I gladly confess my gratitude
Jul 08, 2009 by Mark Young | 2 Comments
When Vernon Grounds retired from the presidency of Denver Seminary in 1979 he reflected, “I stand here and I gladly confess my gratitude. And I am thinking of the unpayable debt of love I owe to God for His goodness and mercy, for His unchanging faithfulness, for the wonder of His redemptive grace, and for the privilege of His fellowship.” (cited by Bruce Shelley in Transformed by Love: The Vernon Grounds Story, p. 9)
As I begin my service as president of Denver Seminary I, too, gladly confess my gratitude to the Lord and to the dozens of men and women around the world who have shaped me. I pray, like Dr. Grounds, that I will never lose a sense of the wonder of being in intimate fellowship with the Creator of the universe, that I will be compelled by the shameless love of Christ poured out on the cross for the sins of the world, and that I will be focused singularly on God’s purpose—that all people in all places worship Him alone.
Through this humble foray into the blogosphere I hope to provide some meaningful reflection on the mission of God in the world. In this blog we’ll talk about the gospel in the real world, the place where truth gets grimy so that the lost can be found, the blind see, and the dead raised to newness of life. My goals are (1) to wake us up to how God is accomplishing His mission through His people and, (2) to stimulate us to embrace boldly the privileged part we play in it. We’ll not shy away from tough issues and tragedies for these are just as much a part of mission as triumph. Yet, we’ll also rejoice in God’s miraculous intervention and in the quiet and steady work of His people in the lives of others. We’ll ground our thoughts in Scripture and shove them into the realities of a world blind to God’s wondrous gift of eternal life in the Son.
Some of my friends have asked, “Why on earth did you decide to become a seminary president?” Good question—one I suspect I’ll ask myself many times over, especially on those days when Gordon MacDonald’s reflection on his year as interim president comes back to haunt me, “This is an impossible job.” On my first day as president I listed in my journal the following reasons in answer to my friends’ question:
(1) I believe in the gospel because it is “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
(2) I believe in the mission of God—His intent and action whereby all people may worship Him alone—and the people of God, called by Him and privileged to prosecute his mission.
(3) I believe in the power of education to help overcome limitations that keep us from pursuing God’s mission with passion, with skill, and with truth.
My prayer is that, alongside the good men and women who co-labor with me at Denver Seminary, we will see the world as it really is and then we will marvel at what God can do through us to change it.