Ministers called to serve ‘children of light,’ Mohler says at Southern Seminary commencement
God calls ministers of the gospel to affirm the church and serve its members faithfully, said President R. Albert Mohler Jr. in his May 14 commencement address to 2015 graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
During commencement exercises on the seminary lawn, 297 master’s and doctorate students received their degrees. A week earlier, 107 Boyce College graduates received certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degrees in a historic commencement that marked the first time a child of a Southern Seminary president graduated from the institution.
In an address from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 titled “Children of the Day,” Mohler said ministers are called to serve the “children of light” who are destined for salvation and to preach with urgency “knowing that the day of the Lord is coming.”
“A commencement day comes with a flood of reflection and the splendor of hope,” Mohler said. “Right before our eyes, they are about to be flung to the four corners of the earth, sent into the churches and into the nations. On this sparkling day and on this historic lawn we see them in their graduating gowns and regalia. We rightly feel that they are ours, but they are not ours to keep.”
According to Mohler, an affirmation of the church also supports the doctrine of the Trinity, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of ministry. He said the identity of the church as “children of light,” their destiny of salvation, and the urgency of preaching frame the calling of pastoral ministry and missions.
“The children of the day know the eschatological urgency that comes from knowing that the day of the Lord is coming, that the time is short, and that this age will end,” Mohler said. “If this is true for all the children of the day, it is certainly most consciously true of those who are called as ministers for the children of the day. The times and the seasons cry out the urgency of our calling — most of all, the urgency of the preaching of the gospel.”
Concluding his address, Mohler called the graduates to remember the prayers of the church as they continue in their gospel service.
“Take your place in line and fulfill your ministry with eyes wide open, knowing your destiny in Christ. Go into the world of darkness as brave children of the day,” Mohler charged the graduates.
Also at graduation, Mohler presented the annual Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence to Gregg R. Allison, professor of Christian theology at the seminary. Allison has taught at Southern since 2003 and is the author of several books, including the popular Historical Theology and the recent Roman Catholic Theology: An Evangelical Assessment. Allison is an elder at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville. He and his wife, Nora, have three adult children.
Mohler also presented the Josephine S. and James L. Baggott Outstanding Graduate Award to Corbin T. Hobbs, a Master of Divinity graduate from Rogers, Arkansas. Hobbs and his wife, Allie, are members at Sojourn.
Other notable graduates of the 2015 graduating class include Ben Dockery, the son of Trinity International University President David S. Dockery, who earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry; and Justin Taylor, senior vice president and publisher of books for Crossway, who earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the School of Theology. David S. Dockery, formerly Southern’s senior vice president of academic administration and dean of the School of Theology from 1992 to 1996, also participated in the commencement exercises.
Mohler’s entire address will be available in audio and video at the SBTS Resources page, www.sbts.edu/resources. A complete manuscript of the address, “Children of the Day,” is available at www.albertmohler.com.