"Do Right BJU lost its credibility ... The Facebook page just went from one crisis to another, responding in very bad ways. And that’s why nobody wore red on Monday."

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"Do Right BJU lost its credibility ... The Facebook page just went from one crisis to another, responding in very bad ways. And that’s why nobody wore red on Monday."

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I find Jeri to be largely

I find Jeri to be largely fair, levelheaded, and insightful.

And she pretty much nailed this one.

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Yeah

I have disagreed with Jeri in the past, but I agree with her 150% on this. Her paragraph(s):

Quote:
What really amazed me was the utter indifference shown by Jon Henry and the other supporters who wanted to drive these young people like lemmings over a cliff. It seemed never to have crossed their minds that it might also be ethically necessary to think about ways to spare the young people from being humiliated and losing a semester. And what is even more remarkable, the leaders of the protest never realized that any college student with a grain of sense would recognize the utter callousness and willingness to use idealistic young people (use them up, I should say) that was demonstrated by some of the alumni driving the DRBJU cause.

And that was also becoming more clear. In spite of guarantees that this was a student-led organization. It clearly was not. And that would also have been clear to the students at BJU.

The unabashed venom, spitefulness, pettiness, lack of focus, lack of concern, lack of professionalism killed the protest. Once the students at BJU saw what was really going on, they steered clear of red on this past Monday. Even to the very end, the DRBJU FB page was still alternating between assuring people they were now back on point and then going off point.


I just hope that this particular blog entry gets the kind of widespread circulation that it deserves.

I have maintained in the past that some - not all - of the people in this whole mess are far more interested in vengeance or in hatred than they are in justice, and I think Jeri's done an excellent job of pointing that out.

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"It is not because the culture is always changing...but because we are always in need of being re-oriented to the Word that stands over us...that the church can never stand still." - M. Horton

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it's not over

Quote:
This protest, even though its final execution flopped, really was a vital first step.

Jeri is partly right in her post, but she is still a bitter angry woman. Not really worth the time of day. This quote, however, near the end, shows that the bitterness and attacks will continue.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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My point of view

My point of view with caveats:

Caveats:

  • College was like ... 41 years ago AND
  • I went to a secular college (University of Cincinnati)

My point of view: Students of private colleges like BJU are better off moving on to another instititution than protesting that institution. In other words: If you cannot wholly support the institution you are best not being matriculated there.

I can't put myself in the shoes of a potential incoming Freshman because 45 years ago I had never heard of BJU and so did not consider it.

But go in with eyes wide open. Now specifically about BJU:

  1. Not regionally accredited
  2. Heavy http://web.archive.org/web/19990224181248/www.bju.edu/aboutbju/special_a... in loco parentis philosophy (follow the link where they actually state that: "Bob Jones University acts "in loco parentis."" (also some interesting stuff on accreditation: "Yes, you as a parent should be concerned about the accreditation of the Christian college your child plans to attend. Has the institution surrendered itself into the hands of unsaved men and women who will attempt to dictate the manner in which its program is to be carried out? Bob Jones University can justly lay claim to what other educators have termed it, "The World's Most Unusual University."")
  3. Know the handbook before you pay the $$
  4. Dominated by a family - it's in the name. Know the quirks / sayings of the main man (Bob Jones III) (the man has a lot of opinions and it strikes me he does not tolerate opinions different than himself. Some might view his sayings as "pontifical")

    If one undersands points 1-4 above and still wants to go .... go and don't protest.

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More of Peet's point of view

More of Peet's point of view:

  • Bob Jones is not a haven for free speech. I'm ok with that
  • If one wants to freely express himself in blogs, twittering, Facebook status updates ...
  • The secular college campus might be a better place!
  • More on "in loco parentis": My parents really loved me. Mom and Dad Peet .... Cleone (now 91) and Alvah (passed on 12 years ago). If your parents love you and you respect them, why on earth would you let someone take their place?!
DavidO's picture
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Don Johnson wrote: ...she is

Don Johnson wrote:
...she is still a bitter angry woman.

What's she bitter about?

She has a perspective on the failures of "the IFB" and is pursuing a solution (although she's called out her own denomination at least once). Sure, she names names, but does not make accusations without presenting evidence.

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Also, how can one

Also, how can one blood-bought saint refer to another as not worth the time of day?

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a matter of opinion

Well, David, just my opinion after coming across Jeri's rantings from time to time over the last few years. I am sure she won't lose any sleep over it.

The fact that someone happens to profess faith in Christ is no criteria on which to say anyone must pay attention to anything that person happens to opine on.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Oxgoad, eh?

DavidO wrote:
Also, how can one blood-bought saint refer to another as not worth the time of day?

The same ones who think that beating people with a blunt instrument of words is a good way for Christians to behave.

http://oxgoad.ca/about/

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Dissent

Protesting the position of authority may be acceptable and even lauded in our culture but that doesn't make it right. Reread the first five books of the Bible for support of that statement. God has a very dim view on griping. I don't know if accreditation has resulted in BJU being forced to allow dissent. That may be. It still doesn't make it right.

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Don Johnson wrote: The fact

Don Johnson wrote:
The fact that someone happens to profess faith in Christ is no criteria on which to say anyone must pay attention to anything that person happens to opine on.

Fair enough, but it sounded like you were saying something else. If this is what you meant, ok.

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pot meet kettle

Shaynus wrote:
DavidO wrote:
Also, how can one blood-bought saint refer to another as not worth the time of day?

