Is Segregation Scriptural? A Radio Address From Bob Jones On Easter Of 1960

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

TGC: why dredge that up again? I can think of no good reason to do it and about a hundred reasons not to.

Everybody associated w/BJU now acknowledges that Jones was wrong, that the position of the school was wrong, etc. Well past time to move on and leave that behind.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

JNoël's picture

Would be interesting to see if you were to post this comment on their site if they would censor it out.

 

Wink

 

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

Jim's picture

Many thanks to historian John Matzko—a professor at Bob Jones University who is authoring the first scholarly biography of Bob Jones Sr.—for his research and help on various historical details related to this address.

Andrew K's picture

Yeah... I've had comments censored by them before, and I know others who have as well. Mine was relatively inoffensive to boot, though I was disagreeing with their position on the topic, as I recall; so I was somewhat surprised.

Joeb's picture

Aaron's right just dredging up old garbage that BJU has already dealt with. If someone wants to throw stones at  BJU, BJU has  given them plenty of cannon fodder recently for them to shoot with.  That being said this racial issue is just old news and they are trying to use old paint to paint BJU as being racist now. One thing I'll say about BJU they stick to their guns and don't try pretend to be something else to attract students. Love them or hate them you have to respect that. BJU never try's to walk the fence and pretend to be something they are not. It's a shame they can't clean up their act in some other areas from what I heard their academics  are bar none. Some of you might not agree with that assessment but I think it holds true with the students they produce.  

Bert Perry's picture

I must admit that I, like Aaron, cringed when I saw that, Yes, it's time to move on and leave that behind, but....

....at the same time, I am going to guess that as long as there is an Internet, and as long as there are books, people are going to bring up the past of BJU.  Although I've got no direct connections to the school, other than friends and pastors, as a fundamentalist that is part of what got me to where I am now.  Same with all of us, really.  

So the way I see it, it's part of how we got here, part of who we are, and we might as well own it and make sure we know why we repent of it.  Not just political pressure and the sheer social rejection that has been extended by God's grace, but let's go from general to special revelation.  If we are to say the "races" should not mix, how far does that go?  Does that mean nations?  Tribes?  Since nations and tribes are extended families in their roots.....does that mean we don't marry outside our extended families?  Cue the scene from Deliverance...

Jones himself was the product of a Welsh-Scottish marriage and married women whose maiden names indicate English and German descent.  As the work of Sir Walter Scott (especially Ivanhoe​ ) indicates, it wasn't historically just the color of your skin that mattered in terms of this idea.  Was Jones then ashamed of his own marriages?  How do we get to the point where it's OK for a Jew to marry a Gentile, or a Welshman a German, but not for a caucasian to marry someone who is black?  Or for the various tribes of Europe to worship together, but not for the tribes of Europe to worship with the tribes of Africa or Asia?

...and reduced to absurdity by general revelation, we then subject it to special revelation in the questions of the wives of the sons of Jacob, Joseph in particular....the Cushite wife of Moses...Rahab and Ruth in the geneology of Christ....the Jewish practice of proselytization...and the question of why, if mixing was wrong, was Israel itself on a major trade route, and why don't Paul, Christ, John, Peter, James, Jude, and the author of Hebrews warn the churches that it's wrong for members of one ethnos to intermarry with another?  What do we make of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.

...and I could go on a while, I'm sure, if I thought more of it, but really....I think that we owe the world a ready answer in this matter.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jonathan Charles's picture

You would have to look long and hard to find any institution in the south that existed a long time before desegregation that didn't discriminate.  The Southern Baptists split from the Northern Baptists over the issue of slavery.  W.A. Criswell opposed desegregation at one point.  People who haven't lived down south read a story like that repeated about BJU and think they were chief offenders when the reality is that discrimination was everywhere.    

