If one were to name the most influential evangelical voices of the 20th century, Harold O.J. Brown would certainly have to be on that list.
Dr. Brown was a towering intellect, with four degrees from Harvard University and author of numerous books including, The Protest of a Troubled Protestant (1969), Christianity and the Class Struggle (1970), Death Before Birth (1977), The Reconstruction of the Republic (1977), Heresies: The Image of Christ in the Mirror of Heresy and Orthodoxy from the Apostles to the Present (1984), and Sensate Culture (1996).
But, even with his brilliant mind, Dr. Brown’s most profound achievements were not in the classroom. Dr. Brown was one of the founders of the modern pro-life movement in the United States, often travelling around the country to present a vigorous and intellectual defense of the unborn. Along with the former surgeon general, C. Everett Koop, he founded the Christian Action Council (now Care Net) which mobilized Christians all over the nations to stand up for truth.
After serving many years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dr. Brown served as the John R. Richardson Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the Charlotte campus of Reformed Theological Seminary from 1998 to 2007. For five years, I had the privilege to serve alongside Dr. Brown and was always encouraged by his incredible mind, his nearly supernatural proficiency in foreign languages, his keen sense of humor, and his love for Christ and his word.
Even during the nearly ten years that Dr. Brown spent in Charlotte, it was hard to comprehend how incredibly influential he continued to be. I distinctively remember one instance when Dr. Brown was absent from a faculty meeting and I inquired about where he was. Someone said that he was meeting with the president. “The President of RTS?” I asked. “No,” they replied, “the President of the United States.” Dr. Brown had been invited to the White House to meet with George W. Bush. And most of us had no idea.
It is for these reasons that RTS has recently announced the Harold O.J. Brown lecture series, established in honor of our dear friend and colleague. It is our hope to bring in some of the leading Christian voices in our world today, to speak on topics relevant for the church and for ministry.
The first of the Harold O.J. Brown Lectures, Feb 26th on the RTS-Charlotte campus, will be taught by Dr. Derek Thomas, professor of systematic and historical theology at the RTS/Atlanta campus, and minister of preaching and teaching at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC. Dr. Thomas is the editorial director for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and author or editor of over 15 books, including the award-winning commentary on Acts in the Reformed Expository Commentary series (P&R, 2011). His topic will be expository preaching.
If you are in the area on Feb 26th, we hope you can come and join us as we hear from Derek Thomas and honor Harold O.J. Brown.