This week we are inaugurating David Wesley Whitlock as the 15th president of Oklahoma Baptist University. Presidential inaugurations are significant not only in the life of the university, but also in the life of Oklahoma Baptists. Ninety-nine years ago, our forefathers opened Oklahoma Baptist University as a liberal arts institution. They believed that a school that would train Baptists of Oklahoma in numerous fields of discipline was needed. Their original dream established a university that was distinctively Christian and Baptist.
It is no small thing that OBU has stayed true to its commitments for these 99 years. A plethora of universities founded with noble principles, anchored to the Christian faith and to the denominations that birthed them, have abandoned both and now stand as secular institutions. They do not reflect even a shadow of their original purposes. In many of these institutions, one is safer to rise to defend Islam than to declare faith in the Savior and His Word on which they were founded. Not so at OBU.
The struggle to keep an institution lashed to the truth of Scripture is difficult enough. To hold an institution to its denominational moorings continues to be the greatest challenge of all. It is essential that, from top to bottom, administration and faculty stand their ground.
The president is key to uncompromised commitment to Christian principles and Baptist beliefs. It all starts with him. We have in Whitlock a man of deep and vibrant faith. He is unapologetically committed to the Word of God as the infallible and inerrant truth from God. He unhesitatingly stands on the Word of God as the guiding principle and measure of all truth. Philosophy, science, business and educational truths are constantly in a state of flux. The one unmovable anchor for Whitlock and OBU is the Word of God.
Few presidents of our university have come to this position with a greater dedication to the local church. He gets it. Oklahoma Baptist University is a servant of the local church. It is designed to develop leaders in every discipline of study—but above all, it is the shaper of men and women who will serve the church. Helping businesses succeed because of high quality graduates from the university is a worthy goal. But OBU falls short if it does not anchor graduates to the Word and the church. Whitlock believes that faith integration is at the heart of OBU.
I join Oklahoma Baptists in welcoming David Whitlock to the helm of our university. May God bless him and may God bless OBU.