Before you read this, make sure you read Part 1.
“Are you going to be Southern Baptist?” he asked. Yes, I am.
“Are you going to turn into some Arminian?” he asked. No, I certainly am not.
“Do you love the church” he asked. He knew I did!
|Pastor Steve Scoggins|
“Do you really want to serve in the Convention one day?” Of course!
“Then go to Southern,” he told me. He helped me move through much of my strongheaded-ness that day. He explained to me that the SBC needs godly, Baptist trained men serving in its churches. He promised me I would get a superb, not merely passable, education at Southern. He comforted me. Again, the Lord was using another to soften my heart, bring me away from my pride, and teach me to trust Him.
The next person that helped me was President Mohler. Down in the dumps, I sent a sad tweet in a weak moment. It follows:
You can’t see this picture to the right. If you can see the bottom line there, it reads as follows: “Kody filled this out. VIP student.”
I read it and started to tear up again. Before this all started, I didn’t know I was going to become a crier again. It had been a while since I had cried that much. Now, obviously, reading a form where you get called a VIP is a huge opportunity for sinful temptation to creep in. I could have become full of myself. I could have felt awesome about myself. Instead, it was simply a blessing from God. Sweet relief! They want me! At the end of the day, throughout the whole fiasco wherein I had been rejected, what hurt the worst was the feeling of rejection. I had been rejected and the only consolation for it was acceptance. Garrett pointed me to this first in the Gospel. Kody helped me feel it again academically. I was going to go to Seminary. I was not completely unwanted. I was not a total failure. How easy do we sinners turn from Christ! How gracious is He to turn us back and to put people in our lives for just that purpose!
Little did I know what this visit would be. When Kody found out on the phone what Bill had set up, he was shocked. “This is not normal,” he told me. I had no idea.
I graduated from Auburn University on May 7, 2012. The next day, I got in the car with my dad and Bill Sanford, and we headed to Louisville. My dad and Bill are in the same profession (Bill owns a construction company and my dad owns a tile company). As you know, the construction industry is not doing too hot right now. My dad and Bill hit it off and were able to be encouraged together from the start. I think they both needed that. If nothing else, that made the trip worth it. I knew then that this was going to be a good weekend. I had no idea how good.
Over the span of 3 days I met with Dr. Ware and Dr. Coppenger for coffee, Dr. Russ Moore, and had dinner with two donors for a great dinner (they gave me their card and told me to contact them if I need anything. I have since found this to have been an earnest offer). The next day I had lunch with Dr. Donald Whitney, as well as with the head of Admissions, Mr. John Powell, and he answered every question I could have possibly had about the school. I was able to tour President Mohler’s library and office, both of which were a truly special experience. Finally, I met with renowned historian Dr. Tom Nettles and the Dean of Boyce College, Dan DeWitt. With every single one of these meetings, I found the professors and staff to be genuinely caring and kind. There was not a single man who met with me because they had to. All of these men met with me because they wanted to. They were gracious and wise, each offering me a great deal of counsel. I came away impressed with how much they cared, not just about me, but also about my family, how courteous they were to my father and listened as he regaled old stories from his time at Southern Seminary.
The last night I was there, I came back from dinner and a familiar face drove by. He stopped the car and rolled down the window. I stood there dumbfounded, in shock for a moment, as President Mohler rolled down his window, and he and his wife, Mrs. Mary, greeted me. He looked tired.
“I just got back from CNN,” he said.
I said,”Oh. That’s cool,” showing my powerful command over the King’s English in a moment of pressure. He went on to welcome me to the school, and he asked me how the visit was going. I told him it was going wonderfully. He talked with us for about five minutes more and then departed to his home. It was very special for me. As I came to find out later, he had not been to CNN for any old taping. Pres. Obama had just given his support on TV to gay marriage rights, and Dr. Mohler was giving the Evangelical response. I watched it later. It was powerful, wise, and exactly what needed to be said. Surely, it was exhausting for him. Still, he stopped for us! Why had he done that? His windows were tinted. I didn’t know his car. He needed not stop and talk, but he did. President Mohler stopped and talked to a guy having one of the worst months of his life, because he is a good man. His seminary reflects this; every single person I met on the trip reflected this.
As I left lunch with Boyce Dean Dan DeWitt on Thursday, I headed to the housing office with my dad. I told him I didn’t need to see any more. This was it. One hundred dollars of college graduation money in my hand, I signed up for a dorm. I was in. Southern Seminary had charmed and enchanted me. The Lord has turned my heart back to trust him, and, more importantly, he gave me peace. I had no rest. Christ gave me rest.
As is the common refrain, I had no idea how good this was about to get. I was “in” for Southern Seminary. I was about to find out that Southern Seminary was “in” for me. My preview day visit was not a flash in the pan. The Lord was about to move mightily. The story was not yet complete.
Fin Part 2.