February 25, 2003
LAKE OF THE OZARKS — The work that president/CEO Dick Bott is doing through Bott Radio Network can be compared to the work that the Missouri Baptist Convention is doing right now as it seeks to promote the old paths as described by the prophet Jeremiah.
|Richard (Dick) Bott, Sr. – President
Click here to find out more about Dick Bott.
"Right now Missouri is almost completely covered by Bott Radio
Network, even with overlapping coverage," said Bott, who oversees his 14-market network from his home in Lake of the Ozarks.
"I feel it’s wonderful, because Missouri is so pivotal. Isn’t it interesting how Missouri figured into the Dred Scott decision many years ago? Missouri is at the center ground.
"What we want to do is talk to the people in Missouri on our Missouri radio stations about being knowledgeable, being informed and thinking carefully, but always comparing all things of faith and practice with the Word of God. The Bible says the people of Berea were more noble than their brethren, and there’s only one reason why that would be said of them. It’s because they compared the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so. They didn’t even want to take the apostle Paul’s word for it. They wanted to know what Scripture said."
Bott compared his radio work to the work of the MBC as articulated by The Pathway.
He said that when a controversy erupts, people naturally go their own way, leaving others to do the work. Those people can either be steadfast and steady or bend and drift. Bott wants it known that what Baptists are doing right now in Missouri is being noticed.
"I admire what has happened with the Southern Baptist Convention in Missouri," he said.
"Missouri Baptists have made a decision to just do what’s right, and it’s caused a controversy. But a judge knows that when you sit in a court room, you’ve got to make tough decisions. You’ve got to come down on one side or the other. Just like Solomon, he had to seek the wisdom of God and do what was right and then, of course, let the Lord take care of the rest of it."
The wisdom of God down through the years has led Bott to make strategic alliances with Southern Baptist leaders. One of those leaders, Richard Land, has been on the radio for almost three years now with his vibrant Richard Land Live! show, thanks in large part to the vision of Bott.
"It appeared to me that the people in the pews of Southern Baptist churches many times did not have an opportunity to learn some of the important distinctions in the Southern Baptist Convention between trends and movements as opposed to maintaining a Biblical concept of the work of the church," Bott said. "I was thinking that Richard Land probably more than any other one person speaks to those issues from a Biblical perspective and should be on the radio. I thought if Richard Land was on the air talking about these various things the general public would benefit, but most specifically Southern Baptist laymen would benefit, too."
Land, president of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, does not shy away from issues such as homosexuality, abortion and pornography. As The Pathway continues to touch on these same issues, Missouri Baptists will benefit much like the radio audience of Land benefits, Bott said.
"We need to have points of communication, points of discussion," Bott said. "What you’re doing in Missouri will give Missouri Baptists an opportunity to learn, to compare, to be informed, to be knowledgable and to be focused.
"Ultimately, whether it’s the Southern Baptists or whether it’s any other group or organization or denomination, if it isn’t centered on the unerring Word of God, then all we have to go on is various opinions, various ideas and various trends. They will always lead us astray. History has proven that. Those in the Southern Baptist Convention who have high regard for God’s Word as the compass, as the plumb line from which to compare all other things, those are the ones who will be there when the day is done."
Other Southern Baptist preachers who have been with Bott for years have been Adrian Rogers of Bellevue Baptist Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn., and Charles Stanley of First Baptist, Atlanta. Sticking with these gentlemen in his regular radio lineup has been easy for Bott, who respects both men tremendously.
"In both cases, their ministry is evangelistically positioned," Bott said. "They do that by the study of God’s Word and the application of the principles of God’s Word into the lives of people. More than anything we’re commanded to make disciples. Disciples win converts. Converts are a direct result of the work of the disciples, and you’re not going to have disciples if you’re not teaching them. That’s what Charles Stanley has done so well, and that’s what Adrian Rogers has done so well."
The ministry of Rogers, whose radio program is called "Love Worth Finding," has made a particular impression on Bott. Even though Dr. Rogers, who is a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, pastors a large church, the church is very thorough in its approach to shepherding people, Bott said.
"The thing that I admire most about Bellevue Baptist Church is it is steady as a rock on the Word of God," Bott said. "And it serves the needs and interests of every family from a demographic standpoint. The one thing that is the core is the faithful preaching of God’s Word from a very inerrant Biblical perspective. That really is the hallmark of a great church, and there are many in Missouri that have followed and maintained and are steadfast with that same thing in mind."
As a resident of Missouri whose radio network began in Kansas City back in 1962, Bott is taking a particular interest in the future of Missouri Baptists. Where the state’s largest Protestant religious body decides to go can play a huge role in where the state in general will go.
"Missouri is so pivotal in so many, important ways to all of America," Bott said. "We started out more than 40 years ago now in Missouri, and I have watched changes in Missouri, the dynamic pressures come to bear in Missouri. For lack of knowledge, the Bible says, the people perish. If we can confront them with not only the good news of the gospel but also the principles of Scripture, the people will be stronger, they’ll be more knowledgeable and they’ll end up doing the right thing."