Christian ministers should not settle for the comfortable career of secular professionals but courageously embrace their prophetic role, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said in his Dec. 2 winter commencement address at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The seminary conferred 180 master’s and doctoral degrees during commencement exercises in Alumni Memorial Chapel.
“The Christian ministry is a terrible profession, but it is the greatest calling on earth,” Mohler said. “Professions are decent, respectable, recognized, esteemed, regulated and rationalized…. The greater scandal by far are the churches, denominations and church members who cheerfully domesticate the preacher and the preachers who are so willingly domesticated.”
Using Matthew 3:1-12 as his text, Mohler said contemporary Christianity can learn much from a passage not typically viewed as a Christmas story. While John the Baptist was a popular preacher, his message centered around unconditional repentance, Mohler noted.
“The judgment is so clear, as is the grace,” the seminary president said. “The Messiah will judge the nations and every single soul. He will separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff. The coming judgment is horrifying. There is no allowance for annihilation here. We are warned of an unquenchable fire.”
The preacher’s ministry is infinitely greater than John’s ministry, Mohler said, since the Christian proclaims in light of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and the fullness of biblical revelation. Although John the Baptist’s role as Christ’s forerunner has passed, his message about the imminence of the Kingdom of heaven and the necessity of repentance continues in the preaching of the Word.
“The faithful preacher is like the winnowing fork in the Lord’s harvest,” Mohler said. “True Gospel preaching leads to wheat collected into the barn but also leads to chaff collected for the burning. This does not fit the expectation of a religious professional but it is the glory of the true minister’s calling.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Andrew J.W. Smith