John Roy Vaughan
The Life of J. Roy Vaughan
John Roy Vaughan was born in Williamson County, near Franklin, Tennessee November 10, 1899. In 1914 his father, Joseph J. Vaughan moved his family to a large plantation in Ridgeland, Mississippi. The family immediately came under the influence of another Williamson County Tennesseean who had devoted himself to evangelism in Mississippi, M.C. Cayce. It was at his hands that young Roy was baptized into Christ in the Pearl River the same year. Having attended elementary school back in Tennessee, John completed his high schooling in Mississippi. When it came time for further training he knew David Lipscomb College was the place for him. He attended there twice, once from 1917-1919 and again from 1923-1925.
He married Jimmie Greer Harvey, a young woman from Mathiston, Mississippi, August 7, 1930. Together they had three children, Helen Greer McCracken, Katherine Ella, and John Roy, who followed in his father's footsteps in preaching for many years.
Brother Vaughan began preaching in 1919 for the Highland Avenue church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee. Yet, he felt the urge to return to the mission fields of Mississippi. M.C. Cayce had a number of years before, sold his business in Nashville, and moved there to seek and teach the lost. Brother A.M. Burton, the successful owner of Life & Casualty Insurance Company in Nashville, had underwritten brother Cayce's support, and similarly made the same commitment to young Roy. So, he made his way back to Mississippi, where he untiringly pursued evangelism for the next few years. As there were few churches in existence at the time, he preached often in halls, courthouses, under brush arbors, tents, and in homes.
He served churches in the area around Tupelo, Mississippi between 1927 and 1928. After his marriage, the Vaughans moved to work with the church in St. Petersburg, Florida, where they served the Lord until 1932. While in St. Pete, J. Roy utilized the powerful influence of Marshall Keeble to initiate a work among the black population. During the meeting, ninety-two were baptized into Christ, establishing the work there. In 1932, the Vaughans moved back to Tupelo, Mississippi. The following year they moved to work with the Highland Avenue church of Christ in Montgomery, Alabama. They were there between 1933 and 1937. From there it was to Miami, Florida to work with the Central congregation between 1937 and 1949. Then the family moved to Nashville where he preached for the Donelson church of Christ from 1949-1958. After this he served several years as associate minister for the Hillsboro church in Nashville for about five years. He followed up this work as minister of the church on Harding Place for a number of years.
The writing skills of J. Roy Vaughan were greatly to appreciated by the brotherhood. Reports of his efforts in gospel meeting work, and local efforts were sent in to the Gospel Advocate during the early years of his ministry. He also wrote articles for the Alabama paper, Truth In Love. Beginning in 1939, he was added as a Staff Writer, and in 1949 News Editor, for the Gospel Advocate. It would eventually be that his greatest amount of influence would be reached through his involvement with this brotherhood journal.
Brother Vaughan was an excellent debater of New Testament Christianity, being involved in at least seven debates. Among them, he debated J.E. Speigel of the Christian Church on the subject of “Instrumental Music;” in November 1928. He then participated in a debate with J.D. Holder, a Primitive Baptist, on the subject of the “Plan of Salvation” in 1927. Again in March, 1933 they again debated in the Courthouse in Tupelo, Mississippi on the subject of “whether salvation is conditional or unconditional.” In 1934, brother Vaughan debated a “Holiness” preacher on the subject of “Holy Spirit Baptism."
While in ministry, he participated in radio evangelism. During his time in Florida he conducted a weekly radio broadcast.
In February, 1965, when the Nashville School of Preaching began, B.C. Goodpasture, Charles Chumley, Dorris Billingsley, H. Clyde Hale, Charles R. Brewer and J. Roy Vaughan, were the first teachers. Brother Vaughan served this great institution as president for several years. The school continues to this day.
At the death of B.C. Goodpasture, February 18, 1977, J. Roy Vaughan became interrim editor of the Gospel Advocate, and continued in that role until he retired at the end of that year. His last years were spent with efforts to strengthen the church in places where he could. He passed from this life August 29, 1982. Burial followed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sources: Preachers Of Today, Vol. 1, p.353; vol. 2, page 452; vol's 3 & 4; 1976 Freed Hardeman College Lectures, pages 408-409.
