Oklahoma Baptist University

Griffin Calls Students to Saintly Living

Living a saintly life requires a person to forsake selfish interests and embrace a lifestyle of sacrifice and devotion to Jesus Christ. Oklahoma Baptist University students were reminded of how to live a saint's life by hearing multiple saints' stories told. In a weekly chapel address Feb. 24, Dale Griffin, OBU dean of spiritual life, shared remarkable accounts of noteworthy saints.

Griffin's address continued the university's year-long chapel theme, "Costly Illumination: Counting Everything Loss in Light of the Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ." The theme is based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book, "The Cost of Discipleship." Griffin's message came from Chapter 31 of Bonhoeffer's book titled "The Saints."

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Beginning with the 18th century religious leader, Ludwig von Zinzendorf, Griffin explained how von Zinzendorf once saw a painting of Christ being crucified with words beneath saying, "All this I did for you, what are you going to do for me?" Von Zinzendorf was moved by the painting and committed himself to start prayer groups for the purpose of world intercession. His ministry spread and even impacted Christian theologian John Wesley leading to Wesley's conversion.


Dale Griffin, OBU dean of spiritual life, shares the remarkable stories of saints' lives and legacies with students. Griffin called the students to pick up the baton of past saints' legacies and to pursue saintly living.

As a young cobbler, William Carey, now known as the "Father of the Modern Missions Movement," formed a globe from copper and prayed daily over his creation. His devotion to world missions grew and, in the late 1700s, he went abroad to spread the news of Christ. As a result of the legacy of Carey's life and ministry in India, many mission agencies were formed.

Well-known for his mission efforts in China, Hudson Taylor suffered from depression in his early years. Griffin argued Taylor's depression spurred from his inability to take his eyes off of himself. When God called Taylor to serve in China, Griffin said, he was forced to look to others and their needs. Griffin shared about another missionary to China, Lottie Moon. The nearly 40 years she spent serving in China has created a strong legacy for Southern Baptist missionaries.

After providing examples of well-known saints throughout the world, Griffin pointed to past OBU students as illustrations of saintly living.

A 1920 alum, Rosalee Mills Appleby was one of the first to hear God's call to missions on OBU's campus, Griffin said. She served as a missionary in Brazil, writing devotional books for those to whom she ministered. OBU's eighth president, John Wesley Raley, said of Appleby, "The foreign mission tide at OBU started with Rosalee Mills Appleby, and it's still going on today."

Griffin pointed to Avery T. Willis, a 1956 graduate of OBU, as an example of saintly living. Willis served as a missionary in Indonesia, has authored Christian living books and is central to the orality movement, which is altering how mission work is engaged around the globe. OBU's Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach is named in his honor.

Griffin called the students to consider the lives of these saints. He asked students to remember their work and to celebrate their legacy by living saintly lives of their own.

"Here's the reason we're walking through the lives of these saints, men and women: it's because the torch has been passed, it's been time to pass the baton from generation to generation, and it's your turn," Griffin said. "It's time for you to pray. I can't do that for you, your professors can't do that for you, your mentors cannot do that for you. No one can do that for you. Only you can pick up the baton."

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