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G. Thompson "Tommy" Brown (1921-2014)


George Thompson Brown.jpg

Professor Emeritus G. Thompson “Tommy” Brown died Tuesday morning, January 21, in his home at Park Springs Communities in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Tommy served Columbia Theological Seminary as Professor of World Christianity from 1981-1989. There will be a memorial service at Decatur Presbyterian Church on Sunday, January 26, at 3:00 pm.

Tommy was born in Kuling (Lushan) Jiangxi province, China to his missionary parents serving there in 1921. He was a graduate of Davidson College (BA ’42), Princeton Seminary (ThM ’50), and Union Theological Seminary (BD ’49, ThD ‘63).  

Tommy first served as pastor of the Adams Memorial and Linwood Presbyterian Churches in Gastonia, NC. He then became a Presbyterian Church (US) missionary to Korea beginning in 1952 during the war period and worked at Kwangju and Mokpo, the southwestern part of Korea. He helped found the Honam Bible School serving as Professor of New Testament in 1955 and later as president of Honam Seminary from 1960-67. Honam Theological University and Seminary is one of the seven Presbyterian seminaries in Korea.   

From 1967-73, Tommy served as Area Secretary for East Asia, and later Field Secretary for Korea while lecturing in New Testament at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea. From 1973-1981, he served as Director of International Mission for the Presbyterian Church (US).  

“I believe that the Christians of the world, with whom I have lived and worked all my life, have much to contribute to the life of our Presbyterian Church here at home,” Tommy wrote upon coming to Columbia Theological Seminary. “I believe we must recover our ability and willingness to speak out quite naturally and unashamedly about the love of Jesus Christ for all peoples and of their need for His reconciling and redeeming power.”  

Among Tommy's published works are:

  • How Koreans are Reconverting the West (Xlibris Corporation, 2008 and Korean Translation, 2009)

  • Face to Face: Meditations on the Life Everlasting (Geneva Press, 2001)

  • Earthen Vessels and Transcendent Power: American Presbyterians in China, 1837-1952 (Orbis Books, 1997)

  • Presbyterians in World Mission (CTS Press, 1995)

  • Mission to Korea (and Korean Translation, Presbyterian Church of Korea, 1984)

  • Christianity in the People's Republic of China (John Knox Press, 1983)

Tommy is survived by his wife, Mardia, and other family members. Tommy's personal documents have been donated to Columbia’s John Bulow Campbell Library and are now in special collections.

Media Contact:
Michael Thompson
Director of Communications

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