By Bob Allen
Julian H. Pentecost, longtime editor of the Religious Herald and a founding director of Associated Baptist Press, died May 31 at 87.
A former pastor, Pentecost served as editor of the Baptist General Association of Virginia’s news journal from 1970 till 1992, a tumultuous time in Southern Baptist life. He earned a reputation as a fierce defender of the freedom to interpret Scripture during a time when many were trying to limit the scope of orthodoxy in the nation’s second-largest faith group.
A graduate of University of Richmond, Pentecost earned both master’s and doctor’s degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He served in leadership positions including boards of trustees for Southern Seminary and both of the Southern Baptist Convention’s mission boards.
After retiring from the newspaper he served as interim pastor of several churches until his activities were curtailed after the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary, who died in November. Survivors include a son, Julian “Buck” Pentecost Jr. of Richmond, Va.; two daughters, Anne Considine of Narragansett, R.I., and Nancy Siska of Minneapolis; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A funeral service was held June 4 at River Road Church, Baptist, in Richmond, where Pentecost was a member at the time of his death.