“You never give up! You never quit!” Fred Overton, Jr. would tell his college basketball teams. Besides being an award-winning college basketball coach, he would declare these same messages to his nationwide audiences whom he would address as a successful motivational speaker.
Born and bred in Kentucky, Fred “loved” going to church, but he wasn’t saved. Then in 1980, he began attending the First Baptist Church of Atlanta. One Sunday morning, Dr. Charles F. Stanley, the church’s senior pastor for the last 40 years as of September 2009 and founding president of In Touch Ministries, pointed “that long, bony finger” right in his direction and declared, “You gotta give up, quit, and DIE!”
God used those words to transform Overton. His life not only changed, but he says his life was “EXchanged” when he learned Jesus wanted to replace his life with His life of love and forgiveness toward others.
Since September 1991, Overton says his Lord Jesus Christ has continued to use him as a motivational speaker all across the nation through Fred Overton Seminars, Inc. Now he teaches the Bible from the overflow of his intensive study habits.
“Most of the people I study have been dead a long time,” tells Overton – except for those from whom he draws teachings and insights such as Dr. Stanley; his son Andy Stanley, founding senior pastor of North Point Community Church; and Dr. John MacArthur, president of Grace to You Ministries in California. Overton’s home library is filled with thousands of volumes of Bible study aids.
Of Overton, Dr. Stanley states, “I have known Fred Overton for many years. His research in the area of Biblical apologetics – along with his excellent communication style – makes Fred a dynamic tool for the Kingdom of God. I recommend him without reservation.”
“Jesus was an explainer, an exegeter,” states Overton. For instance, in one of his recent seminars, Overton explained, “A lost person’s body goes to the grave, but a lost person’s soul goes to Hades.
“Hades is Hell but not all of Hell. Hades is a temporary holding place for lost people before they are cast into the Lake of Fire of Hell.
“The spirit is in torment in Hades. They do not have bodies, but they can see and taste. We know that is true from Luke 16:22-31 because the man in Hades could see he had five brothers who were not saved.”
Yet for those who are trusting in Jesus alone for their salvation, Overton teaches, “You’ll be more alive than you ever were on earth. When you die, at that very second, you’ll look just like Jesus.
“Jesus comes FOR us in the Rapture in the air. Jesus comes WITH us in the Second Coming.
“At the Rapture, what’s left behind are lost people only. At the Second Coming, what’s left behind are saved people only.”
By studying Revelation 20, Overton says we can learn that God will “uncreate” all He did when this universe will go out of existence. “Then Death, a condition, and Hades, a location, will be thrown into the Lake of Fire when God will abolish Death. God runs Hell, not the devil, who is an occupant.”
Though not an ordained minister, Overton studied at Luther Rice Theological Seminary, following his salvation. His purpose statement for his seminar ministry is:
“By God’s grace, to create a hunger and thirst for righteousness so that Christians may develop, by faith, a belief based on accurate knowledge of the Holy Scripture; that they may be equipped to give an account of the hope that lies within them to the glory of God.”
During his seminars, Overton teaches not only from the Holy Bible but from eight booklets he has written – full of diagrams and charts. They include:
• Is the Bible Reliable?
• The Tabernacle in the Wilderness
• Foundational Truths of Scripture
• Rightly Dividing the Word
• From Here to Eternity
• Victory over Death
Overton is married to the former Patsy Parham of Athens, a University of Georgia music graduate and a noted soloist. Their son John is a student at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega.