It could not have happened on a more appropriate day.
Gardner C. Taylor, a giant of the American pulpit, passed away on Easter Sunday at the age of 89.
Taylor served from 1948 to 1990 as senior pastor of Brooklyn's Concord Baptist Church of Christ. In 1979, Time magazine called him the “dean of the nation’s Black preachers,” and Baylor University included him in its 1996 list of the 12 most effective preachers in the English-speaking world. In 2010, Preaching magazine proposed the 25 most influential preachers of the past 25 years, and Taylor was listed at number four on that list.
In 1993, I had my first opportunity to meet Dr. Taylor, conducting an interview that would appear in the January-February 1994 issue of Preaching magazine. He became a contributing editor and spoke for us at the National Conference on Preaching and other events.
Through the years, I was blessed to have the opportunity to visit with him from time to time, and in 2010 was honored to be invited to write a chapter for Our Sufficiency Is of God, a book comprised of essays written in honor of Dr. Taylor. My last personal visit with him was at the reception marking the release of the book; even then, with his declining health, he was gracious, engaging and exuberant in his love for preachers and preaching.
Gardner C. Taylor is a model of eloquence and passion in preaching. He not only faithfully preached the Word to his own congregation for many years, but he profoundly influenced more than one generation of preachers who now stand on his broad shoulders.
Even as he lays down his mantle and moves into the other side of eternity, may he inspire ever new generations of preachers to preach the Word boldly and faithfully.
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