MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Sixty students received degrees at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s winter commencement at First Baptist Church in San Francisco Dec. 15.
The students came from all of Golden Gate’s five regional campuses, plus several of its regional Contextualized Leadership Development centers. They represented four countries and received diplomas, master’s degrees and doctorates of ministry.
Daniel and Kelly Frazier, who earned a master of divinity and a master of theological studies, respectively, shared the story of their experiences at Golden Gate Seminary.
“My time in seminary has taught me to let God go ahead of me,” Daniel said. “I’ve also matured in my love for Christ. And third, I’ve developed a deeper trust in Him. The one who calls us is faithful.”
Kelly said that while in seminary they had developed a deep passion to be strong laypeople in the church.
“Over these years, obedience has become a bigger desire than following the suggested plan,” she said.
Soyoung Sarah Lee, another student and wife of alumnus Tony Lee, shared how she had taken courses at Golden Gate 10 years ago when her husband was pursuing a degree. They then served as missionaries with the International Mission Board in Asia. Shortly before their latest stateside assignment, Sarah realized that she only needed 11 hours to complete her master’s in educational leadership.
“I had soaked up all I got at the time, back in 1994, and I really began to feel a strong call to finish my degree,” she said. “So in this stateside assignment I completed it. In one month we return overseas, and we rejoice in what God has done in the path behind, and look forward to what He will do in the path ahead.”
Jeff Iorg, president of the seminary, challenged the graduates to accomplish three tasks: to live the Gospel, to share the Gospel in their communities and to model the Gospel through the church.
“The sad truth is Christian life today looks too much like secular life,” he said. “And that’s not the culture’s problem, that’s our problem. Live the Gospel and your life will look different. Share the Gospel in the community. The Gospel is what changes lives, not a technique or a scheme or a strategy. “Preaching the Gospel is not complicated. Go into the community where you live, find a niche of people who are open, and talk to people about Jesus,” Iorg said. “That really is all there is. It really is that simple.”
He told the graduates that they were being sent into the same kind of world in which God sent Jesus 2,000 years ago.
“The nativity scenes we have in our homes fail to capture the reality of the world Jesus was sent into,” he said. “We imagine the nativity as softly lit with the appropriate mood music. But God sent Jesus into a world that was, to use a technical term, messed up. It was a world of political turmoil, financial confusion and spiritual indifference.
“Graduates, we are sending you into the same kind of world, and we are sending you to change it politically, financially and spiritually,” he said. “But you will change the world politically and financially only if you change it spiritually.”
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary operates five regional campuses throughout the West: Mill Valley, Calif.; Brea, Calif.; Vancouver, Wash.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Denver. The school also operates 34 Contextualized Leadership Development centers, where those without a bachelor’s degree or with English as their second language may earn basic diplomas.