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Jordan, Gerald Ray

by Grady L. E. Carroll, 1988

11 Nov. 1896–15 Nov. 1964

Gerald Ray Jordan, Methodist clergyman, professor, and author, was born in Kinston. He was graduated from Trinity College (now Duke University) with highest honors and received the B.D. degree from Emory University and the M.A. degree from Yale University. From 1921 to 1945 he served churches in Black Mountain, Asheville, Greensboro, Charlotte, High Point, and Winston-Salem. In 1945 Jordan became professor of homiletics and chapel preacher at the Candler School of Theology in Emory University, Atlanta, Ga. His teaching and his publications were recognized in 1960 when he was named Charles Howard Candler Professor in the School of Theology.

Jordan was an inveterate traveler, revival preacher, lecturer on college campuses, preacher to university groups, and prolific author. Among his books were We Face Calvary and Life, Beyond Despair, Prayer That Prevails, Religion That Is Eternal, You Can Preach, Preaching during a Revolution, and Life-Giving Words. His works were essentially devotional and inspirational in character, often reflecting a sensitivity to the relevance of the gospel to contemporary social issues.

In May 1939 he was a delegate to the Uniting Conference of the Methodist church in Kansas City, Mo. He was a delegate to the General Conference of 1938, 1940, 1944, 1948, and 1952, and a delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, and 1960. Jordan served on the board of trustees of High Point College and as a trustee of Scarritt College in Nashville, Tenn. For ten years he was a member of the General Board of Education and served on the Peace Commission. He was a keen student of Christian missions, an advocate of evangelism, and a pioneer in the use of television in the teaching of preaching. He received the honorary degrees of doctor of divinity from Duke University and Litt.D. from Lincoln Memorial University.

On 7 March 1922 Jordan married Caroline Moody, and they became the parents of Gerald Ray, Jr., and Terrell Franklin. He died within a few months of retirement and was buried at the city cemetery of Decatur, Ga.


Boone M. Bowen, The Candler School of Theology: Sixty Years of Service (1974).

Elmer T. Clark, Methodism in Western North Carolina (1966).

Albea Godbold, ed., Methodist History (October 1968).

Umphrey Lee and William Warren Sweet, A Short History of American Methodism (1956).

Mildred Morse McEwen, First United Methodist Church: Charlotte, North Carolina (1983).

Minutes of the Annual Session of the Western North Carolina Conference (1965).

Additional Resources:

Writings of G. Ray Jordan from search of WorldCat (searches multiple library catalogs). (accessed January 14, 2014).

Jordan, G. Ray. You can preach! Building and delivering the sermon. New York: Revell. 1951. (accessed January 14, 2014).

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