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Jimmy Allen, nationally known gospel preacher and Harding Bible professor, dies at 90

His gospel meetings across the nation led to thousands of baptisms.

Jimmy Allen, a nationally known gospel preacher and Bible professor at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., for a half-century, died early today. He was 90.

Jimmy Allen

“Please keep his family in your prayers,” the College Church of Christ in Searcy said on its Facebook page.

In a 2010 interview with The Christian Chronicle, Allen, then 79, estimated he had conducted about 1,400 gospel meetings, resulting in 40,000 to 50,000 responses and at least 10,000 baptisms.

Allen, a 1952 Harding graduate, was perhaps best known for his 50 citywide preaching campaigns to tens of thousands in civic centers, coliseums and sports stadiums across the nation during the 1960s and 70s. During one 10-day meeting in Memphis, Tenn., in 1965, Allen said, 270 people were baptized.

“From the day I became a Christian at Harding, I knew (the Gospel) was too good for me to keep my mouth shut,” Allen told the Chronicle. “I’ve shared the Gospel wherever I go — with hitchhikers, in a restaurant, on an airplane. Seems to me like this is what Christians are supposed to be doing.”

In 1968, Allen was one of more than 40 prominent Black and White ministers who gathered in Atlanta to discuss ways to improve race relations in Churches of Christ.

When the Chronicle reported on the 50th anniversary of that meeting in 2018, Allen’s son-in-law Jeff Payne, senior minister for the Saturn Road Church of Christ in Garland, Texas, said that Allen had dementia and was living in Dallas.

“I do remember talking with him about the meeting in Atlanta,” Payne said. “It was a bold effort that attempted to plant much-needed seeds of racial equality. …  He would have loved talking with you about this historical event.”


A memorial service is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, in the College church auditorium.

This is a breaking news report. Check back for updates.

Filed under: Harding University Jimmy Allen Obituaries Top Stories

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