The grand narrative of God’s redemption through Christ is the story of Scripture and must be the story of Bible-centered preaching, said Baptist theologian and academic leader Robert Sloan to students in Southeastern Seminary’s chapel service February 11.
Sloan, currently the president of Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas, defined “what the gospel is and what the gospel is not” by preaching through various passages in the New Testament, giving a broad exegetical message to the Southeastern family. He said, “What you win them with is what you win them to. If you preach the prosperity gospel to them, that’s the set of expectations people will have when they join your fellowship.” Thus, Sloan advised the gathered believers to faithfully preach the full gospel.
“I think it’s imperative for all of us to be crystal clear,” Sloan said. “We would rather talk about psychological estrangement than true moral guilt.” However, it is the true moral guilt spoken of in Romans 8:17 that Sloan said clarifies the true gospel.
“The world has desperately gone wrong. The entirety of creation groans, having been placed under a curse, for redemption,” he said. “Any time you exposit a text, you have to see that there’s a larger story here – the world gone desperately wrong. The world is now fractured, not just the physical world, but the invisible world as well.
“There is a cosmic rebellion against God and for anyone to deny it is lunacy,” said Sloan, the past president of Baylor University and the founding dean of Baylor’s Truett Theological Seminary.
Although Sloan said there is a certain “political incorrectness” about speaking of the world as “this present evil age,” it is the truth and must be discussed.
“How can we look at a Stalin or a Hitler, at the genocide in Uganda or even our own inner hatred and rages and dispute that this world is fractured and broken?”
“You have to have an explanation of this world – if you don’t, you can’t preach the gospel,” Sloan said. “But, then you have Jesus. It’s the story of the great reversal. All who are in Christ now participate in this new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come. But Christ has come and I was halted at the height of my rebellion. Now, he has made all things new.”
Because of this new life that abounds from the full proclamation of the good news, Sloan said believers must recognize that they are ambassadors for Christ. Quoting from 2 Corinthians 5:20, he said, “’Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though he himself were begging us.’ Paul begs on behalf of the God who himself pleads that we would be reconciled to him.”
Sloan said God pleads with his creation to come home.
“We too, in faithfulness, must be willing to be humbled to beg those to come home to Christ. We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be recompensed for the words uttered in the darkness and the things we have done.”
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.