The same ones who think that beating people with a blunt instrument of words is a good way for Christians to behave.

http://oxgoad.ca/about/[/quote]

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Matt Walker wrote: Protesting

Matt Walker wrote:
Protesting the position of authority may be acceptable and even lauded in our culture but that doesn't make it right. Reread the first five books of the Bible for support of that statement. God has a very dim view on griping. I don't know if accreditation has resulted in BJU being forced to allow dissent. That may be. It still doesn't make it right.

Griping and dissent are not synonymous. I guess I should be thankful our nation's founding fathers weren't fundamentalists.

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Fine line

Griping vs. dissent... a fine line indeed. How to define it? A key factor is whether legitimate authority is involved, whether the bounds of that authority can rightfully exclude dissent. There is a place and a time and a mode for expressing just about an contrary opinion.

I think Doran's post on this a few weeks ago was on target. There are forms of dissent that do not probably belong to believers particularly in relation to other believers.
One thing's for sure: the Christian way is not to uncritically embrace the methods of our culture, especially methods that have emerged as the favorite tools of philosophies particularly hostile to a biblical view of human nature and authority.

Jim Peet wrote:
Know the quirks / sayings of the main man (Bob Jones III) (the man has a lot of opinions and it strikes me he does not tolerate opinions different than himself. Some might view his sayings as "pontifical")

I don't think this generalization is quite fair. Every leader has opinions a plenty or he should not lead. When we agree with opinions we call it "wisdom," when we disagree, we call it "pontificating."

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Aaron Blumer wrote:Griping

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Griping vs. dissent... a fine line indeed. How to define it? A key factor is whether legitimate authority is involved, whether the bounds of that authority can rightfully exclude dissent. There is a place and a time and a mode for expressing just about an contrary opinion.

As you say later dissent really has quite a range of meaning, at least one of them nowhere near griping.

One of the more salient questions for me is which authorities can rightfully exclude dissent. To a point, even a local church/pastor ought not exclude dissent (over various non-fundamentals) even if they/he limits the format in which dissent is expressed. I think alot of Jeri's article on dissent had to do with the right of students to hold their own opinion. I think that's called soul liberty.

We get incensed at various Bible Colleges who require graduates to sign off on allegiance to a certain translation, but when I graduated from mine, I had to sign off that I personally subscribed to a dispensational, pre-trib, premil view. In other words, a mid-tribber or amil student would not be allowed quietly go through the Bible classes, learning what he needed to learn to pass them, while privately holding his own views. Simply not welcome. I'm not sure that's the best approach.

Again, it's their school. And if those gates were opened, quiet dissent would not likely be the way it played out, but, on the other hand, this is college/seminary, not 3rd grade catechism.

One question I think parents my age will be asking as they help their kids choose schools is how much will this place simply tell them what to think instead of letting them do some of their own thinking.

To a larger point, from whence does an independent Bible College derive any biblical spiritual authority? Sure, if you go to one, you submit yourself to their rules, same as workplace. But mere institutional authority is different from what I percieve being portrayed/exercised at various BBCs.

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Dissenting Christians

I know too little about the situation at Bob Jones to comment, except to say that having read some of the written statements of critics yesterday, the talk is loathsome.

But as to Christians dissenting and soul liberty, the Bible certainly teaches it (see Romans 14). A great number of Christians in the past suffered and died for this principle, sometimes at the hands of other brothers and sisters in Christ. It needs to be maintained. Church leaders for years have caused unrest in their churches by forcing their agendas and then allowing no dissenting voice (or else defining dissent as unspiritual). But soul liberty does not stand alone as a biblical principle. Every Christian is entitled to his own views, and then to be judged by Christ for them. But what he does with those views is determined by a host of other Christian principles. Paul teaches freedom of conscience. He does not teach freedom of expression whenever you desire, however you desire (not even the Constitution of the US provides that). Here are a few of the ways Christian dissent is limited by Scripture:

What we say can be defiling. Isaiah confessed (6:5): So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts." People actually learn to think bad because of all the evil they read and hear.

What we say needs to be said in grace: "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." (Colossians 4:6)

Be truthful: "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds." (Colossians 3:9)

Be humble: (Philippians 2:1-8)

Speak with sobriety: "Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, . . . sound speech that cannot be condemned . . ." (Titus 2:6,8)

Limit your criticism: "Be patient therefore . . . do not complain brethren, against one another." (Romans 15:5)

Seek to honor Christ: "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17)

Seek unity with other children of God (and most certainly in your own church): " Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus," (Romans 15:5)

The list is much, much longer than that. If we cannot confess that we are regularly maintaining this kind of spirit when we speak and write (James says we all mess up with our mouth sometime), then we can at least strive to attain it, and humbly let others correct us when we overstep our bounds.

Jeff Brown

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Jeff Brown wrote: I Every

Jeff Brown wrote:
I Every Christian is entitled to his own views, and then to be judged by Christ for them. But what he does with those views is determined by a host of other Christian principles.

No disagreement there.

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Let's not be overcome with parsing terms

Certainly we are not all lawyers here. When I used the term dissent, I was using it as a synonym for griping. Forgive my overgeneralization. What I meant to say, more precisely, is that there is a difference between having a disagreeing opinion and expressing it. There are even differences in how that disagreeing opinion is expressed. Certainly BJU has understood that for a long time as the policy was "griping not tolerated. Constructive suggestions appreciated." When a disagreeing opinion is offered constructively, then that's a good thing. When offered in a spirit of "I know better than my authority and I need to stand up and say something," then it's not a good thing.

