April 27, 2022

FACTS, An Enlarged Discussion by Dr. David Beale

Earlier we documented Bob Jones University (BJU) stepping into ecumenical compromise with Franklin Graham. See BJU Embraces Franklin Graham's Ecumenical Movement. That was the latest among many excursions, engineered by BJU president Steve Pettit, into non-separatist evangelicallism and the ecumenical movement. From Dr. David Beale's new book Christian Fundamentalism in America I included a brief excerpt in the BJU/Graham article above and in the BJU: Compromised Spiritual Sanctification for Secular Pragmatism article. Dr. David Beale has written an article to expand on and bolster his argument. That article follows. (Originally appeared 12/14/21).

“After being the premier fundamentalist academic institution for eighty-seven years, BJU elected Dr. Steve Pettit in 2014, as the president who steered the University out of separatist Fundamentalism into the inclusive, Broad Evangelical movement,” David Beale, Christian Fundamentalism in America (Maitland, FL: Xulon, 2021), 179, 530.

• Dr. Andy Naselli, in his 2006 BJU dissertation, scorns independent, Fundamental Baptists for giving invitations to “surrender oneself to God.” Naselli criticizes the practice and calls it a “second blessing.” Naselli unsuccessfully tried to identify the Fundamentalist movement with Keswick extremes on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Naselli then identified with Broad Evangelicalism. He now serves on the faculty of John Piper’s College and Seminary, which are Reformed Charismatic schools urging every Christian to seek all NT gifts, including tongues and healing. Piper claims that “Signs and wonders” and all spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are valid for today and must be “earnestly desired.” Piper says, “Prophecy and tongues will continue until Jesus comes.”1 Naselli is a pastor of Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church.

Naselli seeks to transform Fundamentalists into Evangelicalism. In 2019, Dr. Pettit brought Naselli back to BJU to present the lectures for the annual Steward Custer Lecture Series. Naselli’s books were promoted. The late Dr. Custer all his life had been a stalwart Fundamentalist. Naselli represents Broad Evangelicalism. The bond between BJU and Evangelicalism has been clear since the beginning of Pettit’s administration.

• Dr. Sam Horn was executive vice president for enrollment and ministerial advancement at Bob Jones University when, on 2-7-2020, Dr. Pettit announced to all, “Dr. Horn is greatly honored today, and BJU is honored to have one of its own become the next president of The Master’s University and Seminary.” Horn succeeded Dr. John Stead. Dr. John MacArthur, a leading Evangelical, had led The Master’s University and Seminary as president from 1984 to 2018. Dr. Pettit preached for John MacArthur in a conference that year (2020). John Street, Chair of Biblical Counseling at The Master’s University, spoke at BJU’s CoRE Conference March 9–10, 2020. Street is an adjunct professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. By claiming that the word Fundamentalism can have no single definition,2 BJU leaders claim the label separatist but practice non-separatism (inclusivism). With such a notion, BJU attempts to sit on both sides of the fence—Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism—at the same time.

• Under Dr. Pettit’s administration, BJU students are permitted to bond with churches of denominations harboring apostasy.3 The following churches (underscored below) are among those approved for BJU students to attend.

Covenant Community (Taylors, SC): An Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). On one of their website videos, the pastor poured water on a little child’s head and said, “This is like Abraham’s ‘baptizing his whole house’” (Genesis 17). The pastor substituted the word baptism for the word circumcision and called it regeneration. Augustine and Roman Catholicism devised and standardized this doctrine, which assumes an OT circumcisional regeneration for Jewish males.4 Romanism transformed that doctrine into NT water baptismal regeneration to elect infants. Forms of that doctrine passed into Reformed theology. John Calvin insisted that OT circumcision engrafted the Jewish infant into the covenant [elect] family of God; thus, NT baptism engrafts a newborn child into the body of Christ.5 Reformed doctrine leads many to believe the seed of regeneration is implanted at infant baptism, though salvation might occur later.6

Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church (Simpsonville, SC), PCA church.

