FBFI warns of BJU "change of policy regarding the separation"

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josh p's picture

Oh man I predict this thread to be huge. The PCA one surprises me since BJU is non-denominational. What exactly are they objecting to here? Perhaps a lack of separation in the PCA? Don? 

John E.'s picture

I keep telling people that BJU's core demographic is shifting/has shifted. One only needs to read the threads here on SI to get a small sample of that. Twenty years ago, would self-proclaimed fundamentalists (many of them pastors) have publicly said the things that they say in the music and alcohol threads here? Cultural fundamentalism as most of us know it has shrunk and many of the churches and Christian schools that made up BJU's base have either disappeared, shrunk, or are running slightly ahead of BJU with changes. BJU has to make a decision: continue to keep the "old guard" happy or remain viable. It appears (has for a while) that the school has already made their decision.

For what it's worth, I don't believe that "remain viable" is purely pragmatic. I happen to be pleased with the direction the school is headed and am curious to see how God continues to use BJU in the future for His glory.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Can't everyone just leave BJU alone? I feel sorry for the leadership team; everything they do is met with suspicion, imputation of sinister motives, and allegations of compromise. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

With Josh, I'm guessing that the issue FBFI has with both is secondary separation.  People in the SBC and PCA are not into secondary/tertiary/etc. separation, so despite doing a lot of things that are fully orthodox theologically, the FBFI sees the need to separate.  Or perhaps one of them has waffled on those cultural fundamental issues John mentions.  Whatever.  I'm just at a point right now where I don't see the need to separate over these, and quite frankly I see it as not just stupid, but approaching wicked.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Steve Davis's picture

If this distances BJU from the FBF that would be a good thing. IMO BJ has become more biblically balanced. And it's a university. You expose students to the experts. Maybe BJ would invite FBF members if there were any experts in the field. 

josh p's picture

To clarify my question, I’m not necessarily criticizing I just genuinely want to know.

Jonathan Charles's picture

Geiger is with Harvest USA, a ministry to people struggling with sexual sin, which was started by James Boice to minister to gay prostitutes in the neighborhood of Tenth Presbyterian, Philadelphia.  

I’ve gone to their one day meeting offered to families with loved ones practicing homosexuality. 

I don’t know of another ministry with as much experience and knowledge as they have. 

Ron Bean's picture

The issue is that vague type of secondary separation that entails separation from other Christians that is an essential to a certain segment of fundamentalism. Neither of these men is a liberal or apostate and, as far as I know, have no partnerships with apostates.

The FBFI continues its willful journey into insignificance and isolation while appearing to claim that they are the true remnant. (BTW, if they look at their membership/subscribers they're going to have to  start separating from themselves to be consistent.) 

BTW, I still have good friends in the FBFI whom I cherish as brothers who don't separate from me because I attended T4G and Weekenders at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. One of them even recommended CHBC to me when I needed what they have. 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Don Johnson's picture

Interesting to note the SI headline. Jay characterized this as an "attack" on our Facebook post.

Where is the warning? Where is the attack? I would characterize this as an observation, neither a warning or an attack. The fact that the subject matter calls for some expertise is acknowledged, but clearly the use of speakers who are outside of BJU's historic "orbit" with no disclaimer of any kind seems to be a change in past policy. No change to that policy has been announced, so that makes the item news worthy. 

It does put a question out in the open. Is there a change in policy? I, for one, would like to know. I suppose some others would also. Is this a question that should only be raised behind closed doors? Are we happy with the "old boys club" method of dealing with issues of the past?

Since it is a public event, I think it is worth noting in the way we have. I also anticipated the caterwauling from the usual suspects here. You have not disappointed. You all are predictable in a Pavlovian sort of way.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

I suppose you could read Kevin's comment as a mere observation. I didn't take it that way, initially. I don't think many other folks will, either ... 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Don, not sure if your including me in that group or not but since I specifically asked you in my first post I guess I’ll assume that it’s an “orbit” issue not a secondary separation one. By the way I wholeheartedly agree that secondary separation is biblical and was hoping the answer would be something like that.

