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SBC seminary presidents honor Jerry Vines’ pastoral example

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–Praising him as an “example to the pastors of the Southern Baptist Convention,” the presidents of the six Southern Baptist seminaries presented a “Certificate of Honor” to Jerry Vines Nov. 24 during the morning worship service at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla.

Speaking on behalf of the seminaries’ chief executives as chairman of the Council of Seminary Presidents, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said, “When we think about the great First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., we think of a legacy of ministry,” citing pastor Vines and his predecessors: Homer Lindsay Sr. and Homer Lindsay Jr.

The seminary presidents were in the Jacksonville area for the council’s annual workshop, which is held in different locations as chosen by the chairman.

The chairmanship rotates annually among the presidents. Mohler, a native of Florida, is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

“If we could communicate one thing from our hearts to you today, it would be a sense of gratitude for what you as a congregation represent to the world, this community and our convention,” Mohler said. “And if we could articulate one aspiration for the thousands of students at our seminaries, it would be that they would go out to minister in the legacy and following the example of Dr. Lindsey and Dr. Lindsey and Dr. Vines. When you think of what the Lord has done in this place, our prayer is that we could see churches like this built across America.

“Dr. Jerry Vines, your dear pastor, is such an example to the pastors of the Southern Baptist Convention, but you as a congregation do what virtually no other congregation in America does, and that is you share your ministry with churches and pastors all over this nation,” Mohler continued.

The certificate of honor, the first ever presented by the CSP, recognized Vines’ “example as a Christian pastor, evangelist, preacher, friend to pastors and denominational leader.”

The certificate praised Vines’ “courage, compassion and true conviction in your ministry” and expressed thanks for his service as SBC president, “friendship to the cause of theological education, commitment to expository preaching, and your generous spirit in encouraging and equipping fellow preachers for the task of the ministry.”

The congregation responded with a standing ovation for Vines, who was choked with emotion and unable to speak.

At the end of the service, Vines said while it was intimidating to preach before “six scholars,” he is grateful to God for them.

“I’m so thankful as a pastor I can now say to our church and to our families, if God calls your young man or your young woman … and you want to send them somewhere where the Bible is believed as the Word of God, where the professors believe the Bible, where evangelism is emphasized, you can send them to any one of our six Southern Baptist seminaries,” Vines said.

The Council of Seminary Presidents consists of the presidents of the six seminaries of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In addition to Mohler at Southern Seminary, the council members and schools are: William O. Crews, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, Calif.; R. Philip Roberts, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo.; Charles S. Kelley, Jr., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, L. Paige Patterson, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.; and Kenneth S. Hemphill, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas.
The certificate honoring Vines is online at www.FloridaBaptistWitness.com.

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  • James A. Smith Sr.