W. O. Vaught
|Worley Oscar "W. O." Vaught|
|Born|| January 11, 1911 |
Versailles, Kentucky, USA
|Died|| December 25, 1989 (aged 78) |
Little Rock, Arkansas
|Spouse||Mary Frances Bostick|
|Religion||Southern Baptist clergyman|
Worley Oscar Vaught, Jr., known as W. O. Vaught (January 11, 1911 – December 25, 1989), was a Southern Baptist Convention clergyman from primarily Little Rock, Arkansas, who for a time was the pastor of Governor Bill Clinton prior to Clinton's two terms as U.S. President from 1993 to 2001.
Vaught was born in Versailles (pronounced VER SAILS), near the capital city of Frankfort, Kentucky, also the home of the well-known political figure, Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler, who served as a governor, U.S. senator, and baseball commissioner. Vaught was reared on a farm near Brooksville in Noxubee County in eastern Mississippi and graduated from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Vaught was the pastor of churches in Missouri and Texas until 1945, when he came to the large Immanuel Baptist Church in the capital city of Little Rock, He remained at Immanuel until his retirement in April 1983. During Vaught's tenure there, the church grew from one building to various structures covering two blocks. For many years, Immanuel led the state in contributions through the Cooperative Program, by which the SBC funds all of its convention-wide causes, and in gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which provides half of the annual support for Baptist foreign missions. More than twenty churches grew out of the Immanuel fellowship during Vaught's tenure. The tape ministry, begun at Immanuel eight years before Vaught's retirement, distributed three million sermon tapes worldwide.
A leader in state and national Baptist causes, Vaught was a president and member of the executive board of the Arkansas Baptist Convention. He sat on the board of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia in Clark County and the Arkansas Baptist Home for Children. In 1955, OBU conferred the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree upon Vaught. Immanuel Church raised funds in 1983 to endow the W. O. Vaught Chair of Bible at OBU. He was a member of the Relief and Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, president of the Southern Baptist Pastor's Conference, and vice-president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He served some sixteen years on the SBC's Foreign Mission Board and was the chairman of the building committee when the present mission board headquarters was constructed in Richmond, Virginia.
Following retirement from Immanuel Church, Vaught conducted Bible conferences across the nation and published three books, Believe Plus Nothing, God's Calendar, and The Best is Yet to Be. he was widely known for his detailed verse-by-verse method of preaching. When he spoke at Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville in the late 1940s, a young Bill Ichter, later the first Baptist music missionary to Brazil, accepted the altar call to receive Jesus Christ.
Skepticism about Bill Clinton
As Bill Clinton's pastor, Vaught did not endorse Clinton in the latter's successful return to the governorship in 1982, when he unseated the one-term Republican, Frank D. White, who had himself defeated the Democrat Clinton in the 1980 election, when Ronald Reagan won the electoral votes of Arkansas. According to Wiley Drake (born c. 1943), who had strongly endorsed Clinton for governor in 1982 and who in 1998 was the pastor of Buena Park Baptist Church in California, Vaught told Drake that he would not support a candidate, such as Clinton, who appeared to be using Christianity as a way to woo voters. Drake recalls Vaught as having told him,
Pastor, I appreciate ... the fact that you as a pastor are involved politically, and I think we’re in a day and age when every pastor ought to be. I agree with everything you’re doing, except I would offer you a little bit of caution. I would caution you about supporting politicians who use the church to their advantage and are not really that devout in their Christianity.
Drake added that he "threw caution to the wind, unfortunately, and for the next several months I did everything I could as a pastor and as a person … to help Mr. Clinton get elected.”
Long after Vaught's death, Clinton claimed that the pastor had told him that oral sex is not a sin. Drake, who later considered trying to remove Clinton from the Baptist church rolls, said that he did not believe Clinton's account because he considered Vaught a traditional conservative strong on moral biblically-based values. Such a comment would have been out of character and expectation for Vaught, Drake said.
Drake called Clinton's conduct in the Oval Office with Monica Lewinsky "grievous. ... I would pray that the president would indeed find forgiveness from God, from the people in America, as well as his family. I don’t believe what I saw on television was anything even closely approaching what most people would refer to as an apology. And even if he were to apologize, I don’t believe that is a biblical term. The biblical term is found in 1 John 1:9 where it says, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ I did not hear him confess. I heard him say ‘I lied.’ I heard him say ‘I deceived.’ But I did not hear what I believe to be a biblical confession or a biblical repentance. So therefore I do not believe that forgiveness from anyone, God included, is forthcoming for Mr. Clinton at this point — until he does indeed confess.”</blockquote>
Vaught died in Little Rock of cancer on Christmas Day, 1989, at the age of seventy-eight. He is interred along with his wife, the former Mary Frances Bostick (1909-2000) at Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock.
After Vaught's death, WOVen Teaching Ministries was organized to preserve his ministerial achievements. In 1994, the collection was given to Ouachita Baptist University. From this source, one can access ninety-nine Vaught sermon tapes for check-out.
- Worley Oscar Vaught, Jr.. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 21, 2017.
- Dr. W. O. Vaught Collection. setxdist.com. Retrieved on March 21, 2017.
- "Bill Ichter ('49): Music Missionary to Brazil, Columns: The Magazine for Louisiana College Alumni and Friends, Winter 2016, p. 22.
- David M. Bresnahan (September 4, 1998). Clinton's trouble in the pulpit: Another Southern Baptist pastor turns on him. World Net Daily. Retrieved on March 21, 2017.