By Marlys Weaver-Stoesz for AMBS
ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — Loren L. Johns, Ph.D., professor of New Testament, retired June 30 from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana, after 19 years of service.
Johns joined the AMBS faculty in 2000 as academic dean, serving for seven years before becoming a full-time member of the teaching faculty. From 2009 to 2018, he also was director of AMBS’s Master of Divinity program.
AMBS Vice President and Academic Dean Beverly Lapp, Ed.D., said that as professor of New Testament, Johns taught core requirements in Bible and “innovated the curriculum with original courses.”
“Loren is a highly active scholar, dedicated to his teaching and his students,” she said, noting that he has served as New Testament editor of the Believers Church Bible Commentary; as associate editor of the Princeton Dead Sea Scrolls Project; as a speaker and presenter; and as author of many books, articles and book reviews.
“His primary research on the role of the Bible in the church, the letters of Paul, canonical formation and the Johannine literature will enrich the academy for much time to come,” she said.
Johns earned a Bachelor of Arts in Bible, Religion and Philosophy from Goshen (Indiana) College in 1977 and a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Ministry from Goshen Biblical Seminary (one of the seminaries that formed AMBS) in 1984. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies and New Testament from Princeton (New Jersey) Theological Seminary in 1998.
Johns pastored for eight years before he was 30, also serving as an overseer of several congregations in Allegheny Mennonite Conference for six years. From 1993 to 2000, he was a professor of religion at Bluffton (Ohio) University. He received Bluffton University Study Center research grants for his works “The Lamb in the Apocalypse of John” (1994) and “A Comparative Analysis of Symbolism in the Apocalypse of John and in the Dead Sea Scrolls” (1997). He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association and has served as vice president and president of the Mennonite Historical Society.
Safwat Marzouk, Ph.D., AMBS associate professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, has co-taught AMBS’s introductory Bible course with Johns and describes him as a gifted teacher and New Testament scholar.
“His love for God is evident in the ways he engages the biblical text both critically and confessionally,” Marzouk said. “He loves his students not only by helping them change the ways they read, interpret, understand and preach the Bible, but also by sharing his own life stories of how he reads, interprets and preaches the good news to the world around him.”
Johns and his wife, Rachel, have attended Southside Fellowship in Elkhart, a congregation of Central District Conference of Mennonite Church USA. This fall, they will travel to SEMILLA, the Latin American Anabaptist seminary in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where they will serve as host and hostess of the Casa Emaús guesthouse and where he will teach some courses. After a year there, they will move to Stuart, Florida. Johns is looking forward to the publication of what was originally a lecture he gave in 2010 titled “Do Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53–8:11 Belong in Our Bibles? A Case Study in the Intersection of Textual Criticism and Canonical Considerations.” The essay is scheduled to be published in a collection next year by Mohr Siebeck of Tübingen, Germany. Johns also plans to continue to teach an occasional graduate course and Anabaptist short course for AMBS.
Loren L. Johns, Ph.D. (Credit: Jason Bryant)
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