As part of the lecture, Lea discussed African American preaching and its place throughout history.
“African American preaching has been, and still remains, communicating the gospel to African Americans,” he said.
Along with the Gaskin Lecture, Lea took part in a panel discussion later that afternoon, which continued the morning’s theme on “The Art of Black Preaching.” The panel also included Dr. Galen Jones, assistant professor of church planting and Floyd K. Clark Chair of Christian Leadership; Dr. David Gambo, assistant professor of Christian ministry, and Dr. Major Jemison, senior pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
Lea began preaching at the age of 16 and is the son of a Southern Baptist preacher. He is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, with a B.A. in Religion. Lea earned a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He also earned a Doctor of Ministry from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He then earned a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California, with highest honors.
Lea was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in 2000. In August 2004, he was selected to attend The University of Oxford in England as a participant in the Oxford Round Table discussion on Religion, Education and Government. He currently serves as a vice president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. In addition, he is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi, Inc., and a life member of the NAACP.
Friends of Dr. J.M. Gaskin and advocates of the preservation of Oklahoma Baptist history and heritage established the J.M. Gaskin Lectureship. The objective of the lectureship is to provide and sustain a series of lectures which will preserve and promote the study of Oklahoma Baptist history and heritage. Gaskin has written 15 books about Oklahoma Baptists, and he provided the major impetus for Oklahoma Baptist research and publication over the last four decades. The lectureship recognizes his contributions to preservation and promotion of Baptist history and heritage.
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 served as the founding president of the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Society in 1956 and was the editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Chronicle, beginning with its launch in 1958 through his retirement in 1998.