At the crossroads of theological formation, service, and scholarship

Ron Stansell

Ron StansellProfessor Emeritus of Religious Studies

Email: rstansell@georgefox.edu

D.Miss Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
M.Div. Western Evangelical Seminary
B.A. George Fox University

Ron lived a major portion of his adult life outside of the United States in cross-cultural ministry, which greatly colored his perspective and purposes in life. He spent 18 years as a missionary in Bolivia and Peru and then began teaching at George Fox University in 1985, retiring in 2010. Ron married Carolyn (Hampton) after she graduated from George Fox. They have three adult daughters -- Sara, Anita, and Debra -- and all three have strong international interests. Ron was raised on a farm near Homedale, Idaho, just three miles from Idaho's border with Oregon in the southwest corner of the state. He made a personal commitment to Christ shortly before starting high school at Greenleaf Friends Academy and felt drawn to international ministry during a mission serve trip to Latin America just after college graduation.


Ron's area of expertise in teaching were courses such as history and biblical basis for the world Christian movement, issues in missions, cross-cultural communication, and world religions. To prepare for that teaching, he first completed a master of divinity degree and later a doctor of missiology degree. In Bolivia, he taught, wrote curriculum, directed and administered programs of pastoral training, and helped inaugurate a Department of Theology at the Bolivian Evangelical University in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. He especially enjoyed several years work as an exegetical advisor for a translation team working on the Old Testament in Aymara, a language spoken in the highlands of Bolivia and Peru. But Ron's special calling and passion has been to develop leadership for cross-cultural ministries. He enjoys helping students find their way into short- or long-term service abroad. Several of his courses served both international studies majors and Christian ministries/missions majors. He did focused research on cross-cultural education and the work of spiritual formation in intercultural settings. To keep up to date with the world of missions, Carolyn and Ron travel regularly to Africa, Asia, and Latin America in a volunteer position with the Evangelical Friends Church International Council, of which he is director. The Stansells have met with church leaders in Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Central and South America and central Africa. Ron also serves on the boards of two mission agencies: Northwest Yearly Meeting Board of Missions (Oregon) and Evangelical Friends Mission (Colorado).

Missions by the Spirit (Barclay Press, 2010) captures Quaker (Friends Church) dynamics in global outreach. Stansell shows that Quakers have carried out some aspects of missions differently than other evangelicals. Consciously and unconsciously, twentieth-century Friends were influenced by traditions and beliefs about the Holy Spirit, interpersonal relationships of peace and harmony, convictions that the human condition involves both physical and spiritual needs, and the belief that a passionately holy life full of integrity was required of them as missionaries. The bold witness of early Friends includes biblical teaching about the equality of all human beings, the work of God in the hearts of people everywhere, loyalty to Scripture, the centrality of Christ, the possibility of culture being transformed, and the personal guidance of the Holy Spirit. The theology and practice of Friends is evident in the mission work of twentieth-century Friends missionaries Arthur B. Chilson, R. Esther Smith, Everett L. Cattell, and Jack L. Willcuts. Rather than offering comprehensive biographies of these four pioneer missionaries, Stansell focuses on the principles that make his subjects worthy models for Spirit-directed service.

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