By Amanda Vernon
JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) — Baptist preacher Adrian Rogers’ legacy lives on in a collection of audio tapes given to his grandson, a current Union University student, during a presentation in Union’s Ryan Center for Biblical Studies.
A giant in Southern Baptist life, Rogers was the longtime pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church who played an instrumental role in turning the Southern Baptist Convention away from liberalism and back to the authority of Scripture.
Kay Wilkes of Union City, Tenn., discovered Rogers’ sermon tapes among the possessions of her late husband, Ben Wilkes, a former pastor who was a student at Union when he was mentored by Rogers. After learning that Rogers’ grandson Andrew Edmiston is a sophomore at Union, Kay Wilkes worked with staff at the Jackson, Tenn., campus to present the tapes to him. Andrew’s mother, Janice Edmiston, attended the presentation, as did his sister, Breezy Edmiston.
“Andrew was just 9 when my dad died,” said Janice Edmiston, one of four children of Adrian and Joyce Rogers. “But sometime later, I found out he was going to sleep listening to my dad’s sermons. He’s still living on through them.”
Kay Wilkes said Rogers’ sermon tapes served as a resource for her husband over the years of his ministry.
“I have an office filled with these messages and memories,” Kay Wilkes said. Her husband, who died in 2009, “would be so honored to know that these things that he valued so much have found a home.”
Bob Agee, Union’s vice president for institutional advancement, and Todd Brady, vice president for university ministries, spoke at the Nov. 17 presentation. Agee said that the bond shared by Adrian Rogers and Ben Wilkes can now be shared with Rogers’ grandson, who is studying physics and mathematics at Union.
“Listen to the tapes … it is an anointed man of God dealing with the Word of God in such profound ways,” Agee said. “Ben’s collection of tapes is a reflection of his love. I think from heaven today, a couple of guys are smiling about this moment.”