Joeb's picture

Jonathan your painting the plate very well with your fast ball curves and sliders. Bert watch out this guy has got some good stuff. Anyway it was everywhere no matter what church down South. What's scary is some of the people down south think the war is still going on.  I may said this story before but my brother's friend wanted to get out of any Baprist church due the administrative structure more any spiritual issue so he took a Senior Pastor position with a PCA church in NC. Well he got more rye he bargained for two of the elders were active  long time members of a local Neo Nazi grouo  ie another evolution of the KKK.  I'm sure white hoods would come out when needed.  Anyway he finds this out after taking the position. So needless to say he wanted them gone from the church and as elders.  Well some of the the people were not to happy with this hence public fight in the funny papers.  Once you get into them there hills down south you run into all sorts of interesting churches who in name may appear normal but in reality are fruits and nuts and some even snake handlers.  Bert do any Snake handling lately. I'd love go to one of those churches with a black mamba and see if their trust in the Lord was strong enough to dance with a black mamba.  Instead of a day or two or even three with a Timber rattler.  They would be on the floor and dead in an hour.  Oops not enough faith in our Lord.  Oh well the point is in these rural areas in the South the Confederate Flag  still flies.  Check out Dr Phil Kidd with his Confederate boxing gloves and tie.  East Tennessee Boy.  

G. N. Barkman's picture

Good comments on this thread.  You are right that this is and old issue that would best be laid to rest.  You are right that segregation was universal in the South at the time Bob Jones delivered this sermon.  (I could tell some stories.)I think all the comments make some excellent points.  The only redeeming thing I see in this article is that some may actually scroll down far enough to read the statement by Bob Jones III apologizing for the school's former position, and asking forgiveness for defending an un-Biblical practice.  That took a lot of grace and guts.  Well done! 

I am one of many BJU alumni who were embarrassed by the former segregationist position, and am thankful for the new position and the manifestation of humility on this issue.  I am encouraged by many good changes at BJU, and look forward to see what the Lord is doing there.  It has been a good school, in spite of some evident weaknesses, and I believe is becoming an even better one. 

G. N. Barkman

Bert Perry's picture

...bigotry was just an issue in the South.  I grew up in a town where a good portion of people--at least those of older vintage--moved away from Gary when Richard Hatcher became mayor.  'nuff said?  My grandparents grew up in a town in western Illinois which had signs warning blacks to be gone by nightfall, although not in quite such nice terms, and there are people around Rochester flying the Southern Cross.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

....it is precisely because of what Jonathan notes that I think it's important to be able to refute this kind of thing, as I've interacted online (my own blog--they came to visit) with those who advocate something called "kinism".  Now I didn't persuade them, but it was good to have a refutation there.

We might quibble over what portion of the church would need to be able to do this, but like conflict over the Trinity or which Gospels are canonical, I'd suggest that anyone in an elder's position ought to be able to say "yes, we did this, no sense debating that, but we've repented, and let me show you why we did.".

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

T Howard's picture

Repentance for racism and segregation is only half of the requirement.  BJU and Southern Christians who once held to and publicly promoted these positions also need to provide restitution to our black brothers and sisters. Sincere words alone won't fix what was done.

Don Johnson's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

TGC: why dredge that up again? I can think of no good reason to do it and about a hundred reasons not to.

Everybody associated w/BJU now acknowledges that Jones was wrong, that the position of the school was wrong, etc. Well past time to move on and leave that behind.

if you consider Taylor's source (see the now closed comments) everything becomes clear.

the allegation that the sermon was required reading until 1986 is just false. I never heard of the sermon, I was at BJU 1975-1985. Taylor claims to be using scholarly standards in citing his source, one source, well known as having an axe to grind against BJU. Scholarly,eh?

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jim's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
f you consider Taylor's source (see the now closed comments) everything becomes clear.

the allegation that the sermon was required reading until 1986 is just false. I never heard of the sermon, I was at BJU 1975-1985. Taylor claims to be using scholarly standards in citing his source, one source, well known as having an axe to grind against BJU. Scholarly,eh?

Re: the source "well known as having an axe to grind against BJU.". Got that 

But Matzko is not hostile

Don Johnson's picture

Jim wrote:

 

Don Johnson wrote:

f you consider Taylor's source (see the now closed comments) everything becomes clear.

 

the allegation that the sermon was required reading until 1986 is just false. I never heard of the sermon, I was at BJU 1975-1985. Taylor claims to be using scholarly standards in citing his source, one source, well known as having an axe to grind against BJU. Scholarly,eh?

