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Ted Letis death

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  • Minton, Ron
    I have included some information about Ted Letis. I knew him many years, and although I did not agree with his view that the TR is the best text, I admired
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2005
      Ted Letis death

      I have included some information about Ted Letis.  I knew him many years, and although I did not agree with his view that the TR is the best text, I admired some of his writings.  He was likely the planet's ablest defender of the TR when he was alive.  He was not a KJVO.  He died in a traffic accident.
      Ron Minton

      Dr. Theodore Letis

      Family-Placed Death Notice

      Dr. Theodore Peter Letis, age 53, of Tucker. died June 24, 2005. Dr. Letis
      has a Ph.D from the University of Edinburgh in ecclesiastical history. Has an
      honors M.T.S. (magna cum laude) from Emory University. Has completed graduate
      studies at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
      in Philadelphia, and Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Has
      a B.A. in history and Biblical studies from Evangel College. He was an Author
      and Lecturer. President and Executive Director of the Institute of Renaissance
      and Reformation Biblical Studies Survived by his wife, Susan and children,
      Grace Letis of Grayson and Ted Letis of Snellville; sister, Tina Wood and Many
      other beloved family and friends. Services are at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, June 28,
      2005 at Eternal Hills Chapel. The family will receive friends today from 5-8
      PM at the Funeral Home. Interment will be at Melwood Cemetery, Stone Mountain
      Arrangements by Eternal Hills Funeral Home, Snellville, 770-972-3155
      Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on 6/27/2005.

      posted by P. Andrew Sandlin 

      Tuesday, June 28, 2005
      Theodore P. Letis, in Memorium

      I was saddened to hear last evening of the tragic death (by car accident)
      of Theodore P. Letis last Thursday. Ted and I were for years friends,
      very close friends in fact, and his passing highlights again the frailty
      and brevity of life. He was 53 years old.

      I met Ted many years ago when I had him in to lecture at the church I
      pastored in Ohio. Later I visited him and his wife Susan and small
      children Ted and Grace while he was finishing his doctoral work
      (ecclesiastical history) in Edinburgh. Historian that he was, he was a
      skilled and enthusiastic tour guide, and I’ll always relish those warm
      spring days visiting “The Athens of the North” — St. Giles, the Edinburgh
      Castle, gravesites of the Scottish Covenanters, and much else.

      Ted was converted in the Jesus Movement in the 60s and went to Evangel
      College. He later became convinced of the truths of the Reformation and
      attended Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia. He was there amid the
      “Shepherd Controversy,” and Ted sided quite decisively against Norman’s
      views. In fact, while he had many Reformed friends and did try to
      maintain an ecumenical spirit, he converted to Lutheranism, convinced
      that Calvinism contained the seeds of the thinking that easily gave rise
      to Norm’s construction of justification, which he truly abhorred. In more
      recent years, he publicly abominated (the word is not too strong) the
      so-called Auburn Avenue theology, which he deemed the natural outcome of
      the “Shepherd heresies.”

      Ted’s main interest, however, was not theology, but church history, his
      true love, and in particular the history of the transmission of the
      Biblical text. He was not a textual scholar per se, but he was a
      first-rate historian of the development of the Biblical text within the
      church. He took the distinctly minority position that the so-called
      Textus Receptus (the Greek text largely underlying the NT of the older
      Reformation translations, like the King James Version) was closer to the
      original autographs than the more recently discovered (but assertedly
      older), eclectic texts underlying the modern Bible versions. He stood in
      the line of 19th century Anglican luminary John William Burgon and in the
      20th century Edward F. Hills (his mentor) in championing the
      Reformation-era NT texts. He was a member of several prestigious academic
      societies at which he often read scholarly papers on the topic of textual
      transmission and its theological implications. Though staunchly
      conservative, he was by no means a fundamentalist, and he was influenced
      heavily by mediating Biblical theologian Brevard Childs, whose work he
      felt he was applying. Ted did not affirm what we nowadays call “the
      inerrancy of the original autographs,” though this should not be taken to
      mean that he questioned the truthfulness of the Bible. Rather, he
      suspended the qualities of inspiration and infallibility (he detested the
      word inerrancy) on the apographs, that is, the original-language texts as
      they have come down to us preserved in the church.

      Ted started The Institute for Renaissance and Reformation Biblical
      Studies to support his work, and he wrote several books. He lectured
      widely both here in the United States and in Europe, in some ways his
      true home.

      Ted loved history. Once he submitted an article to the prime evangelical
      magazine Christianity Today. It was rejected with the explanation that
      theirs was a magazine interested in current topics. Ted testily wrote
      back, “Oh, yes, I’d almost forgotten. Your magazine is called
      Christianity Today, isn’t it?” He saw little good in modern theology,
      though he was quite open to postmodernism, which he felt cut a swath back
      to a medieval way of looking at the world.

      Ted and I drifted apart over the years, and I last saw him in England in
      1996, I believe, where we shared a drink at a ripe old pub and talked of
      his scholarly work and plans for the future.

      The best epitaph I can offer is a comment he once made to me: “Our
      writings will survive long after we are food for worms.”

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