Be Content in Christ: Akin Encourages Attendees at Fall 2022 Convocation

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern celebrate the start of the fall 2022 semester, recognizing dean’s list recipients and witnessing the signing of the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. In his convocation address, Akin charges students to be faithful to the Great Commission and to remain content in Christ.

During convocation, Scott Pace, Dean of The College, recognized 98 students who met the requirements for The College’s spring 2022 dean’s list. Pace acknowledged that qualifying for the dean’s list is a significant academic achievement because it requires students to complete a minimum of 12 credit hours with at least a 3.75 GPA for the semester while also maintaining good academic standing and an overall 3.0 GPA.  

After the dean’s list recognition, Ross Inman, Associate Professor of Philosophy, signed the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 in the presence of the faculty and attendees. Elected to the faculty during the board of trustees’ spring meeting, Inman has distinguished himself as a professor and a scholar, faithfully representing the institution’s commitment to biblical reasoning and to the Great Commission.  

By signing these documents, Inman publicly joined the faculty in its resolve to teach in accordance with and not contrary to historic Baptist doctrine (the Abstract of Principles) and to the unifying confession of Baptists today (the Baptist Faith and Message 2000). 

After these moments of recognition, President Danny Akin challenged students, staff, and faculty to be content in Christ wherever God calls them, narrating the life and ministry of Betsey Stockton as an inspiring story of faith in Christ and of faithfulness to the Great Commission. 

Born near the end of the eighteenth century, Betsey Stockton would have seemed an unlikely candidate to be commissioned for international missions, but God radically changed Betsey’s life and used her circumstances to prepare her for his missionary calling on her life. 

God radically changed Betsey’s life and used her circumstances to prepare her for his missionary calling on her life.

“Betsey Stockton was born in the world of American chattel slavery,” recounted Akin. “However, Betsey’s conversion resulted in a radical change that immediately planted in her heart a desire for the unthinkable and virtually impossible for a person of her station: the desire to be an international missionary.” 

Akin observed that despite the tragic and restricting conditions of her life, Betsey Stockton found contentment in Christ and trusted God’s calling upon her life — hoping that God’s call would include international missions. Because God had saved her through his Son, Betsey desired to be content with a life of tireless service to Christ. 

Pairing Betsey’s story with 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, Akin expounded Paul’s admonition to trust the Lord’s providence and be content in God’s calling on a person’s life. 

“God has an individual plan and purpose for every one of his children,” noted Akin. “Trust in this. Be at peace in this. When God called you to salvation through his Son, he already had a course mapped out for your life. Growing out of your call to salvation is a definite calling for a life sovereignly determined by God.” 

When God called you to salvation through his Son, he already had a course mapped out for your life.

God’s calling and course for Betsey’s life eventually led to her liberation when she was twenty. As a free woman, she applied to be a missionary candidate through the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission (ABCFM). In God’s providence, they appointed her, and she and her new family (the Stewarts) sailed to the Sandwich Islands — now known as Hawaii. 

Betsey and the Stewarts began ministry as soon as they arrived. Betsey established the first school in Maui, and she became the first teacher for the local chief’s household. Even though her life and ministry on the islands proved difficult and lonely, she remained content in Christ and trusted in God’s kind providence. Through her faithfulness, God richly blessed the locals. Akin shared that by 1826 an estimated 8,000 locals received education because of her missionary teaching ministry.  

Although Betsey returned to the U.S. in 1826, her heart for the Great Commission never waned. For the next three years, she became a teacher and administrator in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before resuming international missions — this time in Ontario, Canada. On Grape Island in Ontario, Betsey established a mission school for the children in the region before returning to the U.S. to take care of the Stewart’s children in Princeton, New Jersey, where she served faithfully, starting and serving in several ministries throughout the area.  

On October 24, 1865, Betsey died, leaving behind a legacy of Great Commission ministry that influenced thousands of students, churches, and ministry leaders across North America. “I have no doubt Betsey was quite content in what her heavenly Father had prepared for her. My question for me and all of us this morning is, ‘Are we content in what he has for us?’” asked Akin, challenging those in attendance to be content in God’s purposes for their lives. 

Betsey was quite content in what her heavenly Father had prepared for her. … Are we content in what he has for us?

We invite you to join the Southeastern community for chapel in person or online every Tuesday and Thursday to worship through song, listen to sermons, pray for missionaries, and participate in what God is doing at Southeastern. Visit sebts.edu/chapel to learn more.

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