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Ferguson to Present Gaskin Lecture Oct. 4

September 28, 2004

Ferguson will present his first lecture at 10 and the second at 7 p.m., both in the Geiger Center.

Milton Ferguson, president emeritus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, graduated from OBU in 1951 with a double major in psychology and speech and communication. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1954 and later his Doctor of Theology degree in 1959.

A native of Harrah, Ferguson served in the U.S. army from 1946-48 and was ordained to the ministry by the First Baptist Church of Harrah in 1948. He served as a youth revival leader in the 1940s and 50s, preaching city-wide and local church revivals in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

Ferguson served as pastor of Hebron Baptist Church in Hebron, Texas from 1951-54 and also served interim pastor positions in several churches in Oklahoma and Texas.

He was appointed to the faculty of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1956 and taught theology and philosophy of religion there until 1973, when he was elected to be the second president of Midwestern. He served as president until 1995 while serving in numerous roles in the Southern Baptist Convention. Among those were president of the Association of Southern Baptist Schools and Colleges, chairman of the SBC Seminary President's Council and chairman of the SBC Inter-Agency Council.

Since retiring from Midwestern, Ferguson has taught and lectured in seminaries in Kenya, East Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. He also served as an interim pastor at the International Baptist Church in Brussels, Belgium. He also served as OBU's Hobbs Lecturer and visiting professor in theology and philosophy in 1997.

He and his wife, the former Bettie Fae Wiles (also an OBU graduate), have two daughters.

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.