Dr. Malcolm B. Yarnell, research professor of systematic theology, director of the Oxford Study Program and director of the Center for Theological Research at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered the annual Hobbs Lecture during OBU’s chapel service Wednesday, Oct. 18. The lecture was held in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium on OBU’s campus in Shawnee.
The Herschel H. and Frances J. Hobbs Lectureship in Baptist Faith and Heritage was OBU’s first endowed lectureship beginning in the fall of 1980. It is one of four OBU lectureships designed to help students grow in their knowledge of Baptist theology, Baptist history and studies of the Bible.
Friends of the late Dr. Hobbs, who was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City, and of the late Mrs. Hobbs, created the endowed fund in honor of the couple’s years of outstanding Christian service. The Hobbs lectureship program annually sponsors a lecture at OBU and highlights speakers that share phases of Baptist faith and heritage with the OBU community. OBU’s Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and ministry also bears his name.
Yarnell’s lecture was formed around Mark 12:28-34, where Christ declares the greatest commandment. He used the passage to emphasize the importance of theology for theologians and believers alike.
“If theology is to love God with the whole inner person, as Jesus commanded, then it must consider not just abstract items out there in the intellect but also the powerful affections in your imagination and the distinctive choices of your will,” he said. “All of this internal movement is intended to shoot forth in outward action.”
Born in upstate New York, Yarnell grew up in various subcultures across the United States. He would eventually become a Southern Baptist minister, holding pastorates in Texas, Louisiana and North Carolina.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in finance from Louisiana State University, before going on to earn a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Seminary and a Master of Theology from Duke University. After earning his Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University, he served as a faculty member at Southwestern and academic dean at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.
He is a prolific contributor of essays to academic journals and books published in America, England, France and Nigeria. He served as the longest running editor of the “Southwestern Journal of Theology,” has edited four academic texts and authored the widely reviewed 2007 volume on historical and theological method, “The Formations of Christian Doctrine.”
He currently resides with his family of seven in Fort Worth, Texas, and regularly preaches the Gospel in churches and conferences throughout the United States. He also leads the weekly men’s Bible study ay Birchman Baptist Church.