Baucham to SBTS students: Contend earnestly for the faith

Communications Staff — September 30, 2005

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Though contemporary voices of ‘tolerance’ view the proclamation of Christianity as a grossly intolerant act, every believer is called to contend for the Gospel in the public square, renowned evangelist Voddie Baucham told students during the Sept. 1 chapel service at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Baucham encouraged students to graciously but steadfastly contend for the faith in the face of a culture that seeks to silence them through a redefinition of tolerance.

“We are a culture that values tolerance above all else,” he said. “Some will argue that tolerance is the only virtue we have remaining upon which we agree en masse in our culture.

“When I say tolerance, don’t be confused. I‘m not talking about the kind of tolerance that led Voltaire to write, ‘I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it’…The new tolerance argues that you can’t disagree, you must embrace. So this idea of contending for the faith does not compute. That is [seen as] intolerant. In our culture, that is the only thing that we absolutely, positively refuse to tolerate.”

Baucham, founder of Voddie Baucham Ministries, has been called an “evangelist to intellectuals.” An apologist, Bible teacher and conference speaker, he is the author of “The Ever-Loving Truth: Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture?” (2004 Broadman and Holman) and serves as an elder at Grace Community Church in Magnolia, Texas.

Preaching from Jude 1-4, Baucham pointed out that the call to contend extends to every Christian, not just those who are theologically trained or who possess a gift for personal evangelism. Contending for the faith is a primary and not a secondary issue, he said. In contending, however, he said Christians must not be contentious.

“Some might say, ‘Well that’s just for those who are trained in apologetics or who are trained in philosophy, that’s just not for me. My job is to just to love on people and to live my life in such a way that they will come to me and say, ‘I’ve been watching you… so what must I do to be saved?’

“This is for all of us. Every last one of us is called upon to plant our feet, to square our shoulders, to hold our heads high and to give an account to anyone who asks us the reason for the hope that is within us.”

If genuine believers do not contend for the faith and define its terms biblically in the marketplace of ideas, Baucham said, false prophets will.

“If we do not contend, they get to represent us unhindered,” he said. “With every fiber of your being, with every breath in your body, with every moment that God grants you, stand for, contend for, represent and proclaim the authentic, unadulterated Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and let the chips fall where they may. There are some things worse than being called intolerant by this culture in which we live.”

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