Wednesday, January 25, 2012

OBU Chapel: Compulsory, Sexist, and Fundamentalist as Ever

It's really beyond the scope of Save OBU to say much about OBU chapel services, especially since many of our supporters have not attended them in years.  But insofar as chapel services reinforce OBU's descent into fundamentalism, we will make note of them.  This especially important because we are trying to make the case that OBU's troubling trend is systemic and organized, and not just a result of one or two powerful men's personal preferences.

Until today, I had not heard the name Voddie Baucham in over a decade.  But I am absolutely certain he spoke at chapel when I was at OBU.  (Who could forget a name like Voddie?)  Actually, as I've perused lists of recent and upcoming chapel speakers, it's amazing how much recycling goes on.

Now, I have always believed that making religious worship compulsory was bizarre and counter-productive.  But as I experienced OBU as a student and then as an alum, I have come to realize that OBU is surprisingly authoritarian and somehow gets near-universal conformity with minimal questioning.

Why the fuss about today's chapel speaker, then?  Because Voddie Baucham is not your typical Baptist minister.  Instead of partnering with the mainstream Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baucham's congregation is part of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.  Whereas fundamentalists succeeded in taking control of the BGCO and most other state conventions, they failed to take control of the BGCT.  So they formed an alternative state convention, putting politics and fundamentalist dogma ahead of mission and ministry cooperation.  Even now, the SBTC encourages "stealth" fundamentalist pastors to remake churches from within and endorses ethically dubious tactics to lure unsuspecting congregations away from the BGCT.

Thus OBU has given a platform to someone who openly loathes Southern Baptists' long history of mission and ministry cooperation in Texas and felt so strongly that the conservative BGCT was not conservative enough that he aligned with a controversial splinter group.

Here is Rev. Baucham on CNN in 2008 lamenting the fact that Sarah Palin left the kitchen to pursue a career of public service.  You have to watch this (it starts about 1 minute into the video).  It's pretty breathtaking.  The anchor (who knows her Bible better than most) is truly taken aback.

Apologies to all if Rev. Baucham has miraculously moderated his extreme views in recent years and preached an inspiring sermon in Raley Chapel today.  But somehow I doubt that's the case.  It's just a shame that the Raley Chapel pulpit continues to be a platform for extremism, sexism, and fundamentalism.


  1. I saw Voddie a couple of times at OBU and at Glorieta. Never knew his political alignments, or that they were still recycling him ten years later. But yeah: this is pretty horrific.

  2. I saw him preach at Super Summer (also at OBU) the summer before I headed there or maybe in '98, can't recall since I went to that camp three summers straight. I was impressed by his knowledge of the Scripture and how much he was able to quote from memory. Not impressed at all with his statements there. That anchor certainly had quite a knowledge of Scripture herself. I guess Bro. Voddie would scold me for allowing my wife to work outside the home and probably would look down on me for letting her wear pants!

  3. Jacob the libs hijacked the BGCT most Texans do not agree with the BGCT trying to take them to the CBF so it is a two way street

    1. If you look at the numbers, 75% of churches stayed with the BGCT and only 25% went to the SBT, so I don't know that saying the "libs hijacked" the organization is quite fair. Most is an interesting word, but I wouldn't use it.

  4. Kris wow huge jump there he is one thing so he must be another I thought the great education you have was against such jumps. Your suppost to be open not judgmental seems libs are more judgmental than Fundamentalists are

  5. 1. This is why I hate proof texting - from either side of the issue.
    2. I don't believe Mr Baucham spoke during my time at OBU; however, he was a key speaker at last summer's Association of Classical Christian Schools conference which I attended with the school at which I now teach. Let me assure you that while very skilled rhetorically his message has not changed. After his first speech I was not eager to attend his other sessions.
    3. I find it troubling that Mr Baucham accused the woman of being fast and loose with the text while he himself was so eager to proof text and "explain away" obvious examples of female leadership with equally fast and loose texts. The Bible is an entire work and ought never to be looked at in bits and pieces. That is why time tested and honored doctrines handed down from the original church are so invaluable hand in hand with Scripture. The Bible is so expansive that working from a bit here and bit there is dangerous. I could do the same thing with Wordsworth's /Prelude/ and make him sound like two completely different poets. (Bad example . . . but somewhat illustrative I hope)

  6. The chapel message was incredibly powerful and inspirational, and EXTREMELY biblically-based. Don't make an assumption about a message you did not hear.

  7. ^It doesn't exactly matter what he said YESTERDAY, as much as it matters what the man stands for in general. I'm sure we could invite an outspoken racist to chapel who could give a mean sermon as well, but that doesn't mean he should be invited.

  8. ^Touche. I can't deny that. My point was merely that the writer should not assume that the message was horrible if he did not hear it himself.


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