Editor’s Note: The following is a transcript of greetings given by Hance Dilbeck, chairman of Southwestern’s board of trustees and pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, during the MacGorman Chapel dedication service at Southwestern Seminary, Dec. 1.
On behalf of the 40 men and women from all across our convention who serve as the trustees of this great seminary, I declare humble appreciation and joyful anticipation.
We thank God for His abundant provision through the many faithful people who envisioned and realized this project. Those who paid the price:
- Sacrificial Giving – Many, note Riley Family
- Long Hours – Mr. Mike Hughes & Administration
- Compelling Vision – Dr. & Mrs. Patterson
We thank God for the Great Cloud of Witnesses on whose shoulders we stand today, those who birthed this seminary and built this campus. In my mind, Jack MacGorman represents them today. Also, the generations of Southern Baptist who gave regularly, generously, faithfully to support this seedbed of Gospel ministers.
We thank God for the students, those gathered here today and those who will gather here for years to come. Yet we are mindful that their gathering here is not the goal. With joy we anticipate that those gathered for preparation will scatter for proclamation, carrying with them the good news of Jesus Christ.
Z. N. Morrell was not the first Baptist preacher in Texas, but he was, according to Robert Baker, the most important. His first sermon in Texas was from Isaiah 35:1 – The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. Baker records a poem by Sybil Leonard Armes that reflects on the sacrifices of our forbearers. I close with the short poem because it expresses appreciation for those who paid the price to bring us to this point as well as anticipation of the expanding global impact of this seminary.
Out of a wilderness they carved
A spiritual empire for our Lord
In blood and tears and sacrifice
They sowed his glorious, living word
And the desert blossomed as a rose
But what it cost, God only knows!
And we who follow in their wake
Mark well the price they paid.
His mantle lies upon us now,
But we are not afraid
If God be with us: This we cry,
“The light of Jesus shall not die
‘Till earth’s remotest corner knows
And the deserts blossom as a rose.”