CONWAY, Ark. – Grace Bible Theological Seminary celebrated its Fall 2022 Convocation on Thursday, September 8, with residential students attending in person and distance students participating online via livestream. The theme of the evening was “Awesome God, Humble Men” and featured charges by GBTS board member Jimmy Fetterly, faculty member Rob Davis, President Jeff Johnson, and Provost Owen Strachan.
In his exhortation on behalf of the board of trustees, Dr. Jimmy Fetterly encouraged GBTS students to follow the example of Ezra who “had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). Fetterly noted that diligence, observance, and delivery are the inseparable duties of the preacher called by God. In his faculty charge based on 1 Peter 5:5-6, Rob Davis urged students to remember that their time in seminary “should not just be about the knowledge, but about the Christ who is behind the knowledge.” Christ is the Savior but also the preeminent example of one whom God exalted because of his humble service.
In his President’s charge, Dr. Jeff Johnson recalled Martin Luther’s prayer before the Diet of Worms when he boldly realized the calling of God upon his life and resolved that he could do nothing else than to stand for truth. Johnson emphasized that men who are truly called by God have been specially designed and equipped for the task to which God has appointed them. Finally, in his closing word as Provost, Dr. Owen Strachan highlighted the paradox of the Christian life from 2 Corinthians 2:12-14, namely, that suffering for the believer is, in actuality, a sign of victory. Strachan noted, “We may experience losing in our lives, but our losing for Christ is always winning.”
MAPS student and veteran pastor Frank Norris remarked, “I believe that the theme of this year’s convocation, ‘Awesome God, Humble Men,’ accurately captures the essence of what we are about at GBTS. We were reminded that the Creator and Sustainer of all has called mere men to the task of proclaiming his glory to the world—a truly humbling undertaking.” M.Div. student Matthew Wottrich noted, “Although I was only able to attend the Fall 2022 GBTS Convocation remotely, it was an enthusiastic, zealous, and convicting assembly. It was a joy to gather (virtually) with men who feel called by God to preach the gospel of Christ. The sober exhortations given to pursue holiness in life and ministry were humbling and directed our attention to the Lord, the one who is able to keep us from stumbling.”
Staff members Preston Kelso, Jeff Moore, and John Winham provided brief updates on academic matters, student life, and financial policies, respectively, while board members Tommy Walls and Danny Thursby gave the opening and closing prayers for the evening. All individuals gathered to sing the Doxology at the close of the program.
The seminary offers special thanks to Jamey Niswonger for providing technical support for the evening and to Regina Pryor and Kayla Irons for providing refreshments to students and attendees.
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