Nash, “a bold and brilliant defender of Christian truth,” dies

Communications Staff — March 13, 2006

Ronald H. Nash, a renowned theologian, philosopher and apologist whom R. Albert Mohler Jr. remembers as a “brilliant and bold defender” of the Christian faith, died Friday at his home in Orlando, Florida after a long illness.

Nash taught theology and philosophy for four decades at three schools, serving from 1964 to 1991 as chairman of the department of philosophy and religion and the director of graduate studies in humanities at Western Kentucky University.

He also served as a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary from 1991 to 2002 and at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1998 to 2005.

Mohler, Southern Seminary president, said Nash was “a man of ideas who believed that ideas really mattered.” His legacy will endure through his many writings and through scores of students Nash taught, Mohler said.

“Dr. Ron Nash was a brilliant and bold defender of Christian truth, he was a great apologist, a wonderful intellect devoted to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Mohler said. “His writings reach thousands and thousands of persons, many of whom never met him. His classroom teaching was life-changing in several different institutions.

“I have spoken to many across the country who had him at the undergraduate level at Western Kentucky University and they speak about how he shaped their Christian worldview at that stage of education. Students here (at Southern Seminary) had the benefit of his knowledge and his teaching in the final phase of his teaching ministry.

“He was a man who believed ideas really mattered (and) that the right ideas were necessary in order for Christ’s church to be preserved.”

Nash wrote more than 35 books on philosophy, theology and apologetics including “Faith & Reason: Searching for a Rational Faith,” “Life’s Ultimate Questions,” and “Is Jesus the Only Savior?” Nash received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University and his master’s degree from Brown University. Nash received his undergraduate degree from Barrington College and did post-graduate work at Stanford University.

Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary, says Nash was far more than just a brilliant classroom orator.

“Ronald Nash was more than just a scholar, more even than just the prolific, influential scholar he was,” Moore said. “He understood that scholarship is a matter of spiritual warfare.

“Professor Nash didn’t simply convey his assertions about the intelligibility and truthfulness of divine revelation or about the exclusivity of the Gospel through faith in Christ. He conveyed the gravity and seriousness of the issues for the church.

“Students of Ron Nash knew what it meant when he swayed his hips from side to side while he quoted a theologian or philosopher. It meant he believed what he was reading aloud was a dangerous heresy. In an age of cowardly academics and tentative philosophers, Ronald Nash played the man. We are all in debt for it.”

Nash is survived by wife, Betty Jane and two children, Jeffrey and Jennifer. A private funeral will be held March 14 in Tennessee and a memorial service is scheduled for March 18 at the Orlando campus of Reformed Theological Seminary.

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