Divinity School commissions 32 new students

In its 26th year of service, Campbell Divinity School commissioned 32 new students with their Celtic cross pins Tuesday, marking the first steps of their theological education.

Rev. Dr. Harry L. White, Jr., Pastor of Watts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Raleigh, delivered the message for the School’s annual Fall Commissioning Service; a message on the relatively uneducated disciples’ unerring trust in Jesus.

“This is not an anti-intellectual or anti-theological sermon,” said White, who earned a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Beeson Divinity School, and has served as Watts Chapel Missionary Baptist’s pastor since 2006. “But Peter and John did not attend Jerusalem divinity school. They were not enrolled in a doctor of ministry program, and they were not master apologists. They could not quote [theologians]. Yet they had been with Jesus. No matter where you have been and where you are heading, make sure that people can tell that you have been with Jesus.”

White left the students with a simple message: “As you learn from the great names of theology— as you matriculate from Campbell to do the King’s business in the world— make sure the name Jesus is held high above all other names.”

Divinity School Dean Andrew Wakefield and Assistant Dean Derek Hogan pinned each of the new students with a Celtic cross as a symbol of the Divinity School’s commitment to providing theological education that is Christ-centered, Bible-based and Ministry-focused. “It is a symbol for each of us to take up our crosses to follow Jesus,” Hogan said. 

The pinning ceremony included students who joined the School during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters as well as incoming students of Fall 2021. More than 30 colleges and universities across eight states were represented by master’s and doctoral program students who chose Campbell to continue their education. 

Lydia H. Hoyle, Associate Professor of Church History and Baptist Heritage, offered the Prayer of Commissioning, praying for the students to be “continually transformed by the Spirit and filled with love that motivates them, peace that gives them rest, patience that fills their words, goodness that brings light to the world…and self-control when they want to take the easier path.”