Dr. Bruce Shelley passes away

  • Feb 24, 2010

Dear Denver Seminary Community,

Our beloved Dr. Bruce Shelley went home to be with the Lord this past weekend. We join the family in grieving this loss. Many of us have been profoundly shaped by Dr. Shelley and we already miss him greatly.

A funeral service for Dr. Shelley was held in the Simpson Chapel on Denver Seminary’s campus at 2:00pm on February 23rd.

The family is asking that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Dr. Bruce L. Shelley Endowed Scholarship Fund. If you wish to make a gift, please follow this link: – be sure to select the correct fund from the “category” drop down box in the giving form. If you prefer to mail a check, please use the address below, make checks to “Denver Seminary” and write “Shelley Scholarship” in the memo line.

If you wish to write cards or letters to the Shelley family, please send them to:

Shelley Family
Denver Seminary
6399 S Santa Fe Dr
Littleton CO 80120

You may also share your tributes to Dr. Bruce Shelley on this web page, simply scroll to the bottom of the page, log in and leave a comment in the comment box.

Please continue to pray for the Shelley family: Mary, Marshall, David, Karen and their spouses and children.

Mark Young, Ph.D.

Click here to download the program from the service

Statements from Administration

"For over fifty years Dr. Bruce Shelley has been a defining presence at Denver Seminary. Those who sat under his teaching and those who taught alongside him speak lovingly of this scholar-gentleman with a passion for Christ and His Church. As a new seminary president, Dr. Shelley never missed an opportunity to speak words of encouragement and affirmation to me. His voice was the voice of history; it grounded me in the seminary’s legacy and gave me confidence to move ahead on that firm foundation. We’ve lost a giant and a friend." - Dr. Mark S. Young, President

"Bruce Shelley was one of the finest teachers I ever had the privilege of sitting under. He was passionate about the role of the church and through his life and words, encouraged others to be devoted followers of Jesus Christ. I recently used his book Church History in Plain Language with a small group Bible study in our church. Bruce, through his writing, made church history come alive as he painted pictures of leading figures and clarified complex issues. Illustrations from the Charlie Brown comic strip punctuated his speaking and Bruce laughed at the relevance of the cartoon strip along with his audience. He was a faithful husband, father, grandfather and brother. He was mentor and friend to countless individuals in our community. Bruce Shelley will be deeply missed." - Dr. Randy MacFarland, Provost/Dean

Dr. Shelley's last sermon

Mary Shelley graciously allowed Dr. Shelley's last sermon preached at Aspen Grove Community Church on their website. As Dr. Scott Wenig said at Dr. Shelley's funeral, "it was probably his best sermon."

If you would like to listen to the sermon, please go to Aspen Grove's website and click on the link at the top of the page that reads, "Click here to listen to a Dr. Bruce Shelley sermon."



Jim Carpenter

Dr. Shelley was my favorite professor at Denver (gr. 1977) and one of my favorite people anywhere. He taught the college-career class I attended at Galilee when I was a college student, counseled my wife Dionne and me when we were thinking of marrying ("What are you going to live on? Love?", he asked with a smile), and preached at my ordination.

I learned many things from Dr. Shelley, but two stand out: I learned to love the church, and I learned to love writing. He taught both of these things effortlessly because of who he was.

He was the finest teacher I've ever had, one of the best writers, and a true churchman.

I pray God's comfort and peace for Mary and his family, and rejoice that our friend is with Jesus.

Jim Carpenter

Bonita, California

Tony Parker

Condolences Mary, Karen, Marshall, and other family and friends you have my prayers and sympathy. I will always treasure learning under Dr. Shelley's nurturing wing. So much of what I convey to my own students today came from him. He increased my love of church history, improved my writing skills, and inspired me to teach others. Grief over our present loss of such a great leader and mentor is lessened by the echoes of his encouraging voice reassuring us that we will meet again and learn from his wisdom once more. You’ll be missed ‘til then Dr. Shelley. --Tony Parker

Brian Boone

Dr. Shelley was one of my favs. My favorite class with him occurred over a summer. We scheduled a special class for me to learn about the history of my church. We met weekly in a one-on-one fashion. His insights were so valuable! And the person touch... incredible. I just loved everything about this solid man of integrity. I long to see him again in heaven. Brian Boone, class of 1994.

