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Share it. But most of all, thank you for listening to the Truth Podcast Network. Welcome to Christian Perspective where we look in God's word in order to develop a Christian worldview and a modern culture. The show is brought to you by the Citizens for America Foundation from the Christian Perspective Studios on the campus of Mid-America College and Mid-America Baptist Church.
Welcome back, folks. We talk every day about biblical worldview. And if you listen to the show at all, you know that we want to encourage you to develop a biblical worldview and then take that into the world as you represent Jesus. And a worldview is just the lens through which we see the world. And as Christians, we should see the world through the lens of the Bible. You know, that can be hard today, today in high school and particularly in college.
It's hard to find a college where you can go to school and know that you're grounded in God's word and learn about the sufficiency of Scripture and the importance of seeing the world through the lens of the Bible. My guest today is Dr. Michael Spradlin. Dr. Spradlin, I love him. I got to know him a few months ago. He's a preacher. He is a Bible teacher. He's a church planter, a former missionary, military chaplain. I learned that he plays the trombone and he is a marathon runner. And for those of you who have seen me speaking at conferences, you know, this short, fat guy is not a marathon runner, but he's my hero. I'd like to be like him.
So maybe he can give me some training tips along the way. But he's chair of the evangelism department. He's a professor of evangelism and church history.
And he is the president of a college and seminary called Mid America College and Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Spradlin, thank you so much for joining us on The Christian Perspective today. Well, Chris, it is an honor to be on the show.
And I'm so excited to be here. And we love what you are doing, your Ministry Citizens for America. It's really it's a fantastic ministry and program. And it's really a treat to get to be with you and to spend some time with you and your listeners today.
Well, thank you. And for those of you who don't know, we have recently opened up our national headquarters on the campuses of Mid America. And they are just a great and growing Christian institution right outside of Memphis, Tennessee.
It's a great place to get barbecue and a great place to come and learn about the Lord. So, Dr. Spradlin, before we start talking about the school, tell us a little bit about your background. You've done so many different things. Tell us a little bit about who you are. Okay, so and I go by Mike and married to Leanne. We have three children, David, Thomas and Laura.
All are grown. Our two older boys are married. Our daughter, Laura, is engaged to be married later in 2022.
And so but we are we think of ourselves as a regular family, but I do do a lot of activities. But I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, after I was born in Ohio. But Little Rock is home.
My parents are still living and they're there. And so I went to high school, went to college, went to a Baptist college in Arkansas. At the time, it wasn't really strong Bible believing school.
It's much better today than it was back then. And that really kind of compelled me to seek, you know, a school that was a little stronger on scripture. And so that's that's what drew me as a student of Mid-America. I was called to preach at the age of 16. I'd been saved at 15, a teenager, some friends at school invited me to go to a church. And it was a small Southern Baptist church on the outskirts of Little Rock, Arkansas. And I was there for a minute.
Absolutely. Let me interrupt you there, because that's such an important point that I want our listeners to hear. You said, and I know this for just now, that somebody invited you to church and you got saved as a result of that. And that's something I really encourage people to do today. Not many people invite their friends and co-workers or people they go to school with to go to church.
But y'all, it is so important. You know, anybody can invite somebody to say, hey, we're having a youth gathering or we're going to have pizza at church or we have supper at church on Wednesday night. But literally inviting somebody to church can can really change their lives.
And many people come to Jesus because of that. I didn't mean to interrupt you, but it just jumped out of me. It's such an important thing that we need to do is invite others to come to church. I'm sorry.
Go ahead, Dr. Spratt. No, no, that and it was it was a huge thing because church wasn't really on our radar. My family, they're very involved in church now, but they were out of church at the time. And so some friends said, come with us.
And it was a kind of a youth event. And I heard the pastor preach. And I don't remember the sermon, but I just knew that there was something terribly wrong in my life. And then over the next few weeks, I realized I needed Jesus.
And so Ed Edmondson was the name of this pastor. And he led me to Christ after after a Sunday night church service. He came over and talked to me and he said, would you would you just answer the question?
Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? And I said, no, sir, but I really want to. And he said, well, let's just talk. And he talked with me and we got on our knees and prayed.
And the best thing that ever happened to me. Wow, what a testimony. So important also for pastors. And I know you're in the business of training pastors now. And I know you do this at your seminary. But a lot of seminaries are not teaching pastors today to intentionally share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, don't just preach a feel good sermon, but always, always, every time I preach, Dr. Sproul, I know you probably do this, too. I always give somebody the opportunity to get to know the Lord.
Because you never know how the Holy Spirit might be moving at that moment. And it's important for pastors to always give an intentional invitation to allow others to have the opportunity to come to know Jesus. Chris, I think that is a really, really good point. And yes, you know, we preach the gospel, we preach the Bible, we preach the truth of God. But you want to make it clear, because when we see our Lord Jesus in ministry, in the gospels, and we see the apostles in Acts, they're inviting people to come to Christ. And so they're not just preaching and ending it, they're giving that call. And so I think it's important. So I was saved, I surrendered to preach at the age of 16 and started preaching then.
