Fall graduates encouraged to be ‘coast-busters’
Alluding to the 1984 film “Ghostbusters,” during Southwestern Seminary’s fall commencement service, Dec. 14, Interim President D. Jeffrey Bingham challenged the graduating bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students to be “coast-busters.” Preaching on the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20, Bingham explained that he wants the graduates to “break the coast of North America.”
“And from North America, from this place on Seminary Hill in Fort Worth, Texas, go into all the nations … and fulfill the Great Commission,” he said.
Representing 31 states, 15 nations and 8 languages, this fall’s graduating class comprised nearly 300 students (including those who walked the stage in MacGorman Chapel to receive their diplomas as well as those who graduated in absentia from their places of ministry). Bingham utilized the commencement service to preach one final message to the graduates, highlighting not only Jesus’ call to make disciples, but especially the foundations Jesus laid for that call.
“There are two things I never want you to forget about the Lord Jesus Christ,” Bingham said, “and that is what the Lord tells us about Himself: first of all, all authority has been given to Him; and [second,] surely He will be with you always. These magnificent statements from the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ are the foundation to the commission that all of us have received and to which all of us are responsible.”
“Because Jesus Christ has all authority,” Bingham continued, “because Jesus Christ will be with you always, you are to go into and make disciples from all nations, and you are to teach all your disciples all the things that the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded and taught. It is not in our own power that we are able to do this, but only because of the eternal, blessed presence and the all-encompassing authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise His name forever.”
Returning to an oft-repeated phrase in his addresses throughout the semester, Bingham concluded, “Go forth into all the nations making disciples from all the nations, because the Lord Jesus Christ is ascended above us, because the Holy Spirit indwells us, and because the Kingdom of God is before us. The Lord bless you and keep you and bring forth eternal fruit from your ministries.”
Following Bingham’s sermon, 199 God-called men and women walked across the stage before cheering friends and family members, graduating from students to alumni. Among them was Noelle Lamb, who completed her Master of Arts in Christian Education. Echoing the sentiments of many current students and alumni, Lamb says Southwestern’s greatest impact was in how she came to view the Word of God.
“The biggest thing that I have learned in these last few years at Southwestern is how to read Scripture,” Lamb says. “That has definitely been one of my favorite things that I’ve learned, but also, since starting at Southwestern, that has been the biggest area, as a Christian, where I have learned the most and also grown the most to love.”
As the graduates go forth to serve the Lord in whichever ministries to which He directs them, they go with this assurance from Bingham: “We have loved you while you were here; we will keep loving you after you are gone. We are so proud of you, and we are so grateful that, from this moment on, you will always be Southwesterners.”