downtown department stories in the summer of 1963, joined the March
on Washington in 1963, and was part of a United Church of Christ
contingent that assisted in the registration of black citizens in
Canton, Mississippi in 1964. Later, the couple led in campaigns to
integrate the city’s de facto segregated junior high schools,
helped to found a citizen’s newspaper, The Lancaster
, and a coffee house, Encounter, out of which
much of the foregoing activity emanated. After moving to the Boston
area where Professor Fackre was called to teach systematic theology
at Andover Newton Theological School, efforts at social change
continued with Fackre chairing a committee that founded another
citizens' newspaper, The Newton Times
, and both he and his
wife participated in peace and justice activities during their
twenty-five years in Greater Boston. Retired on Cape Cod, they
continue to take part in advocating for the homeless, efforts in
environmental amelioration, and peace concerns.
Doctrine and ecumenism
Fackre was raised a Baptist by his mother, Mary Comstock Fackre,
whose husband, Toufick Fackre, was Syrian Orthodox. Later, he and
his Episcopalian spouse, Dorothy, sought an ecumenical denomination
in which to carry out their anticipated ministry. They moved to the
Evangelical and Reformed
in 1950, the denomination of Reinhold Niebuhr
, whose thought much
influenced them in a journey out of an earlier pacifism to a
post-war period of “neo-orthodoxy.” In 1957, that Church merged
with the Congregational Christian Churches to form the United Church of Christ
, in which
they both now hold their clergy standing.
Ecumenism has been a leading commitment for both
Fackres, given expression in their first book, Under
the Steeple, relating the “life together” themes of
the two early World Council of Churches assemblies they attended—Amsterdam, Holland in 1948
and Evanston, IL, USA in 1954—to parish life and mission.
Professor Fackre was one of the representatives of the United
Church of Christ in the nine-denomination Consultation on Church
Union (predecessor to the current Churches of Christ Uniting) and
the Lutheran-Reformed Conversation, the latter eventuating in the
agreement of 1997 of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian
Church, USA, the Reformed Church of America and the United Church
of Christ. He also has been engaged as an “evangelical catholic” in
outreach, on one hand, to Churches in the Great Tradition as a
co-founder of the Mercersburg Society and board member of the
Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology, and on the other, to
contemporary evangelicalism in a variety of conferences and book
projects of the same. Kindred to the latter, he has written
extensively on evangelism, seeking to wed social concern to that
The conjunction of concern about Christian doctrine and commitment
to the ecumenical project has led Fackre to invest himself deeply
in efforts at theological renewal in his own denomination.
Prominent among them have been the founding in 1984 of the annual
Craigville Theological Colloquies
on Cape Cod and
in 1993 the Confessing Christ
movement in the
United Church of Christ. Also since 1962, he has encouraged
teacher-pastor dialogue on current theological topics by launching
“Theological Tabletalk” groups in both seminaries and in retirement
on Cape Cod.
for Gabriel Fackre, with recognition as well
of his close partnership in life and mission with Dorothy, appeared
in 2002, edited by their daughter Skye Fackre Gibson.
- The Christian Story, Vol. 5 The Church: Signs of
the Spirit and Signs of the Times, Eerdmans, 2007.
- The Christian Story Vol. 4 Christology in
Context. Eerdmans, forthcoming, 2006.
- Believing, Caring and Doing in the United Church of
Christ. Pilgrim Press, 2005.
- The Day After: A Retrospective on Religious Dissent in the
Presidential Crisis. Eerdmans, 2000.
- Editor, Judgment Day at the White House. Eerdmans,
- Restoring the Center: Essays Evangelical and
Ecumenical. InterVarsity, 1998. *Affirmations and
Admonitions: Lutheran Decisions and Dialogue. co-author with
Michael Root, Eerdmans, 1998.
- The Doctrine of Revelation: A Narrative
Interpretation.University of Edinburgh Press, GB and Eerdmans,
- The Christian Story, Vol.1, revised, third edition.
