SEBTS Chapel - John M. Lewis October 26, 1965

  • The service begins with the reading of Luke 1:68 (00:00-00:09) and prayer (00:10-00:46). Then the congregation reads aloud a responsive reading taken from Psalm 84 (00:47-02:37). An introduction is given for John M. Lewis, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC, outlining his educational and ministerial background; he has been introduced as the “thinking man’s Baptist” (02:38-04:03). John M. Lewis begins his message by reading the Phillip’s translation of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (04:04-05:07), and his message is “Wanted: A New Theological Map for Baptists” (05:08-06:32). He believes that Baptists have stressed certain distinctives at the depreciation or neglect of others, and his message centers on balancing Baptist distinctives for effective future ministry (06:33-08:56). Firstly, Baptists have emphasized individuality within Christianity; while Christianity is personal, it is not private but communal. He urges that the separation of church and state in America has led to a separation of secular and sacred, causing the church’s work in the public square to become that much more difficult to manifest (08:57-17:21). Secondly, Baptists have emphasized “once saved, always saved,” which Lewis argues has wreaked havoc on our ethical responsibility and has overlooked the progressive and futuristic realities of our salvation (“being saved” and “will be saved”). He also discusses the Baptist view of denouncing the Catholic practice of transubstantiation in Communion while overlooking our practical transubstantiational view of salvation, wherein we believe we are changed metaphysically but not in reality (17:22-22:47). Thirdly, Baptists have emphasized that Jesus Christ is Lord of the local church, but we have denied practically that “the body of Christ” refers to all of our brothers and sisters everywhere in the world (22:48-26:05). Lastly, Lewis suggests that the Baptist exaltation of the Bible as the “Word of God” needs to find its practical and theological home in the person of Jesus Christ, who is “the Word of God” (26:06-28:09); he also suggests that the Bible will be “a dead book” to others until they understand that the Bible is not just telling how God spoke and worked then, but also now in our own time (28:10-32:33). He then closes in prayer (32:34-33:31).
Last modified
  • July 20, 2021
  • SEBTS_Chapel_John_M_Lewis_1965-10-26
Date Created
  • October 26, 1965
  • Wake Forest (N.C.)
Resource Type
Preferred Citation
    SEBTS Chapel and Special Event Recordings - 1960s, SEBTS Chapel and Special Event Recordings, Archives and Special Collections, Library at Southeastern, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC.