Nine graduates of Fruitland Baptist Bible College were urged to contend for the Christian faith during June 9 commencement exercises at the Hendersonville campus.
BSC photo by Mike Creswell
Branton Burleson, pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in Arden, delivers the baccalaureate sermon during spring graduation exercises June 9 at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. Burleson’s sermon was based on Jude 3 in which he urged graduates to contend for the faith.
The school conferred associate degrees in religion/Christian ministry to eight individuals and a Christian leadership certificate to one.
Branton Burleson, pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in Arden, delivered the charge to graduates.
“You are citizens of heaven, as Peter said, living as resident aliens in a foreign land,” Burleson said.
Burleson told graduates that they are called to continually and vigorously strive to preserve, protect, defend and proclaim the Christian faith.
“You have been called to contend for the faith … God is not sending you out to win a popularity contest,” he said.
“We’re calling people out of the insanity of this world and their sin and into the sanity of Jesus. We are citizens, and we are the church of the living God and the church of King Jesus,” Burleson added.
Burleson called on the graduates to develop a prioritized, robust theology.
All doctrine is important, he said, but some doctrines are worth dying for.
He listed some of those doctrines, beginning with the authority of the inspired and inerrant Bible as “a hill to die on.”
Fruitland President David Horton reminded those attending that the school is holy ground that receives about half its annual budget from the Cooperative Program giving of North Carolina Baptists. They have invested in your future ministry, Horton told the graduates.
Some of the graduates already have places of service.
Demonte Daniels, who received a Christian leadership certificate, will continue on as youth pastor at Greater Joy Baptist Church in Rocky Mount.
Greater Joy’s pastor, Bishop Shelton Daniel, was present to close the service in prayer before giving Daniels a hug of congratulations.
Fruitland has provided ongoing classes in Rocky Mount in cooperation with Greater Joy and Word Tabernacle Church, the North Roanoke Baptist Association and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Graduate Perry Brown will be moving soon to a new pastorate in West Virginia.
Brown has served as pastor of Solid Rock Baptist Church in Randleman for more than 20 years but feels God has called him to an essentially missionary role as pastor of Big Spring Missionary Baptist Church in Mallory, W.Va., located in Logan County about 90 miles from the larger city of Bluefield.
“I have fallen in love with the people and the community,” Brown said. “It has been a blessing.”
He added that teams from North Carolina Baptist churches and other states are already scheduled to come minister in Mallory. Brown has been taking classes at Fruitland part-time since 2013.
He said he became aware of the West Virginia challenge through the school. “We know that’s where God has for us to go minister,” he said.