Dr. Phil Johnson

Phil Johnson
Dr. Phil Johnson B.S., Th.M., MSLIS., PH.D.
  • Associate Professor of Church History, Theological Research
  • Library Director



B.S.- Seattle Pacific University; Th.M.- Dallas Theological Seminary; MSLIS.- University of North Texas; PH.D.- University of Texas at Dallas

Favorite Quote

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” –Bilbo from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Where I come from

I was born in Philadelphia while my father was in seminary. My parents moved to Wisconsin, then Indiana, then Connecticut, and then Washington State as my father pastored small churches in the CBA.

My faith story

Although I regularly heard the gospel as a young child, I was not ready to receive the Lord until around age 7 when I heard Billy Graham on television as he spoke from a crusade in New York. That evening as I went to bed I asked my father how to receive Jesus. He told me to just ask. So after the door was closed I did just that. My next thought was that nothing happened so that maybe I did it wrong. I tried again with similar results. As I thought this through, I realized that it wasn’t how I felt that was important, but what I believed about Jesus’ invitation and my response to it. I was then at peace knowing that my salvation was now assured by His promise.

Why I teach at Multnomah

I teach at Multnomah as a wonderful benefit of being the Library Director. I love building the library collection and creating a comfortable environment for study and research. I also thrive in a classroom environment teaching American History classes for the college, Church History classes for the Seminary and DCP, and Bible classes where needed.

Current ministry outside of class

I regularly join my wife in singing the great hymns of the faith in our choir at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. I also do pulpit supply as the opportunity comes my way.

Education and research

As a professional historian (as well as a librarian) I am especially interested in 19th century American history. At this time I am pursuing two lines of research. I investigating the beliefs of 19th-century evangelical men as they wrestled with the changing roles of men and women in that century. I am also studying the interplay of missions, manifest destiny and the history of Hawaii.

People who inspire me

Two key faculty members from Dallas Theological Seminary: Dr. Elliott E. Johnson (not a relative) and Dr. John D. Hannah.

Favorite Psalm and book in the Bible

My favorite psalm is Psalm 121. My favorite book of the Bible is Ruth.

Extra-curricular, non-ministry activities

I play long-distance Xbox games with my son who lives in Dallas, TX; I spend winters doing Charles Wysocki puzzles; I read mysteries and watch British comedy.

My family

I've been married to Debbie since 1973; I have two children and three grandchildren.