Posts by SBTS Communications

SBTS Press publishes Spanish edition of A Guide to Expository Ministry

CO-016-2012 Spanish Expositor's Guidebook_v3 revisedA Spanish-language edition of A Guide to Expository Ministry debuted at the Feb. 27 Hispanic pastors’ conference, held in conjunction with the annual two-day 9Marks conference for pastors.

The book, published by SBTS Press, calls for the recovery of expository preaching in local churches. The book also encourages faithful, qualified pastors to apply the demands of this kind of preaching to their lives and to their preparation. Lastly, the book provides practical help for all of God’s people to become more effective sermon listeners, Bible readers and church members.

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In new book, Mohler defines, defends classic view of biblical inerrancy

BiblicalInerrancy-bookIn a new book, Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. defines and defends the doctrine of inerrancy as the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy articulates it.

The Chicago Statement is the preeminent evangelical explanation and affirmation of the doctrine of inerrancy of the Scriptures. Nearly 300 evangelical scholars, including Carl F. H. Henry, J.I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, R.C. Sproul, James Boice and others signed the statement in 1978.

In his contribution to Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy, Mohler asserts inerrancy means “the Bible, as a whole, and in its part, contains nothing but God-breathed truth,” he said. “When the Bible speaks, God speaks.”

Mohler contributed to the new Zondervan book that addresses the question of the “doctrinal rationale … and Scriptural warrant” of the term “inerrancy” as a way to define the Bible’s truthfulness.

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Southern Seminary hosts historic Spanish-language conference

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Dominican pastor Miguel Núñez speaks Feb. 27 at a first-ever Hispanic pastors' conference at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. The conference was held in conjunction with the annual 9Marks Conference.

Southern Seminary’s 9Marks at Southern conference looked and sounded different this year, as the seminary hosted its first-ever conference entirely in Spanish. A Feb. 27 Hispanic pastors’ conference was held in conjunction with the annual two-day 9Marks conference for pastors. Miguel Núñez, Dominican pastor, author and a popular TV show host, broadcast in 20 countries, spoke at the conference, along with other pastors.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the Hispanic pastors’ conference pointed to the need and desire for outreach to the Hispanic and Latino communities.

“Southern Seminary was honored and extremely pleased to host this conference for Spanish-speaking pastors, and we were quite honestly overwhelmed with the turnout,” Mohler said in an interview about the new addition to the regular 9Marks conference. “It went far beyond anything we could have imagined. It just points to the need for Southern Baptists particularly, and evangelicals more generally, to have an intensive, strategic outreach to the Hispanic and Latino community.”

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Scriptural authority, gift of salvation ‘inextricable,’ Mohler says

The authority and inerrancy of Scripture is necessary to understand the gift of salvation, said The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. during the spring 2014 convocation address, Jan. 28.

In his address, “‘If You Do Not Believe His Writings, How Will You Believe My Words?’ — The Authority of Scripture and the Gift of Salvation,” Mohler said the inerrancy of Scripture is inseparable from the gift of salvation, and to believe otherwise is dangerous because without the first, the second is impossible.

“Scriptural authority and the gift of salvation are inextricable,” Mohler said. “We cannot have one without the other. We cannot be a gospel people without also being a Bible people.”

In John 5:39-47, Jesus confronts the Pharisees who seek to understand the Scriptures, yet do not believe Moses’ words in the Old Testament, so they do not see Christ or truly believe the Word of God, Mohler noted.

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At annual summit, Southern Seminary emphasizes expository preaching

PHOTO: H.B Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., preaches during the second annual Expositors Summit that brought more than 400 pastors to the Louisville, Ky., campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 29-31. (SBTS photo by Emil Handke.)

The second annual Expositors Summit, hosted by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 29-31, featured pastors H.B. Charles Jr., Alistair Begg and seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. The event, which opened and concluded with seminary chapel services, brought together more than 420 attendees from around the country.

Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., preached three sermons, the first from Philippians 2:5-11 about the humiliation and exaltation of Christ.

Charles emphasized Jesus’ suffering, noting his selfless sacrifice for sinners.

“Christ made himself nothing in the role he adopted in the incarnation: a servant,” he said. “We have never sacrificed anything in comparison to what Christ did for us.”

Christ not only humbled himself, but God exalted him to a place of high honor. The proper response to Jesus, then, is worship, Charles said.

“The bowing of the knee is the proper response to Jesus’ exaltation,” Charles said. “The lordship of Christ is the ultimate confession of every Christian and all creation.”