Moreover, it matters not if the authority is secular or sacred. Consider the passages dealing with how employees are to submit to their employers (Eph., 1 Peter, 1 Corinthians). These texts do not give even a bit of room to a griping spirit.

Matt

And that's my complaint for the day! Smile

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The right way for a student to dissent about BJU ....

The right way for a BJU student to dissent about BJU is not go there. I one cannot accept the direction of the school .... find a different school.

The "Do the right thing" protest ... is "absolutely the wrong thing" for a BJU student to do. They will just get in trouble. Getting "shipped" will cost the BJU parent thousands of dollars and will be an educational setback for the student.

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Research

I agree with Jim.... I mean, His Most Noble Forum Directorness The Honorable Jim Peet. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-happy105.gif[/img ]

I have a hard time believing that parents and students don't thoroughly research the university they plan to attend, and are completely blindsided by doctrinal beliefs and behavioral requirements and dress codes.

It seems to me that there is an element of confusion about how Christian institutions of higher learning fit into the spiritual scheme of things. Some Christian universities operate like a sort of church/college hybrid. While Scriptural principles can be applied in any situation involving authority structures, a university is not a church. The same necessity for unity as is important for a church situation need not apply for students to receive a solid education in their field of study. If they aren't causing confusion or dissension, they can believe in blood-sucking angels from Jupiter for all I care.

Griping is often an expression of disagreement but soaked in a bad attitude. The exact same complaint could be made by another person who is tactful and respectful and it will be received and considered. Don't expect to be taken seriously if you sound like a toddler who dropped their ice cream cone in the parking lot.

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Susan R wrote: Griping is

Susan R wrote:
Griping is often an expression of disagreement but soaked in a bad attitude. The exact same complaint could be made by another person who is tactful and respectful and it will be received and considered. Don't expect to be taken seriously if you sound like a toddler who dropped their ice cream cone in the parking lot.

Except, asking questions at this particular institution - even tactfully and respectfully - is considered griping.

(WARNING! ANECDOTAL INFORMATION TO FOLLOW!)

My dear wife and I attended this particular institution from graduating year 1977 to 1981. We, and those who matriculated with us, eventually figured out that students were not allowed to ask questions. However, once a student became a graduate, he could ask any question he wanted, and the institution would listen. So several of our classmates went on to advanced degrees and very prominent, successful careers. Then they went back to the administration and expressed their opinions of the institution. And (wonder of wonders!) things began to change.

I don't know how it is now, but back then a question - *ANY* question - was considered griping or a bad attitude. Tact didn't matter. Respect didn't matter. 100% unvarnished loyalty was all that mattered.

That's my personal, first hand observation. If your experience was different, please share it!

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Assumptions

Susan R wrote:

I have a hard time believing that parents and students don't thoroughly research the university they plan to attend, and are completely blindsided by doctrinal beliefs and behavioral requirements and dress codes.

Susan, you're making assumptions that simply don't reflect the reality for many BJU students. First, you're assuming that students, along with their parents, exercise healthy autonomy. Second, you're assuming that students and parent view themselves as having choices about college attendance. Also, some students are blindsided by the rules. As far as I know, they don't give handbooks to prospective students, and many of the rules are not in the handbook at all, but are distributed orally through hall meetings.

Many BJU students come from churches where attending BJU is a spiritual duty, or nearly so. Their college options are limited to what the pastor says. Even if there isn't an overly authoritarian pastor in the picture, the church may be so shaped by a particular school identity that it would seem awkward for a teenager not to go to the school. At my Christian high school, which was attached to a fundy church, graduates went either to Pensacola (the spiritual ones), BJU (the smart ones), or Liberty (the mildly rebellious ones). Those who chose otherwise were not spoken of; they were prayed for. Many students' parents told them they could go either to BJU or not go to college. So, a student may end up at BJU almost by force, and the imposition of the rules is then not so much a freely chosen undertaking. It's sort of like children in the middle ages who were dropped off at monasteries.

Once a student reaches BJU, they are constantly told that it is God's will for them to be there and that any thought of leaving must be due to a spiritual problem. If a student expresses to a member of the RA staff (or whatever it's called) that he or she is thinking of leaving, meetings with staff will soon occur. These meetings are not optional. During those meetings, whatever reasons might be given for leaving will be deemed insufficient, and the fault will be placed firmly on the student. I know this from personal experience and from more than a few of my good friends. Children of faculty are literally forced to attend BJU. If staff/faculty parents permit their children to attend schools other than BJU, they can be fired. I have a friend who had to pretend to be in rebellion against his parents and had to sever most contact with them in order to attend a different school. That's insane!

So, when BJU says that those who don't like the choices the administration make can leave, they're smirking. Because they know that many people can't leave. The emotional cost - losing family, friends, and church - is too high. Besides, at this point they tell you that your credits won't transfer very many places. Funny how that didn't come up in admissions. Faculty can't really leave either. They make almost no money. Some of them live in housing provided by BJU at a relatively cheap rate. Those would lose their house and be unable to find equivalent lodging elsewhere. (Sound like a mill town strategy?) Since their degrees, often granted by BJU or a similar school, won't be recognized elsewhere, they can't just go teach at the local state school. BJU is the whole world to many of these students and staff. So, when BJU says, "Like it or leave," it's like someone saying, "If you don't like Earth, go somewhere else." There's nowhere else to go.

