C.W. Brister Challenges Students To Be Wise, Innocent In Today's Culture

March 10, 2000

That was the warning of Dr. C.W. Brister as he delivered the Hobbs Lecture at Oklahoma Baptist University March 8.

Speaking on "Moral Formation in a Risky World," Brister, Hultgren distinguished professor of pastoral care at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, encouraged students to find a medium between being in the world but not of it.

"Entertainment is the driving element that shapes our culture," Brister said. "The pervasive power and seductiveness of our culture cannot be ignored by us. Risks raised by it threaten your spirituality, your relationships, and your vocational future," he said.

"Two forces are driving your relationships in our existing society, the push of your emerging self and the pull of the social world," said Brister. "The all-pervasive influence of pop culture places enormous weight upon the stackpole of your core values."

Citing Christ's command to his disciples to "be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves," Brister challenged students to pursue both qualities.

"In short, Jesus' word for us today is: 'You must be both perceptive and pure of heart to live Christianly in this culture, '" he asserted.

"Moral formation equals character building," he told the students. "With God, you can transform your culture. The world is waiting and watching for you. Make your life count."

Brister, a noted leader in pastoral care education, is the father of OBU President Mark Brister.

The Herschel H. Hobbs Lecture in Oklahoma Baptist History was OBU's first endowed lectureship. Friends of the late Dr. Hobbs, long-time pastor of the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City, and his late wife, Frances, created the fund in honor of the couple's years of Christian service. The twice-yearly lectures deal with Baptist theology, Baptist history, studies of the Bible and other related themes.

The elder Brister spoke about the man for whom the lectureship was named.

"Baptists owe Herschel Hobbs a great debt," he said. "He was a true Christian statesman. The Hobbs that I knew had the heart of a giant, the head of a genius, and the hide of an elephant."

Brister is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist. He and his wife, Gloria, are members of University Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.