Stanley James Grenz was born in Alpena, Michigan on January 7,
1950. He was the youngest of three children born to Richard and
Clara Grenz, a brother to Lyle and Jan. His dad was a Baptist pastor
for 30 years before he passed away in 1971. Growing up as a “pastor’s
kid” meant that he moved several times in his life, from Michigan,
to South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Colorado.
After high school Stan began his undergraduate studies in 1968
with the idea that he would become a nuclear physicist. But God
had other plans for him, and in 1971, while driving home to Colorado
after a visit with his parents in Oklahoma, he received a definite
call into full time Christian ministry.
In 1970-1971 Stan traveled in an evangelistic youth team where
he met Edna Sturhahn (from Vancouver, BC), who then became his wife
in December, 1971. Both Stan and Edna completed their undergraduate
degrees at the University of Colorado and Stan went on to receive
his M. Div from Denver Seminary in 1976, the same year in which
he was ordained into the gospel ministry. During the years of study
in Colorado he served as a youth pastor and an assistant pastor.
From Denver, Stan and Edna moved to Munich, Germany where Stan completed
his Doctor of Theology under the mentorship of Wolfhart Pannenberg.
Their son, Joel was born in Munich in 1978.
During a two-year pastorate (1979-1981) in Winnipeg, MB, where
daughter Corina was born, Stan also taught courses at the University
of Winnipeg and at Winnipeg Theological Seminary (now Providence
Seminary). His full time teaching career began at the North American
Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, SD (1981-1990). Those years were
followed by a twelve-year (1990-2002) position as Pioneer McDonald
Professor of Baptist Heritage, Theology and Ethics at Carey Theological
College and at Regent College in Vancouver, BC. From 1996 to 1999
he carried an additional appointment as Professor of Theology and
Ethics (Affiliate) at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lombard
IL. After a one-year sojourn as Distinguished Professor of Theology
at Baylor University and Truett Seminary in Waco, TX (2002-2003),
he returned to Carey in August 2003. In fall 2004, he assumed an
additional appointment as Professor of Theological Studies at Mars
Hill Graduate School, Seattle WA.
Stan has authored or co-authored twenty-five books, served as editor
or co-editor for two Festschriften, contributed articles to more
than two dozen other volumes, and has seen to print more than a
hundred essays and an additional eighty book reviews. He had plans
to write many more books. Two more of his books will appear in print
within the next year.
In addition to writing and lecturing all around the world, Stan
loved preaching. He admitted to “breaking into preaching”
in some of his lectures. He served as interim pastor of several
congregations and as guest preacher in many churches. He loved the
Church, both locally and worldwide.
Stan wholeheartedly supported and encouraged his wife Edna in her
pastoral ministry, her studies and in the enlargement of her ministry
gifts. At First Baptist Church, he played the guitar and trumpet
in the worship team and sang in the choir. He was proud of his children
and their spouses, Joel and Jennifer and Corina and Chris, and delighted
in his new granddaughter, Anika. Stan was a friend and mentor to
many, always encouraging people to strive to new heights.
As a theologian for the Church Stan wrote from the deep, interior
vision of the sure hope that we would enter into the community of
God in the renewed creation. He articulated the reality of this
new community as the compass for Christian theology: 'Now the dwelling
of God is with human beings, and he will live with them. They will
be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed
away.' (Rev. 21:3,4)