Grieving with Hope: SBTS Celebrates Life and Ministry of Beloved Professor
Colleagues, family, and friends remembered Gregory B. Brewton as a humble, godly professor and faithful minister in the local church Saturday afternoon at a memorial service in Alumni Memorial Chapel on the campus of Southern Seminary.
Brewton, who had served as the Carolyn King Ragan Professor of Church Music and Worship since 2002, died early Monday morning at age 65. He was the head of the Department of Biblical Worship at SBTS and a devoted member of Ninth & O Baptist Church.
Southern Seminary President, R. Albert Mohler Jr. reflected on the impact of Brewton as an academic, churchman, and ardent disciple of Christ.
“His skill in the classroom, his skill as a mentor and as an instructor, was all based on the fact that he was first and foremost called to Christ as a believer and then called as a minister of Christ’s church,” Mohler said.
Mohler spoke of Brewton as teacher, colleague, and friend. Mohler also pointed to Brewton’s Christian character, demonstrated in his willingness to serve. Mohler described Brewton’s servant heart as indicated “smile first,” explaining that Professor Brewton would smile even before he knew what he was being asked to do for students.
Mohler also underlined the powerful influence of a Christian teacher, reflected in the promise that untold numbers of Christians, including some not yet born, will be blessed through the ministries of those taught. “He teaches on through his many students, now in ministry to the glory of Christ,” Mohler explained.
Family members mourned his passing but touted the great hope Brewton had in his Savior—a hope all believers share.
“It’s a difficult time for us.” said Brewton’s son, Justin. “But we’re encouraged by the hope we have in Christ. And that’s what we are here to do today—to worship the Lord.”
Doxology vocal ensemble, which Brewton directed, led hymn singing. Family members also expressed their gratitude for Brewton’s life of faithfulness. In addition to teaching at Southern, Brewton labored faithfully in music ministry for more than 40 years, having also served local churches in Georgia, Florida, and Kentucky.
“Greg lived a life of unconditional love,” said his brother, Eric Brewton. “He loved music because it brought glory and honor to God. Right now, my brother is sitting with Jesus and it’s the greatest day of his life.”
Brewton’s daughter, Allison Hitchcock, said her father’s life and ministry centered on Christ: “His life was all based on this—honoring God and bringing his best gifts to the table. He loved telling the world about the goodness of Jesus through song and Scripture.”
Holly Brewton, Greg’s wife of 40 years, encouraged friends and family members to grieve with the hope of Jesus Christ.
“We’re going to worship and praise God in all things today and moving forward,” she said. She acknowledged the reality of grief but pointed to the power of the gospel. She remembered the Christian joy demonstrated by her husband, and she shared that joy with the congregation. The testimonies, hymns, and songs chosen by the family reflected the choral and congregational praise that Professor Brewton had led for so many years of ministry and teaching.
William F. Cook III, professor of New Testament interpretation at SBTS and Pastor of Ninth & O Baptist Church, delivered a biblical message on the assurance of resurrection found in Christ.
“Everything we do is for the church,” Cook said. “Greg Brewton loved the church. Beyond anything, he loved the Lord Jesus Christ. The body we left at the cemetery will one day be raised from the dead.”
SBTS Provost Matthew Hall spoke the benediction.
“On behalf of the entire Southern Seminary and Boyce college family, the Brewton family, and the Ninth & O Baptist Church family, thank you for being here and honoring the memory and legacy of Dr. Greg Brewton, and above all, the wonderful good news of Jesus Christ,” Hall said.
Hall closed by reading 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17:
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”