And so it's been a wonderful thing. I'm very thankful that those early sermons have been lost to history. I hope no one ever finds them. It would be pretty embarrassing if we looked at the pages. There was no YouTube back then. You didn't have to worry about what was going to be on the internet. Exactly. That's exactly right.
So thankful for that. But I went to Mid-America, got a Master of Divinity and a Ph.D. degree and Old Testament in Hebrew. And then went as a church planter with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, called the Home Mission Board back in the day. Did that for several years and then came back in the early 90s to join the faculty at Mid-America. Our founder, Dr. Allison, invited me to come back. And then after a year on faculty at our main campus in Memphis, Tennessee, I was asked to pray about moving to head up our work in New York, at Upstate New York. That time we had a residential campus there and so we lived there for three years. And then when our founder retired, the Lord just put it on the board's heart, I was invited to be the second president. So I've been president for a little over 24 years now.
Wow. So when was the school actually founded? So Mid-America was started in 1972. There had been a group of men that had been praying probably for a decade that there would be a school that really emphasized personal evangelism. That this idea where it's a requirement, it's not just a subject in one class, but it's part of the culture of the whole school. And this burden to take the gospel to the nations would be kind of part of the culture of this school as well. And so this vision that they had, and Dr. Gray Allison was a great visionary and great leader, it was really something the Lord put on on his heart. He had seen a real revival at another seminary he'd been involved with, which was a great school and is a great school, and he had seen what happened when they kind of instituted this practical missions program, this requirement that you share the gospel on average once a week with the word of God in a genuine attempt to lead someone to Christ. And so he thought, and that school had kind of moved away from that, he thought, you know, somebody needs to pick up that mantle, and eventually after years of praying with some other people that were like-minded, they felt like, well, we just need to start a school. And so in 1972, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary was started originally in Little Rock, Arkansas, for various different reasons. A church there invited the school to use their facilities. And then Adrian Rogers, who was the longtime pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, talked to Dr. Allison and asked him to pray about moving the seminary to Memphis. And so in 1975, the school relocated to Memphis to purchase some facilities in the downtown Memphis area, and as they say, the rest is history. Wow, what a story, and God really opened up opportunities for you, particularly with the connection to Dr. Adrian Rogers, who is just one of my heroes, one of the greatest preachers, I think, that ever lived and a strong man of God. A testimony to what he is doing is even though he's been dead for many years, his radio ministry is still powerful and playing around the world, really, today, as many pastors learn from his style of preaching and the importance of evangelism. Well, Dr. Sprellen, so when the campuses moved to Memphis, at that time you were still just a seminary, right?
That's correct. So at that time, it was just a seminary. We did have an undergraduate degree from the beginning, an associate's degree, for somebody that maybe was called into the ministry later in life and then, you know, wanted to come get some theological education but couldn't go all the way through and get a master's degree. So we've always had that, and then we had expanded that a little bit, but it was really just in the last five years that we've moved into more a college degree. And so even though it's one institution, we function as a theological seminary for people that are headed for vocational ministry, but we also now have the College of Mid-America to kind of expand our offerings, and we hope that, and it's proven true, the college is a feeder for the seminary. As people want to go into graduate theological education, they can go right here. And so it's been a real great blessing, and we've been able to expand some of our degree offerings. And even though we try to focus on the main things, Christian studies, business, organizational leadership, biblical counseling, we'll probably add new degrees to the college in the future. We have a full range of seminary degrees all the way through the Ph.D. program, and so it's been a great thing just to see what God has done. The degrees are all fully accredited and offered not only residentially but online as well, because that's kind of where the world is moving. Yeah, I'm glad you pointed out that they're accredited, because a lot of people listening, I think, have the impression that Christian education is not as good or not accredited, and that's simply not true. You have a great institution there, and you are accredited, and your students are coming out and really changing the world.
It's so exciting. I mean, we feel so personally invested in our graduates and watching them go around the world, around the country. And a lot of times our graduates, they're not headed for maybe the biggest name churches, but they're headed for places that don't have the gospel.
And that's one of the things that's a real joy for us is just seeing this passion to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, to go maybe where others don't want to go, but they want to go and they want to preach and teach and minister in those places, maybe some of the out-of-the-way places. Well, folks, you're listening to The Christian Perspective. Our guest today is Dr. Michael Stradlin. We're going to take a quick commercial break. When we come back, we're going to talk about online learning, and then we're going to delve into the world of biblical worldview. We'll be right back. This show is brought to you by Generous Joe's, the coffee company with the Christian perspective.
