Theologian, Professor, and Author
For nearly thirty years Ronald Goetz served as a Professor of Theology at Elmhurst College. For much of his tenure there he occupied the Niebuhr Distinguished Chair in Christian Theology and Ethics and served as the Chair of the department. At the heart of his academic career, however, was teaching. He conveyed his passion for theology with an authority and integrity that made him the mentor to generations of students. During the course of his academic career, he also served as the pastor of a church he himself had founded. His writing was largely confined to papers, essays, articles, and reviews, many of which appeared in The Christian Century.
Goetz’s interests, however, were not limited to his field. He was a self-taught art historian, with a particular interest in ecclesiological architecture, which led him to travel extensively. He had a passion for jazz and served year after year as the Master of Ceremonies of Elmhurst College’s yearly jazz festival. He was an accomplished chef who loved to entertain. He was a devoted family man, as well as a man whom many counted as their closest friend. He was a dog lover, conspicuously so as he favored enormous breeds.
It is little surprise then, that only after his retirement was he able to find sufficient time to turn his attention to the writing of a book which addressed a theological problem that had consumed and vexed him most of his life -- a doctrine of the atonement that would take a comprehensive account of Charles Darwin’s findings of God’s creation. When he died in 2006, the book was nearly complete. One of the minor tragedies of his life is that he was unable to finalize it. His thinking and writing were so uniquely personalized that whatever book may now come into being will not be the book he would and should have produced. His doctrine of the atonement was adumbrated in the various works he produced throughout his life, which have been gathered together in this website.