by Austin Mayfield

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Anthony L. Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, challenged Midwestern Seminary chapel attendees April 6 with a discourse on Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane. At the end of the service, the Oklahoma Baptist leader was honored with both the president’s medallion and a certificate of recognition.

MBTS President Phil Roberts presented the president’s medallion to Jordan in honor of his outstanding commitment and contributions to the Southern Baptist Convention, to Oklahoma Baptists and to Midwestern Seminary.

In addition to his work in the lead role of the BGCO, Jordan has served as a pastor for 29 years, has coordinated the work of more than 1,700 Oklahoma Baptist churches and has given incalculable hours in service to the convention. Jordan also chaired the committee that recommended the 1998 SBC adoption of Article 18 into the Baptist Faith and Message.

Roberts said he was pleased to bestow the medallion to the eminent Baptist leader.

“There’s so much we can say about Anthony Jordan,” he said. “His work of faith, his labor of love and his steadfastness of hope in our Lord stand as testimonies to his character.”

Following this first presentation, Midwestern trustee Gene Downing, a member of Oklahoma City, Southern Hills, was invited to the stage to present Jordan a certificate of recognition memorializing the naming of the student commons area in the new chapel complex after Jordan and his wife, Polla. This commemoration, made possible by the Downings themselves, recognized Jordan’s “sacrificial and exemplary service to Christ and to God’s kingdom.”

“We’re so appreciative, too, of the great encouragement that the Downings have given us,” Roberts added. “We’re grateful to them for deciding to do this on the Jordans’ behalf.

“I am so honored by this. It is a joy to serve Oklahoma Baptists, and it is a joy to serve Southern Baptists,” Jordan said. “I thank God for the work of our convention, and I thank God for the work of this seminary.”

The presentations came at the heels of Jordan’s sermon on Christ’s experience in the garden of Gethsemane. One of the more moving moments of the service was Jordan’s recollection of his most dire time of grief after his father had passed away.

To illustrate Christ’s grief in the garden, Jordan recounted how he came upon his father’s Bible stained with his father’s oily handprints.

“I remember that I began to weep,” Jordan said. “Not only weep, but to literally convulse in my heart and my soul . . . Everything in my soul was crying out, and I was drained from the deep, agonizing grief in that moment. It is as near as I can come to describe to you what our Lord Jesus went through in the Garden.”

The chapel speaker offered his insights into why our Lord underwent such agony before the cross, asserting that the weight of sin would sit more heavily on Christ than even the physical pain of the cross, and he left the MBTS students with three thoughts to take away from his message.

First, “Sin is awful,” he said. “The fact is, if you don’t allow the Son of God to take your hell for you, you will spend an eternity in hell separated from God. It doesn’t matter what Rob Bell thinks. That’s the truth!”

The second take away was a reminder of how much Jesus loves us.

“You can’t walk in the garden and look at Jesus without saying ‘Oh, bless Your name Jesus, You love me like I don’t deserve to be loved,’” Jordon said.

He concluded with a third matter of practical concern, admonishing chapel attendees to deny themselves and take up their crosses.

“You can sum up the Christian life in two simple words,” he said. “Follow me!”

Austin Mayfield is communications assistant at Midwestern Seminary.