This is the answer that Christians and conservatives have been looking for. A coffee company that gives back to causes you care about. Order your coffee today at shopgenerousjoes.org and even subscribe to a subscription coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus and see the Bible come to life. This December, join nationally syndicated radio host and founder of the Citizens for America Foundation, Dr. Chris Hughes, on a life-changing trip to Israel. It's one of the world's oldest and most fascinating travel destinations. Learn the faithful from all over the world for thousands of years. Visit Jerusalem's religious quarters and explore Christianity's most treasured religious sites, like the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock, and the Via Dolorosa. Walk with Chris through the winding alleyways of Nazareth's Old City and visit ancient Bethlehem, the place of our Savior's birth. Float in the Dead Sea, visit the Sea of Galilee and the Jewish fortress of Masada. See firsthand where the events of the Bible took place. Touring Israel with Dr. Chris Hughes is a travel odyssey like no other.
Visit citizensforamericafoundation.com and get ready for an unforgettable trip and memories that will last a lifetime. Do you desire to build family relationships that stand the test of time? Does creating a godly family seem like a daunting challenge?
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I'd like to invite you to tune in to Equipped to Be and visit ConnieYaupers.com where I share useful tips and proven strategies to help you navigate the seasons of motherhood, faith, and life with confidence and joy. History was made on today's date. Stay tuned for an American Minute with Bill Federer. The Panama Canal Zone was acquired for $10 million by the United States on this day, February 23, 1904. In his address to Congress, President William Taft referred to it, saying, Our defense of the Panama Canal, together with our enormous world trade and our missionary outposts on the frontiers of civilization, require us to recognize our position as one of the foremost in the family of nations.
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Welcome back to The Christian Perspective. If you're just joining us, our guest today is Dr. Michael Spradlin. Dr. Spradlin is the president of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary based in Memphis, Tennessee, and he's been telling us a little bit about the history of the school. Dr. Spradlin, now I want to talk to you a little bit about online learning because I know as I have two kids in college right now, and after March of 2020, when COVID just went crazy and schools started sending people home, I'm not sure if you all sent people home or your students stayed, but really the world of education changed in many ways because students had to begin to learn online and, you know, in the past, I think there was kind of a like a negative feeling in years past of online learning, but that's not the case anymore. Really, you can get a great education, but from what I've heard, Mid-America was really ahead of the curve with online learning. Can you tell us a little bit about your online program and how things changed after COVID hit in 2020 and what people can expect with online learning in the future? Well, yeah, I'm not sure we were ahead of the curve because there are some other great institutions that really pioneered online learning. Back in the old days, because I've been around a long time now, you know, mail order, education was what was really looked down upon and things like that, but distance learning has been growing in credibility and for a lot of different reasons because we live in a much more tech savvy age and things like that, and also for many other factors, but we had moved into online learning because there was a demand for it and we were trying to reach a wider audience. And so we've been involved with online learning and had our degree programs already accredited for 100% online delivery.
And so when the pandemic first hit and the regional health department began to ask people to shut down, we did close down our residential programming, kind of that initial part of the pandemic. And so we finished out a semester online and then that fall we came back residentially, but we had a lot of safety protocols in place with distancing and masks and things like that. And so those are now more recommendations than requirements, but we were already online and I'm very thankful that we were because it really accelerated this trend to people getting an education online. For ministry training where people's skills are really important, we're still a little concerned that there's something about mentoring people and the discipling aspect of theological education, especially that in-person approach is very, very necessary. Even with our online learning in the Northeast where we've continued to have a presence, we have a program where we have a mentor that meets with our online students and just to kind of be maybe more of a pastoral help to them. They're not helping them with their homework, but we call it the mentored online virtual education, M-O-V-E or MOVE. And I've been really excited to see that develop because it kind of gives you online learning and the accessibility there, but also that personal touch, which is still important.
Yes, sir. And I agree, particularly for pastors, you know, they need to learn how to interact with people and love on people. And with the program that you were discussing in our first segment, we were talking about how you have a requirement, I guess, that is kind of unique to your college and your seminary that students witness. And that's hard to do if they're online.
You know, I think it's better to be together and be with your colleagues and going out in groups and telling others about Jesus. Do you still have campus? You mentioned you have a presence Northeast. Do you have branch campuses around the country?
So at the moment, we're just online. So the Northeast, we had a branch campus there, but with all of our degrees being online, we moved all those students over to 100 percent virtual. And so we might on occasion have a what we might call a teaching site where we offer a class or something like that. But but at the moment, we've just focused on our main campus, Memphis, Tennessee, as the residential approach. And then you can access our online materials from anywhere in the world. And so so that's that's really been where we've kept that that focus.
Yeah. Well, I know a big part of your curriculum, just walking around campus and talking with some of the students and seeing some of the things hanging on the walls there at your main campus in Memphis, that biblical worldview is a big part of what you're trying to teach your students at Mid America. And that's a big focus of our ministry at Citizens for America Foundation, as well as trying to encourage Christians to develop a biblical worldview and then to take that worldview into the world.
And specifically, in our case, we're trying to encourage people to take that into the arena of public policy and politics and try to change some of the legislation and things that are going on in our country right now. What role does biblical worldview take in what's happening at Mid America? Are your professors intentional about teaching biblical worldview? What are y'all doing?
