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SBC, evangelical leaders remember Adrian Rogers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Adrian Rogers’ death Nov. 15 prompted Southern Baptist and evangelical leaders nationwide to release statements memorializing the longtime Bellevue Baptist Church pastor and former SBC president. Among them:

— Bobby Welch, president, Southern Baptist Convention:

“Fresh out of his morning shower, hair still uncombed, barefoot and in his undershirt… hurriedly searching for his tie, there he was… the already legendary, Dr. Adrian Rogers! In an hour or so he would speak the words publicly that would fire one of the starting guns in what would become an unprecedented and historical victory in the ‘battle for the Bible’ within the Southern Baptist Convention.

“Most memorable to me, was that I was sitting there on the edge of his hotel bed having been invited in for his encouragement to become the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Florida.

“I was a young associate pastor who had driven his pastor, Bob Mowery, to this impending meeting. Yet Dr. Adrian Rogers had taken time out of his intense and extraordinary life for an unknown and very ordinary and inexperienced guy like me.

“That act of kindness and encouragement has stayed with me throughout all these many years and has urged me to try to be accessible to others on their journey for Jesus.

“The flags of Christianity in general, and of Southern Baptists in particular, should be at half mast upon this occasion because few and very, very few like Dr. Adrian P. Rogers -– friend, pastor, warrior, statesman, soul winner and inspiration — seldom arise in one generation.”

— Morris H. Chapman, president, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee:

“Adrian Rogers was a model preacher, pastor, evangelist, husband and father. He was an inspiration to untold millions, and the full impact of his life and ministry likely will not be comprehended or calculated this side of eternity…. When I needed counsel, I often sought his advice. Not only was I blessed by listening to his powerful sermons, I looked at his life and saw no greed, no grudges, no jealousies and no egotism. However, I did see Jesus. Adrian was my mentor in the ministry, and became for me a model of the Christian life — a model for whom I had enormous love and respect.

“My wife’s home church was Bellevue Baptist Church. After Jodi and I were married and living in Texas, we attended Bellevue on our visits home to see her parents. Not too long after Adrian became Bellevue’s pastor, we visited a morning worship service with my parents-in-law. Sitting in the congregation, I found myself engrossed in his sermon, enthralled by his booming voice, and gripped by the power and clarity with which he preached the Word of God. As a young pastor, I had never heard such a compelling presentation of God’s Word nor sensed such an anointing of God’s Spirit upon a preacher of the Gospel. For me, it was a fateful day because his friendship became one of the greatest blessings of my life. I reluctantly and sadly bid him ‘Goodbye,’ but joyfully wait until we meet again in the glorious halls of heaven.”

— James T. Draper, president, LifeWay Christian Resources:

“He was a friend who was always loving, always commanded respect, always calling us to do what is right, never wavering in his commitment to God and to His Word, leading us to stand firm in matters that must not be compromised and by his character and extraordinary giftedness, compelling us to follow his leadership. He was a giant in every way.”

— Richard Land, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:

“Dr. Adrian Rogers was one of the giants of the faith of any era of the Christian church. If there were a Mount Rushmore for Southern Baptists, Dr. Rogers would certainly be on it. Adrian Rogers was perhaps the last half century’s premier example of an expository preacher who used his gifts to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ and His victory for humanity on the cross. While we mourn our loss, we rejoice that Dr. Rogers is now with his Savior in glory. Having already heard from Jesus, ‘Well done, thy good and faithful servant,’ he is now in a place where there is no more pain, no more tears, just Jesus to enjoy for eternity.”

— Jerry Rankin, president, International Mission Board:

“Adrian Rogers was a great man of integrity who provided outstanding leadership to our convention. In addition, for us the passing of Adrian is not just the death of a great Baptist statesman, but the passing of a member of the family. In a real sense, he is one of ours. Adrian has given one of his children to the mission field. His son, David, serves with us in Western Europe.”

— Robert E. Reccord, president, North American Mission Board:

“Adrian was a friend and mentor to me and so many others who greatly admired his stewardship of the many gifts with which God blessed him. Our denomination owes him a deep debt of gratitude for the courageous leadership he gave during the critical years that placed us back on such a firm foundation. The ministry at Bellevue and the thousands of lives changed through it will live on as an enduring testimony to his legacy and an example of how God can work so mightily through a humble and committed servant. No one can fill his shoes, but I pray we will all aspire to walk in the faith and obedience to God he so remarkably demonstrated.”