Barbara Burns

Dr. Shelley loved Denver Seminary, and his students loved him very much! One of the top three or four teachers in my life, he greatly influenced my learning and teaching. The notice that he passed away yesterday brought to my memory wonderful moments, sometimes funny, sometimes tense (awful tests), but always dynamic, real and alive! He made history live now. And he challenged us to excellence. I am glad he can now understand the depth of my gratefulness for his influence and help in my 40 years of working as a missions teacher in Brazil.

To Mrs. Shelley and all the family, may the Lord bless you and give you His comfort!

In Christ,

Barbara Burns, Class of '67

Paul Barkey

Doctor Shelley made an indelible imprint on my life with his passion for the Lord and Church History. He was always the most prepared and dynamic instructor.

Our gratitude for the willingness of Mary and the family in supporting him in God's calling.

In 1968 he sold me his Smith-Corona manual typewriter which he had used to write several of his early books. If Marshall or any of the other family members would find this meaningful, I would be glad to get it to them.

We are working through the grief process ourselves as our only child, Aaron, who was 38 years old and had cerebral palsy died on 5 January. What a wonderful thing it is to know the Lord, and that He is preparing a place for us, and preparing us for His place.

By His Grace,

Paul E. Barkey, Class of 72

Tom Blanchard

I've been teaching in the French-speaking world for nearly 30 years now. Over that time, I've had many people ask me where I was trained to teach. I've never had a teaching class in my life, even at Seminary. My answer has always been: "Bruce Shelley marked me for life !" I took every class I could take with him.

Thank you, Lord, for your gift of this man to your Church.

Tom Blanchard


Class of 79

John Israel

As a past part of the Denver Seminary community, I was deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Shelley's death. I know that Mary must be experiencing a tremendous loss and we are praying for the family. At the same time, this is our greatest expectation to see Christ face-to-face. Dr. Shelley was a great communicator and a favorite professor and a noted author. The Christian community has lost a devoted servant and heaven has gained another precious saint.

John Israel

Doug Bastian

What a beloved professor! For my first class I made sure to get there early to get a front seat. Then, I discovered that he wandered into the midst of the class while delivering a riviting account of some epochal moment in Church History. So, I began getting to class early to get a third-row, aisle seat! And, how well I remember the clue to his engaging teaching style. He once declared, "NEVER come see me the period BEFORE class nor stop me on my way to class...I'm all filled up for class and don't want to be distracted...but, after class, I'm all yours." He also was a special mentor to me regarding a country church where I was serving as pastor and running into some difficulties for which I sought his wisdom. As to wringing out better writing from all of us, he would say, "Don't ever turn in a "first-draft" as your final paper. I can always spot those. I want nothing less developed than a "third-draft" please."

Doug Bastian,1979

Richard Vann

I shall never forget my first year (1973-74) at CBTS (DS). Dr. Shelley, a wonderful professor, often started the church history class with a song that we would join in singing with him. Little did I ever realize that I, too, would become a seminary professor. He wrote the late bloomer an encouraging letter several years ago that will never be forgotten. In some of my lectures are quotes from his books. May the promises of Scripture, the love of God's people, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit comfort his family.

Tom Vann, Class of 1978

Charles Hohnbaum

Few have had the kind of influence in my life and fewer still have gained the kind of admiration I had for Dr. Shelley. Like scores of Denver students over the years I cherished every moment with him, whether in class, in church or in casual conversation in the student center. He was a man I wanted to get close to and stay close to. He was not simply a man of history, but a man of Spirit and grace. He was passionate, kind, gentle, convinced and captured by his Savior. He had mastered history, but more so he was mastered by the Lord. He exuded a love for Jesus and the Word. I confess feeling a sense of loss, though its been years since I've seen him.

