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Former ORU Professor and Noted Methodist Bishop Marion B. Stokes Dies

Bishop Marion "Mack" B. StokesNoted Methodist Bishop and former Oral Roberts University professor Marion “Mack” B. Stokes passed away in his Florida home on Nov. 21, 2012. Stokes was born on Dec. 21, 1911 and died just shy of his 101st birthday.

Stokes was a prominent scholar who received his A.B. from Asbury College, his B.D. from Duke University, and his Ph.D. from Boston University. Beyond his studies he was also involved in the higher education industry for more than 70 years.

He was a professor at Emory University's Candler School of Theology for 31 years where he eventually became an associate dean. He also served on the EU Board of Trustees for 40 years. In 1972 Stokes became a Bishop and moved to Mississippi where he successfully merged the African-American and White Methodist conferences.

Following an invitation from ORU, Stokes moved to Tulsa and began teaching in the College of Theology.  He was the chair of the Doctorate of Ministry Committee and was instrumental in formulating ORU’s Doctorate of Ministry degree. Under Stokes’ leadership the DMin degree became fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and is considered to be one of the finest theology degrees available within the United States.

“Bishop Stokes laid a strong foundation for our Doctorate of Ministry Program. His commitment to academic excellence still guides this degree today,” said Dr. Thomson Mathew dean for the College of Theology and Ministry at ORU.

“The ORU community was greatly blessed to have Mack and his wife Rose at the university. They were such dear people whose sweet fellowship made it easy to understand how they became one of the most loved couples on campus,” said Dr. James B. Buskirk founding dean of the College of Theology and Ministry and former Senior Minister at First United Methodist Church in Tulsa.

Stokes was also a noted author who wrote 10 theologically based books as well as numerous articles. His most noted work was entitled “Major United Methodist Beliefs” which has received multiple printings and been translated into multiple languages. Some of his other works include “Scriptural Holiness for the United Methodist Christian” (1987), “The Holy Spirit in the Wesleyan Heritage” (1993) and “Person-to-Person: Building a Relationship with God Through Prayer” (2007).

“He (Stokes) was the first Bishop I ever sat down and had a conversation with. He was so clear in the way he communicated the importance of maintaining the Christian faith through good doctrine,” said Dr. Tom Harrison ORU Alumnus and Senior Pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church.

Stokes is survived by two sons, Arch Yow Stokes of Perdido Key, Florida (Maggie), and Marion Boyd Stokes III of Atlanta, Georgia; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; his brother-in-law, Jensen Yow; and his sisters-in-law, Alda Stokes, 102, and Marilyn Stokes. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rose; his daughter, Elsie Pauline; and, his three brothers, Lem, Jim and Charlie Stokes.