Hope for the Church: Southern Seminary Graduates Take Up Their Charge

Jacob Percy — May 10, 2024

“In the flow of church history, we understand that even as the graduates are gloriously arrayed before us, they’re the promise of service and ministry to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is founded upon the prophets of the apostles,” said President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. as he addressed the graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He continued, “We connect intentionally to that continuity. We want to be a part of that faith once for all delivered to the saints in that long line of faithfulness throughout the history of the Christian Church.”

A graduation assembly of over 2,000 people took to the Seminary Lawn on Friday, May 10, to celebrate the 232nd Commencement Ceremony of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This graduating class is one of the largest in the institution’s history, with 396 students representing 26 countries and 42 states earning their degrees. Professor A.S. Ibrahim highlighted the global representation of this year’s graduating class in his prayer for the nations when he prayed, “Abba we come to you on behalf of the nations, many of which are represented in these wonderful graduates. Nations like Bermuda, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Panama, Romania, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela.”

Faculty, family, and friends celebrated as Southern Seminary-commissioned graduates go out into the world as heralds of truth, armed with the transformative power of God’s Word and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as 300 graduates participated in the ceremony and 96 received their degrees in absentia.

In his commencement address, President Mohler looked to 1 Timothy 6:11-16 to exhort the graduates, “Between now and the end of your days, you’re to flee the things you are to flee and to pursue the things you are to pursue. To fulfill the calling of ministry and do so to the glory of God, knowing that someone has handed this mission to you, and someone will take it from you by God’s grace until Jesus comes.” Mohler encouraged the graduates saying, “You cannot tend the flock of God all the way to the gate of heaven. You are called to preach the word in season and out of season and to care for the flock and fulfill all the callings of ministry, but only Christ can get his church home.”

From the first moment these men and women enrolled in classes, the faculty has consistently prepared these ministers of the gospel for faithful service to the church. The faculty looked on with confidence, knowing that these graduates are ready to fulfill, with the Lord’s help, their pledge: “We now take up our charge and eagerly take our place. We stand on the truth of God’s Word, on the power of the gospel, and on the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”

In his conclusion, President Mohler addressed the graduates and said, “You go with our prayers. You represent our confidence. You are the proof of the investment of saints of old and the very sight of you is hope for the Lord Jesus Christ’s church. May you go in passion. May you go in confidence. May you go in hope. May you go in love. May you go in joy. May you go and may you serve until the Lord Jesus Christ brings you home or the Lord Jesus Christ appears in his glory.”

Southern Seminary’s commencement ceremony was a clear reminder of the sacred task entrusted to these graduates. As they embark on their respective ministries, the graduates carry with them the sincere confidence that their preparation at seminary will impact both time and eternity through their faithful service to Christ and his church.

Honoring Excellent Pedagogy

Robert D. Jones, Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling, received the Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award, given annually to an outstanding professor on the seminary faculty. Findley B. Edge taught at Southern Seminary for over three decades and died in 2002. Jones has served on Southern Seminary’s faculty since 2016.

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