We boast in the Lord

In a great kindness of God, Moore Theological College has been blessed with a bumper crop of undergraduate on-campus students in 2021. Our full-time, on campus, bachelor level course intake has doubled. We have also had an increase in the percentage of female students in this cohort. All up, including those who are studying part-time, we have ninety-five new students. And the question people keep asking me is: why?

Truthfully, there are a myriad of factors that could have contributed to the numbers of students. It could be the work of the various churches around Sydney, country NSW, Australia and the world, who have made it a priority to pass on to others, that which is of first importance (2 Tim 2:1-2). It could be that the faculty and staff have been working with a tenacity of purpose to ensure that Moore College communicates with clarity about its distinctives. It could be the excellent work of the Foundation in providing avenues to make study at College affordable for students.[1] It could be the personal phone calls and emails with enthusiastic recruitment staff who have followed up prospective students’ expressions of interest. I have deep gratitude for the hard work of so many, and I have no doubt that all of this hard work has helped greatly, yet the ultimate answer is: God.

Our great God and Father is the reason for so many coming to the College. So many of our supporters, from our alumni to our donors, have been praying. Praying for the Lord to raise up more students to be thoroughly equipped for the significant work of bringing the gospel to communities of people around the world for whom Christ died. And I take it that it has been the Spirit of the Lord who has impressed our current first-year cohort of students with the urgency of this gospel message going out, the preciousness of God’s people, and the high calling of the office of a pastor-teacher.

I also take it that the Lord has impressed upon the hearts of our first-year cohort the current epoch of history that the Bible clearly teaches we are in now. The Apostle Peter paints a picture of these last days as we await the day of the Lord. Peter gives us the context of the destruction of the heavens and earth that is coming when the day of the Lord arrives. And given what we have to look forward to, he calls all who walk with the Lord to “live holy and godly lives as [we] look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Pet 3:11b-12).

Knowing that the day of the Lord may come at any moment, and that it is likened to a thief (2 Pet 3:10), it is only right that as Christian people we prepare ourselves. We ought to be most concerned with the work of faithful perseverance, the encouragement of the saints, and the preaching of the life-giving gospel of the Lord Jesus crucified and resurrected. In fact, as Christians we ought to be aligning our affections with those of our Lord, which means “not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). This means proclaiming the gospel to those who have not heard it, and it means ministering to our brothers and sisters in Christ as they persevere in these final days.

On top of this, seeing our world crumble around us in the face of a pandemic is fuel enough to make all Christians pause and consider what we ought to be busying our lives doing. Pursuing biblical imperatives is the urgency of the hour, and so in a sense it should be no surprise that the Lord has impressed this godly burden on the hearts of so many men and women from around Sydney, wider Australia and even around the world. It is through prayerful dependence on our Lord that staff and faculty at Moore College, in partnership with churches around the world, have watered and planted, spurred on and encouraged. And yet it is our Lord who has given the growth. When people ask me why we have a bumper crop this year, it is a joy to reflect on what has happened this year, and proudly tell them that the answer is, and always has been, our gracious God!

[1] Over the last three years, the Foundation has established a scholarship program and a Student Support Fund that helps and encourages students to seek support for their study. This fund also grows students in their own fundraising competency – an inevitable preparation for their future ministries.