Last month it was announced another American treasure’s life had been claimed by covid-19 – Rev. Fred Price, the powerhouse preacher who inspired congregations for decades. Price died Friday, Feb. 11 from the disease, the family announced. He was 89.
“Our Husband, Father & your Apostle has gone to be w/ the Lord this evening,” the Price family said in a statement posted on social media. “We accept his decision to go as he got a glimpse of glory a few weeks ago. We are sad. Please allow us some time to process. He fought the good fight of faith & laid hold of eternal life.”
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An outpouring of tributes and condolences from across the world were sent for the longtime mega pastor based in Los Angeles. Here are 7 things to know about Fred Price’s life.
Price founded Crenshaw Christian Center in 1973 in the Crenshaw neighborhood of South Los Angeles. He grew the congregation to more than 28,000, according to Los Angeles Daily News. The church meets in the FaithDome, which seats 10,145 worshippers and was the largest church in the country when it was built on the grounds of a former Pepperdine University Campus.
“Multiple services are horrendous,” Price said in 1989. “The purpose of the building is to have one service. And if I can get 10,100 people into one service, that’s more than we’re doing now.”
According to a bio on the Crenshaw Christian Center’s website, Fred and Betty Price met at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles and were married on March 23, 1953. The couple went on to have four children, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Rev. Price and his wife were partners in life and ministry for nearly seven decades. The couple weathered many storms together, including the loss of their 8-year-old son Frederick K.C. Price III, who was hit and killed by a car while walking home in 1962.
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“Fred and I tried to console each other as best we could, and leaned a lot on one another during this time of hurt,” Betty Price later wrote. “My husband particularly found it hard to get over this tragedy, but he knew and continued to sa, that it was not God who had taken our son from us. Looking back now, we can see how the devil was trying to destroy us as a family.”
While many preachers such as Creflo Dollar are famous for their prosperity gospel messages, Rev. Price is credited with being an originator of the theology. Price wrote more than 50 books on the subjects of faith, prosperity, healing, The Holy Spirit, and more.
In 1978, he began his popular “Ever-Increasing Faith Ministries” TV program and reached millions with his messages.
“If you know ANYTHING about the Prosperity Gospel Rev. Fred Price and Crenshaw Christian Center was it before Creflo Dollar and any of those folks made it big,” religion scholar and author Anthea Butler said on Twitter after hearing news of Price’s death. “He was an original.”
Not afraid to tackle tough subjects in his sermons, Rev. Fred Price didn’t shy away from speaking out against racism and injustice within the church. In 1999, after Kenneth Hagin Jr. – the son of his mentor, once close friend and ally – preached against interracial marriages in a sermon, Price severed ties with the ministry.
Though he didn’t name the pastor by name, it was revealed to be Hagin, the Los Angeles Times reported. Price also began an entire sermon and book series entitled “Race, Religion & Racism” and went on to teach on the subject for years to come.
Price also denounced the Dake Annotated Reference Bible in the series, saying its notes were racist because many in the series spoke about why the races should live separately.
Rev. Price was officially named an apostle in 2008 after years of operating in what is called the “five-fold ministry” – which denotes a variety of spiritual giftings.
He also established several schools including: Frederick K.C. Price III Christian Schools (preschool to 12th grade); the Ministry Training Institute in 1985; a CCC Correspondence School; the Frederick K.C. Price School of the Bible; and in 2008, the Apostle Price Ministry Training Center, the church said.
A staunch advocate of reparations for slavery, Price criticized Black people who were against the idea. “And then Some Black folks got the nerve to talk about we shouldn’t talk about reparations, we should let it go. Poor simple-minded fool,” Price said during a sermon when he taught the history of Japanese Americans receiving reparations for being forced into internment camps.
According to Price’s children, both of their parents were diagnosed with covid-19 at their church’s testing site. “Daddy’s initial onset was a nasty cough,” Prices daughter Angela Evans told NBC Los Angeles.
“When that guy put him in the little wheelchair to take him into the hospital, I started crying of course. Who knew that was gonna be the last time I would see him in life,” Evans said, sharing that she dropped her father off at the hospital as his symptoms worsened.
Price died, but his wife recovered. The LA Sentinel said that due to Price’s prominence around the globe, there will be a public viewing. The report states:
“In honor of Apostle Price’s legacy, a closed casket viewing, open to the public, is slated for Thursday, March 4, and Friday, March 5, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., on both days at Crenshaw Christian Center, 7901 S. Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. On Saturday, March 6, a private family service will be live streamed at 11 a.m., followed by a private family burial. The service may be viewed on EIF YouTube Channel, EIF Facebook Page, EIF website-watch now, and EIF on demand. Amid COVID-19 realities, the family is acutely aware and deeply concerned for the safety of others, said a spokesperson. Strict adherence to all safety protocols is appreciated and will be enforced.”