Students beginning a new semester of study should “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light,” President Paige Patterson told Southwestern Seminary faculty and students during the spring 2018 convocation, Jan. 18, in MacGorman Chapel. Leo Day, dean of the School of Church Music, lent his voice to a rousing welcome, followed by Patterson’s message, launching the seminary’s 110th spring semester.

Citing the upcoming anniversary of the Jan. 21, 1525, birth of the Radical Reformation, Patterson recalled how the Anabaptist movement broke a thousand-year tradition of church-state union, aiming to restore the church to its initial purity. On that night in Zurich, Switzerland, Felix Manz, George Blaurock and a dozen other leaders of the Radical Reformation broke with infant baptism and other practices in an effort to more closely adhere to the teachings of the New Testament.

Patterson emphasized the critical nature of adult baptism, “when the old man is laid away” and a new man emerges. “When we are baptized, we are raised to walk in a new life,” Patterson said. In a similar spirit, he continued, those studying at Southwestern are beginning a new semester of commitment to walking a godly path.

At a time when much of the world seems to be in disarray, “what a time to be preparing for the ministry,” Patterson said. “It is now time to wake up out of your sleep.”

Patterson referenced the ancient Greeks’ two distinct words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological time, the latter indicates a critical or opportune moment in time. He urged students to seize their moment in time as they pursue their studies in the coming semester.

Referencing Romans 13:12, he emphasized, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

“The most critically important part of your preparation for the ministry is to put on Jesus Christ,” he said. “Prepare the heart.”