Rev. Verlyn David Verbrugge—pastor, editor, New Testament scholar, author, husband, father, and grandfather—died on June 21 following a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 72 years old.
Verbrugge graduated with a master of theology degree from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1968. A couple of decades later, he completed a doctorate degree from the University of Notre Dame. Verbrugge pastored three churches: Leighton (Iowa) Christian Reformed Church; Southern Heights CRC in Kalamazoo, Mich.; and the Woodland Drive-In church in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“Brilliant” and “humble” were two words used in the same sentence by many at Verbrugge’s Celebration of Life service. In his roles as pastor and as senior editor at Zondervan, where he edited over 700 books and resources, Verbrugge was passionate about teaching others. His most recent book, which he coauthored, was Paul & Money: A Biblical and Theological Analysis of the Apostle’s Teachings and Practices. It was released just two days after Verbrugge died.
Verbrugge’s children will always remember him as a reliable, predictable, nonjudgmental, and unconditionally supportive parent. He lived out his love for Jesus and the Christian values he professed. One of his children said, “These are the values that Dad passed on to us, and these are the values that we are now passing on to our children, our students, our coworkers and our employees.”
Verbrugge’s death is a great loss for family, friends, publishing colleagues, and the academic community, as well as numerous pastors and leaders around the world whose lives he shaped.
Verbrugge is survived by his wife, Lori, and his five children and their families: John and Sherrill Verbrugge, Dorothy Verbrugge, Theo and Melissa Verbrugge, Maria Verbrugge, Sarah and Tad Tafelsky, and three grandsons. All were a part of his life in his final months and all are at peace knowing that he is now healed and whole.