The church lost one of its most innovative theoligians on Saturday, March 12th. Stanley Grenz passed away early in the morning, 24 hours after suffering a massive brain hemorrhage. Brain McLaren has given a fitting eulogy for Stan that gives a glimpse of why we will miss him so much.
Additional information about Stan can be found at his web page, including the names of his wife, children, and other family members who are certainly in need of our prayers. Andrew Jones has provided additional links about Stan that may be of interest at tallskinnykiwi.com.
Stan Grenz is well known for his books:
A Primer on Postmodernism
Renewing the Center
Theology For the Community of God
Thoughts from the afternoon:
As I have wrestled with the passing of Stan today, I began to ask God, “Why did you have to take one of the church’s best theologians when he could have done so much more?” I think of all of the books that Grenz had put out and marvel that he could have easily doubled that in the twilight of his life. Another thought, “Why didn’t God just take me instead of Grenz?” I can’t imagine myself contributing more to the church than him. And that’s not an attempt at the cheesy, “Take me instead of him!!!” movie junk. It’s an honest question. Why would God take somone who has helped the church so much and leave me?
God’s gentle answer to me came from the master of finding the silver lining: Paul. In Philippians 1:12-14 Paul comments:
12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
So God’s strategy was: place your best evangelist who has been preaching the Gospel all over the known world in a prison cell and then motivate everyone else to pick up the slack. Find THAT in a church growth handbook!!! Nevertheless, as Paul wrote the letter from prison, he was genuinely joyful because God’s plan of advancing the Gospel through numerous messengers was working.
As we mourn the passing of Stan, we are very aware that a great deal of work remains to be done that would have been much easier with him around. But God has a plan in this. I’ve had to step forward in faith that God can use me among thousands of others to pick up the ball where Stan left off. We have his incredible legacy as a theologian, pastor, husband, father, teacher, etc. to draw from as we push forward, stepping into the gap that has been created. In faith we must trust that God will raise up many more to carry on the work that Stan has begun.