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Jimmy Allen not done preaching the Gospel

To many, the name Jimmy Allen is almost synonymous with the word “evangelist.”  
In his long preaching career, he estimates he has conducted about 1,400 gospel meetings, with 40,000 to 50,000 responses and at least 10,000 baptisms.
Allen, who was baptized while studying at Harding College in Searcy, Ark., is 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 said. “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.”
Last spring, Allen, 79, reached another milestone, retiring from teaching Bible at Harding University after 50 years. His favorite class was Romans, which he taught more than 40 times. Still, he said he re-studied the book each time he taught it.
“I would rather teach Romans than eat when I’m hungry,” he said, “and I love to eat.”
Friends say Allen’s influence will live on through his 13 books and in the lives of thousands of Harding students who took his classes.
Among those students was Monte Cox, who later served as a missionary to the African nation of Kenya and now is dean of Harding’s College of Bible and Religion. Cox took classes on Romans and the history of the Restoration Movement from Allen in the late 1970s.
“We learned about salvation through grace from him,” Cox said. “He was convicted that we are saved by grace through faith, and that was revolutionary for a whole generation of us.”
Cox called Allen “a man of courage and conviction” and a “bold spokesman for non-sectarian Christianity.”
The professor also was outspoken about civil rights and racial discrimination.
Another former student and later faculty colleague, Jerry Jones of St. Charles, Mo., believes Allen will be remembered for the “passion, intensity and urgency with which he preached the Gospel.”
Allen grew up during the Great Depression — spending  his formative years in the grinding poverty of the 1930s in tiny Grand Glaize, Ark. His early years were lean ones — filled with deprivation and disappointment.
He never knew much about his father, a local politician, who was married — but not to his mother. His mother and grandmother invented the surname “Allen” for him.
Gertrude Elizabeth Tucker, his mother, eked out their hard-scrabble life working in the fields and later as a stenographer wherever she could.
Despite his mother’s devotion, Allen said he always sensed there was “something wrong” with him.
“All the other kids had fathers, but I had none,” Allen said, “and when I learned I was illegitimate, feelings of anger and inferiority were stamped on my soul.”
After his mother was killed in a train wreck in 1941, Allen moved in with his 74-year-old grandmother in Grand Glaize. He worked in the cotton and strawberry fields, where he earned what he could to boost his grandmother’s $48-per-month subsistence income.
In public school, Allen discovered something that was to change the tenor of his life and become a life-long passion — athletics. Fortunately, he found that he could excel at school sports, earning status and recognition among his peers. 
Later, with the exception of volleyball, he played every sport on the Harding campus both as a student and later on the faculty intramural team for many years. For 40 years, he played alongside his boss and neighbor, Clifton Ganus Jr., then president of the university.
“Jimmy is a very good competitor and athlete in all sports,” Ganus said. “He plays basketball like he preaches — hard! And he puts everything he has into it.”
Today, Allen serves as interim preacher for the church in Delight, Ark., and plans to continue hosting gospel meetings. 
“I’m still trying to convict people of sin and show them the Christ,” he said.

  • Feedback
    I remember Jimmy back in 70s when he held a meeting in Nashville that was aired on tv nationwide campaign. I remember his message at the Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop several years ago on subject of when will Lord return, one of the best sermons I have ever heard. I didn’t realize that after I heard him preach in Nashville in mid 70s that I would one day be in one of his classes at Harding. it was a great experience to be in his class and learn more about how to serve our Lord and Master. I am just thankful that I got to know Jimmy and thankful for his service to God in all his efforts to bring many souls to Christ. thank you Jimmy.
    robert thurman
    butler’s landing church of Christ
    celina, tn
    May, 20 2013

    I’m so impressed to the brethren like Bros. Jimmy & Jerry for their Godly brave to fight the truth.I loved to repeat watching their debate videos about baptism. May God Bless you more.
    Martrese Lagadan
    Church of Christ-Poblacion, Quirino, Ilocos Sur
    Quirino, Ilocos Sur
    February, 5 2013

    Many preachers today need to hear Jimmy preach. Oftern preached sermons are often drawn out and vague, but with Jimmy the entire sermon is a plea for repentance and righteous living with no insinuations or hints at sin, but calling out and pointing at sin in today’s world and letting listeners know what it is and how important it is to avoid.
    James Falwell
    Geyer Springs
    Little Rock, AR
    November, 14 2012

    In 1969 my late wife was a student at Harding College. due to teachings by Jimmy Allen she was immersed into that glorious Body of Christ. on nov 10, 2010 she and I were traveling in our car, when a deer went through her side of the windshield, killing her instantly. I am thankful to have been married to her for 39 years. when she attended Harding her name was Ardith Cardwell. She now, like Lazarus, awaits eternity in paradise.
    Bob Harper
    Betsy Layne, Ky
    Harold, Ky
    April, 19 2012

    God bless brother,s somedaywill be in heaven jimmy allen ,and jerry jones great job. ive also tried to help people come to the christ.but they say they dont need to be baptize, thats like a slap to our Lord and Saviour Jesus christ.i pray for all the saints everyday,may God have mercy on those who refuse his word
    jose lopez
    palm desert chuch of christ
    palm desert, california
    March, 13 2012

    Jimmy Allen has been a source of encouragement to my entire family over the years. Marilyn has also encouraged many by teaching children’s classes, ladies, and ultimately has been a source of encouragement to her husband to give him the ability to travel and teach as he was needed across the country. Jimmy and Marilyn Allen and their whole family have given us so much.
    Betty Albright
    TriCounty NEO
    Alliance, OH
    March, 5 2012

    Jimmy and Jerry Jones had the background and “stuff” to capably deal with those two deceitful denominational preachers denying that baptism was for the forgiveness of sins…did an excellent job defending the truth…We had Jimmy come to Austin, Texas in either 1967,68, for a citywide gospel campaign, held in the big civic auditorium…He put his all into preaching the gospel each night…Commendations to a life for Christ………
    Leo Schumpert
    Plano, Tx
    January, 27 2012

    I’ve watched Dr. Jimmy Allen in a debate with the Baptists on youtube.com. He was with Dr. Jerry Jones, his long-time friend. I was impressed and encouraged with what he was saying about baptism. His arguments were very good and was really the truth about baptism.
    Denn Reed B. Tuvera, Jr.
    Imus Church of Christ
    Bacoor, Cavite
    December, 17 2010

    Jimmy Allen was one of my professors at Harding’s School of Biblical Studies (now called “Center for Advanced Ministry Training) in the late 90’s. He influenced my thinking more than any other professor. All the best to him as he continues to preach the word.
    Adam Gonnerman
    In Transition
    Kearny, NJ
    February, 14 2010

    Dr. Allen taught my dad Romans in the 70s, and me in 2006. I feel blessed to have been part of one of his classes before his retirement. Salvation isn’t something we can earn; Jesus paid it all! What a freeing message!
    Wes Woodell
    Lake Merced Church of Christ
    San Francisco, CA
    February, 11 2010

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