In his charge to graduates, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin encouraged them to give their whole lives to Christ because of the grace Christ has provided.
Southeastern Seminary awarded 184 undergraduate and graduate degrees during its fall graduation ceremony Dec. 11 in Wake Forest, N.C.
"Because of this amazing grace that truly is a sweet sound, we give," said Akin, who spoke from 2 Corinthians 8:9 during his message. "So here is my very simple four-fold challenge: We will go where others will not go because He came. We will do what others will not do because of what He did. We will serve where others will not serve because of how He has served us. And we will give what others will not give because look at what He has given to you and to me."
Akin quoted martyred missionary Jim Elliot: "Oh, that God would make us dangerous."
"And by the way, I have prayed that prayer for all of you," Akin said as he turned to graduates seated on the front rows. "I have prayed that God would make you dangerous. ... I want the demons to run and flee because of the power of God that is vibrant in each of your lives."
Among the fall graduating class were Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project curriculum at LifeWay Christian Resources, and David Rogers, former missionary to Spain and current high school Spanish teacher.
Wax graduated with a doctor of philosophy in applied theology. Through The Gospel Project, Wax creates Christ-centered Bible curriculum for all ages. He plans to use his doctorate to continue to equip the church and train younger generations of believers.
"I plan to serve the church as long as the Lord gives me the opportunity," Wax said. "Through a combination of past and future ministries, I want to equip the church with theologically sound resources while also teaching and building up the next generation of teachers and scholars."
Southeastern Provost Bruce Ashford served as major professor for Wax during his time at the seminary.
"It has been a joy to supervise Trevin's work in Southeastern's Ph.D. program," Ashford said. "He is extraordinarily bright, hardworking and theologically perceptive."
Christianity Today recently named Wax as one of 33 millennials leading the next generation of evangelicals. He writes daily for Kingdom People, a blog hosted by The Gospel Coalition. Wax also regularly contributes to publications including The Washington Post, Religion News Service, Christianity Today and WORLD magazine.
Wax said he chose to study at Southeastern because of the seminary's focus on missions. "Southeastern is a Great Commission seminary," he said. "[The school's] heartbeat of missions is very much aligned with my own."
Rogers, son of the late pastor Adrian Rogers, spent 18 years with the International Mission Board as a missionary to Spain. Now living in Memphis, Tenn., Rogers is a high-school Spanish teacher in an inner-city public school. He also serves on the leadership team at The Pursuit Church, an intentionally multiethnic, multicultural church plant in Memphis.
Rogers entered the Ph.D. program at Southeastern through a special partnership with the seminary and the IMB. He also studied under Ashford for his doctorate of philosophy.
"David Rogers is an exemplary Southeastern graduate in every way," Ashford said. "Before starting the Ph.D. program at Southeastern, he served faithfully with the IMB for years. During the Ph.D. program, in addition to his full-time research and studies, he also served Love Worth Finding Ministries, which is the broadcasting and resource ministry founded by his father."
Rogers plans to use his degree from Southeastern to write on missiology, culture and theology and to teach people to fulfill the Great Commission in both the classroom and the local church.
"The teaching I have received at Southeastern has given me a greater depth of understanding of the theological basis of the Great Commission and the mission of the church," Rogers said. "The faculty and fellow students have encouraged me to be a better scholar and a more faithful disciple of Jesus."
Twenty-four students from the seminary's Global Theological Initiative cohort in Brazil also will be awarded master of theological studies degrees for the fall 2015 semester. The awards ceremony for these students will be held in Brazil in February.
Harper McKay is a news and information specialist for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.