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John Roach Straton
Fundamental Baptist Minister in NYC

      John Roach Straton, (also referred to as Dr. J. Roach Straton) was a long-time pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of New York City. Pastor Straton was born on April 6, 1875, in Evansville, Indiana, where his father was pastor of the First Baptist Church. He died in Clifton Spring, N.Y., October 29, 1929. His parents had come to America from Scotland. The family moved to the South where his father served churches in Alabama and Georgia. When Straton was 20 he entered Mercer University and finished 3 years; when his father died he dropped out of school. He was converted to Christ while attending evangelistic meetings in Atlanta, Ga., and following baptism he was encouraged by the noted evangelist, James Boardman Hawthorne, to attend the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisvile, Kenucky.

      He was ordained in 1900 and married the former Georgia Hillyer of Atlanta, Georgia, on November 2, 1903; they had four sons: Rev. Hillyer Hawthorne Straton, John Charles Straton, Rev. Warren Badenock Straton, and George Douglas Straton.

      Straton pastored churches in Louisville, Kentucky and in Maryland, Virginia and Illinois (1905–1917) before becoming pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in New York City in 1918 to 1929. It was there that he became engaged in the battle between fundamentalism and modernism. He was a gifted orator and debater and he was effective on college campuses. His great emphasis was the infallibility of the Scriptures. He preached against the moral decadence of society. He adopted sensational methods that kept him before the people. He conducted tent meetings and street meetings. He had an automobile outfitted with a portable pulpit and had a cornet soloist. Through the church-owned radio station WQAQ his voice was known far and wide.


[Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History, Volume I, pp. 448-50 and other sources. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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