Dr. Stephen Eccher delivered the Hobbs Lecture at OBU Wednesday, Oct. 9. The lecture took place during OBU’s Wednesday chapel hour at 10 a.m. in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. Eccher is the assistant professor of church history and Reformation studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His lecture was titled “Sola Scriptura and the Reformation: Scripture, Tradition and Authority.”
The Herschel H. and Frances J. Hobbs Lectureship in Baptist Faith and Heritage was OBU's first endowed lectureship beginning in fall 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 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.
Eccher discussed many figures during the Reformation but focused on Martin Luther, who is famous for nailing his 95 Theses to the chapel door in Wittenberg, Germany, Oct. 31, 1517. Luther, who disagreed with the church, vowed not to recant his statements unless the scriptures proved him wrong.
Eccher urged students to think of the boldness of Luther and others and how important they are to scripture interpretation.
“We need voices from the past,” Eccher said. “It is vital that we read their writings and acknowledge them. This is important because the same savior who saved us, saved them.”
He asked students to think of three questions: “What do I believe? Where does it come from? And What am I willing to give up/endure for my beliefs?”
“Your answers to these questions will cast a long influence on your life,” he said.
Eccher wanted to stress the importance of both how sacred and important scripture is, and also how we may not always understand what it is saying.
“Allow sacred scripture to be your guide and the light. Embrace the historic interpreters and recognize that you are eventually going to need help when understanding the scripture.”Eccher has been teaching at Southeastern since 2013 and was elected to the faculty in 2015. He is a world specialist in the history of the Reformation in Europe and has done extensive work on the Swiss Reformation. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Palm Beach Atlantic University, a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and both a Ph.D. and Master of Letters (M.Litt.) from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland). He has published articles and essays on the Reformation, the theology of the Reformers, and Anabaptists. His dissertation at St. Andrews explored the Bernese Disputations of 1532 and 1538 historically and theologically.