Second Presbyterian Church (Greenville, SC): A Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). This church’s senior pastor is Dr. Richard Phillips, adjunct professor and member of the Board of Trustees at Westminster Theological Seminary, which enforces no dress codes and allows the use of alcoholic beverages.7

➢ Richard Phillips is also on the Board of Directors of (1) the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals; (2) the Council of The Gospel Coalition, and (3) the Council of the Gospel Reformation Network.8

➢ On October 12, 2019, at Phillips’ Second Presbyterian Church, Dr. Pettit participated in a Conference on Reformed Theology.

• To begin chapel on February 5, 2018, Dr. Pettit announced, “We are honored this morning to have as our guest Dr. Gene Fant,” president of North Greenville University, a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) school. Fant was welcomed with a standing ovation.9 The so-called “SBC Conservative Resurgence” has now spiraled into a deadening mix.10

Calvary First Baptist Church (Greenville, SC): SBC church.

Roper Mountain Baptist Church (Greenville): SBC church.

Rock Springs Baptist Church (Easley, SC): SBC church. Dr. Pettit, BJU President, spoke here October 6, 2019.

White Oak Baptist Church (Greenville, SC): Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and the Greenville Baptist Association. Their lead pastor is Lonnie Polson, BJU Division Chair of Communication of the School of Fine Arts. Their music director is Jeff Stegall, BJU Associate Professor in the Theatre Arts Department.

• For the article, “Bob Jones University Embraces Franklin Graham's Ecumenical Movement: HaveYou Finally Seen Enough?” click the following link: BJU Embraces Franklin Graham....

• Dr. Steve Pettit permits dress style, music, and entertainment of the world’s style. For the Artist Series of January 27, 2015, he brought in the music group, “Cantus,” which includes beer drinkers and known homosexuals.11

• The following letter was sent to me on 10-14-2021 from a concerned grandfather who has grandchildren at BJU:

In 2021, at Bob Jones University, the first of the fall semester’s artist series was conducted on October 7 in the FMA. The program was titled “Symphonic Hollywood: Featuring the Music of Lee Holdridge.” The guest conductor was Richard Kaufman. The featured selections were beautifully done, and each was announced by Kaufman, interspersed with lavish praise on BJU and its leadership. Kaufman mentioned his background which included his participation with a Los Angeles orchestra in which he played violin for the recording of music for “Animal House,” a raunchy R-rated movie. He expressed no regret for its production. On the contrary, he mentioned that his contribution helped launch his career as a conductor. Not once did he mention any conflict between Christian beliefs and the moral cesspool of Hollywood. Nor did he give any confirmation of Christian belief. Yet he gave the impression that a believer could function contentedly in such an environment. Toward the end of the program, Jay Matthews and another representative, on behalf of the University, awarded Kaufman with a certificate and plaque granting him lifetime membership as an honorary alumnus of BJU. In the program notes on Kaufman, the bio states that “his wife Gayle is a former dancer and actress in film, television, and on Broadway, and his daughter, Whitney, is a highly successful singer and actress.” 

All of this conveys to BJU students that a vocation in the worldly Hollywood scene is perfectly acceptable and, indeed highly commendable. The artist series productions have in recent years included more Broadway-type productions, mingled with the brilliant work of such Christian artists as Dan Forrest. “Broadway” sums up the philosophy of the new Bob Jones University— broad and inclusive.

Students are not learning to distinguish the true from the false kinds of entertainment, evangelicalism, and life-styes. This is lamentable and tragic. There was a day when Bob Jones University could be trusted to instill in its students the virtues of a separated godly lifestyle. Now the University simply wants to “fit into” the culture, to accommodate and even imitate its behavior.