Jim's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Interesting to note the SI headline. ["warns"]  Where is the warning? Where is the attack? I would characterize this as an observation, neither a warning or an attack. The fact that the subject matter calls for some expertise is acknowledged, but clearly the use of speakers who are outside of BJU's historic "orbit" with no disclaimer of any kind seems to be a change in past policy. No change to that policy has been announced, so that makes the item news worthy. 

Is this an observation of a positive change of policy? Or a negative change of policy?  What's the FBFI position? 

Don Johnson's picture

josh p wrote:

Don, not sure if your including me in that group or not but since I specifically asked you in my first post I guess I’ll assume that it’s an “orbit” issue not a secondary separation one. By the way I wholeheartedly agree that secondary separation is biblical and was hoping the answer would be something like that.

no offense at your question, to be sure.

I don't like the term secondary separation, exactly, but I agree that what it describes is sometimes necessary. 

As for this issue, it remains to be seen where erstwhile fundamentalist institutions end up. Nothing ever stays the same, things change, and new coalitions, positions emerge all the time.

Personally, I wonder what is the point of BJU if it becomes just another evangelical school. What would motivate attendance if there are larger, better funded, etc evangelical schools to attend?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jim's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
I wonder what is the point of BJU if it becomes just another evangelical school. What would motivate attendance if there are larger, better funded, etc evangelical schools to attend?

A "warning" or an "observation"?

Don Johnson's picture

Jim wrote:

 

Don Johnson wrote:

 

Interesting to note the SI headline. ["warns"]  Where is the warning? Where is the attack? I would characterize this as an observation, neither a warning or an attack. The fact that the subject matter calls for some expertise is acknowledged, but clearly the use of speakers who are outside of BJU's historic "orbit" with no disclaimer of any kind seems to be a change in past policy. No change to that policy has been announced, so that makes the item news worthy. 

 

 

Is this an observation of a positive change of policy? Or a negative change of policy?  What's the FBFI position? 

I don't speak for the FBFI. There is no position on this at this time. If the board chooses to take a position on this or any issue, it would be announced publicly when taken.

this post is observing an event that differs from past practice

I consider your headline to be a cheap shot. You are editorializing, not reporting.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jim's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

I consider your headline to be a cheap shot. 

I consider your response to be to be a cheap shot!

Proclaim your position and defend it

 

Don Johnson's picture

Jim wrote:

 

Don Johnson wrote:

I wonder what is the point of BJU if it becomes just another evangelical school. What would motivate attendance if there are larger, better funded, etc evangelical schools to attend?

 

 

 

A "warning" or an "observation"?

another cheap shot. You left out a key word, "Personally"

you would make the MSM proud, you really would

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ron Bean's picture

If "secondary" separation means separation from other Christians who are engaged in unrepentant sin, I'm a proponent.

What sin/act of disobedience necessitates separation from these men? People really want to know and deserve an answer.

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

josh p's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

Don, not sure if your including me in that group or not but since I specifically asked you in my first post I guess I’ll assume that it’s an “orbit” issue not a secondary separation one. By the way I wholeheartedly agree that secondary separation is biblical and was hoping the answer would be something like that.

 

 

no offense at your question, to be sure.

I don't like the term secondary separation, exactly, but I agree that what it describes is sometimes necessary. 

As for this issue, it remains to be seen where erstwhile fundamentalist institutions end up. Nothing ever stays the same, things change, and new coalitions, positions emerge all the time.

Personally, I wonder what is the point of BJU if it becomes just another evangelical school. What would motivate attendance if there are larger, better funded, etc evangelical schools to attend?

 

Yeah I don’t like the term either but let’s face it that’s the one that has been adopted. I agree that BJU seems to be losing its distinctiveness. Some of that I think is a good thing and some maybe not. That’s why I was asking; to understand what the objection was. 

dgszweda's picture

Is this a change for BJU?  I see this as more inline with the South Korean children's conference, Tim Tebow and others.  In fact, I see it even less like those, since the concern here is now "orbit" (a vague definition at best) and not an apostate or someone who even participates with apostates.  This is beyond secondary separation scenarios.

