Yesterday I received a Master of Theological Studies degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. During the commencement exercises, Dr. Duesing (provost) said: “Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers a number of master’s degree programs: including the Master of Theological Studies, multiple Master of Arts degrees, and a Master of Divinity, and a Master of Theology. Each program consists of uniquely designed curriculum, but all are meant to equip our students for the church.”1 Then at the conclusion, Dr. Jason Allen (president) read 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5 in order that he might press upon us from the words of Scripture, a call to faithfulness.2 This morning I was thinking about this exhortation and what it is that the Lord would have me doing now that I have been sent out as a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
When the Lord saved me, I did two things: Firstly, I was led to joyfully worship the Lord. Secondly, I was led to go tell people the gospel. The gospel is the righteous life, sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as Lord. Every single Christian should be doing these two, but all are not (1 Cor 12:29) and all should not be teachers. (Jas 3:1) The Lord choose twelve men whom He specially trained for the church. (cf. Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16)
Dr. Thomas Johnston is the Evangelism and Discipleship Professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Johnston, being my Evangelism and Discipleship professor spent time talking with me at the graduate reception this past Thursday evening. I told him that after the Lord saved me, I was compelled to evangelize. I also told him, as I became involved in open air preaching, I noticed that some (not all) would-be open-air preachers are untrained and are often loose cannons. Many of whom fit the description that Paul gave to Timothy, “wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.” (1 Tm 1:7) I told Dr. Johnston that I attended seminary because I desired to be discipled in order that I might rightly teach others.
This is my call to you: If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you should be joyfully worshiping the Lord and telling others the gospel. But if you feel led to teach, don’t be a loose cannon, go to a sound theological seminary and receive proper training. Preach the word, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patients, teaching sound doctrine and do the work of an evangelist, fulfilling your ministry. (cf. 2 Tm 3:16-4:5)
1 Jason Duesing, “Sixty-Fifth Commencement Exercises.” Seminary Chapel, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO, May 3, 2019.
2Jason Allen, “Sixty-Fifth Commencement Exercises.” Seminary Chapel, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO, May 3, 2019.