By Diana Chandler —
Years ago as Bellevue Baptist Church teenagers, John Sanders and his friends would prank their pastor by banging on the front door of his home and running away. Adrian Rogers was apt to open the door.
“We would sneak up to Dr. Rogers’ house, bang on the door and run away and then we’d hear that voice of his, ‘Now boys …,’” Sanders said. “Once or twice, he’d open the door and have us in, and cut up with us. He was a very kind, loving pastor.”
Rogers’ influence stays with Sanders, who named his fourth child after the late pastor and produced a film showcasing clips from Rogers’ sermons on biblical truth and inerrancy.
“Nothing But the Truth,” which debuts Tuesday (Sept. 14) on digital platforms and DVD, promotes a biblical worldview at a time when Sanders says the U.S. is drifting in a sea of cultural relativism.
“We’re coming to a secular age where we’re being told, ‘Live your own truth,’” Sanders said. The film looks “at the tension between the traditional view and the current view. And it just poses the question: ‘Is there absolute truth, or what we’ve been taught, is that incorrect, and does everyone have their own truth?
“We went to the leading experts in the areas of religion, finance, marriage and a few other topics to see if we could get some insight into the truth and what it actually means.”
Rogers served three terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention and was widely considered a champion of the SBC’s Conservative Resurgence in the late 20th Century. Many of those involved in the documentary were among Rogers’ close friends and mentees, including Johnny Hunt, North American Mission Board senior vice president of evangelism and leadership.
“Adrian Rogers” is Hunt’s succinct explanation of what attracted him to the documentary.
“I’ve been asked a lot of times if I thought of the person who I think influenced and shaped my ministry style for being a pastor,” Hunt told Baptist Press, “undoubtedly, Adrian Rogers. … He definitely is noted as one of the finest preachers that lived in the 20th Century.
“I would observe him in his church, … or if I saw him out at conferences, and just the way he always walked slowly through the crowd and cared for people,” Hunt said. “I just thought I really would like to follow in his ways and footsteps in the way he cares for people.”
Hunt hopes the documentary will encourage viewers to examine whether they’re holding on to truth and allowing God to speak into their lives.
“I believe the Bible is the eternal truth. … It was inspired and given to us for every generation that will ever live,” Hunt said. “I think we’re living in a day today when some would say the Bible might have been written differently if it was engaging the culture today. And I understand what they’re saying, maybe the way you present it. But one thing we must never do is move away from its truthfulness and the integrity of Holy Scripture.”
Ken Whitten, senior pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church based in Lutz, Fla., also cites Rogers and his legacy displayed in the “Love Worth Finding with Adrian Rogers” media ministry as a major motivator in Whitten’s participation in the project.
“One of the greatest privileges in my life was getting to serve for almost eight years at Bellevue Baptist Church under Dr. Adrian Rogers,” Whitten said. “So he is a spiritual daddy to me and I still miss him. I think about him every week and just the impact that he had upon my life.”
The documentary, which Whitten describes as focused on God’s Word, recognizes the truth.
“There’s only one solution for all that we’re going through in every area of our life, whether it’s political, whether it’s racial, whether it’s generational, whether it’s familial, in our families, in our work,” Whitten said, “and Jesus Christ really is more than just a byword. (He) really is our answer.
“(Jesus) has truth to say, and He has something to say about every area of our life.”
Whitten hopes the documentary draws viewers back to a proper respect for God’s Word. He encourages viewers not only to embrace Scriptural inerrancy, but Scriptural sufficiency that answers how we should live and relate.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler, First Baptist Church of Dallas Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress, political commentator and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and financial guru Dave Ramsey are among other Southern Baptists featured in the film. They are joined by leading ministers and authors including Dallas pastor Tony Evans, Lee Strobel and other influencers. James Merritt, senior pastor of Cross Pointe Church based in Duluth, Ga., and actor Kirk Cameron are among endorsers. — Baptist Press
The film and educational resources are available here.