 

 

Re: the source "well known as having an axe to grind against BJU.". Got that 

But Matzko is not hostile

Does he cite Matzko as a source? (for the document in question, I mean)

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

G. N. Barkman's picture

I was at BJU from 1960 to 1972.  (Six years in the Academy, four in University, two in Seminary).  Not only was this sermon NOT required reading, but I never heard of it before now, and my time there began mere months after it was delivered. 

However, the segregationist position was established policy in those days, and well known by the students.  I remember wondering when I was in BJA, why I could (and did) date (one time) a Hispanic student, but would not be allowed to date a black student.  (There were no black students enrolled at that time, so it was a hypothetical question.)  I had trouble figuring out how, exactly, a "race" could be clearly defined.  How many races are there?  Who decides who belongs to which race, since so many are of mixed ancestry.  Actually, we all are of mixed ancestry. 

I experienced the same reasoning years later when I traveled to South Africa in the days of White minority rule.  My missionary friend cautioned me not to mention that his wife was one sixteenth Cherokee Indian, as that information would change her official classification to "Colored" if it were discovered. That would make him illegally married, as people of different races were not allowed to marry in South Africa at that time.   I'm glad those days are over, both in the USA and in South Africa. 

G. N. Barkman

Don Johnson's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

I was at BJU from 1960 to 1972.  (Six years in the Academy, four in University, two in Seminary).  Not only was this sermon NOT required reading, but I never heard of it before now, and my time there began mere months after it was delivered. 

Yes, that is the part that is most infuriating about this attack. It is clearly Camille's doings. Note that Justin calls her an "independent historian" - right. What a joke.

I sent a tweet to Justin, don't know any other way to contact him. He should be ashamed of his post. Not that BJU was right, or Dr. Bob either, on this issue. In the comments, Justin defends his citing only Camille as "scholarly procedure". Is it "scholarly" to use only one source and further her agenda? A little poking around could see exactly what Camille is about, which is to slander BJU at every turn.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

This is a foolish piece. It's entirely possible Taylor just doesn't care, because he doesn't have any roots or ties to fundamentalism. But, to those who do, this piece serves absolutely no purpose. He took a trip to the dump, waded through piles of refuse to dredge up this moldy garbage, and has laid it out upon the dining room table and invited the world to discuss it. Perhaps we should have just left this trash at the landfill where it came from?  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jim's picture

From the article "Many thanks to historian John Matzko—a professor at Bob Jones University who is authoring the first scholarly biography of Bob Jones Sr."

I wouldn't want to be in Matzko's shoes

Church history - especially of the scholarly type! - should include warts and all so Christians know where we've been. Segregation is an ugly part of fundamentalism's past. 

Don Johnson's picture

Jim wrote:

Church history - especially of the scholarly type! - should include warts and all so Christians know where we've been. Segregation is an ugly part of fundamentalism's past. 

Why limit it to fundamentalism? Yes, it was an ugly wart across the broad spectrum of Christianity in America for generations. To state it the way you do implies that it is only an fundamentalist problem.

It doesn't help to smear one group when all Christians (I suppose especially in the South, but not just the South either) were guilty of the same thing.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jim's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
when all Christians (I suppose especially in the South, but not just the South either) were guilty of the same thing [the context is "segregation"].

Not really true: (from pp 41-42)

[a] Calvinist writer to tackle this issue is James Oliver Buswell in his book Slavery, Segregation and Scripture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964). This book is divided into two sections. In Part One Buswell discusses the issue of slavery, and in Part Two he discusses segregation. Buswell gives a lucid and well documented account of pro-slavery arguments, considering in some detail the claim that Negroes are not fully human. He goes on to sympathetically treat the dilemma of Christian slave owners and the activities of Christian opponents of slavery. Against the background of these attitudes, Buswell goes on to discuss segregation, which he argues must be seen in the light of both slavery and the social disruption created by the slave system. Like Oliver he sees racial questions as not simply issues of color but as arguments about the right of one group of men to dominate and subdue another. He forcibly argues that such domination is totally opposed to the teachings of the Gospel and completely unscriptural

On a personal note: I've never been a segregationalist (saved 1969 / and I was certainly aware of the issues then! I was 20 & lived in Cincinnati - a Southern "border state" that has a long racial history (not all good!)

