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First Commencement: Covenant Seminary

In Covenant Theological Seminary, Theological Seminaries on 24/05/2011 at 09:54

This is an edited form of the address given by Mr. Bunzel during the First Annual Commencement Exercises of Covenant College* on June 1, 1956, held at Pasadena City Church, whose building housed the college prior to its permanent relocation in St. Louis. Pasadena City Church has also provided headquarters for Twentieth Century Evangelism since its beginning in 1954.
[*See the explanatory note at the end of this post.]

The Place Where Responsibility and Opportunity Meet

By Rev. Claude Bunzel, Director of Twentieth Century Evangelism, Minister of Pasadena City Church.

THE SUBJECT which I have chosen is The Place Where Responsibility and Opportunity Meet. I realize that these words, responsibility and opportunity, seem to contradict each other. Responsibility, as you know, carries with it the idea of obligation, something that we must do. In other words, a responsibility is a duty. But opportunity conveys an entirely different meaning. An opportunity is some “favorable chance,” to quote the dictionary, which leaves a person the freedom to undertake or decline.

I remember a cartoon which I saw one time. A young man was seated in an elegant home, holding a conversation with a woman who was obviously well-to-do. This young man had apparently been trying to get this woman to contribute to the cause he was representing. The caption below the cartoon, however, quoted the woman like this: “I was ready to make out a check for you until you started talking to me about my duty.”

Yes, that is the attitude most people take when the matter of responsibility is mentioned. Opportunities they will consider. But the majority of people seem to shy away from anything that so much as resembles responsibility. Yet there is a place where responsibility and opportunity meet. When Jesus was with His disciples for the last time prior to His ascension, His disciples asked Him: “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). Jesus replied (vs. 7,8):

It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
In plain words, the answer which Jesus gave to His disciples was this. Their mission was not to be a temporal mission to reform society. It was to be a spiritual mission to tell the world about the One who had come to redeem sinners. This means that
evangelism is the place where responsibility and opportunity meet!


It is our responsibility to be witnesses unto Christ, because He said, “And ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” But what does it mean to be a witness unto Jesus Christ? Today, certainly, different people will give different answers to that question. I contend, therefore, that the only reliable answer is to be found in that portion of Scripture known as the Acts of the Apostles. This has to be so, for the simple reason that the Gospels and the Epistles were written to those who had already turned to Christ for His salvation. Read the rest of this entry »