In Memoriam: Senior Fellow Rev. William J. Abraham
The King’s College mourns the loss of Rev. Abraham and is thankful for his many years of faithful service to God and His kingdom.
Rev. Dr. William “Billy” J. Abraham, senior fellow at The King’s College, passed away at the age of 73 on October 7, in Dallas, Texas.
Abraham was an accomplished theologian and scholar, having served for over forty years as a minister in the Methodist Church in Ireland, as a faculty member at colleges and universities in Ireland and the United States, and as the author or editor of over twenty books and over one hundred articles and book reviews. Most recently, he served as the Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology.
Abraham began serving as a senior fellow at The King’s College in 2018. He was a strong advocate for The King’s College, speaking at the 2017 Parents Weekend and at a King’s Forum event in 2018. Abraham was a committed supporter of The King’s College’s vision to impact society for Christ.
Senior fellow at The King’s College Todd von Helms, who completed his doctorate with Abraham, reflects:
William “Billy” Abraham’s life was marked by grace and truth. He had the mind of a scholar and heart of a pastor, as demonstrated by decades of teaching, preaching, writing, mentoring students, supporting foreign mission, engaging in spirited debates, and passion for the gospel. His charisma, humility, razor-sharp mind, Irish accent, and generosity inspired students, garnered the respect of critics, and caused everyone to think more critically about God, the Scriptures, and what should matter most in life.
Abraham was also an encouragement to the King’s faculty. Dr. Dru Johnson, associate professor of biblical and theological studies, recounts meeting Abraham at a conference in Jerusalem five years ago. Abraham had read Johnson’s work on the Bible and philosophy. “Though I barely knew him,” Johnson says, “He encouraged me to keep pressing this line of research and we started meeting regularly to work on projects together. He always volunteered his status as a senior scholar to help junior scholars. And though I only knew him in what turned out to be these final years of his life, Billy did nothing but make me feel encouraged and known and befriended.”
Abraham was the recipient of many awards, including the Pew Evangelical Scholars Program Grant and Southern Methodist University’s Best Book Faculty Award for Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology: From the Fathers to Feminism. He was appointed as Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at Southern Methodist University, which is the highest teaching award grant at SMU. In 2018, he received the Faculty Career Achievement Award from SMU for his remarkable contributions across the scope of a career” and his “extensive work and dedication to Perkins and Southern Methodist University.” He served on the General Commission on Unity and Interreligious Concerns of the United Methodist Church, and was an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.
The King’s College mourns the loss of Abraham and is thankful for his many years of faithful service to God and His kingdom. Abraham’s memorial service, open to the public, will be held at the Highland Park United Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas 75205 on Saturday, October 30, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Read his full obituary here.
Header photo: Abraham delivers a lecture, “Speak of the Devil?” at Parents Weekend 2017 at The King’s College.