'Open your mouth,' Mohler tells graduates
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- President R. Albert Mohler Jr. charged new graduates of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to "open your mouth" so that others can hear God's "voice, believe and be saved."
Mohler's comments came during May 16 spring commencement exercises on the seminary lawn in Louisville, Ky., where 255 students received master's and doctoral degrees. A week earlier, 107 students received certificates and bachelor's degrees from Boyce College, the seminary's undergraduate school.
In an address from the Acts 10 titled, "'So Peter Opened His Mouth' -- The Preacher's Calling Reduced to Five Powerful Words," Mohler explained that the "Bible presents an astonishingly simple method of preaching."
Mohler drew from verse 34, where "the essential act of preaching [is] reduced to five earth-shaking words: so Peter opened his mouth." The "most clarifying way to understand the preacher's task is to consider its most quintessential act -- the opening of the mouth," Mohler said.
With the phrase "opening of the mouth," Scripture indicates that Peter "fulfilled his calling. He did not remain silent or hide. He opened his mouth and declared all that God had commanded him to say," Mohler said.
God commanded Peter to declare that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ receives the forgiveness of sins, including both Jews and Gentiles, Mohler said.
"Peter had declared the story of Jesus, who went about doing good and healing, but was put to death by hanging Him on a tree," Mohler said. "God raised Him up on the third day, and after appearing to many witnesses He commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel to all people, to all nations."
Mohler called graduates to follow Peter's example.
"The Christian ministry requires courage, and we can see even more courage required in the near future," he said. "There may well be a higher price exacted for opening our mouths. But God has called us to open our mouths so that others can hear His voice, believe and be saved -- so that His church will be fed and taught, and be matured.
"So, dear preacher, go ye into all the world, and open your mouth."
Also at graduation, Mohler presented the annual Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence to Robert L. Plummer, professor of New Testament interpretation. Plummer is the author of several books, including the popular "40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible." He is an elder at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville. He and his wife Chandi have three daughters: Sarah Beth (11), Chloe (8) and Anabell ("Bella," 6).
Mohler's entire address is available in audio and video at the SBTS Resources page, www.sbts.edu/resources. A complete manuscript of the address, "'So Peter Opened His Mouth' -- The Preacher's Calling Reduced to Five Powerful Words," is available at www.albertmohler.com.
Aaron Cline Hanbury is manager of news and information at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).