3 questions with Richard Land

Communications Staff — September 21, 2009

Richard Land serves as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

1. What public policy issues are most important for seminary students to care about?

Richard Land: There are a whole host of issues that relate to worldview that cluster together: sanctity of human life versus the pro-choice approach, traditional marriage as opposed to the anything goes approach, the issue of pornography – the pornification of our culture.

We have literally just been engulfed in a sea of relativism, a tidal wave of relativism. And that impacts all the issues that we deal with. Everything is either relative or there are some absolutes. I think that seminary students are going to be ministering in a culture that they almost have to approach like a mission culture. They have to understand the presuppositions of that culture, and they’re not the presuppositions that have guided our culture in the past, and they’re not Judeo-Christian.

2. When should a minister of the Gospel think about running for office?

Land: That’s a personal decision and it has to do with calling. I have been privileged to counsel probably a couple of dozen young men who have come to me with that kind of a question. And what I have said to them is, “You have to determine what your calling is.” I believe there is a ministry calling with a public service component, and I believe there is a public service calling with a ministry component. You have to decide which one you have.

I was asked to run for public office on a couple of occasions. I’ve had committees come to me and ask me to run for public office, Congress. And I had to confront that issue. And in my own life, I discerned that my calling was a ministry calling with a public policy component, not a public policy calling with a ministry component. But I know others that have come to a different conclusion. So if they feel some leading in that direction, then they need to pray about it. They need to seek God’s will. The Bible tells us that God wants us to know His will. So if we are earnestly seeking His will and God wants us to know His will, then we will know His will. If we misconstrue it and head off in the wrong direction, God will blockade us and move us in the path He wants us to go.

3. Where did you develop your great love for baseball?

Land: I got that from my dad. My dad was a big baseball fan, and I just can never remember not listening to games with him and going to games with him and watching games with him and playing ball with him. I still can’t watch “Field of Dreams” without crying. It’s a dad-son thing. I started playing in Little League. My dad was my coach. I was an All-Star and I played in college. I was a pro prospect for a while until I hurt my arm. I had about a 98 mile-per-hour, left-handed fastball. But I hurt my arm. The Lord knew that was more temptation than I could stand. But I just love the game. I’m an Astros fan first, Red Sox fan second and whoever’s playing the Yankees third.

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