“I bring news today that is both profound and simple. God has redeemed a people for his own glory.”
Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C., gave the sermon for Beeson Divinity School’s Commencement and a Service of Consecration on April 29 entitled, “The Purpose of Your Ministry is the Purpose of Your Life and the Purpose of History—God and His Glory.”
Preaching from Revelation 5:5-14, Dever reminded the graduates that their ministry is not intended to bring themselves glory but to bring glory to God.
“The cross is where any claims to our own glory end, and where God’s glory shines,” he said. “Brothers and sisters, the whole purpose of our redemption is the eternal purpose of God—to glorify him.”
Dever warned the graduates that there will be some people in churches who will want to glorify them instead of God. They will need to be ready to say, “Not me,” and instead point them to Jesus Christ, he said.
“To grow in grace means to grow in the hunger to see God glorified,” Dever continued. “This is the purpose of our lives. This is why we are alive. This is why we were created. This is the purpose of your life and the purpose of history. And it’s the purpose of your ministry—to glorify God.
Following Dever’s sermon, faculty member Doug Webster gave the prayer of consecration for the graduates.
“During their time at Beeson, we have grown to love and respect them,” he prayed, “and we pray for your blessing on their lives.”
Prior to the service of consecration, fifteen students received respectively the degrees Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry during commencement. M.Div. graduates Gloria Roy and Teal Cuellar also received a missions certificate and Chase Edgar and Cuellar received a certificate of Anglican studies.
Samford President Beck Taylor congratulated them for this “milestone in their journey of faith and vocation.”
“As you receive your degree, we send you into the world as Christ’s hands and feet, ready to serve a world that needs to hear and believe the gospel,” he said. “You carry our cherished hopes and dreams, and we love you.”
Also during commencement, Samford’s Associate Provost Denise Gregory recognized Ken Mathews, who retires at the end of the spring 2022 semester, for his 32 years of service on the divinity school faculty. Mathews, along with Frank Thielman, have been the longest-tenured faculty members, starting at Beeson in 1989, a year after the school’s founding.
Beeson Dean Douglas A. Sweeney presided over the service, providing a welcome and introductions.
“Beeson Divinity School is a community of faith and learning," he said. "We are a graduate theological school, and we take seriously the academic part of our work. We’re also a community of prayer and worship and spiritual formation. Today we acknowledge again that one of these dimensions without the other is incomplete in preparing God-called men and women for the service of the church.”