In his second sermon, Charles preached from Psalm 119 about the necessity of personal devotion for ministers.

He said, “We must have confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture that begins in our personal devotion before it will take real effect in our public ministries.”

To know God’s Word is to love God’s Word, he said, giving three reasons loving the Bible is important.

The first reason is because the Word of God makes Christians wise. He said that Scripture is so sufficient that it will overcome whatever may stand against it, if ministers commit to preach it faithfully.

Age and wisdom don’t always go together, and experience is not always the best teacher. Instead, Christians should intentionally fall in love with God’s Word and submit themselves to it because it leads to wisdom, Charles said.

Charles’ second reason was that Scripture aids in keeping Christians from sin.

And in his final point, Charles pointed out that Christians need to know and love Scripture because it brings joy.

Charles closed the summit, preaching from Psalm 46 about “a safe place in God.”

The passage, Charles said, “seems to speak to any and every situation the people of God may face. The personal trials, the moral decline, the social upheaval, the economic reversals, the political shenanigans, the international conflict, the the terrorist threats — not to mention the spiritual challenges we face — cause our hearts to ask, ‘Is any place safe?’ Unfortunately, there is no safe place in this world.

“But I stand to say: there is a safe place in God. In fact, this is the message of Psalm 46: the only safe place in the world is in God alone.”

Charles pointed to three aspects of God in which the psalmist finds safety: in the power, presence and purpose of God.

Mohler preached for the first general session of the Expositors Summit. He spoke from Matthew 7:24-29 — the parable about the man who built his house on the rock and the one who built his house on the sand — about the lack of authority in contemporary preaching and the problem this presents.

When Jesus concludes the parable, the scribes listening to him stood astonished, Mohler said, because he spoke with authority.

“What’s missing today in pastors is authority,” he said. “The one thing missing is the one thing necessary.”

Mohler said preachers can recover this authority by preaching God’s Word. Pastors and teachers, he said, do not teach on their own authority, but on God’s.

He closed out the second day of the conference preaching from 1 Corinthians 9, where Paul says that he has became “all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” Mohler exposed common misinterpretations of this passage that creep into cultural Christianity.

With the growing moral revolution and churches that listen to the culture’s ideologies, Christians must look out for the “wolves” who want theological reformulation in place of orthodox theology, Mohler said.

Mohler said the way to contextualize ministry is to live as resident aliens and understand the temptations that face the church. He argued that Paul does not intend to become “all to save all,” giving up sound doctrine. Rather, he lets go of preferences and holds on to Scripture in order to save some.

“The first temptation is to hold on to what we’re supposed to let go of, and the second is to let go of what we’re supposed to hold on to,” he said.

Begg, pastor of Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio, preached three times for the summit.

In an Oct. 29 chapel service, after he recounted advice he received early in his career that he should find his “thing,” a brand that would define his ministry, Begg argued that, rather than a brand, the emphases of the Bible should define Christians. He discussed three statements — three “one things” — from three different passages of Scripture that should characterize believers.

Begg summarized the three: “One thing I know, says the Christian, I used to be blind but now I can see,” he said. “One thing I do, I forget what lies behind; I press on toward that goal. And one thing I ask, that I might enjoy in all of its fullness to live in the house of God forever.”

For the first “one thing,” Begg pointed to John 9:25, where a blind beggar, after Jesus restores his sight, tells the Pharisees that the “one thing” he knows is, “I was blind but now I see!”

“Those words on the lips of this man born blind identify, in a radical way, the intervention of Jesus Christ in his life,” Begg said.” This ‘one thing that I know,’ says the man, is a reminder to us of something, of course, we must never forget: namely, the nature, the wonder, the absolute necessity of being converted. ”

Begg drew his second “one thing” from Philippians 3:13-14, where Paul writes that the “one thing” he does is, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” press “toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

For his final statement, Begg looked at Psalm 27:4, where the psalmist asks “one thing” of the Lord, that he “may dwell in the house of the Lord  all the days of [his] life.”

Begg concluded the first day preaching from the Book of Jude. Jude calls his readers to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, Begg said. In his first general session, Begg contended that the church today, as in Jude’s, faces a threat from the inside when Christians doubt the sufficiency of Scripture.

“Jude is saying to his hearers that in the climate they are living, it is imperative that they take a stand for their faith,” Begg said. “This faith is not to be diluted; it is not to be distorted; it is not to be contaminated. The sum and substance of the gospel lies, in Luther’s words, in the word substitution.”

