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Biblical Graduation

The end of June is the end of both our fiscal year and our academic year. This year, it was a banner year for areas of the school. I want to reflect here on the graduation aspect.

Commencement is always bittersweet for me. This is the day that students have worked for, for no less than two years (for the MAs) and, in some cases, for as many as five to six years. Every student represents an investment; every student represents a commitment — with costs and investments for both that student and that student’s family. And, every student represents a Kingdom investment and potential . . . great potential.

It’s the day that students long for, and that we long for — and yet it’s a day that means they are departing Biblical. In some cases, it’s the last day I will see them.

Quite the Year for Graduates

This year’s graduating class contained no less than five PhD’s (including one from Harvard and one from Johns Hopkins University), “second career” ministers most of them. In this year’s graduating class, we had students whose life stories would bring tears to your eyes. In many cases, the people walking across that graduation stage were people whose lives were dramatically transformed by the power of Christ, including those who were formerly drug addicted (heroin, crack, you name it), some rescued from prostitution or other criminal histories, people recovering from abuses of various kinds — once victims, now leaders. Still others are graduates now heading into missional ministry who, in “another life,” made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in the business world, or the medical world — lives and benefits they sacrificed willingly to follow Jesus in the world, and be trained to do so at Biblical Seminary.

I hate to see them go, much like a parent hates to see their children go. But that’s what parents are for, and that’s what that upbringing is for: not to keep them “in the nest” but to send them flying on their own. . . . Commencement is always bittersweet for me — and it was this year, too. But commencement is what we’re here for. It’s to graduate students, not “keep them,” that we exist.

Congratulations, graduates — all 83 of you! By God’s grace, follow Jesus into the world — and change it for the Kingdom.

About the Author

Todd Mangum

Dr. R. Todd Mangum

Todd Mangum is the Academic Dean and Professor of Theology at Biblical. He is ordained by the Southern Baptist Convention. Todd is the author of The Dispensational-Covenantal Rift, and co-author (with Dr. Paul Pettit of the Howard Hendricks Leadership Center in Dallas, TX) of the just-released book, Blessed are the Balanced: Following Jesus into the Academy (Kregel), and of several articles seeking to bridge divides among Bible-believing Christians. He is married to Linda and they have three sons.

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