Robert E. Webber, a theologian well-known for his work on worship and the early church, died of pancreatic cancer April 27 at his home in Sawyer, Mich. At the time of his death, Bob was the William R. and Geraldyn B. Myers professor ministry at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Ill. He was also the president of the Institute for Worship Studies in Jacksonville, Florida, and professor of theology emeritus at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.
Paul Engle, Zondervan executive editor and associate publisher, says, "We at Zondervan feel privileged to have worked with Bob on Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, what ended up being the last book of his released while he was still alive. Bob was a delight to work with on a project in which he pulled together a diversity of young leaders in the emerging church. To the end he remained conversant with some of the twists and turns of the emerging church and was able to connect with leaders many years his junior. It was fun to sketch out the vision for the book with him in a restaurant in Los Angeles on a warm spring day and then over many months exchange emails and phone calls until the final product was given birth in February of 2007.
"Bob’s concluding assessment of the emerging church at the end of Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches was vintage work that reveals his wisdom and warm Christian faith. His final words of the book say, ‘rather than perpetuate the divisions that exist between the traditionalists, the pragmatists, and the emergents, the best we can all do is to join the conversation and learn from each other, affirming that we all stand in the historic faith as we seek to understand it and apply it to the new world in which we minister. Who knows where that might take us?’"
Zondervan will pay tribute to Bob at Emergence 2007: Seattle (June 1-2), the first of three events to open to regional audiences the discussion started in Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches.