LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)– Those who earn seminary degrees are more than professionals entering one field of employment, but are responsible for heralding the same message of eternal life the Lord Jesus Christ entrusted to His apostles, R. Albert Mohler Jr., told the 207th graduating class of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary May 20.
A herald is someone entrusted to announce a message, and that’s precisely the role entrusted to Southern Seminary graduates, Mohler said.
“What we witness today is not merely the accomplishment of students who have earned respected academic degrees and new credentials,” Mohler told the 271 graduates.
“The commencement ceremony of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary represents the gifting of God-called ministers of the Gospel for the churches, the sending out of missionaries who will carry the Gospel to the nations and the faithfulness of those who have answered the call of God to serve the church and to preach the Word,” Mohler said.
Preaching from 1 John 1:1-4, Mohler described the nature and content of the message entrusted to the students as a message of eternal life, hope and joy. He explained that the incarnation of the Word stands at the center of the Christian faith.
“John the apostle begins by affirming the centrality of Jesus Christ to all that we know, all that we hope and all that we preach,” Mohler said. “He specifically affirms the truth of the incarnation of Christ — the great news that he described in his gospel with the truth that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.'”
John, speaking as one of the apostles, stated that he heralds a message given to him directly from the Lord Jesus, Mohler said, pointing out that the same message of eternal life given to John and the other apostles has been given to present-day believers.
“That was the message of the apostles, and it is the message that is now entrusted to us. The graduates we celebrate today are called by God to be the heralds of the truth that eternal life is found in Jesus Christ and in Christ alone,” Mohler said. “They are called to declare that salvation has come, and that the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting comes to all who call upon the name of the Lord and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Mohler concluded his thoughts from 1 John with an exhortation to the graduating class to “go serve the Lord with gladness,” taking with them to the nations the Gospel message of eternal life, hope and joy found in Christ and in Him alone.
“We cannot rest until the nations are made glad in the Gospel. We cannot cease our labors until the work is done,” Mohler said. “Only Christ can complete the joy that we now taste and share, and every generation of Christians is to serve faithfully until Christ completes our joy.”
During the graduation exercise, Mohler also presented the Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence to Gregory A. Wills. Wills, who joined the faculty in 1997, is professor of church history and associate dean of theology and tradition for the School of Theology. He also directs the Center for the Study of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Compiled by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary staff. Mohler’s entire address is available in audio and video at the SBTS Resources page, www.sbts.edu/resources. A complete transcript of the address, “That Our Joy May Be Complete: The Essence of Christian Ministry,” is available at www.albertmohler.com.