BJU faulted for response to GRACE report

[Mark_Smith]

It seems you are piling on man. You really think the blogosphere of Millennials is dumping on BJU because of something Bob Jones III said when their parents were in diapers?

  • First of all I am not piling on. Making the point that BJ (the persons) have negatively affected BJU the school
  • Also the so-called “blogsphere” is broader than the “Millennials”
  • There is a certain “hubris” with Bob Jones that has indeed hurt the school - and has hurt fundamentalism

[Mark_Smith]

It seems you are piling on man. You really think the blogosphere of Millennials is dumping on BJU because of something Bob Jones III said when their parents were in diapers?

Like it or not, people have long memories. Ask a black man about slavery or Jim Crow, a Croat about Serbian behavior in the 1990s, a Serbian about Croat behavior during WWII, a Russian about Napoleon or Hitler, a native American about the Indian Wars, a Red Sox fan about that ground ball to Buckner, Cubs fans about that wonderful series in ‘08 (1908, not 2008)……you get the picture. It’s human nature. The choice is whether one will “man up” and deal with things, or whether we’ll just let it fester.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

You have to separate BJ the person from BJU the school.

BJU the school:

  • Academically strong. I really have no doubt about this. Delaying regional accreditation was a strategic miscalculation, but their focus is now correct. (no links … but grads with appropriate majors and grades have been able to get into medical schools …. )
  • Steve Jones made incredible contributions towards pointing BJU in the right direction.
  • There’s absolutely no doubt that there are thousands of BJU grads who are lovingly following their Lord and that their time at BJU assisted them in this!
  • While Steve Pettit has a lot on his plate (inheriting the G.R.A.C.E. investigation and response), he is the right man for the job
  • Also true: Fundy churches, fundy CDS’s … and fundy instititutions of higher education face headwinds. The CDSes feed the colleges. And the feeder system is in decline.
  • Also true: parents and perspective students have greater options (PSEO, community colleges, et cetera) and are being more selective.

Jay- Thanks for posting parts of the letter. I will take time to go back and read the full letter later when I have more time. This was not there when the article was first posted and when I approached the News earlier this week about claiming it was an “open” letter. I’m glad to see they posted it. It helps me to understand more what these individuals are saying and lend more credibility to what they are saying.

Frankly, I regret asking the question about the letter and the writers’ credibility. Not because the question was wrong, but because so many don’t seem to appreciate the fact that this question needed to be asked and should have been asked by all. Instead, I was attacked. Yes, Bert, even when you try to say you aren’t, but then use personal pronouns directly related to me you are attacking me. And then when I defend myself and try to clarify myself I am further attacked.

When I talk about the media here in Greenville, it is from a life long experience of over negative things about BJU and protecting others from other schools who have done some of the same things. I lived here since I was 9 months old (except for 5 years in my late 20’s), worked in the community, have many friends in and out of the Christian community, and have not worked for BJU since grad school in the early 90’s. I think I understand life in Greenville and with the media.

Yes BJU often is guilty of what they are accused of in the media. The problem is similar to our political reporting - (ie Obama tells a lie and every one covers it up, Bush tells a lie and he’s committed the biggest sin of all time). I have my own set of issues with BJU. In addition, while I have never experience sexual abuse hurts, I have experience extremely deep hurts at the hands of church leaders and fellow church members. Some even life altering. However, I refuse to have a pity party, be bitter, or hold it against anyone. God is too good and life is too short. I learn from my failures and those of others in each situation and move on.

Speaking of, I am once again going to move on. I have continually off and on for several years now moved on from Sharper Iron. This conversation has once again proven to me why.

Eternity will tell the truth about all.

Michelle Shuman

I know that some of you get that reference. If you don’t, Google it for its meaning.

That mindset is something that has long bothered me about fundamentalism. When changes occur (past, present, or future), the accompanying narrative typically amounts to, “Nothing to see here; nothing just happened. Change? What change? Clearly you are imagining things!”

For example, in decades past, blistering attacks emanated from Greenville directed at Christian colleges pursuing accreditation. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly accreditation isn’t such a bad thing after all. (Moreover, whoever said it was?)

Wow Bert I thought I was the only one you did not like. Anyway Michelle’s point of moving on was well taken by me. Absent any serious criminal or civil action BJU is going forward as is. This being said the accreditation is key to their future. A good example of a Christian college not in decline is Cedarville. Now Cedarville is no BJU granted but it has been traditionally associated with the GRABC which has a racist tradition up until the early to mid 80s. I know this because a Hispanic student wanted to date my wife at Cederville and She had to have her parents permission to do it. Yet a white guy no problem. Also, ABWE the GRABC’s mission arm would not allow mixed race to couples go on the mission field. Well Cedarville with this background has flourished and grown. Cedarville has a solid reputation for being conservative and academically excellent. So much so that the churches from largest baptist denomination are now sending their young people there. Also speaking of sex scandals ABWEs scandal makes the BJU situation look like a walk in the park. Remember they fired GrAce and continue to hail the dead Wendall Kempton as great man of God.

[Larry Nelson]

I know that some of you get that reference. If you don’t, Google it for its meaning.

That mindset is something that has long bothered me about fundamentalism. When changes occur (past, present, or future), the accompanying narrative typically amounts to, “Nothing to see here; nothing just happened. Change? What change? Clearly you are imagining things!”

For example, in decades past, blistering attacks emanated from Greenville directed at Christian colleges pursuing accreditation. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly accreditation isn’t such a bad thing after all. (Moreover, whoever said it was?)

