Jack Bartlett Rogers, a professor of theology and moderator of the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which was held in 2001, has died.
Rogers, 82, was a professor emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary and a former vice-president of the seminary – helping to establish a southern branch of the seminary’s campus in Pasadena (a branch which the seminary closed in 2011 as a budget-cutting move). He also served as a professor of philosophical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary for 17 years.
Within the PC(USA), Rogers played a public role in the denomination’s long, divisive debate over whether to allow the ordination of gays and lesbians who weren’t celibate – speaking and writing about his change-of-heart on that issue, including in the book “Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality.” Rogers came to believe the PC(USA) should drop a requirement formerly in the denomination’s Book of Order requiring those being ordained to practice “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness” – and rejoiced when the PC(USA) did so in 2011.
Rogers also wrote extensively about Presbyterian creeds and confessions, and for years taught a class for seminary students at the General Assembly called “Presbyterianism: Principles and Practice” – a class that was revived at the 2016 General Assembly in Portland, co-sponsored by San Francisco, Louisville and Austin seminaries.