May 16, 1929 – May 2, 2019
Born in East Chicago, IN
Resided in Lincoln, NE
Warren Wendell Wiersbe
Warren Wendell Wiersbe was born May 16th, 1929 to Fred and Gladys (Forsberg) Wiersbe in East Chicago, IN. He was the youngest of four siblings. He received an excellent education from East Chicago schools, graduating from Washington High School. He attended the Indiana University (Calumet Campus) for a year, then entered Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduating in 1953.
He was confirmed in the Swedish Covenant Church his family attended. At a Youth for Christ rally held at Washington High School on May 12, 1945, Billy Graham preached the Gospel and Warren trusted Christ as his Savior. That set the direction for his life: to honor Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel, teaching God’s Word, and building up the Church. While attending Northern Seminary he met his future wife, Betty L. Warren. They met in class when, as the professor took attendance and called out “Warren,” they responded in unison.
Warren and Betty were married after graduation, on June 20, 1953. They shared the joys and burdens of life for almost 66 years. They had four children: David, Carolyn, Robert, and Judy. These four children are happy to have been “preacher’s kids.” Central Baptist Church of East Chicago called Warren to be their pastor (1950) even before he had graduated from seminary. He was ordained to the ministry while serving there. Then Youth for Christ asked Warren to come on staff in Wheaton, IL in 1957. He edited the original YFC Magazine, which became Campus Life. He traveled the country and internationally to assist with rallies, sometimes doing the preaching. In 1961 Dr. D. B. Eastep recruited Warren to become the Associate Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Covington, KY. Wiersbe took responsibility for writing a weekly Sunday school curriculum for 7th grade through adult classes. This curriculum eventually grew into the “Be” series Bible commentaries. When Dr. Eastep died suddenly, Wiersbe was called to be the Senior Pastor at Calvary. He served in that role, with expanding conference work, until 1971. In late August of that year he began serving as Senior Pastor to the congregation of The Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, IL. At the end of 1978 he ended his pastorate there to pursue writing and Bible conference ministry.
While at Moody Church, Warren was the speaker on the church’s radio program, Songs in the Night, which was aired every Sunday evening. Dr. Theodore Epp of Back to the Bible radio ministry got to know Warren and eventually invited him to teach on the Broadcast. The response was positive, and the Wiersbes moved to Lincoln, NE in 1982 as Warren became the Associate Teacher. After Dr. Epp’s death, Wiersbe became the General Director and Bible Teacher. He enjoyed radio ministry and was effective at crafting the message to fit the medium. But he also enjoyed live radio and was often on various Christian stations to discuss books, or answer callers’ questions, or to be interviewed about a Christian perspective on current events.
Warren resigned from Back to the Bible in 1992 to focus on his writing and Bible conference speaking. He completed the “Be” series in 2002, a thirty-year project. The series has been published in several editions and in many languages. Along with these commentaries, he wrote books on pastoral work, preaching, worship, the Christian imagination, grief and suffering, devotional and doctrinal studies, and Christian biography. His canon includes 177 books (according to Betty), and 180 if you include the books of magic tricks. He contributed articles and columns to certain Christian magazines in the 1970s and 1980s. He stopped preaching in late 2004, but kept on writing.
Wiersbe will be remembered as a student of God’s Word, a careful exegete and a creative, powerful preacher. His life-long habit of early morning Bible reading and prayer produced the fruit of his speaking and writing. He had a mind that remembered information accurately, even to the page number and location on the page in a book. He always read with a pen in his hand and made his own index in the back of the book. Warren Wiersbe had a wonderful sense of humor, which he did not always work hard to restrain.
His ministry was global. He spoke at Bible and mission conferences around the world, especially in connection with Child Evangelism Fellowship. He especially enjoyed conferences in Great Britain, so he could visit the churches where his spiritual heroes had preached. Wiersbe ministered at several Christian schools, including Moody Bible Institute, Tennessee Temple University, Cornerstone University, Beeson Divinity School, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Cedarville University to whom he donated his library.
Warren W. Wiersbe was a student, a disciple, a pastor, a preacher, a teacher, an author, a mentor, and a Christian example. He was a devoted husband and a wonderful father. His family life he kept private, but he loved his wife Betty (without whom he could not have been Warren Wiersbe) and children. He enjoyed being a grandfather and great-grandfather (he could magically pull quarters from their ears).
Warren Wiersbe died peacefully on May 2, 2019, entering heaven’s joy. His family looks forward to joining him: wife Betty L. Wiersbe of Lincoln, NE; son David (Susan) Wiersbe of Caledonia, MN; daughter Carolyn (David) Jacobsen of Naperville, IL; son Robert (Karen) Wiersbe of Oswego, IL; and daughter Judy (David) Johnson of Novi, MI. Warren’s grandchildren are Jonathan (Jessica) Wiersbe; Rebecca (Mike) Grabowski;
Dan (Kristin) Jacobsen; Bethany (Stewart) Cofer; Chris (Stephanie) Wiersbe; Kyle (Sabrina) Wiersbe; Stephen (Ashley) Johnson; and Eric Johnson (fiancée Sara Turner). His great-grandchildren are Carson, Evie, Nola, and Nash Wiersbe; Lydia Grabowski; Elin, Miles, and Graham Jacobsen; Ian, Ava, and Ivy Wiersbe; and Jack Johnson. There are many nieces and nephews, who faithfully kept in touch. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Edward and Clarence, and his sister Doris.
Warren Wiersbe’s work has ended, but the influence of his work goes on. To God alone be the glory.
Burial will be a private service for family only. A memorial service is planned for Tuesday, May 14, 1:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 8550 Pioneers Blvd. in Lincoln.
The Wiersbe family suggests memorial gifts be sent to Cedarville University for establishing the Warren & Betty Wiersbe Library on the campus: Cedarville University, 251 N. Main Street, Cedarville, OH 45314.
The family also expresses their gratitude to the staff at Gateway Vista in Lincoln, and the staff at Fillmore County Hospital in Geneva. Their care for Warren was superb.
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