Kenneth Kantzer, 85, died June 20 in Victoria, British Columbia, of a possible stroke following hip surgery.
Kantzer was editor of CT from 1978 to 1982 and was dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Friends and colleagues remember him as a brilliant theologian who postponed his scholarly and writing aspirations to strengthen key evangelical institutions.
"He and a handful of others theologically anchored the evangelical movement for the last half of the 20th century," said Duane Litfin, president of Wheaton College, where Kantzer taught theology from 1946 to 1963.
Kantzer also taught at Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The Detroit native held degrees from Ohio State University, Faith Theological Seminary, and Harvard University. The Evangelical Free Church of America ordained Kantzer in 1948.
John D. Woodbridge, research professor of church history at Trinity, said that Kantzer always wanted to write books, but instead chose to be a teacher and a leader of influential organizations.
In 1963 the Wheaton senior class gave Kantzer enough money to take a year off for writing. But Kantzer returned the gift and became dean at Trinity, which needed a strong leader. Woodbridge says Kantzer often made such sacrifices to help build organizations.
"It was a tremendous sacrifice," said Woodbridge, a Wheaton student at the time. "We saw how much he wanted to write."
Billy Graham invited Kantzer to become editor of Christianity Today at a "crucial moment," says Harold Myra, executive chairman and CEO of Christianity Today International (see "The Editor who Helped Save CT," p. 5).
Kantzer joked that he would be "less effective with professional theologians" because he learned to communicate with a broad audience while ...1