My Blog: www.sacredpage.wordpress.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

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Another anecdote

Karl, I pretty much agree with what you are saying, given my experiences. In general, any type of "why" question, no matter how respectful, was seen as suspicious, if not griping or a complaint (this was 81-85). In one particular instance when I asked a (respectful) question, the answer was essentially "You are a junior -- you should know better." It became clear pretty quickly that any type of question (at least from a student) was strongly discouraged, if not completely off limits.

That's not to say I didn't learn to come to terms with the regulations -- I did, but it was clear that many of the unwritten rules were considered at least as important as the written ones.

Dave Barnhart

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Dissent at BJU

This may sound weird coming from me, but when I was at BJU in the early '80's, dissent was not a problem, so long as one was discrete, sensitive, respectful, and submissive. I made frequent trips to the office of the Dean of Students and the Dean of Men to dissent from existing policies, make observations, make a Biblical case for alternatives, etc. I frequently found them to be receptive, and occasionally saw concessions. I always received thoughtful communication back.

Sometimes the concessions I received were so extreme I was afraid the administrator might be shipped!

I said "discrete, sensitive, respectful, and submissive."
Discretion came in selecting the right administrator to talk to. There were a few who were inflexible.
Sensitive, respectful, and submissive were merely the logical and Biblical way to approach an authority to whom one was in subjection.
The important distinction between me and some others who found themselves quietly shipped away was to not appear like a firebrand who would be unable to live with BJU's position. It was important not to appear to think oneself as the new Martin Luther.
They graduated me knowing I disagreed on some things, I'm sure.

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Agree with Charlie and Mike

I agree with Charlie - Jim's idea (wait - make that "His Most Noble Forum Directorness The Honorable Jim Peet" Lol of not going if you disagree is true, but that doesn't work for everyone. Some quick examples:

1. Parents who send students to BJU in hopes of 'straightening them out' (Dr. Berg mentioned this at a CIT session I was in).
2. People who had no idea about any of the Phelps/Anderson mess prior to getting to BJU and consequently were pulled in unawares...I have a friend who went to Liberty last year but had no idea of the Ergun Caner brouhaha.
3. Students who wanted a good education but aren't aware of the student rules or guidelines (like the rule on no headphones for students).
4. People like myself who went there even though we knew and disagreed with some of the rules, but decided that getting the education was worth the hassle of submitting to rules we disagreed with.

Then you add in the factors that Charlie mentioned, and you've got all kinds of possibilities for bad things to happen. Not to mention the fact that finding a school that someone is 100% in agreement with is increasingly harder to do for any self-styled fundamentalist, young fundamentalist, or evangelical.

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"It is not because the culture is always changing...but because we are always in need of being re-oriented to the Word that stands over us...that the church can never stand still." - M. Horton

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BJU Experience

It's been 39 years since I finished at BJU, having spent twelve years total, first in the Academy, then University and Grad School (now Seminary). I must agree that some complaints on this thread are, in my opinion, true. I think it took me at least five years from departure before I was able to separate what is Biblical from what is tradition in the Christianity to which I was exposed at BJU.

But all in all, I believe the whole experience was good for me. The training I received, and the strength of commitment for standing for truth was invaluable. Having to sort out, for myself what is Biblical and what is merely traditional was also a good exercise. I have since observed that all Christian organizations and institutions have various traditions, and everyone influenced by whatever style of Christianity needs to do what I did in separating revelation from opinion.

BJU has always had strengths and weaknesses. So have all other Christian institutions. So have I and everyone who reads this. If one gets hung up on the weakneses, he will be unable to benefit from the strengths. If one believes it is his mission in life to correct all the weaknesses he finds in others, he will make little or no progress correcting his own.

I agree that BJU has encouraged a measure of criticism by behaving, at times, as if they were above criticism. That is a form of pride which needs to be abandoned. But so many of the critics display an equal if not greater measure of pride, as if they have been appointed by God to render infallible judgments, make official pronouncements, and demand corrections in keeping with their decisions.

I have expressed various concerns about BJU over the years, hopefully making them in a spirit of love and humility, and directing them to the right source. I refuse to become an enemy of BJU because I received so much that was good, and I believe people who love Christ and are committed to His Word deserve our encouragement and support. I believe it is wrong to receive benefit from those who love Christ and sacrifice of themselves to help me, and then turn around and stab them in the back.

By God's grace, I have grown and changed over the years. It's called progressive sanctification. By God's grace, BJU has grown and changed over the years as well. I see movement in an ever more Biblical direction. That's what I want for myself. That's what I desire for BJU, and that is sadly all too rare among professing Christians. I pray for BJU, and wish them well as they continue to "work out their salvation in fear and trembling." I think we will better please Christ if we treat them as our Christian brothers and partners in the cause of Christ.

Sincerely,
Greg Barkman

G. N. Barkman

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A Confession

I want to make sure I present a complete and proper picture of my approach to this thread.

I LOVE THE EDUCATION I GOT AT THIS INSTITUTION! I loved learning what I learned there - academically. Some of my heroes were on faculty - staff there. I made lifelong friends there. God provided a wife for me there: I met her first day of classes freshman year. There were some definite positive experiences during my time there. (I crammed 3-1/2 years into 5... Smile )

It's just all the other *STUFF* that drives me nuts.

Charlie wrote:

Susan, you're making assumptions that simply don't reflect the reality for many BJU students. First, you're assuming that students, along with their parents, exercise healthy autonomy.

:SNIP:

At my Christian high school, which was attached to a fundy church, graduates went either to Pensacola (the spiritual ones), BJU (the smart ones), or Liberty (the mildly rebellious ones).