-Scott Harp, 2018
J. Roy and Jimmie Greer Harvie Vaughan
Dr. Tolbert Fanning Kirkpatrick walked up to his little five-year-old grandson, patted him on the head and said, "This is going to be my preacher." And, for sixty years, J. Roy Vaughan has indeed faithfully preached the gospel.
His first sermon was in 1918 as an eighteen-year-old student at David Lipscomb College. His subject was, "The Deliverance of Israel." It all began one Sunday morning in Nashville, Tennessee, as he was walking to the Highland Avenue church building. Brother Dennison, an elder of the congregation, stopped and told him that he was expected to preach in about two Sundays. Ironically, years later, Daddy baptized old brother Dennison's great-granddaughter, Jane. After David Lipscomb College, he returned to Mississippi and worked for the Carolina Chemical Company for six months out of the year, and the Hiawatha Gin Mfg. Company, the remainder of the year. There was a three week break between jobs. During a summer break, about 1920, brother H. D. Jeffcoat, a farmer and preacher in Mississippi, invited him to go to Ackerman, Mississippi, to preach in a meeting. After this meeting, he heard of a need for a meeting preacher in Reform, Mississippi.
He never returned to his work with the chemical company, as this was the beginning of a series of meetings in one small town after another. During this time there were not more than a half dozen church buildings of our brethren in Mississippi, and so most of his meetings were held in tents, homes, under shade trees, in school houses, brush arbors, or city halls. Winona was one town in this series of meetings. Harold P. McDonald was doing the preaching and Daddy led the singing. During the meeting, a letter came from bro. H. Leo Boles, president of David Lipscomb College, offering him a job in the library which would pay his tuition. Brother McDonald encouraged him to return to school and a good sister in whose home they were staying, gave him a $20 bill to help with his traveling expenses. He returned to his home in Jackson, Mississippi, to pack and to tell his family his plans. With the $20 gift, he bought a train ticket to Nashville. While at David Lipscomb College, he made a good record serving as president of his senior class, and business manager of the Backlog, the school annual.
While at David Lipscomb College, he preached almost every Sunday. Among places he preached during this time were, Old Hillsboro, his home congregation as a boy, Edenwald, and Owen's Chapel between Franklin and Nashville. After graduating from David Lipscomb College he returned to Mississippi and began preaching fulltime for the church in Ripley. A church building was completed and a remnant of the Christian church was converted. During this time he was supported by brother A. M. Burton. From Ripley his work took him to Tupelo, Mississippi.
Tupelo became the hub from which he went into surrounding areas of Mississippi, holding meetings and establishing congregations. One of these meetings was in Mathiston, Mississippi. During the meeting, a pretty little junior high school girl, who played the piano two Sundays a month in a Baptist church and the violin two Sundays a month in a Methodist church, was converted. In years to come this young lady, Jimmie Greer Harvey, was to become Mrs. J. Roy Vaughan. They were married on August 7,1930, after she had attended David Lipscomb College. He took his young bride to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he continued for two years in local work with the church. The next move took them back to Tupelo, Mississippi. Here their first child, Helen Greer was born. After two years of preaching in Tupelo, he accepted an invitation to preach for Highland Avenue congregation in Montgomery, Alabama. During this four year period, in addition to his work with Highland, he preached almost every Sunday afternoon and many nights of the week for rural congregations near Montgomery. He was gone so much from his home and family, that it often brought tears to the eyes of his young wife. Katherine Ella and John Roy were born in Montgomery. On October 15, 1937, the day I was a month old, the family moved to Miami, Florida, where Daddy began his work with the Central congregation. The twelve years spent with the Central church in Miami were fruitful, happy, and rewarding years.
In 1937, he began writing for the Gospel Advocate, and by the way, now has the longest tenure as a staff writer for the Gospel Advocate. While preaching for the church in Miami, a great deal of radio work was done. He was on the first Board of Directors of Florida Christian College. That was, of course, before the school took a stand against cooperation among churches. In 1949, brother B. C. Goodpasture, editor of the Gospel Advocate, invited Daddy to become news editor of the Gospel Advocate. It was an opportune time for a move to Nashville, Tennessee, as Helen was ready for college, Katherine for high school, and I was ready for junior high school. Like their mother and father, all three children attended David Lipscomb College. For the next nine years he preached for the church in Donelson, Tennessee and continued his work with the Gospel Advocate. The Donelson work was a good, but demanding work as many new subdivisions were growing up around the church building. The congregation grew from a membership of about 200 to 900 under his preaching, teaching and the visiting done by Mother and Daddy, most of which had to be done at night after work at GA. In 1958, the Hillsboro church in Nashville invited him to be on their staff which included Batsell Barrett Baxter. Five enjoyable years were spent with this good congregation.
