Ecumenist, theologian, journalist, ethicist.
Born in Winona Lake, Indiana, August 21, 1920, son of William John and Agnes Dorothy (Soderborg) Nelson. He attended DePauw University (B.A. 1941), Yale University (B.D. 1944) and the University of Zurich (Th. D. 1951). Ordained in the Methodist Church in 1944, he served as Director of the Wesley Foundation (Chapel Hill NC) from 1946-48, and as Associate Director of the Wesley Foundation (Urbana IL) from 1950-51. From 1951-53 he worked at the study section of the United Student Christian Council, then became Secretary of the World Council of Churches' Faith and Order Commission (1953-57). He served as Dean of the Divinity School and Professor of Theology at Vanderbilt University (1957-60), then visiting professor at Princeton University (1960-61) and in India (1961-62) at both the United Theological College (Bangalore) and Leonard Theological College (Jabalpur).
He was Fairchild Professor of Christian Theology at Oberlin (OH) Graduate School of Theology (1962-65) before becoming Professor of Systematic Theology at Boston University School of Theology (1964-84). He was visiting professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1968-69), and served as Dean at Boston University School of Theology (1972-74). He moved to Houston in 1985 to become head of the Institute of Religion at the Texas Medical Center, becoming Senior Research Fellow in 1992.
From the description of The Publications and writings of Dr. J. Robert Nelson, 1947-2001 (bulk 1960-1995). (Boston University). WorldCat record id: 41288787