Kenneth Ridings, former Fruitland president, dies
    March 5 2015 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

    Kenneth Ridings, 78, the longtime Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute (now College) professor and then president, died today (March 5).
     
    “Throughout his ministry, Dr. Kenneth Ridings was a living legend among Baptist preachers,” said David Horton, current president of Fruitland. “His exceptional homiletical skills placed him in the category of such notable expository preachers as Stephen Olford, Ron Dunn, and Adrian Rogers. His legacy as a pastor, professor, and previous president of Fruitland Baptist Bible College will continue throughout the years as we build on the foundation that he laid. Today, Dr. Ridings has joined the other heroes of the faith in ‘that great cloud of witnesses’ and he is cheering the rest of us on!”

    Ridings, a South Carolina native, became a Christian in 1953 with the help of his now wife, Ann. He is a graduate of North Greenville College, Furman University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received doctor of divinity degrees from Fredericksburg Bible Institute and Covington Seminary.
     
    He served as pastor of churches in South Carolina and North Carolina, including Ebenezer Baptist Church of Hendersonville, N.C., and Grassy Branch Baptist Church of Asheville, N.C., where he led for 22 years while teaching at Fruitland.

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    BR file photo
    Kenneth Ridings, seen here at his retirement service, died today. He was a president of Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute (now College) in Hendersonville.

     

    Ridings began his service to Fruitland in 1968, teaching church administration and pastoral counseling. He started what would become a 39-year tenure as professor of homiletics the next year.
     
    He was on the board for the International Mission Board and was second vice president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
     
    Ridings retired as Fruitland’s president Dec. 31, 2008, and was named president emeritus on July 16, 2009. He was president for 11 years and taught at the school for 40 years. Fruitland honored Ridings with a Baptist Heritage Award in 2009.
     
    “I just cannot imagine Fruitland without Kenneth Ridings,” said Greg Mathis, Ridings’ pastor at Mud Creek Baptist Church, in a 2009 Biblical Recorder story. At that time, Mathis said Ridings was the “face of Fruitland,” and that “his influence is the force behind the reputation we have. No other man lives with more integrity or more impeccable character than Kenneth Ridings.”
     
    Milton A. Hollifield Jr., executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention, praised Ridings at his retirement service.
     
    “Your fingerprints are on this place, the preachers you have prepared and the people associated with Fruitland have been enriched by your ministry,” Hollifield said. “God blessed and honored your ministry, service, and leadership of this school.” 
     
    During his retirement service, Ridings revealed his heart about Fruitland: “You can go to heaven from many places. But when you go to heaven from Fruitland, you don’t notice the difference as much.”
     
    In a statement released today, Hollifield urged people to pray for the family and to thank God for Ridings’ impact on the “lives of pastors, and as a result, the churches of this convention.”
     
    He said, “Ridings was more than a faithful employee of the Baptist State Convention and more than an excellent professor of homiletics; he was a dear friend and a tremendous influence upon my life. Like so many students at Fruitland, the members of the churches he served, and those impacted by his extensive preaching ministry, Kenneth helped me to not only appreciate expositional preaching but modeled for me how to preach God’s Word. I will miss him greatly, but find comfort in the truth that we will meet again.” 
     
    Ridings is survived by his wife, Ann; daughter, Beverly; and one granddaughter.
     
    Visitation is Sun., March 8 from 3-5 p.m. at Mud Creek Baptist Church (403 Rutledge Dr., Hendersonville, NC 28739). The funeral is at 5 p.m. Mathis and D.L. Lowrie will preside over the funeral. The service can be viewed live at www.mudcreekchurch.org; it will be archived for later viewing as well.
     
    Donations can be made to the Fruitland Baptist Bible College Chapel Fund that bears Ridings’ name: Fruitland Baptist Bible College, 1455 Gilliam Rd., Hendersonville, NC 28792.

