Stanley J. Grenz

Stanley Grenz (1950-2005) an Evangelical Baptist theologian, ethicist, and proponent of a postmodern evangelicalism. His Theology for the Community of God, a large work of nearly 900 pages, sets forth his postmodern evangelical theology. Grenz became a leading exponent of this approach, and thus can be considered as representative of postmodernism's influence on theology.[1] Toward the end of his life, he was involved in the beginnings of the Emerging church movement.

Grenz received a BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1973 and received an M.Div. at Denvery Seminary in 1976. He then studied at the University of Munich where he received his D.Th. under the supervision of Wolfhart Pannenberg in 1978. His dissertation was titled, "Isaac Backus--Puritan and Baptist". Grenz suddenly passed away on March 12, 2005 due to a brain hemorrhage.

Educational positions

For twelve years (1990-2002), Stan held the position of Pioneer McDonald Professor of Baptist Heritage, Theology and Ethics at Carey Theological College and at Regent College in Vancouver BC. 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 to resume his duties as Pioneer McDonald Professor of Theology. In fall 2004, he assumed an additional appointment as Professor of Theological Studies at Mars Hill Graduate School, Seattle WA. Prior to his initial move to Vancouver, he was Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at the North American Baptist Seminary, Sioux Falls SD (1981-1990). While in the pastorate (1979-1981), he taught courses both at the University of Winnipeg and at Winnipeg Theological Seminary (now Providence Seminary). From 1996 to 1999 he carried an additional appointment as Professor of Theology and Ethics (Affiliate) at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lombard IL. [1]


On June 13, 1976, Stan was ordained into the gospel ministry. He has worked within the local church context as youth director and assistant pastor (Northwest Baptist Church, Denver, CO, 1971-1976), pastor (Rowandale Baptist Church, Winnipeg, MB 1979-1981), and interim pastor on several occasions. In addition he has preached and lectured in numerous churches, colleges, universities and seminaries in North America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. [2]


Grenz was a leading expert on the theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg, but he was also a favorite theologian of the emerging church network. [3] Grenz is viewed by many evangelical scholars as the theologian who has most influenced the postconservative evangelical/Emergent movement. At a time when other evangelical thinkers were warning of the dangers of postmodernism, Grenz adopted a more open attitude that considered how the move from foundationalist epistemology could be used as a theological method. He also deemphasized the role of doctrine in evangelical theology, preferring to focus on shared narrative and a renewed focus on piety. This embrace of postmodernism has led many of Grenz's critics, including David S. Dockery and D.A. Carson, to question whether his theology retained anything distinctly evangelical. [4]

In their Beyond Foundationalism (2000), "Grenz and Franke are clearly distinguishing themselves from historic evangelical theology and especially what has been meant by Sola Scriptura, namely, that Scripture is first-order language and thus the final, sufficient authority for all Christian faith and praxis. For them, Scripture is authoritative because it is the vehicle through which the Spirit speaks, yet in the Spirit's appropriation of Scripture, the Spirit's intention is not simply and totally tied to the author's intention in the text. Hence, reminiscent of Karl Barth, they are reluctant to posit a one-to-one correspondence between the Word of God and the words of scripture." (Stephen J. Wellum)


  1. John A. Battle, Postmodernism's Assault on Theology, WRS Journal 6/2 (August 1999) 24-31.

Selected works

  • Prayer: The Cry for the Kingdom, 1988 (ISBN 0913573922)
  • Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective, 1990 (ISBN 066425750X)
  • Revisioning Evangelical Theology: A Fresh Agenda for the 21st Century, 1993 (ISBN 0830817727)
  • Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry, with Denise Muir Kjesbo, 1995 (ISBN 0830818626)
  • A Primer on Postmodernism, 1996, (ISBN 0802808646)
  • Created for Community: Connecting Christian Belief With Christian Living, 1996 (ISBN 0801021251)
  • 20th Century Theology: God & the World in a Transitional Age with Roger Olson, 1997 (ISBN 0830815252)
  • Welcoming but Not Affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality, 1998, (ISBN 0664257763)
  • Theology for the Community of God, 2000, (ISBN 0802847552)
  • The Moral Quest: Foundation of Christian Ethics, 2000, (ISBN 0830815686)
  • Renewing the Center: Evangelical Theology in a Post-Theological Era, 2000 (ISBN 0801022398)
  • Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context, with John Franke, 2000 (ISBN 0664257690)
  • The Social God and the Relational Self: A Trinitarian Theology of the Imago Dei, 2001, (ISBN 066422203X)
  • Rediscovering the Triune God: The Trinity in Contemporary Theology, 2004 (ISBN 0800636546)
  • The Named God and the Question Of Being: A Trinitarian Theo-Ontology, 2005 (ISBN 0664222048)

External links

Online writings

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