Ten Great Adrian Rogers Quotes

Here are ten great quotes (also known as “Adrianisms”) from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, former pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN.

  1. Just because it doesn’t make sense to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense.
  2. Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.
  3. If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.
  4. Sin is not just breaking God’s laws; it is breaking His heart.
  5. We ought to be living as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon.
  6. Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God?
  7. It’s what you sow that multiplies, not what you keep in the barn.
  8. If you have a Bible that’s falling apart, you’ll have a life that’s not.
  9. I wouldn’t trust the best fifteen minutes I ever lived to get me into heaven.
  10. God grades on the Cross not on the curve.

You can find more quotes like these in the two-volume series: Adrianisms: The Wit & Wisdom of Adrian Rogers. (Volume 2 here.) Do you have any favorite Adrian Rogers quotes?

Three Great Books by Adrian Rogers:



  1. Warren Westbury says:

    Is this one of his quotes?

    “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
    When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Warren – Yes, that is another great Adrian Rogers quote – especially during these current economic times!

  3. Tony Sartain says:

    I’d like to cite “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom…” but I’ve been unable to find any sort of reference to it’s source. Can you help?

  4. Brent says:

    I agree. Good ethics requires a reference before attributing a quote.

  5. Ray Fowler says:

    (Ray, not wanting to be unethical, quickly looks up the source.)

    It is from Rogers’ book, Ten Secrets for a Successful Family, p. 138. Here is the link in Google Books: Ten Secrets for a Successful Family

  6. Tony Sartain says:

    Thanks so much for your help. It’s an awesome and timely quote, so I shall publish it with abandon!

  7. Ray Fowler says:

    Tony – Glad to help. Now go publish!

  8. Leslie says:

    Another “great” Rogers quote –

    “I believe slavery is a much maligned institution; if we had slavery today, we would not have this welfare mess.”

  9. Ray Fowler says:

    Leslie – I agree, that is a terrible quote, but to be fair, here are some things to put it in context.

    1) First of all, this quote does not appear in any of Dr. Rogers’ written or verbal works. Rather it is reported by Cecil Sherman as part of a private conversation that took place back in 1985. I have no reason to believe that Sherman misrepresented Dr. Rogers’ words, but I do not know if these were his exact words, or if he spoke them seriously, or if he was just making a (very) bad joke.

    2) The context of the quote was not American slavery but Roman slavery as it appears in the New Testament. This type of slavery was very different from American slavery, more of an indentured servitude rather than race-based oppression. (Also, Roman slavery is merely reported on in the New Testament, never affirmed or approved). Here is the snippet of converation with Rogers that Sherman reports:

    “I asked Rogers what he did with the slavery passages of the New Testament. Did he take them literally? He paused, then said, ‘Well, I believe slavery is a much maligned institution. If we had slavery today, we would not have this welfare mess.'” (The Struggle for the Soul of the SBC, by Walter Shurden, p. 36) So yes, still a bad quote, but not as bad as it appears out of context.

    3) The quote also appears out of context in Bruce Gourley’s book, The Godmakers: A Legacy of the Southern Baptist Convention (Franklin, TN: Providence House, 1996, p. 75), but Gourley is simply citing Sherman and his reported conversation with Rogers. Chad Brand of Founders Journal responds:

    Gourley’s use of his sources is … problematic. Granted that he makes use almost exclusively of sources whose authors have a vested interest to critique the conservative resurgence. But does he use those sources accurately? In many cases he does not. In Chapter Four he critiques the conservative movement for its racism. “It is a tragedy, however, that the white God which Southern Baptists of the 1800s worshipped is still alive in the minds of many Southern Baptists, particularly in fundamentalist circles” (p. 75). As a prime example he presents this: “. . . Adrian Rogers, fundamentalist pastor and past SBC president, recently revealed his racist beliefs when asked about slavery: `Well, I believe slavery is a much-maligned institution. If we had slavery today, we would not have this welfare mess'” (p. 75). Gourley seeks with this quote to prove that Rogers is a racist in his attitude toward African-Americans. The footnote for this comment cites an essay by Cecil Sherman, former head of the CBF. But when one looks at the essay by Sherman, an entirely different perspective is apparent. Sherman asked Rogers the question about slavery in the context of their work together on the Peace Committee. But the question he asked was about slavery in the Bible, not the American institution of racial subservience. This is very plain in Sherman’s essay (“Moderate Responses to the Fundamentalist Movement,” in Walter Shurden, ed., The Struggle for the Soul of the SBC, p. 36). Sherman did not take Rogers’ comment to refer to the American institution of Southern injustice, and there is no reason why Gourley should have taken the text in this manner, either. One may disagree with Rogers’ statement in any event, but to twist his words willfully in order to score a rhetorical point is unconscionable reporting.” (Founders Journal, Issue 30, 1997, pp. 25-26)

