October 5, 2023

Laurence “Duane” Brown, one-time president of Denver Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, entered into the presence of Jesus on September 26, 2023. He was 90 years old.

Duane was born on June 9, 1933, in Waverly, New York, a town around fifteen miles from the Brown family farm in East Smithfield, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Troy High School (Pennsylvania) in 1951 and married his high school sweetheart Shirley in 1952. The two were married for 70 years and had five children.

While in high school, Duane heard the gospel from his older brother Ken and trusted Christ as his personal Savior. After his salvation, Duane committed his life to serving the Lord in ministry. He earned a Bachelor of Theology degree from Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City, New York (now Summit University), and he earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in New Testament from Bob Jones University. His commitment to serving God faithfully coupled with his theological education served Dr. Brown well over more than four decades of active ministry that included five pastorates (Mount Vision, New York; Pine Valley, New York; Ames, Iowa; Houston, Texas; Parsippany, New Jersey), stints as the state representative of churches in New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and tenure as the president of Denver Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary.

His theological education and astuteness also helped him use a penchant for study and writing to serve the Lord. His family and friends describe him as a prolific author. Perhaps his best known work is Biblical Basis for Baptists, a book that has been assigned reading in Faith courses and that has been used by churches across the country and translated into dozens of languages around the world. Dr. Brown enjoyed researching and studying theology throughout his life. Just days before his passing, he was reading up on theological liberalism.

In relation to the history of FBBC&TS, Dr. Brown played an integral role in the founding of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. As president of Denver Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, Dr. Brown joined Dr. Gordon Shipp, president of Faith, and both institutions’ boards in deliberations to merge Denver with Faith. In January 1986, the boards of both institutions voted to merge, and, as a result, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary opened in the fall of 1986. Dr. Brown’s influence on FBTS extends beyond his role in the merger of Denver and Faith. His legacy continues as two of his children, Dan and Doug, serve on the faculty of FBTS.

Dr. Daniel Brown wrote the following in remembrance of his father: “Duane will be remembered as a loving husband, father, and grandfather, compassionate encourager, a strong and faithful expositor of the Bible, a dynamic preacher and communicator of Scripture, a mentor of men entering the ministry, a passionate winner of souls for Christ, a strong separatist for truth, and a lover of all things chocolate.”

Visitation will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 5, 2023, at Ankeny Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, October 6, 2023, at Faith Baptist Church in Cambridge, Iowa.

With the family and friends, we grieve over this loss, yet we also celebrate the homegoing of a faithful servant of God.