September 29, 2003
Dr. Slayden A. Yarbrough, professor emeritus at Oklahoma Baptist University, will present the 12th Annual Gaskin Lectureship in Oklahoma Baptist History and Heritage in the OBU Geiger Center Oct. 6.
The lectures will be at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. The 10 a.m. lecture will cover "Theological Trends Among Oklahoma Baptists: Historical Movements." The 7 p.m. session, "Oklahoma Baptist Theologian in the 21st Century: The Next Generation," will be followed by a reception.
Yarbrough came to OBU in 1979 as an assistant professor of religion and was promoted to associate professor of religion in 1982. He was appointed to the Dickinson Chair of Religion in 1987 and served in that capacity until he retired in 2000.
In addition to his service to OBU, he was executive director of the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1995-97 and executive director of the Southern Baptist Historical Society from 1996-99.
Before coming to OBU, Yarbrough served in a similar capacity at Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Mo. He is author of numerous books, including Southern Baptists: Who Are We?, The Lengthening Shadow, and Southern Baptists: A Historical, Ecclesiological, and Theological Heritage of a People.
He has served as a lecturer and participant on a religious heritage tour to the Netherlands, East Germany, West Germany and Switzerland, and has led tour groups to Jordan, Israel and Egypt.
Dr. Yarbrough earned an associate of arts degree from Hannibal-LaGrange College and his bachelor's degree from Southwest Baptist College. He also earned a Ph.D. degree in religion from Baylor University in 1972. He and his wife, Janis, currently reside in Denver, Colo. They have one son, Scott.
Friends of Dr. J.M. Gaskin and advocates of the preservation of Oklahoma Baptist history and heritage established the J.M. Gaskin Lectureship. The objectives of the lectureship are to provide and sustain a series of lectures, which will preserve and promote the study of Oklahoma Baptist history and heritage. These lectures are made available to students at OBU, many of whom will be future leaders of churches in the state. Others interested in Oklahoma Baptist history and heritage also are invited to attend these lectures.
The lectureship also is designed to honor and recognize the significant contributions of Dr. J.M. Gaskin, Oklahoma Baptists' first Historical Director. Known as "Mr. Oklahoma Baptist History," he led in forming the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Commission in 1952 and was elected as the organization's first historical secretary in 1953. He was also founding president of the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Society in 1956 and has been the only editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Chronicle, which was begun in 1958. In 1976, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma employed Gaskin as director of history for the convention's Historical Commission.
Gaskin, wrote 15 books about Oklahoma Baptists. He provided the major impetus for Oklahoma Baptist research and publication over the last four decades. The lectureship recognizes his contributions in the preservation and promotion of Baptist History and Heritage.