Begg expounded on Jude’s message to Christians who are called, loved and kept by God. He noted that God alone accomplishes all of these aspects in the passage. Christians are saved as a result from something done for them, Begg said.

“This message is to be proclaimed clearly, wisely, sensitively and authoritatively,” Begg said. “It is the conviction that what God has said is to be said with nothing else to be added, and what God has done he has done with nothing else needed.”

In a second sermon from Jude, Begg noted that the apostle calls Christians to learn from the past and persevere in the present until Christ returns. Jude wants his readers to remember that building themselves up in the love of God is a “constant, lifelong activity,” Begg said.

At the end of his sermon, Begg encouraged preachers to remember God’s love toward them in order to build up believers in their congregations.

“The care of God for the pastors and shepherds of the flock is a care that is to extend to those who are our sheep and our lambs so that we may convey to them the mercy and love and the goodness and the intervention of God and together we might follow hard after him,” he said.

In addition to the main sessions, the Expositors Summit offered breakout sessions about expository preaching led by Southern Seminary faculty members Kevin L. Smith, Hershael W. York, Daniel S. Dumas, Robert L. Plummer and James M. Hamilton. The event also included a panel discussion in which Begg, Charles, Mohler and Dumas discussed a range of topics related to expository preaching, from preparation time to application.

Audio and video from the Expositors Summit are available at sbts.edu/resources. Next year’s Expositors Summit will be Oct. 28-30, 2014. More information about the Expositors Summit and other events at Southern Seminary are available at sbts.edu/events.

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In installation address, Greenway warns students about a deficient understanding of the gospel

If not careful, even seminary students can hold a deficient understanding of the gospel, said Adam W. Greenway during his Oct.1 installation address as the new dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Greenway, 35, is the first dean of the school since it expanded as the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry, combining the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism, established in 1994, and the School of Church Ministries, which began in 2009. The new Graham School officially opened in August.

Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. introduced Greenway, giving background to the Billy Graham School.

“The Billy Graham School will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. It was 20 years ago that Dr. Billy Graham was present here in Louisville for the announcement of the establishment of that school as a part of my inauguration,” Mohler said. “The Lord has greatly blessed this school over the years. This is the Lord’s timing that as the Billy Graham School enters into its 20th year and as it’s aimed toward the future, Adam Greenway would be its dean.”

Greenway, associate professor of evangelism and applied apologetics, preached from 2 Corinthians 5 about “A Full Gospel Ministry.” This era may be the “golden age” for theological uncertainty and gospel compromise, he said, so students must confidently profess their beliefs about the gospel.

“If ever there was a time that we need a recovery of the gospel message, mandate and mission, it is in our day,” Greenway said.

He offered four aspects of a “full gospel ministry.” He emphasized that students who will enter ministry need to comprehend the greatness of the gospel.

First, Greenway said the gospel has a “divine origination.” Everything has its source in God, and he is the hero of the redemption story of Scripture. God delights in reconciling people to himself, Greenway said.

The gospel also involves a “divine declaration,” Greenway said, who is also the chairman of the board of trustees for LifeWay Christian Resources.

People are corrupted, and each time they sin, it is like swiping a credit card that needs to be paid, Greenway said. God would be just to charge a person’s sins to his or her account. But, he said, if God did that, humans would be doomed.

Greenway said that because of the declaration, the gospel’s third aspect is also necessary: a “divine transaction.” People need someone to pay their debt of sin, and Jesus accomplished this on the cross. Citing 2 Corinthians 5:21, he encouraged students to contemplate what it means that Christ became sin in order to reconcile sinners to God.

Greenway’s final aspect of a full gospel ministry is its “divine mission.” He pointed out the importance of obeying the Great Commission mandate of declaring the gospel. He said that too often students disconnect theology from evangelism.

Greenway said that the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry exists to help students apply theology to life, resulting in a full ministry of the gospel.

“Theology never finds its full expression until it becomes the driving force and passion that leads us to proclaim to sinners that there is salvation in Jesus Christ,” said Greenway.

He finished his address by expressing his thankfulness for the seminary and its faculty, who work together for the same goal in training students.

“I believe at Southern Seminary in general and the Billy Graham School in particular, there’s never been a greater assembling of God-called individuals who are passionate about the full range of the Great Commission: worship, evangelism, discipleship, leadership and missions,” Greenway said. “We’ve got the family together in the Billy Graham School, and we believe it is at the very heartbeat of God that our mission and mandate is to see the nations come to worship Christ.”

