SBC President’s Address
Dr. Frank Page began his address to the SBC with a “story from recent history.” On the day after Christmas, a devastating tsunami occurred, and many, many people were killed, but on a particular island only 7 out of more than 7,000 people perished due to villagers faithfully recounting danger signs noted by survivors following a similar disaster in the early 20th century. Dr. Page asked, ‘Will we faithfully recount the signs of both blessing and destruction?’ The text for his address was John 4:7-30. The context of the passage was given, as Dr. Page explained the amazement of the disciples at Jesus’ conversing with a Samaritan woman. Dr. Page explained and applied 3 features of Jesus’ interaction with the woman: 1. She came to see herself as she really was; if change is going to occur, we must see ourselves as we really are, must deal with our past, must not depend on a substitute righteousness, and must not try to blame others for what is happening within. Dr. Page asked, “Would you join with me in saying, ‘The problem is not somebody else, the problem is me!’” 2. She came to see hope in Christ; 3. She came to share Christ with others.
This was perhaps the best sermon I have ever heard on the Convention floor. Dr. Page addressed particular problems within the SBC and, instead of giving a pep talk for us to work harder at what we’re doing, he called for repentance and for us to return to our first love- love for Jesus Christ Himself.
One thing, I think, could be improved (as noted by my friend Brian Shank); while Dr. Page’s sermon was expositional in that it drew points from the text and faithfully applied these points to his particular audience, the main point of the text- that of Christ reaching out to those who were disapproved of by His culture- was mentioned in the introduction, but it was not the main point of this message. Truly expositional preaching takes the main point of the text for the main point of the message. And the point in this text is one that Southern Baptists desperately need to hear as so many churches are still being planted that focus upon market niches of suburban or new urban residents, while the despised of our culture- the poor, the imprisoned, the disabled, the drug addicts, the prostitutes- are often overlooked.