PREFACE: this isn't either an "expose" or an analysis of Steve Brown. It's (a) my impressions based on just a few lectures in a 37-lecture series, and (b) my invitation to anyone who does know more about him to tell what he or she knows.
Do any of you know anything firsthand about Steve Brown?
I know he's a little Presbyterian (PCA) pastor who's an author, pastor, seminary prof, and radio host. I know I wish I had his voice. Years ago I heard Key Life a few times. I know I saw a bit or two of a cable-type TV show he did in which he had friendly arguments with the execrable Tony Campolo. And that's about it.
I've been listening to courses from Reformed Theological Seminary. They put whole courses online for free through iTunes. Well, one of them is a course of like thirty-seven lectures on grace (!) by Steve Brown. I've listened to about three of them.
So far, they're winsome, a bit thought-provoking, and really irritating. I've wanted to slap him several times; he says things I think are just flat-out irresponsible. Because he's PCA and teaching at RTS, and because he disagrees with Tony Campolo, I'm giving him a conditional and temporary benefit-of-a-doubt until I feel like I've gotten his point.
Which I don't yet. It's been heavy on stories and anecdotes, and next to nothing on Scripture. So far he's setting off my warning-light of hyperconceptualizing. In other words, he's sounding like a guy who's latched on to a true and Biblical concept (grace), detached it from the Bible, loaded it with his own ideas and concepts and implications, and made a career of it.
He keeps talking about people who do and do not understand or get "grace." He says "grace," but so far the concept that makes the best sense of his uses is "license." But he insists that isn't what he's talking about. He also keeps insisting that he isn't antinomian, but he sure sounds like he is.
And he keeps talking blithely about things God says to him, and God laughing, and a bunch of dribble — and he's not talking about the Bible. Which, as you know...yikes. Fingernails on the chalkboard.
In fact, so far, the course has been very heavy on stories and anecdotes and wit, and very light on Bible.
So, HSAT (Having Said All That) — do any of you have firsthand knowledge of Steve Brown? Have you heard the course through, read his books, listened regularly to Key Life? What do you think, if so?
By the bye, you'll notice that the post is titled "Steve Brown - 1." You'd be right in taking that to signal my intention to revisit after I've heard more or (if I stick it out) all of the lectures, and either deny, confirm, or further stir these impressions.
Update: Part Two.