The Gospel and the Graduate
Posted On October 24, 2017
A few nights before my graduation, I found myself alone in the large common area at the heart of Reformation Bible College’s main Academy Building. The oak panels and louvered windows grew dim as the sun sank below the palm tree horizon. I was on the brink of turning the door handle and walking out when I was arrested by the silence and gravity of this moment. In two years at RBC, this was the first time I’d had the building to myself, and something irresistible tugged me back into the halls of my alma mater.
I looked first into Classroom 1. On the walls hung Whitefield, Spurgeon, Calvin. In that room, I had learned of Habakkuk’s question. Despairing at the revelation that God would bring the Assyrians down upon Israel in judgment, the prophet cried out in distress. How could a nation so wicked be the instruments of justice upon the Lord’s own people? God’s answer—that the Assyrians would pay for their wickedness in time but that Israel must be punished first—spoke poignantly to my heart as I considered the times at which I had asked similar questions. There in Classroom 1, I had drunk deeply from the Old Testament Writings, too. Lamentations, Job, and Ruth had proven especially edifying subjects for Dr. Tweeddale’s pastoral lectures. This classroom had seen so much spiritual growth.
Classroom 3, a smaller room wrapped in whiteboards, was my next stop. Here I had first sat down to pray with my classmates for the unreached people groups of the world. We were led by an unassuming man with a Michigander’s accent and a host of anecdotes. A former missionary, Mr. Michaels had impressed upon me the importance of faithful transmission of Scripture so that the gospel could be taken to the nations. Here, too, I had sat down for a study of theology since the Reformation. Over the course of a semester, the sickening decline in the church’s trust of Scripture had been painstakingly charted out as we read primary sources and analyzed them together. This classroom had seen me learn the importance of Scripture to the church. Without it, there is no gospel, and upon its authority we must rely.
I meandered next through the Fireplace Room, looking up into the chandelier and at the ancient books stacked high above me. From there, I creaked open the door of Classroom 2, my favorite. Hanging upon the dark panels loomed Owen, Wycliffe, Knox. Here Dr. Mathison had so quietly and clearly delineated the beauties of God’s providence one morning when I needed the message most, and Dr. Reid had so excitedly mapped out the story of the gospel for me. From the lectern at the front of this room, Dr. Dunson had delivered a message on the newness of creation in Christ which was so beautiful that I’d rushed home to write about it because I could not keep the wonder of this truth pent up inside myself. It was all too great, too glorious, and too important only to be learned.
Too often, I hear of others graduating college and not knowing what to do next. But I stepped outside into the balmy Florida air with a sense of purpose. For someone equipped with the gospel, purpose is never a problem. My purpose is to glorify God by telling others this news. I am like one of those poor, dirty shepherds who crowded round the incarnate Christ; I must go tell people of what I have seen and heard. I may have graduated RBC, but I have not graduated from the school of Christ. He is the One I serve. I long to show others the way to Him.
Tyler Freire is a graduate of Reformation Bible College, and is currently teaching at Magnolia Christian School.