MBBS professor Guenther dies

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Parkinson's "enlarges" Allen Guenther's ministry 

Allen R. Guenther, professor emeritus of Old Testament at MB Biblical Seminary (MBBS), Fresno, Calif., died Dec. 23 at the age of 71 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Guenther was “in his element” in the classroom, says his family. His first career teaching position was at the Alberta MB Bible Institute in Coaldale, Alta., followed by a position at MB Bible College, Winnipeg, Man. He joined the MBBS faculty as professor of Old Testament studies in 1981. “Allen thoroughly enjoyed his students, the content matter of his courses and his active dialogue and interaction with his colleagues,” says his family. 

Barely three years after joining the MBBS faculty, he was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s disease. Determined not to let the diagnosis hinder his ministry, he looked for ways to enlarge it. As he often said, “When God hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” Together with two other “fellow-sufferers,” he was instrumental in establishing the first Parkinson’s support group in California’s San Joaquin Valley, acting as chair for over 10 years. He often referred to the people who attended the meetings as a new parish God had given him. 

Guenther took disability retirement in 1998 and was honored as a faculty emeritus by the seminary. He continued to teach an occasional course, do directed studies and mentor students. He wrote the commentary of Hosea and Amos for the Believers Church Commentary Series, published by Kindred Productions, as well as a number of articles which were published in theological journals. 

Guenther was born Sept. 13, 1938, in Steinbach, Man., to John and Anna Guenther. He is survived by his wife, Anne; three sons Ron, Barry and Michael; two brothers, Victor and Harvey; and one sister, Helen.

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