LIBERTY, Mo. (BP)–Baptist World Alliance President Billy Kim delivered the end of year commencement address for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Seventy-six students graduated during the ceremony at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, Mo.
Kim, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Suwon, Korea, focused his address on God’s blessing of the United States.
“No other nation has been blessed by God Almighty as the people of the United States of America, and believe me, you’ve been blessed,” he said.
He attributed such success to the nation because of its clear recognition of God — not only an awareness of Him, but also a commitment directed to other countries and people groups around the world.
“I believe the reason that God has blessed this nation more than any other nation on the face of the earth is because you have recognized God as God,” Kim said.
Kim emphasized the significance of prayer and its role in the future ministries of the graduating class.
“Korean churches are famous for early morning prayer meetings — 5 o’clock every morning, without exception,” Kim said at the May 24 commencement. “They have early morning prayer meetings 365 days a year.”
Recognizing veterans of the Korean War, Kim related an example of the power of prayer in a heroic rescue of an American soldier during that war. He then called for a generation of Christian men and women dedicated to prayer.
“May God help each graduate as you go,” he told the grads. “Pray that God will empower you and your life, that it will be effective, will change a community and will change a nation. Go out there to change the world.”
The commencement ceremony included the presentation of a resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives. The resolution commends Midwestern Seminary for its four-plus decades of offering theological education in Kansas City. Representatives Trent Skaggs and Brian Baker presented the honor. Baker, who was graduating, won his seat in the Missouri House last fall.
“To be commended in such a way by the Missouri legislature is a high honor indeed,” said Midwestern Seminary President Phil Roberts, who accepted a framed copy of the resolution. “We are thankful to be in this great state and look forward to a bright and wonderful future here.”
Several award winners also were recognized, including Midwestern Seminary missions professor Ron Rogers as professor of the year. Former International Mission Board missionaries in Brazil, Rogers and his wife, Faye, plan to return this fall to Brazil.
Other special recognitions included the families of three students who died during the past year. Roger Goodwin, a doctoral studies peer group supervisor, and Phil Wilson, a doctoral student, died last July when their plane crashed in Lee’s Summit, Mo. Master of divinity student Hewitt Strobel of Jefferson City, Mo., died in a December car accident. Families received certificates recognizing their loved ones’ devotion to ministry.
A few members of Fred Phelps’ anti-homosexual group from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., stood off the church property with signs in protest of Roberts’ comments in a March Baptist Press article. Roberts was quoted as saying Phelps’ position on homosexuality is unbiblical and that homosexuals need Jesus Christ just as everyone else does. There were no disturbances during commencement.