In Memory of Dr. Jonathan Rainbow (1951-2010)

One of the more influential figures in my life who encouraged me in the direction of pastoral ministry was Jonathan Rainbow. After college I took a teaching job at Central Valley Christian High School in Visalia, CA. Jon was the high school Bible, history and english teacher. I will never forget my time interacting with Jon Rainbow. He was one of the brightest, honest, determined, and most respectable men that I had ever met. He understood sovereign grace, and encouraged me to teach such truths without compromise.

When I moved on from teaching to attend Westminster Seminary, CA., Jon gave me a signed copy of his book, "The Will of God and the Cross: An Historical and Theological Study of John Calvin's Doctrine of Limited Redemption." Little did I know about whom I had worked with. This was probably the definitive work against RT Kendal's thesis that Calvin was not a Calvinist in his view of the atonement. Kendal and others believed that Calvin and Arminius shared the common view that Christ died for all. The thesis was quickly adopted by many evangelical theologians. Jon Rainbow's book, in my humble opinion, was the definitive reply to the Calvin against the Calvinists thesis (If you can find the volume anywhere, get it!--it was published by Pickwick Publications, 1990). Jon also wrote many other articles that really were groundbreaking. His article on the duplex beneficium (the double benefit) published in Ex Auditu, is still a standard reference article to demontrate the Protestant view on the necessary connection, but not confusion, between justification and sanctification.

Jon was a mentor and friend, and I will miss him dearly. I wish that I had communicated with him more about how thankful I was for his influence upon my life. But I know that he now enjoys that eternal rest that Christ gives to all whom love him. I thank the Lord for godly influences in our lives, and one influence that will always be remembered is that of Jonathan Rainbow.
Jonathan H. Rainbow died peacefully at his home in Visalia, CA and entered his heavenly home on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. He was born the oldest son of John and Priscilla Rainbow on June 14, 1951 in Minneapolis, MN. He would have been 59 years old on his birthday. When he was a young boy, the Rainbow family moved to Pomona, CA, where Jonathan attended school and graduatedfrom Pomona High School in 1969. He continued his studies at the Universityof California at Santa Barbara, where he met his wife, Pat Weimortz Rainbow. They were married on July 8, 1972. Jonathan attended seminary atWestminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. After seminary, theRainbows moved to Heil, North Dakota where he pastored his first church andstarted a family. He later earned a doctoral degree in Reformation Historyat UCSB. From there he moved to Porterville, CA with his family and was apastor for seven years before becoming a teacher of history, Bible, and Honors English at Central Valley Christian High School in Visalia, CA. Jonathan Rainbow loved music and was a great story-teller, two passions that came together in the four full-length operas he composed and produced inlocal theaters. He leaves to his family, friends, students and many who have been blessed by his preaching, a legacy of faithful service to his Lordand bold preaching of the Word of God. Jonathan is survived by his wife Pat of 38 years, three children, Hannah Ploegstra (John) of Visalia, JesseRainbow (Andrea) of Somerville, MA, and David Rainbow (Brady) of Glen Ridge,NJ.


  1. Thanks for your encouraging post about a special person.

  2. found his book on Amazon - am looking forward to studying it

  3. Mike, it's well worth your time.

  4. Chris, I was blessed to read your comments about my beloved husband Jon Rainbow. Jesse sent me to your blog. Thanks for your kind words. Both Jon and I were glad to get to know you briefly while you were at CVCHS, and also encouraged when you went to WTS to study. It is a joy now to know that you are serving the Lord in Lynden, and that by his grace you remain faithful to the Scriptures. May God continue to bless your ministry there. Pat Rainbow

  5. I was saddened to read about Jon"s passing earlier this year. Jon left a lasting impression on me when we were friends in the sixth grade. After school, we were playing in a pick-up game of basketball. Jon was one of the captains. He picked me well before my talent warranted. Later, I asked him why. He said "you compensate with extra effort and that surpasses talent." This was Jon in the sixth grade and truly reflects the foundation of what he was able to build upon and accomplish remarkable things. Jon was a great man and he started very early in life. I share this story often with my executive coaching clients, not knowing that he would leave us so early.

    1. You are so right - Jon was polite and kind even in grammar school.I remember him that way from 4th grade!

  6. The other day I ran across my 4th/ grade class group picture, and that led me to search for old friends on the web. I am so sorry to learn that he passed on over two years ago. Jon was one of my 4th grade boy buddies at North San Antonio School, and I was one of the girls he invited to his 4th grade birthday party because I liked to play kickball and tether ball. Fun memories of a special person. Belated condolences to his wife and family.