Nearly 70 students from various doctoral programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary—and others participating via Zoom—attended a first-ever chapel service held specifically for doctoral students, Jan. 8.
President Adam W. Greenway addressed the students, preaching from Philippians 4:8-9, framing what it should look like for each individual—as both a Christian and a student—to faithfully respond to God’s calling on their lives.
Coleman M. Ford, director of Professional Doctoral Studies, said the chapel service was designed to provide a “formative chapel experience” for doctoral students—including those in the Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Educational Ministry, and Doctor of Education programs—who are only on campus at certain times of the year and are therefore unable to participate in the seminary’s normal chapel services.
COVID-19 protocols were observed, including social distancing, mask requirements, and food safety during the breakfast that preceded the chapel service.
Upon each of their eventual graduations, Greenway said that they will, in a sense, become a “physician of the soul” and be “entrusted with the things of God, the sacred mysteries that were once hidden,” but now revealed. “And to whom much has been given, much is required.”
Calling back to the message of the passage, Greenway added that they are to think about, know, and learn that which is of absolute truth.
“The Christian faith doesn’t just work,” Greenway said. “The Christian faith is a body of truth, truth that transforms, truth for which the apostles were willing to give their lives. Truth for which everything is at stake.”
As future doctoral graduates of Southwestern Seminary, Greenway charged the students to be people whose words and writings are characterized by truth—“truth, no matter what the cost.”
Greenway explained truth is of great importance, as the students will only face more difficulty in a culture that does not accept their pursuit and proclamation of truth and the Gospel. So, he called them to dwell on and be reliant upon the sufficiency of Christ, trusting that they have guidance, instruction, and truth available to them in the Word of God.
“God Himself is the source of all knowledge,” Greenway said. “All truth is God’s truth. We need the spectacles of Scripture. We need the worldview lenses of the authoritative and sufficient Word of God to help us to see and to think rightly.”
Greenway expressed his prayerful hope that each Southwestern Seminary doctoral student would be consistent Paul’s message to the Philippians: “Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
“Would to God that it would be that when somebody meets a Southwestern Seminary doctoral graduate,” Greenway said, “that they can find somebody of whom it can be said that you can do what they learn and receive and hear and see in you. The greatest testimony of the significance and success of the Southwestern Seminary doctoral program can only be seen in the faithful lives and ministries of our graduates.”
In a final encouragement to the students, Greenway recognized the challenges and difficulties they will inevitably face during their time in the doctoral program. However, he added that they should not be discouraged but rather think on the things of the Lord.
“Know that the God who called you is faithful,” Greenway said. “He will sustain you. He will fulfill his purpose in and through you to use you as someone who will be a sure and steady guide by what you say and what you teach and what you do and what you write and how you live, that people might be pointed to the things that are indeed true and honorable and just and pure and lovely and commendable.
“May these things be true of all of us. May the Lord find us faithful and make us fruitful for His service.”