By Bre Payton
Patrick Henry College
Dr. Ronald E. Smith
In the heart of January’s frozen weather, PHC students gathered for the annual Biblical Emphasis Week, where Dr. Ronald E. Smith presented a series of three expository studies from 1 Peter.
Dr. Smith, executive director of the Francis Ashbury Society, ordained minister in the Greater New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church, and former president of Wesley Biblical Seminary, explained the significance of Peter’s message as one that today’s Christians can draw from.
The early church, he explained, faced much persecution from the Roman Empire because they didn’t support the state gods, or the idea that Caesar was god. “What,” he asked students, “do you say as one Christian in the middle of it all that really makes a difference?”
To answer the question, Dr. Smith pointed to 1 Peter 2:9, when Peter calls the scattered Christians “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.”
“Peter is preaching from the word of God,” he explained. “The covenant between God and the Israelites to be His people is reiterated by Peter to the early church.”
In the Old Testament, seeing the face of God was a key component of leadership. Moses and Jacob are examples of men who became leaders after seeing the face of God, he noted. Christ took on flesh so men could see Him face-to-face.
Peter preaches this message to the persecuted early church because taking time to seek God’s face is crucial to life in a persecuted world, he said.
“How do we get through this nihilistic world as followers?” Dr. Smith asked. “The same Spirit who saved us will carry us through.”
Students following along in 1 Peter during Biblical Emphasis Week
“The sessions were very meaningful and something I needed to hear,” said PHC senior Alicia Constant, “It’s easy to focus on what I’m doing academically and lose sight of the substance, which is Christ.”
Constant explained that a learning theme of her time at PHC has been to step out in faith and continue to walk in faith.
“We focus on evangelism and academics so much,” said PHC senior Mary Sue Daoud, “This has been a convicting reminder that we need to love God in order to be fully equipped to carry out the academic and evangelical side as it should be carried out. We need to live under the light of Christ before taking it out to the world.”