Mohler, at the conclusion of the service, presented Greenway with a plaque commemorating the installation.

Audio and video from Greenway’s message are available at sbts.edu/resources.

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At third annual McCall Lecture, Dockery offers case-studies in leadership from Southern Seminary’s presidents

 A helpful way to learn about leadership is to examine leaders from the past, said David S. Dockery during The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s third annual Duke K. McCall Lecture on Christian Leadership, Sept. 24.

Dockery, long-time president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., spoke about Southern Seminary’s nine presidents, using each as a case-study in leadership qualities. He focused particularly on the seminary’s current president, R. Albert Mohler Jr. and his convictional leadership as the essential and foundational trait.

Drawing from leadership principles from each of the presidents, Dockery said that each of the lessons — the necessity of vision, teamwork, change agency, wise risk-taking, encouragement, good managing, strategic planning, relational skills and convictional leadership — must be grounded in the Bible and theological direction.

“Without such commitments these efforts lose shape and become disconnected from the Christ- centered mission,” Dockery said. “A leader’s life is not primarily about an organization or about success, but a leader’s life is primarily about being characterized by the worship of God, authentic discipleship, by spiritual and ministry formation — a life that God uses for his purposes.”

Dockery, who served as the dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary from 1992-1996, began with the founder of the seminary, James Petigru Boyce as an example of leadership as vision. Boyce, president from 1859-1888, dreamed of a Baptist seminary for the South and the Southern Baptist Convention, and in Greenville, S.C., in 1859 this dream began to turn into a reality.

Leaders can learn about the necessity of vision from Boyce, Dockery said. Boyce saw a vision of an established, confessional seminary. He persevered through post-Civil War hardships to see the vision realized.

“Vision has the ability to see the end of the plan from the beginning,” Dockery said. “It was Boyce’s vision that served as the source of energy and direction for the seminary from 1859 until his death in 1888.”

Dockery then talked about John A. Broadus, an example of team leadership, who not only succeeded Boyce as president (1888-1895), but worked closely with Boyce from the early days of the seminary.

“In many ways, the Boyce-Broadus leadership was a duet, not a solo,” Dockery said.

Broadus stood beside Boyce in the difficult economic days of the seminary when it moved from Greenville to Louisville, Ky. He refused to take a salary while he raised funds for Southern, and he worked with Boyce to help accomplish his vision for the school. Dockery said that Broadus exemplified team leadership throughout his professorship and presidency at Southern Seminary.

After Broadus came William Heth Whitsett (1895-1899). Whitsett, the third seminary president and a member of the faculty and historian, challenged prevailing views about Baptist origins, resulting in controversy and crisis for the seminary. It eventually cost him his job.

Dockery said the lesson of Whitsett’s presidency is risk-taking at the right time and understanding context. He said that timing is key in leadership. Leaders who make mistakes need to admit it and move on, he said.

“The right thing done at the wrong time, or the right thing done for the wrong reason is the wrong decision,” Dockery said. “Risk-taking is good at the right time and right place. And godly leaders must be willing to do so.”

Southern’s fourth president, Edgar Young Mullins (1899-1928), is an example of leadership as change agent. Mullins provided lasting leadership through his persuasive work as an administrator and denominational statesman who adapted to his time, Dockery said.

“Not only did he influence the campus and the denomination, but he influenced far beyond Baptist life through his statesman-like leadership,” Dockery said. “He demonstrated the power of persuasion. For almost 30 years,  E.Y Mullins’ giant sized abilities touched Baptists everywhere and pointed the seminary forward in the changing world of the 20th century.”

After Mullins died, John Richard Sampey became president (1929-1942). Sampey inherited not only the seminary but substantial debt. “He was a model of courage in difficult days,” Dockery said, stating that leadership as encourager is important.

Sampey began to implement plans for paying the debt and the school’s enrollment grew as time progressed.

Ellis Adams Fuller, Southern Seminary’s sixth president (1942-1950), was a leader as manager, Dockery said. Fuller knew business well and had good managerial skills. He adequately managed the seminary and Dockery said that leaders can learn that timing is key for implementation from Fuller.

“Managers like Fuller make wise and prayerful decisions. They know when and how to ask for help,” Dockery said.

Duke K. McCall, the leader who the lecture honors, was Southern Seminary’s seventh and longest serving president (1950-1982). Dockery cited McCall as Southern Seminary’s strategic leader.

