Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Richard A Jensen

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Nationality  Danish-American
Fields  Systematic theology
Influences  Gerhard von Rad
Influenced by  Gerhard von Rad
Name  Richard Jensen
Children  Doron Jensen
Role  Author

Richard A. Jensen httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb4
Born  Richard Alvin Jensen July 4, 1934 Fremont, Nebraska, U.S. (1934-07-04)
Institutions  Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago Wartburg Theological Seminary Luther Seminary
Died  November 19, 2014, Lakeville, Minnesota, United States
Institution  Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Wartburg Theological Seminary, Luther Seminary
Books  Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit, Preaching Luke's Gospel: A, Thinking in Story, Filling the Hungry with Goo, Preaching Mark's Gospel: A

Richard Alvin Jensen (July 4, 1934 – November 19, 2014) was an American theologian, author, and the Carlson Professor of Homiletics Emeritus at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.


Early life and education

Jensen was born on July 4, 1934, in Fremont, Nebraska. He earned his B.A. cum laude in philosophy from Dana College in 1956, his B.D. from Wartburg Theological Seminary in 1959, his S.T.M. from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1962, and his Ph.D. from Aquinas Institute of Theology in 1972.

Academic career

Jensen studied in Chicago and wrote his S.T.M.,The Covenant in The Deuteronomic and Priestly Traditions under Robert J. Marshall. Jensen left Chicago in 1960 to study under Gerhard von Rad and Otto Piper at Princeton Theological Seminary. Jensen left his doctorate program after a year to become a professor and co-found the Mekana Yesus Seminary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1962. Jensen returned to the United States in 1965 to teach at his alma mater Dana College. He returned to Wartburg Theological Seminary to teach from 1972–1981. He briefly taught at Luther Seminary before leaving academia in 1982 to host the television and radio program, Lutheran Vespers. In 1997, Jensen was invited to become the first Axel Jacob and Gerde Maria Carlson Professor of Homiletics at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, a post he held until his retirement in 2002. Richard A. Jensen was also the Dean of the Doctorate of Ministry program sponsored by the Association of Chicago Theological Seminaries in the late 1980s.

Contributions to theology

In the late 1960s the charismatic movement was causing a controversies in the Lutheran church. Jensen had become a leading scholar on the application of a Lutheran theological understanding of neo-Pentecostalism. Jensen wrote his first book in 1974, Touched by the Spirit, developing a Lutheran perspective on his personal experiences, and attempting to embrace the charismatic movement rather than condemn it. Jensen's research was met some skepticism, but ultimately received positive reception from parish pastors, theologians, and college professors.

Although, Jensen's Ph.D was in systematic theology, he developed a story-based preaching technique that emphasized preaching as an oral art of communication rather than written discourse memorized or read to listeners. In 1993, Jensen published Thinking in Story. This was followed by three books that understood the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke as oral narratives from which the preacher used bibilical narrative to enable the listener to participate more holistically in the stories of Jesus. Jensen further expanded his understanding of preaching to incorporate the use of art and visual images in the sermon and worship experience. This thinking culminated in the book published in 2005, Envisioning the Word: The Use of Visual Images in Preaching.

Personal life

Richard Jensen was married to Bonnie L. Jensen, ELCA Global Mission executive director (retired), they had three children: Doron, Dodi, and Derek. Jensen was also a relative of Moritz Thomsen. On November 19, 2014, he died at the age of 80.

Richard Jensen along with his wife Bonnie, received honorary doctorates from Dana College.


  • Touched by the Spirit (1974)
  • Telling the Story: Variety and Imagination in Preaching (1980)
  • Crucified Ruler (1987)
  • What Is God's Plan for My Life? (1988)
  • Thinking in Story: Preaching in a Post-Literate Age (1993)
  • Preaching Mark's Gospel (1996)
  • Preaching Luke's Gospel (1997)
  • Preaching Matthew's Gospel (1998)
  • Envisioning the Word: The Use of Visual Images in Preaching (2005)
  • References

    Richard A. Jensen Wikipedia