I am grateful that the leadership of Jack Haberer now extends to a larger congregation through his appointment as editor at the Outlook.
I know Jack as a pastor, one who is attentive to each individual under his care, one who looks after the whole church with great appreciation for all of its various parts, one who seeks to acknowledge God’s power and grace for all creation through the ministry of Jesus Christ as enacted by the church. Jack’s passion for the mission of the church of Jesus Christ can only be a blessing to all of us.
Laura Mendenhall, president
Columbia Theological Seminary
I first heard of Jack Haberer when he was the president of the Presbyterian Coalition. It was 1996. Our denomination was engulfed in the debate over what was then known as “Amendment B.” Virtually everything I read about what Jack said was opposed to my own views. In January 1997, the Presbytery of Santa Fe invited Jack and me to debate what was then known as “Amendment A.” I half expected Jack to be breathing fire. I certainly expected a tough and aggressive opponent. Instead, I discovered that Jack was respectful. He did not twist what I said. He did not use innuendo. He was not angry and hostile. I remember very clearly discovering during our debate that I was in the presence of a brother in Christ. Later that spring, the Stated Clerk, Cliff Kirkpatrick invited five of us to meet together and discuss what was happening to the denomination. We released what was called “A Call to Sabbatical.” Jack and I were both in that group.
This is when Jack started to teach me why he believed what he did and why people like him disagreed with people like me. He taught me to see myself from a different perspective. Subsequently, Jack and I engaged in a pulpit exchange and hosted several groups of people seeking to establish conversation and respect. In all this time we have found many basic points of agreement and affirmation. We struggle with areas of disagreement but do so with a sense of deep loyalty to Christ, to our Reformed tradition, and to our denomination. I have grown to trust Jack’s determination not only to express his views but also to honor other views. He is committed to Christ, to our unity in Christ and to our Christian witness and fellowship together.
Someday I hope we agree. We may reach agreement in some position neither one of us can articulate just yet, but until then I will be grateful for this other Presbyterian minister who is, in spirit and in truth, a brother in Christ.
Laird J. Stuart, pastor
San Francisco, Calif.
Jack Haberer and The Presbyterian Outlook are, in my opinion, a match made in heaven, for I suspect no one knows more people across the PC(USA). Indeed, Jack is the most extroverted person I have ever met, always eager to meet and engage new Presbyterian friends! As a result, he has his finger on the pulse of many parts of the church that a lot of us would not know about. Moreover, he is consistently fair-minded, has a demonstrated commitment to bridge-building relationships, and an ability to hold firm to what he believes while maintaining genuine openness to others. These attributes flow from his passion for the church and his belief that it can be a vehicle for mission and social transformation. Under Jack’s editorial leadership, I am confident that the Outlook will be a forum for genuine, respectful, thoughtful conversation among Presbyterians that will enhance our common ministry.
Frances Taylor Gench
professor of New Testament
Christians confess that Truth – upper case T – comes to us as a Person, not just a set of Ideas. Jack Haberer’s life is dedicated to loving and serving this Truth. Theology, the witness to ultimate Truth, is always about who God is, who we are, and how we are related to God and each other. The truth proclaimed by theology is never merely abstract; it is always about the God who has chosen to be part of our story, Emmanuel, and about the fellowship of believers that the Gospel calls forth as witnesses to the great things God has done for us.
In all he is and does, Jack serves God and the church with irrepressible energy, keen intelligence, lively imagination, and profound love. I have known Jack for over 30 years, and have seen him consistently stand firm for relational integrity, grounded in unswerving commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and his church. Make no mistake: Jack does care about theology. Ideas do matter for him. But this is so only as theology gets lived out in relationships – with Jesus Christ and with one another.
Jack’s loyalty to the whole church leads him to own the ecumenical tradition wholeheartedly. He knows and loves the Reformed tradition especially deeply, yet seeks always to solidify his grasp of it through further reading, thinking, discussing, and writing about the faith. Rather than leaping on trendy ecclesial bandwagons, Jack draws from the wells of Nicea, Calvin, and Bosch (to name a few) to strengthen us for faithful living today. Yet as Jack mines the wisdom of the faithful who have gone before us, he never forgets that God’s truth challenges us anew in every place and time.
As a theologian, Jack always urges us to love God and neighbor both with all our hearts and with all our minds. Sound theological judgment, important as it may be, must always edify the church, to the glory of God. It is no accident that Jack’s important book, GodViews, affirms the integrity and interdependence of very different theological “camps” in the church by tracing their roots into our common apostolic tradition, while inviting partisans of each perspective to affirm the integrity of other views, and to acknowledge their need of the others. Jack will hold our feet to the fire, that we do not stray from our theological roots; but he will never let us rest easy in comfortable isolation from others who also own Jesus as Lord, yet work it out in ways different from our own.
Sheldon W. Sorge,
associate for theology
Office of Theology and Worship, PC(USA)