The John Rowan Claypool Sermon Collection is located at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives. The collection consists of sermons of John Rowan Claypool, IV, in his role as pastor from 1962 to 1981. While most of the sermons are those of Claypool, the collection does include the sermons of other ministers who preached at his church in his absence. The collection includes sermons by Mahan Siler, Jr., Wayne E. Ward, Wayne E. Oates, Frank Stagg, Robert E. Lively, Jr., Fred D. Linkenhoker, Walter Delamarter, Charles E. Boddie, William E. Hull, G. Temp Sparkman, Bill Gaventa, Jr., Howard Hove, Fred Taylor, William Amos, Robert V. Myers, Rob Shipley, Hugo Culpepper, Thomas L. Budesheim, Larry McSwain, John D. W. Watts, Eric C. Rust, Monty Knight, Bill Amos, Mark C. Fowler, Roy E. DeBrand, William H. Gibson, John Paul Carter, Franklin M. Segler, Jim Wideman, and Dan McGee. The topics cover a wide range of subjects but illustrate Claypool’s concern for family and marriage issues and trusting God through the various stages of life. Other prominent sermon topics include repentance, believing in God, faith, prayer, and eternal life. Sermons related to Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are common in the collection. The collection includes over 650 typescript sermons. The sermons are arranged in chronological order. The sermons are any word searchable.
John Rowan Claypool, IV, served as a prominent pastor and theologian at Southern Baptist churches for over twenty years. Born December 15, 1930 in Franklin, Kentucky, Claypool grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and was ordained into the ministry in 1953. In 1959, he received a Th.D. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. The Baptist churches where Claypool served as pastor or associate pastor included: First Baptist Church Decatur, Georgia (1959 – 1960); Crescent Hill Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky (1960 – 1971); Broadway Baptist Church, Ft. Worth, Texas (1971 – 1976); and Northminster Baptist Church, Jackson, Mississippi (1976 – 1981). In 1986, Claypool left the Baptist faith and was ordained as an Episcopal priest, following training at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. He served as associate rector of Christ Episcopal Church, San Antonio, Texas, then as rector of Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama, from 1987 – 2001. Claypool was theologian-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Church, New Orleans, Louisiana, from 2001 – 2003. He taught homiletics at the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University’s Atlanta campus and delivered the institution’s commencement address in 2005. Claypool authored eleven books including Tracks of a Fellow Struggler: How to Handle Grief (1974), Stages (1977), The Preaching Event (1980), Opening Blind Eyes (1983), The Light Within You (1983), Glad Reunion: Meeting Ourselves in the Lives of Bible Men and Women (1985), Stories Jesus Still Tells: The Parables (1993), God in an Amateur (1994), Mending the Heart (1999), The Saga of Life: Living Gracefully Through All of the Stages (2003), and God the Ingenious Alchemist: Transforming Tragedy Into Blessing (2005). He presented the Lyman Beecher Lectures in Preaching at Yale University in 1978. He died in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 3, 2005.