    So, is this a great quote by Adrian Rogers? No, and I am not willing to defend it. But I am willing to defend the man. And I am willing to give Dr. Rogers the benefit of the doubt and trust that either: a) he never said it, or b) it was a poor choice of words which he later regretted. (I know I have done that plenty of times. It’s just that my words haven’t been reported in books and splashed all over the internet for everyone to see.)

  10. Mike says:

    It is one of his greatest quotes. And it is ironic that Dr. Rogers, (like Ronald Reagan), borrowed liberally the essence of the philosophy forged by libertarian style, and some cases, atheistic thinkers–Isabel Paterson, Ayn Rand, Rose Wilder Lane, Fredrick Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. The intellectual co-opting of the philosophy notwithstanding, what matters is that the ideals of liberty and pure capitalism are advanced and that it is recognized as not incompatible with the way Jesus lived. I believe when people are not forced to be generous they become more abundantly generous.

  11. Kristie says:

    Great quotes! Thought I’d share where you can listen to all the old broadcasts from Adrian as well – Love Worth Finding Broadcast from Adrian Rogers

  12. Ray Fowler says:

    Thanks, Kristie!

  13. Aldo Sarti says:

    I need a bit of help, I’m publishing a book and I’m using one of Adrian Roger’s quotes “Faith that hasn’t been tested can’t be trusted” but I can’t find a source for it, do you know if it’s in a book of his, this would really help me, thank you, please reply to my e-mail

  14. Ray Fowler says:

    Aldo – I couldn’t find the direct source, but I did find it cited on page 44 of Jack Bauer’s Having a Bad Day, by Tim Weseman. Unfortunately, Google Books won’t let me access the end notes, so I can’t read what source he was citing. Here is the page from Google Books for your reference: Jack Bauer’s Having a Bad Day.

  15. Joe says:

    Ray –
    What does Adrian say about polygamy (in the bible)?

  16. Ray Fowler says:

    Joe – I don’t know offhand, so I did a quick Google search. In this program Dr. Rogers says that according to Genesis 2:19-25, polygamy is not God’s design for marriage. (Link: Celebrate the Difference) Then I found this article from 2002 in the UK Telegraph where a Dr. Adrian Rogers speaks out against polygamous relationships. (Polygamists paid extra benefit for every wife) But it turns out that is a different Dr. Adrian Rogers — not Dr. Adrian Rogers the American pastor but Dr. Adrian Rogers the British General Practitioner and Expert Witness for the courts. (Dr Adrian Rogers FRCGP) Why do you ask?

  17. fred fenney says:

    “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you”…His Ministry

    is prescious, his fruit “abundant” and his legacy inspiring,

    and i am not willing to judge him…..

  18. Melinda says:

    My husband and I were traveling yesterday and came across a radio station airing one of Dr. Rogers sermons. In it he quoted a poem about a lion roaring, the poem went on to say that a rabbit tried roaring but it came out as a squeak and he became a fox’s lunch in the woods. The moral of the poem was “don’t roar unless you’ve got the goods”. I have been searching the internet for this poem and cannot find it. If anyone here could help I would appreciate it.

  19. Ray Fowler says:

    Melinda – Is this it?

    A lion met a tiger as they drank beside the pool.
    Said the tiger to the lion, “Why are you roaring like a fool?”

    “That’s not foolish,” said the lion with a twinkle in his eyes.
    “They call me king of all the beasts because I advertise.”

    A rabbit heard them speaking, ran homeward like a streak,
    Thought he’d try the lion’s trick, but his roar was just a squeak.

