I'm going to paste an article I just wrote on our website, and would appreciate any input on it. I may just be huffing over nothing about what I read about GRACE's report but any way:
Bob Jones University has been under scrutiny by another “do right” group led by homosexual activists called “Do Right BJU”. The group has the same anti-fundamentalist sentiment that the other Do Right groups have but seems to lean more toward complaints about BJU’s stance against the LGBT community(Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender)* The two prominent complaints appear to be over the alleged cover up of 9 cases of sexual abuse (which they later admitted was committed by one person on all 9 counts, although when they first reported the story, they gave the impression that it could have been 9 different offenders. Although one is too many, there is no need to embellish the story and sandbag the facts. And, it does appear that when one of the incidents was reported, BJU contacted the police, and the perpetrator was arrested, which was not mentioned in any of the earlier reports), and the alleged cover up of the rape of Tina Anderson by BJU staff member, Chuck Phelps. ( We do believe that the perpetrator in this matter has been incarcerated for this incident.)
Bob Jones University responded to the complaints for accountability by requesting the assistance of third-party victim advocacy group called G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). We will make more editions to information about this at a later time regarding any results of investigations posted by GRACE, but for now, we will post the main, and so far, only issue that we know that has our eyebrows raised in this report provided by Christianity Today:
"The Bob Jones University/Academy leadership has communicated to GRACE that acknowledging and understanding any recognized failures will better equip both Bob Jones University and Bob Jones Academy to demonstrate authentic repentance to those who have been harmed, while also making the necessary institutional changes to insure that such is never repeated. " (emphasis added)
While we have no problem with an outside investigation agency using their legal resources for investigations such as this, it is quite a stretch for an outside Christian organizing to determine what is or is not the proper response that qualifies for “authentic repentance”. Repentance is a much debated topic from doctrines of “easy believism”, to Lordship Salvation a priori of salvation, and whether there needs to be sorrow, regret, change of action a posteriori.
The debate about repentance is not the issue in this article but a colleges right to define it. We ARE concerned about the appearance that the colleges being investigated would have to meet GRACE’s definition of repentance in order to receive a “clean bill of health”. What if the colleges or religious institutions being investigated have a fundamentally different view of repentance than GRACE? This can certainly be an issue since the founders of GRACE are acquainted with the Billy Graham Association and there has been a traditional view of cynicism among fundamentalist churches regarding Billy Graham over the last 30 years.
We are certainly not advocating that a corporate Christian body need not demonstrate repentance, but in this article the emphasis on “authentic” repentance allows for an outside institution that may not share the same beliefs to define that institution’s doctrine, and that can set a very disturbing precedent; particular if the government attempts to make these type of investigations mandatory (which many of the victim advocacy groups are pushing for).
While it is honorable that BJU appears to want to “do the right thing”, as fundamentalists and separatists, we must not become so desperate under pressure of criticism to compromise our core beliefs or give up the right to define those to satisfy the negative public opinions of our institutions, many of whom will not be satisfied with the results regardless of the efficacious effect the investigations may produce.
This will likely ruffle some feathers and be misinterpreted by our critics (as if we care) but if fundamentalist churches allow this type of precedent to be set, it opens the door for many other emerging church philosophies; something for BJU to prayerfully consider, and for G.R.A.C.E. to perhaps clarify the implementation of such statements and how they arrive at their conclusion as to what demonstrates “authentic repentance”.
*A petition made by members of the Do Right BJU Facebook group on I-Petition created a complaint directed toward Pepsi who has apparently sponsored BJU sports teams in some manner. Some of the bulleted complaints are 4) BJU’s history on LGBT rights, 5) BJU’s views on other religious organizations — especially Catholicism.
How and why anyone would expect a fundamentalist Christian institution to be bullied into changing their views on homosexuality and the Catholic church is astonishing.