Death of John McKenna

We are saddened to announce the death of Dr. John McKenna, long-time Professor at Grace Communion Seminary and Ambassador University. John also served as theological advisor to GCI’s President, Joseph Tkach. John, who was born in October 1935, died peacefully in his sleep on May 23. Joseph Tkach shared this about John:

John McKenna

John was a mentor to me for many years, and I’ll greatly miss having him as my spiritual big brother. I witnessed first-hand his great joy for teaching Christ-centered, Trinitarian theology—especially in helping others see how the Old Testament points to Jesus. Just a week before he died, John told me he was resting up, so he would be ready to teach his next GCS course. I recall several occasions when a loved one had died, and John would say to me, “They are now in eternity with our Triune God, and there is nothing better than that reality!” Though I will miss him greatly, I rejoice that this is now John’s reality.

Cards may be sent to John’s wife:

Mickey McKenna
PO Box 3204
South Pasadena, CA 91031-6204

13 thoughts on “Death of John McKenna”

  1. Dr. McKenna had a profound impact on me during my years with Grace Communion Seminary, and on those opportunities when I spoke with him face to face. I was challenged by his theological and poetic writing. I rest in the hope we can one day finish the conversation we had only begun to have about the love of God expressed to us in Christ.

  2. Very sad news. We remember Dr. McKenna as a passionate, humble and intellectually brilliant man who greatly enjoyed theological exchanges. He was not always easy to understand but his thoughts and teaching always challenged the hearers to grow in the understanding of God.

    Our sincere condolences to his wife Mickey.

    In Him,
    Santiago and Elke

  3. We did not know Dr. McKenna Personally, but he was often thought of spiritually & in prayer. Especially in the memorable thought, “not to throw the baby out with the bathwater”.

    Love, prayers & appreciation to the McKenna family,
    Paul/Leigh Sniffen

  4. I don’t usually comment, but John had the quickest mind I have ever met. We ate together at least twice while I took his class.
    He led me to the truth of the gospel , which is not readily understood.
    He is in a better place now, but I do sorely miss him, and think of him often.

  5. Dr. McKenna was a mentor and a friend, a spiritual father and a theological Jedi master. My life is profoundly shaped by the “grace afresh” John pointed me towards as I took my first baby steps into a much larger theological vision.

  6. I am so sorry and surprised to hear this and was looking forward to seeing Dr. McKenna again in this life. I’m sure looking forward to seeing him again in glory!

    John was truly a gift of the Father-Son-and-Spirit God in our midst at a crucial time of transition in our denomination (understatement!). He pointed us to all kinds of good people and relationships by which we have been forever transformed and changed. I am so grateful for his proclamation of the gospel in word and deed and in the theological help he provided in so many varied ways. I’ll never forget the many GCI students sitting at his feet after conference speeches as he welcomed questions of all types and shared the deep things of God. “Scintillating and mind-stretching theological discussion” of the kind Daniel Zachariah noted that he likes 🙂

    Along with Mike Feazell, John taught me more about the Freedom of the Triune God as revealed in Christ and it has been foundational to my understanding and growth in the hope, grace and knowledge of God ever since. I’ll be forever thankful!

    I am praying for his family at this time and for their comfort, hope and good memories till they all meet up again!

  7. I want to express my sadness in the loss of our good friend we have had in John and the relationship I have had with John personally, I will miss him dearly. I cut my teeth on his class on the Pentateuch. I extend my condolences to all his friends and his dear wife Mickey. John was a powerhouse for us in helping to reach into and support our church’s growth in theology with his studies. May God hold John in His care and bless us all! David and Linda Husmann

  8. I am so sorry to hear this sobering news. What I recall of Dr. McKenna was his kind heart and his dedication to God, His people and the task with which he was charged. Our prayers are with Mrs. McKenna and family.
    With Much Love from Cecil & Senior Pulley

  9. We are among so many who prized knowing John, attending his lectures and reading his wonderful trinitarian teachings. He helped us to grow in praise and honour for our wonderful God. We thank GCI for using him so well. – Dennis and Norma Thibault

  10. Loved Dr. McKenna’s Scientific Theology class in 2012–something that made us unique among seminaries bracketing “Science” with “Theology.” Few know Dr. McKenna studied math at Princeton under John Wheeler, veteran of the Manhattan Project and popularizer of the Black Hole concept. Wheeler knew Einstein well in those years and I’ll miss Dr. McKenna’s colorful anecdotes of his near-miss having tea with Einstein. From there to David Hubbard’s close associate (at Fuller) is another great resume success. My most unforgettable mathematician and I know we’ll all miss him. Love to Mickey from Neil and Susan–NE

  11. Dr. McKenna’s classes and friendship enabled me to have a closer walk with Jesus. His example and words guided me in living and sharing the gospel. I cherish his memory and am grateful God shared him with our denomination and seminary. I join with others in praying for his family.


  12. Dr. McKenna was a wonderful mentor, dear friend, and esteemed brother in Christ. Our time in his Pentateuch course is among our fondest educational memories. We continue in retirement to enjoy his writings from his book and lectures and even some personal private articles he shared with us. We will both be glad to join him in Heaven for more delightful respectful biblical conversations. Our love and respect go out to Mickey and their son. Praising God for his legacy of approachability, brilliance and Godly love! What a Christian he was and still is and a remarkable asset to GCS! In appreciation,Tom and Alberta Ecker

Comments are closed.