Michael Browder, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Church History

Michael H. Browder is a church and religion historian, a missions specialist and a veteran pastor.  His research has reached across cultures both locally and internationally.  Dr. Browder’s dissertation, Al-Biruni and Manichaeism, examines the Muslim Arabic sources which provide information about Mani’s religion.  Not only was Manichaeism a heresy that infiltrated Christianity, it was a missionary world religion that spread across Central Asia interacting with both Islam and Buddhism.  The author’s book, Our Muslim Neighbors, outlining the relationship between Islam and Evangelical Christianity, was accepted for publication.

Dr. Browder’s linguistic studies focused on Semitic languages at Harvard and Hamitic languages during the Th.M.  His article in Manichaen Studies deciphered an Arabic clue to Mani’s Gospel, and he published a Coptic translation of Manichaean ascetic theology in Ascetic Behavior in Greco-Roman Antiquity. He participated in the archeological dig at Caesarea Maritima.

Speaking several languages, he has served as a volunteer in mission work in nearly every part of the globe, primarily training pastors in regions where there is no formal theological education.  For seven years, he served on the faculty of the Belize Baptist Pastors’ School, teaching Church History, World Religions, Old and New Testament, and Theology.  During the past thirty years, he has been a speaker in the World Methodist Evangelism Institute, which has published his article, “John Wesley as a Model for Evangelism,” in Spanish, French and Russian. He has spent more than ten years teaching in the Virginia Conference Lay Speakers Institute, where his Overview of the Bible has been distributed to hundreds of students.  He has taught “World Religions” and “Christian Sects and Cults” to Virginia Union undergraduates.

His recent research has focused on the earliest Methodist revivals in Virginia.  He presented the 2015 Annual Lecturer for the Virginia Conference Historical Society, “Francis Asbury and the Great Awakenings.” He presented the 2016 Dromgoole Society Anniversary Lecture: “The Beginnings of the ‘Old Brunswick Circuit.’” Forthcoming are the 2017 Annual Historical Lecture for the Virginia Episcopal Diocese,“The Rev. Devereux Jarratt,” and “The German Origins United Methodism” in Heritage.

Rev. Browder served as a United Methodist pastor for more than forty years. He was a co-founder of the Prince Edward Dialogue for Racial Reconciliation. He has served on the boards of the Society of St. Andrew and Stop Hunger Now.


A.B., Duke University
Th.M., Duke University
M.Div., Harvard University
Ph.D., Duke University