Conclusion

Believers identified with the SBC, PCA, OPC, etc. are lending credibility to false teachers and false gospels. The believer who willingly does such is living in sin. People all over the country know that BJU is Evangelical. It is old news. Evangelicals often say, “Identification is a non-essential.” That mindset constitutes the difference between Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism! Indifference is dangerous! It is a path God forbids! “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John verse 11). One’s personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ determines his church identification! “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward” (2 John vs. 8). We must never entangle the message of the gospel with man-made organizations and institutions that harbor false gospels.

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.... After my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28–30).

Every moment of our lives, we are building our ministries upon either the foundation of gold, silver, and precious stones, or upon a foundation of wood, hay, and stubble. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:11–13). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:10–11a). “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (First John 2:28). In Romans 1:1, Paul introduces himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”

Charles H. Spurgeon promised his church, “That I might not stultify [invalidate] my testimony, I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them. What more can I do to be honest with you?”12

Dr. Bob Jones Sr. so often cried, “Earnestly contend for the faith. Stand up and fight.”

David Beale (Enlarged 12-8-21)

David Beale taught courses on Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism for some thirty years at Bob Jones University and Seminary. He is a prolific writer and historian. Since Dr. Beale retired in 2010 he has taught and preached in schools and churches.

Originally Published December, 14 2021.

FOOTNOTES:

1) John Piper, Signs and Wonders: Then and Now.

2) Letter from a BJU leader to David Beale (2021).

3) BJU Representative Church List 

4) Augustine, City of God, 6.26–27; Enchiridion: On Faith, Hope, and Love 43; cf. 93; Sermon 294; and On Forgiveness of Sins, and Baptism 1.27.

5) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (4.15.1—22).

6) L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939), 632–42.

7) Letters from a recent graduate to David Beale (2021); see Paul M. Elliott, Christianity and Neo-Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond (Unicoi, TN: Trinity Foundation, 2005).

8) https://www.bestbiblecommentaries.com/revelation-commentary-richard-phillips/.

9) BJU Welcomes Gene Fant

10) George Houghton, “Are Conservative Southern Baptists Fundamentalists?” Faith Pulpit, January/February 2004 at: https://faith.edu/faith-news/are-conservative-southern-baptists fundamentalists/; J. Gerald Harris, The Rise and Fall of the Conservative Resurgence: The Southern Baptist Convention: 1979-2021 (Taos, NM: Trust House, 2021); and David Beale, “SBC Today,” in Baptist History in England and America: Personalities, Positions, and Practices (Maitland, FL: Xulon Press, 2018), 581–83.

11) Typical Cantus music and culture

12) Charles H. Spurgeon, “No Compromise,” Sermon No. 2047, delivered on the Lord’s-Day morning, October 7, 1888.

Related Reading:

BJU Embraces Franklin Graham's Ecumenical Movement

Compromised Spiritual Sanctification for Secular Pragmatism

This is NOT Your Father's BJU

An Analysis of BJU's Position Paper on Calvinism, Arminianism and Performed Theology

BJU Fashion Design Runway Show


January 14, 2022

Dr. Steve Pettit Issues a Statement: Is There Nothing More to See Here?

Previously we posted an article discussing the BJU Fashion Design Runway Show. On Wednesday evening Dr. Steve Pettit posted a statement addressing the controversy swirling around the fashion show. He posted a series of eight tweets under his Dr. Steve Pettit Twitter account and the same statement appears at his personsl Facebook page.

The conclusion to his statement is as follows, 

Furthermore, we are establishing clear policies and procedures to prevent a similar instance in the future. In the end, we want to ensure BJU family and friends that this will not happen again.
At Facebook Pettit's statement is being absolutely blasted by hostile critics. Clifton Cauthrone, raised a poignant observation. 
As an observation, it amazes me (as a 90s alumnus) how many current students and staff have commented on this thread that they need someone to explain to them what is wrong with this young man's presentation. Perhaps some 'chapel talks' on this are appropriate. 
No doubt Dr. Pettit's statement was going to stir a hornets nest. If spiritual discernment had prevailed the fashion designs would not have been shown and his statement unnecessary.

