Thomas N. Finger

Thomas N. Finger, 80, of Evanston, Ill., died Aug. 31, 2022, at The Merion Retirement Community. He was born May 12, 1942, to Sherman W. Finger II and Maxine Nixon Finger in Evanston.
He graduated from Evanston High School in 1960 and from Wheaton College with a bachelor’s degree in 1965. He received a Master of Arts in Theological Studies at Gordon Divinity School (now Gordon-Conwell) in 1968, and a doctorate from Claremont Graduate School in 1974. This included a one-year grant to study in Munich, Germany, in 1972-73.
From 1974 to 1976 he taught philosophy and theology at Eastern Mennonite College, Harrisonburg, Va. He then taught at Northern Baptist Seminary in Lombard from 1976 to 1986, while the family related as intentional neighbors to Austin Community Fellowship in Chicago. After serving as pastor of North Bronx Mennonite Church in New York City from 1986 to 1988, he returned to Harrisonburg to teach at Eastern Mennonite Seminary until 2000. He served as theological liaison from Mennonite Church USA to the National Council of Churches.
Fellow Mennonite theologian Ted Grimsrud commented, “Tom Finger played a central role in an era of creative and lively theological debate in the Anabaptist/Mennonite world toward the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries. His prolific writings include A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology, (InterVarsity, 2004), which presented a distinctively peace-oriented approach to the big theological themes and stimulated others to present their alternatives. He was extraordinarily skilled at analyzing the various intellectual options that were part of the discussion. Tom was a warm, friendly person. We disagreed about many things, but with good humor and mutual respect.”
Nancy Heisey, EMU professor emerita, added: “Like a generation of seminarians, I was introduced to the broad range of Christian theology in Tom’s Christian Theology: An Eschatological Approach (Thomas Nelson, 1985; Herald Press, 1989). His interest in early Christian theologians such as Clement of Alexandria pointed me toward my own work.”
Survivors include two sons, Ted Evan and Brent Frederick; two siblings,
Sherman Finger and Robert Finger; four grandchildren; and by the mother of his children, Lareta Halteman Finger.
Services will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Evanston, on Oct. 15 at 2 p.m.

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