Macleod Receives Honorary Doctorate

May 21, 2008

At Wesminster's 79th Annual Commencement Ceremony, Rev. Donald Macleod was awarded the honorary degree, Doctor of Divinty. We were pleased to give him this award for all of the work that he had done for God's glory over the years.

Donald Macleod was born on the Isle of Lewis, off the north-west coast of Scotland, in November 1940.  He was educated at the University of Glasgow (Master of Arts, 1961) and the Free Church College, Edinburgh (1961-1964).  He was ordained on 5 November 1964 to his first charge, Kilmallie Free Church, where he served for six years.

In 1970, Donald Macleod was called to Partick Highland Free Church, a bi-lingual congregation in Glasgow, Scotland, where he preached five times a week, including two services conducted in Scottish Gaelic.  He conducted a hugely influential ministry and began to preach beyond Scotland, regularly visiting in England, Wales and the United States. 

The General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland recognised Donald Macleod’s theological gifts when they appointed him to the chair of Systematic Theology at the Free Church College, Edinburgh, in 1978.  He was appointed Principal of the College in 1999 and in that role he has spearheaded the Free Church College’s relationship with the University of Glasgow (where he is a visiting professor) leading to the validation of the College’s degree of Bachelor of Theology.

Professor Macleod’s main theological interest centres on the link between theology and preaching.  Over five decades he has sought to emphasise the primacy of the intellect in religious experience and the primacy of doctrine in preaching.  In recent years Donald Macleod has focused on the theme of objective piacular atonement through the cross; and he continues to explore such topics as divine impassibility and Calvinistic libertarianism.  As a historical theologian, Professor Macleod was described by the late Professor David Wright as, “one who knows the story of Scottish theology more profoundly than any of his contemporaries.”

Donald Macleod is known to many around the world for his writings.  From 1978 to 1991, he was editor of The Monthly Record of the Free Church of Scotland.  His opening theological essay was widely anticipated every month, and some of these have been collected and published in A Faith to Live By (1998) and Priorities for the Church (2003).  As a systematic theologian, Donald Macleod is particularly known for his work on Christology (The Person of Christ, 1998, and Jesus is Lord, 2000) and Pneumatology (Shared Life, 1987/94 and The Spirit of Promise, 1992).  He also writes comment pieces in the secular press, including a weekly column in The West Highland Free Press, and on the London Observer newspaper, where he contributes to its weekly comment panel.

Preaching remains Donald Macleod’s first love. He is interim pastor of Livingston Free Church near Edinburgh (where he is a regular in the pulpit) and he continues to preach in different denominations throughout the United Kingdom and beyond.

Donald Macleod is married to Mary and they have three adult sons.