John Dee Cox
Table Of Contents
The Life Of John D. Cox
John Dee Cox was born December 15, 1907 in the small town of Killen, Alabama. He was baptized into Christ at the age of thirteen by a Brother Farrar, in August of 1921. He was married to Myrtle Mae Lane on June 10, 1931. They had one child, Linda Lane born in 1943.
Young John received his Bible training at Lipscomb College (now University) in Nashville, Tennessee; and at Florence State College (now the University of North Alabama) in Florence, Alabama.
His career as a gospel preacher began in 1927 when John preached for a small church in Beech Grove, Tennessee. Other places he preached included: the Tracy City, Tennessee church from 1929-1930; a congregation in Charleston, Mississippi from 1930-1937; North Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama from 1937-1942; the St. Elmo church in Chattanooga, Tennessee from 1942-1944; and last of all the final years of his ministry was with the Sherrod Avenue church of Christ in Florence, Alabama beginning in 1944. During his time at Sherrod Avenue, the church grew in attendance from 300 and 800.
John D. Cox was a capable writer and author of books that are still prized volumes in many preacher and church libraries, having been reprinted many times through the decades since their production. In 1951, Dehoff Publications produced his little volume called "Church History." This 96 page book gives a good overview of the history of Christianity; from the first century, through the development of Catholicism, through the Dark Ages, the Reformation, and the Restoration Movement. It has been a classic text book, and companion to many Christians for over five decades. Other volumes authored by this great servant of Christ include a volume he produced himself called "The Men's Training Class," in 1954; and "A Word Fitly Spoken" was produced in the last years of his life, which was autobiographical in nature. A number of family pictures as well as a more complete explanation of his life's work is contained in it.
His writing expertise led him to edit and even publish brotherhood journals including Mississippi Christian for a year. Then he edited Truth In Love for four years; was staff writer for The Way of Life for three years; and edited the Tennessee Valley Christian for five years. He also submitted numerous articles to Gospel Advocate and Firm Foundation magazines.
Cox preached many gospel meetings throughout the southeastern United States. During his prime years of preaching he was a presenter on the annual lectureships at Lipscomb University, Freed-Hardeman University, Harding University, and Alabama Christian College (now Faulkner University). He was a household name within churches in north Alabama and southern Tennessee. In the early days of radio, he evangelized through that medium in Birmingham, Chattanooga, and Florence. For a time he also served on the Board of Directors for Mars Hill Bible School in Florence for some years.
In February, 1961, at the young age of 52, the news came that Brother Cox had been stricken with the dreaded disease of cancer. For the next two years he was in and out of hospitals, incurring heavy financial obligations. His health continued to decline until he succumbed to the disease August 4, 1964. The funeral was conducted by long-time friend and preacher, A.C. Dreaden. His body was laid in Sheffield's Oakwood Cemetery to await the coming of the Lord.
-Sources: Preachers of Today, 1952, 1959, A Word Fitly Spoken, 1962
In Memory Of John D. Cox
After a prolonged illness of about three and a half years, John D. Cox passed away August 4. The call came from the hospital during the dismissal prayer at the morning service of the Sherrod Avenue meeting. This was the end of a long and courageous battle which proved too much far the skill of the best doctors and too much for the fighting spirit of one of the bravest patients who ever fought the dread disease of cancer. We were all stunned and saddened by the news, but relieved to know that it was the end of his suffering.
Brother Cox had been with the Sherrod Avenue congregation for twenty years. During this time the church enjoyed peace and progress, growing from around three hundred to eight-hundred. This growth was solid for it was the result of plain, positive gospel preaching and teaching. The mutual love and respect which existed between Brother Cox and the elders, and the members was a heartwarming demonstration of genuine Christianity. His illness caused the church to realize more deeply than ever his love for them, and they did not fail to return this love in full measure. The elders continued his full support, and in addition gave thousands of dollars in special contributions. Congregations and individuals in this area, and over the brotherhood also responded generously when they were aware of his needs and the tremendous expense involved. These expressions of love and loyalty did so much to encourage him to keep up the fight.
Brother Cox kept a complete record of his local and meeting work from the time he began preaching. Looking through these records, it is amazing the extent of his work and influence. Much of his work was done in difficult and destitute fields. As an example of the thoroughness and system which characterized his life, he called me to his bedside and had me write down every detail of his funeral, which included the scripture to be read - Rom. 8: 18-28 - the songs to be used, the singers and pallbearers.
