SOUTHERN BAPTIST LEADER, PASSES AWAY AT 74
November 15, 2005
TENNESSEE (ANS) -- Tributes from
Christian leaders are pouring in after the Rev. Adrian Rogers, a
three-time president of the Southern Baptist Convention and leader of a
conservative takeover of the faith, passed away early Tuesday, Nov. 15
in Memphis. He was 74.
According to The Associated
Press (AP), his death was announced by Baptist Press News and by
Rogers' Love Worth Finding ministry. Officials of the Nashville-based
Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee didn't immediately
return calls seeking comment.
Rogers was hospitalized earlier this month with pneumonia and cancer,
his ministry's Web site said.
Rogers was elected president in 1979 as part of the conservative
takeover of the convention. His election turned out to a be a watershed
moment for the denomination, and the 16-million-member group shifted
dramatically to the right politically and theologically.
In the years that followed, conservative leaders pushed hard against
abortion rights, homosexuality and women pastors.
Rogers also was elected president of the SBC in 1986 and 1987. He was
pastor of the 28,000-member Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis for 32
years, retiring this past March.
"There's no one in this country I respect more than Adrian Rogers,"
Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson said on Rogers' last day as
pastor. "You draw me to Christ. When I'm with you, I feel closer to the
Among those who attended Rogers' final sermon were Sen. Lamar
Alexander, R-Tenn., and Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn.
During his career, Rogers conducted religious crusades in Taiwan, South
Korea, Israel, Russia, Romania, and in Central and South America.
In 2003 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the National Religious
ADRIAN ROGERS' OBITUARY
Dr. Adrian Rogers, one of the greatest preachers and Christian leaders
of the 20th century, died November 15, 2005. Like Ezra, the great
leader of ancient Israel, Dr. Rogers committed his life to one
overarching purpose: the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. “For
Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it,
and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments” (Ezra 7:10).
Dr. Rogers succumbed to pneumonia after battling cancer that was
diagnosed soon after his March 2005 retirement from 32 years as pastor
of the Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis Tennessee. One of America’s
largest churches, Bellevue has more than 29,000 members and a ministry
that reaches around the world. The church grew and thrived under the
dynamic preaching and loving pastoral care of Dr. Rogers. He was named
Pastor Emeritus of the church at his retirement.
Dr. Rogers was preceded in death by his parents, Arden and Rose Rogers,
and by an infant son, Phillip. He is survived by his wife of 54 years,
the former Joyce Louise Gentry of West Palm Beach, Florida; their four
children: Stephen, Gayle, David, and Janice; nine grandchildren and one
great-grandchild born November 14, 2005.
Adrian Pierce Rogers was born September 12, 1931 in West Palm Beach,
Florida. A star quarterback in high school, Dr. Rogers attended Stetson
University in Deland, Florida on a football scholarship, which he
relinquished to follow God’s call into the ministry. He received a B.A.
from Stetson in 1954, and earned a Master of Theology degree from New
Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisiana in 1958.
Dr. Rogers was also awarded numerous honorary degrees, including the
Litterarum Doctor degree from the California Graduate School of
Theology in Glendale, California in 1979, and the Doctor of Sacred
Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Liberty
University in Lynchburg, Virginia in 2003.
Dr. Rogers held several pastorates in Florida before coming to Bellevue
Baptist Church in 1972 and guiding the church through more than three
decades of growth and outreach.
In addition to his pastoral ministry, Dr. Rogers exercised tremendous
national and international influence as a spiritual leader and true
Christian statesman. He was active in national leadership, and
personally consulted and prayed with five presidents of the United
States. He recently shared the platform with President George W. Bush
in the White House on the National Day of Prayer for America.
Dr. Rogers was also a distinguished leader in the Southern Baptist
Convention, the world’s largest Protestant denomination. He was elected
president of the Convention three times, and held the distinction of
being the only man to be elected three times to this office under the
God’s blessing on Dr. Rogers’s ministry of clear, powerful Bible
teaching became even more evident with the birth of Love Worth Finding
Ministries in 1987. Dr. Rogers was the founder and Bible teacher of
Love Worth Finding, an internationally syndicated television and radio
ministry. Love Worth Finding debuted as a one-hour television broadcast
on 17 stations and 30-minute radio broadcast debut on 19 stations. From
that beginning, Love Worth Finding has grown to become one of America’s
leading Christian broadcasts. The program can be heard weekly on a
worldwide television network of over 12,000 outlets, and also through a
daily broadcast over nearly 2,000 radio stations and translators. The
remarkable scope of the outreach of Dr. Rogers messages extends the
broadcast to more than 150 countries around the world.
Dr. Rogers was also a widely published author, with 18 books to his
credit. He was also the author of 49 published booklets (18 in Spanish)
and 79 albums of published messages.
Accolades from national and Christian leaders reveal the depth of the
integrity, faithfulness, love, and wisdom that marked the life and
ministry of Adrian Rogers. Dr. Billy Graham once said of him, "We need
for ministers of the Gospel to defend the Bible as the infallible Word
of God… I believe in my heart that Adrian Rogers is such a man. I know
him personally. I have walked with him and prayed with him… I know
God’s hand is upon Adrian Rogers as he proclaims the Bread of Life from
his church and through radio and television…I praise God for his
Dr. James Dobson of the Focus on the Family radio program knew Dr.
