Warren W. Wiersbe passed away yesterday. The beloved scholar and elder in the Christian faith was 89 years old. Among his contributions to modern Christendom are more than 150 books.
“Grandpa built bridges from the world of the Bible to the world of today so that we could get to the other side of glory in Jesus,” Wiersbe’s grandson, Dan Jacobson said. (Wiersbe’s autobiography is titled Be Myself: Memoirs of a Bridgebuilder.)
Warren Wiersbe Wore Many Hats in the Evangelical World
During his lifetime, Wiersbe served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago for a stint, was the General Director and Bible Teacher for Back to the Bible, served Youth for Christ, pastored a couple local churches, taught at and developed curriculum for seminaries, and wrote numerous Bible commentaries utilized by pastors all over the world.
Warren’s popular BE Bible commentary series covered every book of the Bible and sold more than 4 million copies. He was affectionately known as the “pastor’s pastor.”
Not only was he a prolific writer (Jacobson jokes in his remembrance of his grandfather that no one knew exactly how many books he had written), Wiersbe also was an avid reader. His personal library is said to contain over 10,000 titles.
An Interim Between Giants
Jacobson’s moving tribute to his grandfather gives us a picture of a man who was comfortable leading behind the scenes and only taking the spotlight when necessary. Jacobson writes:
The metaphor for his life is rather simple—he wrote it in his autobiography—he was a bridge builder. When he said it, he meant that he had a knack for filling leadership roles as the interim between giants. The hallmark picture of this has always been his tenure as senior pastor at the historic Moody Church in Chicago. (Grandpa high-fives that I mention the historicity of the place.) The outgoing pastor, George Sweeting, had just been installed as president of Moody Bible Institute. Enter Wiersbe. After a handful of years of faithful preaching, leading the church out of debt and setting the congregational chaos into order, my grandfather kept “arranging” for a young professor named Erwin Lutzer to preach on Sundays. (Grandpa recites the line I’ve heard him say most of all, “You know the best thing I ever did for that place was leave so that Lutzer could pastor there.”)
Among all his stunning accomplishments, though, Jacobson is thankful his grandfather contributed to a legacy of faith and preaching the Bible in his family. Jacobson recalls his grandfather teaching him what it means to pray, even in the last years of his long life.
Wiersbe was born May 16, 1929, in East Chicago, Illinois. Jacobson describes his grandfather as a “German Swede.” He attended Indiana University in Indianapolis, Roosevelt University, and graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. Ordained in 1951, Wiersbe started off his ministry career at Central Baptist Church in Lombard. He would go on to serve another local church: Calvary Baptist Church in Covington, Kentucky.
Wiersbe went to be with the Lord on Thursday, May 2, 2019.