John Mazarella

Dr. Shelly was a demanding but excellent teacher who expected much of his students as of himself yet always fair - how did I survive the position / graduation paper review? (With fear & trembling!)

With gratitude for his contribution to so many men & women,

John Mazarella (1989)

Clay Clarkson

Dr. Shelley shaped my thinking, my writing, and my commitment to the Christ-directed life. I took every class I could from him during my time at DS in the early 80s. When I think of Denver Seminary, there are many names and faces that come to mind at different times, but Dr. Shelley's is always there, without fail. His loss will be great and felt deeply, but his contribution to the church will be greater and felt for years to come in the ripple of lives that he touched and influenced for the kingdom of God.

Gordon MacDonald

My thoughts echo the experiences of those who have written before. Dr. Shelley represented the best in my formal educational experience. I loved him because he made me think. Because he would not settle for anything but excellence in my writing. Because his personal walk with Jesus reflected his public life. And because he ignited my love for the church.

His high standards have stuck with me throughout my life. Each time I have written an article or book manuscript, I have completed the process with this question, "Would this piece meet with Shelley's approval?"

I must also make an additional comment about Mary Shelley. If her husband was justifiably tough and demanding of us all, she provided the charm and grace that made the two of them--husband and wife--a complete package.

Thank you, members of the Shelley family, for sharing this remarkable man with all of us. You are all in our family prayers.

Gordon MacDonald, Class of 1966

Ray Prigodich

During my time as a student at Denver Seminary in the '60s, Dr. Shelley was my favorite teacher. He was so obviously excited about the things he was teaching and made church history come alive.

As a missions major, I also took a course from Dr. Shelley in missionary journalism. That course was invaluable to me. Dr. Shelley's merciless critiquing of my writing assignments taught me so much about how to write more cogently. Everything I've written since then has reflected his influence. And when, in the mid-'80s, I had the privilege of joining the Denver Seminary faculty, the techniques I learned from Dr. Shelley greatly impacted my own critiquing of students' papers.

I thank God for the indelible mark Dr. Shelley left on my life and ministry.

Charles Bonnet

I remember Dr. Shelley discussing the Eucharist/Lord's Supper. The entire class was engaged in an animated discussion about the various historical and theological views. He had a smile from ear to ear as he said, "Well, we've had a very animated, lively conversation." He had a keen mind and, always,a pastor's heart. I respected him greatly.

To his family (particulary Marshall, my high school classmate) I send my condolences.

Charles Bonnet

Victor Conner

Were it not for Dr. Shelley, I may never have journeyed to Denver to seek out a career in Christian ministry. He and Mary influenced my wife and I as newlyweds through the marriage retreats they led, they opened their home to us as we visited Denver for the first time with our two year old son, and they welcomed us with open arms to the Denver Seminary family. Together, they truly let us see the light of Christ. Mary, our prayers are with you and yours. And, thanks for all the love.

Ed Jones

Dr. Shelley often reminded us that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. He made Church History live for us. He challenged us to learn the context of historic events, but to think beyond factual data.

A good soul ! With a wonderful reward at his homecoming. To the Shelley Family, thank you for sharing him with us. May the "spirit of comfort" touch your lives.

Ed Jones, Class of '67

Carlton Wadsworth Wilson III

Dr. Shelley will be remembered as one of those professors who profoundly shaped my life more than he realized. My fondest memories are those that happened not in the classroom but in his office. In quiet moments with simple questions and grace filled thoughts he spoke volumes into my life. I loved his passion for teaching history and making those past events alive and relevant for current ministry. I have tried to follow Dr. Shelley's example of making the connection between the past and the present in my teaching. I find myself reflecting on those days at Denver and thank God for knowing Dr. Shelley and his family.