- What About Those Who Have Never Heard?, co-author with
Ronald Nash and John Sanders, InterVarsity, 1995.
- The Promise of Reinhold Niebuhr, revised edition,
University Press of America, 1994.
- Ecumenical Faith in Evangelical Perspective. Eerdmans,
- Christian Basics: A Primer for Pilgrims. co-author
with Dorothy Fackre, Eerdmans, 1991-1994, 1998, 2000(6th
- The Christian Story, Volume 2, Authority: Scripture in the
Church for the World. Eerdmans, 1987.
- The Christian Story, Volume 1, revised edition,
- The Religious Right and Christian Faith. Eerdmans
(hardcover, 1982; paper, 1983).
- Youth Ministry: The Gospel and the People. (co-author
with Jan Chartier), Judson, 1979, 1980.
- The Christian Story: A Narrative Interpretation of Basic
Christian Doctrine. Eerdmans, 978.
- Word In Deed: Theological Themes in Evangelism.
- Do and Tell: Engagement Evangelism in the 70s.
Eerdmans, 1973, (3 printings).
- Liberation in Middle America. Pilgrim, 1971.
- The Promise of Reinhold Niebuhr. Lippincott,
- Humiliation and Celebration: Post-radical Themes in
Doctrine Morals and Mission. Sheed and Ward, 1969.
- The Rainbow Sign: Christian Futurity. Eerdmans, U.S.A.
and Epworth, Great Britain, 1969.
- Secular Impact. Pilgrim Press, 1968.
- Conversation in Faith. UCC Adult Resource Book, United
Church Press, 1968.
- The Pastor and the World. United Church Press,
- The Purpose and Work of the Ministry. Christian
Education Press, 1959.
- Under the Steeple. Abingdon Press, 1957. co-author
with Dorothy Fackre.
Monographs, booklets, pamphlets
- “Tradition and Traditionalism,” Confessing Christ Occasional
Paper, Winter, 1999-2000; Sound Doctrine in the Church, Theodore
Trost Lecture, 1992.
- The Confessional Nature of the United Church of Christ, EKU-UCC
Newsletter, 1983. *Christ's Ministry and Ours, Center for the
Laity, Andover Newton, 1982.
- The Heritage of Faith and the Horizon of the 80s, Hooker
- Conversion, Division of Homeland Ministries, Disciples of
- A Catechism for Today's Storytellers, Youth Magazine,
- Memory and Hope in a Time of Nostalgia, Council for Lay Life
and Work, UCC 1972.
- Christian Faith and Action in the Seventies, Council for
Christian Social Action, UCC 1969.
- Second Fronts in Metropolitan Mission, Eerdmans, 1968.
- What Happens in Baptism, Living Faith Series, Westminster
- The Baptismal Encounter, Lancaster Seminary Occasional Papers,
Contributions to volumes
- “A Case for the Cross? Passionate Apologetics,” in Anna M.
Robbins, ed.; "Ecumenical and Eclectic: The Unity of the Church in
the Contemporary World: Essays in Honor of Alan P. Sell,"
Paternoster, GB and Wipf and Stock, USA., 2007.
- “How Theology Lives in the UCC,” in J. Martin Bailey and Evan
Goulder, eds. UCC@50: Our Future, United Church of Christ,
- “Revelation,” in Sung Wook Church, ed., Karl Barth and
Evangelical Theology: Convergences and Divergences, Paternoster, GB
and Baker Academic, USA. 2006.
- “Justification in Reformed Perspective,” in Wayne Stumme, ed.,
The Gospel of Justification, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2006.
- “The Resurrection and the Uniqueness of Christ,” in Christ the
One and Only: A Global Affirmation of the Uniqueness of Christ, in
Sung Wook Chung, ed. Paternoster, GB and Baker, USA, 2005.
- “Mutual Affirmation and Admonition: Ecumenical and
Evangelical,” Pilgrims on the Sawdust Trail. Timothy George, ed.,
Baker Book House, 2005.
