Obituary: Gordon Christensen

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (April 6, 2018) – Retired Covenant missionary Gordon John Christensen, who wrote a three-volume New Testament commentary for Congolese Christians in Lingala, died this morning at the age of 92.

He was born in Seattle, Washington, to Ivor and Helen (Weston) Christensen on July 9, 1925.

Gordon attended Seattle Pacific University. His education was interrupted by polio during his second year at the university.

He did not return to SPU, but instead attended North Park College and North Park Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1950 and was ordained that year. He also sailed that year for the Belgian Congo.

He married fellow missionary Geneva Noren in Kinshasa on September 2, 1950. The couple were missionaries to the country for more than 40 years and retired in 1991.

Gordon’s Sunday school teacher led him to the Lord when he was about 10 years old. He enjoyed Bible camp during the summers, where they usually had missionary speakers. Influenced by them, he decided he would like to share the gospel with those who hadn’t as yet heard it.

Gordon earned a bachelor of arts degree from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. He also took some special studies at Fuller School of Missions in Pasadena, California.

The Christensens’ work in Congo included evangelism, starting new churches, and teaching at the Bible Institute in Goyongo.

At the request of the CEUM, the Covenant Church in DR Congo, Gordon and Geneva wrote a three-volume commentary on the New Testament, Mai Na Bomoi (Living Water). The commentary has been used in many Bible schools.

Gordon was a prolific writer, producing booklets for the Christian life such as “The Poison Cup,” “Puberty Rites,” “The Family,” and “The Worker and His Word,” among others.

After retirement, both Gordon and Geneva served in interim pastor capacities in several places and were involved in schools of prayer and evangelism.

He is survived by Geneva; two daughters, Susan (Dale) Lovercheck and Mary Lynn (Dennis) Carlson; a son, Michael (Angela) Christensen; and five grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his grandson, Phillip Christensen.

A funeral service will  be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 13, at Herndon Covenant Church in Oberlin, Kansas. Burial will follow.  Visitation will be at 10 a.m.

A memorial service will be conducted at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at First Covenant Church in Grand Rapids. Visitation will be at 4 p.m.

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Stan Friedman

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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3 Comments

  1. Papa Nzambua, Gordon Christensen was my pastor, missionary and teacher in Congo. I remember the time I was studying in Goyongo School of Theology, Gordy was the main speaker during the Orientation of new students at ISTEU Goyongo actually Ubangi Protestant University, I was going to be kicked out of school and return home because my family wan unable to pay my tuition.

    Papa Nzambua was able to see through my eyes and noticed that I could become a great CEUM leader in the future. He laid his hand on me and prayed with tear in our eyes and said to me, if I believe that God has called me to ISTEU Goyongo for a special training training so that I can serve Him, I need to know that the Lord will carry His promise to the end. When he left, I got a support for an unknown missionary who paid all my tuition that year in 1984. It was the time I felt God’s complete call to me and my wife to be His servant. Thanks Gordy for getting to know God’s great will for me at that time.

    Again, when I came to the States for my Master Studies at North Park Theological Seminary, Gordy noticed that I was the one whom he met at Goyongo Theological School and he invited me to First Covenant Church of Rockford to speak about his 3rd Volume of “Mai na Bomoi,” which I did. We sat down together with him and expressed my thanksgiving to him, but he said, it was in God’s will – let Him be glorified.

    When I became President of the CEUM in 2004, he always was proud of me and during one of the Covenant Midwinter Conferences, he called me and told me to discuss the idea of reviewing his commentary of “Mai na Bomoi.” He really had heart to see that commentary being understood in the today’s Congolese Lingala.
    The charge of the revision of the commentary was given to Rev. Elenga Liwawa who also has passed away without finishing reviewing it.
    “Tika apema nsima na misala kitoko asaleli Nkolo na bomoi na ye mobimba.” Though he is gone to be with the Lord, his work will still witness him in Congo for ever. Mossai & Sabuli SANGUMA.

  2. Gordon’s mentor-ship had a great impact on my life. During my senior year of college, he was living in Pasadena, CA, and studying missions at Fuller Seminary. I was working on an honor’s thesis in my major in anthropology at UC San Diego, and Gordon was very helpful and generous with his time as I made a couple trips to Pasadena during that time. He became one of my mentors and a role model early in my ministry. It was my hope to join him in Africa, but chronic health issues prevented me from a missionary career. But oh, the stories he could tell and the depth of faith God gave him through his experiences in Africa. I will be forever by grateful for his influence in my life.

  3. Gordon was a pioneer and an inspiration. Some of our most amazing missionary
    and evangelism memories came when Gordon ministered. He was such a gifted
    communicator. Your loss, Geneva and family, is great. We consider it our loss as
    well. May the next generation share His love for Jesus and zeal to lead people to
    his Savior. Peace to his memory!

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