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Death of Norwegian Baptist Educator and Historian

Tributes have been paid to Dr Peder Eidberg, one of the foremost European Baptist historians, who died in August aged 79

Dr Eidberg taught for 42 years at the Norwegian Baptist Theological Seminary, including 11 as dean. He was married to Palma in 1957 and they had three children and eight grandchildren.

The General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Norway, Terje Aadne, said, ‘Our prayers go first and foremost to the family of Peder Eidberg. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.’

‘The Baptist Union of Norway grieves the loss of a dear brother and colleague, who was our foremost competency within Baptist history. He will also be remembered as a major contributor to ecumenical dialogue and cooperation within the greater church landscape of Norway.’

Mr Aadne explained that Dr Eidberg’s whole life was dedicated to furthering the Kingdom of God. This was evident from the very beginning of his ministry career as an evangelist in Kvæfjord and Harstad in 1952, continuing during his years of theological education in Oslo and Switzerland, where he specialized in counseling and history, and culminating in 42 years of teaching at the Norwegian Baptist Theological Seminary. He was dean of the school for eleven of these years.

Dr Eidberg eventually specialised in church history with a focus on recent Norwegian church history, American church history and Baptist history. He presented his doctor’s degree at the Theological Faculty of the University of Oslo in year 1999 with his thesis titled “Det folk som kalles baptister”, (The people known as Baptists) which covers the growth and spread of the Baptist movement in Norway until the Jubilee conference in 1902.

Dr Eidberg was the founder of the Norwegian Baptist Historical Union in 1978 and remained its leader throughout the remainder of his life. From 1994 Dr Eidberg started and was the editor of Baptist – a magazine for Baptist history, theology and praxis, published by the Norwegian Baptist Historical Union.

In addition to his life as a teacher and work with history, Dr Eidberg has served in various seats in many different contexts. He has amongst others been a board member of the Norwegian Counsel of Free Churches, The Christian Broadcasting Union, The Prayer Week for Christian Unity and The Nordic Ecumenical Counsel. Dr Eidberg was awarded the Ecumenical Prize 2006 for his important contribution to the ecumenical work in Norway.

Dr Eidberg’ surplus energy and capacity also led him to shoulder responsibility within Baptist ranks, as a leader of the Baptist Scouts and later as President and leader of the board of the Baptist Union of Norway. Internationally Dr Eidberg has been engaged as a member of several commissions within Baptist World Alliance.

In 1974 he played a major role in establishing Bærum Baptist church, which has ever since been closely knitted to the Baptist Center at Stabekk. He served as pastor for the first year and has been a faithful and active member of Bærum Baptist Congregation. Dr Eidberg was honoured with the King’s medal for his long and faithful service in 2010. He died on 12 August following a long period of illness.

The European Baptist Federation also assured Dr Eidberg’s family of love and prayers.

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