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We Are a Gospel People: Allen Preaches in Convocation Address

Posted August 29, 2023 by Brett Fredenberg

KANSAS CITY, Mo—Midwestern Seminary inaugurated a new academic year during a convocation service on August 29, featuring a sermon by President Jason Allen on the centrality of the gospel for life and ministry.

From Acts 9, Allen presented one of the most well-known conversion stories of all time, namely, the conversion of the Apostle Paul. As he said, “Something happened in these verses that not only changed this man’s life but changed the world. These verses radiate the amazing grace of God.”

Allen reminded attendees that no matter how much activity happens at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College, the gospel always takes precedence. From singing and teaching to working and studying, the gospel is at the core of it all.

“We are a gospel people,” he said. The good news of Christ’s work to bring dead hearts to life is the foundation for all the activity at the Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College.

Additionally, he said, “We are conversionists.”

“We must come to a point in time where we encounter Christ—when our sin becomes real, repentance becomes urgent, submission becomes obvious, delight in Christ becomes attractive, and our lives are changed by Jesus.”

Allen challenged attendees to consider their own faith, and if they find themselves not in Christ to repent and believe.

He said, “The same gospel that reached Saul in such a dramatic fashion is the same gospel that is reaching people today. Regardless of how far from Christ you find yourself this morning or how near to the things of God you find yourself this morning, if you are not in Christ there is hope through the gospel of Jesus who saves.”

Allen then spoke of Saul’s past. Saul was not looking for Christ in this narrative, he said, he was looking for Christians to put to death.

He encouraged attendees to consider the depths of their own sinfulness and to marvel at the riches of God’s grace in the gospel, for Jesus loves to set His affection on those whose hatred is set on Him.

He went on to share that these verses indicate how God radically converts a sinner.

Just as with every sinner called to salvation, nothing was attractive about Saul before Christ. In the gospel, Saul goes from being the hunter to hunted, the persecutor to persecuted, the despiser to the despised. Everything changed for Saul in the gospel.

Allen concluded his sermon by discussing two responses from Saul and Ananias.

Saul responded in simple obedience, Allen said.

“To see the glorified Lord in all his splendor is a blinding experience. Perhaps the Lord is teaching Saul a sense of humility and dependency. Perhaps this event cements in Saul’s heart that something radical has happened. In response, Saul is committed. He moves and follows the Word of the Lord.”

Allen shared how Ananias initially responds out of fear, reminding of how people often attempt to limit God’s work in the gospel.

He said, “The gospel can reach anyone. But our tendency is to be like Ananias and limit the power of God. In contrast, though, we should not be surprised when the most aggressive, belligerent, anti-Christian people in the world today are reached by Christ in the gospel. God loves to reach the otherwise unreachable, to show forth His amazing grace.”

Prior to his address, Allen presented several matters of institutional updates to the seminary and college community.

Allen recognized and welcomed four new trustees to the seminary, each of which serve as local church pastors: Jeremy Pellum, Roderick Suite, David Taylor, and Casey Williams. Midwestern Seminary trustees serve five-year terms with the opportunity for one reappointment, allowing trustees the opportunity for a decade of leadership and service to the seminary.

Moreover, three newly elected seminary faculty members signed the institutions Articles of Faith during the service: Brett R. Akright, Joe M. Allen III, and Sam Bierig.

The seminary’s Articles of Faith consist of the confession of faith of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Baptist Faith & Message 2000, and three institutional guiding documents: the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and the Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality.

Prior to closing the service, Camden Pulliam, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, gave the benediction, praying for the Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College community for the upcoming year.

To view the entire convocation address, visit mbts.edu/events/chapel


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