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Adrian Rogers
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Adrian Rogers
Adrian Pierce Rogers

(1931-09-12)September 12, 1931
Died November 15, 2005(2005-11-15) (aged 74)
Education Stetson University (BA)
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.)
Occupation Pastor, Author, President of the Southern Baptist Convention
Spouse(s) Joyce Rogers

Adrian Pierce Rogers (September 12, 1931 – November 15, 2005) was an American Southern Baptist pastor and conservative author. He served three terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention (1979–1980 and 1986–1988). Rogers was born in West Palm Beach, Florida. He entered Christian ministry at the age of nineteen. He graduated from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Rogers was ordained by Northwood Baptist Church (later known as The Village Baptist Church, now operating as Family Church Village) in West Palm Beach. His first job as a senior pastor was at Fellsmere Baptist Church, a small congregation in Fellsmere, Florida. He performed his first baptism in the C-54 Canal near Fellsmere. In a radio sermon entitled "The Final Judgment", Rogers alluded to a radio program he hosted in the 1950s called "Day Break". He was senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Merritt Island, Florida from 1964 to 1972. In 1972, he became the senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where he remained until March 2005. During this period, the church's membership grew from 9,000 to 29,000, and the church moved into a new, megachurch facility. Rogers was named pastor emeritus after his retirement in March 2005.

Rogers was instrumental in the Southern Baptist denomination's conservative resurgence that began in the late 1970s, as he was elected president of the denomination during a theological controversy within the denomination. He was the chairman of the committee which produced the revised 2000 edition of the Baptist Faith and Message. He published eighteen books and his works are featured on the internationally available radio and television program, Love Worth Finding, which is broadcast in English and Spanish. Rogers was also the founder of the Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute for ministers, which is currently headed by his widow, two sons, and a granddaughter.

In November 2005, Rogers contracted pneumonia of both lungs as a complication of colon cancer treatments, and died following a period of mechanical ventilation at the age of seventy-four.

Southern Baptist Convention presidency

Rogers served three times as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest American Evangelical denomination with 16 million members. He was the first conservative elected to this post in 1979 on a platform of biblical inerrancy, and beginning under his leadership, the denomination went through a ten-year-long process of shifting to a theologically conservative stance. (See Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence.) When conservative control of all SBC seminaries and agencies was finally complete, liberal and moderate seminary professors were dismissed, or replaced by theological conservatives in response to normal attrition. All employees of SBC seminaries and denominatIonal agencies were required to affirm their adherence to the Baptist Faith and Message. The denomination has remained conservative since Rogers' tenure as president.

Rogers's election as SBC president at the 1979 convention held in Houston, Texas, launched the conservative resurgence in the denomination, a movement pushed by the theologian Paige Patterson and the Houston judge Paul Pressler. In 2004, in a symposium at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, Pressler said that the real movers in the Conservative resurgence who elected Rogers and the subsequent presidents were not he and Patterson but the independent-minded laypersons who came for years to the annual conventions to be heard.

On politics and social issues

Like many influential conservative pastors, Rogers participated in the advancement of a conservative political agenda in the United States. He stated that Christians have a duty to be involved in government.

Familial dynamics was a recurrent issue for Rogers. He focused most closely on fathers that he labeled "drop-out dads." According to Rogers, since the Bible emphasizes the paternal role in a family, the father should be the primary source of teaching in the home. He was critical of fathers who do not fulfill this role. He went on to say that a number of social problems are the consequences of fathers avoiding this responsibility.

On the topic of pastoral endorsement of political candidates, he wrote that it is a pastor's duty to influence the political decisions of the members of the pastor's congregation. A pastor need not, however, endorse a specific candidate (and, under Internal Revenue Service regulations, a church could lose its tax-exempt status for doing so). He wrote that "[i]f [a pastor] has done his job his members will prayerfully and correctly use the standard of God's Word to select the right candidate."[1]

In May 2003, Rogers, along with twenty-four other religious leaders and persons of influence, signed a letter sent from Gary Bauer's conservative organization American Values to President George W. Bush. The letter criticizes President Bush's proposed Road Map for Peace initiative as being too lax towards the Palestinians. The letter states in part, "Mr. President, it would be morally reprehensible for the United States to be 'evenhanded' between democratic Israel… and the terrorist infested Palestinian infrastructure." [2]

Cecil Sherman (the Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a group of liberal Baptists who separated from the Southern Baptist Convention) writes in his autobiography that he once questioned Rogers about biblical inerrancy with reference to New Testament passages that seem to support slavery. Sherman reports that Rogers replied: "I believe slavery is a much maligned institution; if we had slavery today, we would not have this welfare mess." Later on, Rogers signed a revised Baptist Faith and Message declaration stating that all races are equal before the Lord.

Rogers (along with other Southern Baptists) supported a boycott of Disney because of the company's promotion of homosexuality.[3].

"You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

This quote appears frequently on the Internet and is often attributed to Rogers with an incorrect date of 1931. In fact, the quotation is part of a longer sermon by Rogers from 1984 in a larger series titled God’s Way to Health, Wealth and Wisdom (CDA107), but it also appears as a passage in Rogers' 1996 work Ten Secrets for a Successful Family stating that "by and large our young people do not know either the importance or the value of honest labor".

Rogers did not originate the quote at all. In fact, he did not claim to have originated it. Instead, he was citing almost verbatim anti-Soviet propaganda that had circulated in many magazines in the early 1960s. The quote appeared before that in the Congressional Record of 1958, where it was appended to the record by U.S. Senator George Aiken of Vermont. Aiken had taken the words from Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, who had said them in his address at the Illinois Agricultural Association's annual meeting on November 13, 1957. They have also been attributed to Gerald L. K. Smith, who had written them in his magazine, The Cross and the Flag. Since 2009, when the quote was first attributed to Rogers, it has been regularly attributed to him; even though Rogers was essentially quoting Eastland or Smith at the time.

Selected works

  • Believe in Miracles but Trust in Jesus
  • Mastering Your Emotions
  • God's Way to Health, Wealth and Wisdom
  • The Power of His Presence
  • Ten Secrets for a Successful Family
  • Unveiling the End Times in Our Time
  • The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority
  • What Every Christian Ought to Know
  • Standing for Light and Truth
  • Adrianisms (posthumous collection of quotes)
  • Grace for the Widow (posthumous collection of unpublished material in appendix; book is written by his wife Joyce, to be published January 2009)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Adrian Rogers para niños

  • Southern Baptist Convention
  • List of Southern Baptist Convention affiliated people
  • Southern Baptist Convention Presidents
  • Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence
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