Robert Harry Smith, 73, a biblical scholar who was dean of a Lutheran seminary in exile in the early 1980s, died of complications from leukemia March 16 at his home in El Cerrito, Calif.
Smith was one of 40 faculty members from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's Concordia Seminary in St. Louis who walked out in 1974 in a theological dispute that ended with the ousting of Concordia's president, the Rev. John Tietjen.
Tietjen, who disagreed with a literal reading of the Bible, led the seminary in exile formed by Smith and the other dissenting faculty members.
Formally called Christ Seminary-Seminex, it operated in classrooms provided by Jesuit-run St. Louis University and Eden Theological Seminary. Smith served as Seminex's dean from 1981 until 1983, when the school merged with the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.