Arturo Azurdia urges SEBTS students to be Christ centered and Spirit filled

On February 7-9, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted the Adams Lecture Series with guest speaker Arturo Azurdia, III, senior minister of word and worship at Trinity Church and associate professor of pastoral theology and director of the doctor of ministry program at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

Over the course of three days, Azurdia gave two lectures, spoke at a colloquium for Ph.D. students and participated in a Facebook live Q&A session with members of the SEBTS preaching faculty.

During his first lecture on “Christ-centered exposition” Azurdia encouraged students to have the same goal in their preaching and teaching as Paul does in 1 Corinthians 2:2. “This is what it means to preach Christianly. Every message needs to be connected to Jesus Christ and him crucified,” he said. 

He warned against catering to the desires of a crowd instead of focusing on the gospel. “We are living in a day now when people from our own subculture are telling us if you want to have a really successful church then find out what the people want and give that to them,” he said. “This is why we must never allow the pew to dictate to the pulpit because the pew will never demand the gospel.” 

Although the world sees the message of the cross as foolish, Azurdia urged students to stick to the clear gospel. “You are to preach a crucified Christ in a crucified style,” he said. “Don’t attempt to make the gospel glorious. It is glorious enough without any of us.”

Azurdia’s second lecture focused on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, specifically in preaching and teaching. “All believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit,” Azurdia explained. “But there is another work of the spirit we must never forget—a unique filling that is directly related to the proclamation of the word of God.” 

He cautioned against relying on any power of one’s own to bring about faith in others, reminding students that true faith is only drawn out by the power of God. “Such a faith, though assaulted, attacked or assailed will never be overthrown,” he said. 

“And this, my dear friends, is our aim—that the faith of sinners be a real and saving faith resting entirely upon the work of Jesus,” he added.

The Adams Lectures at SEBTS honors Theodore F. Adams, who taught at SEBTS for over 10 years and contributed to Christian ministry. This year’s lecturer, Azurdia, is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from California State University, a Master of Divinity from The American Baptist Seminary in Berkeley and a Doctor of Ministry from Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California. He is the author of “Spirit Empowered Preaching” and “Connected Christianity” and has contributed to several works including “Heralds of the King,” “The Compromised Church” and “Reforming Pastoral Ministry.” 

The annual event brings theologians to campus each spring to deliver lectures on a topic of interest to the Christian community.

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