The fashion show was in Dr. Pettit’s words, "
clearly sacrilegious and blasphemous." 
We don't necessarily fault young people for lack of spiritual discernment. We desire that all young believers grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). The young man apparently felt he was designing something honorable. Since it was by Pettit's admission "sacrilegious and blasphemous" how was it not recognized as such by responsible adult leadership at some stage prior to the showing?

This event was the latest and most egregious betrayal of the school's legacy to date. While the statement is welcomed should we believe all has been made right and move on as if there is nothing more to see here? Seven years of these issues and only now on this single incident does Dr. Pettit proffer regret. We believe this should be followed by many more apologies and corrective actions.

Dr. Pettit's statement does not fully address the glaring weaknesses in the school. The fashion show, Midsummer Night's Dream and the Franklin Graham incidents reveal a stunning lack of spiritual discernment across a wide swath of faculty and administrators. "Policies and procedures" will not stop this kind of thing from happening. It's rather evident that people not only failed, BJU faculty, administrators and its president failed badly.

Deadly Enemies of the Cross of Christ
Knowing Franklin Graham gives Christian recognition to the "enemies of the cross of Christ" (Phil. 3:18) how does Steve Pettit enthusiastically support Graham's Samaritans Purse? Doesn't that reveal a lack of discernment or even worse, has he personally moved in the direction of compromise with ecumenicals? Either way should a man lacking discernment on such a vital issue occupy the president's office?

Steve Pettit is president of BJU, and the responsibility for what takes place at the university ultimately rests with him.  With a seven year track record of engineering or allowing for a long list of disconcerting issues how does Pettit not offer his resignation?

Will Pettit's statement simply buy him more time to continue erasing the university's Fundamentalist, separatist legacy?

So much trust has been lost. Years of men pleading to stop the slide ignored and loyalty betrayed. A statement over a singular event will not regain trust. Friends who love the BJU of past years believe the university has been irretrievably corrupted. A surgical procedure on the fine arts department alone won't restore the body.

Unless the board of trustees and Executive Committee ousts Steve Pettit, the institution is not recoverable. Surely, this hard lesson was learned with the closure of Northland Int'l University at the hands of then president Matt Olson.* 
At BJU there needs to be a critical, deep shake up within the administration and the deans of the various schools. Faculty and staff who enabled events like the fashion show and Midsummer Night's Dream should be released. Any member of the administration who organized, participated with or encouraged entangling the university with Franklin Graham's ecumenical movement should be called upon to resign. 

Apart from measures such as described above, recovery is highly unlikely and trust will never be restored. Too much for far too long has been tolerated. The long standing support base of churches have been alienated. Many churches that once sent their students no longer do. Any attempt to return to the school's fundamentalist, separatist legacy will alienate the Southern Baptist, New Calvinist and compromising evangelical students Pettit has been pandering to. They would leave en masse.

Short of a major shake up we believe the best hope for the university is that it close rather than continue on its current trajectory of becoming the next Liberty or Cedarville.

Yours faithfully,


LM


This is the result, predicted result, of Matt Olson’s experiment with the “new wave” of new evangelicalism.  In the closure letter Daniel Patz wrote, “In the last two weeks, Northland has faced unexpected events that led to this decision.” To any objective observer of what Matt Olson was doing to the former Northland Baptist Bible College, it was clear that the school would not survive Olson’s changes.  The last two weeks event NIU a Gift? Thanks, but No Thanks was the final of many nails Matt Olson and his team had already pounded into the coffin of a once fine, fundamental, Baptistic, separatist school.
Related Reading:
The irony of this 2001 article can't be missed

Board members of those institutions share the responsibility for steering those schools from the fundamental moorings of their founders. They have moved away from their alumni and constituents, and gone adrift in a morass of pragmatic ideas that are void of spiritual principles.
Cooperating with Franklin Graham was an act of sinful disobedience to the Word of God. It is an egregious example of ecumenical encroachment at BJU that was heartily endorsed by Steve Pettit. 

