SBC PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS, 1988
CHARTING OUR COURSE BY THE UNCHANGING CHRIST
By THOMAS D. ELLIFF
Dr. Tom Elliff was born Feb. 21, 1944, in Paris, Texas, and is a third generation Southern Baptist pastor with both his father and grandfather having served as pastors and associational director of missions. Elliff has a D. Min. from Southern Seminary, an M. Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a B.A./Major: from Ouachita Baptist University.
Currently the president of the International Mission Board, Elliff previously served the IMB as senior vice president for Spiritual Nurture/Church Relations. From 1985-2005 he was pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, Okla; from 1983-1985 was pastor of Applewood Baptist Church, Lakewood, Colo.; from 1981-1983, was a missionary to Zimbabwe with the (then) Foreign Mission Board. Dr. Elliff served as pastor of churches in Okla., Ark., and Texas. He also served the Southern Baptist Convention is various roles, including: chairman, Southern Baptist Council on Family Life; president, Southern Baptist Convention; president, SBC Pastors’ Conference; chairman, SBC Order of Business Committee; member, SBC Committee on Boards. The author of several books, Elliff was a contributor to: MasterLife, The Disciples Study Bible, The Family Worship Bible and various other publications.
This morning I want to address a matter of crucial significance . . . a matter upon which our very future as Southern Baptists rests . . . a matter which will define the scope of our future effectiveness, our usefulness to the Lord. I want to speak on the importance of “Charting Our Course By The Unchanging Christ.”
My text is the same as the theme text for this convention: “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today and forever.”
Dr. Bob Rogers has been pastor of First Baptist Church, Rincon, Ga. since 1999.He earned a B.A. from Mississippi College, and an M.Div. and Th.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an avid cyclist and regularly writes blogs at www.bobrogers.me.
The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible was published in 1979, the same year that I became pastor of my first church. Immediately, I liked how it was easy to read, yet more accurate than other popular, easy-to-read Bibles of the time, like The Living Bible and the Good News Bible. The NIV went through a minor revision in 1984, and I have been preaching primarily from the NIV ever since then, although I often quote other translations. However, beginning in the summer of 2012, I will change to the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). Why the change, after all these years? The answer is simple: I’m changing, because the NIV changed.
In 2011, the NIV went through a major revision, and the 1984 edition will no longer be sold in stores. If you buy a new NIV Bible, it will be the 2011 edition. The revision is more accurate in many places, correcting some translation errors of the old edition. However, the 2011 revision also chose to use gender-neutral language when referring to people, following the model of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), a translation that is owned by the liberal National Council of Churches. In some cases, the gender-neutral language is justified, as when the word “man” refers to all of humanity or when Paul addresses the “brothers” but clearly means all believers, “brothers and sisters.” But the 2011 revision of the NIV goes much farther than this, consistently using gender-neutral language even when the context does not necessarily call for it.