Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our Resolution for the 2012 BGCO Annual Meeting

Today is the deadline for Oklahoma Baptist clergy and laypeople to submit resolutions for the convention's consideration.  Fortunately for the BGCO, there is a Resolutions Committee to help make sure that resolutions like ours never see the light of day.  We thought of having someone submit a resolution so that when it got rejected, we could do a big story about it.  But in the end, we didn't want to put anyone in an adversarial position or get their pastor in trouble, especially since our resolution would have most likely been submitted by a member of a church that is dually aligned with the CBFO and the BGCO.

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.


  1. Jacob why do you make such a big deal about the fact that the BGCO does not pay an enormous percentage of the budget of OBU? They own it no entity is going to pay the lions share of the money into something they own. They have the customer do it in this case the students who are buying an education. I about to call hogwash on your survey. It has been going to be released for 6 months and I and no other pastor I know have even been asked to answer one. Was it sent to just OCBF and MOB churches knowing they would side with you? Was it really even given? 80 percent would not approve the resolution

  2. Kevin, it is important to emphasize the diminishing subsidy when the BGCO still wields an undeserved amount of power over OBU. For it's pittance, the BGCO elects 100% of the trustees and seems to have an unbelievable effect on the controlling ideology.

    The image of a business with owners and consumers is inappropriate for the university. First, a OBU is a non-profit venture. The goal is not to make money, but to provide a quality education. Students are not only consumers, but the product as well. The point is that the BGCO obviously does not have the best interests of OBU in mind, and isn't even willing to give enough money for OBU to run.

  3. I know how a nonprofit works I am pastoring one. In a church when a ministry becomes self supporting you move resources to differnt areas so more work can be done. You still have not ever answered about who was surveyed the question has come up repeatedly did you just send it to OCBF and Mob pastors knowing they think like yall as most conseratives have no idea about yalls movememnt and none of them have seen a survey that I know

  4. We got nearly 1000 emails from reports and documents on the BGCO website. The survey received over 100 responses, which is a good response rate for an internet survey. I'm still working on the data analysis. But I'll make the data publicly available.


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