Dr Oke

Events marking the 125th Graduation Ceremony of The Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS), Ogbomoso, began with an air of anticipation and joy as the Commencement service held on Sunday, May 26, 2024 in the Multipurpose Hall of the institution. By 4:45 pm, graduating students and faculty members who were not on programme all dressed in their academic gowns, were seated, ready to begin. A piano prelude, performed by Rev. Dr. Samuel Auda, set a jubilant tone as other attendees took their seats.

Thereafter, principal officers of the Seminary and those on programme filed in as Rev. Dr Timothy Amao led in the processional hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers.” This was followed by an invocatory reading of scripture by the Deputy President Advancement, Rev. Prof. Olusola Ayo-Obiremi and opening prayer  led by the Deputy President Administration, Rev. Dr. Yeside Odiase. A hymn of adoration, “Immortal Invisible” was sung to crown the atmosphere of entering in God’s presence as Rev. Dr. Sola Fasipe conducted the hymn.

The President of the Seminary, Rev. Prof. Stephen O. Ayankeye, warmly welcomed everyone: faculty, graduates, students, their families and the guest minister. He emphasized the communal nature of the event and reminded graduates that the school remains a vibrant community even after their departure. Following this, the Registrar of the Seminary, Rev. Dr. Dele Oluwole, introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Sunday Odunayo Oke.  Dr Oke served as the last Conference Secretary/Conference President of the defunct Lagos Baptist Conference before its multiplication into Lagos Central, Lagos East, and Lagos West Baptist Conference.  Dr S. O. Oke is a retired minister of the Nigerian Baptist Convention; his last church of full time ministry being Avenue Baptist Church, Warri. Also a classmate of the immediate past president of the seminary, Rev. Prof. Emiola Nihinlola; Dr Oke is conversant with the NBTS.

A special musical rendition of the songs ‘I will give thanks to the Lord’ and ‘This God is Our God’ were performed by the Seminary’s Choral Ensemble, led by Rev. Dr. Gabriel Oyeniyi prepared hearts and minds further for the ministration through God’s Word. The guest minister, Dr. Oke, delivered his homily titled “Seeing Adonai as a Prerequisite for Authentic Living & Ministerial Impact,” based on Isaiah 6:1-13. In the course of the message, Rev. Dr. Oke highlighted the critical stage of God’s dealings with mankind and the spiritual sensitivity required to perceive divine movements. He referenced prophecies concerning Nigeria’s future, pointing towards a transformative era of righteousness.

Dr. Oke’s sermon was structured around five key points. They were that:  Divine Encounter is God’s Pattern for Orchestrating a New Move; Experiential Knowledge Disdains Polemics (ie. ‘Head knowledge that has not touched the heart does not lead to transformation’); Divine Encounter Positions and Galvanizes the Minister for Fulfilling Their Specific Calling or Assignment; Without an Encounter with God’s Presence, Our Lives Remain Unchanged; and Matrix for Seeing Adonai for Authentic Living and Ministerial Impact. Not stopping there, Dr Oke emphasized that the three matrices (three consciousnesses) that encounter depends on are spiritual, emotional and mental intelligence. He concluded by charging the graduates to respond to God’s call with the same fervor as Isaiah, emphasizing that their ministry should be driven by the message of reconciliation and the good news of Jesus Christ. Rev. Dr. Oke then led the congregation in a prayer session, invoking God’s Spirit to take over the lives of graduands and all who were open for an encounter with God.

The service continued with a prayer of commitment led by The Deputy president Academics, Rev. Prof. Simon Ishola, followed by announcements and a thanksgiving offering, facilitated by Rev. Dr Felix Ajedokun. The ceremony concluded with a closing prayer and benediction by the immediate past president of the seminary, Rev. Prof. Eniola Nihinlola. The Commencement service of the 125th graduation ceremony was a memorable and spiritually uplifting event, setting the stage for the glorious days ahead and marking a significant milestone in the lives of the graduates and the ongoing mission of the Seminary.

Adeitan Boluwatife ADEYEMI

for NBTS Advancement Office

June 7, 2024

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