WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–To proclaim the Word of God involves “standing on holy ground,” Richard Land told a chapel audience at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary March 20.
Before beginning his message at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus, however, Land presented the 2006 Richard D. Land Distinguished Service Award of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission to Anne Stone in honor of her late husband, Ted Stone.
Stone, a 72-year-old evangelist from Durham, N.C., was nearly a month into his fourth “Walk across America” when he died on July 16 of last year. He trekked across the nation, stopping at churches and other places along the way to share his testimony of God’s saving grace from drug addictions -– which he himself had experienced.
Stone ministered to many people struggling with addictions and encouraged them with hope from the Bible.
“The message of Ted Stone was simple and always the same — total surrender to Jesus Christ,” Land wrote recommending Stone for the award in a memorandum to ERLC’s trustees.
The annual award began in 1965 and was renamed after Land in 2003.
Stone’s widow and one of his three daughters accepted the honor on behalf of the family.
“Ted was passionate about sharing his faith and ministering to those who were hurting. He never stopped telling his story … ,” Anne Stone told the audience.
Stone also served as a member of the board of visitors for Southeastern and as a member of the board of trustees for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Land, in his chapel message, said, “It is an awesome thing to stand behind the pulpit. (Scripture) is the Word of God. We should always approach it with reverence.
“When you stand to preach, you’re standing on holy ground,” Land said. “When you’re studying God’s Word, you’re dealing with holy things. Do not treat holy things with familiarity.”
Land encouraged students to revere the Bible by memorizing a verse of Scripture each day and staying in the Word every day. He also charged pastors to “preach the whole Word,” not just the “chocolate ice cream.” He cited the passage in Hebrews warning shepherds of the flock that they must give an account of their watchcare over the flock.
Land continued, “We are to be constantly reminding ourselves and our fellow Christians of what we already know. (In) our saved state, we still have a fallen nature. And that fallen nature is going to be consistently tempted to forget what we already know,” Land said. “… We need to be over and over and over again focusing on the essential truths of the faith.”
Underscoring the importance of maintaining balance in the Christian faith, Land said, “Virtually every doctrinal error starts from somebody falling off one side of the theological bridge or the other. They get on a doctrine, and they ride it like a hobby horse. And they don’t look left, right, front or back; and they forget the balance,” Land said.
He noted that 2 John 5-6 presents a clear example of this balance between truth and love.
“If we practice truth without love, we’re going to fall into legalism. If we embrace love without truth, we’re going to fall into liberalism. We must have both. We must be able to speak the truth in love,” Land said.
He reminded the audience that Christians have the great benefit of knowing how this world will end. He read Revelation 21:1-7, focusing on the last verse.
“Every one of us, individually, will be His child,” Land concluded. “We are His — personally, intimately, individually, forever. That’s how it ends. So, let’s remember and live like the winners we are.”