Convocation 9/15/2017: A whole lot of pastors

Going into this convocation, I had two big questions: Who is Adrian Rogers and why are we honoring his legacy today? When convo ended, only one of those questions had been answered and it hadn’t even been answered very well. Who is Adrian Rogers? All convocation told us was that he was a pastor with a radio/TV show, Love Worth Finding. However, he was much more than that. Rogers was also the president of the Southern Baptist convention for three terms, during which he helped usher in the “conservative resurgence”.¹ During this period, seminary professors who held liberal or moderate Christian beliefs were dismissed and 1900 churches left the convention to form the Cooperative Bible Fellowship, a more moderate christian denomination.² Rogers was also extremely outspoken politically, advocating for conservative principles such as pro-life and pro-capital punishment. He was also the author of 18 books.

The question of why we are honoring his legacy today was better answered, but not by much. According to today’s speakers, someone (I don’t remember who) was creating a simulcast about Adrian Rodgers and today convo was being filmed so that it could be part of the simulcast. I don’t know if that qualifies as a simulcast (I am pretty sure it has to be seen simultaneously, but what do I know), but that is irrelevant. My question is why this had to be done in convocation. Did they need us there so that they could have a large audience in the simulcast? I am not a huge fan of being required to be a prop in someone else’s broadcast. I am certain that they could have gotten plenty of people who would be willing to voluntarily appear in their simulcast (They could have probably sold tickets), so why did we have to be their captive audience?

Message wise, the topics were relatively non-controversial. It mostly consisted of the speakers telling us how Adrian Rogers had impacted their lives, followed by them answering questions. Overall, most of their answers were pretty good, simply restating the biblical example. While I had no issues with most of the answers, I disagreed with the answers to the last two questions that were asked: How important is the local church and should Christians get involved in politics. I will look at both in turn.

The first answer that I disagreed with was the answer to how important is involvement in the local church. The answerer (I can’t remember which one, sorry) argued that all Christians should be involved in the local church because the church is the bride of Christ. There are several reasons that I disagree with this argument. First, the bride of Christ is the world-wide church, the totality of all believers, not specifically the local church. When the Bible talks about ‘The bride of Christ” it isn’t talking about specifically the 7th baptist church of Farmville (I hope that isn’t a real church) or any specific church or denomination, it is talking about all believers, everywhere. To say that it is necessary to be in the local church to be part of the bride of Christ implies that those outside the church are either not real Christians or are somehow outside the bride of Christ, but still believers. A second reason I disagree with this argument is that it ignores the conscience and freedom of the individual. There are plenty of reasons that one may wish to stay away from the local church that are perfectly valid. Many have had terrible experiences with the church, and have determined that it is in their best interest to stay away. Others dislike the practices of the local church or the denominational infighting that occurs between them. Ultimately, while I believe that that Bible recommends one be involved in the local church, it is far from necessary.

The other answer I disagreed with was the answer to the question, should Christians be involved in politics. The speaker who answered, Robert Jeffress, believes that Christians should get involved in politics. While I agree in principle, I do have some reservations. I do not believe that their is anything wrong with Christians voting, running for office, or advocating for their beliefs. Where I disagree with Jeffress is the involvement that Christian leaders should have. I do not believe that pastors (or university presidents for that matter) should be endorsing candidates or making political statements. For one, they are seen as speaking for their congregation even if the pastors views do not line up with his congregations. A spiritual leaders opinion only gains attention above the average person because of the size of his congregation, however spiritual leaders are under no obligation to only issue statements in line with the view of his congregation. Second, religious leaders making political statements or endorsements only leads to factionalism. If the goal of the church is to reach as many people as possible, siding with one side or party only seeks to diminish the pool of prospective converts. Why would I go to the church whose pastor criticized my views and endorsed the person I voted against? Worse, it can lead to a confusion between political beliefs and religious beliefs, which is just as dangerous. Ultimately, I believe it is best for religious leaders not to get involved in politics.

Bible verses quoted this convocation: 7, wow that is a lot.

Bible verses quoted all semester :15

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Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Liberty University leadership or administration in any way. The opinions expressed here are solely my own and should be not be taken as the opinion of the University, its staff, or the student body.

Sources

1.http://articles.latimes.com/2005/nov/16/local/me-rogers16

2.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Baptist_Convention_conservative_resurgence

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