 

GregH's picture

To me, it is not an issue of whether other people were guilty too. My question is why BJU was a last holdout. Why were they so late to the party, one of the last schools in the south to enroll African Americans, long after it was mandated for public schools, and close to three decades after their archenemy Billy Graham was encouraging desegregation in his crusades? That does not seem like being the light of the world to me. BJU should have been the first to desegregate, not the last.

Bert Perry's picture

For me, I can (and do, really) concede that fundamentalists do take it on the chin for this and other issues, and a lot of it is unfair--as others note, north and south, the liberal churches and secularists were (and are) involved, too.  But that said, we've got a trump card the liberal churches do not; we believe in sin, and we believe in repentance, and we believe we've got a Bible that will tell us, if only we will listen, what God's real view is on the matter.

We can therefore smile and say "yes, we screwed up, and thank God, He brought us to repentance first with public pressure, and then more importantly through His Word.  We looked at the stories of Rahab, Ruth, Moses' wife, and a host of other things, and we came to the conclusion that the Scriptures are not compatible with any variety of 'kinism'.."

And why did BJU stick to it so long?  Complex story of the South plus fundamentalism--two cultures that are strongly rooted in a reaction against modernism.   And even north of the Mason-Dixon, we've got some of the same reality--it's a weakness we need to understand, no?  We need to so emphasize sola scriptura that we'll see clearly to correct our mistakes.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Don Johnson's picture

Jim wrote:

 

Don Johnson wrote:

To state it the way you do implies that it is only an fundamentalist problem.

 

 

 

Process words more carefully! You know I did not "imply" that!

Well, I'd say write words more carefully. Your words can certainly be taken to imply just as I said.

Now, we can go back and forth saying "Did so, Did not" or we can move on. Your choice.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Joeb's picture

I personally know that there  was a Baptist mission organization n the early 80s and a tightly associated Bible college who did not allow mixed race married couples to serve on the mission field. Even if that couple. both grew up in GARB churches and I believe mixed race couples were also discouraged from taking pulpits to. The mission board absolutely.  I heard it from the horses mouth.  A young white gentleman met a Chinese girl at the college in question and they were both mission majors and got married during college.  They both pursued their degrees and we're excited to go on the mission filed with this questionable mission agency which was the only show in town.  In those days if you were a GARB it was this agency or the highway. They worked through school and paid their tuition and got their degrees and then were told they could not serve because they were a mixed race couple.  The school was more than happy to collect their tuition but no  Profs who were tighter than ever with this mission agency ever told  them this until afterwards. Well I asked can't you go to another agency ie a good one not a racist corrupt one. He got real mad at me and said it would take years for him to make the contacts and accomplish that. This man was very very angry with the college and the mission agency and bitter.  I don't blame him. He was betrayed by these people just like I was.  Yet the College and the Mission Agency  went along their merry  way like nothing happened.  Essentially the college committed theft by deception and personally knowing the Pa State Trooper Detective back then he probably would have gotten warrants for the head of the Mission Department if they did not pay the tuition back. The trooper's name was Nick Genova and if I asked him to look into it I guarantee he would have but me being nieve about these local GARBS I didn't. Back in those days the   La Cosa Nostra ran everything in this town. Nick had bad sheep in the family who were made members.  The mob killed his cousin on the school board for not going along with a contract  for one of their companies.  They shot his cousin with a high powered rifile with a special plastic covering on the bullet so to could not be traced. They did it as the school board meeting dismissed at night.  The local OC family was connected to the Genovese family in NY. It was speculated that the hitter was brought in from there. Nick went nuts and went after the people he felt called for the hit.  He pistol whipped the crap out of one of the mob guys. Needless to say he the mob guy did not press charges but NICK ended up on the night shift writing speeding tickets in the mountains.  Anyway BJU was not the last one and at least BJU makes no bones about where they stand. Other Bible Colleges are masquerading as Regular Christian Colleges due to financial problems but not truly changing and braking with their pasts. BJU may still cover up things but again they  don't play the chameleon game.  We are what we are take it or leave it. They have laid all their cards pretty much on the table so I'm not thrilled with BJU but at least they aren't falsely presenting themselves as something else.  I highly respect that over the other.  

