Gardner C. Taylor, the Prince of Preachers, was “Surprised by Grace” After a Life-Changing Fatal Car Accident

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Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, who passed away on Easter Sunday this year, is hailed today as the “dean of American preaching.” But, if Gardner C. Taylor had had his way, he would have never been a preacher at all. According to a Christianity Today feature story, Dr. Taylor was born in 1918 to Reverend Washington and Selina Taylor, and he inherited “Baptist genes” that many assumed would lead him into pastoral ministry. But Taylor said, “I recoiled from the thought of being a preacher. I wanted to go to law school and become a criminal lawyer. My boyhood friends in Louisiana tried to discourage me from that idea, though; at that time, no black person had ever been admitted to the Louisiana bar.” Taylor pursued his goal, and after being admitted to the University of Michigan Law School, he was well on his way to a career in law.

However, shortly before leaving home to go to college, he was involved in a tragic car accident. One night in rural Louisiana, another vehicle suddenly cut across his path. He said, “I tried to avoid them, but I couldn’t.” Both of the passengers in the other car — two white men — died. And the only witnesses to the accident were a white farmer and a white oil refinery worker.

Being a young black man, Gardner Taylor was worried about how everything would turn out. He said, “In that day, for a white person to tell the truth about a black person in that situation was incredible; but those men told the truth. I would not be here today if they had not.” That event was the turning point in his life when he finally decided to accept the call to preach. He said, “I was surprised by God’s grace. I had been brooding about my future for a long time, but that was the defining moment.”

Many have testified to the power of God’s grace in their lives. It was God’s grace that delivered a young Gardner C. Taylor from the possible deep South, Jim Crow devastating consequences of what was already a tragic situation. But more importantly, it was God’s grace that led him to salvation in Jesus Christ and to the calling to preach the Gospel which caused Him to become known as one of the greatest preachers who walked the earth. Even though he was a very humble man who said he “wanted to be remembered as just a preacher”, many call him “the prince of preachers” and “the dean of American preaching.” And it is God’s grace that can deliver you from the even greater consequences of your own sins, faults, and failures, and give you new life to be who God has made you to be and do what God has gifted you to do. Allow me to explain to you what I mean.

Ladies and gentlemen, you must accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news of the grace of God. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

As Gardner C. Taylor once said, “We cannot and will not do it ourselves. Our only hope is that the grace of God will see us through.” The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the manifestation of the grace of God for all humanity.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!