And how do you do it? So biblical worldview, the idea that you see, to me, it's what you do is so important because it's you're helping people see things from God's point of view. And that is where you have this this understanding of Scripture guides our thinking, not the whatever is considered to be the popular trends of the day or whatever. And also allows you to analyze these things in the world and know which things are actually contrary to the Word of God. And so biblical worldview to me is the application of knowing the Bible. It's good to know all the facts of the Bible.
That's great. But the problem is, is that if you have a lot of Bible information, but it doesn't affect your life, it doesn't affect your worldview, what have you got? And so this is why ministry like yours is so important because you're helping to equip people to bring their faith into their world and to realize that that culture is simple because it's made up of simple people. And so, but what's the solution? The solution is Scripture. And so we want to make all of our classes really focused on this is that how to live as a believer in a world, in a sense, every New Testament Christian today is a cross-cultural missionary because we live in a counter-Christian culture. It's not just different.
It's actually negative. It's Christianity is the problem in some people's minds. And so how do you deal with that?
How do you live in the public square? How do you engage, whether it's in politics or business, and maintain your faith and function and also be a witness for Christ and all that? So yeah, you're right.
It's really, really important. And it's probably where Christianity in the North America and especially the US has really been weakest because we've not engaged the public square adequately with what the scriptural principles are. Yeah, I think that's a huge problem in our country right now. And, you know, when you look in the Bible and Jesus says, upon this rock, will I build my and, and you're so you're I'll ask you, I was talking to someone last week, I don't know if you know, Pastor Rob McCoy, he has a pastor out in California, and, and Rob is pastor of, I think it's a Calvary Chapel Church. And in California, the restrictions once the epidemic set in were just crazy, and they weren't allowed to meet and, and Rob continued to meet at his church. And he was actually the mayor of his town and had to resign because he made a decision that he was going to stand on what the Bible said, not necessarily what the government was saying at that time.
And he was threatened with going to jail and losing his home. But Rob says that that verse where Jesus says upon this rock, I will build that the word is ecclesia. And I know that Europe, Old Testament scholar and some of the Old Testament languages. And Rob's interpretation of that is not that ecclesia is not the church, but the public square.
Would you agree with or disagree with with what he says? Well, that's a good question. I don't I don't know, of course, you're talking about the New Testament Greek word ecclesia, which it does have a secular meaning of gathering. So the word, a lot of Bible words had a regular meaning before they developed kind of a religious meaning. And so, so ecclesia doesn't necessarily, it's translated to church in the New Testament, but in its original, you know, older Greek, it was used of a get together and it was used of a public gathering. I would just say that I understand his point, but I think that my understanding would be that when it's talking about I will build my church on the rock, that that is still talking about the body of Christ, the fellowship of believers that that the word itself does have that that idea in its ancient meaning. But that when it's used in the New Testament, it's pretty clear you're talking about, you know, this this this gathering or congregationalizing of believers and that that ecclesia word, which appears over 100 times in the New Testament. And almost every time it's a it's a congregation of believers somewhere, you know, the church at Philippi, the church at Thessalonica, the church at, you know, this place or the other. There are a couple of times when it's generically used church discipline, Matthew 18, you know, if somebody's in sin won't repent, you've gone through the process and then they won't repent.
What do you do? Take it to the church. And so the idea there is you you're using that word in a generic sense, but it's still a body of believers. I would still hold out a little strongly on the the gathering of believers and not necessarily the public square in the New Testament.
Right. Well, what Rob uses that as a discussion point when he travels around the country and speaks what they call pastor gatherings and tries to encourage pastors to engage in their community. And I think the point he's trying to make is that God and the Bible and the Lord Jesus intended for his followers to be involved in their community, not not just for the church to be like some some country club for religious fat cats.
But you get out in your community and be a witness in your community. And, you know, it's discouraging as I travel around the country, I see a lot of pastors. So I know you're training your future pastors in a different manner, but a lot of pastors never get out in their community. They're not known in the founding of our nation.
I know you teach a lot of history as well and study history. You know, a lot of our founding pastors and the founding of this nation were involved in encouraging their their members to engage in the culture and to get involved. They were part of something that's called the Black Robe Regiment, where they're literally historical instances of where pastors would get up and preach a sermon and encourage their their men and their congregation to engage in the culture at the period leading up to the Revolutionary War. We take off their black robe, which they wore as pastors and have a military uniform on underneath them in a minute.
We'll come back. I want to talk to you a little bit more about whether or not pastors should be engaged in their community. We're talking with Dr. Michael Spradlin, who's the pastor of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. We've been talking about our culture. We just got into biblical worldview and why it's so important to have a biblical worldview and our culture today. So I want you to stick around. We're going to be right back with more talking to Dr. Michael Spradlin.
