Remembering M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.

I rarely do two posts in one day.  But in my tradition of honoring my teachers and mentors, I want to make readers of this blog aware of the death of M. Robert Mulholland, a giant in the spiritual formation world.

Below you will find the press release sent out by his publisher, InterVarsity Press. But first I want to share my salvation-thanks for Mulholland’s work. His book Invitation to a Journey was the first book I ever read about spiritual formation. His definition of spiritual formation (the process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others) revolutionized my life. It even formed the basis for the mission statement I wrote for the congregation at Christ Memorial Church in Holland, Michigan:  “Transformed lives transforming our worlds in Jesus’ name.”

Mulholland wrote several other highly influential books which were just as meaningful to me personally as I continued my journey of becoming like Jesus.  I am full of gratitude for his life, but I regret losing the excitement of hearing that another book is in the works and the “rush” of holding it in my hand and getting ready to venture on another journey. Mulholland was a passionate Christ-follower whose life made a significant difference directly or indirectly in the movement to renew the Church – so much so that the first disciples might begin to recognize it if they were alive today.


M. Robert Mulholland Jr., author of beloved books like Invitation to a Journey, Shaped by the Word and The Deeper Journey, passed away on December 20, 2015, after a long battle with cancer. He was 79.

“Robert Mulholland’s books on the power and integrity of Scripture have shaped and encouraged thousands of readers in their spiritual formation journeys,” said InterVarsity Press publisher Bob Fryling. “Mulholland was a gentleman scholar who humbly taught and wrote out of his love for the written word of God. His writings remain but his presence will be missed.”

A graduate of the US Naval Academy, M. Robert Mulholland held a Master of Sacred Theology from Wesley Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Harvard Divinity School. Mulholland was emeritus professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary and served as pastor of Shirley Community Church in Shirley Mills, Maine.

During his extensive academic career, Mulholland served as adjunct professor at the Academy for Spiritual Formation and taught at several seminaries and universities around the world, including Wesley Theological Seminary, Harvard University, McMurry University, Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary (Moscow, Russia), West Africa Theological Seminary (Lagos, Nigeria) and Baltic Mission Center Theological Seminary (Tallinn, Estonia). An elder in the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church, Mulholland was a frequent speaker at Bible and spiritual renewal conferences. He and his wife, Lynn, have two children.

Ruth Haley Barton, president of the Transforming Center and a longtime friend of Mulholland, said, “Bob’s passing is a great loss for me personally and a great loss to the world of Christian theology and spiritual formation. He was my teacher and mentor in the early years of my life in ministry, and then became a dear friend and ministry colleague, along with his wife, Lynn. His contribution to the vision, mission and teaching of the Transforming Center is incalculable as he has been our teacher through his writings and his presence among us. In addition to our grief, his passing from this life to the next is an opportunity for great gratitude as we celebrate all the gifts God brought to the body of Christ through him.”

Mulholland’s most well-known book, Invitation to a Journey, was first published in 1993 and over time came to be known as a landmark spiritual formation book. Barton has revised and expanded on Mulholland’s work, and IVP will release this new version in June 2016.

This entry was posted in My journey and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Remembering M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.

  1. Thank you for posting this. I was privileged to have Dr. Mulholland as a professor from 1980-83 at Asbury Theological Seminary and have used his works since then in my ministry/teaching. May God continue to go with you in this journey. In Christ, Rev. J.R. McAliley III, Atlanta, GA

  2. Mary Ann Haydenb says:

    Invitation to a Journey was a very impactful book. Such a gift to so many of us!

  3. says:

    My sympathy to you, Karen.

    Sent from my iPhone


Comments are closed.