Vice President Mike Pence urged the graduating class at Liberty University to stand firm in their faith.
“I say, not so much as your vice president,” Pence told graduates during their commencement ceremony May 11, “but as your brother in Christ, if what you’ve seen and heard and learned in this place has also taken hold in your heart, go from here and live it out. America needs men and women of integrity and faith now more than ever.”
After receiving an honorary degree from Liberty, Pence spoke highly of Liberty’s commitment to Christian values, the Falwell family, and the opportunity to address the graduates.
“Like many of you graduates here today I was raised in a church home, but by the time I got to high school, I was one of those people who still went to church but was just going through the motions,” Pence said. “I decided to go my own way. I got to college and met some people who I could tell had something I lacked. The only way I could describe it is joy.”
Pence told the graduates a story about how he became curious about Christianity and asked a friend where he could find a cross like the one that he wore around his neck. He said his friend told him about the true heart change necessary to follow Jesus.
“You have to wear it in your heart before you wear it around your neck,” Pence said. “A few weeks later I put my faith in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and it’s made all the difference.”
Pence reminded graduates about the recent Christian persecution both domestically and around the world. He urged them to live a life characterized by faith and love in these divisive times.
“We need faith that unites on a foundation of grace,” Pence said. “We need to show that we can love God and our neighbor at the same time through our words and our deeds. Decide here and now to stand firm.”
Jerry Vines, a member of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees, concluded his remarks at the baccalaureate service with a Gospel presentation and a reminder for the Christians in the audience to grow daily in their walk with God.
“Let me encourage you to have a devotional time every day in your life. Spend some time reading the Bible and letting God talk to you,” he said. “Spend some time every day in prayer and you talk to God. It is there that you draw strength. It is there that you draw closer to the Lord.”
— by Timothy Cockes
Cockes is a freelance writer in Lynchburg, Va.