We'll be right back. The United States of America has a strong Christian heritage, but most Americans don't know the truly important role that God in the Bible played in the founding of this great nation. This June, join nationally syndicated radio host and founder of the Citizens for America Foundation, Dr. Chris Hughes, for four amazing days in our nation's capital. With Chris, you'll embark on a journey of discovering the hidden secrets of Washington, D.C. and rediscover much of America's forgotten Christian heritage. Your tour will include an up-close and personal look at the nation's establishment and how it's evolved over the centuries. Learn about the government and the men who helped forge this new kind of republic, one that acknowledged the Creator from its very inception.
Know the truth about the creation of the United States of America, about the faith of the founding fathers and how Christian principles were used to establish this form of government. Visit citizensforamericafoundation.com today and secure your spot to join Chris Hughes in Washington, D.C. this June. This show is brought to you by Generous Joe's, the coffee company with the Christian perspective.
This is the answer that Christians and conservatives have been looking for. A coffee company that gives back to causes you care about. Order your coffee today at shopgenerousjoes.org.
And even subscribe to a subscription coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about. The Conservative Baptist Network is a dynamic movement of Southern Baptist pastors, churches and Christians committed to standing for the sufficiency of God's word in the face of a culture of compromise. The passion and prayer of the Conservative Baptist Network is that God would help Southern Baptists stay bold for the gospel so that we might see revival in America and the world reached for Christ.
Visit our website today at conservativebaptistnetwork.com to learn how you and your church can join and support this exciting movement. Welcome back to the Christian perspective with Chris Hughes. My guest today is Dr. Michael Spradlin and I've only known Dr. Spradlin for a short period of time but just have really grown to love him.
He is such a neat man. He is the president of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary and I don't know, you know, when I think of presidents of seminaries I think of all these, maybe some old stuffy guy and that is not who Dr. Spradlin is. He is such a down to earth guy but really rooted in God's word and we're honored to have him here with us today. Dr. Spradlin before we took the break we were talking about biblical worldview and really getting into whether pastors and Christians should be engaged in the public arena. Part of what I do is travel around the country and encourage pastors to get involved in their communities.
Before the break I was talking about the Revolutionary War. At that time pastors were really leaders in their community. People knew who they were. But as I travel the country today, Dr. Spradlin, a lot of pastors are not known in their community. Do you see that with the pastors that you interact with? I think it's a great point.
I think that it's kind of a both and answer. There are some pastors that are just very involved. I'm thinking of one pastor, in fact he just went home to heaven just a few months ago in a very sudden thing. But in filling in, preaching at his church, just talking to so many people. He was out in the community, he was visiting people and he would help somebody with some problem in their yard if they had a tree problem or needed a ride.
He was just all over the place. To me that's the model of what a great pastor is. This was more of a rural area. There may be some pastors that are insulated and isolated and things like that.
But I think your point is a really good one. Pastors need to be out in the community. Not just as a pastor though, that's a Christian role. As Christians we're supposed to be salt and light.
So I really think that's where we sometimes fail. We think as a pastor it's your job to go out and share the gospel. Really that's the Christian's job. And you do that as a Christian not as a pastor.
It's not part of your job description. It's just as a believer in Jesus you should be out in the public square. And yes if you're a pastor as well that's good. But it's not just because you're a pastor. You should be out there because that's what the Lord Jesus commands all of his followers to do.
Yeah that is a great point. And I would encourage. So if you're listening and saying well I don't even know how to get involved in my community. Folks every community pretty much has various civic organizations like the Rotary Club or the Kiwanis Club or the Lions Club. And usually those groups meet for either breakfast or lunch.
So in most cases you wouldn't have to take much time off work and you go and they have a speaker each week. I would encourage you and I would specifically encourage pastors but really all of you to join one of these organizations. And it's a great learning opportunity I'm sure Dr. Spradley you've spoken at some of these clubs every week there's a guest speaker you just learn so much about the needs of the community and what's going on in your community and you also get to meet people who may not be part of your church. But I've found that what happens is many times if you go to these organizations you know sooner or later somebody's gonna have a death of the family or someone their family gets cancer or whatever and maybe it's someone who's never been to church before. They don't even know a pastor but because you're part of their civic organization then they when they have a need will come to you and give you an opportunity to witness to them. A dear pastor friend of mine is going on to be able to floor now Dr. Spradley and his name was Jack Turner and Pastor Jack told me that we need to build friendship bridges with people in our community. And when we build those friendship bridges it gives us the opportunity then to share the gospel with them because they trust us because we've become friends with them.
I think that's a great point. I would say this too about getting involved in your community is kind of in a sense follow your passions and share the gospel as you go. So like you mentioned I have a lot of hobbies. I do have a lot of hobbies and you know hobbies can turn into gospel conversations. I do like to run.
I like trail running and some long distance things like that. And there's a you know in usually every area there's a running community get involved and do stuff and you find out that you have bridges you know in a sense to share the gospel. Kind of an avenue to share the gospel and other activities or hobbies and so if there's something you're interested in whether it's some civic organization or something like that.
The thing I found is that that's really the way to go out and be salt and light. There's an old term called marketplace evangelism and it's back when everybody had to go into the town market to buy their food. And so you are kind of interacting with people and so as you're living your life you're sharing the gospel as you go.
