Brown Encourages Students to Live God’s Mission

Brown LectureGeneral Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance Dr. Elijah Brown challenged Wayland Baptist University students to live God’s mission with a kingdom vision. Brown was on campus Tuesday and Wednesday as the featured speaker for the McCoy Lectures Series. The series, sponsored by Wayland and First Baptist Church in Plainview, is named for a longtime Wayland math professor Dr. Dorothy McCoy who had a passion for missions.

Dr. Brown participated in a small gathering on Tuesday evening, a luncheon with area pastors on Wednesday and spoke to the First Baptist Church congregation on Wednesday evening. At Wayland’s chapel service on Wednesday morning, Dr. Brown addressed the student body, faculty and staff, drawing from the martyrdom of Stephen in the New Testament to challenge them to live for God at all times.

Stephen was stoned for his beliefs and his kingdom work as he tried to meet the needs of the less fortunate in his community. His action drew the ire of community leaders, and his graceful response resulted in him being stoned, a practice of execution in Biblical times.

“Every Baptist is a missionary,” Dr. Brown said. “We believe that every profession, every academic discipline, every Baptist is to live God’s mission with a kingdom vision.”

As Stephen was being stoned, his prayer for those involved was that God not hold their sin against them (Acts 7:60). Dr. Brown pointed to Stephen’s response to the violence as an act of grace and how such acts are uncommon.

“Even today grace as a public witness is an uncommon response,” Dr. Brown said. “All too often, my first reaction in the face of opposition is that of anger, trying to match force with force.”

Dr. Brown said the Stephen’s story began with him simply trying to meet the needs of the people in his community, specifically combatting hunger. His efforts were met with opposition that eventually lead to false witnesses and false testimony against him. Dr. Brown said Baptists throughout the world are facing the same situations Stephen faced and must respond with a “kingdom vision” in the face of violent opposition.

“We are not called to live with an open hand or a closed hand. We are called to live with a crucified hand,” Dr. Brown said, eluding to Stephen’s willingness to die for what he believed.

Like Stephen, Dr. Brown said Baptists today can work in their communities to combat social issues such as hunger and poverty, and to fight those structures that create conditions where entire segments of society live in hunger.

“It may be difficult,” Dr. Brown said. “There may be opposition. There may be times when we are publically and falsely accused. There will be those who manipulate and spread false stories.”

Responding as Stephen did, not out of anger, but with grace and love, is a powerful way to share the gospel. As in Stephen’s case, Saul was there and approved of the stoning. However, Saul later had a change of heart and became one of the most prolific writers and church builders of the New Testament.

 “In the economy of the kingdom, there is always an opportunity for changes of heart,” Dr. Brown said. “You, too, can live a faith that touches the nations.”


Top: Dr. Elijah Brown (center), general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, is pictured with Wayland’s Director of Spiritual Life Donnie Brown (from left), Wayland President Dr. Bobby Hall, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Plainview Dr. Jacob West and Dean of the School of Christian Studies Dr. Stephen Stookey.

Inset: Dr. Elijah Brown speaks at chapel