I attended a Christian Academy that was sometimes refered to as a northern extension of the particular instituion under discussion. So when I arrived in Greenville, I was completely familiar with the culture found there. My attendance there was my choice, directed by God, supported by my parents and even my Pastor (who was not a big fan). If the choice to attend had *NOT* been my choice, I probably would have left organized Christianity, never to darken the door of a church again. One person, who is very, very close to me, DID leave organized Christianity for 25 years.

Charlie wrote:
Many BJU students come from churches where attending BJU is a spiritual duty, or nearly so.

I heard an administrator say this (or something VERY CLOSE to this) in chapel one day: "Any graduate who does not send their children here is the lowest, slimiest kind of gutter rat." If I remember correctly, this adminstrastor's tenure with the university stretched all the way back to College Point, FL. (But I could be wrong about that.)

I had great times at this institution. I had experiences unmatched in joy and blessing while I was a student there. But I will not *SEND* my son there. If God leads and provides for him to go there, I won't stop him. However, if God leads and provides for him to matriculate somewhere else, or if (::GASP!::) God leads him into a trade instead of an academic setting, I won't stop him. I want my son to find God's will, and do it. And, believe it or not, God's choices for higher education are not limited to the Wade Hampton Blvd campus.

dcbii wrote:
Karl, I pretty much agree with what you are saying, given my experiences. In general, any type of "why" question, no matter how respectful, was seen as suspicious, if not griping or a complaint (this was 81-85). In one particular instance when I asked a (respectful) question, the answer was essentially "You are a junior -- you should know better." It became clear pretty quickly that any type of question (at least from a student) was strongly discouraged, if not completely off limits.

A few years after her graduation, my Dear Wife had opportunity to visit with the Dean of Women in her office on campus. (Evidently, my Dear Wife had spent a LOT of time in the DoW office as a student: they knew each other well!) During the conversation, the DoW told my wife "Your class was the first of the Bad Years." My Wife, and her friends, would ask questions about the rules and policies of the institution, and ask how those rules were supported by The Bible. (I'm not talking about "Why do we need to wear a tie before lunch, but not after lunch?" type of questions, but sincere, spiritually based, honest questions.) Imagine that: wanting to know how the Bible is applicable to the practicalities of life. That was considered "Bad" by this particulat administrator.

P.S.
My favorite chapel quote of all time, by the son of the Founder: "If God had meant for you to have hair on your face, He would have given it to you."

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Greg's comment

Greg,

I very much agree with what you wrote. The negatives I experienced (and there were plenty) were far outweighed by what I gained. If my children would ever choose to go there, I would want them to know much more about the school than I did when I went, so that they go in with eyes completely open, but I have also seen a lot of growth and change in the school since I was there. I hope that it continues.

Dave Barnhart

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False doctrine

The idea that someone can channel God and make declarations about God's will for another person is false doctrine and should be treated as such. It is cute, it isn't funny, it isn't endearing. It is an indication of a seriously dysfunctional view of authority and loyalty. It is idolatry, pure and simple.

I'm amazed that people who vehemently oppose the KJVO notion of double inspiration will just sit there and smile indulgently at someone who believes that "Any graduate who does not send their children here is the lowest, slimiest kind of gutter rat." How is this any different from other false teachers who say they have special revelation from God?

I understand that there are churches whose dynamic is as Bro. Charlie described. But you know the phrase "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine?" Well, a lack of spiritual maturity and discernment, as well as the absence of a spine, is not a legitimate excuse for this kind of false doctrine to be allowed to propagate to the point where it has woven itself throughout the fabric of Fundamentalism. Yes, it is very disappointing if you lose time trying to pursue an education, and somebody gets mad at you and calls you nasty names, but are we principled or not? Is God in control or not?

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"Any graduate who does not

"Any graduate who does not send their children here is the lowest, slimiest kind of gutter rat."

That was supposedly stated over 30 years ago, right? Is the person who said it still there? Is that same thing being stated in chapel nowadays?

Also, perhaps a less coarse word to describe one's dismay could be that something totally "stinks" instead of, well, a word that has other connotations I'd rather not have in mind while reading this blog.

Rev Karl's picture
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And what about now?

Brenda T wrote:
"Any graduate who does not send their children here is the lowest, slimiest kind of gutter rat."

That was supposedly stated over 30 years ago, right? Is the person who said it still there? Is that same thing being stated in chapel nowadays?

You are correct: I heard this comment in chapel in the late 1970's. So did the "preacher boys" in chapel that day. So did the seminary students in chapel that day. While many men have sought out the Bible, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, and have pulled back from the style of fundamentalism which is authoritarian, militaristic, personality and list-of-rules driven, there are enough left in the ministry from that era that this topic comes up on a regular basis.

The observations are mine, and indicitave of the climate I observed during my time as a student. They are presented as a comment validating the veracityof a previous post. I have seldom been back on campus since I left the area in 1982. I have heard about changes occuring, and for the most part I welcome them. But I personally have never observed them, so I can't make a valid comment about them.

As to your other question, the administrator to whom I refered passed away in the early 1980's. I would hope that the type of rhetoric he expounded has been modified since I heard it. If it has, and someone on theis blog can speak to it, I welcome that input.

As I continued my education there on campus, stuff came up that frustrated me, and I would often discuss it with my Dad. His response: "The only thing wrong with that place is that it has PEOPLE. People aren't perfect. When you have people, you are going to have problems."