Brother Cox was one of the most studious men I ever knew. In addition to being a very able speaker and preacher, he was a gifted writer. During the time of his illness, he worked constantly. He continued to preach short sermons of ten to fifteen minutes in length. These were all recorded and should be published. The book, A Word Fitly Spoken, was written under the most trying circumstances, at all hours of the night when unable to rest or sleep. He also prepared a number of workbooks during this time. It has been said that "the search for truth is the noblest occupation of man, its publication a duty." Then he was nobly occupied! His writings indicate that it was also his conviction that truth should be published.
In character and disposition. Brother Cox was one of the best men I ever knew.
"His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him, that nature might stand up
And say to all the world, 'This was a man.'"
His life and character taught us many lessons worthy of imitation.
His friendship was a blessing and source of strength. Because he was "a friend that sticketh closer than a brother" he had thousands of the most loyal friends. From him we learned the deeper meaning and value of friendship. Solomon said, "As iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of a friend." A true friend gives you some thing of himself, what he is. But even more important, he calls forth the best that is within us. In true friendship, we came to know something of a person's spirit, attitude, the motives, and deeper convictions of his life and as you feel, sense and share these, your own life is enriched and blessed.
Brother Cox had a keen sense of humor and an optimistic spirit which won him many friends. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." "Heaviness in the heart maketh it to stoop, but a good word maketh it glad." An optimist "sees the best in the worst" a pessimist "sees the worst in the best." By this definition, he was preeminently, an optimist. There is no finer mental therapy or spiritual tonic. In a cheerful mood, we make the wisest decisions and take the healthiest views of life. Brother Cox believed that we need people to "rejoice with us when we rejoice, as well as weep with us when we weep." In his passing, thousands lost a loyal friend but no one lost an enemy.
He was one of the most grateful of men. His gratitude to God enabled him to see His providence where others, would have seen only darkness and despair. He was ever grateful to the doctors and nurses who were so untiring and faithful. Then gratitude is such a self-rewarding virtue, because it enriches our lives and multiplies the blessings we receive.
We cannot too highly recommend his book, A Word Fitly Spoken. The one chapter, A Door of Darkness, affords advice growing out of illness and adversity. This chapter also, includes the article published in the Gospel Advocate, "Contemplations of a Convalescent," with eight suggestions which enable us to realize dividends and compensation from illness. The following paragraph is recommended as mental therapy:
"Do something to keep your mind occupied with constructive thinking! It may spell the difference between sanity and recovery and hopeless emotional illness. To win such a fight, one must have the strength, to endure suffering; the faith to trust Divine Providence; the courage to accept the inevitable, the will to conquer where possible; the grace to be grateful to benefactors; and the patience to keep a fast hold on hope."
Because of his sterling character and untiring labors, Brother Cox's influence will live on and on."Blessed are the dead . . . their works do follow them." May God richly bless his family, and extend the blessing of his memory and influence in our lives! -A.C. Dreaden, Gospel Advocate, August, 27, 1964, pages 550,551 Return To The Top
John D. Cox Honored
Few men preach in one place twenty years or longer. John D. Cox preached for the Sherrod Avenue church in Florence, Al. for twenty years. He died while laboring with that good church in 1964. Many other years were spent by him in other places preaching the gospel. One of John's dearest friends, A. C. Dreaden said of him a while before he died, "His lessons during this period of crisis show abundant evidence of a richer faith, deeper spirituality, and overflowing gratitude to God and man."
I knew and loved John D. Cox many years, and heard him preach many times. I not only remember hearing him many times but I remember many of the sermon subjects on which he preached and many of the points he made. I recall hearing him preach a series on the love of God. Twenty-five years ago I heard brother Cox present a masterpiece on the subject of Premillennialism at Pulaski, Tenn. When he came to hear me preach he was encouraging.
International Bible College honored brother Cox during its summer workshop on August 5. One of brother Cox's friends was Ellis Coats. Ellis presided at the program in which brother Cox was honored. Others who spoke concerning brother Cox were: Ralph Snell, and Fred Bevis. Also, another Cox's son-in-law, Al Behel spoke of his fondness for his loved father-in-law.
There is a statement that sums John D. Cox up the soul of John D. Cox on page 128 of his book, A Word Fitly Spoken. Here is the statement: "The God-given mission of the gospel preacher is to preach the gospel. The greatest service that a preacher can render to any community is to preach the gospel to the people of that community. He should ever endeavor to exalt the word of God above everything in this life. He should never allow the forces of error to, in any way, embarrass him or to tie his hands in his efforts to declare the truth and condemn error. He should never pass up an opportunity to uproot and destroy the seeds of error that are constantly being sown in the hearts of men."
-The Editor, Basil Overton, World Evangelist, September, 1973, page 7
Out Of My Memory . . .
