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Tributes to Baptist theologian Glen Stassen 

Tributes have been paid to Glen Stassen, a Baptist theologian and leading voice for peace, who died on Saturday (26 April) aged 78.

An article on Associate Baptist Press described how he 'pioneered the “just peacemaking” theory, recognised internationally as an alternative to both pacifism and just war.' His groundbreaking book Just Peacemaking, promoted positive and practical steps to end war.
Glen Stassen
Photo: Glen Stassen speaking at the BWA Annual Gathering in 2013 in Jamaica after he received the BWA Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights award (EBF)
Dr Stassen was a much loved and respected professor, teaching at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary between 1976 and 1996, and latterly at Fuller Seminary, California. He also made his gifts available also for the International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS). In 2013 he won the Baptist World Alliance Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights award

A statement on the European Baptist Federation website described how 'both IBTS and EBF have lost a great colleague and generous friend whose writings, especially in the field of Christian social ethics, will continue to inform and inspire us for many years to come.

'His outstanding life-long commitment to peace, justice and human rights has made the world a better place to live in. And his wisdom combined with a warm personality has guided so many people on their journeys. We will always remember him with a warm heart and give thanks to God for his inspiring life he shared with so many.'

Former IBTS rector the Revd Dr Keith Jones said, 'We remember Glen Stassen as a leading baptistic ethicist of his day, and as someone who gave the last twelve years of his life to supporting IBTS by promoting our work in many different places, by participating in conferences, delivering lectures for us and serving as a Research Professor. Above all else, we remember him as a true friend and a warm Christian colleague.

'Whenever Glen was on campus with us, we benefited from the testimony of his thoughts, but just as importantly, his life. He was a true man of peace and demonstrated how theological reflection had to lead to committed action. We were proud to nominate him for the BWA Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights award, and we rejoiced when he received this award in the Baptist World Alliance Gathering in Jamaica in 2013.

'We mourn his passing. We give thanks to God for Glen himself, his gifting as a theologian, and his example of dedicated Christian life and service.'

Baptist historian the Revd Dr Ian Randall added, 'Glen was a very good friend of IBTS. In 2011 Glen delivered the Josef Nordenhaug Lectures and the report on those lectures is worth quoting: "Guests, Board of Trustees, Students and Faculty have gathered to listen to Professor Stassen outline a clear model of incarnational discipleship. His lectures have challenged many prevalent attitudes in the church and promoted lively discussion on our baptistic heritage in our gathering, intentional, convictional communities which engage with the world."

'This was always what Glen wanted – to speak about discipleship in the world, to challenge prevailing thought, and to provoke deep discussion which led to action.

'An excellent tribute to Glen has been produced by David Gushee and I quote this paragraph which sums up a central and crucial aspect of Glen’s legacy:

"Probably he will be best remembered for developing and then advancing just peacemaking, a Christian approach to preventing war that transformed the old conversation between just war theorists and pacifists and will mark a permanent contribution to human thinking and action to prevent the scourge of war.

"Glen developed hugely important new insights into the Sermon on the Mount, notably the triadic rather than antithetical interpretation of Matthew 5:21-7:24, with the keynote emphasis of each triad being transforming initiatives that enable faithful disciples to do God’s will rather than evade it."

'Doing God’s will rather than evading it – that was (and continues to be) the powerful challenge brought by Glen Stassen.'

Baptist Times, 01/05/2014
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