- “Report to the Lutheran Bishops on Common Calling,” in On the
Way: The Teaching Church, Frederick Trost., ed., Kirk House
- “Which Way Toward a Theology of Religions?” in Faith in a
Global Context, Festschrift for Robert Neville. T&T Clark, GB,
- “Carl Henry,” in Dictionary of Apologetics London:
Inter-Varsity Press, GB, 2005.
- “Biblical Inerrancy,” in Encyclopedia of Protestantism, Hans
Hillerbrand, ed., New York: Routledge, 2004.
- “Foreword,” Universal Salvation? London: Paternoster Press,
2003 and Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.
- “Reformed Ecumenics,” in Wallace Alston and Michael Welker,
eds., Reformed Theology, Identity and Ecumenicity Grand Rapids:
- “An Evangelical Narrative Christology for a Religiously Plural
Word, in Alister McGrath & Evangelical Theology Sung Wook
Chung, ed. London: Paternoster Press, 2003, GB, and Baker, US,
- “Life Everlasting,” n Roger Van Harn, ed., Essays and Sermons
on the Apostles Creed Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.
- “Preface,” Frederick Trost, We Know Only in Part: Reflections
on a Journey in Faith Minneapolis: Kirk House Publishers,
- “A Reformed Perspective on the Joint Declaration,” Ecumenical
Perspectives on the Joint Declaration, William Rusch, ed.,
Liturgical Press, 2004.
- “Binding Up Wounds and Resisting the Powers,” O God, Tender and
Just: Reflections and Response after September 11, 2001, United
Church Press, 2002.
- “Theological Thoughts on the Present Crisis,” He Comes the
Broken Heart to Bind: Reflections on September 11, 2001, Frederick
Trost, ed., Confessing Christ, 2001.
- “Narrative Theology in Evangelical Perspective,” Faith and
Narrative, Keith Yandell, ed., New York: Oxford University Press,
- “Biblical Inerrancy,” “Inspiration, Biblical,” Encyclopedia of
Fundamentalism, Brenda Brasjer, ed., (Great Barrington, MA:
Berkshire Reference Works/Routledge, 2001.
- “Confessing Christ Today,” In Essentials Unity: Essays on the
Nature and Purpose of the Church, Douglas Meeks and Robert Mutton,
eds. Minneapolis: Kirk House Pub., 2001.
- “John 14:1-4, Acts 2:42-47, Acts 3: 12-19, Acts 4:5-12, 1 Peter
3:18-22,” in Biblical Exegesis for Sunday’s Sermon, Roger Van Harn,
ed. Eerdmans, 2001.
- “Foreword,” When I Survey the Wondrous Cross by Richard Floyd,
- “Kosovo: The Ethics of Heaven, Earth and Hell,” Kosovo:
Contending Voices on Balkan Interventions, William J. Buckley, ed.
- “The Lutheran Capax Lives,” in Trinity, Time, and Church, Colin
Gunton, ed., Festschrift for Robert Jenson, Eerdmans, 2000.
- “Christology,” Evangelical Theology in Transition, Elmer
Colyer, ed., Festschrift for Donald Bloesch, InterVarsity,
- "Suffering and Hope," Library of Distinctive Sermons, Sister,
Oregon: Multnomah, 1998.
- "Angels," Library of Distinctive Sermons, Multnomah 1998.
- "Gifts Given: Solidarity and Simultaneity," "Gifts Received:
Sovereignty and Sanctification," The Congregation and the Unity of
the Church," Currents in Theology and Mission, Ralph Klein, ed.,
Lutheran School of Theology in Cooperation with Pacific Lutheran
Seminary and Wartburg Theological Seminary, 1997.
- "UCC Theological Basics: An Interpretation," and "Hymn Texts
and Key Christian Teachings, How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song?: An
Assessment of The New Century Hymnal, Richard Christensen, ed.,
Pickwick Press, 1997.
