Preaching must be informed by the doctrine of inspiration of scripture, said Jim Shaddix, guest lecturer for the annual V. L. Stanfield Preaching Lectures at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College, April 5 and 7.
Shaddix, a former NOBTS professor of preaching and dean of chapel, serves as professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Some of Shaddix’s former students, now pastors, joined Shaddix for panel discussions after the lectures and in closing, expressed their gratitude for his ministry.
In the opening lecture at NOBTS’ Leavell Chapel, Shaddix posed a question.
“What do you think is going to happen when you come to the preaching event?” Shaddix asked. “Do you think you’re going to get a sermon, and that’s enough because that’s what we do? Or do you think you’re actually going to be in a room where God is going to speak?”
Shaddix challenged the chapel audience to remember what former NOBTS preaching professor V. L. Stanfield meant when he said, “Preaching is giving the Bible a voice.” The lecture series was established to honor Stanfield’s memory.
Drawing from Nehemiah 8, Shaddix pointed to the importance of seeing the sermon as the opportunity for God’s people to “encounter the living God … and hear His voice, hear Him speak in a way that transforms our lives,” Shaddix said.
Shaddix expressed his confidence in scripture as the inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God.
“If that’s true, and this is a supernatural book and something supernatural happens when it is proclaimed rightly … then that means [the people] get to hear the voice of God when that is going on,” Shaddix said.
Pastors must convey to their people that they believe the scripture is inspired, Shaddix said, adding that a pastor that “exults” in his time with the Lord and shows his congregation that he delights in God’s word can call them to listen as God speaks through scripture.
“People need to see us ‘caught up’ in the glory and grace of God and that we delight in the text,” Shaddix said. “It’s contagious. Exult in it. Our Lord is worth it.”
Pointing to the “one truth” he wished all listeners to hear, Shaddix said, “The preaching of the Bible is absolutely essential for the people of God to hear the voice of God and to respond accordingly.”
The series of lectures included panel discussions with David Platt, Washington D.C.; Israel Cox, Mississippi; Bradley Rushing, Alabama; Landon Dowden, Georgia; D. J. Horton, South Carolina; Byron Townsend, Louisiana; Byron Brown, Louisiana, and Brian Upshaw, North Carolina. Bo Rice, dean of graduate studies and also one of Shaddix’s former students, moderated the discussions.
The question of how to recognize and encourage those whom God has called to ministry was addressed in one panel discussion.
D. J. Horton, pastor of Church at the Mill, Moore, South Carolina, said those whom God is calling to ministry need to be able to observe the pastor’s love of family, ministry, and serving others. “I love being a pastor. It’s important to be real,” Horton said. “We also can specifically ask them, ‘Is God calling you?’”
Israel Cox, pastor of Crosspoint Church, Gulfport, Mississippi, noted that God isn’t limited “to the pulpit” in calling people out to ministry. “It can happen across the table,” Cox explained. “We can ask them, ‘What’s God doing in your life? Are you called?’”
A pastor should look for those already “leveraging their lives for the gospel,” Shaddix explained, in identifying those whom he should mentor. Pointing to Jesus’ “concentric circle of disciple-making” model, Shaddix said a pastor’s influence touches, crowds, a community, a core group, and then “the commissioned.” Mentor and challenge the “commissioned” to answer God’s call, Shaddix said.
At the final lecture, the panelists lined up on the chapel stage and thanked Shaddix for impacting their lives and ministries.
Horton said, “You have been a source of wisdom for me when I’ve been at intersections, crossroads. Now … [because of your example], you make me want to finish strong.”
David Platt honored Shaddix and wife Deborah for welcoming students into their hearts and home. Platt recounted serving alongside Shaddix on international mission trips and at New Orleans’ Edgewater Baptist Church. Shaddix led Edgewater Baptist weekly to ask God “to give us souls in this city and among the nations and do it in such a way that only He would get the credit for it,” Platt recounted.
Platt pointed specifically to Shaddix’s friendship, care and concern when Platt received word years ago that his father had passed away unexpectedly.
“How do I summarize the effect of Jim Shaddix on my life? He is a father to me,” Platt continued. Acknowledging the line of men on stage that Shaddix had mentored through the years, Platt added, “And I am grateful for all eternity to be one of his many sons in ministry.”