Haddon Robinson, Champion of Biblical Preaching, Passes Away

Haddon Robinson

Dr. Haddon Robinson, the preacher's preacher, has passed away last Saturday. He was 86.  Robinson was the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching, senior director of the Doctor of Ministry program, and former interim President at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. 

Robinson is best known for his teaching on how to prepare sermons, where a sermon should be guided by the biblical text and focus on one idea or theme. 

Originally from the Mousetown section of Harlem, New York, he received a Bachelor's Degree from Bob Jones University, Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, Master of Arts from Southern Methodist University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Illinois. He was also awarded honorary degrees from Gordon College and McMaster Divinity College.

Dr. Robinson joined Gordon-Conwell in 1991 as the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching, following 12 years as President of Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, now Denver Seminary, and 19 years on the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he also served as Associate Pastor for the First Baptist Church in Medford, Oregon, Instructor of Speech at the University of Illinois and General Director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society.

In 1996, he was named in a Baylor University poll as one of the "12 Most Effective Preachers in the English Speaking World." In 2006, he was recognized by Christianity Today in the top 10 of its "25 Most Influential Preachers of the Past 50 Years." In 2008, he received the E.K. Bailey "Living Legend Award." And in 2010, Preaching magazine named him among the "25 Most Influential Preachers of the Past 25 Years."

Always looking for new ways to reach more people for Christ, he was also active in broadcast media. He hosted the television program, "Film Festival," and with Dr. Alice Mathews and Mart De Hann, hosted "Discover the Word," a radio program which for 20 years broadcast 600 times daily to two million listeners throughout North America and other English speaking countries.

A prolific writer, Dr. Robinson wrote more than a dozen books, including his hallmark text, Biblical Preaching, still used by seminaries and bible colleges around the world. His articles appeared regularly in Christianity TodayBibliotheca Sacra, Moody Monthly, the American Lutheran Magazine, Leadership and Decision, and in the Our Daily Bread devotional. He also edited the Christian Medical Society Journal and the Theological Annual, and served on the editorial boards of Preaching and Christianity Today.

But even with these many accomplishments and accolades, his family was his greatest joy. He is survived by his devoted wife of 66 years, Bonnie; his daughter, Vicki Hitzges, a motivational speaker; his son Torrey Robinson, Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Tarrytown, NY, Torrey's wife, Sue, and two grandsons.

"We continue to thank God for Haddon's legacy and formative impact on the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the global Church," comments Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger, President and Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics. "Though we mourn his loss, we find hope in the power of the Resurrection." 

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