Leading evangelical pastors John MacArthur and H.B. Charles Jr. joined Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. to emphasize the primacy of preaching at the Expositors Summit at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 28-30. The plenary addresses were expository sermons with focused application for the pastors’ preaching ministry of the gospel.
“For those who are the disciples of Christ, there is one thing we simply can’t do without,” Mohler said. “And that is the teaching of Christ, the teaching of the Word.”
In the opening session of the summit, Mohler preached on “The Binding of Isaac” in Genesis 22, reading the story through the lens of gospel revelation. Mohler highlighted elements of the narrative pointing to Christ in the New Testament — the son Isaac carries the wood up the mountain himself, the sacrifice comes just when it is needed, and God himself provides the offering at the story’s climax.
Cross-cultural value of expository preaching lauded at Southern Seminary’s African-American pastors’ conference
Christ-centered expositional preaching is cross-cultural, according to speakers at Southern Seminary’s African-American pastors’ conference, Oct. 27. The conference, held in conjunction with this year’s Expositors Summit, featured African-American preachers Thabiti Anyabwile, H.B. Charles, Victor Sholar, and Curtis Woods.
“We want to preach in such a way that opens the understanding of our people so that their rejoicing is really in the truth,” said Anyabwile, church planting pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
Gospel parables are rich expository preaching material, but they cannot replace expository preaching, said pastor and author John MacArthur in the E.Y. Mullins Lectures on Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 28.
“Parables are Jesus’ theology of salvation in stories,” said the 75-year-old MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. “We can see those parables for what they are,” he added, but for unbelievers “they are nothing but riddles, stories without meaning.”
MacArthur, author and editor of more than 150 books, became the first person to deliver the prestigious Mullins Lectures for a third time. He previously participated in 2002 and 2006. The lectureship was endowed by E.Y. Mullins, the fourth president of Southern Seminary, and since 1941 has featured notable preachers such as Donald Macleod, Calvin Miller, R. Kent Hughes, and Bryan Chapell.
A new generation of evangelical Christians is on the verge of racial reconciliation and economic justice in its churches, said John M. Perkins in the Julius Brown Gay Lecture on Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 27.
“We’re at a pivot place in history,” said Perkins, 84. “This is the first generation of people who are beginning to understand that and values diversity. There’s an underlying movement today that now people are wanting to do mission with people, and they want to learn from people, and they see human beings different as a value in life.”
The Julius Brown Gay Lectures are among Southern Seminary's most prestigious lectureships, dating back to 1895. The lectures have brought some of Christianity's most significant figures to the seminary campus, most notably Martin Luther King Jr. in 1961. Perkins said the opportunity to deliver the lecture at Southern Seminary was “one of the honors of my life” as the culmination of his life’s work.
Thousands of people flocked to the Bruton Parish Church in colonial Virginia on Sunday, Dec. 16, 1739, to hear a famous young preacher they called the “heavenly comet.” Church members were joined by curious onlookers and some eager visitors who traveled a then-remarkable 14 miles to hear the powerful voice of George Whitefield proclaim the new birth.
Though he made no mention of it in his journal, the “grand itinerant” turned 25 years old that day. Despite his youth, Whitefield had already attained a level of popularity in Britain and colonial America that arguably no one has since matched. Turning to his text, Matthew 22:42, Whitefield asked the congregation a classic question: “What think ye of Christ?”
He was received with unusual warmth from the Anglican minister and faced no immediate controversy from his sermon. By the time Bruton Parish received letters from the Church of England to bar Whitefield from its pulpit, the evangelist was already on his way through the colonies for “the greatest preaching tour of any preacher since the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul,” said Steven J. Lawson, president of OnePassion Ministries in Dallas, Texas.
Lawson, who wrote The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield, delivered a plenary address at the eighth annual conference for the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on “Whitefield and the Great Awakening,” Oct. 21-22. The two-day conference honoring the tricentennial of Whitefield’s birth featured key scholars such as Thomas S. Kidd, professor of history at Baylor University and author of the recent George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father, and David Bebbington, professor of history at the University of Stirling and author of notable works on modern evangelicalism.
John M. Perkins, an evangelical civil rights leader on issues of racial reconciliation and community development, will deliver the Julius Brown Gay Lecture on Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 27.
“For reconciliation to take place, we must create an environment that is worshipful and where God’s Word can clearly be heard,” said Perkins, 84, in a recent interview with Southern Seminary. “The gospel is only the gospel when the totality of the redemption is heard, when we proclaim the depths of God’s love and the longing of his people for change.”
Perkins will lecture on “Why We Can’t Wait: The Urgency of the Now” at 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 27. The lecture will be held in Legacy 303 at the seminary’s Legacy Hotel & Conference Center. The first 50 students in attendance will receive a free copy of Perkins’ book, Let Justice Roll Down.
When Travis Freeman lost his eyesight in high school, he never expected his story to be told on the big screen. He just wanted to play football. But 23 Blast, a film based on his journey in early high school when he lost his sight after contracting an illness, releases Friday, Oct. 24, in 600 theaters across the country.
“The movie isn’t the Travis Freeman story,” said the two-time graduate from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in a recent interview. “It does a really good job capturing the spirit of my story. I want people to be encouraged whether by watching the movie, 23 Blast, or reading the book, or following me on Twitter or hearing me speak.”
The movie chronicles Freeman’s story as he went from a healthy teenager and football player to a hospital patient with bacterial meningitis that left him blind in 1993.
His sermons are still circulated around the world through books, pamphlets, and the Internet. He is quoted by thousands of pastors across the land each Sunday. His books are read and re-read. Church historians often say Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the prince of preachers, but it may accurate to say he still is.
“The ministry of a man like Spurgeon is timeless,” said Thomas J. Nettles, who studied Spurgeon for nearly 20 years in writing Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. “His attentions and affections were focused on things that were not merely ephemeral, but were eternal. The longevity of interest in him is something that certainly commends him to all of us.”
More than 125 alumni of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary attended a two-day Alumni Academy, Oct. 9-10, devoted to the life and ministry of the great British pastor.
As a New Testament professor, Robert L. Plummer is concerned that his former students are apostatizing. But he says graduates from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary are not turning from their faith, but turning from their Greek.
Plummer, professor of New Testament interpretation and the chair of the New Testament department at Southern Seminary, has taught introductory Greek courses for 15 years. After watching students invest so much time into learning Greek only to see their skills wilt from disuse, Plummer resolved to fight back against linguistic atrophy.
Realizing he may have a couple decades left of seminary teaching, he wanted to think of ways to buck this trend, and came up with a web project called “Daily Dose of Greek.”
“Let us go to places where the gospel has never been,” he said. “We must complete the Great Commission in our generation, and we need to make a commitment together that their spiritual death will not happen on our watch.”
Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, urged students to fulfill the Great Commission and take the gospel to unreached people, both overseas and even across the street.