For some reason, this past week, Adrian Rogers has been on my mind.
I find it hard to believe that it’s already been five years since he received his heavenly promotion. As the dynamic and lovable pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Rogers was, for several decades, an iconic leader among Southern Baptists, particularly in the 80’s.
At the height of the great SBC controversy, it was under his leadership that the SBC was steered away from liberalism towards the safe shores of the Bible. The SBC would likely be in shambles today, were it not for his leadership. He was a great preacher, a great husband and family man, and a great follower of Jesus. His body may be buried and his soul may be gone, but his impact and ministry still lives on.
When most people think of Dr. Rogers, they instantly think of his voice. When he spoke, it boomed and thundered to the envy of every preacher. But how he spoke was really just a reflection of what he spoke. His voice was deep. His wit and wisdom likewise. Some men are blacksmiths. Other men are silversmiths. Adrian Rogers was a wordsmith. Nobody could say it like he did. When he spoke, people used to listen. It would do us all some good today to listen to him once again.
In that spirit, I want to share with you a collection of “Adrianisms” that I have compiled. These may not be the very best of Adrian Rogers, but they sure get close. If you don’t know who Dr. Adrian Rogers was, then you’re in for a treat. If you do, then you’re in for a reminder of why he was such a treat. I thank God for Adrian Rogers’ life, example, and faith.
Here are a few of my favorite Adrianisms.
“We ought to be living as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon.”
“Sin is not just breaking God’s laws; it is breaking His heart.”
“We should pray as if it all depends on God and then work as if it all depends on us.”
“Character is what you are in the dark.”
“A rich man is poor when he has no treasure in heaven. ”
“There’s only two places where there’s no hope. One is hell because when you go to hell, you’ve lost hope. The other is in heaven because when you’re in heaven, you don’t need hope.”
“If you please God, it doesn’t matter whom you displease. If you displease God, it doesn’t matter whom you please.”
“Mercy is sympathy with legs.”
“Try to define the Trinity and you’ll lose your mind. Deny it and you’ll lose your soul.”
“Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God?”
“God grades on the Cross not on the curve.”
“Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.”
“If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”
“How can we know the God of the Bible unless we first know the Bible of God?”
“Just because God is your Creator does not mean that He is your Father.”
This final quote has made its way, in recent days, around the email forwarding circuit. While it is more political than spiritual in nature, it is still vintage Adrian and serves, I believe, as sound, political and economic advice.
“Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can’t give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don’t have to work because the other half’s going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody’s going to get what I work for. That, dear friend, is about the end of any nation.”
You tell ’em Adrian!