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Hawkins, Draper encourage students to reflect on heritage
October 27, 2003
By David Roach
Students exit the chapel after Hawkins sermon Oct. 14 during Southern Seminary’s 5th annual Heritage Week. Photo by David Merrifield
O. S. Hawkins and James T. Draper encouraged students to reflect on faithful Christians of the past during the fifth annual Heritage Week at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Oct. 13-17.
Hawkins, president of the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, told seminarians that every generation of believers faces a key question that it must answer. Considering how past generations answered their most pivotal question can equip the church to con-front today’s issues properly, he said. Hawkins and Draper addressed students during Heritage Week chapel services.
The first Christians had to answer the question Christ posed in John 13:38, ‘Will you lay down your life for My sake?’” Hawkins said.
“From Stephen outside the Sheep’s Gate in Jerusalem to James at the sword of Herod to Peter to Paul to most all those apostles and into those next generations.
“... They all went to their martyr’s death with that question of their time burning in their hearts: ‘Will you lay down your life for Me?’” he said.
More recent generations dealt with the question of liberalism, Hawkins said.
“In these past generations, we watched as one major mainline denomination after another after another after another went away from the faith of their founders [and] their forefathers and the truth of the Gospel,” he said.
“The question of their time [was], ‘Will you also go away?’ I thank God that over 20 years ago, Southern Baptists answered that question in a very positive way.”
Today, the most important question for Christians is the exclusivity of the Gospel, he said.
“It is the question of Matthew 16:15, ‘Who do you say that I am?’” Hawkins said.
“For as these generations unfold before us now, and particularly into this next decade, the single most important issue that you will face as you go out into ministry and seek to engage and impact the culture and convert a culture around you is this issue of the exclusivity of Christ, whether He is the one and only way to eternal life.”
He concluded, “You have a heritage here at Southern, and this heritage is about the future. Go out and raise high a standard and let the world know, as Simon Peter did, that neither is there salvation in [any other name].”
Draper, president of Lifeway Christian Resources, exhorted students to preach the Gospel faithfully amid cultural chaos.
“We have one message, one person: Jesus Christ,” Draper said. “The world doesn’t need some clever new theological philosophy. The world does not need some clever new psychology. The world needs to experience the living presence of Jesus Christ who Himself is God in the very essence of God.”
Preaching from John 1:1-5, Draper emphasized that ministers must teach the preexistence and the preeminence of Christ.
“We go out to announce a victory, not to win a victory. Our mission is to go out and proclaim that ... the Word of God has come and He has power over life and power over light [and] over the darkness of this world.”