I think it has been mentioned previously in this thread: there is no institution of higher learning that is going to be perfect. You will never find a perfect church. There will never be a perfect job. "Problems" are going to come up everywhere you go. Thirty years ago, the philosophy was "TAKE A STAND! SEPARATE!! STAND FIRM FOR GOD!!!" Over the last thirty years I have come to learn that the defining identifier of a believer is our love one for another.

I miss Dad.

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Kind of similar statements

Brenda T wrote:
"Any graduate who does not send their children here is the lowest, slimiest kind of gutter rat."

While I didn't hear that exact quote, I will say that I've have heard a lot of statements - not made in jest - along the lines of "You know that God wants your kids at BJU, right?"

-----------
"It is not because the culture is always changing...but because we are always in need of being re-oriented to the Word that stands over us...that the church can never stand still." - M. Horton

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Unapproachable?

Two different visions of BJU have been presented here. To some, they have been unapproachable. To others, approachable (as I indicated in my post above). Of course, the truth is there has been a mix, depending on who was being approached on what issue. In general, reasonable people can be reasonable. Unreasonable people cannot. And every institution has a mix of both.

I think the Inter-racial dating/marriage issue still haunts BJU in several ways, but most notably by reinforcing the "unapproachable" viewpoint. That emperor had no clothes decades before BJU admitted it. The fact that their abandonment of the policy so closely coincided with the on-line petition about that probably strengthened the perception that this is the way to handle "problems" with BJU.

The fact that this petition was handled clumsily only reveals the other side of the issue. For every concerned believer who wants to help BJU, there is at least one bitter person who cannot be reasonable or objective toward BJU and who has no real desire to help. No wonder BJU administrators are somewhat skeptical of the new order of media savvy protestors. They have moved from the old order (where concession made you look weak) to the new order, where, apprently concession makes you look strong to some but only brings the next round of demands from others.

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Letting deciders decide

An area of confusion in our society, and in this particular issue, has to do with how we view leadership.
Before anyone can decide whether dissent is appropriate or not and how to express it in a given situation, we have to figure out what we believe about more basic questions.

  1. Do we believe in leaders? I.e., do we believe that some people should decide for other people (within the boundaries of their relationship... which is often contractual)?
  2. If the answer to #1 is no, then of course, kicking up a fuss of any sort about any decision we don't like is completely proper... nobody knows better than anyone else and nobody's position makes him more entitled to make a decision than anyone else.
  3. But if the answer to #1 is yes, we have to consider how that plays out. At some point, if we believe person A has the responsibility to make a decision and that we do not have that responsibility, we have to recognize that the right thing to do is let that person make the decision and let him answer to God for it. (Heb. 13:17, James 3:1)

    Of course, a leader with any sense tries to be as well informed as time allows when making a decision, and recognizes the value of counsel (and what we now call "feedback"). But if the decision is his to make, so is the decision about how much or how little to involve others in making it (True, there are contractual exceptions to this)

    All of this to say that, in general, in my view, Americans tend to think that the decisions of too many decision-makers are their business. That is, they have an exaggerated sense of their entitlement to participate in decision making in a wide variety of settings. The operative rule seems to be "If I can question a decision I have a right to question it."

    (In the end, while leaders need accountability, etc., there is no substitute for virtue in a leader. All the accountability in the world will not make him wise and good. But the question in most of these cases is, "Does the fact that I have a strong opinion and disapprove entitle me to resist a decision? And does it entitle me to enlist others in resisting?")

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Real World Applications

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Of course, a leader with any sense tries to be as well informed as time allows when making a decision, and recognizes the value of counsel (and what we now call "feedback"). But if the decision is his to make, so is the decision about how much or how little to involve others in making it (True, there are contractual exceptions to this)

If the President of the United States commits perjury, do we have the right to tell our Constitutionally elected representatives we want him impeached?

If the Governor of South Carolina directs his staffers to inform the public that he is hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he is actually visiting his mistress, do the citizens of SC have the right to ask for his resignation? If he refuses to resign, do they have ther right to demand a recall vote?

If a pastor commits an act of immorality, do we as members of the church have the right to ask for his resignation?

If a deacon is made aware that his pastor has abused a child in an obvious criminal act, and that deacon chooses not to report the crime, chooses not to protect the child from future harm, but covers up the crime, do we have the right to ask for his resignation?

If an institution to which we are linked by attendance, membership, or otherwise, chooses to act (or not act) in a way that is not only questionable, but harmful to our own reputations by our association with the institution, do we have the right - individually or collectively - to ask for a change?

While point 3 may apply to individual congregations assembled in accordance with the instructions of Scripture, does it really apply to an educational institution? A political instituion?

(I am writing this quickly, trying to finish so I can get back to work. If my comments come accross as brusque or improper, please know that this truly is not my intent. Thank you, Bro. Aaron, for sharpening me today!)

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It's Easy to Criticise

Anybody can be a critic. Few are able, qualified, and willing to lead. Leadership is difficult, and the constant chirping of critics is one of the burdens. When criticism is not handled in a Biblical manner, it usually does nothing to help the situation, but makes things worse.

It is my personal observation that the present leadership at BJU is more open to criticism than anytime in the past. I trust that the critics will address their concerns in the right way to the right source. To complain publicly to others before taking your concerns privately to the person responsibile is unbiblical. You could even say it is ungodly.

