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Roger E. Olson

The Groves of Academe

A Pietist with a Ph.D.: Remembering Stanley J. Grenz

One of the first adjectives people use to describe Stanley J. Grenz is prolific. People also described him as ambitious. During his 25-year career he published more than 20 books. He also produced numerous articles on a wide range of theological subjects. Additionally, he wrote many chapters of edited books, contributed many book reviews, and read papers at countless theological meetings. He lectured at many universities and seminaries and preached from scores of pulpits. He was always juggling two or three projects, often in collaboration with other theologians.

Stan seemed driven to make his mark on the theological world, and he accomplished that beyond anyone's expectations. Yet he never seemed satisfied and continually strove to surpass himself in scholarly output. Perhaps somewhere deep in his subconscious he knew his time might be brief. Stan died suddenly and unexpectedly on March 12, 2005 at age fifty-five. At the time of his death he was hard at work on another ambitious project.

Stan was raised in the thick of evangelicalism. For a time his father pastored a Baptist church attended by seminary professors and students, an experience which no doubt influenced Stan's vocation. After earning an M.Div. from Denver Seminary, he headed to Munich, Germany to study with theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg, who left a powerful impression on the young American student. Stan wrote his doctoral dissertation on 18th-century Baptist theologian Isaac Backus. After earning his doctoral degree from the University of Munich, he pastored in Canada and then took his first full-time teaching position at North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he distinguished himself as a teacher, colleague, and author. His first major book, Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg (Oxford Univ. Press, 1990), was published while he was there.

Stan joined the faculty of Carey Theological College in Vancouver, B.C. in 1990 and also taught classes at Regent College. ...

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