Dr. Stephen Gaukroger Speaks at the Latest Gallup Lecture Series

Dr. Stephen Gaukroger speaking in the Great Hall on the DBU campus in Dallas

Each year, DBU hosts the George H. Gallup, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series, which has attracted incredibly gifted minds to come and share with our campus community. These lectures provide a forum for distinguished leaders to share their insights with the DBU community. The latest Gallup Lecture featured Dr. Stephen Gaukroger, former President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, prolific author, and founder of Clarion International.

Dr. Stephen Gaukroger addressed DBU faculty and staff during a special luncheon in the Hillcrest Great Hall on the DBU campus on the morning of March 25. His lecture, "Does the Future Have a Church: Gospel Transformation in the 21st Century," addressed the church's significant impact on the world. He believes the church has a therapeutic role in the world and that our culture, politics, and spirituality as a society are directly connected to the strength of the local church.

Dr. Gaukroger shared his concerns about the newfound power the government discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing societies shut down in the blink of an eye because the government said so is a terrifying reality. He explained that the church is declining in the Western parts of the world, partially due to many being unable to recover after the pandemic. "When the church is in decline, fear dominates, and competition emanates." He expressed his disappointment at how churches seem to be more concerned about not losing any members to the church down the street, while they should be eager to work together to further the Kingdom with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Additionally, during the pandemic, the political and scientific landscapes crumbled. Dr. Gaukroger scoffed at how many governments and institutions claimed to be "following the science" during the pandemic when the science was inherently contradictory. However, he was encouraged by how many people realized that science is wildly inconsistent when worshiped as an idol. He explained that many atheists are admitting that their belief system is unsustainable because people no longer look to science as "the answer." Dr. Gaukroger sees the Western world as "a prodigal culture that's come to the end of itself in the pig sty." Culture is yearning for the identity found in Christ, but the church is too preoccupied with meaningless competition with itself.

Meanwhile, the church in the Southern parts of the world is rapidly growing despite significant persecution. Dr. Gaukroger expressed that the Bible is clear when it says the gates of hell will never prevail against the church, and the Gospel will prevail amidst all trials and persecution. The church may look much different today compared to ten or twenty years ago, but God is still working through His people. Dr. Gaukroger has been encouraged by the church's growth in South America and Africa in the last few years.

Dr. Gaukroger zeroed in on the importance of the Holy Spirit. He is disappointed by how often Christians treat the Holy Spirit as a debate topic about beliefs instead of an awe-inspiring power God has imparted to us. He challenged the audience to invite the Holy Spirit to be a part of our culture because this will cause us to be infectious with Christ, leading us to be disciples who make disciples as God commanded. Dr. Gaukroger concluded with the answer to his lecture title: "The future will have a church. We don't know what it will look like, but it will be strong if we look to the Bible and Jesus and equip people with the power of the Holy Spirit."

After the lecture, DBU faculty and staff had the opportunity to ask Dr. Gaukroger questions during a brief Q&A session. The event closed as DBU President, Dr. Adam C. Wright, thanked Dr. Gaukroger for his message, and Dr. Brent Thomas, Dean of the Graduate School of Ministry, prayed for the DBU family as they were dismissed.

DBU students also had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Gaukroger in Chapel, where he encouraged the student body to look to God in the present because the enemy tries to make us live in the past or worry about the future. He reminded the students that Jesus will never change. He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and always.

Dr. Gaukroger's ministry began in a local church context after gaining a degree in business and then a theological degree and pastoral diploma from Spurgeon's College. For 14 years, he oversaw remarkable church growth as Senior Pastor of Stopsley Baptist Church, Luton, before spending twelve years as Senior Minister of Gold Hill Baptist Church in Buckinghamshire—one of the largest Baptist churches in England. During Dr. Gaukroger's years as a local church leader, he was also President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (1994-1995). A prolific author, Dr. Gaukroger has written over 20 books, edited various Bible study series and small group resources, and authored numerous articles and blogs. His first book, It Makes Sense, an accessible, humorous, and compelling intro to the Christian faith, has been translated into several different languages and sold more than 100,000 copies.

Written by Cameron Billings

Cameron Billings is the Assistant Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.