The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
By BREYANNA WILSON,
Published: April 25 2012
Every year, Dr. John Perkins comes to campus to speak to the Seattle Pacific community.
“There are very few people who have affected this campus like John Perkins,” SPU President Dr. Philip Eaton said as he introduced Dr. Perkins when he spoke at Chapel yesterday.
The seats in First Free Methodist Church were packed with students, faculty and members of the Seattle community to hear Dr. Perkins, the director of SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development.
This year, Dr. Eaton’s introduction of Dr. Perkins was marked by his acknowledgment that this would be his last time doing so: this is Dr. Eaton’s final year at SPU.
“This is a somber moment, with all the years of friendship,” Dr. Eaton said.
Dr. Perkins returned the sentiment.
“Friendship is an absolute gift from God,” Dr. Perkins said in reference to his friendship with Dr. Eaton.
Dr. Perkins’ speech was the culmination of the seventh annual John M. Perkins Lecture Series, which includes forums on issues of justice and reconciliation.
During the Chapel service, Dr. Perkins and Dr. Eaton were given a gift from the John Perkins Center. It was a book commemorating all that Dr. Perkins and SPU have done together over the past decade.
The theme of Dr. Perkins’ sermon was discipleship and friendship, and how both relate to the mission of SPU.
“Biblical leadership is to enter into that culture and redeem it, not condemn it,” Dr. Perkins said. “Jesus knew that changing the world meant redeeming the world, [which] means changing the culture.”
Dr. Perkins then talked about what kind of people are supposed to do this. He referenced the disciples of Jesus.
“[Jesus] said that these disciples became his friends,” Dr. Perkins said. “If you’ve got a friend, a real friend, you’ve got all that that person can give.”
Dr. Perkins called this kind of friendship “the totality of what it means to be a friend.”
Because friendship is important to discipleship, Dr. Perkins said, disciples of Christ need to hear the word of God, and they can hear it by going to church, listening to God through prayer and acting upon what they have heard.
“We’re making people Christians before we make them disciples,” Dr. Perkins said.
Susan Lane, director of Multiethnic Programs, has attended Dr. Perkins’ lectures every year for 25 years, but yesterday’s Chapel service was still special to her.
“I thought it was a historical event — a time to reflect where SPU has come [from],” she said.
Dr. Perkins stayed after the service to meet some of the students and attendees.
Sophomore Briana Clarke described Dr. Perkins’ sermon on Tuesday as “very simple [and] very down-to-earth.” It was her first time hearing Perkins speak.
“[The annual Dr. John Perkins Lecture Series] is one of the highlights of the year,” senior Scott Katsma said, who plays drums in the weekly Chapel services. “It’s always something we look forward to.”
As the service ended, Perkins addressed Dr. Eaton and the congregation of First Free Methodist Church.
“You’ve given me an honor,” he said.
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