There will be a visitation Sunday afternoon at 2:00PM with the service following at 3:00 in the Sanctuary at Christ Presbyterian Church, 2323 Old Hickory Blvd. Nashville (halfway between Hillsboro Road and Highway 100). Associate Pastor Todd Teller will officiate at the service.
Brian was born in Cleveland, Ohio in May of 1947. He was married to Sharon Wagstaff in Brecksville, Ohio in May of 1974. They had two children: Dylan and Glynis. Brian attended Ohio University, graduating in 1969 and went into the newspaper business. After completing Covenant Seminary in 1992 he became the Associate Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Muncie, Indiana from 1993 to 2004, serving with both Petros Roukas and Scott Parsons.
The following tribute from his mentor and long-time friend Harry Long is both a tribute and the story of Brian’s spiritual journey. We are grateful for Harry to share this with our readers.
From Harry Long, Founding Pastor at Sycamore Presbyterian Church, Midlothian, VA
Our dear friend and brother in Christ, Brian Kinney, went home to glory this morning. Brian and his wife, Sharon, were the first two to become Christians at Sycamore after Mary and I came thirty years ago in 1982. Here’s the story:
One Sunday our first summer at Sycamore in 1982, it got to the point that there were only 22 in worship, 4 of whom were my family and 8 of whom were visitors. Some were on vacation, but Mary and I realized that if God did not do something, no one might show up the next Sunday! One of us raised the question, “If we were visitors at Sycamore, would we come back?” We did not want to answer that question.
Four of the eight visitors were the Kinney family. Brian and Sharon had met my brother, Phil, and his wife, Polly, while they lived in Germany. They recognized the last name “Long” in a church advertisement and came on a whim, not really expecting the family connection. Unbelievably, after that first low Sunday, they came back the next week! They soon began attending our adult Sunday School class, which was going through R. C. Sproul’s series, “Developing Christian Character.” R. C. had two lessons on assurance of salvation, in which he actually undermined every false assurance of salvation. I soon heard from one of my leaders that “the Kinney’s are having trouble and are probably going to leave.”
Brian asked if I would come over to their house. He went over various reservations he had about what we were teaching at Sycamore. He had respect for the teaching of Jesus, but the Old Testament and the Apostle Paul gave him trouble. After talking through some of these things, I knew I needed to move to the gospel. It would be my only opportunity. I was scared to death. My heart was beating so loud I could hear it. I half expected rejection, and I didn’t know if Sycamore could hang on much longer without people like the Kinney’s responding positively to Christ. Everything seemed to be on the line. I asked if I could ask some direct and personal questions, and they said yes. I asked if they were sure they would go to heaven when they died. To my wonder and excitement, Brian and Sharon became very quiet and attentive. Sharon said in a low voice that she used to think so, but now she wasn’t so sure after what R.C. Sproul taught. I explained the gospel as best I could, realizing that what was happening did not depend so much on how well I explained it, but on what God was doing in their lives. Soon they both were praying to receive Christ, and I walked home three feet off the ground, for their conversion was not only wonderful in itself, it was wonderful confirmation that God would draw men and women to himself through Sycamore. Without the church trappings and programs of a mature ministry and in spite of the problems, God was graciously at work!
Brian became a deacon when we were organized as a particular church in 1984 (no longer a mission church), then later an elder. He eventually went to Covenant Seminary, and he served as a pastor in Muncie, Indiana. Then by God’s providence he combined his two careers as an editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and as pastor/theologian to become a theological editor for such works as, The Confessions of Our Faith, Standard English Edition, (http://www.fortressbookservice.com/Page_5.html) and God’s Broken Hearted for His Broken Church (http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Broken-Hearted-Church-ebook/dp/B005EDNBD6). Brian knew from the start that the health problems he faced and the medications he had to take for them would shorten his life, and he wanted to live his life well for Christ. That he did, and every part of his life, as husband/father/churchman/editor/theologian counts for eternity. [Editor’s note: the original URL (link) referenced is no longer valid, so the link has been removed.]
Mary and I got to see Brian and Sharon at General Assembly in Louisville, Kentucky, just three weeks ago. Brian was in a wheel chair and his physical challenges were evident, but the light of Christ was in his and Sharon’s eyes, and the joy of the bond we have in Christ filled our hearts.
Other tributes have been received as well.
From Charlie Rodriguez of Fortress Press:
The news of Brian’s passing brings with it feelings of sadness and joy. Sadness that I’ll miss my dear friend and able editor, but joy that he is with the Lord and free of earthly cares. I think it can be said of most people that they have perhaps one or two treasured friends here on earth. For me, one of these treasured friends was Brian Kinney. He knew my weaknesses (a little impatient and impetuous at times, and definitely not a good speller), but he graciously covered those weaknesses and encouraged me in my strengths. In this, and in so many other things, Brian was imitating Christ. This was his greatest legacy, and should be ours too.
From Dominic Aquila, President of New Geneva Seminary
Brian and I first became acquainted in 2000 when I became editor of the PCANews. Because of his background as a newspaper reporter, he was great help to me as I began this new web magazine for the PCA. We also had a common background because of our time in Richmond, Va. Over the years as Brian transitioned from pastoring to editing, he gave himself to a number of editing projects that produced helpful articles and books for the church. Brian was the consummate Christian gentleman always willing to serve his Savior with joy and gladness. Brian was also blessed to have a loving wife, Sharon, who was a partner with him in their ministry. I thank the Lord for Brian’s faithful testimony which will continue to bear fruit over the years.
From Marvin Padgett, VP/Acquisitions at P&R Publications
The last time I saw Brian was in Louisville at GA. He didn’t look good, but he didn’t look as if he were at death’s door either. Told him I would see him at presbytery. He was a great editor. The whole package, quick, good, and theologically astute. A real loss as a friend and as a colleague at work in spreading the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ through the printed word. I shall miss him on several fronts. A humble of servant of Jesus.
From Rev. Tim Bayly of Clearnote Fellowship
Dear brother Brian was a good combination of crusty editor and loving pastor. Combined they’re nearly the ideal of Reformed pastoral care. The editor isn’t afraid of saying “wrong” and “no,” and the pastor says it with (and from) love. Knowing Brian first in Great Lakes and then Ohio Valley presbyteries, his departure for Nashville was our loss.
Back in 1996 I went through some tough times connected with my second call to a troubled church and Brian was a great encouragement. He had equanimity about troubles and the presence of real sin in others and in me. Still, he gave me his affection and I was strengthened towards repentance and faith. Thank you, Lord, for your kind provision through my dear brother Brian.
There were quite painful things surrounding Brian’s final years in Muncie. His senior pastor of the most productive years of his ministry, Petros Roukas, had departed for Lexington a few years prior to committing suicide, there. Thus Brian had the difficult calling of working with the souls who had come to faith under Petros to the end that they would understand the failures of church fathers as part of God’s plan of sanctification. There were other difficulties and I know Brian struggled against the sin of bitterness that corrupts so many men and their wives who have given their lives to playing second fiddle as assistant and associate pastors. He talked about his difficulties, but without rancor.
To the end Brian loved God’s truth. He was not given to copping postures or self-promotion. His ministry was earthy and he was tenacious for the truth of God’s character and Word. In some sweet ways he reminded me of the steel mills of Pittsburgh and the shepherds who came to maturity caring for the men pouring steel there–men like R.C. Sproul and John Gerstner. Put in a dash of Muggeridge and Chesterton and you have it.
If it won’t be deemed prayers for the dead, God have mercy on our dear brother’s soul.