 FACTS: An Enlarged Discussion [of BJU] by Dr. David Beale

After being the premier fundamentalist academic institution for eighty-seven years, BJU elected Dr. Steve Pettit in 2014, as the president who steered the University out of separatist Fundamentalism into the inclusive, Broad Evangelical movement,

 The Corona Virus of Ecumenical Compromise: Are You Infected?

January 11, 2022

BJU Fashion Design Runway Show

Update Jan. 11, 9:30pm. I have received several notes stating the BJU board and administration is coming out with a public statement tomorrow (Wednesday). 7:45pm Earlier today Dr. Steve Pettit posted a statement addressing the fashion  show. Our response to Dr. Pettit's statement can be read at,

Dr. Steve Pettit Issues a Statement: Is There Nothing More to See Here?

In the seven years of BJU Steve Pettit's presidency we have witnessed increasing numbers and more egregious examples of the erasure of the university's Fundamentalist, separatist legacy. The Fine Arts department has not been immune to radical changes. In November 2021 we exposed BJU's modern version of Shakespear's A Midsummer Night's Dream. See- Compromised Spiritual Sanctification for Secular Pragmatism for details. Last month Dr. David Beale published FACTS: An Enlarged Discussion of disturbing trends at BJU.

This week we have received images from a fashion show conducted on campus in December. This and additional images have been deleted from the BJU website. (Additional images available upon email request.Following is the text describing the event that appeared with the images.

Bob Jones University 12/7/21. Our fashion design seniors hosted their 2nd annual runway show featuring their capstone collections on Sat!🤩 We 💙 to see what they've been working on & we're proud of these talented students 😍 #bjuedu

Men who have viewed this and additional images from the fashion show are rightly disturbed and disgusted. Blasphemous is among the adjectives describing these images.

The fashion show, A Midsummer Night's Dream and entangling BJU with Franklin Graham's ecumenical movement has raised the controversy to the boiling point. Maybe these things will finally awaken those who thus far have been inclined to slumber through it all.

Related Reading:

A Warning Knell: Pseudo-Fundamentalists are Systematically Destroying the Legacy of Biblical FundamentalismA new article by Pastor Travis Smith.

"If my Bible-fundamentalist peers will be honest, for the past two decades we have observed the consequences of compromise when leadership fails to maintain a separatist position in both personal and ecclesiastical fellowship."

December 7, 2021

Bob Jones University Embraces Franklin Graham's Ecumenical Movement: Have You Finally Seen Enough?

Prior to the arrival of Steve Pettit it could arguably be said that Bob Jones University (BJU) had retained much of its fundamental and separatist legacy. In a single statement Dr. Beale captures what has become of BJU since the arrival of Steve Pettit. He wrote,

After being the premier Fundamentalist academic institution for eighty seven years, BJU elected Dr. Steve Pettit in 2014, as the president who steered the University out of separatist Fundamentalism into the inclusive, Broad Evangelical Movement. (Christian Fundamentalism in America, p. 179, 530).
In the past two years we have documented how Steve Pettit and the board have accelerated a strategy of doctrinal compromise and inclusivism with non-separatist evangelicals. Last week we saw a new and quite possibly most disturbing event in memory.

BJU has formally joined the Rev. Franklin Graham in cooperative ministry. Steve Pettit orchestrated a joint ministry with Graham's Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child (OCC). You can familiarize yourself with OCC here.

BJU announced it had raised $23,200 on behalf of Graham's OCC. Photos were posted by Pettit of students packing Christmas boxes for Graham's OCC.


With this event any pretense that BJU remains a fundamental separatist school is stripped away. BJU has gone beyond embracing an "inclusive broad evangelical movement," and has openly embraced ecumenical compromise.

Some might ask, "Who doesn’t want children to have gifts at Christmas and the gospel shared with them as well?" This is the reasoning we have heard from some, but does that justify becoming involved with ecumenism?

Evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr founder of BJU answered that question in his lifetime saying, "It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right." If that adage still appears in the halls and classrooms of the university it should be removed. Clearly it no longer carries any weight with Pettit or the BJU board and administration. 

Franklin Graham has continued to follow in his father's ecumenical footsteps.  Here are examples.1
  • In 1998, Franklin Graham conducted a crusade in Adelaide, Australia. Joining Graham were Archbishop Leonard Faulkner of the diocese of Adelaide. Forty-nine Roman Catholic churches were actively involved in the crusade.
  • In a 1999 Franklin Graham said his father's decision to cultivate broad ecumenical participation in his crusades, including cooperation with the Roman Catholic church, was "the best thing he ever did." He went on to say, 'If Billy Graham is willing to work with everybody, then maybe we should too' " (The Indianapolis Star, June 3, 1999).
  • In April 2000, the vice-chairman of the Franklin Graham Festival in Lubbock, Texas was Paul Key, evangelism director for the Catholic Diocese of Lubbock. Key is the author of a book titled 95 Reasons for Becoming or Remaining a Roman Catholic, which has been touted as a Catholic answer to Martin Luther's 95 Theses.
  • In June 2002, Franklin Graham conducted a "festival" in Cincinnati, Ohio in which five Roman Catholic parishes of that city participated. In preparation for the crusade, those parishes conducted week-long training programs to prepare Catholic counselors to deal with those who came forward in response to Graham's invitations.
  • In 2004, Roman Catholics participated in a "festival" conducted by Franklin Graham in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
  • In 2005, Roman Catholics participated in another Franklin Graham "festival" in Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • In an April 2, 2005 interview with Katie Couric on NBC's Today show, Franklin Graham praised the late Pope John Paul II, and said they preached the same gospel.
  • In 2005, Franklin Graham attended the enthronement of Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. (His father was too ill to attend.) Franklin's preacher sister, Anne Graham Lotz, represented the Graham family and organization at Pope John Paul II's funeral.
Franklin Graham is promoting a 4-City God Loves You Tour for 2022. Promotional materials include this statement, "We are profoundly grateful for the thousands of churches of various denominations across the U.K. that have stood alongside us and continued praying for the tour.” Under the web page "About the God Loves You Tour" we read, "Franklin is continuing the life long work of his father Billy Graham.... Just like his father, Franklin is working with local churches...." 

Those examples dispel any notion that Franklin Graham has distanced himself from the ecumenical spirit of his father. Steve Pettit raised money for OCC knowing Franklin is as much an ecumenical as his father, Billy Graham, ever was.

Franklin Graham gives Christian recognition to apostates, the "enemies of the cross of Christ," (Phil. 3:18). His ecumenical compromise is forbidden by God's Word (2 Cor. 6:14; 2 John 9-11).2  BJU’s cooperative ministry with Franklin Graham is a tacit endorsement of ecumenicalism.

Could the $23,200 have been distributed to fundamentalist missionaries on foreign fields to provide toys and the biblical plan of salvation to children and their families? Of course it could and the option was readily available. Instead funds that were raised have gone to a man and ministry that works in cooperation with the Roman Catholic church. Steve Pettit could have chosen the Gospel Fellowship Association (GFA), which was founded by Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. 
to accomplish the very same goals.3 A check could have been given to the GFA office that sits across the street from the BJU campus. Students could have packed boxes for GFA missionaries to distribute to lost children on foreign fields where they serve. Yet Pettit raised $23,200 from the BJU faithful and handed it over to an ecumenical organization. 

To once again quote Dr. Beale, “...Dr. Steve Pettit... [has] steered the University out of separatist Fundamentalism into the inclusive, Broad Evangelical Movement,” (p. 179). Having joined hands with Franklin Graham an objective observer has to conclude that Pettit's vision is to transform a separatist fundamentalist institution into an ecumenical big tent ministry.

