1. Why is fervent delivery of expositionally-sound sermons important? How can men grow in developing fervent delivery?
Akin: Fervent delivery is important because though what we say is more important than how we say it, how we say it has never been more important. We live in an age where effective communication skills are essential. Furthermore, we are proclaiming a beautiful Gospel. I find it unconsciousable that we would not proclaim a beautiful Gospel in a beautiful way.
No one has given more attention to this than Southern Seminary’s Hershael York. He has thrown down the gauntlet to men who proclaim the Gospel that there does not need to be a dichotomy between content and delivery.
In other words, we should glorify God in both what we say and how we say it. Men can grow in developing a passionate and effective delivery by studying the art of communication and listening to great preachers. Again, Dr. York has written extensively on this and I commend his work very highly.
2. What would you say to Southern Baptist pastors and/or students who affirm the tenets of the GCR, but don’t involve themselves in convention life?
Akin: I would say get off your backsides and get involved! The fact of the matter is, if they want to be agents of change they have to get involved. I would also say to be critical and negative and sit on the sidelines is hypocritical. If you are not going to get involved in helping change the SBC, then you ought to remain silent. You have forfeited the right to speak if you are not going to be involved in helping make changes. I would strongly encourage our pastors and students to be in Orlando next year. I believe it will be one of the most historic conventions in the history of our denomination.
3. What role can seminary students at Southern Baptist seminaries play in the GCR and SBC life?
Akin: First, they can get involved in convention life on the associational, state and national level. Again, I would strongly urge out students to attend the convention in Orlando next year.
Second, they can be very intentional in communicating with leaders at all levels of Southern Baptist life their concerns, dreams and aspirations. In other words, they need to let leaders know what they are thinking and what they hope the future will be. This takes effort and energy, but I believe it is worth it. The Southern Baptist Convention is like a giant aircraft carrier and it will move and turn slowly. However, if there are many hands on deck trying to turn this big ship, I believe good change can happen more quickly and more effectively.
The other thing I would say is listen and learn, a lot! Most of our seminary students are young, and therefore though they have a lot of passion and zeal, they are not yet blessed with great experience and wisdom that comes from a long life. The Bible speaks very clearly to this. So, get involved, but honor those men who have gone before you who have earned the right to lead and to be heard. Hopefully, they will listen back.
This interview was first published in the October 29th online issue of Towers, the magazine of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisvile, KY, and is reprinted by permission.