KANSAS CITY—A challenge to live a life of integrity highlighted the convocation of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS). That was followed by the dedication of a new family housing complex and a library collection devoted to the study of cults and other faith movements.
“To be successful in life, we must have a purpose,” said Harold Rawlings, director of The Rawlings Foundation, a former pastor and member of Midwestern’s advisory group, the board of regents. “When we have integrity as our purpose, it enables us to be successful and to avoid sin and temptation.
“We should also have a purpose as parents – teaching our children the Word of God. I’ll tell you, it isn’t what you leave for your children, but what you leave in them that matters.”
Speaking from Daniel 6:1-17 in his Aug. 25 message, Rawlings shared three lessons for students, faculty and staff at the beginning of the new semester: “Dare to be a Daniel,” he urged, because of Daniel’s excellence in being trustworthy, uncorrupt and unwavering about his belief in God.
A life of integrity, Rawlings said, “will be visible to those around us. They will notice that we’re doing things the right way, and our goal is to influence them to do the same.”
People of integrity know the importance of prayer in their lives, Rawlings said. Those who are steeped in prayer will maintain a close relationship with God and avoid stumbling into areas of temptation, he said.
“Integrity impacts the world around us whether it’s in our homes, at church, in our community or in the classroom,” Rawlings said. “If you do what you say, you’ll become a person of influence. That’s what we need most in our world today – people influencing others for Christ.”
Guest Musician Huntley Brown, pianist for the Ruth Graham and Friends Ministries, displayed a flamboyant, piano-shaking style in playing the processional, recessional and a special arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” that brought the packed chapel audience to its feet. A native of Jamaica, Brown grew up watching his brothers practice the piano and then taught himself to play since his parents couldn’t afford to send him for lessons.
Following the service, MBTS officials and guests dedicated two recently completed areas of the Kansas City campus with prayer and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
MBTS President R. Philip Roberts and his wife, Anja, were joined in the dedication of 16 newly constructed campus apartments by Harold Rawlings and Herbert Rawlings, also of The Rawlings Foundation, and his wife, Pat. The Rawlings Foundation is a charitable enterprise also known for its collection of old Bibles and manuscripts.
“Words cannot express our appreciation to the Rawlings family for their generosity and faithful support of Midwestern,” Roberts said. “In naming the housing complex area ‘Rawlings Court,’ it will be a constant reminder of the sacrifice and graciousness this family has shown to the Midwestern family.”
The housing construction project began last fall to provide two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments for seminary students and their families.
The second ceremony of the morning officially opened the Rawlings Interfaith Evangelism Collection, a collection purchased from the Watchman Fellowship’s office in Birmingham, Ala., dedicated to the study of cults and other faith groups that need to hear the message of Jesus Christ. In addition to the Roberts and Rawlings families, James Walker, president of the Watchman Fellowship (www.watchman.org), cut the ribbon.
“This library will provide the resources that seminary students need to earnestly contend for the faith against cults, the occult, new religious movements and in debating controversial doctrines and practices in the world today,” Walker said. The collection will enable students “to have the tools necessary to build a bridge of relationship with relatives, friends and others involved with other religious movements. We pray that the result of these relationships will be an ability to share our faith in Jesus Christ in a true and positive way.”
The Rawlings Interfaith Evangelism Collection is housed in the seminary’s Koehn & Meyers Center for Worldwide Evangelism.