JMU leader, pastor leads discussion on Martin Luther King, Jr.
Student-doctors at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) have more in common with Martin Luther King, Jr., than they might think at first glance.
“He was very highly educated but realized that education without service doesn’t matter,” said Pastor Arthur Dean, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity at James Madison University.
In a special convocation message on Jan. 20, Dean related the life of Dr. King to the student-doctors’ current educational paths and encouraged them to use their medical school opportunity for good, as Dr. King did during the Civil Rights movement.
“By the age of 25, he was married, had a child and four degrees. After all the knowledge he acquired, he decided to take all of the information he learned and go back to the church,” said Dean.
Instead of trying to do it all on his own, Dean says Dr. King recognized that the Gospel was going to transcend and transform the society in which he lived.
“He took the word of God and said, ‘How can you say you are a Christian and not hold up the tenets of the entirety of the Bible?’ Then he took the Constitution, he took the documents that God breathed into the U.S., and said, ‘How can the Constitution be barriers to people because of the color of their skin?’ All he did was say, ‘Here’s the gospel. Here is the Constitution. America deal with it,” said Dean.
Dr. King’s message permeated the current culture and led to major changes in race relations across the U.S.
But Dean is careful to explain through Ephesians 2:1-10 that every individual, whether they are a student-doctor or a civil rights advocate, receives their success from God.
“God created the opportunity and the workmanship in us to do good works. It’s not that we created the desire – God was already stirring things before you even arrived to plant your next steps and where you were going to be. Our job is to yield,” said Dean.
Troy Burnett, Associate Director of Student Services, was instrumental in choosing Dean for this special convocation address, calling him a long-time mentor. Burnett also believes Dr. King is a mentor to all of the generations that follow him.
“We often forget that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. We only are able to accomplish what we can only because of the work of someone else,” said Burnett. “Dr. King, in my opinion, was a giant among men who risked his life for the benefit of others. Perhaps his accomplishments can encourage us to do the same for those to come.”
Student-doctors say they appreciated hearing an inspirational, yet down-to-earth, message about the civil rights leader.
“The biggest thing that resonated with me during Pastor Dean’s visit was when he mentioned how although Dr. King was not a perfect person, God was still able to use him to leave a positive impact on the world,” said Lumhen Iseghohi, class of 2018.
The convocation address also helped student-doctors, like Daniel Lee, refocus on the real reason they chose LUCOM.
“MLK not only stood up for his rights, but he worked hard for the rights of others. He sacrificed much to help others,” said Lee, class of 2019. “Likewise, LUCOM's mission is to impact the community by raising Christ-like servants. As our faculty and student-doctors are here to uplift that mission, I think it was great to take a moment and remember MLK and his contributions in impacting the world through the gifts and desires that God placed in his heart.”