News Articles

Coppenger: Be ‘full of God’ from seminary to cemetery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Students arriving for fall classes at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., were challenged to train for a ministry which will send them charging through life until death seeking to populate heaven by their witness.
Midwestern President Mark Coppenger told new students during their Aug. 22 orientation of a visit he made to Gettysburg earlier in the summer where he viewed the site of Pickett’s Charge. He noticed the place where the Confederate troops began their desperate effort was Seminary Ridge, named for the location of a Lutheran school founded in 1825 to equip ministers. From there they headed west to Cemetery Ridge, he said.
“You’re thinking this doesn’t sound very promising. They charged all the way from Seminary Ridge to Cemetery Ridge.” Coppenger acknowledged some of the new students may think they’re already in Cemetery Ridge when they receive the syllabi for new classes.
“I pray you’ll be so full of God, so full of preparation for the gospel ministry that when you leave the seminary you will be charging all the way to the cemetery,” Coppenger said. “That is to say, you’ll be faithful until death.”
Coppenger noted many people start well. “They make a splash. They’re in the state paper. They have a claim. They get to speak on the platform or something. But then, later on in life, things start to come unraveled,” he said, as they loose their zeal, holiness and vision. He spoke of ministers who retire at the age of 55 but continue to work at the church until the age of 65. “So you just kind of put up with them those final years,” he said.
“I pray that’s not characteristic of Midwesterners. May we stay faithful, solid, committed all the way to the end.”
In the Aug. 28 academic convocation, Academic Affairs Vice President Jim Cogdill challenged students with the motivation to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with neighbors, family members, their nation and world. “The one thing the world needs more than anything else,” he said, “is the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Stating a person’s motivation makes a difference in what he is driven to do, Cogdill preached from Romans 1:13-17 of Paul’s motivation to share the gospel.
“We need to be a people who are under obligation,” Cogdill said, citing Rom. 1:14. “We have no choice if we’re to be obedient, but to proudly proclaim that Jesus saves.”
As he examined the reference to Paul’s eagerness to share the gospel, Cogdill explained, “We need to be a people ready to share Jesus Christ without thought of self or comfort. We’ll make such an impact, not just on ministries where God calls us after seminary, but on this city, this state, this nation, this world,” Cogdill said. “It only takes a few who are eager to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Cogdill said Paul’s knowledge of his master, recognition of the need to share the gospel and understanding of its power to change lives, combined with the gospel’s accessibility to anyone who believes, made him unashamed of his faith. He challenged seminary students, staff and faculty to be motivated, eager and unashamed to share the gospel with the world.
As he introduced Cogdill to the chapel audience, Coppenger praised him as “a lover of souls” who embraces biblical inerrancy. He recalled hearing Southeastern Seminary President Paige Patterson say the entire conservative resurgence “is a waste of time if we don’t win more people to the Lord.”
Coppenger clarified, “The point is to lift up the Word of God in its purity with the conviction that there is power in his Word. The population of heaven will be greater because God will use that instrumentality of faithfulness to his Word.”
The seminary president led students attending the Aug. 26 chapel to the highest point on campus for a reading of the Sermon on the Mount. After a Bible was passed throughout the crowd for passages to be read by various students, faculty and staff, prayers were offered for Kansas City which could be viewed to the south, the seminary community residences to the east, land to the north and neighbors to the west.
In closing the prayer, one student asked God, “As you give us an occasion to see the sun set, may we be fervent in prayer and desperate in grace.”

    About the Author

  • Tammi Ledbetter