John D. Cox At Pulaski
Thirty-seven years ago, I heard John D. Cox preach on Premillennialism in Pulaski, Tennessee. I was a student at Freed-Hardeman College in Henderson, Tennessee 1946-1949. In the Spring of 1948 some brethren from North Military Street Church of Christ in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee came to N. B. Hardeman, the president of Freed-Hardeman, to see if they could get a preacher student to preach for them for three months while their regular -preacher, Wallace Layton, was preaching in gospel meetings. I remember that three of those Lawrenceburg brethren who came to Freed-Hardeman College were R.O. Downey, Stanley Crews, and a brother Watson. I can see them clearly in my mind as I met them the day they were there.
I accepted the invitation of those Lawrenceburg brethren, and my Margie and I and our one year old Timothy lived in Lawrenceburg June, July, and August, 1948. (Timothy died over eleven years ago because of heart value problems.) The church was good to us. They furnished us a place to live and paid me $50 per week for my preaching for them. I thought that was good pay! About 500 attended every Sunday morning. While in Lawrenceburg that summer we heard John D. Cox preach one evening on Premillennialism at Second Street Church of Christ in Pulaski, Tennessee where he was engaged in a series of gospel meetings.
Premillennialism is a false doctrine that says that Christ will return to the earth and reign a thousand years in Jerusalem. Brother Cox presented many scriptures to show that this doctrine is not true. He also pointed out that Premillennialism is based on perversions of scripture and vain human speculations.
A. C. Dreaden was the regular preacher for the church in Pulaski at that time. He made some lasting good impressions on my heart on that occasion as well at other times later.
John D. Cox was a fluent, effective, and faithful gospel preacher. Many years ago, I also heard him speak at Freed-Hardeman College during a Bible lectureship on Church Cooperation. Brother Cox and I became good friends. He heard me preach at one of the morning services of a series of gospel meetings at Mars Hill Church of Christ in Florence in the summer of 1958. After the service he gave me a tour of the meeting house of the Sherrod Avenue congregation in Florence where he preached about 17 years.
Many years ago, brother Cox succumbed to cancer and went to be with his Master. His autobiography, A Word Fitly Spoken is a very interesting book. Everyone should read it; especially young preachers.-The Editor, Basil Overton, The World Evangelist, February, 1985, page 3 Return To The Top
Out Of My Memory . . .
John D. Cox At F-HC
While I was a student at Freed-Hardeman College in Henderson, TN (now a university), over 50 years ago, I heard John D. Cox present lessons on "You Have Not The Love Of God In You." He used as his text John 5:42 where it is recorded that Jesus said to some Jews, "But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you." The Henderson Church of Christ met in the Chapel Hall at F-HC. I am not sure whether John presented the lessons on one of the annual F-HC lectureships, or during a series of meetings the church conducted.
One of brother Cox's sermons in that series was on the manners preachers should have. He stressed that when staying with a family while preaching at a place, a preacher should demonstrate good manners and habits. For an example, he said preachers should not leave the lavatory messy, etc.
John D.'s lessons were clear and practical. Since hearing them I have preached in over 500 series of meetings. In some of them I stayed in homes where there were no lavatories or bathrooms. I could manage, because while growing up there was no bathroom or running water in our house.
Some of the series of meetings in which I preached were ten days and two weeks in duration. In at least one of those series I stayed with a different family each night. I went back the next year to preach in another series there, and I told the brethren I would get a hotel room in town about 12 miles from the little village where the church met. That is what I did, and I paid the week's room fare for the duration of the series, which was about $20.00 I was paid about $100.00 for preaching in the series and it was far from home.
I wonder if any young preachers now would stay in a home without bathroom facilities! For many years I have stayed in motels and hotels during gospel meetings, and generous saints have paid the bills. That is better for the preacher in most situations, and it lets all the church share in the cost of the lodging! Many times in homes dogs, or other pets, and children, caused me the loss of much need-
-The Editor, The World Evangelist, December, 1999, page 3
Directions To The Grave Of John D. Cox
J. D. Cox is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Sheffield, Alabama. Sheffield makes up part of the Tri-Cities area of North Alabama. From Hwy. 72 in Florence, cross the Oneal Bridge into Sheffield. Head to the traffic light. Hwy 72 will turn left, but you should plan to head straight ahead (road changes names to N Jackson Hwy. After about four streets, the cemetery will be on your right. Head into the cemetery. Go to the second road to the left and turn west. Stop car and look to the right. Count in about seven rows to the west and three plots in to the north. Look for the COX/LANE Monument.
or D.d. 34.767801, -87.676369
Sheffield Oakwood Cemetery
Section 9 Lot 33
Myrtle M. Cox
John D. Cox