Today, we share the sad news that Dr. Randall Lolley received his eternal reward Monday, March 21, 2022 when he passed from this earth and into the presence of our Lord. While we grieve the loss of such a great Baptist leader, we celebrate the full life he lived for 90 years, serving God as a faithful friend, leader and pastor to so many brothers and sisters.
Randall was an early leader in the formation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and CBF of North Carolina. After his successful career as president of Southeastern Seminary, his final chapter in full-time ministry was spent as pastor of First Baptist in Greensboro from 1990-1996. He also served the congregations of First Baptist Winston-Salem and First Baptist Raleigh.
Tributes to Randall are being shared across the Baptist community, including this memorial from Baptist News Global. Randall’s wife Lou had recently joined him in memory care at their retirement home so she could “hold the hand of her sweetheart” in their final days together.
Many will remember Randall as a pivotal figure in his resistance to fundamentalist shifts among Baptists in the southern United States. He advocated the freedom of every individual to interpret the Bible for themselves and every person to serve God and lead the Church regardless of gender. In his final address before his resignation in protest from Southeastern Seminary, Randall said, “We do all our work… under the Lordship of Christ. This is why we can afford to let our consciences be free. Our interpretations are not subject finally to the opinions of any other person living or dead. Jesus alone is the norm around which our interpretations must coalesce. He is the Lord of the message and Lord of the messenger.”
CBFNC Executive Coordinator Larry Hovis shares, “To say that Randall Lolley was a giant among free and faithful Baptists would be a gross understatement. From exemplary pastoral leadership to shaping a whole generation of ministers to lending strong leadership in the early days of our CBF family, Randall left an indelible mark on countless pastors, their churches and an entire movement. God’s kingdom on earth was made more fully manifest because of Randall. He cannot be replaced and he will never be forgotten.”
In 2008, the Lolleys worked with CBFNC to establish the Randall and Lou Lolley Endowment for Theological Education to fulfill their dreams of supporting men and women preparing for ministry in the form of scholarships for theological education. The Lolley Scholarship is CBFNC’s most prestigious scholarship, offered to future Baptist ministers pursuing a Master of Divinity at any of the four partner divinity schools in North Carolina. Memorial contributions may be given to the Randall and Lou Lolley Endowment for Theological Education online here or by mail to the CBFNC office.
Condolences may be sent to:
8710 Cypress Club Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27615
Please join in us praying for Lou, daughters Charlotte and Pamela, the entire Lolley family, and all those who loved Randall.