— O.S. Hawkins, president, GuideStone Financial Resources:
“When I heard early this morning of Adrian’s death my mind raced to 1 Samuel 9:6: ‘Behold, there is in this city a man of God who is an honorable man. … He can show us the way we should go.’ Adrian Rogers was our ‘man of God’ and he showed us ‘the way’ in every aspect of his life. Fittingly, he has now led the way for us again and today he has looked upon the face of Christ in glory! Our prayers and love are with Joyce and the family.”

— Paul Pressler, retired judge and leader in Conservative Resurgence:

“The passing of Adrian Rogers stills the voice of one of the greatest preachers of the Gospel who ever lived. He was a genuine man who loved people, who loved the Lord and who served everyone. It is a terrible loss for the Kingdom and a wonderful gain for heaven.”

— Daniel Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary:

“Southern Baptists have lost perhaps their greatest leader and statesman in the death of Adrian Rogers. He was one of those rare individuals who truly was bigger than life. Few men have impacted so many as did this spiritual giant. He was the face and voice of the Conservative Resurgence and one of the greatest preachers God’s people have ever had the joy to hear. Dr. Rogers exemplified what it meant to be a man of God. He modeled for all of us how to preach the Word, pastor a Church, love your wife and lead your family. He will be sorely missed, and future Pastors’ Conferences will simply not be the same without his commanding presence and booming voice. He was my hero and I will miss him.”

— R. Albert Mohler Jr., president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

“Dr. Rogers was a lion in our midst — the man God used to serve as leader and voice for a great resurgence of biblical Christianity. He was a man of tremendous gifts, whose booming voice was matched by a gift for words and a powerful delivery. He dominated the pulpit as few men ever have, preaching the Word and calling sinners to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a modern-day ‘Prince of Preachers’ whose personal example served to encourage thousands of others to greater faithfulness in preaching the Word of God.”

— Paige Patterson, president, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary:

“No more ‘half hallelujahs’ for Adrian Rogers. He is home with Jesus with a full hallelujah! While we rejoice for him, he leaves a vacancy in my heart more massive than the sweep of the Grand Canyon. So many contributed massively and heroically, but in my estimation Adrian was the one human, essential prophet in returning the SBC to the faith of its fathers. Whether the discussion is compassion, mental alacrity, sense of humor, prowess in the pulpit, passion for Jesus and for lost sinners, or just faithful encouragement of the brethren, Adrian Rogers brought it all to Southern Baptists. If we Baptists had a Hall of Fame, Dr. Rogers would be enshrined tomorrow.”

— R. Philip Roberts, president, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary:

“Dr. Rogers will remain forever in our thoughts and memories. His leadership in helping return the Southern Baptist Convention back to a Christ-honoring doctrinal position that is firmly grounded in the trustworthy Bible has endeared him in our hearts. Although we are sad by his passing, we rejoice knowing that one day all of us who knew Dr. Rogers, and who know the Savior whom he served, the Lord Jesus Christ, will find ourselves together again -– lost in wonder, love and praise at the throne of our Lord.”

— Jack Graham, pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church, former SBC president:

“Adrian Rogers is first and foremost a man of God. His compelling voice, courageous faith and compassionate heart persuaded a generation of churches and Christians to know, love and follow Christ. His life and leadership changed the course of the Southern Baptist Convention and inspired generations of preachers to boldly proclaim the Word of God. At heart, he was a pastor who was gifted beyond measure and who shepherded his beloved Bellevue into one of the greatest churches in Christian history. Adrian Rogers lived what he preached, and his legacy of faith will only grow dearer and sweeter until Jesus comes.”

— James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family:

“There is no one in America whom I respected more than Dr. Rogers. He has been a faithful friend to me and to the ministry of Focus on the Family for many years, serving as a voice of wisdom, encouragement and admonition on our Board of Directors. He was also a staunch ally in the battle to defend biblical values in our culture.

“Most importantly, Dr. Rogers was responsible for impacting countless people through the faithful preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That was the defining passion of his life, from the day I first met him until the very end. For that reason, our sorrow at his passing is mixed with joy and thankfulness. We know that he is now free from the shackles of this earthly existence, and that he has entered into the very presence of the God he loved so deeply and served so diligently.”

— Beverly LaHaye, founder and chairman of Concerned Women for America:

“Adrian Rogers was a true spiritual giant. We offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Joyce, and his four children and nine grandchildren. Adrian’s life and ministry were a blessing to many. We take comfort in the assurance that he is now rejoicing in Heaven with his personal Lord and Savior.”

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