Sunday, June 02, 2013

Graduation Address from our M.Div Recipient

We had an M.Div. graduate in our theology program, and here is David Warner's commencement address.


First, I want to say that I count it an honor and privilege to serve the Lord with these two men, who have partaken in bringing me to this point.  I enjoy their fellowship in the ministry of Jesus Christ.  They have taught and exemplified to me to know the content of the Scriptures and to be strong in it.  I appreciate their endorsement of God’s Word and the practice thereof.

The Master of Divinity trains a person to be more efficient in the ministry of the Lord, providing a framework of knowledge and resourcefulness to find the answers to the most neglected questions, but yet the most needed ones.  The divinity from our church is not about mere religion and catechisms, but examination and carefulness of Scriptural and historical doctrine with the intent of distribution to others for their benefit and God’s greater glory.  It concerns the application of theology to live illustrations.  It concerns deeper consideration of one’s beliefs from Scripture, requiring him to live out the life of God’s ministry.  Its benefit to me is beyond compare.  But why did I choose this master?  What makes it so great?  What would drive me to learn and master this level of true doctrine?

Even though I know that this divinity will take me no where higher and no where nobler in this world that values the interests of mortal man more than the interests of the eternal God, will bring me no earthly eloquence, elegance, and extravagance, and will allot me no handsome career according to man’s commendation, this I know, it will leave me able to perform a career that cannot be measured by the values of earth—the career of the Lord Jesus Christ, who taught the truth of the Scriptures, brought the gospel of the Kingdom everywhere He went, fought the errors of man-made religion, and sought to rescue wearied ones from the oppression of sin and devilish religion.  The career of Christ is a much higher and nobler work, issued by heaven’s throne, and not by man’s own will, esteemed by the One who sits upon that throne, and most hated by the greatest enemy the world will ever know.  

If any man were to think less of this master, I want him to remember that a medical doctor can save only a human body, but the career of Christ can save a human soul forever; a lawyer can change a criminal to only a prisoner, but the truth can change a criminal to a Christian; a firefighter can save a man from only a house of fire, but the truth can save a man from the fires of hell; an astronomer knows only the stars of the universe, but I know what’s beyond the universe; an archaeologist knows only the artifacts of the past, but I know the Architect of the past; and a soldier knows how to fight only a war, but I know how to fight the war that will end all wars.  This is the career I am trained to do, to give man the answers he doesn’t want to hear, but the only answers that will allow him to see reality and the better meaning of his existence to God.

It is time to quit chasing dreams that die and start chasing reality that remains reality.  It is time to cancel slumber parties, and to work the service of the Lord until the day dawns upon us.  It is time to leave behind the fading glories of day and night and to learn the eternal glorious light of a new heaven and a new earth.  Instead of being a resident in this Sleepy Hollow of death, why not be an ambassador passing through and onward to the New Jerusalem?  Instead of taking my fill on a midnight snack, why not work up my appetite for the marriage feast of the Lamb of God?  The ministry of Christ’s work deserves a flood of life, not drizzles of time; a hurricane, not a small breeze of wind; an earthquake of mass destruction, not little tremors on the Richter scale; a tsunami, not small ripples of a quiet lake; a burning forest, not a little camp fire at night; a wild tempest, not just another day of overcast.

If I had any goal, any ambition in life, it would be the career of Christ.  I don’t expect to be some great name on earth, but I do expect to be a basic carrier of the truth.  I don’t expect amazing miracles and experiences to occur, besides the conversion of souls to Christ, but I do expect a biblical Christianity.  I don’t expect breath-taking effects or paramount results, but I do expect a bold certainty and blazing continuance in the ministry.  I may not be the Shakespeare of writing, or the General MacArthur of war, or the Bill Gates of Microsoft; but I will always be me, a trained worker in the career of Christ, another graduate from the “school of the prophets,” another fisher of the souls of men among fishermen.  I know, according to Scripture, that being me is all God needs to accomplish His work; and if I at any moment in life appear to be great, observe it as the glorious career of Christ, that shines into the dark, confounds the wise, and wins the victory.


Joshua said...

Amen and Amen. God help this man to live out this profession. Thank you for putting this here to encourage.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Joshua.

Thomas & Heather Ross said...

Congratulations David!

George Calvas said...

