"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."
II Corinthians 3:18
“Dr. G” – As He is Affectionately Known
The auditorium erupted into applause and a standing ovation as Dr. Garry Friesen, this year’s commencement speaker, was introduced and presented with the special honor of Professor Emeritus by Multnomah’s President and Board of Trustees. The influence “Dr. G” has had in the lives of students, faculty, staff and alumni alike is remarkable. The evening was especially significant for our Multnomah community in light of Garry’s retirement announcement after 37 years of teaching on Multnomah’s faculty.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
In nostalgic form, “Dr. G” began his commencement address with a walk down memory lane. He noted men and women of Multnomah’s history: Dr Willard Aldrich not only lived the motto, he created it—‘If its Bible you want, you want Multnomah!’ President, Joe Aldrich loved people and the Gospel and introducing the two. Dr. Norm and Muriel Cook exemplified ‘Don’t find an excuse, find a way!’—a way that everyone could hear about Jesus. Dr. Dan Sauerwein taught Bible study methods and it was Christ’s truth that gave him a big, big pastoral heart. Joyce Kehoe loved the Bible and it being taught with excellence. Dr. Pamela Reeve believed that ‘Christ through the Scriptures’ was the real answer to every problem we have. Dave Needham taught the theology of God in a way that brought you into the throne room. Dr. Mitchell, at 97 years of age, when given a verse could quote to the end of the chapter… by memory! Dr. G said, “What I love in our current faculty and in faculty of the past is that I see Christ in them all” —men and women who have been transformed by the power of Christ and His Word.
You are Smart Enough to Be a Pharisee
He then focused our attention to the future as he charged us to aspire to such likeness, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit—II Corinthians 3:18.”
Learning God’s Word can transform you into the image of Christ, but it can also mess you up. The famous Pharisees of Christ’s time were smart and very educated. They knew God’s Word, but it resulted only in pride—no faith and no transformation. ‘Graduates, you are well educated. You are smart enough to be a Pharisee,’ he warned them and then went on to challenge them: “You are also educated in the Scriptures enough to fall in Love with the Savior.”
My prayer for us all is that as we open God’s Word our desire would be to see Christ and to see His love for us, so that we too would continue to fall in love with the Savior. As we grasp the power of Christ’s life may we be transformed into His likeness and may He use the change in us to change the lives of those around us.
Being transformed with ever-increasing glory,
Michelle M. Peel, BA ’00, MA ‘10
Director of Alumni Relations
PS: Dr. Friesen will be moving to Kigali, Rwanda where he will fulfill a lifelong dream of teaching African students at the Africa College of Theology. To learn more you can visit his blog: the Friesen Fortnightly.