Robert Farrar Capon (October 26, 1925 – September 5, 2013) was an American Episcopal priest, author and chef. He was born in Jackson Heights, Queens in 1925. A lifelong New Yorker, for almost thirty years Capon was a full-time parish priest in Port Jefferson, New York. In 1965, he published his first book, Bed and Board, and in 1977 he left the full-time ministry to devote more time to his writing career. He authored a total of twenty books, including Between Noon and Three, The Supper of the Lamb, Genesis: The Movie, and a trilogy on Jesus’ parables: The Parables of Grace, The Parables of the Kingdom, and The Parables of Judgment.
Capon described himself in the introduction to one of his books as an “old-fashioned high churchman and a Thomist to boot.” One of Capon’s primary themes is the radical grace of God. Capon summarizes his broad view of salvation as follows:
I am and I am not a universalist. I am one if you are talking about what God in Christ has done to save the world. The Lamb of God has not taken away the sins of some — of only the good, or the cooperative, or the select few who can manage to get their act together and die as perfect peaches. He has taken away the sins of the world — of every last being in it — and he has dropped them down the black hole of Jesus’ death. On the cross, he has shut up forever on the subject of guilt: “There is therefore now no condemnation. . . .” All human beings, at all times and places, are home free whether they know it or not, feel it or not, believe it or not. But I am not a universalist if you are talking about what people may do about accepting that happy-go-lucky gift of God’s grace. I take with utter seriousness everything that Jesus had to say about hell, including the eternal torment that such a foolish non-acceptance of his already-given acceptance must entail. All theologians who hold Scripture to be the Word of God must inevitably include in their work a tractate on hell. But I will not — because Jesus did not — locate hell outside the realm of grace. Grace is forever sovereign, even in Jesus’ parables of judgment. No one is ever kicked out at the end of those parables who wasn’t included in at the beginning.
In the 1990s Capon served as assisting priest at St. Luke’s Church in East Hampton, New York, and was the Canon Theologian to the Episcopal Bishop of Long Island. He lived with his wife Valerie in Shelter Island, New York as of 2004.
Robert Capon died on September 5, 2013 in Greenport, New York.
Books in order of publication:
- Light Theology and Heavy Cream: The Culinary Adventures of Pietro and Madeline (2004)
- Genesis, The Movie (2003)
- Kingdom, Grace, Judgment (2002)
- The Fingerprints of God (2000)
- The Foolishness of Preaching (1997)
- Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace (1997)
- The Astonished Heart (1996)
- The Romance of the Word (1995)
- Health, Money, and Love . . . And Why We Don’t Enjoy Them (1994)
- The Mystery of Christ . . . and Why We Don’t Get It (1993)
- The Man Who Met God in a Bar: The Gospel According to Marvin : A Novel (1990)
- The Parables of Judgment (1989)
- The Parables of Grace (1988)
- The Third Peacock: The Problem of God and Evil (1986)
- The Parables of the Kingdom (1985)
- The Youngest Day (1983)
- An Offering of Uncles: The Priesthood of Adam and the Shape of the World (1982)
- Party Spirit: Some Entertaining Principles (1979)
- Food for Thought: Resurrecting the Art of Eating (1978)
- Hunting the Divine Fox: Images and Mystery in Christian Faith (1977)
- Exit 36: A Fictional Chronicle (1975)
- The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection (1969)
- Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage (1965)