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Seeker-sensitive approach is passing fad, Akin maintains

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Dispelling a seeker-sensitive approach to the pastorate as a “passing fad,” Danny Akin said only preaching that comes straight from the biblical text has eternal value.
“Today we are again hearing the siren sounds and the seductive voice of modernity that would call you and me to a seeker-sensitive, felt-needs approach to preaching,” said Akin, vice president for academic administration and dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., during an Oct. 29 chapel address at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.
“But I want to tell you something — it’s a passing fad that will not last. You cannot sustain the body of Christ with felt-needs preaching,” said Akin, former vice president for student development and dean of students at Southeastern.
Describing the “minister of God” for the 21st century as a teacher, soldier, competitor and farmer, Akin declared expository preaching will be the foundation for God-honoring, evangelistic churches.
“That which will sustain the church and that which will carry the church into the next millennium is the exposition, the careful exegesis and teaching of the Word of God,” Akin said. “Don’t tell me you can’t build a great church by preaching the Word. Don’t tell me you’re going to build great disciples any other way than preaching the Word.”
Preaching from 2 Timothy 2:1-7, Akin said churches need pastors with sound theology who are committed to historic, orthodox, evangelical Christianity. “It’s imperative in a day of theological confusion where pluralism and (inclusiveness) and other ideologies are out there … confusing the church … that we know what to share,” Akin said.
Comparing the minister of God to a soldier, Akin declared “the war is never over.”
“We as Southern Baptists have fought some very important and very significant battles in recent days and there are sometimes those friends of mine who will say, ‘Well, the war is over.’ No sir, the war is never over. We are always called daily to be vigilant, and be true, and be faithful because we are soldiers of the cross of Jesus Christ.”
Akin, named last year by Christianity Today as one of the top 40 evangelical leaders in the nation under the age of 40, charged boring preaching is suffocating the spiritual life out of many churches.
“In the day and time in which we live, there is unfortunately, in my judgment, way too much debate about what constitutes faithful seed sowing in our day,” Akin said.
Pastors must not take lightly their responsibility to be good theologians, he said. “Good preachers are good expositors and good expositors are good theologians. They know how to share the gospel and sow the seed.”
During his chapel address, Akin paid tribute to his mentor in the ministry, Southeastern President Paige Patterson. Patterson was Akin’s preaching professor at Criswell College in Dallas, preached his ordination service and later gave him his first teaching job at Criswell College. “He has made a tremendous impact in my life,” Akin said of Patterson, “and what a tremendous impact he has made on this seminary.”
Akin said the greatest lesson Patterson ever taught him was to “never ever forget all that matters in life is that you please God, period.”
“That makes life simple,” Akin said. “It makes ministry simple. I don’t have to please the trustees of Southern Seminary. I have to please Jesus Christ.”

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  • Lee Weeks