INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Southern Baptist seminaries face the great challenge of producing faithful ministers in a faithless world, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said in a report to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis June 16.
In an age of decreasing adherence to scriptural truth, seminaries must answer the question, “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on earth?” said Mohler, who serves as president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
“We are living in a time when so many in the church are beginning to sense that there is a problem not only out there the world, but also in the church,” he said. “… In this critical turning time in human history, it is our responsibility to make certain that we do everything in our power demonstrate faith in the face of a faithless world.”
Mohler listed five imperatives to which Southern Baptists must adhere if they are to demonstrate biblical faith in the world.
First, Southern Baptists must maintain a bold vision of biblical truth.
“There is no way we will be able to demonstrate faith in face of faithlessness if we do not recover biblical truth,” he said. “This means that we must as people and as churches … be bold all the time, evermore, courageously and convictionally before the world about what it is we believe.”
Second, Southern Baptists must renew their commitment to teach biblical truth in churches and seminaries.
The Christian teaching ministry must always be grounded in the Word of God, he emphasized. “If there is any one educational principle that Southern Baptists must embrace at this convention and keep before ourselves, it is the absolute non-negotiable, undilutable responsibility of Christian parents and Christian churches to teach Christian truth,” Mohler said. “If we do not do it, it will not be done.”
Third, Southern Baptists must experience a bold recovery of expository preaching, Mohler said.
Preachers must not merely use biblical texts as jumping-off points for their sermons, he said. Instead, they must “confront an age of biblical ignorance and biblical apathy with the vibrant living and active two-edged sword of the inerrant, infallible Word of God.”
Fourth, Southern Baptists must experience a reenergized embrace of evangelism and missions, Mohler said, adding that Christians should take joy in preaching the Gospel to the furthest regions of the earth.
“We set before ourselves that vision set before us in the Book of Revelation of that throng before the throne in eternity made up of men and women from every tongue and every tribe and every people and every nation. For the cause of the glory of God we will never retreat. We will always advance,” he said.
Fifth, Southern Baptists must raise up a new generation of leaders in the faith, Mohler said.
The six Southern Baptist seminaries are making important advancements in the area of leadership development, he said, identifying Southern Seminary’s 3,500-plus students as examples of ministers contending for the Gospel in a hostile culture.
“As you come to the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., you will find thousands of young people whom God has called to the ministry, to missions, to evangelism,” Mohler said. “This generation is a generation marked by boldness and marked by courage.”
Mohler concluded, “The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary exists ultimately on your behalf … in order that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ may have in the next generation an even more faithful ministry.
“The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary exists for the truth, for the church, for the world and for the glory of God.”
More than 650 students, faculty and alumni attended Southern’s annual seminary luncheon Wednesday afternoon. Mohler reminded attendees that seminary students, faculty members and graduates possess a unique opportunity to be light during desperately dark days.
“What generation of Christians has had the privilege of addressing the challenges of our day?” Mohler said.
“What generation of Christians has had to take such a bold stand as to say, ‘This is what marriage is’? What generation of Christians has had the opportunity to say, ‘When the world has forgotten what life is all about and isn’t even sure when it begins, we know the origin of the miracle of life and we know the Giver of life?’
“What generation — against a secular tide — has had the opportunity to say, ‘This is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal and unchanging Gospel, the only Gospel that saves …?’ It is a great time for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is a great time for the Southern Baptist Convention. It is a great time for your church. It is a great time for this generation.”