Oeita Bottorff, SBC moderate leader, dies - Word&Way

Oeita Bottorff, SBC moderate leader, dies

DALLAS (ABP) – A key leader in the moderate response to the Southern Baptist Convention inerrancy controversy in the 1980s died Feb. 25 after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

Oeita Theunissen, 87, known professionally and in church leadership as Oeita Bottorff, was director of Baptists Committed, an organization formed by Baptists to oppose a movement in the nation’s second-largest faith group known alternatively as the “conservative resurgence” or “fundamentalist takeover.”

She was a key organizer of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship — a group that celebrates its 20th anniversary this summer — formed after it became clear that denominational loyalists would be unable to hold onto SBC leadership through political means.

Prior to the controversy she was recognized as a leader among Southern Baptists in youth recreation ministries. She worked a number of years with the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission on issues including Texans Care for Children. In 1996 she coordinated a major project, "Violence, a Christian Response."

She is survived by her husband, Bruce, two children, a grandson, two sisters and two stepdaughters. A memorial service is scheduled at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 3, at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Dallas.

Her body has been donated to the willed body program of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Dallas Women's Foundation or the food pantry of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension.


Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.