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Complementarians have lost stalwart in Adrian Rogers

December 21, 2005

With the death of Southern Baptist Convention patriarch Adrian Rogers last month, complementarians and Christian family advocates lost a true champion.

With the death of Southern Baptist Convention patriarch Adrian Rogers last month, complementarians and Christian family advocates lost a true champion.

Rogers, whose election to the presidency of the SBC in 1979 sparked a wholesale Egypt-to-Canaan resurgence of biblical orthodoxy within the denomination, died Nov. 15 at the age of 74. Rogers served as pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., for 33 years before retiring earlier this year. He died following a protracted battle with cancer and double pneumonia.

Rogers, who also served as SBC president in 1986 and 1987, was a member of the board of reference for The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and wrote 18 books, including Ten Secrets for a Successful Family: A Perfect Ten for Homes that Win, published by Crossway in 1996.

Perhaps his most significant recent impact on the 16-million member SBC regarding gender roles was his chairing of the Baptist Faith & Message Study Committee that reviewed and revised the SBC’s confession of faith, the Baptist Faith & Message.

Among the changes was the addition of an article and other language clarifying the denomination’s stance on gender roles in the home and church. Rogers and the committee revised Article VI on the Church that the office of pastor or elder is limited to males by the clear teaching of Scripture.

Rogers also oversaw the addition of Article XVIII on the family, an article that sought to clarify the Bible’s teaching that marriage is to serve as a picture of the Gospel. The article, in part, reads:

“God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

“The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr., CBMW council member, served alongside Rogers on the BF&M 2000 committee. Rogers was a champion of biblical orthodoxy, Mohler said.

“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 (in the SBC),” Mohler said. “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.”

James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, remembers Rogers as a faithful soldier of Christ amidst a culture that exalts anti-Christian values. Rogers also served as a member of the board of directors for Focus on the Family.

“There is no one in America whom I respected more than Dr. Rogers,” Dobson said. “He has been a faithful friend to me and to the ministry of Focus on the Family for many years, serving as a voice of wisdom, encouragement and admonition on our Board of Directors. He was also a staunch ally in the battle to defend biblical values in our culture.

“Most importantly, Dr. Rogers was responsible for impacting countless people through the faithful preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That was the defining passion of his life, from the day I first met him until the very end. For that reason, our sorrow at his passing is mixed with joy and thankfulness. We know that he is now free from the shackles of this earthly existence, and that he has entered into the very presence of the God he loved so deeply and served so diligently.”

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