Faith & Service

Baccalaureate Tradition Continues

June 12, 2019

Dr. Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., delivered a powerful message at Baccalaureate, encouraging students with God’s Word to live their lives for Christ.

With references to the construction work so prevalent on Liberty’s rapidly growing campus, Vines told the students to use Luke 2:52 as the blueprint for growth in their own lives. He related how Jesus increased not only in stature and wisdom, but also in favor with God and man.

“You may never become a star athlete,” he said. “ … But you can be a Champion for Christ wherever God chooses to place you. You were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body.”

Vines has served on Liberty’s Board of Trustees since 1988. This year marked Vines’ fifth time  as Baccalaureate speaker and first since 2007. That year, he also spoke at the funeral for Liberty’s founder, Jerry Falwell Sr. A video clip from the service was shown during Baccalaureate.

Before Vines spoke, Liberty President Jerry Falwell unveiled two stained-glass windows that featured his father and Vines. The windows — part of a larger collection that honored the leaders of the Conservative Resurgence among Southern Baptist churches — were recently removed from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s chapel. Vines is a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Falwell said the windows were “removed by the new regime” in the Convention and that, “unfortunately, a new generation has taken the Convention away from those (conservative) values in many ways.”

The window of Falwell Sr. was made possible by financial contributions from Liberty, and Falwell demanded that the money be returned. He sent a plane to Fort Worth, Texas, earlier in the week to retrieve the windows, and they will go on display in the Jerry Falwell Museum on campus.

“We will continue to honor the conservative leaders who reformed the Southern Baptist Convention, and we place our hope in your generation to be the ones to step up and provide better leadership for the future,” Falwell told the graduates.

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