Roy Fish recounts awakenings, calls for prayer
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) -- Roy Fish, a man whose name stands for “evangelism” throughout the Southern Baptist Convention, narrated the stories of spiritual awakening that have transformed the nation, Sept. 8-9.
As the featured speaker during Southwestern Seminary’s Roy Fish Lectures in Evangelism, Fish recounted five large-scale awakenings that have touched the nation. He also expressed his hope that God will send spiritual renewal once again.
“I hope that, as you pray, you will pray, ‘Lord do it again.’ You pray for revival. You pray for spiritual awakening,” Fish, the seminary’s distinguished professor emeritus of evangelism, said. He also urged students and faculty members to reignite their spiritual and evangelistic fervor, whenever possible, in the flames of revival.
“If you ever hear about the fire burning, go to it,” he said. “Get as near to the flame as you can.”
Fish opened this lecture series during chapel at Southwestern Seminary, Sept. 8. The history of the United States, he said, is a “story punctuated by great spiritual awakenings, periods of unusual revival,” which benefitted both the church and the nation.
“Immense church growth has come out of spiritual awakenings,” Fish said. “History tells us that the church grows more in leaps—or what I am going to call broad jumps, and those periods of broad jumps are periods of great spiritual awakening.
“Now they are good for the church. They are also good for the nation. I am convinced that almost every social reform of any proportion in our country can be traced to one of these great awakenings.”
During his five-part lecture series, Fish narrated and examined the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening, the Laymen’s Prayer Awakening, global awakening, and the awakening of the mid-20th century.
“Nobody has been more greatly used of God than Dr. Roy Fish,” President Paige Patterson said, introducing Fish during chapel. “It is easy to profess. It is a horse of a different color when you both profess and practice. And that is the story of Dr. Roy Fish. … I happen to know that he is willing to share Christ with anyone within reach.”
Fish has served as an evangelism professor at the seminary for more than 40 years, and he held the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism (“The Chair of Fire”) prior to his retirement. After earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas in 1952, Fish moved to Southwestern Seminary, where he earned his Bachelor of Divinity (equivalent to the M.Div.) and his Doctor of Theology. In 2005, Southwestern honored Fish when the division of evangelism and missions in the School of Theology was reorganized as the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.
Fish has also held several prominent denominational leadership positions, including interim president of the North American Mission Board and second vice-president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has served as pastor or interim pastor at more than 20 churches, and he has spoken and preached at conventions, conferences and churches in every continent except Antarctica.