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A Patriarch Passes — The Death of Dr. Adrian Rogers

The news from Memphis brings to a close one of the greatest pulpit ministries of our times. Dr. Adrian Rogers died early this morning after a brave fight against cancer. Few men have left such an impact on a church, a denomination, and the larger world.

Dr. Rogers was a lion in our midst — the man God used to serve as leader and voice for a great resurgence of biblical Christianity. He was a man of tremendous gifts, whose booming voice was matched by a gift for words and a powerful delivery. He dominated the pulpit as few men ever have, preaching the Word and calling sinners to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a modern-day “Prince of Preachers” whose personal example served to encourage thousands of others to greater faithfulness in preaching the Word of God.

Adrian Rogers was a man of courage and conviction. He defended truth with verve and vigor. His personal defense of biblical inerrancy and the great truths of the Gospel awakened a generation of Southern Baptists to a crisis in our midst — and he put his own ministry and reputation on the line for the sake of a denominational recovery and reformation. He matched his defense of the truth with a deep personal respect for the Word of God. To know him was to sense his living faith, his abiding conviction, and his deep love for the Lord.

Those now living cannot imagine the Southern Baptist Convention without him. His presence added gravitas to every meeting. His graciousness added warmth to every encounter. His courage called out courage in others. His strength emboldened an entire denomination.

Of course, he will be remembered for his three terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention — with the third term unprecedented in modern times. Southern Baptists knew to trust him and to follow his lead. He served as chairman of the Baptist Faith and Message Study Committee that brought its report to the 2000 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. He preached each year to the SBC Pastors Conference. He was, after all, Adrian Rogers.

He leaves a rich legacy. The great Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis stands as a testimony and living monument to his ministry. Under the leadership of Pastor Steve Gaines, it will continue to model biblical preaching. Dr. Rogers’ three decades as pastor of that great church will forever stand as a reminder of what God can do in raising up a church and a pulpit ministry.

Dr. Rogers was a great personal friend, whose personal support and encouragement were priceless gifts. I, along with so many others, will miss him greatly.

Our prayers are with Mrs. Joyce Rogers and the entire Rogers family. May God grant them grace and comfort in these days of mixed sorrow and celebration. Dr. Adrian Rogers is now with his Lord, and we are the poorer for his passing. Then again, we are so much richer for having known him. May God be glorified in our thankfulness for the gift of this great servant.

SEE: Love Worth Finding, Bellevue Baptist Church, News Release from Bellevue, front-page article from the Memphis Commercial Appeal.