- "Educating For The Church," Theological Education in the
Evangelical Tradition, D. Hart & R.A. Mohler, eds. Grand
Rapids, Baker, 1996.
- "Narrative: Evangelical, Postliberal, Ecumenical," The Nature
of Confession, T.R. Phillips & Dennis Olkhom, eds. Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996.
- "Last Things," The Christian Theology Reader, Alister McGrath,
ed., Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.
- "Theological Reflections" and "'Hermeneutics' as the
Interpretation of Scripture," Papers from the Initial Meetings of
Confessing Christ, February, 1994.
- "Reformed Heritage and Lutheran Connection in the Life of the
UCC. Special Note," A Common Calling: The Witness of our
Reformation Churches in North America Today. The Report of the
Lutheran-Reformed Committee for Theological Conversations,
1988-1992, Keith Nickle and Timothy Lull, editors. Minneapolis:
- "Evangelical Hermeneutics: Commonality and Diversity."
Christianity for Tomorrow, Charles Holland, editor. Fort Worth:
Biblical Studies Assn., 1992.
- "Hope," Life as Liberty, Life as Trust. Robert Nelson, editor.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.
- "Atonement," Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith, Donald McKim,
editor. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992.
- "Abortion," Handbook for Preaching, (co-author with Dorothy
Fackre) James Cox, editor. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox,
- "Foreword," James Crawford, Worthy to Raise Issues: Preaching
and Public Responsibility. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1991.
- "The Place of Israel in Christian Faith," Gott lieben und
Gebote halten, Markus Bockmuehl, editor. Brunnen Verlag, 1991.
- "Eschatology and Systematics," Ex Auditu, Robert Guelich,
editor. Pickwick, 1990.
- "Sin," (co-author with Dorothy Fackre), Words of Faith: Worship
Program Book, 1991 1992 Office of Church Life and Leadership, UCC,
- "Ministry as Presence," Dictionary of Pastoral Care and
Counseling, R. Hunter, editor. Nashville: Abingdon Press,
- "Christian Doctrine in the United Church of Christ," Theology
and Identity: Traditions, Movements and Polity in the United Church
of Christ, Daniel Johnson and David Hambrick-Stowe, editors.
Pilgrim Press, 1990.
- "God" and "Evangelism," Harper's Dictionary of Religious
Education, Kendig & Iris Cully, editors. Harper & Row,
- "Summary Observations," The Leuenberg Agreement and
Lutheran-Reformed Relationships, W. Rusch and D. Martensen,
editors. Augsburg Fortress, 1989.
- "Political Fundamentalism," Theology, Politics and Peace. T.
Runyon, editor. Orbis, 1989.
- "Introduction," Liberating News, by Orlando Costas, Eerdmans,
- "Theology: Ephemeral, Conjunctural and Perennial," America's
Changing Churches, 1935 1985, David Lotz, editor. Eerdmans,
- "God the Discloser," Christian Faith & Practice in the
Modern World, Mark Noll and David Wells, editors. Eerdmans,
- "Reinhold Niebuhr," Reformed Theology in America, David Wells,
editor. Eerdmans, 1985.
- "The Use of Scripture in My Work in Systematics,” The Use of
the Bible in Theology: Evangelical Options, Robert Johnston,
editor. John Knox Press, 1985.
- "Defending the Faith Today," Lion/Eerdmans Handbook of World
Christianity, Lion (GB) and Eerdmans (USA), 1985.
- "Carl Henry," Handbook of Christian Theologians, revised
edition, Martin Marty and Dean Peerman, editors. Abingdon,
- "Ecology and Theology," Moral Dilemmas, Richard Purtill,
editor. Wadsworth, 1984.
- "Christ's Ministry and Ours," The Laity in Ministry, George
Peck and John Hoffman, editors. Judson, 1984.
- "Advent: Interpretation," Social Themes of the Christian Year,
Dieter Hessel, editor. Geneva, 1983.
