By Daisy Rodriguez, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. –Dr. Lewis Brogdon told how the story of Jesus Christ intersected with the stories of the United States and Martin Luther King Jr. as he spoke at Campbellsville University’s chapel on Jan. 26.
His message was titled, “Killing Jesus Then and Now.”
Brogdon read from John 1:10-11: “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
Brogdon also read from Matthew 12:14: “But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.”
“The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are evangelistic accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus told from the prospective of each author,” Brogdon said. “But, taken together, they tell a story about Jesus, a broader story, and level a devastating critique against the world.”
Brogdon is a research professor of preaching and black church studies at the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Simmons College in Louisville, Ky. He was the founding director of Louisville Presbyterian Seminary’s Black Church Studies program.
Brogdon said, 2,000 years ago, Jesus’ teachings were rejected.
“They rejected him as their Messiah because they had their own vision of who the Messiah was,” Brogdon said. “And in the same way they did that, I think we do that today because America loves talking about Jesus. Yes, America loves claiming Jesus, but I’m not sure if we know the Jesus of the Gospels.”
“Three times in Mark, Jesus gives us passion predictions,” Brogdon said. “He says, ‘The Son of man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men and is going to be condemned to death.’ Another passage, he predicts, ‘He’s going to be delivered to the hands of men and killed.’ Another passage says, “The Son of man will suffer many things.’
“He is going to be spat on, beaten, arrested and killed.”
And, something very similar is happening today, according to Brogdon.
“I’m here to tell you this morning that if they can do that to Jesus then, we can do the same thing today,” Brogdon said. “In fact, the sermon this morning, ‘Killing Jesus Then and Now’ is really political and social commentary matter in America. We’ve been killing Jesus for 400 years.”
Brogdon said God called Martin Luther King Jr. to preach to America and to show America a path to something better.
“But, you know what we did? We did not listen to him,” Brogdon said. “We treated him the exact same way they treated Jesus.”
Dr. H. Keith Spears, president of Campbellsville University, said King preached about love.
“What I remember of Martin Luther King was he preached of love,” Spears said. “And if you look at all his sermons, he talks about how love can overcome hate.”
Spears said one of his favorite quotes from King was, “You could take the first step, not knowing where the staircase leads you, and that’s faith.”
“Many times, he took that step,” Spears said.
“So, it’s just not the knowledge that we receive, but how we bring that all together. Martin Luther King Jr., whether we are white, black or some other persuasion brought to us the message, and as a Christian, that message holds true today.”
Spears said Jesus Christ was also assassinated.
“He was taken from us so rapidly, but He brought to us those words of love, and that’s what I see in Martin Luther King Jr.,” Spears said.
Dr. Joe Hopkins, president-elect of Campbellsville University, said Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of peace and what he did was show us a peaceful pathway in life.
“Martin Luther was not perfect as Christ is perfect,” Hopkins said, “but everything that he did is an example of his life was one that through peaceful means we should follow.”
Hopkins is in his 16th year as the dean of the School of Arts at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. He will officially assume the role of president of Campbellsville University on Feb. 1, 2022.
King emphasized peaceful means of bringing about change, according to Hopkins.
“Everything he did as an example in his life was, through peaceful means, we can accomplish great things,” Hopkins said. “Still today, we’re trying to work in that same vain, and he’s prepared a model and a pathway we all need to follow.”
The Rev. James Washington told a story about a preacher seeing a little boy who had a tractor and asked the boy if he could ride it.
“He rode that tractor up the sidewalk and came back up and asked the preacher, ‘What did you think of that?’” Washington asked. “The preacher said, ‘That’s mighty fine. Can you back it up?’”
Washington ended the story by encouraging everyone to depend on God.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m depending on God to get me through,” he said. “I don’t know what Omicron has in store. It doesn’t matter. I trust God. I’m going to leave with this question: Do you trust him? Can you back it up?”
Washington is pastor of New Zion Baptist Church in Adair and was former pastor of Pleasant Run Baptist Church in Green County and Pleasant Union Baptist Church in Taylor County.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 12,000 students offering over 100 programs of studying including Ph.D., master, bachelors, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.