Joseph Franklin Camp (1915-1991) was a lifelong student of the Bible. He was both an outstanding preacher and a fine Bible teacher. He was also a very good writer. He devoted six hours every day to personal Bible study. He arose at 4:00 a.m. in order to be able to devote the early morning hours to study and meditation on God’s Word.
Franklin Camp was born in 1915 at Munford, Alabama, just a few miles from Birmingham. Camp’s grandfather, Joe Camp, and his father, Benjamin Camp, were both preachers of the gospel.
In his lesson on The Bible, Camp said, “The Bible is every man’s book. To know the Bible and to handle it aright is the greatest accomplishment within the reach of any person. One may know English, astronomy, literature, music, sociology, and philosophy; but if one does not know the Bible, one has failed in the only subject that brings all things into their proper relationship and that enables one to know life at its best.”
Camp introduced his sermon on the Providence of God by stressing to his audience, “Don’t take just what the preacher says without comparing it with the Scriptures.” He had a strong, resonant, clear speaking voice. Camp was emphatic in declaring, “This life will soon be over and we will stand before God in judgment.”
He had an active interest in training gospel preachers. For a number of years in the 1950’s, he conducted a school of preaching, devoting a night each week to teaching interested young men who were preparing to preach. Later, and for as long as he lived, he continued his interest in preacher training with weekly daytime classes. Preachers drove from considerable distances to attend.
After his death, the Franklin Camp Scholarship Fund was established to fund preacher scholarships “to help deserving men prepare themselves to preach the gospel of Christ” while attending a school of preaching or a Christian college.
The fund also provides money for the distribution of Franklin Camp’s books and audio materials.
Franklin Camp engaged effectively in full-time preaching. He preached at Munford, Alabama, for twelve years; for Park Avenue in LaGrange, Georgia, for two years; for the church at East Gadsden, Alabama, for thirteen years; and for the Shades Mountain congregation in Birmingham for ten years.
After 1972, he left full-time preaching in order to devote all his time to writing, lecturing, and holding gospel meetings. Three of the themes on which he lectured were (1) Evolution, (2) The Inspiration of the Bible, and (3) The Work of the Holy Spirit.
Franklin Camp also supported Christian college education. For sixteen years he was a member of the Board of Trustees of Alabama Christian College.
A Successful Writer
One of Camp’s best known books is The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption. In a glowing, lengthy review of this book, published in the August 8, 1974, issue of Truth Magazine, Florida College President James R. Cope commends Camp for his thoroughness. “Unlike many writers,” Cope says, “the author ignores no difficult passages.”
Some of Camp’s conclusions, though, are controversial. He says that the Book of Revelation was written before the Jerusalem temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and that this was the time when miracles ceased, and that it marked the “end of the age.” His view is that the “gift of the Holy Spirit” was always miraculous and was always conferred by the laying on of an apostle’s hands—except on the day of Pentecost and at the household of Cornelius.
He authored a number of other books, including two books of sermons.
Franklin Camp died in 1991, shortly before his 76th birthday.