Carl Brecheen, longtime ACU Bible professor and half of marriage seminar duo, dies at 90
Writing for ACU Today at Abilene Christian University in Texas, Cheryl Mann Bacon reports on the death of Carl Brecheen, a longtime Bible professor best known for marriage seminars he did nationwide with his best friend, Paul Faulkner.
ABILENE, Texas — Teams and teamwork personified the life, work and ministry of Dr. Carl Brecheen (’52), who died Dec. 19, 2019, in Abilene at age 90.
A memorial service for the beloved Abilene Christian University professor emeritus of Bible, missions and ministry will be Monday, Dec. 23, at 2 p.m. at University Church of Christ (733 E.N. 10th St., Abilene, Texas 79602), with a visitation at 10 a.m.
Starting in 1961 as an assistant professor of Bible and religious education, Brecheen retired from ACU in January 2007. For all of those 46 years he served as a professor of Bible and religious education, well known for his Family Relations course that packed Walling Lecture Hall every single semester until he moved to the Teague Lecture Hall in 1990 when the new Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building opened. The course is still in the university’s Catalog but no one else has ever taught it.
Brecheen directed ACU’s Bible Teachers Workshop from 1966 well into the ’90s, succeeding Dr. LeMoine Lewis (’36). In 1970 he took over leadership of Abilene Christian’s annual Bible Lectureship (now known as Summit) from Dr. J.D. Thomas. He directed Lectureship until 1993 during an era when up to 12,000 people annually flocked to Abilene for the four-day February event that included dozens of speakers, hundreds of classes and a long list of special events. A 1989 feature story in the Abilene Reporter-News was headlined, “Mr. Organization.” Brecheen, typical of his genuinely cheerful and humble outlook, downplayed his role, saying he just took what Thomas had created and fine-tuned it a bit here and there with the help of his secretary.
For most people, that would be enough – that and a private marriage and family counseling practice, and serving as an elder at the University Church of Christ where he was education director from 1961-74.
“Carl had the uncanny ability for organizing complex events, all the while appearing calm and happily engaged with those around him.”
“Carl had the uncanny ability for organizing complex events, all the while appearing calm and happily engaged with those around him,” said ACU provost Dr. Royce Money (’64). “He was among the best I have ever seen at that style of leadership.”
Brecheen’s broadest influence, however, began in 1974 when he partnered with his best friend and college roommate Dr. Paul Faulkner (’52) – now professor emeritus – taking their three-day Marriage Enrichment Seminar to more than 90,000 couples in 33 states and seven countries. Thousands more watched the Marriage Enrichment videos or read their book: What Every Family Needs: Whatever Happened to Mom, Dad & Kids?
“There is no way to measure the enormous influence of the Brecheen and Faulkner Marriage Enrichment Seminar series,” Money said. “For tens of thousands of couples, the weekend experience with Carl and Paul turned their marriages in a more godly relationship that re-shaped the direction of their life together.”