And this is really the kind of the theme of the book of Acts is the early Christians are just talking about Jesus everywhere they are. And I think that we kind of lost that a little bit sometimes as Christians we feel like that you know this mean old world is out to get us and we just need to kind of keep quiet and keep our head down. And that way we'll be safe until the Lord calls us home or comes to get us and I think that's the mistake we make we need to be interacting with people and sharing our faith because it's part of our story and if you've got something good. That's happened in your life you know you'd want to share that with somebody else and and there are so many people around us that are.
Desperately lost their hurting their their lonely their struggling their they've made some really bad life choices in their pain consequences they don't they don't know how to escape and we have the answer. But they don't know how to ask the question they don't know to say hey do you have anything spiritual that can help me change my life so that's why we have to engage those gospel conversations but you're right. As pastors and as as Christians we need to be out in our community and whatever you know your activities or hobbies or whatever those are opportunities to start gospel conversation so I think that's a really really good point. Yeah and I would also encourage our listeners to get involved you know in the news over the last. Six to eight months there's been a lot of talk about parents going to school board meetings and parents getting arrested for their conduct at school board meetings and I agree that we need to be in involved in our children's education. But if we've been involved in our community like you're talking about doctors prattle and before an issue like that arises.
Then the elected officials that that we want to talk to are going to be much more inclined to listen to us so I would encourage all of our listeners not just pastors Christians and everybody. To get to know the elected officials in your area you know with if you have a city council or town council maybe have a mayor. Everybody listening has county commissioners and they have school board members and I go to those meetings periodically in my community why I'm in town and I would just encourage you to go and if you have children to take them as well. It's an eye opening experience because hardly anybody is ever there. When these meetings are going on.
So you don't want to wait till you're mad about an issue like something that's being taught in school. You want to have a relationship with these leaders in your community. They need prayer just like anybody else so I would encourage our listeners and pastors and even future pastors that y'all are training at mid America.
Dr. Spradlin to encourage them to get to know their school board members and their county commissioner members. I bet that most of our listeners who are Christians who think they're involved in their community and most of our pastors cannot name probably even one or two school board members or county commission members. But if you go to those meetings the important thing is not for you to know who they are for them to know you and know that you're praying for them.
Send them a little note encouraging them just say hey I just want you know I'm praying for you periodically or show up at a meeting and just let them know you're praying not always being mad about something but letting you know that you let them know that you love them. So as you said Dr. Spradlin it builds that bridge so you have the opportunity to share the gospel. I think the church has really dropped the ball with evangelism in recent years that's why I'm so excited about what you're doing at Mid America where you're requiring students to go out and lead other people with an intention to tell them about Jesus. And we've got to do that not just pastors but every Christian we have a responsibility to tell people about Jesus if we believe that he's coming again soon and I do then we need to tell everybody we see that he's coming and how they can experience the saving grace that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I agree with that completely and I think it's a great point too I think that sometimes as believers we have failed our politicians maybe we you know we reach out to a politician that we know is a very vocal Christian but you know for all of our politicians I mean they need to know what are the views of their community or their constituency and they need to know that they're prayed for whether they want the prayer or not. And I think you're right I think we have missed an opportunity and then you know it's just human nature if somebody only talks to you when they're mad about something eventually that loses its effectiveness because you just think well that's the angry group and you really don't get a hearing if you only are there to argue or complain or whatever whatever the issue is.
And I think that's a really good point that you know when you build a relationship and you reach out and these type of things I think that's where then when you have a concern or complaint you probably get a better hearing so I think that's a really good point. You know I'm obviously not aware of all that goes on with different school board meetings and things like that but I just know that for many they feel like that if I get involved in the public square and I'm a born again Christian with strong Bible believing condition. That boy I'm going to be a target and I'm going to be attacked and so it's really something that we need to encourage people to get involved in our community if we don't leave somebody else will step in and lead in our place. Yeah and you mentioned even a while ago when you were talking about witnessing in the marketplace a lot of Christians are scared to do that particularly in this day and age with what we have now is called the cancel culture where you'll be shouted down or ridiculed if you take a stand for Jesus.
And that's a real problem in our country today and many Christians are being quiet because they're afraid of what's going to happen and being canceled out by others. I agree and that the cancel culture is is tough and that's it's really it's always difficult to swim against the current. And so if when the current you know strongly moving in one way I think you brought up a good point earlier about you know we have we have social media now. It used to be that maybe you know people are complaining about something and might never know it you know unless they talk to you directly but now with social media likes dislikes whatever. You can find out there's a lot of feedback in fact there are some people that even use that for part of their strategy you know they try to make sure that that a lot of people you know are are negative on something to make it look like there's a building.
You know societal flow in a certain area everybody wants this or they don't want that to put pressure on us and human nature it's you know we're all people and sometimes it's hard to overcome that. Yeah that's right we're gonna have to take a commercial break Dr. Spradlin we're talking to Dr. Michael Spradlin from Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary. We'll come back we'll talk a little bit more about cancel culture the importance of understanding the Christian heritage of our nation and then the future plans for Mid America.
