God calls ministers to preach despite tribulation, says Mohler at Southern Seminary winter commencement
God sends ministers into a troubled world with the confidence of the gospel, said President R. Albert Mohler Jr. in his Dec. 11 winter commencement address to 230 master’s and doctoral graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Graduates of the seminary will face many trials, but God calls them to evangelize all people in hope as servants of Jesus Christ, Mohler said.
“We send out this company of gospel ministers into a world filled with horrifying headlines and intractable problems,” he said. “It is also a world that our Lord Christ describes as white unto harvest. He told us to pray for workers for the harvest, and here they are.”
Using Luke 2:22-35 as his text, Mohler pointed to the temple dedication of the young Jesus, whom Simeon said was “appointed for the rising and falling of many in Israel.” Despite threats like the Islamic State presenting obstacles against the gospel of Christ, the Lord himself sits on the throne and rules over empires from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union, Mohler said.
“The Lord who is calling out ministers of his Gospel and servants of his church is the Lord who will rule the nations and judge them, who reigns and judges even now,” Mohler said. “He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat.”
The seminary carries the great responsibility of training ministers to preach the gospel faithfully and tirelessly, Mohler said, and the graduates and their ministries “will be indelibly marked” by their time spent at Southern. Ministry will require great faithfulness and patience, but the graduates’ willingness to go demonstrates the power of God’s calling.
“This graduating class is larger than the enrollment of most seminaries,” Mohler said. “Within what will seem like the blink of an eye, they will be deployed in fields of ministry, even to the ends of the earth. We are witnesses today to one of the rarest of sights, and one of the greatest encouragements to the Christian church. God is calling ministers and missionaries of the gospel of Christ and they are responding, and they are obeying.”
Also at graduation, Mohler presented the Josephine S. and James L. Baggott Outstanding Graduate Award to Garrett J. Milner, a Master of Divinity graduate from Houston, Texas. The award was established in 1980 to recognize the outstanding graduate of each graduating class.