I was suprised that no one seemed to notice the following inconsistensy in regard to the Phelps situation. BJU was loudly criticised for re-instating Phelps to its Board without talking to the girl from his church who was raped. But I don't know of anyone who posted criticisms on the internet who asked anyone in the administration at BJU about the Phelps situation. Doesn't anyone see the irony of that? BJU is faulted for not seeking out and talking personally with the abused girl. But the critics who find this unacceptable feel no responsibility to seek out and talk personally to anyone from BJU before going public with their criticisms. Hmmm.

Yes, it's easy to criticize. It's difficult to lead. Monday morning quarterbacks are a dime a dozen. Competent quarterbacks are a rare breed. Perhaps a bit more appreciation for the difficult work of quarterbacking would be helpful.

Sincerely,
Greg Barkman

G. N. Barkman

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From a faculty kid

Maybe I'm biased since my dad (Dr. McAllister) is in the BJU administration, and I can talk to him whenever I want. I spent 23 years there growing up on campus. I called Jim Berg "Uncle Jim" growing up, so I'll admit I'm in deep. Yet somehow I came to different convictions on the cultural trappings of fundamentalism (music, dress, relationship to culture ect.). I am still DEEPLY thankful for the school. Just a few points from someone who has complained officially and unofficially over the years.

1. Emphatically the school has changed a lot in the last few years. I don't think it's fair to attribute an attitude that existed in the 70s with attitudes of present administrators. Sure, maybe there is a little bit of cultural spillover.
2. The "if you don't like it, then leave" advice falls flat for me. If you love BJU as an institution, you love it probably for the faculty, the friends, the experiences ect. You probably don't love it for the administrative oversight or rules (present family members excepted). Those who love the school naturally want to see it thrive for future generations. The big question is: how might it thrive? There is huge disagreement about that even among supporters. I would love for the school to maintain biblical thankfulness for the next 100 years, know that it will look different in 10 years, 20 years and 80 years from now.
3. I know for a fact that questions of "what will our supporters/constituency think" comes into consideration for some decisions. Sometimes it's miscalculated, but it's still there. I make it a habit to send the University and/or Stephen an encouraging and thankful note about once a year thanking them for some kind of positive change I've seen. I did so last night in fact, thankful for the absolutely spectacular assortment of books in the BJU campus store (which is really really great by the way!).
4. Criticism is best given in friendship and conversation. To Mike's point above on approachability: the school has made it more and more a point to seek counsel from various corners. Those who want to have the right to dissent, should also show up at "Friendship" banquets, and actually talk to administrators face to face. It probably helps the next time you get hot under the collar to realize that these are real people with real feelings (and of course, real sin). Gentle confrontation works better most of the time.
5. But I don't want to say there's never a time for harsher confrontation of a problem. But that would come hopefully after a long pattern of patently unbiblical behavior and repeated refusal to listen to plain reason.

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Rev Karl wrote: Aaron Blumer

Rev Karl wrote:
Aaron Blumer wrote:
Of course, a leader with any sense tries to be as well informed as time allows when making a decision, and recognizes the value of counsel (and what we now call "feedback"). But if the decision is his to make, so is the decision about how much or how little to involve others in making it (True, there are contractual exceptions to this)

If the President of the United States commits perjury, do we have the right to tell our Constitutionally elected representatives we want him impeached?


Surely this comes under the "contractual exceptions" Aaron mentioned. So does almost everything else you mentioned, really. The deacon example you gave may not be a written contract, but it is certainly implied. Although there may not be an explicit written contract, he has shown himself not to match the qualifications of a deacon.

The "institute to which we are linked" may or may not suggest any kind of contractual relationship. That does not mean there is no right to >ask< for a change -- there is always that right, I believe. It is one thing to ask, it is another to expect/demand. For that, there probably needs to be some kind of contractual obligation involved.

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We have to remember that

We have to remember that Chuck was placed on the board many months prior to the 20/20 program. He was simply reinstated as a result of no longer being the president of another Christian college. His reinstatement had absolutely nothing to do with with the church discipline matter. It took the executive committee by surprise. Chuck did the right thing by eventually resigning. Dr. Bob III did the right thing by accepting the resignation. I give them both credit for doing so. Better late than never. I have personally spoken directly with many of the people in this story. Unless one believes that Pastor Chuck Phelps is an unmitigated liar (which I don't), he acted thirteen years ago based on information he directly received through his personal and direct interaction with Tina, Earny, Earny's wife, and Tina's mother. As I have said before, Chuck made very serious mistakes in regard to the church discipline of these individuals and certainly left the wrong impression with many by helping Tina's mother send Tina to Colorado. If you would converse with Chuck about these matters as I have, he gives detailed reasons (some misguided via attorneys) and explanations for everything he did. For example, Tina's stepfather was currently in prison when this whole situation occurred. Her "single" mother worked fulltime for the state of New Hampshire and could not properly care for Tina at home alone especially while going through a teenage pregnancy. Tina's mother desperately pleaded for the Pastor to help her in this predicament. Pastor helped locate a good home with godly parents who were extremely kind and generous to Tina. Tina had the good character not to abort her child. Instead she had the baby and gave up the child for adoption and then returned home to her mother. There were no nefarious motives in that particular action. Also, remember that Linda Phelps, Chuck's wife, has been publicly slandered on national television in this matter. I have known Linda personally for many years. Without question she is one of the godliest, most kind, and pure Christian ladies it has ever been my fortune to know. Those who willfully, premeditatively, and deliberately slandered her on national TV and in the social media have damaged the godly testimony and reputation of a Proverbs 31 woman. The public protest enlisting the BJU students was il-advised. On line petitions were also il-advised as Dr. Doran so eloquently demonstrated. Personal letters to the administration, phone calls, withdrawal of one's child, or unwillingness to recommend the school, however, are within the bounds of proper protest, if one chooses to do so.

