One of the towering figures of Anglicanism in the 20th century and former Archbishop of Sydney Bishop Donald Robinson, has died at the age of 95.
The first to pay tribute was the current Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, … “We have lost a giant in the world of New Testament scholarship” Dr Davies said in a statement. … While a scholar of great intellect, he was also a man of great humility and grace.” the Archbishop said.
The Principal of Moore College, Dr Mark Thompson, also paid tribute saying Bishop Robinson’s influence on the College and the Diocese ‘has been immense and it continues as strong as ever.’ “He taught us how to read the Bible as a whole, to understand its big picture of ‘biblical theology’. … He taught us to be courageous when our biblical convictions are not shared by others and to do so without personal animosity or venom.” Dr Thompson said … ” … We thank God for a faithful life as tutor, lecturer, Vice Principal, Bishop and Archbishop, but above all as a disciple of Christ and biblical scholar.”
Personally, I’m immensely grateful to God for the life and work of Donald Robinson. His scholarship and teaching has informed and inspired a great deal of my own understanding of the “Big Picture” of God’s word, and thus my own work in New Testament studies. By way of tribute and thanksgiving, I’d like to repeat words I’ve written elsewhere:
From the acknowledgements in Paul and the Vocation of Israel:
I should also mention the invaluable legacy of Donald Robinson, a pioneer of evangelical biblical theology who taught the students at Moore College about the importance of the Jew-Gentile dynamic as an interpretative key to the New Testament long before it became popular in mainstream scholarship. I owe a number of the key ideas in this book to his remarkably fertile mind.
Donald Robinson was active as a teacher of New Testament at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. Prior to this, during three formative years at Queen’s College, Cambridge, Robinson had developed a distinctive framework for biblical theology. He enthusiastically taught and advocated this biblical theological framework in subsequent decades. A key feature of this framework involved the centrality of the relationship between Jews and gentiles for the interpretation of the New Testament. (p. 22)
The Robinson-Goldsworthy vision for biblical theology is both strongly Christological and structurally Israel-shaped. It sees Christological unity being achieved through Israel’s particularity, in a dynamic way, focusing on Israel’s divinely appointed mission with respect to the nations. Thus, it has great potential for understanding the nature of Israel’s distinct role, even in these deeply Christological letters. While I will depart from Robinson on several points, I acknowledge a debt to his fundamental insights. Of special note is his understanding of the way that the concept of gospel mission and ministry can shed light on the relationship between Israel and the nations in the New Testament, and vice-versa. (pp. 24–25)