Essay Gardner Gardner Lecture Taylor Taylor Words Words

On one occasion, he was encouraged to run for Congress but backed away after due consideration, believing that he could make a greater difference in the lives of his people through his ministry of influence as their pastor. Eliot describes the art of learning how to use words well as “a raid on the inarticulate.” In this view, Gardner Taylor was one of the great pulpit pillagers of all time.Taylor understood his mission not as bringing the Kingdom of God on earth (the utopian goal of nineteenth-century liberalism), but rather as the prophetic task of “making straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3; John ). He understood that words not only convey meaning; they also embody reality.On occasion he would present to his congregation an entire sermon series focused on a particular passage or book of the Bible, such as his sermons on the Book of Revelation.

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There are words that caress, words that lash and cut, words that lift, and words that have a glow in them.”Taylor once described preaching as “the sweet torture of Sunday morning.” What was it like to hear a Gardner Taylor sermon in person?

Richard John Neuhaus, who served for many years as his pastoral colleague in Brooklyn, would sometimes visit Concord to hear the great proclaimer.

Aiming at first to be a lawyer—though no African American had ever been admitted to the Louisiana State Bar at that time—Taylor instead turned to the ministry in the wake of an automobile accident in which he was the driver and a white man was killed.

Remembering the lynchings he had witnessed and heard about as a youth, Taylor feared for his life.

Taylor, edited by Timothy George, James Earl Massey and Robert Smith, Jr.

My last personal visit with him was at the reception marking the release of the book, held at Duke Divinity School in order to accommodate his inability to travel (he was living in Raleigh, North Carolina in retirement).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. He is the founder and still serves as Executive Editor of , is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.n Easter Sunday afternoon, the Reverend Gardner Calvin Taylor, age ninety-six, slipped away from this world to a better one, for “a taller town than Rome and an older place than Eden,” as he was wont to refer to heaven.For forty-two years, from 1948 until his retirement in 1990, Taylor served as pastor of Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn.Under his leadership, the church grew into a congregation of some 14,000 members. to preach at Concord, and over the next sixteen years the two became close friends and collaborators in the Civil Rights movement.Even then, with his health on the decline, he was gracious, engaging, and exuberant in his love for preachers and preaching. In that 2010 article, I wrote: “A profound influence on the African-American pulpit, Gardner Taylor is a model of eloquence and passion in preaching.” He was the final pulpiteer of his generation; we called him “the last pulpit prince” in a 2014 profile in .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 stand on his broad shoulders. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching.“You could almost still hear the echo of hounds baying on the trail of runaway slaves,” he recalled.Such stories shaped Taylor’s view of the world and gave him a social conscience that would inform his life’s work.“Prophetic preaching arises out of the Scriptures,” he said.“Moralizing is self-generated and arises from social mores or personal predilections.” Taylor preached not only the Bible.

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