    A fox was walking by that way, had luncheon in the woods.
    The Moral: Never advertise unless you have the goods!

    HT: http://truebibleanswers.org/poems.htm

  20. Melinda says:

    Thanks Ray, that’s the one I was looking for.

  21. John says:

    I have sat through that sermon several times as a child and more recently the radio, and that quote is often taken out of context of the sermon, as Dr. Rogers preaches about compassion for the poor,and that if it was not for the grace of God that we could have all been born into less fortunate circumstances.

  22. Ray Fowler says:

    John – Thanks for sharing. It would be interesting to hear some of these quotes in their original contexts. And a good reminder that we should always look to context first in interpreting a quote.

  23. Jeff King says:

    Heard Dr. Rogers yesterday speaking, he said: ” When you stand up for truth expect a head on collision with error!”

    Is this original to Dr. Rogers? I could not find it anywhere
    else after an exhaustive Google search.

    Thanks for your time and consideration.


    Jeff King

  24. Woody says:

    Adrian once told his wife, “If you ever leave me, I’m going with you”.

  25. Rodney Williams says:

    i heard a quoet by pastor rogers somthing about (some say he went on higher but if he is doing now what he was doing then he is still sitting by the fire)

  26. Nick says:

    Hello I ran across a quote like this ” There can be no judgement without free will, there can be no mercy without grace quote” , I believe I am misquoting it but would like to know the real quote and who wrote it. Thanks ya’ll God bless!!!

  27. Nick says:

    Thanks guy God bless!!!

  28. Joe says:


    Thanks for posting the lion, tiger, rabbit, and fox poem; here’s what I heard:

    Sermon title: “The Blood Covenant”
    Text: 1 Sam 18-19, 2 Sam 9:1-10

    Dr Rogers said, “It has been my observation that most Christians talk better than they walk. They’re not living in victory, they boost of victory, they sing of victory, but their lives are not victorious.” And then he recited this poem:

    “A tiger met a lion as they sat beside a pool.
    Said the tiger to the lion, ‘Why are you roaring like a fool?’

    ‘That’s not foolish.’ said the lion with a twinkle in his eye.
    ‘They call me king of all the beasts because I advertise.’

    A rabbit heard them talking, ran home like a streak,
    Thought he’d try the lion’s plan, but his roar was just a squeak.

    A fox came to investigate; had his lunch in the woods.
    And so my friend when you advertize, be sure you’ve got the goods.”

    Dr Roger’s concluded, “There are a lot of Christians who are advertizing but they have more in the showcase than they have got in the warehouse. They don’t have the goods and their so-called roar is just the squeak of a little rabbit.”

  29. Dwight says:

    The best rendition of this poem (Lion & Tiger) I heard from Dr. Rogers’ was at the beginning of the sermon, “What Makes Bellevue Different?” His introduction and conclusion to the poem set the stage quite well for the sermon.

    Check it out!

  30. fred fenney says:

    Jesus, in his verbal fencing with the Pharesees, said that
    “wisdom is justified,[validated], by the children it produces”
    In Proverbs 14:25, “a true witness delivers souls”, and in the
    11th chapter,verse 30, “he that winneth souls is wise”,..and
    in Romans 8:16 “the spirit bears witness withour spirit, that
    we are the children of God”, so although new birth in us has taken place, we still are being processed in “sanctification”,
    by the “washing by the water of the word”, and “the renewing of the spirit of our mind”, a journey to glorification that will continue as we press in until HE returns, surrendering
    everything to HIM,…Saul of Tarsas, had heard all about the
    claims and works of Jesus from a distance, and he was just the man to put a stop to this heresy, but when he ran into a
    sold-out son of God named Stephen, he “saw” CHRIST displayed in all of His Merciful radiance…we might be the only “JESUS”
    many people get to “see”,…let us radiate HIM at any cost..

  31. Bud Parsons says:

    I was watching one of Adrain’s sermons today and he had a story about a man that always gave the excuse that he wanted to sit by the fire when some talked to him about going to church. I thought it would be great for my Sunday School class to hear.Please tell me where I can find a copy.

    Thank you very much.

  32. Matthew says:

    No, thats a quote from an Anti-semite holocaust denier Gerald Lk Smith.


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