Worth Wilson

Lonnie Ott

Just a short note to give my condolences to the entire Shelley family. Aside from Dr. Shelley, Marshall is the one with whom I am most acquainted (remembering you in prayer for your loss). I roomed with Marshall my final year at Denver Seminary and he collaborated with me on a magazine article when I had been "struck by lightning." Bruce Shelley was a great teacher of church history. He made church history come alive and is the inspiration behind my use of church history in illustrating my sermons from time to time. He was certainly one of my favorite teachers and I have spoken often of him to my wife Barbara. He will be greatly missed, but I look forward to that day when I will join him again in heaven.

Lonnie Ott, Class of 1980

Rev. Michael Blevins

Dr. Shelley was one of my very best seminary professors and a great human being--sharp, energetic, empathetic, active, healthy, self-deprecating, full of faith and love. I was privileged to help him one year as an assistant. Couple of phrases from the memory bank: "Clip and file!"; "Active verbs!".... Who will ever forget his infectious smile, brilliant teaching, love for Christ and the Church, his full blackboard his daily outline handouts, "Church History in Plain Language", and ...his strength on a bicycle....adding additional punch to "The Wheel Illustration"?!

David Wardell

As I heard of Dr. Shelley's homegoing, it brought back many memories of his leadership at Galilee Baptist Church in our Young Married Sunday School class. Dr. Shelley was our first spiritual mentor and Bible teacher who helped ground Carolyn and I in our faith walk. We were blessed to see the example of a Godly man and to have known him. Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers go to his family at this time. Well done, good and faithful servant!

Brian Stankich

I appreciated Dr. Shelley's passion for life. He was one of my few profs who intentionally and publicly integrated his thoughts with his actions. I am grateful to have been influenced by his passion for church history and the impact that history has on my decisions regarding "church" today.

The Lord comfort the Shelley family.

Brian Stankich, Orlando

Stephen Reed

Dr. Shelley communicated central events of church history with great enthusiasm. He showed me that our ideas and beliefs and practices are shaped by our historical contexts. He showed me that questions like "What is a Christian" are not simple ones. He expected us to write clearly and succinctly. He was a model teacher who has helped me in my teaching.

Stephen Alan Reed, Class of 1979

Michael Bogart

Like so many others, Dr. Shelley was a bright spot in an already fine educational experience. I think it was from him that I first learned to love the study of history. I also remember meeting him at a retreat a number of years ago (and probably 20 years after I was gone from the seminary). He remembered me and we caught up on our doings at the time. I was always a little amazed that he had remembered me (a Campus Ambassador student, who took one class from him). He was one of the few in Christian circles who actively encouraged me in my secular adjunct college teaching career / ministry. I will always be grateful. Michael Bogart, Class of 1979.

Wade Duroe

I took a number of courses from Dr. Shelley, including Church History and Writing for Publication. But I was most privileged my senior year to take an independent study under him that dealt with the meaning of the Lord's Supper. It was a highlight of my seminary studies. I had the audacity to ask him to speak at a youth retreat, which he politely declined. But I considered him a great communicator. I still remember those Charlie Brown cartoons he used in his teaching and will use them, from time to time, in my own teaching situations. God bless you, Shelley family. We will miss Bruce Shelley along with you till that day we are reunited in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wade Duroe, Denver Seminary, 1981-1984

Steven Speichinger

Rhonda and I were deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Shelley's homegoing and we want to share our condolences and prayers with the Shelley family. We know he is in a far better place and we look forward to seeing him again some day.

I will never forget Dr. Shelley's passionate message to the new class of seminarians in the fall of 1979. He encouraged all of us not to just get an education, but to deepen our walk with God during our time at Denver Seminary. And all of the classes I had with Dr. Shelley helped me do this.

Dr. Shelley dearly loved teaching - and it showed. He was an exceptional teacher because he really "walked the talk" and there aren't many teachers who do this. Because of this, his influence and legacy will glorify Christ for many generations.

Steve Speichinger, Denver Seminary, 1979-1982

James Jarman

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (Psalm 116:15)

What a wonder it must be for the man who taught us all to relish the past to now be enjoying the realm outside of time? Can you see the sparkle in Dr. Shelley's eyes and the grin on his face as our Lord reveals to him history from a heavenly perspective? What absolute pure joy must now be his!