Larry,

I think one thing that needs to be learned is that we need to be careful what we attack. Starting with the Billy Sunday era and continuing til today, it was hip for fundamentalist to be on the “Fighting Fundamentalist” side. That meant that we needed to fight all types of practices in society and be very vocal about them. The problem is that society and culture are a shifting sand and the things we fought at one point in time are no longer things we may fight today. Whereas the Gospel never shifts. Unfortunately this is one area that non-fundamentalist areas of conservative evangelicals have gotten right. We criticized them for only focusing on the gospel and ignoring the other areas that were just as important. Yet, we railed on women wearing pants, and now we embrace it. We rail against one political item and now we embrace that, we rail against accreditation and being subservient to the world’s commands and now we embrace it…. We are constantly playing catchup and trying to reconcile our attitudes of the past. We standup so strongly for something that is not really Biblical, we cloak it with Biblical implications when they are really a stretch, so much so that it defines us, and then 30 years later we need to back pedal all the while wondering why the world is constantly hating us.

The fact is that we are constantly apologizing and behind the message. We need to develop a better message.

Dgszweda you do make a good point but everything must be done in balance. The largest Baptist Denomonation’s churches are sending their kids to Cedarville because a lot of their colleges have liberal or agnostic profs and adminstrators in them and they tolerate this element. So yes there may be some catchup in areas that there is no biblical standing but to much catchup can go to far. Obviously people vote with their feet.

Is anyone here actually surprised that people at GRACE would be disappointed that BJU did not embrace their recommendations in toto? Seriously?

Let’s be serious here; to quibble over whether the letter was truly “open”, or whether the writers had “credibility”, is simply an evasion and an ad hominem (personal) attack that proves nothing except that the speaker or writer is unwilling or unable to make a real argument. Unfortunately, as Jim and others have demonstrated in comments on this thread, BJU has a history of using this fallacy liberally. As a number of commenters have also demonstrated, to quoque (you did it too!) fallacies are also common by employees and supporters of the university.

And if you think that repeated, unrepented violations of basic rules of logic and civility do not lead prospective students to scratch BJU off their application list, dream on. If BJU wants to be relevant, they’ve got to take this seriously.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

I am glad to have SI in order to get so many different points of view. Many views on this issue for sure!

I am a graduate of the school. I am very independent. I still have confidence that God is at work at BJU today.

BJU has responded and is still responding to the Grace report (yep, I read it the day it came out publicly).

My two cents on Berg, and Bob Jones III is this, if God could still use Peter after his denial, and Mark after his abandonment, then Berg and Jones III can still faithfully serve God today. I am glad that BJU did not fire either one of these godly men. Lets stop shooting our wounded.

Bert you believe students will cross BJU off their college list due to BJUs lack of reponse to the Grace Report. To some extent you may be right but all those BJU feeder churches will keep the students coming. I think it will be more of a cost issue than a lack of students due to the scandal that will hurt them in the long run. The true BJU believers will still send their kids to BJU. It will really be a matter of this population growing smaller and the lAck of funds. My wife wanted all my 4 kids to go to private christian schools and 300 grand later and mortgage that is not going to be paid off till I’m 86 I know what it costs and I was the only bread winner in my family and I still am. I had a real good job and even though Im retired from that job I’m still working full time. So I can’t imagine today’s christian fAmlies paying for BJU or any christian school, but I also know the Lord will provide. The point I’m making is I believe it will be economics that will be BJUs demise before any lack of response to the Grace report.

Here’s a site describing what has gone on with ABWE, for reference. Their response to what appears to be the actions of one missionary, Donn Ketcham, who was immediately dismissed when his crimes/sins became known appears to include some firings and overall appears more comprehensive than the BJU response, despite the fact that ABWE’s investigation is not yet complete. Here’s ABWE’s explanation of why GRACE was fired.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb, I’m not saying that it’s going to be the response to the GRACE report alone. Their response to that report is actually a reasonable first step—they need to take a deeper look at the counseling methods, and maybe Berg and Jones being there, and hopefully that will come with time. We’ll see.

What I’m saying, rather, is that there is a long history of circling the wagons, intemperate ad hominem attacks, and the like, and that unless BJU eliminates that kind of thing from their culture, good luck poaching students from good, fundamental institutions like Cedarville and Liberty, especially since Cedarville is rated highly as a regional college.

Hopefully things are changing, but all in all, I’m reminded of nothing so much as the “Detroit 3” response to Toyota and Datsun in the 1970s—didn’t take things seriously until market share started to plunge.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Honestly, until BJU changes its name, I will never believe that they ‘get it’. The school is built on a personality cult and that may well be what finally kills it off.

I’ve no doubt that Berg and BJIII in the past have done a great deal for the cause of Christ. I also have no doubt that they are genuinely sorry for their mistakes. But if they truly understood the importance of Jesus increasing, then the best thing they could do for the cause of Christ is to get out of the way. And if Dr. Steve Pettit is a true leader, then he will remove them if they refuse to stand aside.

Bert Wendall Kempton did remove Ketchum but never reported the guy to any law enforcement be it in Bagladesh or the U.S. Ketchem who was 60 at the time kept a 12 year old girl at the time for his personal sexual pet for two years. Kempton via his minions accused this girl of sinning and tempting the poor doctor. It is sad that the victims parents rolled right over for ABWE and did nothing. If that was my daughter on the mission field and ABWE interfered with me getting Justice I would have broken every bone in Ketchem’s body. Turns out Ketchum was a serial rapist and child abuser. Kempton and/or ABWE kept it covered up for 20 years and allowed Ketchum to practice medicine. It was not until the victims sqwaked on the Internet that ABWE rolled over and admitted it and Ketchem’s license to practice medicine was removed. Also Kempton covered up another incident. So BJU at least from what we know never did anything this terrible. Yet with all this ABWE still hails Kempton as a hero and godly man. I don’t think anyone at BJU sank this low or would ever sink that low. Dr Ketchum makes Sandusky look like an Angel and it least with Sandusky Justice was done.