Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees presented a resolution of appreciation to R. Albert Mohler Jr. to celebrate his 25th anniversary as president of the institution during a special chapel service Oct. 9.
A sermon by Atlanta-area pastor James Merritt and reflections from Mohler, who became the seminary’s president in 1993, also were part of the celebration at the Louisville, Ky., campus.
Trustee vice chairman and North Carolina pastor Clint Pressley presented the resolution, reading the text to a filled-to-capacity Alumni Memorial Chapel. Mohler received the framed document alongside his wife Mary.
The resolution notes key milestones and qualities of Mohler’s presidency and concludes with these words: “Now Therefore Be It Resolved that the Board of Trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary express their appreciation to R. Albert Mohler Jr. for his unyielding commitment to God’s Word, his zeal for the Great Commission, and his twenty-five years of visionary and effective leadership of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.”
The full text of the resolution is included below.
Merritt, lead pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., preached from Nehemiah 6 recounting Nehemiah’s rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after they had fallen into disrepair.
Merritt drew parallels from Nehemiah’s ministry to Mohler’s tenure as Southern Seminary’s president — specifically to his task in his earliest years of returning the seminary to the doctrinal fidelity established by its founders.
Mohler became president amid theological controversy at the seminary over the inerrancy of the Bible. He was elected by the trustees to realign the Southern Baptist school with the confessional identity of its founders and the beliefs of Southern Baptists.
Merritt made three observations about leadership from the passage: Leaders must (1) hold strong convictions; (2) handle sinister criticism; and (3) have steadfast courage. For each, Merritt told stories from Mohler’s presidency that demonstrated how he exemplified those qualities.
“It took guts to rebuild the walls of a city at the threat of your life,” Merritt said. “It takes guts to rebuild the theological walls of a seminary when you are literally one David standing against the Goliaths of the media and the faculty and the student body and the community and public opinion.
“But one of the marks of a great leader is, when the battle is raging at its fiercest, great leaders don’t look for a place to run. Great leaders look for a place to stand.”
The goal of leadership, Merritt said, is not worldly success, but faithfulness to God’s call. He concluded his sermon with this encouragement to Mohler:
“Dr. Mohler, the God that conceived you, the God that created you, the God that converted you, and the God who called you to this great work will one day — without question or doubt — say to you, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ And when He does, I will be on the front row saying, ‘Amen.'”
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Source: Baptist Press