Mohler tells SBTS graduates they are not professionals but heralds

Communications Staff — May 20, 2011

A herald is someone entrusted to announce a message, and that’s precisely the role entrusted to Southern Seminary graduates, R. Albert Mohler Jr. told the 207th graduating class.

Those who earn degrees from Southern Seminary are more than professionals entering one field of employment among many others; rather they are responsible for heralding the same message of eternal life the Lord Jesus Christ entrusted to His apostles.

“What we witness today is not merely the accomplishment of students who have earned respected academic degrees and new credentials,” Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, said to the 271 students graduating this spring.

“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.”

Preaching from 1 John 1:1-4, Mohler described the nature and content of the message entrusted to the students graduating, a message of eternal life, hope and joy. Mohler 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. 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’,” he said.

Speaking as one of the apostles, John states that he heralds a message given to him directly from the Lord Jesus. The same message of eternal life given to John and the other apostles, Mohler pointed out, has been given to present-day believers, most notably SBTS graduates on this occasion.

“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. 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,” he said.

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. 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,” Mohler stated.

Also at graduation, Mohler presented the Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence to Gregory A. Wills. Joining the seminary in 1997, Wills is professor of church history and associate dean of theology and tradition for the School of Theology. Additionally, he is director of the Center for the Study of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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

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