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C Peter Wagner 1930-2016 Some Thoughts on His Life and Passing

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Missiologist, missionary, writer, teacher, and Church Growth specialist

I was sad to hear Peter Wagner died yesterday. He was always a fascinating and brilliant man... and he loved the Church.

Who is Peter Wagner?

For those of you who don’t know who he was, I first knew him as a professor at the School of World Missions at Fuller Seminary. His Wikipedia article has more.

I remember when I first met him. He was lecturing at the Billy Graham School at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. If I recall correctly, he said that Thom Rainer and the Billy Graham School now had the “mantle” of the Church Growth Movement. (Peter was a key leader, if not THE key leader, in the Church Growth Movement before he moved on to other emphases.)

We started corresponding after that meeting. He once sent me a long email, walking through a book I wrote few years before his email, and being so encouraging. He contrasted my thoughts with his own (and others), always encouraging, and making me think. And it came out of the blue on a book I published many years earlier.

The Lives of Peter Wagner

I mostly knew him as a Missiologist and an academic. And yes, he (and Donald McGarvan) partly inspired me that a missiologist needs odd facial hair (true story).

Peter would later change his views and focus on things other than missiology and the Church Growth Movement and, yes, we disagreed. Interestingly, the book I co-wrote on spiritual warfare is, in some ways, a very different view than his and a response to some of the ideas he helped popularize.

But he was always a kind man and a friend.

For example, when I wrote a critique of some of his views, he reached out and said he was thankful for my interaction. Even when you disagreed (and we did), he was kind and open to different views.

Which Peter Wagner?

If you ...

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