Pastors Should Bone Up on Biblical Prophecy, Baptist Leader Says
(AgapePress) - A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention says many pastors across the United States are not teaching biblical prophecy because they do not thoroughly understand the subject.
by Jim Brown and Jody Brown
Since 1992, Dr. Paige Patterson has been president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. From 1998-2000, he served as president of the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the world. The Texas native was ordained into the ministry at age 16, has served as pastor of churches in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, and has visited more than 65 countries as an evangelist.
The long-time minister of the gospel says the difference between grasping the overriding truths of biblical prophecy and preaching moralism is the difference between doing the work of a family physician and performing delicate brain surgery.
"Both involve skill, but doing the delicate brain surgery would involve much harder work, longer hours of preparation, and greater skill," Patterson says. "And I frankly think most preachers don't pay the price in preparing themselves."
The Southern Baptist leader says there are three reasons why it is extremely important for pastors to study and preach biblical prophecy. First of all, he says, pastors are commanded to teach the whole counsel of God.
"Number two, I think it's important ... because of all the people in the earth that need to understand that things are not running pell-mell down to the hall of history, out of control, but that God is guiding things to the designed climax that He has in mind, Christians need to be there," he says. "And preaching on prophecy, carefully done, will assist in that."
Finally, Patterson says if a pastor truly cares about building his congregation, there is no way to do it any faster than to announced a series of sermons on prophecy.
The former president of the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies does not stop with his advice for pastors. He also has some for Christians who want to better discern between biblical and unbiblical prophecy. "The more specific the prophetic fulfillment announced, the more caution the believer needs to have about it," he says.
Patterson says Christians must be prepared to deal with the false eschatology of many modern-day "televangelists."