Gary J. Tyra

Professor of Biblical and Practical Theology

Areas of Specialization: Theology, Spiritual and Ministry Formation.

Education: B.A., West Coast Christian College; M.Div. and D.Min., Fuller Theological Seminary.

Dr. Gary Tyra teaches theology courses in Vanguard University’s traditional (undergrad and grad) programs and its School for Professional Studies—courses which aim to help students experience growth toward spiritual, moral, and ministry maturity. Having spent over three decades providing pastoral leadership for three congregations, he now devotes himself full time to teaching, mentoring future leaders, preaching in various churches, and writing.

Gary’s first book, Defeating Pharisaism: Recovering Jesus’ Disciple-making Method (IVP Books, 2009), deals with the problem of Pharisaism in evangelical churches, offering church leaders a strategy by which they can cultivate a disciple-making experience and environment that mitigates the presence of Pharisaism (legalism, dogmatism, separatism, judgmentalism, hypocrisy, etc.) while steering congregation members toward a more grace-oriented approach to the spiritual life.

Gary and his wife Patti co-authored a second book entitled Beyond the Bliss: Discovering Your Uniqueness in Marriage (IVP Books, 2010). This book endeavors to help couples cultivate transformational marriages that enable both marital partners become more whole human beings who don’t run away from life.

A third book written by Gary is entitled Christ’s Empowering Presence: The Pursuit of God through the Ages (IVP Books, 2011). This work, which focuses on the theme of Christian spirituality, is designed to serve as a spiritual life resource to which readers can return time and again for fresh inspiration in their walk with Christ.


A fourth work explores the relationship between Spirit-inspired speech and action and the phenomenon of missional faithfulness. Having garnered some significant critical acclaim, The Holy Spirit in Mission: Prophetic Speech and Action in Christian Witness was released by IVP Academic in October 2011.

Two goals are at work in Gary’s latest book–A Missional Orthodoxy: Theology and Ministry in a Post-Christian Context (IVP Academic, 2013). The primary goal is to provide a compelling vision of the Christian faith and life that can succeed at causing members of an increasingly post-Christian culture to take another look at Christ and his church. A secondary goal is to build some bridges between the members of the traditional evangelical, emerging and missional communities with the hope that they can become more adept at functioning as colleagues rather than competitors in the ministry contextualization endeavor.

Currently Gary is working on yet another book for IVP Academic that focuses on the topic of a moral faithfulness: making ethical decisions that honor the heart of God. Hopefully, this book will be published in late 2014.

As is evident from the courses he teaches and the kind of books he writes, Dr. Tyra’s abiding passion is to see as many people as possible recognize the vital difference between mere “churchianity” and genuine Christianity, and to be equipped to live their lives as fully devoted followers of Christ in an increasingly post-Christian world.


Religion Faculty Published Works