Stained-glass window honors couple for contribution to Conservative Resurgence
During Southwestern Seminary’s chapel service, Oct. 14, President Paige Patterson reflected that, in 1978, the Southern Baptist Convention’s six theological seminaries had a combined total of just 16 professors who believed in the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word. “Now,” he continued, “just a few years later, you can go to any one of our six theological seminaries, and you will not find one single professor who does not believe in the inerrancy and the infallibility of God’s Word.”
“That is a phenomenal act of God,” Patterson said. “And we want future generations of students to know about the people who made that possible.”
In order to pass along the story of the SBC’s Conservative Resurgence, Southwestern has dedicated stained-glass windows in MacGorman Chapel to those who played a major role in turning the convention back to a high view of Scripture. Windows that have already been dedicated include those for Paul Pressler, Adrian Rogers, W.A. Criswell and Jimmy Draper. On Oct. 14, a new window was dedicated, honoring the impact of Harold “Preacher” and Barbara O’Chester.
Patterson listed three ways in which the O’Chesters aided the conservative movement. First, their “fabulous ministry to the home,” which saw them travel across the country to hold conferences on the biblical view of the home. “I could not tell you how many homes have been saved and placed together as a result of their ministry,” Patterson said, “and that was so crucial at that time, when homes were falling apart everywhere.”
Second, Patterson commented that the O’Chesters faithfully served at Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, during a difficult time in its history that was characterized by tragedy and financial chaos. Patterson said that while most people would have simply transferred to another ministry, “these two precious people hung in there and demonstrated how you do it in the valley just like you do it on the mount. And it made a lasting impression on many of us that I personally can never forget.”
Finally, the O’Chesters served in a city that, in Patterson’s words, is not known for its conservative bent. “As a matter of fact,” he continued, “it’s known for everything but that. And yet, right there, they built a great church, and in the process of the conservative movement, they stood for truth there, and thank God they did; it made all the difference in the world.”
For all of these reasons, and many more that time did not permit Patterson to recount, Southwestern dedicated a stained-glass window bearing the image of the O’Chesters to signify the difference they made in the Conservative Resurgence. During the formal dedication of the window following the chapel service, Harold O’Chester shared that, as a “product of Southern Baptist evangelism” and a beneficiary of numerous men and women from his churches who have loved and supported him through the highs and lows of ministry, he is indebted to Southern Baptists. “My gratitude to Southern Baptists and folks like you is boundless,” he said, “and I deeply appreciate this honor.”