Nearly 300 students received degrees ranging from undergraduate and graduate certificates to associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees when New Orleans Seminary held its spring commencement in Leavell Chapel May 18 and Leavell College held its commencement the previous day.
Kelley began his charge to the seminary graduates with a word from the apostle Paul.
“He’s very special to us here at NOBTS, because we have conclusive evidence that he was one of our earliest students,” Kelley joked.
Kelley pointed to the fact that Paul often refers to himself as the apostle to the Gentiles.
“And who are ‘Gentiles’?” Kelley asked. “Clearly, people who live on Gentilly! So there’s a very intimate connection there.”
New Orleans Seminary’s street address is 3939 Gentilly Blvd.
Kelley spoke from 2 Timothy, Paul’s last known epistle, addressed to Timothy, who he referred to as “my true son in the faith.” When he wrote 2 Timothy, Paul is believed to have been in prison and under guard.
“I wonder if the chains jangled every time he moved,” Kelley said. “He wrote over half the New Testament, honeycombed the entire Roman Empire with churches, [and he is] now on death row in a Roman prison.”
I wonder if the chains jangled every time he moved
Kelley asked the graduates what emotions they might experience if they were writing a “last will and testament” from prison, awaiting execution.
“When you read this letter, what would you expect to find from death row? Anger? Defiance? Discouragement? Frustration?” Kelley asked. “What you find is something quite different.”