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This is Chris Hughes and my guest today is Dr. Michael Stradlin. He's the president of Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. If you have a rising student or high school student in your family, I encourage you to tell them about Mid America College and Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary. It's a great Christian institution.
You know, today there's so much going on in the world today and kids go away to college. Do you know that George Barna who is a pollster and does a lot of work in the church and studies Christians and their behaviors has found that nearly 80% of young people today go away to college and then they turn away from the Christian faith. And that is something that we have got to put an end to and we need to be intentional in sending our kids to Christian institutions. So I would encourage you to take a look at one of the best schools in the country, Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid America College.
It's a great, great school and it's a place where you might want to send your child or grandchild to go and learn more about how they can develop a biblical worldview and then take it out into the world. Dr. Spradlin, before the break we were talking about cancel culture. Have you experienced this? I know it's got to be hard, I would think, as a Christian institution in this day and age when so many people are trying to shut you down for your beliefs. And I'm just wondering, and you may not feel comfortable talking about it, I understand if you're not, but have you seen that? I know you and I are both very involved in the Southern Baptist Convention and there's been, not really a war, but there's been a trend among some colleges in the Southern Baptist world of not teaching the inerrancy of scripture or bringing in critical race theory. Have there been forces that are trying to get you to teach critical race theory at Mid America or maybe are you being canceled in other areas because of your strong stance on the Bible? I would say this, there are times when our views bring up a little storm of controversy and things like that. The constituency of Mid America, which are our alums, which many of them are serving in church leadership, pastors, missionaries, really that group is not putting pressure on us.
The people that are the generous donors to the seminary, they appreciate what the school stands for. So usually with us it might be some other entity and we've had a few occasions where people have tried to put pressure on or to build pressure to do something or not do something. But typically for me, it being kind of old school, I figure if somebody wants to solve a problem, you know, they can call me or they can contact me directly. If you're not really a problem solver, then you're a troublemaker. And if you're just making trouble, it's hard to really engage that because it's not productive. It's not beneficial.
They're not really looking for resolution. Sometimes there are honest disagreements and you need to communicate directly. And so we've had a few occasions where people have chosen to use social media to communicate, but I really don't engage that, even though he didn't really care much about social media. Dr. Gray Allison, our founding president, was so wise and talking to him as a new president many years ago, he just said, you know, some people just like to criticize. They're going to criticize you no matter what. And he said, you know, if you wouldn't ask somebody's advice, don't listen to their criticism.
And so that that's been kind of a good thing for me. And the other thing he said was the Lord will guard your reputation as much as he wants to. And so so we really don't want to get into what does the world think of us or what is even the community or the Southern Baptist Convention? It's like, is the Lord please? And if the Lord's please, that needs to be enough. The rest is is almost an idolatry.
We want attention, affection or for affirmation. And we really want to avoid that. It's difficult when these things happen. I try to think about it. OK. Is the criticism valid?
Is there some validity to it that we need to address? But usually if they haven't tried to communicate directly, there's really not much you can do. There have been times when people have had a disagreement with the school and they've asked me to come meet with them or I've I've invited them over and we talked through it. And even at the end of the day, we didn't agree.
But we had a great time talking through it. There's an old Adrian Rogers statement that he would say probably wasn't original with him, but he would say, we don't have to agree. We just have to be agreeable.
He's talking about in the context of the church. And that's kind of how I like to live life is we don't have to agree. Your view is valid. I you know, I affirm your right to hold your view. I may not agree with it, but but that's part of life is that, you know, we we have differences. And so if you have a different view, that's fine.
But if you want to solve a problem, communicate in a problem solving way. If you're just trying to stir up trouble. Well, you know, we just pray for you. And I do pray for people that do try to involve things in controversy. I just pray for them. And they're in the Lord's hands. And I know that ultimately he's the judge and will take care of all of that.
You're so wise with the advice that you've given. We have to be agreeable, like Dr. Rogers said. You know, that's a real problem, not just in the world today, but even within the body of Christ is people seem to forget that we can still have differences. But we don't have to be mean to each other about it.
And we can be exactly right. One area where I think the cancel culture is really gone after churches. And I don't know if you face this is in the sufficiency of scripture. There are so many who claim to be pastors today who don't believe in the heresy of the word of God. They don't believe that the Bible is sufficient for us. Do you have an emphasis on the sufficiency of scripture at Mid America? And really, what does that mean as an institution? What are you teaching people if you are teaching that?
I would say that we're big on the narrative scripture, which means there are no mistakes in the Bible. The other side of that, it's not just the say, I believe the Bible. It's to put it into practice. It's living out in a sense. It's the there's the inerrancy question.
Is it true? Which amazingly, there are a lot of people that affirm inerrancy of the idea. They'll say, you know, I believe that they just don't practice it. And so the sufficiency of scripture has been a really big issue. And that's where scripture sufficient.
