Moore exhorts students to let their theology bleed

Communications Staff — March 6, 2008

Authentic theology doesn’t just talk. It walks, weeps and bleeds.

So says Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. During Southern Seminary’s Great Commission Week, Feb. 25-29, Moore launched the School of Theology’s “Theology Bleeds” initiative, calling attention to the evangelistic and missional thrust of Christian ministry.

“The Great Commission is a decisive stage in the warfare of God against the serpent of Eden,” said Moore, who also serves as senior vice president of academic administration at Southern.

“There is nothing programmatic about leading sinners to faith in Christ. Instead the expansion of global missions represents the plundering of the kingdom of Satan. The embrace of the Gospel by sinners is more than just persuasion; it is the kingly activity of Jesus as the Son of David calling together a “flock” over which He rules as Shepherd.”

The goal of the “Theology Bleeds” initiative is to center all current and future evangelistic efforts by School of Theology students and faculty on the advancement of kingdom of Christ against the powers of darkness, Moore said.

Moore identified numerous pitfalls to vibrant, intentional, whole-hearted evangelism for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ. Some churches equate fulfilling the Great Commission simply with an evangelistic video series or Christmas offering, Moore said.

Some theologians tend to ignore the Great Commission, Moore said, viewing this “practical exhortation” as being better left to denominational bureaucrats or women’s missionary auxiliary leaders. On the other hand, many missionaries, evangelists and church planters are more focused on organizing initiatives than on advancing a kingdom, he said.

Instead the Great Commission must be viewed as war, Moore said.

“The Great Commission is a theology of cosmic warfare — a theology centering on the unveiling of the long-hidden mystery of Christ and His church,” he said. “It means the overthrow of the ancient powers that have long held the creation captive through sin and death. It means the triumph of a resurrected Messiah over every principality and power hostile to the reign of the Creator. It means that God is keeping His promises to His anointed King.”

Hence, the reason for the “Theology Bleeds” initiative. The “Theology Bleeds” initiative is a challenge to School of Theology faculty and students to renew their efforts toward missions and evangelism, Moore said.

The initiative includes a commitment card, where Moore asks faculty and students to commit to pray for specific lost people they know, to share the Gospel at least once a week and to do so as a community, not as individuals.

Great Commission groups will form for the purpose of accountability, prayer and support as students and faculty work to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, Moore said. Each group will commit to meet regularly for prayer and encouragement.

Members of Great Commission groups can do a myriad of things to spread the Gospel, from door-to-door witnessing to evangelistic block parties, Moore said. Additionally, participants may visit the School of Theology webpage, www.sbts.edu/theology, for different evangelistic opportunities open to students. The site also includes resources about a theology of the Great Commission and a “commissional theology,” Moore said.

Moore encouraged participants to let him know how their efforts are going and to provide ideas for seminary-wide, small group and individual evangelistic projects in the community and around the world.

Above all, Moore encouraged students and faculty to let affections be broken for the lost.

“Let’s join with our God in pleading with sinners to be reconciled to God’s kingdom through the shed blood and the empty tomb of Jesus,” he said. “Let’s join in the unseen battle with our tears, our feet, our voices and our hearts.

“And remember, theology means a word about God. Scripture tells us that the definitive Logos about our Theos is not a systematic theology text or a Hebrew grammar, as important as these are. He is not a ‘what,’ but a ‘Who.’
He is our Brother, and our Lord. He cries for sinners, loves them, warns them of the wrath to come and promises them the ends of the universe if they turn to Him.”

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