GRAND RAPIDS, MI (April 6, 2018) – Retired Covenant missionary Gordon John Christensen, who wrote a three-volume New Testament commentary for Congolese Christians in their native language, died this morning at the age of 92.
He was born in Seattle, Washington, to Ivor Christensen and Helen Weston 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 1, 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, with Donald McGavran and J. Edwin Orr.
The Christensens’ work in Congo included evangelism, starting new churches, and teaching at the Free Church/Covenant Bible Institute.
At the request of the Church of the Ubangi-Mongala, 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.