Monday, August 30, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: The ‘Southern’ Renaissance

The Pastor’s Perspective
“The ‘Southern’ Renaissance”
First Published: October 4, 2004

This last week I had the privilege of giving the Mullins Lectures at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and of sharing fellowship with Al Mohler and many other good friends. The campus is more beautiful and more full of students than ever. The chapel is newly renovated and the presidential offices are stately (and state-of-the-art!). The faculty is stellar and the seminarians impressive. You may be interested to know that Dr. Mohler’s right-hand man is a Mississippian – Dr. Russ Moore, from Pascagoula. As Dean and Vice-President (as well as a Professor of Theology), he works closely with the President in pastoring this great institution.

One delight was just being able to spend time with dear friends like Al (who maintains a pace of labor that most ordinary mortals would crumple under), Russ, Bruce Ware (Senior Associate Dean and Professor of Theology), Randy Stinson (Executive Director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood); to talk with students, like Heath Lambert (who almost came to RTS a couple of years ago); to meet new friends, like Daniel Block (who teaches worship at Southern), David Puckett (another Mississippian serving at SBTS) and Sam Waldron (well-known Reformed Baptist minister and author, who is doing a PhD at Southern now); and to at least get to say hello to other good friends like Chip Stam (a talented musician who is promoting biblical worship at SBTS) and Tom Nettles (noted author and Founders’ Conference leader). My time at Southern was refreshing and stimulating.

I can remember the “bad ole days” at Southern. When the Bible’s authority was undermined. When liberals were questioning core doctrines of the Christian faith in the classroom. And when an increasingly subversive group of ministers were being fed into the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. Now, in God’s providence and mercy, the whole faculty is committed to inerrancy, soundly embraces the doctrines of grace and longs to tell the world about the Lord Jesus Christ, and the students share those commitments! The Lord is good. As a Presbyterian, I’m profoundly thankful for these faithful, Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching, Christ-exalting Baptists. What a blessing it is to minister shoulder-to-shoulder by them, to have them as trusted allies within evangelicalism, and to engage the world with the truth of God alongside of them.

But there’s no place like home, so back to First Presbyterian Church, Jackson! This coming month holds many special opportunities for discipleship and witness. Peter Jones will be with us in October and John Blanchard (from England) and David Robertson (from Scotland) will visit in November. Derek Thomas’s Wednesday night series on “The Mark of a Christian” has been rich. Don’t miss a message. We’ll have special Reformation Day sermons on October 31, and will employ a historic Reformed liturgy on that Sunday evening. Plan to invite friends and to participate in all of these occasions for spiritual growth and evangelistic outreach.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

No comments: