Focus Week to Concentrate on Racial Unity Feb. 12-16

February 9, 2018

Oklahoma Baptist University will welcome two speakers to campus for its annual Focus Week event Feb. 12-16, which will focus on the topic of racial unity. Focus Week is designed to strengthen relationships with God and one another.

Dr. Jarvis Williams, associate professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Seminary, and Dr. Kevin Jones, associate dean of academic innovation and assistant professor of teacher education at Boyce College, are co-authors and editors of the book, “Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention.”

During the week, Williams and Jones will speak in chapel, as well as participate in forums and classroom discussions. Williams will speak Feb. 12, Jones will speak Feb. 16 and they will jointly share a discussion on the topic of racism Feb. 14. All three events will take place at 10 a.m. in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium on their respective dates.

Additionally, the two speakers will participate in individual forums. Williams will speak on “The Church and Race Relations” Feb. 12, at 4 p.m. in GC 219-220. Jones will speak on “The University and Race Relations” Feb. 14 at 4 p.m. in GC 219-220. Maliek Blade, assistant dean of students: diversity/multicultural, will serve as the moderator for both forums.

Blade views the speakers’ visit to OBU as a step toward institutional diversity.

“I am looking forward to having both Dr. Williams and Dr. Jones on campus for Focus Week,” Blade said. “In addition to their expertise, their presence on campus serves as a precursor to the institutional diversity initiative we are launching soon.”

Williams has served at Southern Seminary since 2013. He has published numerous academic works and essays on soteriology in Romans and Second Temple Judaism. He has also published numerous popular books and articles on racism and racial reconciliation. He is interested in supervising Ph.D. students pursuing specialization in the Second Temple Jewish context of Paul’s soteriology in Galatians, and he is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Jones is a native of Louisville, Kentucky, and has many years of experience in the public-school system. He is a research fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and serves as a board member of Love Thy Neighborhood. Jones’ longing is to see Christian teachers and leaders impact the lives of students nationally and internationally, teaching and leading to the glory of God. He and his high school sweetheart, Demica, have three children, Kennedi, Kevin Jr., and Karsynn.

Their book, “Removing the Stain of Racism in the Southern Baptist Convention,” focuses on the diversity of African American and white perspectives on the history of racism in the SBC. The book aims to heal racial wounds in the denomination, which was founded in 1845 in a split from Northern Baptists, so slaveholding families could serve on the mission field. The book features contributions from a dozen black SBC leaders and three white SBC leaders. It is available through LifeWay stores and on Amazon.

Dale Griffin, assistant vice president for spiritual life and dean of the chapel, is excited for all that Williams and Jones will bring to Bison Hill.

“I am so pleased Dr. Jarvis Williams and Dr. Kevin Jones have placed our event as a priority in their busy schedules,” Griffin said. “These men have much to offer students, faculty and staff through their messages, forums and personal visits.”