Dr. Shelley was a master teacher, a professor extraordinaire. He taught us to love church history because the emotion was contagious in his being. I loved sitting under his tutelage, but I wondered if I mattered personally for I was a quieter student--absorbing my own fondness for Dr. Shelley's passion in a more subdued manner. Twenty years later, I would get my answer.

When we returned to honor Dr. Grounds on his eightieth birthday, Bruce and Mary picked us out of a crowded ballroom of professors, alumni, and guests and approached us and Dr. Shelley said, "Jim and Lynn--how have the two of you been?" It was as if twenty years of personal history had not passed and I would be in class again the following Monday.

Such is the legacy of a man who has had many such students pass his courses--a man who understood why he was teaching, and what God required of him personally.

Our deepest condolences to each member of Dr. Shelley's family. With you we mourn our loss of the friend who gave us a wide perspective.

Grace and peace,

Jim and Lynn Jarman

CBTS 1974-1978

Michael Lundberg

Dr. Shelly made a huge impact on my life. He made church history fun and relevant. Moreover he reflected Christ to me as a student. I considered him a mentor and a wonderful example of a Christian Statesman. We send our deepest condolences to Mary and the family.

Mike and Mary Lundberg

Richard Kyle

Dr. Shelly was undoubtedly one of the best teachers I have had,not just at Denver but throughout my 13 years of higher education. In addition, he was a top scholar in the filed of church history. He inspired me to get a doctorate, become a professor of history and religion, and to become an active scholar in that field. In fact he wrote an endorsement for my book on evangelicalism. On a more personal level, my wife and I will not forget being invited to his house when we were engaged.

Thank God for Dr. Shelly's ministry. And my deep condolences to his family.

Richard Kyle (class of 68)

Dean Halverson

I will never forget my first class with Dr. Shelley, a class on Church History. In fact, it was the very first class of my seminary career. Since classes started either in late August or early September, it was hot, and the air conditioner wasn’t working. Dr. Shelley walked into the classroom, felt how hot it was, called maintenance only to find out that it would take too long to fix the air conditioning, and immediately dismissed class saying, “We can’t learn in such an environment.” That incident impressed on me how we, his students, were Dr. Shelley’s primary concern. He would do everything possible so that we could learn his subject matter. His passing is a great loss for us.

Dean Halverson, class of ‘79

Jeff Giles

I saw Dr. Shelley at Dick Bunger's memorial service this past November here at Calvary Church, Longmont. During our "catching up" conversation at the reception, he was once again a great encourager. That is the word that comes to mind when I think of Dr. Shelley--encourager. He encouraged me as a student in his church history classes. His passion for the living Word and the local Church encouraged me to be a passionate and practical teacher and preacher. He encouraged us as a ministry colleague at Bear Valley Church during many delightful times and a few difficult ones as well. I want to be a passionate encourager like Dr. Bruce Shelley. We love you Mary and are praying for you and your precious family, as well as your church and seminary family, as you celebrate Bruce's life yet grieve his heavenly homegoing. He will be missed but not forgotten.

Jeff and Pam Giles (Denver Seminary 1983-1986)

John Oldfield

Although Dr. Shelley and I clashed on a few occasions, he was the most stimulating and challenging professor I ever sat under and the best communicator I ever experienced in any classroom. He made history more interesting than any undergraduate professor I'd sat under, and his "Missionary Journalism" class wonderfully honed whatever writing skills I may have brought to the table. The only hope of receiving an A in that class was to succeed in getting a magazine article and gospel tract published. I took great delight in going to the registrar's office to have my grade adjusted to an A, upon the publication of both my article (in Christian Life Magazine) and my tract (by the American Tract Society). His input into those products was invaluable, and his insights have stimulated my writing (including countless sermon manuscripts) ever since. What a legacy he has left for the kingdom of God in his students--and in his own writings! In current semi-retirement (after 41 1/2 years of pastoral ministry, over 26 1/2 years of radio broadcasting, and 25 years as a police chaplain), I find myself writing--more tracts, more articles, and even books. Bruce Shelley's influence pervades all of them. May our loving God bless and comfort you, Mary, Marshall, David, Karen, and all your family members. And may He prepare all of us for that great eternal reunion!

