NEW ORLEANS (BP)–President Chuck Kelley challenged the graduating class of New Orleans Baptist Seminary to plant their lives in the Word of God.
Kelley told the class of 119 master’s and doctoral graduates about a boat ride he took on the Nile River. He noticed that the land close to the Nile was green and fertile. Only a short distance away from the river, the land was arid and barren.
“It was like a line drawn in the dirt, on the other side of the green -– desert,” Kelley said at the May 14 commencement. “I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 1: ‘… his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night, he will always bear fruit in his season, his leaf will never whither, and whatever he does will prosper for he is like that tree planted by the river of living waters.’
“That is truly what it means to be a minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “To take your life and plant it on the Word of God.”
Education is not what sets ministers apart from the rest of society, Kelley said.
“What you have to offer people that no one else can offer them is the truth of God’s Word,” he said. “The Bible reminds us that it is faith in Christ and Christ alone that truly brings salvation. We can never lose that message in this increasingly pluralistic environment.”
Kelley likened the Word of God to a filter that helps people see the light of Jesus Christ more clearly. He encouraged the graduates to hide God’s Word in their hearts.
“Biblical Christianity doesn’t simply tell people what not to do,” Kelley said. “Plant your life in the Word of God and it will be that ‘filter’ that helps you separate right from wrong and gives you the wisdom to make complex decisions.”
Kelley pointed out important biblical and historic figures such as the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther and George Whitfield who changed the world with the message of the Gospel. He encouraged the graduates to make a difference in the world by standing on God’s Word.
“Dear precious graduates, that’s what you have with this Word. You have more than a degree you can hang with pride on your wall,” Kelley said. “You have something more than that; you have the opportunity to literally change the course of history by bringing the Word of God to bear on all the peoples of the world.”
“With this you can change the world,” Kelley said holding up his Bible.
Students in the graduating class earned degrees from 23 different programs including 13 specialized master of divinity degrees involving specializations in biblical languages, biblical studies, Christian education, Christian thought, church ministry, church planting, collegiate ministry, evangelistic church growth, expository preaching, missions, pastoral care, people group strategies, psychology and counseling, urban missions and worship leadership. Nineteen graduates earned doctoral degrees.
During a separate service on May 14, an additional 95 graduates received ministry certificates and undergraduate degrees from Leavell College at NOBTS. Leavell College, named after the family of two former NOBTS presidents, offers fully accredited bachelors degrees in Christian ministry and church music, associate degrees as well as specialized ministry certificates in Christian studies, church music, pastoral ministry, preschool/children’s ministry and women’s ministry.