Fred Craddock: Beloved Preacher Dies At Age 86

Christianity

Beloved preacher Fred Craddock has died at the age of 86. Although his cause of death was not disclosed, Craddock suffered with Parkinson’s disease, and his health had recently declined. The Blue Ridge, Georgia, resident was a humble man, but he was known as one of the most influential preachers in the world.

Often referred to as a “preaching genius,” Rev. Fred Craddock was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He was specifically well-known for developing a unique, and effective, approach to preaching.

As reported by CNN, Christian sermons are traditionally “deductive,” and consist of three parts. Each sermon begins with an introduction of the topic. The preacher then uses Bible passages and anecdotes to support the stated topic. The sermon concludes with a summary of the points and how they relate to the main topic.

Rev. Fred Craddock tried the traditional approach. However, he eventually realized he could reach more people with a non-traditional approach.

Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor discussed the preacher’s unique style in her book The Collected Sermons of Fred B. Craddock.

“He assumes from the start that we are capable of attending to the text… dealing with open-ended stories, and drawing our own conclusions. He does not tell us what he is going to tell us, and then tell us what he told us.”

Craddock often incorporated personal stories, and even jokes, into his sermons. Although the sermons lacked a formal structure, the beloved preacher made a lasting impression on his parishioners and his students.

Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, who previously worked as a secretary, said Craddock’s sermons inspired her to become a preacher.

“He simply spoke of the gospel so compellingly that I wanted know more — about the way of life he was describing, about why his words struck me with such force and about how I could learn to use language that way, too.”

Throughout his career, Rev. Fred Craddock taught at the Chandler School of Theology and served as Executive Director of the Craddock Center. He also wrote numerous books about preaching and theology in general.

The beloved preacher will be remembered for his compassion, humility, and wisdom. As reported by United Methodist Reporter, Rev. Fred Craddock’s funeral will be at the Cherry Log Christian Church on Monday March 9, at 2:00 p.m.

[Image via Shutterstock]