Jack Rogers was born January 23, 1934 in Lincoln, Nebraska to Harold and Ruth Rogers (a postman and a school teacher, respectively). He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Nebraska, where he was active in debate and led the Cornhusker marching band. After graduation, he served on a Christian mission to build a new conference center in Alexandria, Egypt. He attended Pittsburgh Xena Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity in 1956. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Philosophical Theology from the Free University in Amsterdam, while pastoring the Pilgrim Fellowship, an English speaking congregation in Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
On July 6, 1957, he married his college sweetheart Sharon Mangold in Omaha, Nebraska. They had three sons: Matthew, John Mark, and Toby.
Jack taught at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania from 1963-1971 where he also served as Assistant Academic Dean. In 1971, he moved to Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California where he taught philosophical theology. He also started Fuller’s Office of Presbyterian Ministries and later served as Associate Provost. In 1988, Jack joined the national staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) where he led the Theology and Worship unit. In 1990, he started the San Francisco Theological Seminary Southern California campus where he served as a professor and Vice President from 1990-2000. He officially retired from academia in 2000 and became a reader at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. But it turned out his greatest contributions to the church were yet to come.
Jack was a prolific author, publishing thirteen books, and he played an active role in Presbyterian polity throughout his career. His books “Biblical Authority” (1977) and “The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible” (1979) co-authored with Don McKim helped guide the church toward a more holistic approach to Biblical interpretation. Through advocacy and outreach he worked to increase the representation of women and people of color at Fuller. He helped shape “A Brief Statement of Faith,” ratified by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly in 1991, that emerged from the reunion of the northern and southern branches of the Presbyterian Church.
He was elected Moderator of the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in June 2001, in Louisville, Kentucky. For the next ten years he was a central figure in the campaign to change the church constitution to allow people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) to be ordained and married in the church. His book, “Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church” (2006) made a Biblical case for LGBT equality. An expanded second edition came out in 2009. LGBT ordination was ratified in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on May 10, 2011; same-sex marriage was approved on March 17, 2015. In the last years of his life he was happily working on a biography of seventeenth century English Puritan, Edward Reynolds.
Jack is survived by Sharee, his wife of 59 years; their three sons Matthew (and his wife Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers), John (and his wife Chi Nguyen), and Toby; his three grandchildren: Christopher, Maria, and Josh; his sister Jane Lundeen (and her husband Bob); and by his brother-in-law Steve Mangold (and his wife Maggie).
A memorial service, celebrating his life, will be held on Friday, July 22, at 11 a.m. at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E. Colorado Blvd. (parking on Madison Avenue) with a reception and a light lunch to follow in the Church’s Gamble Lounge. You can RSVP for the lunch by clicking (here (http://jackrogers.app.rsvpify.com
Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to the Huntington Library by clicking (here (https://order.huntington.org/donate
)) or Presbyterian Missions by clicking (here (https://pma.pcusa.org/donate/make-a-gift/gift-info/102/
) you can indicated "This is a Memorial Donation" in Memory of Jack Rogers).