My recent visit to the graves of famous Southern Seminary presidents and professors helped me put some things in perspective.
1. Our heroes are just people.
The resurgent emphasis on the Puritans in recent years has given young evangelicals the opportunity to connect with the past by reading and researching the lives of the Puritan faithful. And yet, our heroes were not always biblical, not always Christ-honoring, not always heroic. In short, they were fallible. The same is true of Southern’s heroes. The same will be said of us.
2. Death is coming.
It’s hard to visit a cemetery and not walk away with a sense of your own human fragility. What is your life? It is but a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away…
You think of the dignified, well-respected presidents and professors of Southern Seminary and you’re tempted to picture them with an aura over them. But then you visit the cemetery and see the founders buried together – Fuller and Mullins not too far away, Honeycutt and Moody close together, and you realize that though these men’s academic and pastoral careers spanned multiple generations, they are all united under the soft ground of a Louisville cemetery. Death is no respecter of persons. The bodies of our great Baptist heroes share the soil with everyone else in Louisville at the time.
3. Faithfulness Remains.
Though Southern’s presidents and professors have been silenced by Death, they speak to us now through their writings, their journals, their sermons. Their faithfulness echoes down the corridors of the Seminary, visible in the ongoing witness of students seeking to better know Christ and better understand the Scriptures.
While we can count the number of pages in books written by these men, we cannot number the lives that have in some way been impacted by their faithfulness. Through their churches, their students, their classes, writings, and lectures – their faithful witness to Jesus as Lord lives on. The beauty of devoting your life to the gospel - something bigger than yourself and your own desires – is knowing that even after you die, the gospel you believed, loved and preached will continue to transform the coming generations.
4. The Communion of Saints is an Important Doctrine
Of great comfort to me is the biblical doctrine of the Communion of Saints. We are united to our brothers and sisters who are on the Christian journey with us today, but we are also united to those who have gone before. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses – men and women who belonged to a different era but who belonged to the same Savior.
Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.
- “The Church’s One Foundation”
As I look over my life, I pray that I will follow in the footsteps of the great men of faith, that I will keep my eyes on Jesus, see my life through the perspective of eternity, and leave a legacy of faithfulness for the generations that follow. May those who come behind us find us faithful.
written by Trevin Wax © 2008 Kingdom People blog