Archive for February, 2015
“They were astonished at His teaching because, unlike the scribes, He was teaching them as one having authority.”1
“The police answered, ‘No man ever spoke like this!’”2
If you have already graduated from high school or college, was there a specific teacher or professor whose teaching stood out from the rest? Did a history teacher make ancient times seem like yesterday? Did a science teacher open the wonders of the galaxies? Did a math professor finally make working with letters and numbers at the same time make sense? Can you remember a teacher or professor who created an interest in a subject that had never interested you before?
Subject matter can come to life from the mind of a great teacher.
Jesus Taught Like No Other
The first century Middle East saw no shortage of teachers. There were rabbis aplenty, with disciples listening to their every word. Jesus, in the eyes of first century Israel, was another in a line of such rabbis. Often through the New Testament, He was addressed as “teacher” or “rabbi.” There was nothing in His appearance to set Him apart at a teacher.
But, there was something in His words and in His life.
It was said of Jesus, “He taught them as one having authority, not like the Scribes and Pharisees.” Jesus did not teach from a place of uncertainty, but as one having authority. Should we be surprised? Jesus was God incarnate, the very Word of God made flesh. He spoke as Author, not merely interpreter or teacher.
Jesus Himself is Like No Other
In the words of Tony Evans, “Christ’s authority is unlimited because it rests intrinsically within Him. He taught with authority like no other because He is that authority. He embodies absolute truth.”3
Think for a moment about some of the miracles Jesus performed. He routinely healed people, He raised people from the dead, He walked on water, He multiplied food, and on and on. He had authority over life, death, and creation. His disciples fell down in fear after He blessed them with a great catch of fish.
Jesus is Our Authority
The authority Jesus displayed in His actions and teaching was confirmed after the resurrection when He said, “All authority is given to Me in heaven and on Earth” (paraphrase). The same authority that empowered Jesus’ teachings then, empowers Jesus’ teachings now.
Our lives can be changed by the greatest teaching the world has ever known. The authority of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is as strong today as when He walked the earth. His power to save has not diminished, nor has the authority of His word. He is a teacher like no other. All because Jesus Himself is our authority. He is truly incomparable to all others. This is why we must tell the world!
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. FloydSenior Pastor, Cross Church General Editor, Bible Studies for Life President, Southern Baptist Convention
3–Bible Studies for Life, Like No Other, Tony Evans
Over 18,000 students are currently enrolled in our six Southern Baptist seminaries. This is the largest number of pastors, missionaries, and scholars we have ever equipped at one time and is a great praise to our God.
Conservative Theology Works
Due to the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention by courageous men and women of God, our six seminaries are now anchored in a deep belief in the infallibility and inerrancy of Holy Scripture. Our Southern Baptist Convention rose to the occasion to declare to the world, “We believe in the Bible!”
In our Baptist Faith and Message 2000, our convention of churches declared boldly:
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
The presidents of our six seminaries, their administrations, and faculties adhere to these words unashamedly and courageously.
While the world is veering away from a deep belief in God’s Word, we stand upon it with our very lives. Reading through our Baptist Faith and Message 2000 statement on The Scriptures reminded me that our churches should utilize this resource to keep before our people what we believe and who we are as Southern Baptists.
Never again do we need to fall away from a deep, abiding belief in the infallibility and inerrancy of the Holy Scripture in our churches, seminaries, and colleges. While some may believe that we limit ourselves due to our beliefs, the reality is our six Southern Baptist seminaries are educating more seminary students than ever before in our history. Yes, conservative theology works!
I Love Our Seminaries and Their Leaders
While I am a two-time graduate of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, I want you to know that I love all of our seminaries, their leaders, and the value they bring to our entire convention of churches and our future together.
Last fall, I was on five of our six seminary campuses. Before the spring semester concludes, I will have been on all six of our campuses. It does not matter which of the six campuses I am on, I feel I am among family and friends. I love our seminaries and their leaders! Nothing excites me more than investing in the next generation of pastors, missionaries, and scholars.
Our six presidents are men who are deeply passionate about their calling, their work, the seminary they lead, and the value that our seminaries bring to Southern Baptists and beyond. I want to urge you to pray for them and encourage them when you can. The value they bring along with their teams who minister alongside them is great not only for today, but for the future of our churches and even into eternity.
For those who may not know the formal names and locations of our six seminaries and the year they were formulated, the following is from sbc.net:
- The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky (1859)
- The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (1908)
- New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana (1917)
- Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California (1944)
- The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina (1951)
- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri (1957)
Through these ministries, we are educating 18,000 seminary students who will become pastors, missionaries, and scholars.
Our Cooperation Leads the Way in Equipping the Next Generation
Did you know that your church’s financial support through the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention helps educate these 18,000 students? Any church that has a passion to see our future pastors, missionaries, and scholars equipped in the Word of God to reach the world for Christ needs to do all they can to increase their generosity through the Cooperative Program.
Do you realize that 22.16% of the monies that comes through our Cooperative Program nationally goes toward our THEOLOGICAL EDUCATIONAL MINISTRIES? Yes, you and your church play a huge part and can play an even bigger role in educating and equipping our next generation of pastors, missionaries, and scholars.
A decade from now, whether a pastor is leading a church in Brooklyn, New York, Portland, Oregon, Phoenix, Arizona, New Orleans, Louisiana, Cherokee, Texas, Ogden, Utah, or Westerville, Ohio, you and your church have invested in his future and advancement of the gospel globally.
A decade from now, whether one of our missionaries is serving on the field in China, India, Jordan, Brazil, Spain, or Nepal, you and your church have invested in their future and in the advancement of the gospel globally.
A decade from now, whether one of our scholars is equipping the next generation at one of our six seminaries or in one of our Baptist universities related to your state convention, you and your church have invested in their future and the advancement of the gospel.
A Final Word of Testimony
I am so grateful for the equipping I received at one of our seminaries. To this day, it impacts my life. Thank you, Southern Baptists, for making it possible. Every soul reached in the ministry entrusted to me, every mission field we have traveled to and invested in personally, every church we have planted globally, and each time I stand to represent you nationally and internationally, it is because you invested in me personally and in my education. 1,000 thank yous!
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. FloydSenior Pastor, Cross Church President, Southern Baptist Convention
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.7 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide.
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