The Rev. Dr. John M. Buchanan, Pastor Emeritus of the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, where he was Pastor for 26 years, has held a variety of leadership positions in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and is Editor/Publisher of The Christian Century magazine. He served as Moderator of the 208th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1996-1997 and has represented the Presbyterian Church as a member of the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches. He has received numerous doctorates and honors, has held several Board memberships, and has written three books.


  1. I very much enjoyed your posting on the Cubs. I had hoped to be able to respond with a relevant and impressive quote from Bart Giamatti’s “Take Time for Paradise”. But alas, I can’t find my copy. Over the decades, my college football team has suffered much misery and failure. This led me to become interested in St. Jude the Apostle, patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. Thankfully, my college team is doing better these days. Go Cubbies!

  2. Hello Pastor Buchanan I have just finished yr book “A New Church for a new World.” Thank you it has been part of God answering my question about stick with our current church or not. You have given me hope and clarified my understanding of church and our mission. Enjoy this next part of yr life. Thank you. Gaye. Flagstone S.E. Queensland Australia.

  3. John:
    It was a blessing to say hi on Monday afternoon and to be reminded of many good moments. Your Labor Day posting is appreciated. It caused me to reflect, as usual. God be with you till we meet again.
    John Shackleton

  4. Gayle Matson says:

    Dear Pastor John,
    Feel blessed to see and hear you at the Spiritual Life group here at Presbyterian
    The Joys of Aging and Hold to the Good.
    The topic couldn’t have been
    more meaningful.
    As members of Fourth Pres for seventeen years, it was our church home, never to
    be forgotten.
    We joined the same time Calum arrived. We both felt the bond between us. My
    husband Norm, of fifty-five years died on January 12, 2014 in his sleep. Pastor
    Calum McLeod arranged the memorial service in the Buchanan Chapel on
    February 3, 2014. The service was a touching celebration of Norm’s life –
    (seventy-eight years young)for all of us. Our only son Hans, has always been
    supportive. Hans and Holly have given us four precious grandchildren. They live in
    Lake Forest and are very loving to me.
    I still receive caring from Fourth Pres. Pastor Judith Watt has reached my heart
    and even came to Westminster Place to call on me. The Stephen Ministry with
    Jean Joslyn is priceless. Jean has been visiting for over a year. With the Holy Spirit of God and the ministry they keep me strong in my faith.

    So thankful for your caring guidance always,

    Gayle E. Matson

    ps plaese do not post

  5. David Alexander says:

    John, Recent talk of the threatened repeal of the Johnson amendment reminded me of a sermon you preached about 30 years ago at Broad Street having to do with separation of church and state. If memory serves it was about school prayer. Would love to hear your thoughts on this issue today. David Alexander

  6. Dr. Buchanan
    This comment relates to your sermon at First Pres Lake Forest on July 23 on the topic of homosexuality using the Acts text about Peter’s “conversion” about whose in/out in the church. I thoroughly benefited from and appreciated the compassion and heartfelt tone of your voice on a topic which has sadly produced hate and shrill within and without the church. I would also note that you were exclusive in your presentation. Exclusive that is in that you excluded any reference to the Word of God about which you prayed prior to preaching that day. Your reference and the basis for your own “conversion” was experiential in relation to your relation to the elder in his struggle with his new-found sexual identity. Dr. Buchanan why would you not have noted Paul’s speaking of same-sex sexual practice in the NT. Note I did not say “being” homosexual, but acting sexually with another, not unlike heterosexual immoral sexual practice between a man and a woman. That is, it apparently meant more to you to exclude what God has said about same-sex and heterosexual immoral practice otherwise spoken of within the context of marriage, which is nowhere defined in the Word of God between members of the opposite sex. I grant that your approach is desperately needed in the church today. I would also say that the church has asked the wrong question. It is not about whether we will ordain homosexuals or lesbians, but as you continued to say, whether we will love them. As I Christian I have no choice but to love the a homosexual who may have 7 sexual experiences with another next Friday night for the simple reason that the Word of God tells me that God died on a cross for that person who is no more a sinner than I or you. I know you would agree. I believe you missed adding power to your sermon by excluding the jarring and startling challenge of God’s Word which on the one hand says what it does in Romans 1 and then commands that I love persons who practice sexual behavior outside of marriage. This is especially problematic, since no homosexual can practice sexual intercourse within marriage and must struggle with celibacy, the same way a diabetic struggles with eating sugar or a recovering heroin addict stays away from that drug, or more commonly a recovering alcoholic knows that the next drink could catapult her back into addiction.
    As one who also preaches, I’ve probably alluded to a sermon series on this topic and cramming all of the above into one sermon would be absurd. I plead guilty to suggesting you do so. I would like to know that my church and yours spent more time loving and including homosexuals within a community of recovering sinners called the church — I also know that we need to see ourselves as recovering sinners — then we might love homosexuals as God has loved them.

    Rev. Dr. Paul O. Bischoff

    • I’ve read Dr. Bischoff’s comment several times, and I still don’t think I fully understand it. That being the case, I don’t think I should touch it with a 10 cubit pole.

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