John Oldfield, class of '67

Mark Shaver

Dr. Shelley instilled even a greater love for history with his sharp wit and his effervescent way of teaching. I always had heard about the man during my "lifelong" stint on the Monday Block Program, and had often felt intimdated by what I heard as he was a brilliant writer, stickler for content, and didn't want excuses--but results from his students. I finally relented and took his history classes and from that point on I was a Bruce Shelley fanatic--gobbling up his books and his class, enjoying every minute. I had hoped to see you again, Dr. Shelley, I guess I will have to wait for a time to do that. God bless you and your family--you were a very special part of my stay at the seminary for myself and so many others. Mark Shaver, 2001.

Gary Preston

Dr. Shelley was one of those rare teachers who could scold you for poor writing and chastise you for slothful study habits, while endearing himself to you as an instructor who cared about your success, sometimes more than you did. But in the end, his ways as a professor, mentor and brother made me thankful to count him as one of the most significant influences on my life and ministry. The years we served together at Bear Valley Church are among my most memorable in ministry. He prodded me to excellence and promoted within me a deep love for the church and its rich history. To his family-Mary, Marshall, David & Karen-thank you for sharing him with so many of us over the years. Not only has he left his mark on our lives, but most importantly, on yours, for the glory of God.

Gary Preston, CBTS 1974-77

Ken Frederick

Dr. Shelley was one of my first profs at Denver Seminary. He was an energetic teacher and set the tone for my two years of study there. He had a wide-ranging mind, an incisive wit, and a deep faith. He was a fantastic writer too! (Since graduating, I've reread Church History in Plain Language a couple of times.) Dr. Shelley was one of those professors that students just wanted to be around. He constantly had wise things to ponder. May God raise up more like him.

Ken Frederick, 1997

Chuck Austin

In my mind I can still see Dr. Shelley sitting in the library working on whatever book he was writing at the time. Papers everywhere...hands moving...books lying open around him. Yet he had the ability to stop what he was doing, look at you, listen, and converse. You always got the feeling that people mattered. I've carried that with me throughout the years.

Chuck Austin, 1983

John Douglas

Dr. Bruce Shelley as a person, teacher, theologian, and follower of Jesus modelled for me the twin passions of loving the reality of truth and its formation in the people of God. My initial studies only called for one paper in Christian history, Dr. Shelley’s passion for forming living Christian history saw me taking four classes; the last was my first doctoral seminar – on “the nature of the Church.” Through formative face-to-face teaching, writing and transmitted values he continues as one of my historic markers and mentors. His passing a great loss; his life and teaching deposits an enduring legacy.

John Douglas (New Zealand) 1991.

Daniel Hallock

For me, Dr. Shelley was not primarily a professor, but a mentor and friend. In fact, I only had the privilege of sitting in one classroom session during which he was a "substitute teacher." However, I consider it one of the greatest privileges of my life to have met with Dr. Shelley once a week for three years, during my time at Denver Seminary. Dr. Shelley was faithful to the Lord and to His Word, to his wife and family, to the local Church, to Denver Seminary, and to his friends. Dr. Shelley did not waste his life. He used everything the Lord gave him--from his academic prowess to his charismatic personality--to love Jesus Christ and others well. We have indeed lost a spiritual giant, who I have no doubt is in heaven right now worshiping His Savior with complete joy and peace. May we forever carry on his legacy in our hearts, as we seek not to waste our lives, that Jesus Christ alone may receive the glory and worship he deserves. Mary and family, we love you and are praying for you.

