In the 1970’s and 1980’s I was a member of Bellevue Baptist in Memphis where Adrian Rogers was pastor and was a student at ECS from the 5th grade to the 12th grade where I was introduced to the books and films of Francis Schaeffer. During this time I was amazed at how many prominent figures in the world found their way into the works of both Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and I wondered what it would be like if these individuals were exposed to the Bible and the gospel. Therefore, over 20 years ago I began sending the messages of Adrian Rogers and portions of the works of Francis Schaeffer to many of the secular figures that they mentioned in their works. Let me give you some examples and tell you about some lessons that I have learned.
I have learned several things about atheists in the last 20 years while I have been corresponding with them. First, they know in their hearts that God exists and they can’t live as if God doesn’t exist, but they will still search in some way in their life for a greater meaning. Second, many atheists will take time out of their busy lives to examine the evidence that I present to them. Third, there is hope that they will change their views.
Let’s go over again a few points I made at the first of this post. My first point is backed up by Romans 1:18-19 (Amplified Bible) ” For God’s wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness REPRESS and HINDER the truth and make it inoperative. For that which is KNOWN about God is EVIDENT to them and MADE PLAIN IN THEIR INNER CONSCIOUSNESS, because God has SHOWN IT TO THEM,”(emphasis mine). I have discussed this many times on my blog and even have interacted with many atheists from CSICOP in the past. (I first heard this from my pastor Adrian Rogers back in the 1980’s.)
My second point is that many atheists will take the time to consider the evidence that I have presented to them and will respond. The late Adrian Rogers was my pastor at Bellevue Baptist when I grew up and I sent his sermon on evolution and another on the accuracy of the Bible to many atheists to listen to and many of them did. I also sent many of the arguments from Francis Schaeffer also.
Francis Schaeffer pictured below:
The ironic thing is back in 2008 I visited the Bellevue Baptist Book Store and bought the book There Is A God – How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, by Antony Flew, and it is in this same store that I bought the message by Adrian Rogers in 1994 that I sent to Antony Flew. Although Antony Flew did not make a public profession of faith he did admit that the evidence for God’s existence was overwhelming to him in the last decade of his life. His experience has been used in a powerful way to tell others about Christ. Let me point out that while on airplane when I was reading this book a gentleman asked me about the book. I was glad to tell him the whole story about Adrian Rogers’ two messages that I sent to Dr. Flew and I gave him CD’s of the messages which I carry with me always. Then at McDonald’s at the Airport, a worker at McDonald’s asked me about the book and I gave him the same two messages from Adrian Rogers too.
Antony Flew – World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God
Uploaded on Nov 28, 2008
Has Science Discovered God?
A half-century ago, in 1955, Professor Antony Flew set the agenda for modern atheism with his Theology and Falsification, a paper presented in a debate with C.S. Lewis. This work became the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last 50 years. Over the decades, he published more than 30 books attacking belief in God and debated a wide range of religious believers.
Then, in a 2004 Summit at New York University, Professor Flew announced that the discoveries of modern science have led him to the conclusion that the universe is indeed the creation of infinite Intelligence.
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Here is a very powerful blog post about who Adrian Rogers who below:
Anyone who is the slightest bit familiar with my own ministry will know how profoundly I have been influenced by Adrian Rogers. He was in many ways a father in ministry to me, and it grieves me that many younger evangelicals may not know much about this giant from the previous generation. To me this is a tragedy, especially for those who, like me, identify as Southern Baptists. No one was more responsible for the Southern Baptist Conservative Resurgence than Dr. Rogers (along with Drs. Patterson, Vines, and Judge Paul Pressler).
So I’d like to do a few brief posts that will hopefully introduce or reintroduce you to this great man. First, I’ll briefly outline who Adrian Rogers was. Second, I’d like to share more personally about what Adrian Rogers has meant to me. Then I will point out some the lessons you and I can learn from him as we love and serve the Lord Jesus. Finally, I’ll share some of my favorite quotes and clips that will further expose you to his life and ministry.
Certainly this is not intended to be hero-worship nor hagiography. Instead, I hope this series accomplishes two things: (1) I hope it leads you to be thankful to God for raising up choice servants at pivotal points in history. (2) I trust this will give you a clearer glimpse into my own ministry, since Dr. Rogers has had such a profound impact on me over the years. (I would note that Tony Merida, David Platt, and I dedicated the Christ-Centered Exposition series to both John Piper and Adrian Rogers.)
So who was Adrian Rogers? Dr. Rogers is best known for serving as the long-time pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church just outside of Memphis, TN. He started at Bellevue in 1972 and served there until he retired in 2005, which is the year he died (November 15). Bellevue was already a large church at the time of his installation, having been led previously by the influential R. G. Lee. Under Rogers’ leadership, however, Bellevue’s membership exploded to upwards of 29,000.
In an age before podcasts, Adrian Rogers was known around the world through his radio and television ministry, Love Worth Finding. It was here that millions were exposed to his simple yet powerful practice of preaching expository sermons week in and week out at Bellevue.
Though Rogers’ ministry was primarily in the local church, he will most likely (and deservedly so!) be remembered for his role in the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention. Prior to this denominational transformation in the 80’s and 90’s, conservative pastors in the SBC had noticed a leftward drift in the denominational entities, most notably the seminaries. A grassroots effort to reform these entities and bring the convention back to conservative positions on biblical inerrancy and authority ensued, with the goal being to get conservative leaders elected to the office of SBC President. Over time, successive presidents would be able to influence the institutions of the SBC through conservative appointments to committees and trustee boards.
In 1979, Adrian Rogers was the very first of a still unbroken line of conservative SBC Presidents. This string of elections has allowed for the steady retrieval of denominational entities to theological conservatism, including all six SBC seminaries. With this in mind, it’s hard to overstate the importance of Dr. Rogers as the first of these presidents. God raised him us as the right man at the right time to gain enough support to stem the time of liberalism and guard the SBC from potentially losing the gospel itself. Such liberal trends would almost certainly have led to a dying denomination and many dying churches.
This is an incomplete picture of who Dr. Rogers was. He was a man of God, a leader, a humble servant, and an example to an entire generation of pastors and church leaders. Without going into many more details of his life, I’ll take the next post in this series to share what it has meant to me personally to be able to know and learn from this great man.
Evolution: Fact of Fiction? By Adrian Rogers