FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Alluding to the 1984 film “Ghostbusters” during fall commencement, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s interim president, D. Jeffrey Bingham, challenged the new graduates to be “coast-busters.”
Preaching on the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20, Bingham exhorted the graduates to “break the coast of North America.”
“And from North America, from this place on Seminary Hill in Fort Worth, Texas, go into all the nations … and fulfill the Great Commission,” he said.
Representing 31 states, 15 nations and eight languages, this fall’s graduating class encompassed nearly 300 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students, including 199 who walked the stage in MacGorman Chapel to receive their diplomas Dec. 14 as well as those who graduated in absentia from their places of ministry.
Bingham highlighted not only Jesus’ call to make disciples, but especially the foundations He laid for that call.
“There are two things I never want you to forget about the Lord Jesus Christ,” Bingham said, “and that is what the Lord tells us about Himself: first of all, all authority has been given to Him, and [second,] surely He will be with you always. These magnificent statements from the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ are the foundation to the commission that all of us have received and to which all of us are responsible.
“Because Jesus Christ has all authority,” Bingham continued, “because Jesus Christ will be with you always, you are to go into and make disciples from all nations and you are to teach all your disciples all the things that the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded and taught.
“It is not in our own power that we are able to do this,” Bingham said, “but only because of the eternal, blessed presence and the all-encompassing authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise His name forever.”
Returning to an oft-repeated phrase in his addresses throughout the semester, Bingham exhorted to make disciples “because the Lord Jesus Christ is ascended above us, because the Holy Spirit indwells us, and because the Kingdom of God is before us. The Lord bless you and keep you and bring forth eternal fruit from your ministries.”
Bingham assured the graduates: “We have loved you while you were here; we will keep loving you after you are gone. We are so proud of you, and we are so grateful that, from this moment on, you will always be Southwesterners.”
Among the 199 men and women who walked across the stage as friends and family members cheered was Noelle Lamb, who completed her master of arts in Christian education. Echoing the sentiments of many current students and alumni, Lamb said Southwestern’s greatest impact was in how she came to view the Word of God.
“The biggest thing that I have learned in these last few years at Southwestern is how to read Scripture,” Lamb said. “That has definitely been one of my favorite things that I’ve learned, but also, since starting at Southwestern, that has been the biggest area, as a Christian, where I have learned the most and also grown the most to love.”