    3/5/2015 1:13:51 PM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 14 comments
    Filed under: BSC, Fruitland Baptist, Kenneth Ridings




Comments
Dr. Thom Sherwood
Kenneth was, for many of us, our first exposure to a true prophet and great man of God. Those of us who learned from him are monuments to his faithfulness to God and His word. God bless you Ann and Beverly. We will be praying for you during the days of adjustment ahead.
3/8/2015 3:04:02 PM

Bennie Durham
What a great man of God who influenced me and many others to preach the Word! Glad God allowed me to sit under him!
3/8/2015 11:31:33 AM

Ron Ward
So saddend to hear of Dr. Ridings passing. He was my mentor and taught me greatly. I will miss Bro. Kenneth. My prayers are with Ann and the family. So glad Kenneth was my professer at Fruitland. He taught me well. God bless you.
3/7/2015 9:49:57 PM

Renee Zellner
I am so sorry about your loss.
3/6/2015 6:37:48 PM

Jesse and Peggy Mooney
We first met Kenneth and Ann in Franklin County when he came to speak at our associational meeting at our church. They both encouraged and befriended us. Their smiles and friendships over the years have always uplifted us. Ann, our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. You have been a faithful and loving wife.
Jesse and Peggy Mooney
3/6/2015 4:40:56 PM

Brian Chilton
Prayers going out for Dr. Ridings' family. Dr. Ridings was an incredible man of God and a wonderful expositor of God's Word.
3/6/2015 2:01:57 PM

Mike Scott
Of all the men of God I have ever had the opportunity to sit at their feet and learn from.... I truly fell even more in love with The Word of God after having Dr. Ridings as a professor and friend.
3/5/2015 10:45:50 PM

Mark A. Eudy
Dr Ridings was not only a teacher in the classroom, he was a friend. I spent many hours talking with him when I worked on the maintenance crew.
He and Ann are so much a part of Fruitland and his ministry has reached multitudes over decades because of his dedication to the men and women who have gone through that wonderful school.
So many people impacted my life during my time at Fruitland but no one but my wife and I knew that Dr Kenneth Ridings was the reason that I was even able to attend Fruitland.
God bless you Ann and may Dr. Ridings' ministry continue even though he is at rest.
3/5/2015 9:22:52 PM

Carolyn Gregory
Our family treasures the special friendship that we had with Bro. Ken and Ann, and the many times that we had him in our home over the years. He was a precious man and a wonderful preacher. Men of his calibur do not come along every day, and I am thankful to have known him for so many years, as well as my parents, who fed him in their home for many years.
3/5/2015 9:06:47 PM

Robert Jacobs
Dr. Ridings became president of Fruitland the first quarter of my first year in 1997. He was an excellent expositor of God's Word and a great encouragement to this young preacher. Everyone feared his constructive criticism during the "Pit," but we learned greatly from him. Thank you Lord for allowing me to know Dr. Kenneth Ridings and to glean so much from his classes. God Bless you Ann and the family.
3/5/2015 8:30:33 PM

William Rivers
Kenneth Ridings profoundly influenced young preachers through his ministry as pastor, evangelist, teacher and president of Fruitland Baptist Bible College. He faithfully directed these young men to "preach the word." I am grateful that I was able to be one of his students. He was a mentor and an encourager. He taught that the best method of preaching was to expound the Word with verse-by-verse exposition. He will most certainly be missed by all those connected with Fruitland Bible College. Our sympathies go to his family. We join in your sorry at his passing, but we rejoice that he has entered into his reward for a life of faithful ministry for the Lord. We are praying for Mrs. Ridings, Beverly and all of his family.
3/5/2015 7:13:07 PM

Royce Sweatman
Kenneth Ridings had such an impact on my life. I so enjoyed his preaching and teaching in homiletics from 1980-1982. He was a great ambassador for Christ. We are comforted in the assurance that we have not lost anything when we know where it is. All of us who knew Kenneth know where he is.
3/5/2015 6:17:29 PM

David B. Turner
The last time I saw Kenneth was in the hotel lobby where the BSCNC annual convention was being held several years ago. I had not seen him in about 5 years at that time. He came up to me and hugged me and called me by name and asked where I was serving. I had graduated Fruitland in 1997, yet he remembered me by name. Kenneth said in my first class with him that his desire was to "whet our appetite for the Word of God." He did just that. He gave me a perspective on preaching that I never would have had without him. He said that we were the "Stewards of Words and that we should learn to say the most with the least amount of words." This meant that we were to use our words wisely and to use the most effective words to convey the message we were trying to convey. I will miss my brother. I thank God for the influence he had on my life and ministry. As long as I live, Kenneth's ministry will continue to touch lives.
3/5/2015 6:15:09 PM

Dennis Harold Glover
He was a dear friend and a tremendous influence upon my life. I was honored to sit at his feet from 1977-1979. You could always feel God's presence when you were around him. Praying God's strength for Ann and the family.
3/5/2015 5:12:42 PM

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