McCall, a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, had already been the executive secretary of the SBC Executive Committee, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville before he came to Southern Seminary. He was also named president of the Baptist World Alliance after his time at Southern.

Dockery said that McCall’s presidency teaches leaders that they will not be able to move forward without strategic planning.

“He remarkably placed his stamp on the campus of Southern Seminary and the Southern Baptist Convention like few others in Southern Baptist history,” Dockery said. “His strategic, thoughtful leadership reached far beyond this campus.”

Dockery said that Roy Lee Honeycutt, Southern’s eighth president (1982-1993), was a relational leader. Relationships are essential for those in leadership, Dockery said. Honeycutt worked through difficult opposition from the progressive faculty, and he built consensus with a covenant statement, written in the midst of denominational controversy.

Dockery finished his leadership case studies with Mohler, who marks 20 years as president of Southern Seminary this semester. He told students that the lesson to learn from Mohler is convictional leadership and commitment to sound biblical teaching.

When Mohler began his presidency, the seminary was at the center of controversy in the SBC. Mohler, through his convictional and committed leadership, turned the seminary back to biblical fidelity and theological orthodoxy.

“President Mohler has brought about a remarkable transformation by convictional leadership which is both theologically informed and theologically shaped,” Dockery said. “President Mohler has reclaimed the vision of James P. Boyce and the tradition that provided the framework for the early decades of this seminary.”

Audio and video from Dockery’s message are available at sbts.edu/resources.

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Copeland cautions students to watch their doctrine and life during seminary

Seminary students need to watch their doctrine and character while in school, said Illinois pastor Ed Copeland in a Sept. 19 chapel message at Southern Seminary.

Copeland, pastor of New Zion Baptist Church in Rockford, Ill., for the last 12 years, spoke to students about the importance of beliefs that are in agreement with Scripture and are applied to the student’s life before ministry begins.

He preached from 1 Timothy 4:16 where Paul instructs Timothy to pay careful attention to himself and the instruction he receives. From this passage, Copeland urged students to verify against Scripture what they learn in and out of class, and allow it to inform their character and way of living.

“Sometimes you can be so focused on your learning that you forget about your burning,” he said. “You can be so focused on knowledge that you forget about the fact that it isn't just about what you know but Who you know. And Who you know comes out in your deportment, your conduct and conversation.”

Copeland told the students that the goal of an education is character transformation. Education is necessary, but he said that students need to prepare for the “front lines” of ministry. Copeland said that a seminary student should not study Scripture and its meaning just to tell someone else. But, he said, what is learned should be applied to the pastor first.

“You can’t have the impact that God intends for you to have without having your doctrine straight,” Copeland said. “Study yourself like you study the Book.” Students need to live in a way that helps others know what is right, he said.

Copeland, a council member on The Gospel Coalition — a coalition of evangelical leaders, most popularly known for its blog and biennial conference — closed his message warning students to attend to their convictions and character, especially while in seminary when the temptation to be prideful is prevalent.

Copeland illustrated this by saying that there should not be a gap between what someone is learning and how they are living.

“It’s possible to know the right things, but if you’re not living it right, you don’t have the seasoning that you need in order to help other people know what’s right,” Copeland said.

“As you grow older, you will recognize that you are constantly changing and therefore you need more and more of God’s grace and you need to practice these disciplines in a greater fashion.”

Copeland is the author of Riding in the Second Chariot: A Guide for Associate Ministers, and he is also an attorney.

Audio and video from Copeland’s sermon are available at sbts.edu/resources.

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Dominican pastor speaks in SBTS chapel about the cost of following Christ

The price of following Christ is high, preached Dominican pastor Miguel Nunez in Southern Seminary chapel, Sept. 17.

Nunez, senior pastor of the International Baptist Church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, preached from Mark 6:14-29, a passage that reports on King Herod's beheading of John the Baptist, illustrating the cost of being faithful to the cause of Christ.

Before he preached, Nunez spoke about his background and ministry. He told about how he left the Dominican Republic to pursue a successful medical career in the United States before God called him to ministry and back to Latin America.

Nunez, the author of two books, Jesus: the Man that Challenged the World and Confronts Your Life and A Church After God’s Own Heart, said that he believes what is happening in the Dominican Republic is the “beginning of a reformation in Latin America.”

“God is doing something fresh in Latin America that perhaps you should be aware of and maybe even be a part of it,” he said. “And I suspect that is part of the reason that God has me here today.”