In other words, we don't have to use worldly methods to solve spiritual problems. And so whether it's in life, community, politics, counseling, all these things, the principles of scripture are sufficient. So they're not only true, but we really should fly the Bible in our lives. And so I think another thing that I noticed is that there are so many and they could be in church leadership at times, too. It's not that they're really not saying, you know, I know what the Bible says.
I just want to do something different. A lot of times they're really not that familiar with the Bible. And sometimes I'll listen to somebody, not necessarily a Southern Baptist, but I hear them speaking about something. And I think, you know, there's some passage of scripture that really addressed this very issue.
And I just wonder if you even know about it. And I think that biblical illiteracy might be kind of a third part of this discussion. I think you brought up a really good point. You know, there's inerrancy. The Bible is true. There's sufficiency.
It applies. But then there's illiteracy. I just don't know the Bible. It's not that they can't read.
It's just that they're not familiar. They're not really immersed in scripture. You know, the book of Proverbs has so much wisdom about how to live life, but you've got to read it.
And, you know, if you read it and you get the word in you, then the Holy Spirit will use that to live out your life. And so I'm more concerned, I think, in some cases about just a lack of knowledge of the principles of scripture. Not all the background, not the archaeology. It's not all of that type of stuff. It's just that you know the Word.
Are you in the Word? And you don't have to understand all of it. There's sections of the book of Ezekiel that, you know, I'm still stumped by. But I believe it.
I believe they're true. But there's enough in the Bible to keep us busy living for Christ. And that's what I think, though, is really missing, is that biblical knowledge.
You hit the nail on the head, and that is such a problem in our country and really around the world today. But particularly in the United States, where other colleges and universities and high schools and even in elementary school today, our children are being bombarded with information telling them that an unborn baby is just a blob of flesh. That it's not a living being created in the image of God, where they're being taught that God didn't necessarily intend for you to be one of two genders.
I think Facebook now has over 150 choices, which is just as crazy to me, on what your gender selection can be. There's so many things in culture today, and young people don't know how to argue the point or even defend their faith. Because as you said, most Christians do not read the Bible on a daily basis. Most people that go to church never read the Bible at all.
George Barna says that a faithful church goer is one who in America attends church once every three Sundays. And over 90% of pastors who claim to be evangelical pastors in the United States of America today never address the issues like abortion, homosexuality, gender, marriage, being created in the image of God, and their sermons. So if a young person or anyone goes to church today, if they're not reading their Bible, they don't know what the Bible says, and then if they go to a church where a pastor never addresses those issues, we have a whole generation of people today who don't know how to defend their faith because they're not rooted in the Word of God.
And it's a real problem in America today. I think that's a good point, and I agree with that because I think that this is why that when we get into the marketplace of ideas, you have some people that are like, well, you've got your opinion about abortion, and I have my opinion about abortion, and my opinion is informed by emotions or circumstances or whatever, but we haven't done a good job of building a biblical case and informing them, you know, this is not my view, my opinion, my theory. This is revealed truth from God, and it's in the Bible.
And that way, I think we sometimes kind of lose the debate because it's like, well, you've got your views, I've got my views, I choose my views. We should be reminding people we're representing the Lord. This is what He gave us.
He revealed His truth to us. And that's why it's, you know, if you have an argument, you're taking it up with the Lord because that's who your argument is with. It's not with our view. And that's why it's always interesting to me that secular media, they want to try out some religious figure that has this anti-biblical view and say, well, look, here's a minister, and look, they agree with us.
And so that gives validity to there's two sides to this question. And, you know, we're not trying to find which minister is right. We're trying to follow the Scriptures, the Word of God. That's where the truth lies.
It's not in any human being. And that's really, as a Christian, all that matters. What does God's Word say? And that's how we take that biblical worldview into the world. And pastors don't address it because they say it's a political issue. It's not a political issue, it's a sin issue.
And they need to address it for the Bible. Well, Dr. Stradlin, we've run out of time, and now I'm getting excited about the stuff we're talking about. We're going to have to have you on again.
Well, real quickly, tell people where they can go to learn more about Mid-America. Well, first of all, Chris, thank you for the time. Any time, I would love to hang out with you. And it's fantastic. Thank you for your audience and for all of our listeners today.
Thank you for taking your time to be with us. If you want to know more about Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary and the College of Mid-America, just go to our website. Best way to start, mabts.edu. Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. So mabts.edu. You can always call our school if you'd like that.
It's area code 901-751-8453. But contact us. We want to hear from you. And if we can serve you in any way, please let us know.
Folks, check them out. Thank you for joining us today. I'm Chris Hughes, and this is The Christian Perspective.
Please subscribe and like our podcast, and please share it with your friends on social media. Be sure to tune in here each day to learn how you can develop a Christian perspective. Let's go change the world for Jesus. Thank you for listening. The Christian Perspective with Chris Hughes. Learn more about impacting the culture for Jesus. Visit citizensforamericafoundation.com. This is the Truth Network.
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