Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

In Memoriam Erland Waltner (1914-2009)

Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

In Memoriam Erland Waltner (1914-2009)

Article excerpt

Erland Waltner, a prominent Mennonite pastor, teacher and church statesman, died April 12, 2009, at ninety-four years of age. His career of church leadership culminated with twenty years as president of Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana (1958-1978). He served as president of the General Conference Mennonite Church (1956-1962), as president of the Mennonite World Conference (1963-1973) and as executive secretary of Mennonite Health Association (1979-1992).

Waltner's family heritage included European Hutterite, Amish and Mennonite roots. His ethnic people, the "Swiss Volhynians," migrated to South Dakota in 1874. He grew up in the Salem church near Freeman and was tapped for church leadership at an early age. The return of his great uncle from Leavenworth Military Prison after World War I was one formational event for Waltner's lifelong commitment to Christian pacifism. Waltner graduated from Bethel College in Kansas (1935) and from the Biblical Seminary of New York (1938), where he was drawn to the inductive method of Bible study. During pastorates in Philadelphia and in Minnesota, he worked toward a Th.D. degree at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation was "An Analysis of the Mennonite Views on the Christian's Relation to the State in the Light of the New Testament. …

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