Dan Hallock, 2007

Gregory Johnson

Like everyone else who has left a comment, Dr. Shelley's recent graduation to heaven caused me to pause, remember the man and him impact upon life and ministry, to feel sorrow and sympathy for Mary and his family, and then finally to smile and then to laugh out loud. I don't mean to be insensitive to our loss, but there is a very specific reason why I danced with joy to hear that Bruce Shelley had gone to heaven. You see, Dr. Shelley was my academic advisor during my seminary days (1989-1992), and my last year of seminary was a painful one for him. During our small group sessions my last year of seminary, he was often distant, sober, and guarded. That was the year that his granddaughter was born with so many physical difficulties, which would ultimately lead her to have a short and brief life. The grief he experienced because of her challenges and that of her parents was something he just couldn't hide. As a student, I observed him closely that year, and his pain was both real and deep. It was the kind of pain that caused even Bruce Shelley, a marvelous man of God, to be confused with why God had allowed his granddaughter to be born with so many physical difficulties and pains. Eventually, his granddaughter passed away, I believe within the first or second year of her life. Before I left the Denver area to move to Utah, I was honored to hear one of the single greatest sermons I have ever heard in my life. Dr. Shelley preached a message at Bear Valley Baptist Church on Psalm 103, a short time after the death of his granddaughter. He didn't just preach Ps. 103, he solved it. He asked the congregation how he could ever bless God for what his granddaughter had gone through, for what his son and daughter-in-law had faced, and what his wife had faced in the loss and grief experienced in the death of his granddaughter. What a sermon it was! He concluded by sharing the miracle of her little short life, the miracle of a night nurse attending his granddaughter in the last hours of her life. He shared that the night nurse later shared a strange experience that she perceived to be an attending angel at Dr. Shelley's granddaughters bedside with another nurse when her shift had concluded. The nurse she shared was a follower of Jesus Christ and had the amazing privilege to lead that night nurse to Jesus. With tears abounding across the congregation, Dr. Shelley declared that he now knew, at least in part, why God had allowed his granddaughter to face such adversity, and he could now declare, "Bless the Lord oh my soul, praise His holy name. Bless the Lord oh my soul and forget none of his benefits." It was just incredible and I've never forgotten that sermon or its power. As I have faced life challenges, I have heard Dr. Shelley proclaim, "Bless the Lord oh my soul!" So, now you know why I laughed out loud to hear that Dr. Shelley was in heaven, because in addition to greeting and experiencing first hand the love of Savior and Lord, I believe he's been enjoying the privilege of being with his granddaughter and fellow servant of Jesus, who's earthly life had resulted in the conversion of some night nurse the night she died long ago. I thank God for Dr. Bruce Shelley and for the way God used him to call us all to a deeper walk with Jesus!

Greg Johnson, 1992

Don Pahl

With profound gratitude I reflect on Dr. Shelley's influence in my life. Little can be added to what has already been said for I only stand in a long line of those profoundly influenced by Dr. Shelley toward 1) a greater love for the Church of Jesus Christ and toward 2) a more skillful set of writing tools. (Evan as I write, I sense him peering over my shoulder, searching for those dangling participles!) But one more "influence" stands out in all of these tributes. Dr. Shelley, our mentor, taught us, by example, how to mentor. Each time I lose another of these few special servant-mentors in my life, my Father soberly reawakens me to the reality that it is our turn, that it is my turn to pass on those life delights that Dr. Shelley passed on to me and my passion to mentor young men is reignited. Through this mentoring ministry of hundreds of Dr. Shelley's students, his legacy increases exponentially and his "Well done, good and faithful servant," resounds again and again.

From a humbled recipient of God's good gifts through Dr. Shelley.

Don Pahl

Omaha, NE

Allen Thompson

Upon hearing of Dr. Shelley's death I quickly flashed back to 1960 when as a young missionary I entered Denver Seminary. My major goal at seminary was to discover the church. Dr. Shelley had plenty to say about that, of course. But it was his manner, demanding yet pliable, that impacted me deeply. Because of Bruce the trajectory of my life has moved in the direction of planting churches that reflect biblical principles. I thank God for his life, his teaching, and his concern for students.

