The Life And Preaching Of James David Grey -- By: Scott Moody

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 14:2 (Fall 2017)
Article: The Life And Preaching Of James David Grey
Author: Scott Moody

The Life And Preaching Of James David Grey

Scott Moody

Scott Moody is assistant professor of preaching at Luther Rice College and Seminary in Lithonia, Georgia.

Which way does the wind blow? With seasonal storms of disease, the humidity of indifference and lack of education, the dry days of loneliness, and the restlessness of a new city [being born], those who came first to tell the Baptist story and to read the Bible to the people in New Orleans dealt courageously and sometimes won. The climate for Protestant and Baptist messages was not good, but the need was great.1

The “winds” of J. D. Grey’s ministry rustled the city of New Orleans for almost four decades. He served as pastor of First Baptist Church New Orleans from May 1, 1937, until December 1972. During his tenure as pastor of the church, Grey had the distinction of becoming the youngest man ever elected (at that time) to serve as president of the Southern Baptist Convention (1952–53). Who is this man who received the call to pastor one of the leading churches of the convention and was elected to its highest office?

This paper will examine the life and ministry of James David Grey. Particular attention will be given to the pastorates, convention involvement, and prophetic preaching of J. D. Grey.

Biographical Sketch

James David Grey2 was born in the western Kentucky town of Princeton on December 18, 1906. Shortly after his birth, his parents relocated to Paducah, Kentucky, and joined the Second Baptist Church. At twelve years of age, Grey heard Dr. John W. P. Givens preach on

the penitent thief in a revival service and made his profession of faith in Jesus Christ.3 A half dozen years later, Grey preached his first sermon in the same church, having accepted a call to preach the gospel.4 Upon graduation from high school, Grey entered Union University and studied under Dr. I. N. Penick, professor of Bible. Routh writes, “Dr. Grey can remember now hearing Dr. Penick say time and time again, speaking of the Bible, ‘Brethren, whet your Jerusalem blade and go down to battle.’”5

Grey graduated from Union in 1929 and enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned the Master of Theology degree in 1932.6


Grey began his pastorates in...

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