Today during chapel at Southeastern seminary, seminary president Dr. Danny Akin introduced the sermon passage of 1 Timothy 2.1-7 with the unusual disclaimer that if anyone had small children or would be easily offended by things of a sexual nature then they should consider not staying for his message. That is interesting, seeing as how this passage deals with prayer for those in authority, God’s desire for salvation of all peoples, and the mediatorial work of Christ, but 25 minutes into it the reason became clear: Dr. Akin is addressing the criticisms he has received for inviting Mark Driscoll onto his campus two weeks ago for the 2009 collegiate conference.
Obviously, if you have been here you know what I’m talking about, but just to recap, the largest criticism being lobbed at Driscoll, and by consequence at Dr. Akin, is the one that says Mark Driscoll is a dirty man who uses dirty words trying to ramp up attendance by speaking all too casually about sex and sexual practices from the pulpit (see here and more comically here).
Before ever actually addressing the specific criticism, Danny Akin throws his support behind Driscoll foremost for his heart in ministry saying, “I commend him for wanting to pastor and guide and help his people.” From here, Akin then shares his own experiences in speaking about sex on the campus of a Christian undergraduate institution, where after his series of messages several female students confronted him about why he did not address issues of “masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex” during his talks. Akin admitted his surprise, and later expressed his overall ignorance to this concern as several others made him aware of the prevalence of such questions among the younger generation. Because of this, Dr. Akin makes the statement that, “I think it is ministerial malpractice not to talk about such issues. . . . If the church and the ministers don’t address these issues for [their people] then who will and where will they get their information?” Wrapping this all back around to Driscoll, Akin admits that it is his belief that, “”If you have a desire to see all people saved, you will first of all wisely contextualize your ministry.”
I know personally I was appreciative to see this response. Dr. Akin is a stand-up guy, and to see him put his reputation among older, hardline Baptists on the table by confessing that if specific sexual practices are what’s being asked about then specific sexual practices are what need to be addressed was very exciting. If todays brand of young Baptist leaders (who are truly conservative, despite some nay-sayers) are ever to gain acceptance among the old guard stalwarts of the SBC, we will have men of integrity and vision like Danny Akin to thank for bridging the gap.
If you would like to see his whole message, it may be accessed here.