My Friend, Charles R. Brewer, Hale
A Tribute, Coffman
Picture: 1931 Issue Of Gospel Advocate
Picture: 1971 Issue Of Gospel Advocate
Directions And Pictures Of Grave Location
Biographical Sketch Of The Life Of Dr. Brewer
Charles Richard Brewer was born January 17, 1890, in a three-room log cabin on Gimlet Creek in Giles County, Tennessee. His parents were Hiram Spinks and Virginia
Arianna Brewer. He finished high school in Florence, Alabama.
On July 15, 1915, he married Miss Robbie Dearing Ward. To this union, six boys and one girl were born. The sons were Schumann Arden, William Dean, Charles Ward, Beryl Caldwell, Sterling Newman, and Robert Manson; one daughter, Neika Marie, who became Mrs. Charles E. Williams at her marriage.
Brewer attended David Lipscomb College, George Peabody College, Hardin-Simmons College, University of Texas, Vanderbilt, University and the University of Chicago. He taught at David-Lipscomb College, Nashville, Tennessee, and at Abilene Christian College, Abilene, Texas. Courses he taught were Bible, English Literature, Greek, French and Latin.
Brewer's first located work, as a minister, was in Lexington, Tennessee. Following this, he served churches at the Poplar Street Church in Florence, Alabama; Grant Street Church in Decatur, Alabama; Sherman, Texas; Granny White Church in Nashville, Tennessee; Sansom Avenue Church in Alabama City, Alabama; Central Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee; Central Church of Christ, St. Louis, Missouri; Ethridge, Tennessee; Springhill, Tennessee; and Brentwood Hills in Nashville, Tennessee. He was an associate minister of the Madison Church in Nashville at the time of his death at the age of 80 years.
States in which he held meetings were Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and England, Germany, Italy, France and Canada. He baptized more than 1,000 people.
Brewer taught at Abilene Christian College in Abilene, Texas, and David Lipscomb College, in Nashville, Tennessee. He also served as president of Nashville School of Preaching. This school was for men who had a burning desire to preach but couldn't afford the tuition and the cost of regular colleges and universities. One evidence of Brewer's success as president of the Nashville school was that three of his sons, Schumann, William and Robert, all became gospel preachers.
Brewer was a noted lecturer on college campuses and was selected during his last year as "Speaker of the Year" by David Lipscomb College. He was scheduled to speak at Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, California, in April of his last year, where he was to receive the school's annual Most Distinguished Service Award.
He had served for many years as the anchor man of the award-winning "Know Your Bible" television program. In the early days of radio, he read the funny papers on WLAC where he was affectionately known as "Uncle Charlie" and "Uncle Ray."
Brewer was author of the well-known book, "Be Not Dismayed" as well as many articles which are in circulation around the world.
For several years Brewer appeared on television in Nashville, Tennessee, on the weekly program, "Know Your Bible." He continually amazed the audience by answering obscure questions which were submitted by viewers.
Brewer died January 4, 1971, at Nashville Memorial Hospital from injuries he received in a December 3 automobile accident in Nashville.
Brewer, friend of the old and young, the black and white, the rich and poor, was, until his death, the living example of a person who walked daily, hand-in-hand, with God. He will always be remembered for his inspiration to all of the congregation, the brotherhood, and Christians around the world.
Survivors included his wife, Mrs. Robbie Dearing Brewer; sons, Schumann Arden Brewer, William Dean Brewer, Charles Ward Brewer, Beryl Caldwell Brewer, Sterling Newman Brewer and Robert Manson Brewer; one daughter, Neika Marie Brewer Williams. Brewer also had two well-known and great men as brothers, Grover Cleveland Brewer and Robert Larimore Brewer, both deceased.
Funeral service was held at the Madison Church of Christ. Ira North, one of the regular ministers, Burton Coffman from New York City, Clyde Hale and Charles Chumley officiated.
Three thousand persons packed the main auditorium of the Madison Church of Christ on the night of January 6, 1971, to pay their last respects to Brewer, associate minister for two and one-half years at the Madison church. Burial was in the Woodlawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Nashville. We salute his memory and rejoice in the great faith in which he lived and the glorious hope in which he fell asleep.