What does BJU become, I believe Don asked?  I think it becomes a historically fundamentalist college that leans a little more toward conservative evangelicalism than certain groups that have stayed perfectly still.  I think in the past there were really a lot more "experts" within fundamentalism and very little conservative in the evangelical circle.  What you see is that fundamentalism is waning and there are a lot more conservative evangelicals that are more aligned to us than the broader evangelical world.

I would love to see 1) how many churches align with the FBFI today than say the mid-1980's and 2) would love to see the average age of participants at an FBFI conference today than what it was in the mid-1980's.

Jay's picture

So Kevin Schaal says this:

While we understand the purpose in presenting these speakers, this clearly appears to be a change of policy for BJU regarding the separation position and practice of the institution and the speakers the university promotes.  (KSchaal)

And then Don protests on SI:

Interesting to note the SI headline. Jay characterized this as an "attack" on our Facebook post.

Where is the warning? Where is the attack? I would characterize this as an observation, neither a warning or an attack. The fact that the subject matter calls for some expertise is acknowledged, but clearly the use of speakers who are outside of BJU's historic "orbit" with no disclaimer of any kind seems to be a change in past policy. No change to that policy has been announced, so that makes the item news worthy. 

If the President of the FBFI is going to make an post about BJU 'appearing' to make a change to their policy on separation and then Don doesn't read the headline as an attack on the school, I don't know what to say.  You can't charge BJU with making changes on separation issues and then stand back and say that you didn't mean it as an attack.  Sheesh.

This is not nearly the first time that BJU has brought in speakers 'outside of BJU's historic orbit'.  Some of those speakers have been debated on SharperIron by Don and others over this very thing at the time it happened (Tebow, etc, as others have noted).  BJU has been bringing in people outside of 'BJU's historic orbit' since at least Pettit took over the Presidency, and possibly since Stephen Jones was in charge. So either some people don't understand what they're doing or they don't understand BJU's history. 

As for predictable - well, if the FBFI would stop shooting itself in the foot by picking fights with it's erstwhile constituency, then maybe there wouldn't need to be protests.  But the organization has always been tone deaf to what anyone who would have supported them thinks.

Finally, I suppose I should thank Bros. Shaal and Johnson - I'd never heard of Harvest USA before today.  Now I'm going to pass the name along to the leaders in our church and see if they would be willing to come give a presentation to our church body. 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

On the FB thread, from Matthew Recker:

Jay, try to contain your sarcasm to the expression of concern in this post and I do not even read an "attack." This invite does demonstrate a clear shift in BJU's long held practice of separation from the SBC, and yes, there is much concern among those who believe the long held practice is still right. Do you want BJU to go the way of NBBC? It really is not a time for mockery but soberness.

and from another person:

I would very much appreciate a response to the lead-in comment above, specifically "...this [is] unavoidably appears to be a change of policy for BJU regarding the separation position and practice..." from Bob Jones University for clarification.

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

C. D. Cauthorne Jr.'s picture

Jay wrote:

if the FBFI would stop shooting itself in the foot by picking fights with it's erstwhile constituency, then maybe there wouldn't need to be protests.  But the organization has always been tone deaf to what anyone who would have supported them thinks.

When the FBFI Board goes after the KJV-Only/Preferred crowd at its annual meeting (Gospel Coalition contributor Mark Ward's speech) and then questions BJU's new separation standards on its blog (FBFI President Kevin Schaal's post), then it has effectively offended most of its membership. 

If you sit on a fence, you'll get shot from both sides.  Sadly, the FBFI may become an illustration of this old saying (which may be from Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.).

Steve Davis's picture

They are headquarted in Philly. We've had John Freeman in for men's Bible study on one of his books and in church to preach. It is a unique and helpful ministry dealing with contemporary issues. I don't know any group doing it at their level.

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