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Southern Evangelical Seminary Mourns Passing of ‘Father of Intelligent Design’ Phillip E. Johnson

November 5, 2019

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Phillip E. Johnson, often called the father of the contemporary intelligent design movement, passed away Nov. 2, 2019, at the age of 79. He had a strong history with Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

SES President Dr. Richard Land said today that Christendom has lost a great saint in the faith with the home-going of Dr. Johnson.

“Dr. Johnson, an erudite scholar and graduate of Harvard and of the University of Chicago Law School, was an adult convert to the Christian faith, becoming a Christian at 38 while a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley,” Land said. “His keen mind led him to reject Darwinism and become one of the most important founders of the intelligent design movement.

“SES has long had a special connection with Dr. Johnson,” Land added. “He greatly admired our co-founder, Dr. Norman Geisler. He also donated to SES many of the books on science he used while researching his important and ground-breaking book ‘Darwin on Trial,’ and they are now housed in the Phillip E. Johnson Collection here in Charlotte. SES recognized Dr. Johnson by naming our Chair of Science and Culture in his honor. I was greatly honored to be the recipient of the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010, following the previous recipients, being Dr. Johnson himself, Anthony Flew and Ben Stein.

“All Christians owe a great debt to Dr. Johnson for the incisive and effective, yet kind and courtly, way in which he confronted and defeated the ‘Darwinian Dragon.’” 

Over his career, Johnson was at the forefront of the public debate over evolution and creation. A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Law School, he taught law for more than 30 years at the University of California, Berkeley. “Darwin on Trial” has sold more than 250,000 copies and has been translated into French, Polish, Chinese and Korean. Johnson’s arguments proved captivating for many young scientists and other scholars who gathered around Johnson and developed the theory of intelligent design. He was also the author of “Reason in the Balance,” “The Wedge of Truth,” “The Right Questions” and “Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds.”

View the media page for SES here. For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH.


For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or ext. 102.