Ford Philpot (1917-1992) Ford Philpot was born June 16, 1917, in Clay County, Kentucky. He dropped out of high school only weeks before graduation and moved to Cincinnati in search of work. While working back in Kentucky at Renfro Valley, he met Virginia Robinson, and they were married in 1940. In 1942 Ford joined the Marines and served three years overseas during World War II.
In 1947, as Philpot began to overcome alcoholism, he enrolled at Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky. At Asbury Philpot was given the opportunity to preach and discovered it was his life calling. After graduating from Asbury in 1950, Philpot went to seminary at Emory University and was ordained in the Methodist Church.
Philpot was widely known as a revival preacher. In his first 15 years of ministry, he preached over 600 crusades around the world. He also produced a 30-minute radio program with his friend, Herb Bowdoin, called “The Waves of Truth”, which was broadcast throughout central Kentucky. In 1959, Bowdoin and Philpot began producing the first color religious television broadcast called “The Story”, which debuted on WLEX-18 in Lexington, Kentucky, on March 18th, 1960. It is estimated that the show, which included music, testimony from a special guest, and a message by Philpot, reached five million people each week. The program ran for 30 years with more than 900 segments taped. In 1966 “The Story” became the first religious television program to air in Japan.
Ford Philpot died on March 9, 1992, at the age of 74.
Listen to an audio clip of Ford Philpot preaching a message in chapel at Asbury College in 1961:
Materials by Ford Philpot Available at the Kinlaw Library and/or Asbury University Archives:
- So You Want a Mountain (1964)
- Truth in the Morning (1969)
- These Four Church Members and Other Evangelistic Sermons (197-)
- 16 episodes of “The Story” on DVD
- multiple episodes of “The Story” in various film, audio, and video formats
Book about Ford Philpot Available at the Kinlaw Library and/or Asbury University Archives:
- It Took a Miracle, by Herbert L. Bowdoin
Bio written by Matt Kinnell
- “Ford Philpot Biography,” by Zach Morgan
- “The Story Behind ‘The Story’,” by Kyle Olney
- “Candidates for Asbury Alumni ‘A’ Award 1966”
- “Important Events of Ford Philpot’s Life,” by Suzanne Gehring