LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Ministers are called and charged to feed the sheep, to tend the flock, and to guard the sheep entrusted to their care, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said during the seminary’s winter commencement Dec. 7.
The seminary awarded diplomas to 188 graduate and doctoral students.
“We celebrate today the call of God in the lives of those who graduate today, and in the lives and ministries of the thousands who have preceded them across this platform — who even now serve Christ and tend His flock to the uttermost parts of the world,” Mohler said.
His commencement message, “Feed My Lambs — The Tender Courage of the Christian Ministry,” focused on the special role of the pastor as a shepherd to his congregation.
Mohler examined the current state of the U.S. job industry, noting that, while technology can supplant certain vocations, such is not the case with the pastor. The position of the pastor is a divine calling “to be a shepherd and to feed the flock of God.”
Reading from John 21:15-19, Mohler offered Peter as a model for the graduates, a disciple whose profession changed from capturing fish to nurturing sheep. Mohler then focused on Jesus as the Good Shepherd who “will tend His flock and destroy its enemies.” Pastors follow this example by defending the flock from enemies of the faith and spiritual warfare.
The central calling of the pastor-shepherd, Mohler said, is “to teach and preach the Word of God so that the flock of God is fed” with an important emphasis on the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture.
Craig Sanders is a writer for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).