He then followed Joe Sanders as minister of the Harding Place congregation. While preaching at Harding Place the work with the Gospel Advocate continued and a new project was begun. He helped to establish along with B. C. Goodpasture, Charles Brewer, and a few others, the Nashville School of Preaching. Doubtless some of his best, most lasting and enjoyable work was done with the school for which he served as teacher and president. I have held a number of gospel meetings where the local preacher was a graduate of the Nashville School of Preaching and had been a student of my father. Without exception, they have expressed a debt of gratitude for his training. Recently at his suggestion, the school was turned over to David Lipscomb College, and now operates under its direction. The school he helped to establish continues to preform a vital role in training gospel preachers. I have mentioned several times his work with the Gospel Advocate. This was such an important part of his life and service, allow me to focus on it for a few moments.
As mentioned earlier, brother B. C. Goodpasture in 1949, invited my father to move from Miami, Florida, and work with him as news editor of the Gospel Advocate. He was also to work with the staff writers and Sunday school literature writers. This meant he was to read every Sunday school lesson on every grade level in the Gospel Advocate Sunday School Quarterlies, and every article printed in the Gospel Advocate. He was to check them for scriptural soundness, grammatical correctness, and make whatever corrections were needed. This he faithfully did for twenty-eight years. During that time he was brother B. C. Goodpasture's right-hand man, and upon the death of brother Goodpasture, succeeded him as Editor of that great paper. During all of those years, he worked diligently with little concern for personal recognition.
As I look back over the life of my mother and father, I doubt that any son could hold his parents in higher esteem or love them more than I do. I know my father to be a man who has given of himself fully in the Lord's work whether it was as a young man preaching in a tent meeting and establishing congregations in Mississippi, or working in metropolitan areas such as Montgomery, Alabama; Miami, Florida; or Nashville, Tennessee. I know my mother to be a woman who fits the worthy woman description of Proverbs 31: "And I rise up to call her blessed." She has been a faithful helpmeet to her husband, a wonderful mother and a dedicated Christian. I swell with fatherly pride when my children do well, but I have never felt greater pride than I do this night as we gather to recognize and honor my mother and father.
(Address delivered by John R. Vaughan on the occasion of the appreciation dinner in honor of his father and mother of Roy Vaughan and Jimmie Greer Vaughan, October 20, 1981, at Alabama School of Religion, Montgomery, Alabama.)
-Gospel Advocate, November 5, 1982, pages 644,650.
J. Roy Vaughan
J. Roy Vaughan and I were brought together by circumstances and by my admiration for him. We first met in fall of 1924 at David Lipscomb College. He was around twenty-five years old, a man of striking appearance-well favored, likeable, intelligent, a magnetic personality and properly mature for his years. Four years later we ran into each other in his beloved, adopted state of Mississippi. At that time, among other things, he wanted me to go with him to call on Mrs. Mammie Greer Harvey, a member of the church. While we were there Sister Harvey had Jimmie Greer, her beautiful, petite, teen-age (16) daughter to play the piano for us. After we left Roy said to me, "If she were a little older, I would marry her." But later when Jimmie went to David Lipscomb and was the object of some ardent suitors, Roy changed his mind, courted her and won her hand in marriage. Their life together was one of happiness, love and usefulness. It continued for over fifty-two years.
Not too long after Roy showed me the pretty little teenager, he came to Jackson, Mississippi, and said the service that joined his baby sister, Eloise, and me in marriage. This brought us closer together in a friendship that lasted and deepened over 53 years. I know if anyone does, that Roy was a Christian gentleman, a prince among men and a dedicated preacher of the gospel.
Others may tell you about Roy being a preacher of par excellence, or about the great churches he served, or his many years with the Gospel Advocate, but let me tell you that he was truly a man—a Christian man who could stand, and having endured all, could still stand. I know about his times of "sweat, toil and tears." I remember his times of sacrifice and privation! In the testing crucible of time his humility and good common sense shone like a star to help point out the right and good way to others. Time would fail us to tell of his sterling qualities and the steadfast devotion of this servant of God.
