Hans LaRondelle, Noted Adventist Theologian and Scholar, Dies at 81
Honored with book of essays; was converted by reading Great Controversy
BY MARK A. KELLNER, News Editor
Hans K. LaRondelle, a noted Seventh-day Adventist theologian and scholar who read his way into the Adventist faith, died March 7 in Sarasota, Florida. He was 81 years old.
LaRondelle, who was honored in February 2010 with the publication of a book of essays noting his scholarship, taught at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, for 25 years, retiring in 1991 with the title of professor emeritus.
“We have lost a wonderful friend and colleague,” said Denis Fortin, dean of the Seminary, in an e-mail message to the faculty. Stanley Patterson, another seminary professor, noted the impact LaRondelle’s teaching made: “God used him to change my life,” Patterson wrote. LaRondelle’s “words and manner remain fresh to me after the passing of 32 years. [He was a] true soldier of the cross.”
Hans LaRondelle passed away at the age of 81.
That expression of faith and reliance on Scripture was not limited to the classroom, however. LaRondelle authored dozens of articles and ten books, as well as chapters in many others. His articles appeared in Adventist Review
, Signs of the Times
and other church-related publications.
“His great contribution was that he had a thorough knowledge of the Scripture in the context of the Protestant tradition,” said Nikolaus Satelmajer, former editor of Ministry magazine, where LaRondelle was a longtime and frequent contributor. “He could communicate his work to the everyday church member; he was not detached from their understanding of scripture,” Satelmajer added.
Hans Karl LaRondelle was born in the Netherlands in 1929. Although born into a Roman Catholic family, he received education in Protestant schools from the age of eight, and, a spiritual seeker at age 20, came to believe the Seventh-day Adventist message by studying “The Great Controversy” by Ellen G. White.
At that moment, LaRondelle’s life focus changed: he dropped his law studies at the Leyden State University and embarked on a theological course at Utrecht State University. Later, he continued his studies at the Reformed Free University in Amsterdam, receiving a doctor of theology degree in systematic theology in 1971 under the instruction of noted theologian G. C. Berkouwer.
His dissertation, “Perfection and Perfectionism,” appeared in the Andrews University Monographs, Studies in Religion. He also co-authored “Perfection: The Impossible Possibility,” and “A Symposium on Biblical Hermeneutics.” Pacific Press Publishing Association published his book, “Christ Our Salvation.” Another volume, “The Israel of God in Prophecy: Principles of Prophetic Interpretation,” was published by the Andrews University Press.
LaRondelle served as a pastor, evangelist, youth leader and teacher for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Netherlands for 14 years, from 1953-1966, before coming to the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary for his long teaching career. Hundreds of Adventist pastors who completed their studies in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s sat under his teaching.
“During his long career as theologian, professor and writer, Dr. LaRondelle taught us important lessons about the doctrine of justification and about the spiritual connection between the people Israel and the Christian church,” said Niels-Erik Andreasen, Andrews University president. “His teachings were always Biblical and uplifting, and what is more he presented them with a charming smile on the lips. We will miss him.”
Adventist Review managing editor Steven Chavez, a former LaRondelle student, said “he was one of the church’s premier theologians, and he was always in demand as a speaker and author. LaRondelle wasn’t afraid to tackle the tough topics that the church grappled with in those days, including the concept of perfection and perfectionism.”
Jiri Moskala, another Seminary colleague, said LaRondelle “was one of the best systematic theologians in our church. He developed very good theological system for all our doctrines, which stressed so much the Christ-centeredness of all doctrines, and especially the preaching of the prophecy.”
Moskala, along with Daniel Heinz of Freidensau Adventist University and retired Andrews professor Peter M. van Bemmelen, who is also LaRondelle’s brother-in-law, co-edited “Christ, Salvation, and the Eschaton: Essays in Honor of Hans K. LaRondelle,” published in 2009.
“I am so glad it was finished and given to him in February” of 2010, Moskala said. “He was enthusiastic about that great honor.”
His wife, Barbara LaRondelle, a son and a daughter survive. No funeral was held, but a memorial service is planned for late March.
-- with information from Andrews University