Erskine community gathers for first convocation of 2015-16

Posted on September 4, 2015

Formal 15 president

Dr. Paul Kooistra

Erskine College and Seminary President Dr. Paul Kooistra spoke to assembled students, faculty, staff, staff, and community members at the Formal Opening Convocation in the Due West ARP Church Sept. 3.

Kooistra’s convocation address, “Dumb Like Sheep,” was based on a passage of scripture from Isaiah 53, which was read by Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Brad Christie. The prophet Isaiah speaks of human beings as having “gone astray” like sheep, animals Kooistra described as “easily lost, easily tangled up.”

“Sheep have a tough time by themselves,” the president said. “We might say they don’t make the grade.”

Similarly, human beings “don’t measure up” in their relationship to God.

For human beings, he said, “Self is the supreme idol.”

When Kooistra worked with alcoholics, he found that they might claim they could stop drinking at any time “if they wanted to,” but it wasn’t true.

“We’re sure we can make it on our own,” he said. “For human beings, self-love is the problem, but the answer to our problem is not cleaning up our own act. God’s answer to our self-centeredness is Christ.”

He assured students that although they don’t measure up, “Someone has measured up for you. He has done for you what you cannot do for yourself.”

Kooistra told the students that he and his wife pray for them every day, as well as for the faculty and staff.

“I hope that while you’re here at Erskine you meet Christ and grow in love for him,” he said.

The Rev. Paul G. Patrick, chaplain of Erskine College and Theological Seminary, who gave the invocation and benediction, offered a prayer for the 179th year of the seminary and the 177th year of the college.

Musicians for the service were the Erskine Choraleers, directed by Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Keith D. Timms, and Professor of Music Dr. J. Brooks Kuykendall, organist.

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