At the age of 78 he retired as Editor of the Advocate. Little did he know that, perhaps, the greatest trials of his life lay ahead of him. Trip after trip to hospitals and days of suffering left him weakened in body and at times physically helpless. He could recall when he was well and strong and took care of Jimmie Greer but now he had to lean heavily on her. What a blow to man's conception of being the family protector. But he did not become morose, bitter and frustrated. In the face of her constant devotion and care for him, he realized, more than ever before, that his pretty little Mississippi teenager had become a wonderful "worthy woman." Out of the deep gratitude of his heart he humbly told her how deeply he loved her and how greatly he appreciated her. What grace in a man!
Finally, one Lord's day, after the sun had set in the west, a heart attack took him away and he went to join his daughter, Katherine Ella, my Eloise, and others of the Vaughan family who had already died in the Lord.
But, Roy still speaks to us—he speaks through his writings, through those whom he taught, through his wife, his daughter Helen, his son, and grandchildren. Perhaps especially, he speaks through his son, John Roy Vaughan, Jr., one among our best and most dedicated local preachers.
Yes, "Abel . . . being dead yet speaketh."
-David Ellis Walker, Gospel Advocate, November 4, 1982, page 645.
J. Roy Vaughan, Servant Of The Lord
On the evening of August 29, Roy and Jimmie Vaughan were seated in their den, engaged in a familiar and enjoyable ritual, a ritual that had become more dear because of Roy's failing sight. Jimmie was reading; Roy was listening intently. She came to a stopping place. A moment later he too had reached a stopping place—which is given all earthly creatures to share. At one moment they were engaged in quiet reading and conversation. A moment later they were separated as death reached out and claimed her husband of 52 years. Death came quickly, easily, and without fanfare, typical of the man and the noble life he had lived.
Brother Vaughan had stated many times that "It matters not at what hour the righteous fall asleep, for death cannot come untimely for those who have lived to die." He had lived in the certain knowledge that one day death would claim him; therefore, he lived in a constant state of preparedness. Thus when his summons came his response was "sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust."
As this scribe was leaving the funeral home where family and friends had gathered, he overheard a snatch of conversation in which someone said, "By no stretch of imagination could anything unkind ever be said about brother Vaughan."
Nile Yearwood wrote of this good man: "Roy Vaughan was affectionately known to a great host of friends as brother Roy. He knew the scriptures well and he knew how to present them to others so they could know them too. One of his outstanding talents was to relate a story for the purpose of illustrating a point. I often wondered where he got so many worthwhile illustrations. They were so good I found myself borrowing from him on many occasions. To know him was to love him. To hear him was a joy. To trust him was uplifting, and to watch him speak and act and teach made everyone know that he loved his God and also loved God's Son and the church which he built. His whole family is a reflection of all that he worked for, stood for and prayed for. His passing brings sadness within me, but I know that is my selfishness for I am convinced that he has gone to a far better place and that he is with God's chosen. He was a true soldier, excellent scholar, good minister, wonderful husband and father, and to me he was a much beloved friend."
About a year ago, when brother and sister Vaughan were being honored at the Alabama Christian School of Religion, we addressed a letter to brother Rex Turner as follows: "Word has just been received here at Hillsboro of the appreciation dinner that is to be held October 20 in honor of J. Roy Vaughan and his lovely wife, Jimmie Greer.
"I first became acquainted with Jimmie Greer on the campus of David Lipscomb College. That was fifty years ago. Not long afterward I had the pleasure of meeting Roy.
"Through the years these two have meant much to me, and to my wife, Lady Claire, because of their devotion to the cause of our Lord and because their lives have been in keeping with his blessed teaching and example.
"At a time when divisive heresies are disturbing the church and when new approaches are demanded in place of old truths, it is good to know that these who 'shrank not from declaring the whole counsel of God' are to be honored for their allegiance to Christ and his word.
"It was fitting, following the death of that giant, B. C. Goodpasture, that brother Vaughan should be appointed editor of the Gospel Advocate. His many friends felt it was an especially fine tribute as he rounded out some thirty years of service with the paper."
