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Seminarians challenged to be ‘grrrrreat’ Christians

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–As seminary students prepare to enter the field of ministry into which they’ve been called, Ted Traylor said the one question they should ask themselves is, “Am I a great Christian?”
Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Fla., visited New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for the annual campus revival, held during chapel Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 26-28. During the week, Traylor focused on the seminarians’ spiritual vitality, challenging them on Tuesday to be “Tony the Tiger kind of Christians [grrrrreat!],” basing the idea in Matthew 18:1-6, in which the disciples ask Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
“They’re asking, ‘What does it take to be a great Christian?'” Traylor said. “What a marvelous question to ask Jesus!”
Traylor said a great Christian must first be converted, contrite and compassionate, becoming like a child in faith, but not childish, in their walk with God.
He also challenged the seminarians to lead a life of integrity. “Let’s be frank here,” he said. “What all are you looking at on the Internet? When you’re alone, that’s who you are.”
Traylor finally urged the seminarians to be confident, citing Jesus’ several uses of the word “kingdom” in talking to his disciples. “You’ve got to have a king to have a kingdom,” he said, “and our king is Lord Jesus. You’ve got to be confident in him.”
Using Galatians 1:10 and 2:20 for his text Wednesday, Traylor titled his message, “Are You Wired for 110 or 220?” He challenged the chapel attendees by declaring “you are either living in 1:10 or 2:20. You are either serving men or serving the living Christ within you.”
Traylor described Stephen Olford, founder and senior lecturer of the Stephen Olford Center for Biblical Preaching in Memphis, Tenn., as one of his expositional preaching heroes and borrowed loosely from one of Olford’s outlines on Galatians 2:20. “This is Olford’s favorite verse,” said Traylor, adding, “This verse helps us to see what we are to be as disciples and followers of Christ.”
Traylor stated that Olford, in his book, “Not I But Christ,” writes of the extinguished life — one that is crucified with Christ; the relinquished life, given over to Christ so as to have Christ revealed through it — and the distinguished life — one that is marked by sincere, unwavering faith and love that “is not yours, but Calvary’s.”
“Every seminary student wakes up each morning and chooses that which he or she will pivot around,” said Traylor, alluding to the pivoting maneuver used in basketball. “Your life either pivots around self or the Savior. What does your life revolve around?”
Traylor said he finds great encouragement in the life extinguished and crucified with Christ. “When folks come to battle against you when you are crucified to Christ, they lift up their heads not against you, but against the Christ,” Traylor said. “Once you die to self, no one can hurt your feelings.”
On Thursday, Traylor addressed Christians’ “spiritual obesity,” citing Amos 2:13, in which God said he is “weighted down beneath” Israel. Citing the latest statistics that report more than 70 percent of Southern Baptist churches either plateaued or in decline, Traylor said that while Southern Baptist churches are moving back to a more orthodox theology, their contentment in getting there has made them obese.
“We’ve reached a spiritual crisis of critical mass because of who we think we are,” Traylor said. “We’re orthodox, but we’re obese.”
Churches become obese, Traylor said, when they shun the poor from their doors; when they say no to praise, forgetting that heaven rejoices when the lost repent; and we’ve they say no to preaching, trying to quiet the prophets of God.
The only hope for any church in decline, Traylor said, is for Christians to “amend their ways,” according to Jeremiah 7.
“You can’t take your church anywhere you’re not going,” he told the seminarians.
At the altar call, dozens of seminary students poured out of the aisles to pray with waiting professors and other students. More than 100 students responded, committing themselves to be great Christians in a city that needs it badly.
“This is a dark city,” Traylor said. “If ever there were a city that needed incandescent Christians, it’s New Orleans.”

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