Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Well done, thou good and faithful servant!

Professor Harold O. J. Brown fell asleep on Sunday night and woke up in glory. He'd been on a slow decline from terminal cancer. When a former student asked him how he was a few weeks ago, he said: "In view of my swallowing and speaking difficulties, my short-term prognosis is unknown but the long-term prognosis is good."

Dr. Brown influenced me indirectly through my friendship with several of his former students. His book on the history and function of heresy in the church (originally titled Heresies: The Image of Christ in the Mirror of Heresy and Orthodoxy) changed the way I view the nature of orthodoxy and heresy. And his ardor in the fight for the Right to Life kindled a flame that has been burning ever more brightly in the past decade. He was a scholar of the highest caliber, holding his BA, BD, ThM, and PhD from Harvard. He was imminently sensible, cautious, and informed in his writings. He was unashamed of being a Christian and a part of Western Civilization.

Above all, his students tell me, he was a pastor. He shepherded his family, students, and two fledgling seminaries into maturity. And now, having himself put away childish things, he sees face to face and knows as he is known.

Almighty and everliving God,
whose goodness it is ever to raise up pastors and teachers for your church,
receive, we beseech thee, the soul of Joe Brown.
Before ever he was an undershepherd to thee, O Christ,
he was a lost sheep which you found.
As he enters the company of the saints triumphant,
grant him rest from his burdens,
reward for his labors,
and the full measure of thy good pleasure,
Thou in whom he didst glory and worship,
in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2 comments:

regressivepresby said...

Great post. I only knew of him through your commendations of his book to our progressive interlocutors.

Requiescat in Pace.

(did I spell it correctly?)

grace,
dm

Presbyman said...

Thanks, Chris.

People like Harold O.J. Brown (along with Francis Shaeffer) did valuable work in calling evangelical Protestants to advocate for the Culture of Life. It is forgotten today, but when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, the Southern Baptist Convention actually supported the decision. As a whole, evangelicals were silent or even supportive of Roe v. Wade. Thank God that changed.