Reverend John E. Janbaz of Redlands, California, passed away at his residence on March 12, 2015 at the age of ninety-nine. Born September 20, 1915 in Philadelphia, PA, Reverend Janbaz was the son of Elisha and Arusiag Janbaz of Armenia, who immigrated to the United States during the Turkish genocide of Armenians.
As a teenager John was a member of the Collingswood Presbyterian Church, of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), pastored by the new young minister, Carl McIntire. During the conflicts over modernism in the denomination, there was fear that the presbytery would take the property and change the locks on the church doors, as they had done to a nearby church in Philadelphia. John was among the young people who volunteered and stayed all night in the church, in order to ring the church bell if any such attempt would be made. He and his family left that church with Carl McIntire and took part in the formation of the Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood in 1936.
He graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1938 and from Faith Seminary in Philadelphia in 1941. He was the patriarch of the present generation of the BPC, having attended the first Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church in 1938. He accepted the call of Pastor at Ventnor Bible Presbyterian Church in Atlantic City, NJ, from 1941-1949 before moving to California. He planted a church in Pasadena at that time, and then another in San Bernardino in 1957, where he remained until his retirement in 1980. He continued to preach and act as a pulpit supply preacher for the next twenty years. John was passionate about education throughout his ministry, and was instrumental in the formation and ministry of Highland College in California. For thirty years he was a board member and strong supporter of Western Reformed Seminary.
His wife, Ruth Tucker Janbaz, preceeded him in death in 1988 in their 48th year of marriage. Reverend Janbaz is survived by three children, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by many, many more spiritual children who are now ministering the gospel and striving to follow Pastor J’s example of patient endurance, fervent and sober scholarship, a quiet demeanor that hid surprising strength, and faithful service in the face of adversity. He was kind, gracious, wise, fun-loving, and God fearing. Always thoughtful of the young people in his charge, he was a favorite addition to any youth activity due to his good humor and genuine love.
2 Timothy 2:1, 2 – “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”