As you might expect, the BGCO already regards these people with suspicion. Many people have advised me that it's an extraordinarily sensitive subject, and for their benefit I have avoided talking about it even though it is directly relevant to some of the problems at OBU in recent years. Don't go from preachin' to meddlin', they say.
So don't get too excited. Save OBU will not, after all, have a resolution at the 2012 convention. But that's not to say our resolution is controversial in any way. It's not. And we fully expect that, if messengers actually had the chance to vote on it, it would pass with at least 80% support. (Our soon-to-be-released survey reveals that fewer than 20% of Oklahoma pastors and church staff want to forcibly make OBU more fundamentalist.)
The last thing the BGCO wants is to draw attention to the problems with its relationship to OBU. So the resolutions committee would have no choice but to kill our resolution. Most of the resolutions are not controversial (at least no by Southern Baptist standards). "We like puppies," "Apple pie is delicious," and "We are so not gay" are typical. Here's ours:
We, the messengers of the 2012 Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, meeting at First Baptist Church, Moore, Oklahoma, November 12-13, 2012, affirm the vital importance of academic freedom, independent governance, and ethical administration for the continued flourishing of Oklahoma Baptist University. To that end, we lament recent policy and personnel changes that have disrupted careers and harmed OBU's academic and professional standing. We pledge our support for a legitimate university in the best of the distinctively Baptist, unapologetically Christian liberal arts tradition. There is no desire on the part of this convention to transform OBU into a fundamentalist Bible academy, in which case it would alienate bright students, devoted faculty, generous donors, and accrediting bodies. We call OBU trustees, administrators, students, and faculty to a new relationship of trust and mutuality in service to the ideals of the fearless quest for knowledge and wisdom, in the name of the one true God who is the Source of all Truth.
Rather than getting serious about addressing issues of fiscal equity and missional efficacy arising out of the BGCO's subsidy of OBU, the convention will discourage people from thinking too much about these problems. Instead, it will take as given that it should contribute 20% of its Oklahoma Cooperative Program allotment to an institution that raises over $50 million a year on its own and has an endowment approaching 9 figures. President Whitlock will give a brief report highlighting an enrollment boost, new master's programs, and the football team. He will omit any information about OBU's decline in national rankings, persistently low faculty morale, or any of the problems caused by his provost, now basically a lame duck. He will thank the BGCO for its financial support without acknowledging that OBU could get by just fine without it. If he were pressed (which he won't be), he would insist that there have been no "changes" at OBU, even though OBU's theology dean and newest Bible professor admitted in The Bison that there have been.
As a relatively new movement, Save OBU isn't yet mobilized to affect BGCO processes. But in the years to come, if things continue to get worse, we'll be ready to effectively advocate for academic freedom, independent governance, and ethical administration.