Adams Lectures Champion Faithfulness to Christ in Preaching and Pastoral Ministry

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary welcomed Samuel Alto Jackson Jr. to campus for the Adams Lecture Series on Feb. 15–17. Jackson serves as Pastor Emeritus of Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama, and is a Visiting Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Southeastern. During the week, Jackson lectured on the proper disposition and practices of a pastor who faithfully stewards a calling to preach.

Heralding the preacher’s sacred calling, Jackson began his lecture on Tuesday with a caution to pastors. “Preaching is dangerous work, especially to the ego of the preacher,” warned Jackson. “Preaching done God’s way is hard work, and Sunday comes every seven days.” 

Preaching from Ezra 7:10, Jackson commended the prophet Ezra’s example of studying, obeying, and teaching God’s word as a template for pastoral ministry. Jackson emphasized that a call to preach is a call to prepare. The faithful pastor must prioritize the study of the word over many good things, since “the good is the enemy of the best,” declared Jackson. 

Highlighting Ezra’s obedience, Jackson described the call to preach as a “clear-cut call to personal holiness.” Jackson also noted that a pastor’s personal holiness must be coupled with a compelling proclamation of Christ through the exposition of God’s word. Allowing the biblical text to determine the sermon and enflame the pastor’s heart with a vision of Christ leads to proper authority, clarity, and passion in the pulpit. 

In Thursday’s lecture, Jackson preached from 1 Corinthians 2:1–5, charging pastors to commit themselves to the centrality of Jesus Christ and his crucifixion in their preaching. The pastor should be prepared for ridicule because Christ-centered and cross-centered preaching is a ministry of foolishness and weakness to the culture. “The Christian life—the gospel of Christ—is countercultural,” observed Jackson. This kind of preaching is indeed dangerous to the preacher’s ego. 

“We have been called to proclaim the glorious gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ,” urged Jackson. “Only the Holy Spirit can bring a sinner to new life in Christ.” Despite the weakness of the messenger, the message is powerful because the Spirit magnifies Christ through God’s word. 

Jackson also shared with faculty and students at a PhD colloquium lunch hosted by the Pastors’ Center. In his informal lecture, Jackson narrated Lakeview Baptist Church’s journey toward integrity in regenerate church membership, encouraging the exercise of church discipline and covenant church membership. The battle for regenerate church membership often proves difficult, but God provides sufficient grace for faithfulness in ministry. “When God calls you to a task, he gives you the grace gifts you need,” said Jackson. 

The Adams Lecture Series honors the contribution to Christian ministry of Theodore F. Adams, who taught at Southeastern for over 10 years. The Adams Lectures bring outstanding theologians to Southeastern’s campus each spring to deliver two lectures on a subject of interest to the Christian community. 

Click here to view the Adams Lecture Series in full. 

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