Remembering Dr. Ian S. Rennie
Event Type: Public Events
Chancellor Dr. John Wilkinson and President & Vice Chancellor Dr. Gary Nelson
invite you to join us in remembering
Dr. Ian S. Rennie
Academic Dean of Ontario Theological Seminary, 1981-1995
Friday, October 20, 2017 at 7 p.m.
Tyndale Chapel, 3377 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
Almost 2 years ago Dr. Ian S. Rennie, the former Academic Dean of then Ontario Theological Seminary from 1981 – 1995, passed away. At that time, a number of people expressed an interest in celebrating both Ian and his wife Lee. Their influence and impact is legendary and much of what Tyndale Seminary is today is directly related to Ian’s leadership over 30 years ago.
In celebration of Dr. Rennie’s impact, Tyndale Seminary is creating the Ian S. Rennie Seminary Collaboration Room. A memorial gift may be made toward this space which will honour Dr. Rennie’s legacy of influence and character.
Remembering Dr. Ian S. Rennie
When Ian arrived from Regent College in 1981, OTS (as it was then known) was a small upstart provincial evangelical seminary. By the time he retired in 1995 it was the largest Protestant seminary in Canada, with a global reach.
Ian was a wise friend, mentor, pastor, and teacher to many, a gentle giant who never tired of championing the needs of the Canadian church. His area of academic expertise was church history but he was equally at home behind a pulpit and a lectern. Many came to faith in Christ through his ministry; he encouraged many to consider pastoral ministry, and he inspired others to pursue evangelical scholarship.
Dr. Gary Nelson, President of Tyndale, reflecting on Dr. Rennie’s life said: “Perhaps no figure in in Canada in the later 20th century did more to shape the thoughtfulness and theological depth of the evangelical church that Ian. He was a ‘giant’ who helped evangelicals mature. He also understood that the shape of that church would have a multicultural flavour. It was this thinking and his leadership that built the trust required to shape Tyndale Seminary into the multi-cultural reality it is today.”
Ian was born and raised in Winnipeg. He studied at the University of Manitoba (B.A.), Fuller Theological Seminary, Knox College, and the University of Toronto (M.A., PhD.). After he served in student ministry with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and at Knox Church, Toronto, Ian was ordained as a Presbyterian minister, serving first in the Ottawa Valley, and then as pastor of Fairview Presbyterian Church, Vancouver (1963-1972). This was followed by 9 years as Professor of Church History at Regent College before coming to Tyndale in 1981.
Ian shared his life’s work and ministry with his beloved Lee, who predeceased him. Their home was a gathering place for students and faculty.
Ian was a committed Canadian church leader with an international reputation. British historian David Bebbington writes that Ian Rennie was an “astonishingly knowledgeable person in the world of Evangelical antiquarianism that I try to explore…He will be greatly missed, but his labours will continue to bear fruit and he has now gone to be with Christ, which is far better.”
American historian Mark Noll said this: Ian Rennie “was a very important bridge person between an older world where evangelical scholars …mostly kept to themselves, and a newer generation of leaders who wanted to remain firmly identified with evangelical communities while at the same time venturing deeper into scholarship and farther out into the world…All of us toiling in the vineyard today owe an awful lot to pioneers like Ian.”
We stand on the shoulders of the giants who have gone before us.