Allen Thompson, class of 1963

Evan Morgan

I recall as a lonely first year student, the smiling face of Dr. Shelley greeting me during student orientation. He quickly found that I was an avid Denver Bronco fan, and the second week of classes I was invited to his home for a wonderful Sunday lunch with Mary, a marvelous meal, and some rousing Bronco enthusiasm and laughter as we watched the game together. That day spoke to me of his compassionate heart, his tireless commitment to students, and love for life. The "life classroom" meant as much to me as his wonderful teaching.

Evan Morgan

Gary Gulbranson

We rejoice in the "coronation" of Dr. Shelley, but also know the pain of separation from those who get to heaven first! To the Shelley family; please know that our prayers for you will continue in the days and months ahead as you process what Bruce has meant to you. We have taken a very special walk down memory lane as we have relived some very defining experiences shared with you and your family.

In Christian love,

Gary and Jorie Gulbranson

Joe Wright

It was my privilege to have Dr. Shelley for three church history classes during my time at Denver Seminary. I always admired the intensity and enthusiasm he brought to his lectures and I don’t remember any of his lectures as being boring. In addition I remember him carrying on in spite of physical affliction, i.e., teaching after a painful trip to the dentist. I also admired his ability to admit to a mistake (although I did not notice very many mistakes!).

He will be missed and Calla Jean and I wish God’s comforting presence and guidance for the family he left behind.

Joe Wright, Class of ‘74

Tim Haugen

My wife and I loved Bruce Shelley. Because of our friendship with his son, David, while we were students at Bethel College, we had heard good reports about the training offered by Denver Seminary. Ann and I had an opportunity to meet Dr Shelley and his wife, Mary, when we visited the seminary on an evaluative visit prior to enrollment. I was aware of his outstanding reputation as an instructor, and his work as an author. But what I found so compelling about Bruce Shelley was the kindness and hospitality that he and Mary offered us when we met them. That only intensified and continued when I enrolled as a student the following fall. He was not only an extraordinary professor, and a very helpful adviser, but he was a friend. Ann and I respected the marriage that Dr Shelley shared with Mary. The two of them complemented one another in beautiful fashion.

Though I loved and respected so many of my profs at Denver, initially the reason Ann and I came to Denver was because of Dr Shelley and Dr Haddon Robinson. I respected both of these men more than I can convey.

Four years ago I was on campus interviewing a student for a Middle School pastor role in the church I was serving at the time. During the days of that visit on campus four years ago, I heard there was to be a lecture/seminar presented by Dr Shelley. At that point, I had not seen him in twenty years. After the lecture, I approached him and he enthusiastically greeted me and wanted to get caught up. It was affirming. His welcome was so humbling for me. It was all so consistent with what I remembered of him - so consistent with the personal investments he had made in my life a couple of decades earlier.

Though Dr Shelley was slight in physical stature, he was a giant of a man. Ann and I thank God for him.

To Mary, Ann and I send our love. Mary, your family has meant much to us. We grieve with you, and we hope together with you. In Jesus, reunion is assured.

Tim Haugen, Class of '83

Scott Wiens

As a 45 year old man called to the minister at age 40 I desired to learn more about church history. Not wanting to wait until the class came around in seminary I decided to go to Amazon to see what I could find and low and behold one title caught my eye. "Church History in Plain Language: Third Edition". I bought a used copy and have been working my way through it, underlining and marking in the margins and having 'ah ha' moments on almost every page as the story of church history finally comes together in my mind.

So, in grateful acknowledgement I went out to find this Bruce Shelley to thank him for his work that has been helping me so much and I find out this morning the Lord has already called him home after a wonderfully long and fruitful life of teaching the next generations of Biblical scholars. Although I won't get to thank him personally now I know I will in the future. Those who had the privilege of knowing him were indeed blessed. Please know his gift of teaching and writing continues to bless even now after he left us.

Scott Wiens

Umatilla, FL