Graduation ultimately reflects the fulfillment of God’s promise to Jesus Christ that His house will be filled, R. Albert Mohler Jr. of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said in his May 17 commencement address.
During the 223rd commencement on the seminary lawn in Louisville, Ky., 304 master’s and doctoral degrees were awarded in what Mohler said is not just a ceremony — it is a worship service for the God who called them and prepared them for ministry.
“Those who are seated before us, ready to graduate, are ministers of a new covenant,” the seminary’s president said. “They are ambassadors for Christ. They are servants of the Word. They are heralds to the nations. They are preachers and teachers for Christ’s church.
“This is a worship service because worship is the only rightful response to what we are witnessing here. It’s not enough to have a ceremony. It’s not enough to throw a party. It’s not enough to hold graduation. We are here to worship the one true and living God, because He’s doing this. He has done this. What we see here is to His glory.”
Mohler’s address, titled “Compel People to Come In, that My House Shall Be Filled,” was drawn from Jesus’ parable of a great banquet in Luke 14:13-24 in which the servants of a man’s house invite people from the far-reaching highways and hedges to the feast.
The passage makes it clear that Christ will gather His church from all the nations of the world into His house, Mohler said. Ministers of the Gospel — and graduates of Southern Seminary — are sent out into that world, even to the hedges and highways, as Jesus taught.
“I am absolutely confident that Christ’s house will be filled. I know this because Jesus said so,” Mohler said. “Biblically, we come to understand that the invitation to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will be answered in such a way that, according to God’s sovereignty, His house is filled. But He means for His workers to go out and to compel people to come in, that His house may be filled.
“In the going,” Mohler said, “there is no place too far, too dangerous, too large, too small, too difficult, too hostile or too challenging. It’s also important to recognize that in our age and era, the highways and hedges are global — as is Christ’s call.”
Preparation for Christian ministry is not like secular fields of study, Mohler said, so the ceremony should not be the same. The academic regalia each seminarian was wearing represents not only a high level of academic accomplishment, but demonstrated stewardship and conviction.
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Source: Baptist Press