Six months ago the Lord led my family to make a surprising move. I was teaching at a University in Wisconsin and believed the Lord would leave us there for many years to come. When the Lord led us to seriously consider moving to Detroit, a few things needed to be examined, but one was primary. A number of years ago a wise man gave me the advice to never make a career move without first researching the churches in the area. If it were not for Inter-City Baptist Church and the consistent, biblical, expositional-centered ministry philosophy evident here, we would not be at the seminary.
In fact, I believe one of the greatest strengths of our seminary is the intimate connection between the seminary and the church. I could develop why I think having a seminary as a function of a local church is a wise idea, but here I simply want to note the advantage it is to our students. While ministry philosophy can be communicated in the classroom, it is far superior to also see that same philosophy displayed in a local church. I am reminded here of the taught/caught distinction. When the material is simply covered in a lecture or course notes, the content has been taught. When students also see that same philosophy implemented in the local church context, the content can be caught.
Of course not every student at DBTS attends Inter-City Baptist Church, but for those who do there is harmony between the ministry of the seminary and that of the church. The other day one of my students mentioned that he enjoyed taking Dr. Doran’s preaching classes because he frequently observed the principles taught in class used effectively in the Sunday morning sermon.
I realize this blog post sounds like a plug for the seminary—well, in part it is. When you are excited about something you want others to know! But more importantly, I want to introduce you to the expositional-centered ministry of the seminary and Inter-City Baptist Church. The best way to see this is through one of our graduates, who is also currently the pastor of the church—Dr. David Doran.
Unfortunately, my family missed Dr. Doran’s two-year, verse by verse exegetical study of the book of John which was completed at the beginning of this summer (see the entire series here). But we were able to hear his helpful exposition of 2 Peter, which was just completed. For the Christmas season, Pastor Doran has focused on a passage little used during this time of year, but one that is powerful in expressing the purposes of the incarnation. His central text, Hebrews 9:23-28, focuses on the high priestly ministry of Christ. It organizes that ministry into three “comings” of Christ that are broadly analogous to the activity of the High priest on the Day of Atonement:
- 9:26 indicates that Jesus appeared on earth to take away sin (analogous to the High Priest making the sacrifice for sins). The proposition for the message was, “The incarnation of God’s Son made a fully sufficient sacrifice for sins possible.” You can view the sermon here or listen to it here.
- 9:24 indicates that Jesus appeared in heaven for us as intercessor (analogous to the High Priest taking the blood of the offering into the Holy Place). The proposition for that message was “The incarnation of God’s Son makes it possible for Him to intercede for us.” You can view the sermon here, or listen to it here.
- 9:28 indicates that Jesus will appear on earth a second time to bring salvation (analogous to the High Priest returning to the people, indicating that the sacrifice was fully accepted for the people). The proposition for that message was “The incarnation of God’s Son makes it possible for Him to rescue and reign over creation.” You can see the video here, or listen here.
These sermons are not the exception to the rule—as though I have picked three of Dr. Doran’s best messages. Rather, these sermons are normal weekly examples of an expositionally-centered ministry philosophy played out in a local church. Ultimately, I can think of no greater aid to a seminary than a solid, exegetically focused church body supporting it. I trust you will benefit from the sermons as my family has.