With the death of Dr. David Edwin Harrell, Jr. in March, scholars of American Christianity and the Stone-Campbell Movement lost a perceptive historian and analyst, and church members across the world lost a talented writer and evangelist.
Harrell’s work in the social history of the Disciples of Christ broke new ground and remains a go-to source for continuing analysis. His biographical studies of major evangelical leaders Oral Roberts and Pat Robertson, along with thematic studies of Pentecostalism, race and class, Southern history, and the role of religion in American history set equally high benchmarks for critical sympathy and clear insight into the formative power of deeply-held religious conviction. His deep engagement with the church remained a focal point throughout his life and career, and is a model of faithfulness.
Dr. Harrell was a friend and encourager of historians and archivists, and was honored as 2017 Friend of the Year by Friends of ACU Library in recognition of the gift of his personal and professional papers to ACU’s Center for Restoration Studies, which we steward so that future generations may continue to engage with his work and the insights he brought to bear on our past.