-Bio. Sketch from, In Memoriam, Gussie Lambert, 6145 Galyn Dr., Shreveport, LA 71105; c.1988; pages 32,33
My Friend, Charles R. Brewer
"His life was gentle and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, 'This was a man"'
On January 4, 8:50 P.M. in the Nashville Memorial hospital, the quiet and gentle spirit of Charles R. Brewer, left a pain racked body to be at home with the Lord. Memorial services were conducted in the auditorium of the Madison Church of Christ on January 6. At least 3,500 grief-stricken admirers assembled to pay respect to the life of this great man of God. Prior to the funeral services more than 1,000 visited the funeral home. Stalwart men openly wept as they gazed upon his body. Brother Brewer was in an automobile accident on December 3. He knew and understood that he was critically injured and was fully conscious until a short time before he peacefully breathed his last. During the entire time, as he was fighting for his life, he never complained but charmed his doctors and nurses as he talked about the Bible. On the Sunday, preceding his death on Monday, he spoke to Ira North and expressed his desire to recover if he could be of service to the church and requested the prayers of the church to this end, but if not the Lord's will for him to get well, that he was ready to go and be with his Lord.
Even though death is all around us ofttimes we are never ready to accept it. This is particularly true to those whom we love. B. C. Goodpasture stated that in a way to him, it seemed that Brother Brewer had left town for a preaching appointment. As I write these lines I am conscious that I never fully appreciated Charles Brewer. I regret that I did not express to him, while he was with us, what he meant to me and his friends. His death has left thousands, many of whom are, his former students, sad and lonely. We shall miss his friendly smile and his wholesome humor. We shall miss his counsel and wise advice. We shall miss his deep bass voice. And yet, should it not be a time of rejoicing! His departure and his presence with Christ, are far better. "This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith." I feel that the church needed him as he was at the peak of his ability and influence as a gospel preacher. The Nashville School of Preaching needed him to serve as president and teacher of Greek and Bible. His family needed him. I am confident that he is better off where he is, but
that we would all be better off had he remained with us. We must all say, God's will be done." For a number of years it was my privilege to have been closely associated with him. Brother Brewer and I were married to sisters. I feel that I have sustained a personal loss which cannot be supplied. To me he was one of the greatest Christians I have ever known. His beloved wife, Robbie, and the seven children who mourn his passing, will continue to be blessed by the godly influence and rich heritage he left them. I shall continue to love them, almost as my own family.
Brother Brewer was highly educated. He had attended some of the larger Colleges and Universities of our land. He was a scholar in the field of literature and languages. While he could hold the attention of an audience by his readings and recitations, he relied solely upon the word of God in his preaching. He considered the education he received as a student in the old Nashville Bible School far superior. He sat at the feet of the great Lipscomb and Harding. He was an avid student of the Bible. Many preachers quit studying after reaching a certain age. Not so with Charles R. Brewer. He kept abreast of current events and could discuss almost any subject with intelligence. Even after his death, some books were delivered to his address. He was anchor man of the popular Nashville TV program, Know Your Bible. Ira North, the moderator of this program, would ofttimes present to him a difficult Bible question, and he would come forth with the correct answer. Brother North stated many times that: "There sits a man with more Bible between two ears than any man I have ever known." He had a way in teaching children the Bible, that few possessed. One of the members of the Madison church in a Nashville newspaper, referred to him as "The Pied Piper of Madison." He was baptized at the tender age of twelve by George Klingman during a gospel meeting at Mar's Hill, Alabama. Brother Brewer was a great admirer of the great T. B. Larimore. He would travel by buggy or on horseback to attend meetings where Brother Larimore was preaching. He considered Larimore the greatest preacher he had ever known. He thought of his deceased brother, G. C. Brewer, as having one of the most fertile minds, of any man.
"Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day." In concluding this article of appreciation, I list the following reasons why Brother Brewer was a great man: His abiding faith in the providence of God. He believed that his Heavenly Father was personally concerned with his children and that the steps of a good man were ordered by the Lord. He developed a deep sense of humility. This meekness caused him to have a personality that was magnetic and dynamic. Brewer believed that his body was made to be a holy temple. Even though he was in his eighty-first year he had a body comparable to a fifty year old man. He never used tobacco in any form. He was never a patient in any hospital until his fatal accident which took his life. His doctors were amazed at his stamina. Goodbye, Brother Brewer, we hope to meet you in a world free from sin and pain, where the wicked, cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.
When'er I see my printed name
And hear the praise they give me,
The man I am bows down in shame
Before the man I long to be
When in my casket I shall lie
At the long journey's end,
I hope each one who passes by
Can say, "He was my friend."
(Poem composed by Charles R. Brewer and read at his funeral services.)
-H. Clyde Hale, Gospel Advocate, March 18, 1971, Vol. CXIII, Number 11 pages 162, 168,169
CHARLES R. BREWER
Delivered at Madison Church of Christ, Madison, Tennessee, January 7, 1971, on the occasion of Charles R. Brewer's funeral service attended by an audience of three thousand.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"-(Isa. 52. 7.)
Beautiful is a word used very sparingly in the sacred Scriptures, but in this text is found its appropriate application as a descriptive adjective of the faithful preacher of the gospel of Christ; and this evening we seize upon this verse of the Bible as a fitting epitaph and memorial for our beloved Charles R. Brewer. How beautiful! They are not the "beautiful people" who are sometimes hailed as such in the public media; but all such as Brother Brewer was they are the truly beautiful.
The beauty in the life of the dear departed was evidenced in his golden voice. John the Baptist, the great herald of the gospel age was denominated as "A Voice"; and it is not amiss to characterize Brother Brewer as "A Voice," a voice of love in a world of hatred, a voice of faith in a world of doubt, a voice of understanding in a world of confusion, a voice of tenderness in a world of harshness. There was in Brother Brewer's voice an extraordinary quality of appeal and persuasiveness having that kind of beauty which, through history, has often marked and set apart the great leaders of mankind. Who of us who ever heard it can ever forget it as long as we live upon earth?
This beauty was evidenced by his strength, a strength which, according to the holy Scriptures, comes only from God and is the absolute prerequisite of the attainment of such an age as Brother Brewer reached. His beautiful strength, pertained to all categories of life. He was strong physically, intellectually, morally, and spiritually. How many men have any of us ever knowing whose career of service increased continually and without intermission to such an extent that upon his death at age eighty-one he was found at the very pinnacle and zenith of his influence and usefulness in life? Of him we may say as it was said of Moses that "His step was not abated, nor was his eye dimmed." it was my privilege to attend one of the last revival meetings he ever conducted, at East Main Street in Murfreesboro, only two or three months ago, where I sat enthralled and inspired by as marvelous a sermon as I ever heard.
The beauty of Brother Brewer's life was evidenced and is still visible in his family. He and his beloved Robbie received of the Lord six sons and one daughter. All of these, together with twenty-five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, rise up this day to call their parents "Blessed," even as promised in the Word of God. What a great inheritance these beloved have all received; and what a testimonial all of them are to the true and unequalled glory of a Christian home and family! There is only one word for such a family as the Brewer family; beautiful!
This beauty was evidenced by the quality of friendships that Brother Brewer formed. It was my privilege to enroll in his classes in the fall of 1923; and during the intervening forty-seven years, never one instant from that day to this, has there ever been a single moment that I did not think of him as a true and devoted friend; and I am only one of countless thousands who can testify to the remarkable magnetism that he had for every person who really knew him. He was a friend who cared and understood when others might have blamed, who encouraged when others might have criticized, who believed when some would have doubted; and, somehow, he always communicated the message that he desired for me, and for every other friend, more than anything else on earth, that we should, above all else, remain true and faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.
This beauty was evidenced by his faith in Christ. To this vast throng which tonight hails the memory and honors the dust of this immortal preacher of Christ, let me say that your similar faith and trust in the Lord are all that he desired for any of you. His faith was his fortune, as George Pepperdine loved to say; and what a fortune it was! Baptized at a tender age, his early and precocious alertness to spiritual truth, aided by a lifetime of prayer and study, Brother Brewer became a spiritual giant, one of God's own men, one of the most scholarly and eloquent preachers who ever lived.
The beauty of this great preacher's life was seen in his marvelous influence upon little children. With him, there was never any such thing as a generation gap. In his meeting in Murfreesboro, already referred to, over a hundred children came half an hour early every evening to hear the stories that he told especially for them; and the genius of those homespun parables for little children reminder one, by their charm, of Hans Christian Andersen. I have here in my hand a poem written by one of his sons (Sterling) which catches some of the mystery of that marvelous influence on children it concludes with the words, "Goodnight, Mr. Daylight; see you in the morning!" "Thus, at twilight, he frequently told the daylight goodbye.
The beauty of Brother Brewer's life was seen especially in his humility. Where was all that conceit that such abilities as he had might have produced? It was simply not there. A great celebration was made honoring his eightieth birthday; and when told where it was to be held, he said, "O, that place is far too big!" And when advised that the tickets would cost $5.00, he said, "Well, there won't anybody come!" His humility and meekness were indeed saintly.
This beauty was seen even in his death; and here indeed is a paradox. How can the ultimate ugliness be hailed as beauty; how can there be anything beautiful about the final confrontation with the King of Terrors, death itself? Once more we have recourse to the Holy Bible which declares, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord"; and "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints"; and, therefore we are in the perimeter of Biblical teaching when we discern the beauty of a Christian life in the prospect of death. Brother Brewer never lost his sense of humor in those long weeks of illness and pain following the automobile accident which proved fatal at the end. His daughter, Nika, wrote me of some of his humorous observations regarding his own pitiful condition. Only the child of God can smile at the destruction of his own body. Moreover, he thought continually of others during his last illness. When one of his former students, now the president of one of our great colleges, was about to offer prayer at his bedside, Brother Brewer said, "Now remember that if I can again be useful to my family and to the church, I want to get well; and we want to include that in our prayer." Even this funeral is beautiful. Whenever before have you ever seen four thousand people gathered together to honor a preacher of the gospel? The floral offerings, the contributions to the B. C. Goodpasture School, the telegram from the Governor, the Lipscomb Singers, and the assembled thousands have unconsciously wrought a marvelous tribute to the simple but glorious beauty of Brother Brewer's life; and one cannot resist the conclusion that such an occasion as this will help to further the cause of Christ; and how Brother Brewer would have rejoiced at that if he could have forseen it.
Can it be said of any hour of his eventful life that "This was his finest hour?" Perhaps not. We could think of that hour when he obeyed the gospel of Christ, or that hour when he and his beautiful and beloved Robbie stood as a bride and groom, or of that hour when he held his firstborn in his arms, or of countless other good moments in his beautiful life; but surely one of his finest hours was that one which brought his decision to come to Madison Church of Christ to work with Dr. Ira North and this great congregation, perhaps one of the very greatest on earth, and a church so uniquely qualified to crown his final years with that love and honor Brother Brewer has so richly deserved for so many years, and to glorify with Christian affection and appreciation this climax and termination of his fantastically successful and beautiful life.
-Burton Coffman, Gospel Advocate, March 18, 1971, Vol. CXIII, Number 11 pages 165-167
1931 Issue Of The Gospel Advocate - Charles R. Brewer
1971 Issue Of The Gospel Advocate - Charles R. Brewer
Directions To Grave
Directions: Woodlawn Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee, is located behind the 100 Oaks Shopping Center that faces I-65 just south of the I-440 Interchange. From 100 Oaks travel east on Thompson Lane and turn right at the first entrance to Woodlawn's South Side Park (across from main part of cemetery). Take the first left and road bears around to the right. Look for the tree on the right hand side. Between the drive and the tree is Goodpasture's grave. Just past Goodpasture, nearer the tree is the Ward plot where Brewer and his wife are buried.
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Robbie Dearing Ward
Aug. 2, 1895
Feb. 14, 1991