September 7, 2006
The history of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma will be the focus of the 2006 J.M. Gaskin Lectures in Baptist History and Heritage at Oklahoma Baptist University this fall.
Dr. Bob Ross, former president of The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, will present the 15th annual Gaskin Lectures on Monday, Oct. 2. The first lecture will be at 10 a.m. and the second at 7 p.m., both in the upper level of OBU’s Geiger Center. Ross will discuss material from a book he recently wrote to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the BGCO.
The morning lecture will be “The Two Became One … The Wedding.” The evening lecture will be: “The Two Became One … The Marriage” is the title of the evening lecture.
A native of Ponca City, Okla., Ross was licensed to preach at the age of 16 by the First Baptist Church of Ponca City. He graduated from OBU in 1959, and completed a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1963.
Ross began his full-time ministry at Ponca City’s Round Grove Baptist Church and has served 22 years as pastor of churches in Oklahoma and Texas. He has served as an evangelist in more than 100 church revival meetings in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, California, Ohio, and Kentucky. Currently, he is the transitional pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Lindsay, Okla.
Ross joined the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma staff in 1977 as vice president of communication and estate stewardship services. He became president of the foundation in January 1986 and served in that post until April 2002. During his tenure as president, the foundation grew from $50 million to more than $200 million. Ross led the foundation to begin several new services, including church funds management, and donor advised funds. He also began a special emphasis with language groups and formed advisory councils in three major areas of the state.
Since retirement, he has been a consultant for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Falls Creek “For the Sake of the Call” campaign.
Ross received OBU’s Joe L. Ingram School of Christian Service Alumnus of the Year Award in 1989, and in 1993 he received the OBU Alumni Association’s top honor, the Alumni Achievement Award. He received an honorary doctorate from OBU in 1996.
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. In addition to students, faculty and staff, others interested in Oklahoma Baptist history and heritage are invited to attend the lectures.
Gaskin served as the BGCO’s 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 also was 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 has written 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 to the preservation and promotion of Baptist History and Heritage.