Rogers as a member of the Focus board of directors and a close personal
friend. "Adrian’s contribution to this ministry over the years was
incalculable. As a member of our Board of Directors, he provided godly
wisdom and counsel on countless occasions. We couldn’t have had a
better leader filling that vital position – God blessed us
significantly in giving us Dr. Rogers."
Former President George H. W. Bush was also a friend of Dr. Rogers.
"Here is a man whom Southern Baptists kept coming to. He served them as
president of the Convention . . . and on top of everything else, he
pastored one of the largest churches in the world… There are many who
presume to speak for the evangelical movements, but surely Dr. Rogers
was one of the handfuls who truly represented them. He was a great man
with a lot of influence and a lot of wisdom…"
Chuck Colson, former advisor to President Richard Nixon and founder of
Prison Fellowship, said, "In my opinion, Adrian Rogers was one of the
truly great preachers in America, and a beloved friend. This was God’s
man with God’s message."
Adrian Rogers was also a much beloved husband, father, grandfather, and
friend who will be greatly missed by his family and all who knew him.
Of all his accomplishments, Dr. Rogers often said that his greatest joy
centered in his relationship to Jesus Christ, his childhood sweetheart
and wife, Joyce, his children and grandchildren, and the church he
pastored. The recipient of many honors and awards, the trophy he
treasured most was one presented to him by his children on Father’s Day
in which he was acclaimed The World’s Greatest Dad.
STATEMENT FROM DR.
"At this time of grief, the Rogers family – Mrs. Joyce Rogers; Steve
& Cindi Rogers, and their daughter, Renae Rogers; Mike & Gayle
Foster, and their sons, Michael & Adrian Foster; David & Kelly
Rogers, and their sons, Jonathan & Stephen Rogers; and Bryan &
Janice Edmiston, and their children, Angela Luce, and Rachel, Andrew
& Breanna Edmiston – would like to thank all who have offered
prayers, sent expressions of love and kindness, and given practical
help on behalf of our family during these days. We are also especially
grateful for the wonderful team of doctors, nurses, and other medical
staff, who have given the very best of their time, knowledge, and
creative energy, in order to preserve the life of our beloved husband,
father, and grandfather, and minimize his physical pain.
"Although we had all maintained hope up to the very end for a
miraculous restoration of his health, we are comforted in the knowledge
that he is now resting in the presence of his Lord and Savior to whom
he dedicated his life and ministry on this earth. We cling to the
assurance of God’s grace, as He, in His infinite wisdom, has determined
the right timing of his homecoming.
"On various occasions, he had proclaimed: 'when my time comes, don’t be
sorry for me; I’ll be kicking up gold dust on the streets of glory.'
Shortly after being admitted to the hospital diagnosed with
cancer-induced pneumonia, he stated 'this is a win-win for me,'
indicating his confidence that, whether God chose to heal him or not,
he was in his hands. Among the last words that he uttered before being
hooked up to the ventilator which inhibited his speech during his last
days were 'I am at perfect peace.' His favorite Bible passage was
Romans 8:38-39: 'For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things
to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able
to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'
"His last days, spent in the hospital on artificial ventilation, were
marked by an unusual sense of spiritual strength and serenity. He
maintained his positive attitude and sense of humor up to the very end.
Even during this time, in which he was unable to communicate verbally,
we all felt his deep love for us. Moments before undergoing intubation,
he wrote a note containing the words 'I love you!' and the names of his
four children and their spouses, his nine grandchildren, and his first
great-grandchild, Marianna Rose Luce, born on November 14th. A second
note expressed his love for his wife, Joyce, who later commented: 'In
all our life together, there was never a day that passed that he did
not say 'I love you.' "
"We, although deeply saddened by our loss, are at the same time
profoundly grateful for the many years of happiness we have been
blessed to share with this wonderful prince of a man named Adrian
"The family kindly requests that any memorials be sent to the "Adrian
Rogers Pastor Training Institute" (PTI) , a division of Love Worth
Finding Ministries, to go toward the continuance of his ministry and
vision to train pastors for the furtherance of the Gospel here and
around the world. Gifts may be sent to the 'Adrian Rogers Pastor
Training Institute,' c/o Love Worth Finding, 2941 Kate Bond Road,
Memphis, TN 38133. Or call (901) 382-7900."
– Bellevue Baptist Church
5 – 8 PM Adrian
Rogers’ body will Lie in State
– Bellevue Baptist Church
1- 4 PM Adrian
Rogers’ body will Lie in State
4 – 6 PM
6 PM Memorial
On the Net:
Love Worth Finding: www.lwf.org
|** Michael Ireland is an
international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a
London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News
Service of Garden Grove, California. Michael immigrated to the United
States in 1982 and became a US citizen in September, 1995. He is
married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor
to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.