Gritz to Present 19th Annual Gaskin Lecture

OBU alum Dr. Paul L. Gritz, professor of church history at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, will present the 19th annual J.M. Gaskin Lecture in Baptist History and Heritage on Monday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m.

The topic of the lecture will be “OBU” One Baptist University for Oklahoma.” Gritz also will present a lecture at 7 p.m. titled “OBU: A Heritage Center for All Baptists in Oklahoma.” Both events will be presented in the upper level of OBU’s Geiger Center.

Gritz specializes in Baptist and Free Church studies for Europe (Anabaptism in the 1500s), England (General and Particular Baptists in the 1600s), and America (New Lights  Separate and Regular  Baptists in the 1700s). He has taught in master’s courses and doctoral seminars since 1983.

He grew up in Oklahoma City as a member at Trinity Baptist Church and First Baptist Church. His father, Jack L. Gritz, edited the Baptist Messenger from 1949-79.

Gritz earned a bachelor’s degree from OBU in 1972. During his time on Bison Hill, he served as the Student Government Association president. He earned a master’s degree from Oxford University in 1974. He earned a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1980 and a Ph.D. in 1987. He has completed further study at Duke University and the University of North Carolina  Chapel Hill.

He previously worked as a multi-housing ministry strategist with Yates Baptist Association and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina from 1990-91. He has served as a teaching fellow and adjunct teacher in church history; as assistant reference librarian at Southwestern Seminary; and as administrative assistant for health and social services in the Office of the Governor of Oklahoma from 1975-77.

He served as editor of Fides et Historia from 1994-97. His publications include “The Decline and Recovery of Believers’ Baptism” and“W.R. Estep: Advocate of the Free Church Heritage” in Southwestern Journal of Theology.

He, his wife, Sharon, and their daughter, Lydia, are members of University Baptist Church, Fort Worth, and work in its mission congregation, Luz del Mundo.

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 was the editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Chronicle, which was begun in 1958, until spring 1998.

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.