January 27, 2010
The International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF) of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) pays tribute to the member of its Academic Board, Rev. Glenn M. Penner, MA, who succumbed to leukemia at the age of 48 on 25 January 2010. In his advisory function he focused on the theology of persecution and curriculum development.
Glenn has authored In the Shadow of the Cross: A Biblical Theology of Persecution and Discipleship (Bartlesville: Living Sacrifice Books, 2004), which has been translated into several languages, among others Chinese and Korean and will shortly be published in German by the IIRF.
He has also contributed a series on the biblical theology of persecution and discipleship to the International Journal for Religious Freedom since 2008, which he could unfortunately not maintain beyond two installments.
As the Chief Executive Officer of Voice of the Martyrs in Canada, Glenn was the first to provide sponsorship for the major research project of the IIRF on theologies of suffering, persecution and martyrdom and followed the progress with great interest.
He also submitted a paper to the Bad Urach Consultation organized by the IIRF on the same topic in September 2009, but was kept from attending.
Glenn pioneered the teaching of a biblical theology of persecution as a regular course in theological education as a visiting Professor of Oklahoma Wesleyan University 2003-2006 and developed a curriculum for it. He has taught on this topic to Christian leaders in religiously restricted and hostile nations in South America, Africa and Asia as well as in seminaries and colleges in Europe and North America.
We remember Glenn Penner and his valuable and lasting contributions for the sake of the persecuted and to related academic research with deep gratitude.
As Christians, we believe that Glenn has now been promoted to glory and gone ahead of us to be part of the ‘cloud of witnesses and martyrs’ who are watching on as we complete our race.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely; and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Glenn wrote in this context:
“The testimony and example of those who have successfully faced
and overcome persecution should provide inspiration
and hope to those who are wavering,
as it reminds them of the constancy of God.”
(Glenn Penner, In the Shadow of the Cross, p. 232)
Prof. Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher and Dr. Christof Sauer
as directors of the International Institute for Religious Freedom
on behalf of its boards and staff