BAPTIST MADNESS 2017: First Round, Part 3

Match ups #3 & #4 are complete. The pastor advancing from match up #3, with 89% of the vote, is Dr. E. V. Hill! The pastor advancing from match up #4, with 94% of the vote, is Dr. John Piper!

We are halfway through Round One. Here are the #5 and #6 match ups…

Match Up #5

ADRIAN ROGERS

[Adapted from article “Adrian Rogers biography penned by his wife Joyce” at Baptist Press website: http://www.bpnews.net/22416/adrian-rogers-biography-penned-by-his-wife-joyce; and from article “Adrian Pierce Rogers: American Minister” at the Encyclopedia Britannica website: http://www.britannica.com/biography/Adrian-Pierce-Rogers ]

Adrian Rogers
Adrian Rogers

Adrian Rogers was born September 12, 1931, in West Palm Beach, Florida. He died November 15, 2005, in Memphis, Tennessee.

In his biography, written by his wife, Joyce, she recounts her husband’s beginning in the ranks of the ordinary, where in junior high school he was known as “unruly and belligerent.”

“He had an overdose of courage and the ability to fight with his fists,” she wrote. “He had gained a reputation of being one of the toughest kids in school. He would challenge others to a fight just for an expression of what must have been an inner turmoil.”

The third child of working-class parents, Rogers yielded his life to Jesus at age 14 after some neighbors invited his family to a crusade at a local Baptist church in his hometown of Palm Beach, Florida. Rogers followed his father down the aisle and made a profession of faith, and his life was immediately changed.

After Rogers dropped love notes on her desk in sixth grade and courted her through high school, Joyce and Adrian were married in 1951 following their freshman year of college. In the book, Joyce recounts his first pastorate, at First Baptist Church of Fellsmere, Florida, which he took at just 19 years of age.

“The Fellsmere church was rustic, to say the least,” she wrote. “The building had an unpainted concrete floor, unpainted cement block walls, and no ceiling. Rafters cut from rough lumber were overhead. The building was lighted with bare bulbs dangling by their cords from the ceiling. The pews were not pews at all, but two two-by-eight boards connected by an iron bracket — one to sit on and one to lean back on. There was no running water, no baptistery, and no water fountain. Those who needed a restroom walked across the street to a neighbor’s house.”

After years of being faithful at smaller churches, he was pursued by the pastor search committee of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. Having grown to love the people he was serving at First Baptist Church in Merritt Island, Fla., Rogers told the committee, “I’m honored that you would be interested, but I’ve absolutely no inclination to leave my present pastorate.”

The committee persisted, and what some would call a divinely appointed misunderstanding led to Rogers succeeding Ramsey Pollard as pastor of Bellevue in 1972. The mix-up involved Rogers thinking he was simply filling the pulpit one Sunday at Bellevue while the search committee thought he was preaching in view of a call. They had him leave the auditorium, and the congregation unanimously voted him in as pastor, to his surprise.

Perhaps one of Rogers’ most important moments came in 1979, at the outset of what now is called the Conservative Resurgence, when key conservative leaders urged him to be a candidate for president of the Southern Baptist Convention to help take back the reins of the SBC from their liberal counterparts. Again, Rogers was uninterested, believing his obligations at Bellevue needed his utmost attention.

As Joyce recounted it, Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines met Rogers at his hotel door in Houston the night before the election and asked to join him in his room for prayer. Previously in the book, she had mentioned a decision-making method she and her husband had developed in which each would ask the other, “Where are you on a scale of one to ten?”

“By now it was approaching midnight on Monday night and the election was to be on Tuesday afternoon,” Joyce wrote. “I joined in as the three men kneeled on the floor and fervently prayed. After an extended time of prayer, Dr. Patterson began to weep. Adrian looked up at me propped up in bed, and there was a defining moment. I held up ten fingers. With that Adrian said, ‘I will do it.’”

The next day, Rogers remarkably was elected on the first ballot and became president of the largest evangelical body in the world. Rogers’ first presidency marked the beginning of the Conservative Resurgence within the SBC, and he would be elected convention president twice more to become the only man in recent SBC history to serve three terms.

