ATLANTA (ABP) — Influential preacher and theologian John Claypool died Saturday, Sept. 3, at a hospital in Atlanta, where he was a visiting professor of preaching at Mercer University's McAfee School of Theology.
The 74-year-old Kentucky native died at Dekalb Medical Center in Decatur of complications from treatment for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. A former Baptist pastor, Claypool became an Episcopal priest in 1986. He served as rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Ala., for nearly 14 years before retiring in 2000.
He was pastor or associate pastor of seven Baptist churches, including First Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga.; Crescent Hill Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky.; Broadway Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas; Northminster Baptist Church, Jackson, Miss.; and Second Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas.
Claypool was a graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. He authored 11 books, including God is an Amateur, Tracks of a Fellow Struggler, Mending the Heart, and Stories Jesus Still Tells: The Parables. He delivered the prestigious Lyman Beecher Lectures in Preaching at Yale University in 1978.
“John Claypool touched our souls,” said Kirby Godsey, president of Mercer. “Amidst our wounds and our triumphs, his voice became for us the voice of God. … He will continue to walk among us, giving light to our steps, wisdom for our hearts, and hope to our souls. John Claypool's life and presence and teaching were profound and enduring gifts to the entire Mercer University community.”
His funeral will be held at St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 11 a.m. Sept. 9.
Claypool is survived by his wife, Ann Wilkinson Scheyd Claypool; a son, John Rowan Claypool V; one grandson, John Rowan Claypool VI; and two step-children, Laura Crawford Williams and Charles Tarleton Williams III.