Lee Roberson

Lee Edward Roberson (24 November 1909 - 29 April 2007), was the founder of Tennessee Temple University and Camp Joy, both in Chattanooga.

Dr. Roberson was born in a two-room log cabin and spent his first two years on a farm near English, Indiana, a small town in the southern part of the state. Originally named Laverne Edward, he was know throughout his life as Lee. In 1911, his parents, Charles E. and Dora (Sego) Roberson, took him to a farm near Louisville, Kentucky, where his father farmed, worked on streetcars, and built homes to make a living. In 1923, at the age of fourteen, he was led to the Lord by his faithful Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Daisy Hawes, and joined the Cedar Creek Baptist Church near Louisville.

After spending two years at the Louisville Male High School, where he received a diploma in public accounting when he was fourteen years old, Roberson then attended the Fern Creek High School, where he played football and graduated after four years.

Dr. Roberson entered Old Bethel College in Russellville, Kentucky, in 1926, and finished the first year. There he worked at various jobs from washing dishes to scrubbing floors to pay his way. From Old Bethel College, he went to the University of Louisville to complete his college work with a major in history. He also continued his education at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, where he studied under Dr. A.T. Robertson. At the age of nineteen, he was called to a church in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, but he did not accept.

In his early years, Dr. Roberson was well known as a singer. Having studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and with the well-known teacher, John Samples, of Chicago, his services as a vocalist were in great demand. He served as a soloist on the staff of radio station WHAS of Louisville and WSM in Nashville, Tennessee. Doors also opened in the field of secular music. Dr. Roberson was offered a contract by Gaetano Salvatore de Luca at the Nashville Conservatory of Music. After a discussion with De Luca, Roberson decided to give up musical performance, and declined on grounds that such a music career was not in accordance with his divine calling to the ministry.

The first church that Dr. Roberson served as pastor was in Germantown, Tennessee, while he was in college. In 1932, he was called to be pastor of the Temple Baptist Church in Green Brier, Tennessee. It was there that he discovered the truth of the Second Coming of Christ. After three years with the Green Brier Church, Roberson entered full-time evangelistic work in 1935. He served as evangelist of the Birmingham Baptist Association; and within two years, he conducted some fifty revivals in the Birmingham area.

It was in Birmingham that he met Miss Caroline Allen, who, on October 9, 1937, became Mrs. Lee Roberson.

On the first Sunday in November 1937, Dr. Roberson became pastor of the First Baptist Church in Fairfield, Alabama.

In 1939, Dr. Roberson was asked to be the state evangelist for Alabama, but he declined.

After five years with the Fairfield church, Dr. Roberson was called to the Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga in November 1942. Four years later, Dr. Roberson would start the Tennessee Temple University and Zion College. Two years later in 1948, a theological seminary, Southeastern Baptist Seminary (later re-named Temple Baptist Seminary in 1954) was added. His ministry would continue to branch out into the areas of radio, a city-wide bus ministry, and the founding of Camp Joy. Highland Park Baptist Church would grow to be one of the largest churches in the country.

He preached his last service as pastor of Highland Park Baptist Church on April 27, 1983, but continued in the work of the Lord. Dr. Roberson preached across the nation and also published many books. He continued to serve until his death.

Roberson died two years after his wife's passing. His legacy includes strong preaching, Bible based standards, and an uncompromising devotion to God.


  • Diamonds in the Rough -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-179-0)
  • Disturbing Questions...Solid Answers -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-161-8)
  • Double-Breasted -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-160-X)
  • Gold Mine, The -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-339-4)
  • Preaching to America -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-667-9)
  • Ten Thousand Tears -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-837-X)
  • The Faith that Moves Mountains -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-276-2)
  • The Man In Cell No. 1 -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-567-2)
  • Touching Heaven -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-848-5)
  • Coming to Chattanooga Soon -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-129-4)
  • Big 90, The -- Sword of the Lord Pub (ISBN 0-87398-087-5)


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