Whatever type of ministry you find yourself in, always stay focused on the gospel, Southern Baptist Convention president Bryant Wright told students at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School Tuesday, Jan. 31.
“”The gospel is incredibly simple, but it is also the greatest gift that man receives because of the grace of God,” said Wright, speaking at the divinity school’s opening convocation of the spring semester.
Wright based his remarks on Romans 1: 16-17, which he called a major piece of Christian doctrine that impacted history. Martin Luther, from whom an entire Protestant movement sprang, was converted through the words in verse 17, noted Wright, who pastors the 8,000-member Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga.
Many people, Wright said, say they’re Christian when they’re really not, and others struggle with really believing that they have received salvation.
You cannot receive salvation unless you come to an intellectual recognition of Jesus Christ, he said, but belief is also of the heart, and must be of total trust.
Many people are “cultural Christians,” who believe with their minds, but the heart must be convicted by the holy spirit, he said.
“Be sure you clarify the definition of gospel, salvation, and what it means to believe,” he told the divinity students.
“The essence of the gospel, the essence of our faith, is that God bestows on us his righteousness through faith. As deeply or profoundly as you go intellectually and theologically, always stay focused on the gospel.”