BJU president resigns, citing health issues

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Easton's picture

"There will be a lot of speculation surrounding this decision. Dr. Jones made this decision because he believed it was in the best interest of BJU and it was accepted by the Board. Discussions about this decision should be made by the Board – and the Communications office at the Board’s discretion—not by the University family."

I know, Jim, you didn't attend BJU, but, trust me -- that line (emphasized) is sooo BJU...

Reminds me of the constant admonishments we students received back in the days of BJU v. the IRS (1981-83).

Easton's picture

Difficult job even for a healthy guy, and we all know Stephen had his share of health problems before taking on the position as president.  Plus the fact that Stephen was presiding over a university trying to change and attract new students without changing too much and permanently alienating their traditional base.

Jay's picture

Well, this is unexpected and sad.  I hope that Stephen is able to find new employment soonish that accomodates his health concerns and that BJU is able to find a capable replacement from outside of the University.  I think they'll probably hire from within - the CEO or CFO maybe; Dr. Hankins or maybe even Dr. Berg - but it would be good to get an outsider from the school staff, in my opinion.

"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

Does anyone know where I can find a list of the current Board of Trustees -- the people who will be picking the next President?

Shaynus's picture

C. D. Cauthorne Jr. wrote:

Does anyone know where I can find a list of the current Board of Trustees -- the people who will be picking the next President?

Are you trying to contact them and sway them to choose who you want them to choose? If that's not the reason, disregard the following: 1) It's harder than you think to mail/email all BJU board members. Trust me. 2) Do you really think you know who should be the next president, or even what kind of President they need? I grew up there. I don't know. It's a highly complex organization with highly complex problems. Anyone who thinks they know who it should be should have the humility to recognize that they should probably shut up. I'm speaking half to myself and half to "all y'all" as we say down South. 3) The search committee is Stephen Jones, Gary Weier and Marshall Franklin, if you were to say something productive, say it to them. 

There is no doubt that Stephen's presidency was transformative, and there's no doubt they've lost students, and there's no doubt (at least in my mind) that God is at work there. He's on the move. If you care about that place, pray, maybe give a little money, pray, visit some and talk to students and faculty, then pray, then probably shut up, then pray.

 

G. N. Barkman's picture

As a BJU alumnus, I was saddened by this announcement.  From where I minister, it appears that Stephen Jones has been an excellent president in spite of health concerns.  I would prefer to see him continue, but accept his decision.  Only he knows if the presidency is too demanding for his present physical strength and prospects for additional recovery.  If he is concerned that his illness prohibits him from performing the duties of presidency adequately (which I believe is likely, as he appears to be a principled and godly man), I would beg to differ.  I think having him there, even at reduced capacity is preferable to many other options, but only the university board can make that call.  Ultimately, it is God who directs these issues.  I will be praying for wisdom in the selection of a new president.  As one who spent twelve years at BJA and BJU, I know how difficult this selection will be, and how crucial to the future of the school.

G. N. Barkman

C. D. Cauthorne Jr.'s picture

Shaynus,

What was your post all about?  The Board of Trustees will choose the next President.  If we know who is on the Board, we can figure what the next President will be like.

I'm not planning on campaigning for "my man!" :-)  Besides, they probably wouldn't listen to me anyway.

Shaynus's picture

C. D. Cauthorne Jr. wrote:

Shaynus,

What was your post all about?  The Board of Trustees will choose the next President.  If we know who is on the Board, we can figure what the next President will be like.

I'm not planning on campaigning for "my man!" :-)  Besides, they probably wouldn't listen to me anyway.

Then carry on and disregard.

TimG's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

As a BJU alumnus, I was saddened by this announcement.  From where I minister, it appears that Stephen Jones has been an excellent president in spite of health concerns.  I would prefer to see him continue, but accept his decision.  Only he knows if the presidency is too demanding for his present physical strength and prospects for additional recovery.  If he is concerned that his illness prohibits him from performing the duties of presidency adequately (which I believe is likely, as he appears to be a principled and godly man), I would beg to differ.  I think having him there, even at reduced capacity is preferable to many other options, but only the university board can make that call.  Ultimately, it is God who directs these issues.  I will be praying for wisdom in the selection of a new president.  As one who spent twelve years at BJA and BJU, I know how difficult this selection will be, and how crucial to the future of the school.

These were my thoughts as well. Sometimes the governance that governs least, governs best. God can use weakness and a man dependent upon delegation. I have sure appreciated Stephen's spirit and leadership. But I suppose that it is disrepectful of me to second-guess Stephen and the board. They are certainly closer to the situation that I am and are in my prayers.

Joel Tetreau's picture

I knew exactly what Shaynus was doing. He was thinking out loud and sharing his thoughts with us as an "insider." I chuckled all the way through his post. It's clear our brother knows the lay of the land inside the BJ world.

While not being a BJ alumn and while not being blindly loyal to any organization - I continue to be grateful and impressed for BJ for so many reasons. I'm praying for everyone connected here. We must pray for Stephen, his dad, (Bob III) as well as the rest of the board. Can you imagine the deal this is? Daunting to say the least. God can do it! I believe God will do it! However, humanly speaking this is will be a challenging hour. An Institution that has been around for nearly 90 years and has survived the dips and curves of North American conservative Christianity has my vote for making whatever changes they must make the hour demands. You really think they aren't going to make it? Come on......this Bob Jones University! They make it friends! Regardless to what degree you agree or disagree with BJ - the one thing you have to admit is this - stability is what BJ does!

So......I'm pulling for them and I'm confident in God's grace and their abilities to make the needed changes and to avoid the harmful ones. I'm also in agreement that success here in the main will humanly speaking be the result of the central leadership being clear as to what they need to do to stay the course they've always stayed while changing a few points - like not having a Jones in the Presidency. The gang making the important decisions will do what they always do - they will respectfully listen to the opinions of their friends - and then they'll go into their huddle - they'll consider who they are, where they are heading and will pick a leader that can help them get there. They've always done that sort of thing - I have 110% confidence they'll do great again with the set of decision in front of them.

Straight Ahead BJ!

jt

 

 

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Shaynus's picture

I don't know that I was doing exactly that Joel, but maybe. I care a great deal about BJU mostly because it's my home. As I've written to Stephen Jones before, if I close my eyes and imagine home, the BJU campus is what I get. I know every sidewalk (in some cases having helped pour the concrete) and I love the faculty and staff like extended family. 

Many want to remake the school in their image: right and left. We can quibble about the extent to which it is really "God's school," but can't we at least pray that it remains useful in the lives of people? And if there is an area of change needed where the school has caused pain, that the pain point is removed? And can we pray that the church of Jesus Christ is more important than any school to any of us? 

Joel Tetreau's picture

Bravo my brother. You are of course right on the mark. We can do no less than pray that BJ continues to be useful in the way you have worded this. That prayer is in my heart for every Bible-loving, evangelical institution that loves the gospel and is burdened to make a difference in the lives of the young people who they are working to impact. I have very little respect for men or women who are so upset or ticked-off by this or that, they ignore how much impact the University has accomplished for sake of the Kingdom.

As always.......

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;