By Femi Aborisade
The first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Fred Luter, said that there are two criteria that come with being the head of a Baptist church – righteous living and wild parties.
During convocation April 3, Luter made a reference to his hometown of New Orleans, where he is pastor at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church. In regards to righteous living, Luter believes that a person needs to have a renewed mind.
Luter based his sermon on Philippians 2:5-6 where the apostle Paul urges Christians to have a mind renewed by Christ’s sacrifice.
“There’s not a moment that goes by — a week, a month — that born-again Christians are not tempted by the devil,” Luter said. “The devil will do all that he can to attack the minds of the sons and daughters of God.”
Luter said for a person to have a renewed mind, they must not forget three key aspects: to focus on Christ, to make choices that please God and to focus on the cross in their daily lives.
Focusing on Christ means following Christ’s example of living. Luter added that the observance of Christ’s suffering and resurrection on Easter is a principal reminder of this focus.
“In other words, when I think about the goodness of Jesus and all that He’s done for me, my soul shouts,” Luter said.
The second aspect of a renewed mind is thinking about one’s choices. Just as Jesus chose to come to earth, Christians ought to make choices that are not selfish and do not cause future regret.
Luter explained that since all humans have the freedom to make choices, they should make choices that please God. He used the story of a boy who is teased by a barber for continually choosing 50 cents over a dollar, as the barber believes the boy is dimwitted. However, the boy explains that if he ever chose the dollar, “the game is over.”
“Every choice we make has a consequence, and that consequence can be a blessing or a burden,” Luter said.
The last aspect of a renewed mind should help people think about the cross.
“That’s why our minds should be renewed, so we can walk right, talk right, live right and pray right,” Luter said.
Senior Antonio Smith attended convocation and said he appreciated Luter’s teaching.
“He put his eyes on the cross, and I think it’s going to impact us simply because our eyes should always be on the cross,” Smith said.
Luter concluded by saying that believers should be wary of temptation and cited numerous points in the Bible when Satan’s influence caused people to sin, ranging from Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit to Peter denying Christ three times.
Sophomore Ashley Arnold said she was perplexed at Luter’s preaching style and his message.
“I thought he was really good, he made some good points, but he spoke so fast,” Arnold said. “It was hard to keep up with what he was saying.”
Luter said it takes a lot of commitment and prayers to pull off his sermons.
“I really struggle putting sermons together, honestly,” Luter said. “It usually takes me six to eight hours to write someting that I want to preach for 35 minutes. But it’s something that I’ve been doing for a long time now.”
Krista Nix, assistant director of student involvement, said she was pleased with Luter’s sermon.
“It got the audience moving, everyone loved it, he was amazing,” Nix said. “His energy definitely helped his preaching.”