‘Don’t miss the moment,’ Dew urges at NOBTS Convocation

By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Jamie Dew, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College president, welcomed new and returning students during Convocation and urged them to remember that worship is an encounter with God.

“Never forget, when we deal with the things of God, we deal with the Almighty, the One who created with the simple word … when we come into His presence, acknowledge Him for who He is,” Dew said in the Aug. 16 service at Leavell Chapel.

Worship can become “familiar,” Dew cautioned. He reminded listeners that being in God’s presence is an “extraordinary moment” but that believers often miss out due to life’s distractions, pride, laziness, feelings of defeat, or even disbelief.

Drawing from Psalm 90, Dew gave three instructions for maintaining the “right posture” in God’s presence and three pointers on how believers should pray in order not to “miss the moment.”

Believers must remember that God is “before all and over all,” Dew said, pointing to verses 1-2. Drawing from verses 4-6, Dew said human life is brief, but God is everlasting. Third, Dew said verses 7-9 show that “a fear of God” is the “appropriate disposition” for sinful humans in the presence of a holy God.

“God is the God who judges all men. God is the God who executes righteousness and holiness and brings justice … God is everlasting. We are not,” Dew said.

Dew charged listeners with three instructions: pray for wisdom to live “with the end in mind” (verse 12); look to God as the source of satisfaction in life (verses 13-15); and ask God to favor the work each is called to do (verses 16-17).

“What is your delight? What is your satisfaction? The psalmist realizes that the only true, lasting, deeply-penetrating, soul-satisfying thing that we have is God,” Dew said. “Your delight can’t be in a passage, your delight can’t be in a doctrine, your delight can’t be in an argument. Your delight has to be in none other than God Himself.”

Concluding with verses 16-17, Dew acknowledged that he sees God’s favor resting on NOBTS but said he does not pray for enrollment gains or outward improvements. Rather, what he “most wants” is to do what God wants, Dew said.

“Take it all, Lord. Let us see what you’re wanting to do and now establish the work of our hands in that,” Dew said. He added, “Unless He does it, it will come to nothing.”

In opening the service, Dew explained that convocation is the formal ceremonial beginning “where we acknowledge the seriousness and the greatness of the work that we take up together.”

Norris Grubbs, provost, noted the seminary’s founding in 1917 by vote of the Southern Baptist Convention prior to the penning of the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message. Grubbs explained that the seminary’s first faculty formed the Articles of Religious Belief as their standard of belief and committed publicly to uphold those beliefs and doctrines. Beginning with the first seminary president, Byron H. Dement, each faculty member has signed the document along with the Baptist Faith and Message.

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At SEBTS Convocation, Akin encourages attendees to be content in Christ

By Chad Burchett

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern celebrated the start of the fall 2022 semester by recognizing dean’s list recipients and witnessing the signing of the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

In his Convocation address, SEBTS President Danny Akin used the story of freed slave Betsey Stockton to charge students to be faithful to the Great Commission and to remain content in Christ.

Scott Pace, dean of The College, recognized 98 students who met the requirements for The College’s spring 2022 dean’s list. Pace acknowledged that qualifying for the dean’s list is a significant academic achievement because it requires students to complete a minimum of 12 credit hours with at least a 3.75 GPA for the semester while also maintaining good academic standing and an overall 3.0 GPA.

After the dean’s list recognition, Ross Inman, associate professor of philosophy, signed the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 in the presence of the faculty and attendees. Inman was elected to the faculty during the board of trustees’ spring meeting. By signing the documents, Inman publicly joined the faculty in its resolve to teach in accordance with and not contrary to historic Baptist doctrine (the Abstract of Principles) and to the unifying confession of Baptists today (the Baptist Faith and Message 2000).

After these moments of recognition, Akin challenged students, staff and faculty to be content in Christ wherever God calls them, narrating the life and ministry of Betsey Stockton as an inspiring story of faith in Christ and of faithfulness to the Great Commission.

Born near the end of the 18th century, Betsey Stockton would have seemed an unlikely candidate to be commissioned for international missions, but God radically changed Betsey’s life and used her circumstances to prepare her for his missionary calling on her life. 

“Betsey Stockton was born in the world of American chattel slavery,” Akin said. “However, Betsey’s conversion resulted in a radical change that immediately planted in her heart a desire for the unthinkable and virtually impossible for a person of her station: the desire to be an international missionary.” 

Despite the tragic and restricting conditions of her life, Betsey Stockton found contentment in Christ and trusted God’s calling upon her life — hoping that God’s call would include international missions, Akin said. Because God had saved her through his Son, Betsey desired to be content with a life of tireless service to Christ. 

Pairing Betsey’s story with 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, Akin expounded Paul’s admonition to trust the Lord’s providence and be content in God’s calling on a person’s life. 

“God has an individual plan and purpose for every one of his children,” Akin said. “Trust in this. Be at peace in this. When God called you to salvation through his Son, he already had a course mapped out for your life. Growing out of your call to salvation is a definite calling for a life sovereignly determined by God.” 

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