MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary conferred 226 degrees during five commencement ceremonies in May, including three married couples jointly receiving degrees or diplomas, two sisters receiving diplomas and two directors graduating with their students.
Coinciding with commencement, the 65-year-old seminary celebrated a special two-day homecoming event on the Northern California Campus in Mill Valley to recognize 50 years on Strawberry Point.
The highlight of the festivities was honoring the seminary’s “Golden Graduates” during commencement May 29. Twenty-eight of those who graduated from the Berkeley and Oakland campuses from 1949-59 donned golden robes and walked with the class of 2009.
Jeff Iorg, the seminary’s president, asked the graduates in his commencement address at each campus to consider the words of Jesus in John 14:12.
“Jesus said something so audacious as to intimidate us, almost frighten us and certainly sober us,” Iorg said. “It demands our allegiance and fulfillment. Jesus said, ‘The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do, and he will do even greater works than these.'”
Iorg urged the graduates to pray bigger prayers, ones that are worthy of being asked in the name of the Savior of the universe.
“Don’t ask for a city, ask for a country,” Iorg said. “Don’t ask for a trickle, ask for a flood. Ask in Jesus’ name. …
“As you go forward in the culture in which we live, into a culture of moral disintegration and into a larger world in which we live that knows nothing of the Judeo/Christian mindset,” Iorg said, “you will discover that the more you obey the Word of God, the more you will stand out as an anomaly in this world.”
Iorg also said when graduates teach others to obey the Word of God, Jesus will transform them in ways they could not in their own strength, and God’s work will be evident.
“And so tonight, minister in the authority of Jesus’ name, be empowered by the companionship of the Holy Spirit, obey the transforming Word of God and watch your ministry unfold with the supernatural happening around you, and the greater works being accomplished,” Iorg said.
The seminary’s highest student award, the William O. Crews Presidential Leadership Award, was given to Terry Dorsett, a doctor of ministry graduate from the Northern California Campus. The Will Edd & Lila Fae Langford Endowed Scholarship was given to Stewart Marvin Moody, a master of divinity graduate from the Northern California Campus.
Also at the Northern California Campus, Sang Hyun Boo, a master of divinity graduate with a concentration in biblical studies, was recognized as the seminary’s 7,000th graduate. Boo was one of two graduates who shared the story of his experiences at the seminary. Travis Nichols, who received a master of divinity with a concentration in church planting, also told about his experiences.
Degrees conferred during five commencement ceremonies included: 61 master of divinity degrees, including those with concentrations in areas such as biblical studies, Christian education and church planting; 11 master of arts in educational leadership degrees; 18 master of theological studies degrees; 10 doctor of ministry degrees; and two diplomas in theology.
Through its Contextualized Leadership Development centers operated in partnership with local churches, associations and state conventions, Golden Gate conferred 108 diplomas in Christian ministry and 16 diplomas in theology.
By campus, the breakdown of graduates included: Northern California Campus, 128 graduates; Southern California Campus, 32 graduates; Pacific Northwest Campus, 21 graduates; Rocky Mountain Campus (Denver), 29 graduates; and Arizona Campus (Phoenix), 16 graduates.
Phyllis Evans is director of communications at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.