John Oman Conference

Oman2009 sees the 70th anniversary of the death of Professor John Oman. To mark the occasion there is to be conference on his life and ideas.

Oman, born in Orkney and alumni of Edinburgh, was a minister of the United Presbyterian Church and subsequently of the Presbyterian Church of England. After parish work in Paisley and Alnwick he was appointed Professor of Theology at Westminster College, Cambridge. He was also Principal of the College and Moderator of the English General Assembly. Oman was a creative theologian and philosopher of religion; his two best known books are Grace and Personality, in which he teaches that God is personal and always treats us as persons, and The Natural and Supernatural, in which he argues that all people have a felt awareness of God that prompts faith. Whilst Oman is not well known today, he was judged at the time of his death as ‘amongst the most original, independent, and impressive theologians of his generation and of his country’.

The anniversary conference is to be held at Westminster College, Cambridge from 15th–17th September 2009 and will feature local and international speakers, including Professors Stephen Bevans, George Newlands, Alan Sell and David Thompson. Topics will include Oman’s Christology, the intellectual and cultural context of his work, his response to Darwinism, and the importance of his work for contemporary missiology.

For enquiries, contact Adam Hood.


  1. Wow. I thought no one else owned and read Grace and Personality but me! It was a book I tried to read as a teen, but one that made much more sense once I was more familiar with traditional Reformed theology. It only makes sense once you understand ideas such as “irresistible grace.” Oman argues such ideas are category mistakes, because while not denying the sovereignty and personal initiative of God in salvation, grace is always personal, person-to-person.

    Grace and Personality was very helpful for me in giving me some critical leverage on open theism. Sadly, not many open theists seem to read it.


  2. Wow, too! Just visit by accident. I am reading Grace and Personality for working a thesis on Grace doctrine. I never heard of him before I found his book. Would you email me more information about John Oman or and the conference documents? Thanks a lot!


  3. Just found a well-preserved original copy of Oman’s ‘Vision and Authority’, and was impressed by the ideas and the writing style of the author – a random web search brought me here, where I was able to learn a bit more about Oman himself.

    Looking forward to a further relationship with his thought!


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