The Reverend Robert E. Baxter is the most noble man of God that I have ever known in my life.
He is, now into eight decades of living, a very active preacher and pastor and encourager of the saints. He is the Associate Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Dothan, Alabama; formerly Founder and Senior Minister of Olathe Presbyterian Church (PCA), Olathe, Kansas (home church of Mike and Mae Milton). No man has more influenced my life, my family’s lives, than “Pastor Bob.” I love him and his beautiful wife, Marylou, more every day. Whatever good, if any, is found in my poor and tainted labors for the Lord, then Christ who works in us to do His will deserve all the glory, yet that divine work was expressed through this faithful and extraordinary preacher and under-shepherd. He is my father in Christ and as any truly grateful son, I cannot ever fully convey the depth of love that I have for him, the true indebtedness that I owe him, or the ever-increasing esteem that my heart has toward him. So I will praise the Lord of glory for this man and lift my thanksgiving for him before the eternal throne of the One he serves so well.
Here is the Inaugural Prayer after vows were administered to me by our Chairman of the Board, Richard Ridgway, and the charge given by Dr. Luder Whitlock.
Seeing Pastor Bob assume the posture of pastoral prayer at the pulpit, Presbyterian minister’s collar and white Puritan preaching bands flowing out of his Geneva gown and scarlet hood reminded me of his life; always offering his mind and heart in this unique calling with his all in all. His dignity is defined by his humility and his servant hood causes him to present his very best for the Christ who called him. He is the very model of the humble, dutiful, studied, personable, evangelistic, and winsomely Reformed mind-and-heart-aflame-preacher-of-the-Gospel of King Jesus that we want to prepare for the Church.
Here then is the prayer which he composed, prayed to God privately before he offered it with fresh, Spirit-anointed power to Almighty God on that day of worship and consecration. The prayer shall be recorded in the history of this seminary but most importantly in heaven.
“Thank you for inviting me to participate in this Service for my beloved son in the faith.
Let us pray.
Eternal, Sovereign LORD GOD, our Father in heaven: in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray, and in the light of the Coronation of our King Jesus, we celebrate the inauguration of Your servant, Michael Anthony Milton, to be Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary. It’s Your work and for Your glory. And so our hearts beat with a cadence of praise and prayer to You for this mosaic of ministries—as Mike calls it—of campuses, presidents, faculties, students, alumni, and supporters from some 50 denominations of Your Church.
We know the Chancellor builds on what others previously built, and we thank You for them. We know also that You completed him with his wife Mae, and so we pray for both of them and their family.
Now for the Chancellor himself we pray. Give him the true wisdom that comes from You. Give him the faith to wait patiently for Your vision. Give him the physical stamina and spiritual strength to resist the attacks of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Make him to be what You wired him to want to be—a Second-Timothy-2:2-“mentor of mentors” to multiply this ministry through others. Give him that power that comes just from the point of his greatest weakness wrapped in Your grace—to venture big things that only You can do, so You get the glory. We ask a lot from You because you told us to, and Mike is going to need You a lot everyday, but that’s the way You want it, for all of us. The training of leaders for the next generation of Your Church is no small task, but You have equipped him through what he has suffered.
Empower his preaching, display Your grace, provide the funds, and produce eternal results for Your Kingdom and for Your glory through Jesus Christ in Whose Name we ask it all. Amen.”