When brother Vaughan's long-time associates think of him they think of his love for Christ and his church. They also think of his devotion to the book. (We are reminded of Walter Scott, who, on his deathbed, called for the book. When asked to which book he was referring the dying man said, "There is but one book, the Bible.") In thinking of brother Vaughan his friends think of his distinctive voice. His enunciation and inflection set him apart. And, of course, they think of his devotion to family and his dedication to truth as exemplified in his life.
Obviously, Christians come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Brother Vaughan, a shining credit to his confession of faith, dressed impeccably. He was well-groomed and careful in speech and manner. He was a living advertisement for the good life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The apostle Paul said, "I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day." Brother Vaughan was of a like belief and persuasion. He also subscribed wholeheartedly to the apostle's companion statement: "We know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens."
Recently, John Vaughan, now in his 16th year with the Graymere congregation in Columbia, Tennessee, said of his illustrious father: "He loved the church and enjoyed preaching about it. He often stressed the need for unity, saying that 'unity in the Lord's church is not a luxury, but a necessity.' My dad felt strongly the need to preach first principle sermons. He said, 'If you intend to baptize people you must teach them how to become Christians.' He also said, 'Most of the problems in the church are the result of ignorance of God's word.' He gave me this splendid advice: 'Get your lessons up well, do a reasonable amount of visiting, and let the elders run the church.' He loved his work with the Gospel Advocate and put untiring effort into it, often bringing work home with him. His work with the Nashville School of Preaching, which he helped establish, was among the most pleasant and rewarding of all the work he ever did. He served as president for several years."
In a sermon preached at Hillsboro in 1961, brother Vaughan spoke on the theme, "The Glorious Church." He listed six attributes of the glorious church: "It is glorious because (1) it belongs to God, (2) was built by the Lord Jesus, (3) Jesus is its head, (4) it has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, (5) its mission is the glorification of God, the preaching of the gospel, edification of its members, and remembrance of the poor. Finally, (6) it is a glorious church because of its destiny." Such was the preaching of this great and good man. Such was the preaching that set the church of our Lord apart in the early days of the restoration and which later caused it to become the fastest growing church in America.
In 1962 brother Vaughan delivered a great sermon at Hillsboro titled "Christ Is Our Example." He began by asking, "Should someone ask you, 'Who is Jesus who is called the Christ?' what would be your answer? Well, you could say, 'He is the Son of God,' or 'He is the Savior of the world,' or 'He is the Master Teacher of all ages.' In our text (1 Peter 2:21) the apostle Peter said he is our example. The Lord not only taught us how to serve God and how to live the Christian life, but he showed us how. In everything the Lord taught he gave us an example. He demonstrated his teachings by the life he lived."
At this point in the sermon brother Vaughan told one of those stories for which he was justly famous. He said, "I recall some years ago talking with a man about the importance of becoming a member of the church. He replied, 'In my observation of the lives of average church members I have concluded that I am about as good as they are.' But he was mistaken on at least three points. In the first place, he apparently thought that he could be saved simply by living a good life. And in so doing he was saying that it was not necessary for Jesus to come from heaven to earth and die, a sacrifice for his sins. He was saying that he did not need the Lord Jesus as his Savior, that he would be his own savior, and he would save himself by his good life. He was mistaken in the second place in that he either did not know or he forgot that all men sin, and that all men need forgiveness of their sins. No one can be saved without the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus. He was mistaken in the third place in that he expected to find perfection in humanity. No man can claim to be our perfect example. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is our perfect example."
Brother Vaughan took to heart the charge of the apostle Paul to Timothy to "preach the word" and to "be urgent in season, out of season" as well as to "reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." He was fully aware of the accuracy of the apostle's prophecy that the time would come when many will not "endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables."
"Christianity," brother Vaughan said in this great sermon, "is not defined in terms of the creed books written by men nor is it some denominational doctrine preached today. Christianity is the teaching and life of the Lord Jesus as it is found in the hearts and lives of men. The Lord gave us an example in everything he taught."
In reading his sermons one who knew him well can fancy he is hearing once more that precise, beautifully modulated voice, extolling once again the virtues, the glories, and the power of the imperishable, saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
-Dan Harless, Gospel Advocate, November 4, 1982, pages 647,648.
