Robert V. Rakestraw is Professor of Theology Emeritus at Bethel Theological Seminary of Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota, where he taught theology and ethics from 1988 to 2005. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in that area. After pre-medical studies, he attended Prairie Bible Institute, Three Hills, Alberta, Canada (1963-1967). He then received a B.S. degree in Bible and Missions (1968) and an M.A. degree in Biblical Literature (1970), both from Calvary Bible College, Kansas City, Missouri. His Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies (1985) is from Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, where his dissertation was titled “The Concept of Grace in the Ethics of John Wesley.”
Dr. Rakestraw was ordained to the Baptist ministry in 1967. In addition to interim pastoral ministries he served as senior pastor of churches in Missouri and New Jersey. Before his tenure at Bethel Seminary he taught Bible, theology, ethics, and preaching courses at Prairie Bible Institute (1970-75) and Criswell College, Dallas, Texas (1985-88).
Dr. Rakestraw has edited (with David K. Clark) the widely-used textbook set (2 vols.), Readings in Christian Ethics. He has authored three books: Serving by the Spirit, Heart Cries (with Jane E. Spriggs), and GraceQuest: One Teacher’s Relentless Pursuit of Salvation, Spirituality, and the Strength to Suffer Well. The last is his spiritual-theological autobiography. His articles have appeared in such publications as Evangelical Journal, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and Christian Scholar’s Review, and he is a contributor to Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, New Dimensions in Evangelical Theology, and other works.
Bob (as he prefers to be called) received a heart transplant in 2003, after years of serious illness. Because of complications from the surgery and the medications he must use, he needed to take early retirement from teaching in 2005. In 2015, after GraceQuest was published, he started Grace Quest Ministries, to offer “Support for Life’s Journey through Grace-Full Publications” to as many people as he can reach (https://gracequestministries.org).
Bob has been married to Judy since 1967. They have two daughters, three granddaughters, two grandsons, thirteen nieces, and nine nephews. Bob says that each of these 30 special ones is a gem!