Though I believe this young man(?) is sincere, and desirous of good works that it might bear much fruit, he needs to learn how to weave in scriptural illustrations that points others to the scriptures. If you are going to be theological (M. Div in Theology) in your foundation, then "give diligence to make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10)", by bearing witness to scriptural authority when called to be a teacher. It is imperative in these "last days" when "men will not endure sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3)" that by the Holy Ghost, a bible teacher will "bear witness unto the truth (John 18:37)" by scriptural quotations and the weaving within written or verbal teaching of scriptural thoughts that shows to all "that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Luke 4:4)".

I believe that literally (Luke 4:4, Matthew 4:4, Psalm 138:2, Proverbs 30:5-6, etc.), therefore direct quotes of scriptures gives the servant of God authority and power (1 Corinthians 2:1-5) and not as the scribes (Matthew 7:29).

For example, one can speak in his own words what is written in John 3:16-18, but it is quite different to (1) quote those scriptures (the very words of God) and then (2)given sense of them in your own words to bring understanding(Nehemiah 8:8). By using that biblical principle, it is the scriptures (Mark 12:24, Luke 24:45 Romans 9:17 /10:11, etc.) that are exalted, while each of us who do the same, will be of the "same mind and in the same judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10)".

Bobby Mitchell said...

Tremendous word, brother Warner. I praise God for His work in and through you. I think it is understood by all who know you that all that you have professed in this speech is based upon your continual reading, memorization, living out, and preaching of the Scriptures. I can say that though I know others who, by the grace of God, match your zeal for knowing, obeying, and preaching the Word of God, I am not familiar with any who exceed it. To God be the glory!

George may not understand this, but I see what you have written here to be in similar fashion to the message of a hymn. It is the song of a heart overflowing with grace, Scripture and God-glorifying devotion to The Lord Jesus Christ. Though it is not "chock-full" of quotes from the Bible, it is certainly a Biblical statement of commitment to Christ.


George Calvas said...

Bobby Mitchell said:

"I can say that though I know others who, by the grace of God, match your zeal for knowing, obeying, and preaching the Word of God, I am not familiar with any who exceed it."

That might be true, but what was actually written does not prove that to be so. That is the problem with putting this on the blog when no one else knows anything about the man except what was written.

On that basis alone, I believe my comment has credence, even if what you said about this young man is true. From what I read, I would not question his zeal or his heart, but rather his practice of what he was taught.

Jon Gleason said...

The statement is full of Biblical truth. The last paragraph alone has more than one allusion to Philippians 3, as well as other Scriptural allusions.

It was addressed to an audience who would know the Scriptures and recognise the allusions, just as Jesus often addressed the Jews, not with direct quotes of Scriptures, but with allusions to Scripture which they could not miss. For instance, in answering the tribute question (Mt. 22:20-21), the Saviour alluded to Genesis 1:26 and Exodus 20:4, without quoting.

I would suggest that anyone reading this man's statement who knows the Scriptures can find ten Scriptural allusions in a matter of minutes. I commend it, I linked to it on my own blog, and at least three of my own readers profited enough by it to share it with others.

I commend your desire to see the very words of Scripture quoted, Brother George, and if this were a full sermon or exposition of a text you would no doubt be correct. Where we see relatively short discourses like this in Scripture, we sometimes see quotes of the Old Testament Scriptures and sometimes we do not. The key question is whether what is said accurately conveys Biblical truth. If in any point you believe this message has given a false portrayal of the truth, there would be cause for concern. I admit to being unable to see any problem.

George Calvas said...

Brother Jon,

After considering his graduation address and your comments against all the ungodly, perverted and twisting of scriptures by those who call themselves pastors and teachers of the bible, but are rather "destitute of the truth", I believe I was overly critical of the young man. In these times when so many are deceived and being deceived, I should have rather rejoiced that one has taken the mantle such as Elisha to carry forth the words of life and desire to commune with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, continue on "young Timothy" to the furtherance of the gospel and to make disciples of men that are holy and desire to walk circumspectly before the Lord, remembering the admonition, "if a man also strive for masteries [M.Div], yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully".

I apologize for my rash comments.

Jon Gleason said...

Brother George, may the Lord give us all the grace to see how our words can better reflect Him. Blessings to you.