JOHNNY HUNT

[Adapted from article “Johnny Hunt” at Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Hunt; and from article “About Johnny” at his website: http://www.johnnyhunt.com/new/index.php/about-johnny ]

Johnny Hunt
Johnny Hunt

Johnny M. Hunt (born July 17, 1952) is an evangelical Christian pastor, author, and former President of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is currently the senior pastor of First Baptist Church Woodstock, in Woodstock, Georgia.

Hunt was born in Lumberton, North Carolina. He is a member of the Lumbee Native American Indian tribe based in North Carolina. Hunt’s father left the family when he was seven. He became an alcoholic and gambler. He dropped out of school at 16 and managed a pool room. In his book, Out of the Poolroom, Hunt chronicles his early life and conversion to Christianity. His life was radically changed from that point on. He then was mentored by several men from his home church in Wilmington, North Carolina and started to realize that God had placed a calling on his life to ministry. He has earned degrees from Gardner-Webb College and the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and received honorary doctorates from Immanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, Covington Theological Seminary, and Tennessee Temple University.

Pastor Johnny’s website has this to say…

Others. That singular focus summarizes the last 29 years of contagious passion that “Pastor Johnny” has imparted to First Baptist Church Woodstock and the countless lives across the globe his preaching and shepherding have touched. While the church has experienced significant growth under his leadership, it is growth of the person, not the platform, that continues to energize a ministry that sees its best days ahead.

Foremost among the “others” he lives for are his wife of 45 years, Janet Allen Hunt, his two daughters Deanna Carswell and Hollie Hixson; and his 4 grandchildren, Katie, Carson, Hope & Addie.

Before coming to the Woodstock, Pastor Johnny served at Lavonia Baptist Church in Mooresboro, NC, Falls Baptist Church in Wake Forest North Carolina, and his home church, Longleaf Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC

In June 1996, Hunt was named the President of SBC Pastor’s Conference. On March 11, 1997, the Johnny Hunt Chair of Biblical Preaching was established at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In June 2008, Hunt succeeded Frank Page as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and served in that capacity for two years.

Match Up #6

JERRY YOUNG

[Adapted from article “Our Pastor” at New Hope Baptist Church website: http://newhope-baptist.org/?page_id=9  ]

Jerry Young
Jerry Young

Pastor Jerry Young was born in Scott, Mississippi. One of ten children born to Reverend E.L. and Elizabeth Young, Jerry was raised alongside a diverse group of siblings, seven boys and two girls. He fondly recalls his life as a “preacher’s son”. Add growing up in the Mississippi Delta in the heart of the Civil Rights era, enduring the pains and struggles of several disappointments, and beating the odds of his predetermined failures, and it becomes increasingly clear why God called Pastor Young to the ministry at the tender age of seventeen. His service began at Mt. Tennia Baptist Church in Lamont, Mississippi and extended to him serving as pastor of St. John and Pilgrim Rest Baptist Churches, both in Greenville, Mississippi. Dr. Young has faithfully led the vibrant congregation of New Hope Baptist Church since 1980. He is the founder and headmaster of New Hope Christian Pre-School and New Hope Christian Elementary School, together serving 300+ students, from infants to 6th grade.

An avid scholar and life-long learner, Pastor Young attended Nugent Center High School in Bolivar County and went on to attain an Associate of Arts in Social Science from Coahoma Junior College in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Social Welfare from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, where he met and married the love of his life, Mrs. Helen Akins Young. With her support and encouragement, Pastor Young has earned a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Instilling the values of faith, education, and love, they are the proud parents of two daughters, Dr. Jerlen Nelson and Kelli Elizabeth (Benjamin) Hart. Adding to their life’s joy are their three granddaughters and one grandson.