Cooperating with Franklin Graham was an act of sinful disobedience to the Word of God. It is an egregious example of ecumenical encroachment at BJU that was heartily endorsed by Steve Pettit. With the pattern in view it is reasonable to question, "How long before Franklin Graham will be standing on the platform at BJU to address the student body?"

Have You Finally Seen Enough?
"Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not," (Proverbs 29:24.)
In one of our recent articles we said, "This is Not Your Father's BJU." In just seven years Steve Pettit has erased virtually everything that for 87 years identified BJU as a separatist fundamentalist university.

I'm asking the alumni. I'm asking BJU's board of directors and trustees. I'm asking any of you who invested your lives, family and treasure. I am asking pastors and Christian leaders. I'm asking every friend of BJU who has to date remained silent these seven years.
  • Have you finally seen enough to awaken, to raise your voices in protest over the ruination of BJU'S legacy? 
  • Have you finally seen enough to raise the alarm, call for the dismissal of Steve Pettit? 
  • Have you finally seen enough to resign from BJU's board? 
  • Have you finally seen enough to cease from sending students to and/or financially supporting BJU? 
Pastor Travis Smith published an article that speaks to the silence. 
Some reading this devotional might be among the well-meaning believers who have served on boards or senior staff. You have “tacitly partnered” with leaders who were plotting a subtle departure from the course and principles of your institution’s past. You listened in silence as the founding fiber of that institution’s past, and its legacy were “cursed” and besmirched. ("I'd Rather 'Sing Like a Canary in a Coal Mine,' Than be a Silent Judas")
Read Pastor Smith's brief article. Meditate on Proverbs 29:24. Then, in light of what is happening to your beloved BJU, ask yourself, Have I finally seen enough? 

Yours faithfully,


LM

Footnotes
1) Way of Life & Teaching the Word

2) When Al Mohler signed the Manhattan Declaration Kevin Bauder wrote to give Mohler cover for it. See the Occasional Inconsistency article.

3) Gospel Fellowship Association
 
Related Reading
Over a mere two weeks BJU gave its Bible Conference offering to an ecumenical organization headed by a new evangelical, and rented the university for a Roman Catholic to take the platform. 



Save the Storks board chair is Herb McCarthy. For 16 years Herb McCarthy was VP of Crusades for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Save the Storks is ecumenical3 in its associations.

November 26, 2021

One Man's Journey Down BJU Memory Lane


My next and greatest mentor was the late Founder and President of Bob Jones University, Dr Bob Jones Sr.  My first recollection of him was the opening message he preached at the beginning of my first year as a student at BJU.  I had been used to mild mannered sermons, preached by mild mannered preachers, but when I heard Dr. Bob preach for the first time, it took my breath away.  He was like a mad man, running all over the platform, hollering and screaming like a banchie Indian.  I’d never heard anything like him.  It was electrifying, mesmerizing and captivating.  I couldn’t take my eyes off him.  I listened intently on every word that came out of his mouth.  When the invitation was given to accept God’s call to preach, I was out of my seat like a flash of lightening and down the aisle I went, never to regret the decision of that night.  That was my introduction to the greatest spiritual mentor of my life. 

As I went from building to building on campus, I noticed sayings written on wall plaques and placed on walls throughout the campus buildings.  At first, given my ignorance of scripture, I thought they were Bible verses, but soon learned that they were sayings of Dr. Bob Sr., many of which continue to stir me on to this day.  For instance, “Do right till the stars fall;” has kept me from getting in trouble time and time again, and two of my all time favorites, “Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate”, and “It’s never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right,” have kept me on track for the last 60 years.

As a preacher boy, I attended the “Preacher Boy Class” that met every day of the week, and was led by Dr. Stenholm; however, when Dr. Bob Sr. was on campus, he always spoke to the preacher boys.  When I was there, there were 1100 in the class, and our greatest memories came from the quiet, reserved teachings of Dr. Bob Jones Sr.  I spent four years there and thank God everyday that I was privileged to do so, and what I learned over those four years, sitting at the feet of Dr. Bob Sr., were the most precious years of my educational experience.