Tribute To J. Roy Vaughan
It was during one of those hot summers that come to Mississippi that I remember first meeting J. Roy Vaughan. He was the house guest of my grandfather, J. C. Gardner, and had returned to the small, quiet North Mississippi town of Mathiston for one of numerous gospel meetings which he held there. As a boy, meeting that great man of faith, I remember looking up into a smile that engaged much of his face and hearing a quiet, yet resonant voice flavored by a rich southern heritage. He and my grandfather spoke of the church, as they often did, and I listened. As time would pass I would learn from my grandfather and others just how much the church in Mississippi was indebted to brother Vaughan.
Numerous small and struggling congregations in the Magnolia State had a friend in "J. Roy" (as I often heard him called). He preached a lot of meetings in Mississippi, some of them real "pioneer" meetings in brush arbors with crossties for seats. But perhaps even more significant to the cause of Christ than his powerful gospel meetings was his influence on young preachers. He was a true encourager of gospel preachers, and he was a booster for the work of the Lord in Mississippi. He often combined these two interests by helping young preachers find their first full time work in the Magnolia State. "Go preach for the brethren in Mississippi; they need you there," he would often say. Churches in a state that is still largely a mission field had a friend in a position with the Gospel Advocate who often knew of preachers looking for a challenging work, and he willingly did what he could to help.
My last opportunity to sit and really visit with brother Vaughan was a few years back. He stopped at my house on the way to a meeting. Already feeling some of the effects of advancing age, he nevertheless showed that same fervent spirit and love for the Lord that I had seen in his eyes and heard in his voice so many years earlier. He still wanted to know of the progress of the church in Mathiston and other churches in the state. I know he loved the Lord's cause all over this nation and around the world, but when he spoke of years gone by and his labors for the Lord in Mississippi, there was something special about his conversation that let one know that the topic at hand was very dear to him.
In my life and in the lives of numerous other gospel preachers the influence of J. Roy Vaughan lives on. The church in this state is still reaping the benefits of his labors. "He being dead yet speaketh."
There is comfort and joy in remembering the hope he sought and now has realized in his Lord.
- John Gardner, Gospel Advocate, November 4, 1982, page 649.
We Remember J. Roy Vaughan
We remember J. Roy Vaughan with affection and appreciation.
We remember the stability and steadfastness of this gospel preacher. He was as solid and stable as the Rock of Gibraltar. He exemplified Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." We remember the helpfulness and encouragement through the years of this godly man. As a young preacher it was always a joy to visit the Gospel Advocate and talk with J. Roy Vaughan. He took time to listen and to counsel and advise. This spirit of helpfulness characterized him all of his life.
When we became Editor of the Gospel Advocate and Brother Guy N. Woods our co-worker, Brother Vaughan went out of his way to help and to encourage. His confidence was reassuring, and his counsel treasured.
We remember the joy of teaching his son, John Vaughan, when he was at David Lipscomb College. We have followed closely the work of this talented and successful preacher and rejoiced with J. Roy Vaughan over the doors of opportunity that God had opened to his son. There is no doubt in my mind that the greatest contribution that Brother and Sister J. Roy Vaughan made to the world was giving it such a fine son who has been a mighty blessing to the Graymere Church of Christ in Columbia, Tenn., and to our brotherhood. We remember that J. Roy Vaughan was unmovable when it came to contending for the old paths and the ancient landmarks. We were inspired by his practical articles that always encouraged us to stay with these ancient landmarks. His excellent article on "Giving Thanks" was perceptive and reminded us that at the Lord's table the prayer, to be scriptural, must give thanks for the bread and in like manner for the cup. Every time we hear someone at the Lord's table pray for everything under the sun except give thanks, we think of J. Roy Vaughan's admonition.
J. Roy Vaughan abounded in the work of the Lord. He never lost interest in the spread of the Gospel and the ongoing of the Kingdom. He abounded in the work of the Lord month after month, year after year, and decade after decade. He made a great contribution, not only in his preaching, but in his many years of service in writing and editing at the Gospel Advocate. We all held him in the highest esteem and the greatest respect. His memory continues to encourage and inspire us. "And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them." (Revelation 14:13.)
-Ira North, Gospel Advocate, November 4, 1982, page 651.