- "Antinomianism," "Blasphemy," "Evangelical, Evangelicalism,"
"Imputation," "Merit," The New Dictionary of Christian Theology and
The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, Alan Richardson
and John Bowden, editors. SCM (GB), 1983 and Westminster (U.S.A.),
- "The Nature of the Church," Leaders' Box, Office of Church Life
and Leadership, 1982 Consulting Editor, Lion/Eerdmans Handbook of
Christian Belief, Lion (GB), 1982 and Eerdmans (USA), 1982.
- "Preface," Who Dares to Preach? by Wallace Fisher. Augsburg,
- "Preface," The Wisdom of the Heart by Wallace Robbins,
Worcester, MA, First Unitarian Church, 1979.
- "Theology and Forms of Confession in the United Church off
Christ," Consultation on Union, Disciples Divinity House,
- "The New Morality," Issues in Sexual Ethics. Souderton, PA,
- "The Struggle for Unity," Festival of the Church, NY, OCLL,
- "Guide to Do and Tell," New Life Mission Handbook, Tidings,
- "Dawn People," Jesus Christ Frees and Unites, Section I,
preparatory material, Nairobi Assembly, WCC, 1974.
- "Ecology and Theology," Western Man and Environmental Ethics,
Ian Barbour, editor. Addison-Wesley, 1973.
- "The New Leisure: Planner and Citizen in Partnership,” Leisure
and the Quality of Life, AAHPER Press, 1972.
- "Parsimony, Pluralism, and the COCU Parish," Church Union at
Mid-Point, Paul A. Crow, Jr. and William J. Boney, editors.
Association Press, 1972.
- "Going East: Neomysticism and Christian Faith," Catholic Youth
Work Annual, 1971, United States Catholic Conference, 1972.
- "The Blue Collar White and the Far Right," Class and Group
Behavior: A Book of Readings on Protest and Pressure in American
Society, John Florer, William Baker, et al., editors. Kendall/Hunt,
- "Ethical Guidelines for the Control of Life," Moral Issues and
Christian Response, Paul Jersild and Dale Johnson, editors. Holt,
Rinehart, and Winston, 1971.
- "Redesigning Life: Scenarios and Guidelines," Should Doctors
Play God? Claude Frazier, editor. Broadman Press, 1971.
- "Is That Your Doing Lord?" Tune In, Herman Ahrens, Jr., editor.
Pilgrim Press, 1968.
- "Witness is a Two-Way Street," Creative Ministries, David
Marshall, editor. United Church Press, 1967.
- "Voices for a World Come of Age," Search for Identity, The
Methodist Church, 1967; reprinted in Protestant Women of the Chapel
Program Guide, 1969 70.
- "The New Morality," Storm Over Ethics, United Church Press,
- "The Issue of Transcendence in the New Theology, New Morality,
and New Forms," New Theology No. 4, M. Marty and D. Peerman,
editors. The Macmillan Co., 1967.
- "The Crisis of the Congregation: A Debate," Voluntary
Associations: Essays in Honor of James Luther Adams, D. B.
Robertson, editor. John Knox Press, 1966.
- "Where You Find God: Albert Jenkins," "Why I Belong," Clyde
Reid, editor. United Church Press, 1964.
- "Getting the Story Straight," "Getting the Story Out," and
"Getting the Story In," produced by the United Church Board for
- "Dawn People" produced by Imago Associates for UCBHM.
- "A Tale of Light," and "Getting the Story Out," produced by
Tidings, United Methodist Church.
- Catalyst Cassettes, November, 1975, April, May, 1980.
- Thesis Cassettes, May, 1979.
- "Christian Basics," Andover Newton Visiting Professor Series,
Parts I and II, 1994-1995; series also on www.youtube.com, under "Gabriel
- John Milton Society, January, 1980.
- Theology and Culture Newsletter, Nos. 1-45, 1967-2007.
- Story Lines: Chapters in Thought, Word, and Deed:
Festschrift for Gabriel Fackre, Skye F. Gibson, editor,