Dr. Jerry Young has led his congregation to embrace a vision for ministry and missions. “Our vision is to touch our community with the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in order that a Christian-world, and life view may permeate our communities.” With this global perspective in mind, Dr. Young’s major objective for the church is “…to glorify God through our commitment to help Christ fulfill His mission in the world.” Under his watchful care, Pastor Young has led New Hope to experience explosive growth physically, spiritually, and influentially for the cause of Christ. To date, the ministry is comprised of over three thousand members and forty-four ministries. As a mission- driven institution, New Hope excels in ministries and missions, from as close as the church’s backyard all the way to Honduras and Africa, with the visionary leadership of Dr. Young, coupled with the various talents and sacrifices of the church staff, administrative staff, and members of the body. He credits the “quality people who help me do ministry” with the effectiveness of the church’s call to answer.

Active in the community, Dr. Young has served on several local, state, and national boards and has been awarded numerous prestigious honors and awards. In addition, he is a regularly invited guest to speak/lecture at the various schools, colleges, and school districts throughout Mississippi and across the nation. A highly-skilled and sought-after minister, Dr. Young has had the opportunity to preach in pulpits across the country and has breached several racial and denominational lines, touching them with the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Young was elected as the 18th President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. in September 2014, during the convention’s 134th Annual Session held in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Dr. Young has served the convention for over 15 years.

ISAAC BACKUS

[Adapted from article: “Isaac Backus” at Encyclopedia.com website: http://www.encyclopedia.com/people/philosophy-and-religion/protestant-christianity-biographies/isaac-backus ]

Isaac Backus
Isaac Backus

Isaac Backus was born of Puritan parents on Jan. 9, 1724, and belonged to the first family to settle Norwich, Conn. His father died when Isaac was 16, leaving an estate which included an iron foundry that became, later, an indispensable source of munitions for the American Revolution. Backus grew up during the Great Awakening; his experience of the mystery of “rebirth” at the age of 17 induced him to leave Congregationalism for the New Light Separatists. In 1746 he preached his first sermon and acknowledged his special calling for the ministry. In early 1748 he became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Middleboro, Mass., a post he held until his death. His career revealed his shrewd organizational gifts and natural intelligence.

Backus’s contributions to church history fall into three categories: his efforts for church growth, his theological undertakings, and his political action to separate church and state. In pursuit of the first, Backus traveled extensively on evangelistic missions throughout New England and even into the south. Moreover, he overcame initial misgivings about dangers to congregational autonomy and supported the Warren Association, a powerful vehicle of communication and counsel for New England’s Baptist churches. He also served as a trustee of Rhode Island College (later Brown University) and helped soothe Baptist suspicions of higher learning. Backus’s History of New England Baptists, in three volumes, chronicled the remarkable expansion of the Baptists.

Theologically Backus developed a modified Calvinism suited to the demands of the burgeoning, democratic society in which he lived. Though he was committed to the doctrine of human inability, his writings stressed a gospel of love, millennial hope, and evolving divine revelation through intuitional, not churchly, means. In 1756 he began to advocate adult immersion and closed communion to protect the faithful from the cold intellectualism of Congregationalist orthodoxy.

Finally, Backus labored tirelessly to free the Baptists from the encumbrances of state taxation for the Congregationalist establishment. Basing his arguments upon the Bible, John Locke, and Revolutionary experience, Backus formulated a clear justification for the separation of church and state. After 1769 he led the Grievance Committee of the Warren Association in handling Baptist tax delinquency suits and in petitioning the General Assembly, the British Crown, and, in 1774, the First Continental Congress for redress against civil coercion. Though a Revolutionary patriot, Backus vigorously but vainly protested the church establishment clauses of the Massachusetts constitutions of 1779 and 1780. He was also a delegate to the ratification convention in Boston, 1789, where he praised the national constitution for prohibiting a national church establishment.

Backus’s most significant works on religious liberty were A Seasonable Plea for Liberty of Conscience (1770) and Appeal to the Public (1773). By the time of his death, on Nov. 20, 1806, he had provided his successors with the instruments needed to convince Americans that church voluntarism, not church establishment, conformed to divine wishes and American ideals of freedom.

These match ups will be open for voting until March 13 when the final two match ups of Round One will be posted. Stop by each day to vote and re-vote for your favorite to advance to Round Two!

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