J. Roy Vaughan As I Knew Him
When Abraham Lincoln died, Edwin Markham wrote that he left a "vast lonesome place across the sky." Brother Vaughan's death has left a "vast lonesome place" across the hearts of our brotherhood. J. Roy Vaughan was my warm friend for more than half a century. This friendship was solid and constant. Words are inadequate to describe what it meant to me personally, through the years. He was the personification of cordiality and kindness. He was a man who had a pure heart, hence his thoughts, words and actions were pure. Brother Vaughan was a man whose life had many facets, each of which shone with the brightness of the sun. First and foremost he was a gospel preacher. He believed that the power was in the Word. He had as his motto the advice that Paul gave to Timothy: "Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching."
Brother Vaughan believed that a faithful proclamation of the gospel would produce the results that God desired. In this age of gimmicks it is refreshing to know that the plans, schemes and machinations of men are worthless, in comparison to the preaching of the simple gospel of Christ. Brother Vaughan did the kind of preaching that produces notable results. He did the kind of preaching that is so desperately needed in our time. We must remember that, "as goes pulpit preaching, so goes the church." The life of the church depends upon the "thus saith the Lord" kind of preaching. If we are to remain a viable, distinctive people, we must "preach the Word."
Brother Vaughan possessed an unusual musical quality in his voice that was very effective. He was an eloquent preacher, if we accept the definition that Socrates gave for eloquence. Said he, "Eloquence is persuasive speaking." Roy Vaughan was a persuasive speaker, therefore he was an eloquent speaker.
When brother Vaughan stood in the pulpit to preach, he always held a Bible in his hand. He could turn to a passage of scripture as quickly as any man I ever saw. I am sure he could have quoted from memory any passage he used in his sermons, but it was effective for him to read directly from the Bible. He was an excellent reader. He always spoke in a conversational tone. He had few, if any gestures. He never pounded the pulpit with his fist. He was always dignified and well-groomed.
He did local work in a number of places, including Tupelo, Mississippi; Montgomery, Alabama; Miami, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee.
When B. C. Goodpasture became editor of the Gospel Advocate in 1939, he persuaded brother Vaughan, who was living at the time in Miami, to move to Nashville and serve as News Editor of the paper. This he did for more than three decades. When Goodpasture died in 1977, David McQuiddy appointed Roy as editor of the Advocate. At the time he was the best man for the place. This produced a feeling throughout the brotherhood that the Advocate was in safe hands, as indeed it was.
Brother Vaughan was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, November 10, 1899. When he was fifteen years of age he moved with his parents to Jackson, Mississippi, where he remained until he entered David Lipscomb College. Roy had a great yearning to return to his adopted state to do mission work. A. M. Burton, President of Life and Casualty Insurance Company in Nashville learned of Roy's desire and extended to him the necessary moral and financial support. With a good song leader and a tent the talented young evangelist preached in many sections of the state. Hundreds of people were baptized and scores of congregations were established. It was during a tent meeting in Mathiston, Mississippi, that Roy met Jimmie Greer Harvey who was later to become his wife. Jimmie's mother and grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. J. R. Greer were the only members of the church in the town. Roy went there for a number of meetings and when Jimmie was sixteen she was baptized by the man who was to become her husband. When she was nineteen they were married. Even though Roy was born in Tennessee and lived most of his life in that state, he was in heart a Mississippian. It was in the Magnolia State that he did his greatest work.
On August 7, 1982 the Vaughans celebrated their fifty-second wedding anniversary. He died suddenly on August 29, 1982 at his Nashville home. In addition to his wife brother Vaughan left to mourn his departure, two children, Helen Greer McCracken and John R. Vaughan, Jr. There was another daughter, Katherine, who died some years ago.
For the closing remarks of this article, I borrow the words that Alexander Campbell wrote about the death of his friend Walter Scott: "I knew him well. I knew him long. I loved him much . . . . By the eye of faith and the eye of hope, methinks I see him in Abraham's bosom."
-J.M. Powell, Gospel Advocate, November 4, 1982, pages 651-652.
Signature of J. Roy Vaughn
Courtesy of Terry J. Gardner, 04.2010
Directions To Grave
Woodlawn Cemetery is located in the southern side of Nashville, Tennesse on Thompson Lane. The exact location of the grave is shown below in the map. The grave is easily found if noting the surroundings of the photos below. Located just to the (left) west of the funeral home. Many preachers are buried in this cemetery. Section: Religion A. Lot 19, #4,5
John Roy - 1899-1982
Jimmie Harvey - 1911 - 2015
Photos Taken 09.30.2017
Webpage produced 10.24.2018
Courtesy Of Scott Harp