Pastor Milburn Cockrell
Baptist Pastor and Editor
By Curtis Pugh
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
After preaching the Word of God for more than 45 years, my pastor, Elder Milburn R. Cockrell departed from this life on September 14th, 2002, for the presence of the Lord. Less than a month before his departure he preached from the above text at the Voice In The Wilderness Bible Conference held annually in West Virginia. Brother Cockrell fought a good fight and kept the faith. Having finished the course God had set for him he is no longer with us because God took him.
Born on a cotton farm near Mantachie, Mississippi on January 24, 1941, to Ershel and Onita Cockrell, he was converted in 1956. Shortly afterward he was baptized and received into the membership of the New Hope Baptist Church, Dorsey, Mississippi. Later he joined the First Baptist Church of Mantachie. He made known his call to preach in a revival meeting at the Bethel Baptist Church of Dorsey. The First Baptist Church of Mantachie licensed him to preach at age 16 and he preached his first sermon on March 24, 1957. I believe his first sermon was on the ruinous effects of sin based on the account of the prodigal son. His home church, The First Baptist Church of Mantachie, ordained him on February 27, 1960, the same year he graduated from the Mantachie High School.
His first pastorate was the Big Oak Baptist Church, Dorsey, Mississippi. While there he married Sheron Burcham on June 7, 1960. Brother and Sister Cockrell were blessed with four children, Gayle, Marsha, Christopher, and Derek. Sister Cockrell and the children all reside near Mantachie as does his mother, Sis. Onita Cockrell.
Brother Cockrell pastored Big Oak Baptist Church in Dorsey, Mississippi from 1960 to 1961; Bethel Baptist Church in Saint Clair, Missouri from 1961 to 1965; Emmanuel Baptist Church in Tupelo, Mississippi from 1967 to 1969; First Baptist Church of Henleyfield, Mississippi from 1967 to 1969; Union Grove Baptist Church in Tilden, Mississippi from 1969 to 1975; Calvary Baptist Church of Ashland, Kentucky from 1975 to 1980; Berea Baptist Church of South Point, Ohio from 1980 to 1989; and Berea Baptist Church of Mantachie, Mississippi from 1989 till his death in 2002.
After serving as pastor in many different states, Bro. Cockrell returned to Mantachie and began the pastorate of the Berea Baptist Church in 1989. Having preached for 40 years on various radio broadcasts, at the time of his death the Berea Baptist Broadcast is being aired on 9 stations in the United States and 2 stations in the Philippines. He was a prolific writer and has contributed articles to many Baptist papers. He was editor of The Baptist Examiner from 1975 till 1980. He founded and edited The Berea Baptist Banner, which, at this time has an international circulation. He edited and published three different editions of The Berea Baptist Hymnal. As an author he has left us with many tracts and 19 different books as well as 8 volumes of outline studies. He also left several books prepared for future publication.
The funeral service was held at the McNeece-Morris Funeral Home in Mantachie on September 17, 2002. The singing of the hymn “Beautiful” was lead by Brother Roy Dennison of South Point, Ohio. Elder Bill Mitchell of Williamsburg, Kentucky read the obituary. The congregation sang another hymn titled “Amazing Grace.” Elder Roy Mitchell of Corbin, Kentucky then preached the funeral sermon and the graveside service was conducted by Elder Jimmie Davis of Fulton, Mississippi. Pallbearers were Elder Steve Martin of Westpoint, Tennessee, Elder Billy Holbrook of Oblong, Illinois, Elder Garner Smith of Clarksville, Tennessee, Elder Doyal Thomas of Hartselle, Alabama, Elder John Massie of Wayne, West Virginia, Elder Steve Cornett of Brownsburg, Indiana, and Brother Jerry Stanley of Fulton, Mississippi.
Brother Cockrell was greatly loved by his family and his church as well as a host of Brothers and Sisters in Christ around the world. Ever a promoter of foreign and home missions, he was a faithful husband, father, pastor and friend to all those who love the truth. He was a stalwart for the Word of God, standing firm for Biblical truth and practice. He is now and shall be greatly missed.
[From The Berea Baptist Banner, October, 2002, pp. 421 & 439. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
Some of Bro. Cockrell's Writings:
The Duty of Saints and Sinners with Reference to the Gospel By Milburn Cockrell
The Life and Times of J. R. Graves By Milburn Cockrell, 1995
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