Pastor Mike Harding

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Another no-win

Mike Harding wrote:
As I have said before, Chuck .... certainly left the wrong impression with many by helping Tina's mother send Tina to Colorado.

Yes, and yet....

If he did nothing to help change Tina's living situation before her stepfather got home, he could have been criticised as well. I can hear it now -- "He didn't even care enough to get her out of that home."

I appreciated your comments in that prior thread:

Quote:
dealing with these matters is analagous to wrestling with skunks, no matter what happens one is going come out of it smelling quite badly. Sin, particularly of this kind, is awful, ugly, repulsive, damaging, and eternally destructive.

Sin is not only a failure of love towards God, it is a failure of love towards our fellow man, because they end up being the ones that have to wrestle with the skunks. Perhaps one of the most important lessons we could all learn from this situation is the importance of keeping ourselves pure, so we don't stink up other people's lives.

One other thing that stands out in it all to me, and it comes from Romans 12:2, to which I've been giving a lot of thought in recent years. There is nothing in the Bible that says, "Thou shalt (or shalt not) send a girl to Colorado until her baby is born." There are some Biblical principles that could apply one way or another, but we just can't plug a lot of these decisions into the "obedience/disobedience to Scripture" category.

But as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, we learn to "prove" the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. The more our thinking gets in tune with God's, the more we'll find the best way forward. Pleasing God is not simply a formulaic academic exercise of figuring out exactly what the Bible says and doing it. It is a spiritual exercise of transformation, of getting on God's wavelength so completely that we do the right thing even if memory fails and we don't intellectually remember which Scriptures and/or Biblical principles are driving our decisions.

Like the basketball player who, after years and years of chasing down rebounds, has learned to instinctively know where the ball is going to go, so we need to learn to instinctively recognise where God's Word would point us. I'm not talking about nebulous spirituality, I'm talking about Bible-driven spirituality becoming so ingrained that it drives all of our decisions. That basketball player didn't learn to anticipate rebounds by looking at the floor and guessing where they would go, he learned by watching where they go and chasing them. The more we look at where God's Word is taking us, and go there, the better we will anticipate where it is taking us even when the markings on the road aren't as clear as we might like.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this situation, to try to prepare myself for similar situations as they arise. I think that is profitable for us to do (especially as pastors). But if we rely on our mental planning, there will always be situations that we never anticipated. We're never transformed enough, always needing to be increasingly renewed in our minds, always needing to draw closer to the Lord, always needing to follow His Word in training ourselves instinctively to follow Him.

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Good questions

These are good questions... I've added numbers for clarity

Rev Karl wrote:
Aaron Blumer wrote:
Of course, a leader with any sense tries to be as well informed as time allows when making a decision, and recognizes the value of counsel (and what we now call "feedback"). But if the decision is his to make, so is the decision about how much or how little to involve others in making it (True, there are contractual exceptions to this)

1. If the President of the United States commits perjury, do we have the right to tell our Constitutionally elected representatives we want him impeached?

2. If the Governor of South Carolina directs his staffers to inform the public that he is hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he is actually visiting his mistress, do the citizens of SC have the right to ask for his resignation? If he refuses to resign, do they have ther right to demand a recall vote?

3 If a pastor commits an act of immorality, do we as members of the church have the right to ask for his resignation?

4. If a deacon is made aware that his pastor has abused a child in an obvious criminal act, and that deacon chooses not to report the crime, chooses not to protect the child from future harm, but covers up the crime, do we have the right to ask for his resignation?

5. If an institution to which we are linked by attendance, membership, or otherwise, chooses to act (or not act) in a way that is not only questionable, but harmful to our own reputations by our association with the institution, do we have the right - individually or collectively - to ask for a change?

While point 3 may apply to individual congregations assembled in accordance with the instructions of Scripture, does it really apply to an educational institution? A political instituion?

(I am writing this quickly, trying to finish so I can get back to work. If my comments come accross as brusque or improper, please know that this truly is not my intent. Thank you, Bro. Aaron, for sharpening me today!)


I think we'd probably all agree that the first three are "yes" and the only remaining questions would have to do with how, in what manner, etc.

#4 ... who "we" is (in "do we have a right") determines the answer...

  • Members of the congregation: certainly (in congregational gov. In a more episcopal or presbyterian polity, this is probably still the case, there is just a different process, I assume)
  • Leaders in a denomination or association: probably yes (the authority there depends on the relationship)
  • Any citizen acting as a citizen: sort of yes, except the resignation part. A crime is involved and a citizen always has the right to report a crime.
  • Christians in general who happen to know about it or read about it online: doubtful... let each be fully persuaded in his own mind. The important thing is to think it through: What entitles me to mount a protest here? Is there a person or body who has the decision making responsibility? Is it in any way my responsibility to influence the decision? If so, does my responsibility extend beyond persuasion into methods of coercion? Why or why not?

#5 is even less clear. There are so many considerations to weigh. My point is that they have to be weighed. We can't just figure that because we know about something and don't like it, it's our job to join an effort to essentially coerce leaders to make our decisions rather than theirs. In the long run, it's better to persuade leaders to think differently rather than pressure them to act in ways they do not believe in.
This is the difference between persuasion and coercion.
There is a place for the latter, but it has to do with authority and decision-making responsibility. The Christian way is always to favor persuasion over coercion.