Joeb's picture

3 sides  The complainant side.  The defendant's side and the truth.  It is very possible that this young  man and his wife were told by the College profs that the questionable mission agency would not allow him to serve due to to his mixed race marriage but he may have ignored the advice wrongly betting when the time came the mission agency would make an exception.  Now this being said that does not make this rule not racist.  It is very racist and if this young people made this a theft by deception issue no matter I what in a he said she said matter they would have convicted the bible college officials.  In the county involved it is almost 85 % Catholic and there was no loved lost there for a Fundamental Baptist institution. To boot the DA at the time there was in bed with the mob which was later proven in a federal criminal case. Anyway the point again here is BJU was not the last hold out they were just the most exposed due to being in the South.  I think that some good numbers of the GARBC and its institutions in the north and Midwest got away with this by operating under the radar regarding not allowing mixed couples to serve in a ministry. Also as one gentleman said on this blog others were doing it too. To him I say that does not make it right and it is racism and sin. So to all of you don't throw stones at BJU because I would take a good guess that a number of other Fundamental and conservative evangelical churches and institutions were doing the same just under the radar   I remember going a Swedish Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids Iowa as a kid and seeing a black pastor and a white wife being ordained this was in 1963 or 1964. I believe the old Swedish Baptist at that time was called the Baptist General Conference and now it's called something else with Bethel College and Seminary being their flag ship School.  Bert your expertise on the new name.  Anyway this conference probably has liberal elements in it and fundamentalists, but the fact they were ordaining a mixed race couple in the 60s tends to show they were more progressive in this area.  Now when your get into Iowa Minnesota Illinois and  Michigan these swedes and Norwegians are very liberal.  As one TV Reporter put it during the Republican Cacus in Iowa these Democrats make Hillary look like Ted Cruz.   

Rob Fall's picture

as late as 1981, MBBC had the same rule.  Though, it probably died when Dr. Cedarholm retired.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Joeb's picture

My bible church in the Early 90s was a spinoff of the local Presbyterian Church in the early to mid 30s.  Same as my home church in Princeton.  Both churches had close ties with Jack Wrytzen.  My father was saved at West Point through Jack Wrytzen's ministries.  A young man who eventually became our Asst Pastor and then our Senior Pastor grew up at Schroon lake but while he was pastor he went and took classes one a week at the bible college in question which eventually lead to the hiring of a young minted youth Pastor. Nice guy but this Asst Pastor and the youth Pastor were drinking some of the bad racist punch. To start with I was in Sunday School class of  young marrieds and this Asst Pastor was teaching and sitting next to me was my African Brother in Christ with his white wife. This guy was a Corrections Guard at Trenton State Prison.  This black man as he was growing up was a victim of racism.  Now as the Asst Pastor was rolling along he some how went of on a bunny trail about how ungodly our government was and then came the Parrot Rant how great our country was in the 50s how much more Godly our Government was in the 50s and a country and Gov we Christians could be proud of.  Well I was  dumb founded and quite mad but Bert you would have been proud of me.  I did not explode I did not intentionally try to embarrass the teacher. I rose my hand and I said that might be well and good if your a white man but if you were a black man it was not to Godly for him considering a good portion of our country openly practiced Aparthied don't you think.  Well my African American brother in Christ had a great big smile on his face and the Asst Pastor realized who he just said all this racist boloney in front of and quietly said Joe your right sorry and then we all had a big laugh.  Now the Youth Pastor did not know anything about this incident and in a discussion about the big city and big city problems he went into the same parrot rant so I quickly showed him the he was wrong and he told me your right. I never thought of it from that perspective.  Now that crap did not come from Jack Wrytzen or his teachings, because I never heard that speech until I met a home grown bottle fed GARB and the youth pastor was one big Rube/Hick.  So what's the common denominator the GARB Bible college so folks don't pick on BJU.  They were probably no less guilty as already pointed out then anyone else they just happened to be down South.  By the way this youth Pastors fatherinlaw a rich man and elder in his GARB church was a big time Gothard guy.  How do I know he stood up in my churches pulpit and trumpeted Bill Gothard crap and how proud he was that his daughter never violated her purity ring.  The memory of that evil stain on my churches pulpit at the time now makes me want to projectile vomit. Sorry Bert had to loose it a little bit.  Anyway I think it's clear all shared in this sin not one anymore than another that's my point. 

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