As a part of growing Spanish-language initiatives, Southern Seminary recently began live translation of chapel services and on-campus conferences into Spanish, for both in person and for online viewers.

Turning to his sermon, Nunez described John the Baptist from the Mark passage as an example of the cost of discipleship.

“What John the Baptist lived in private he preached in public. And we need God’s people like that today,” Nunez said, who is also the founding president of Wisdom and Integrity Ministries.

Nunez noted the power of God’s call on a man, illustrating this with John’s conviction about honoring God. He pointed out the power of resentment, which led to Herod’s daughter asking for the head of John the Baptist on a platter at her mother’s advising. Nunez said that people are blind to their sin because of resentment.

He talked about the power of integrity, citing Jesus’ crucifixion. Pilate and the people could not find fault with Jesus because of the way he lived his life in integrity.

He lastly talked about the power of sin in a person’s life. He said that the power of sin weakens a person’s sinful nature, which is what led to Herod not safeguarding John the Baptist even though he knew he was a righteous man.

Nunez said that John the Baptist was committed to the advancement of the truth even when it cost him his life. He pointed out that the prophet acted as a moral compass for the people around him who lived in sin because he didn’t compromise the truth.

He said that voices like John’s, who speak up for the truth, are not only important for the nations, but especially important for the church of God, citing William Wilberforce, who fought for 26 years to abolish slavery in England.

Nunez compared Herod and John the Baptist to Pilate and Christ. Pilate succumbed to the pressure of the people, which resulted in the crucifixion of Christ. Pilate had power, but no character, he said.

“Sin has a monumental influence on you and me. It has the potential to little by little make us into mere puppets of our impulses and desires. And that’s where Herod ended up,” Nunez said.

He closed his sermon by reading an anonymous letter from a pastor in Africa. The letter, written before the author was beheaded, emphasized that the high cost of following Christ.

Nunez hosts the For His Cause Conference, a gathering that ministers to thousands of Spanish- speaking people from many different countries. In the spring of 2013, Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. spoke at the conference, and plans to return next year to speak again.

Audio and video from Nunez’s message, “The Cause of Christ has a Price,” are available at sbts.edu/resources.

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Rainer warns students against falling into Satan’s traps

Students need to guard against the traps of Satan, said author and denominational leader Thom Rainer in a Sept. 5 chapel service at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, introduced Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, expressing thankfulness for Rainer’s friendship and ministry as the founding dean of the seminary’s Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth.

“It was very clear to me that God had created one man for that job, and his name was Thom Rainer,” Mohler said. “It was a great joy when Thom Rainer came, and the growth and development of that school under his leadership was remarkable. The lengthened shadow of his legacy here continues. ... He is also a dear friend.”

Rainer, a two time Southern Seminary graduate, preached from 1 Timothy 3:7, warning students about the traps that Satan sets for all Christians, and especially ministers of the gospel.

“No one puts a trap up accidentally,” Rainer said. “Satan is setting intentional traps for you now.”

He described five characteristics of these traps: Traps are powerful, intentional, they aim at a person’s vulnerability, they catch you unaware and they bring sudden and sometimes perilous consequences to a Christian’s life.

Rainer told students about a season in his life when ministry and education took precedence over his family. He said that he realized this problem when his five year old son had not seen him in several weeks because of work and ministry. He said that this was a turning point. Rainer warned students to heed this passage and not fall into the same sin.

“Please don’t think that you’re invincible,” Rainer said. “Don’t think it can’t happen to you because it’s those who say ‘never’ who end up in the trap. We don’t have to fall into the trap, but we need to know that we can,” he said.

Rainer closed the sermon with a final warning for students to walk closely with God in order to prevent a fall.

“Please, for the sake of the glory of God, stay close to him because the devil is waiting to devour.”

Before his sermon, Rainer reflected on his early ministry at Southern Seminary when Mohler first became president.

“What took place in the early and mid-90s for several years was convictional leadership at its best,” Rainer said, referring to Mohler’s stewardship of the institution through theological transition. “What took place at Southern Seminary many said could not be done. And because God worked through a man named Albert Mohler, this school turned around as the denomination began to turn. I was an eyewitness to that history and I saw that convictional leadership. I saw it then and I see it now.”

Earlier this year, Southern Seminary named Rainer as its distinguished alumnus of the year during the school’s alumni luncheon at the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas.

Audio and video of the sermon are available at sbts.edu/resources.

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