Would to God that he was alive today to set straight what’s going on at this present time at BJU.



Related Reading



November 17, 2021

Archival Series: Where Have All the Bible Colleges Gone?

With the rapid departure of Bob Jones University from "separatist Fundamentalism into the inclusive, Broad Evangelical Movement," the closure Northland International University,1 the latest in a string of Bible college closures,2 let’s turn our attention to a timely article from October 2011 by the late Dr. Clay Nuttall.  Here now is, Where Have All the Bible Colleges Gone?
We should begin with this question: “Is the day of the Bible college over?”  In the past, this phenomenal movement produced huge numbers of ministry servants who then flooded the mission fields and filled the pulpits of our land.  Many of those people have already retired or have been promoted to Glory and received a “well done” from the Master.  A lot of well-known mission fields benefited from the service of these men and women who have left a major mark on mission history.  Men trained in Bible colleges were used of God to build some of the largest and most effective local churches we have known.

It has been argued by some that the quality of Bible college students is no longer sufficient for the day we live in.  The culture may be different today, but the Word of God has not changed; and that was the heart of the Bible college movement.  Most of these institutions came into existence for the sole purpose of training pastors and missionaries.  Theirs was meant to be a foundational training, and there always were institutions that could provide advanced training for those who chose specialized service.  The idea that a Bible college education was not good enough to prepare people for ministry is seriously flawed, if not downright arrogant!  A look at the thousands of servants who were trained, and the ministries that have been established, definitely settles this question.

This is not about the fact that some of those schools failed; the same is true of every movement.  Even our Lord had one disciple who flunked the course!  Not every Bible college graduate made a serious mark on the ministry, but the same is true of any level of training.  A degree, after all, is no guarantee of success.

HOW DID THIS ALL HAPPEN?
As the years have passed, many Bible colleges have faded from the scene.  There are a lot of reasons for this: some were poorly constructed and failed because of finances, leadership, and constituency.  Some of them merged with other schools, while others left their original goal of training missionaries and pastors and broadened into other fields.  Many in this category continued their new direction until they were no longer even Bible colleges, either in practice or in name.  They had every right to follow this path, but the progression demands some honesty.  If a school is no longer a Bible college, or doesn’t really want to be one, then the right thing to do is to move on.  If they are not Baptist, if their main driving ministry is not the Bible, then the best thing to do is to openly confess their new goals.

Confusion arises, however, because of those who claim to hold onto the old even though they have chosen a new direction.  To claim that they still are now what they had been leaves much to be desired. 
There is nothing wrong with admitting that the change is based on funding, enrollment, or even prestige in academia; there is something wrong with a shell game.
 Over the last forty years, I have heard those who have obviously moved away from the Bible college model argue that they still teach the same doctrine and still have the same statement of faith; that is absolutely irrelevant because of what is really being taught and allowed in the classroom.  My favorite saying is, “We teach more Bible now than we did when we were a Bible college!”  Of course you do, because you reached your goal of a larger enrollment; but being one of the “big boys on the block” doesn’t mean you still have the same theology you once taught!

THE PURSUIT OF INTELLECTUALISM
Now we arrive at one of the major reasons why the Bible college has been left behind. As our movement has progressed, there has been increasing pressure for us to become respectable in our academics, like the “elite.”  Both old and young fundamentalists have become enamored with the intellectuals and want to be like them at all costs; they even talk like them and walk like them.  This is the same mistake that Israel made when they wanted to be like the other nations around them who had kings.  So, where there once was a true Bible college, now the leaders mainly want to be respected by the intellectual pagans.

The journey from Bible college to a pursuit of prestige and intellectualism always takes a toll, and this sad declension is almost always represented by a change in theology.  It is not always deliberate; in some cases, it may occur out of ignorance of a biblical theology.  The journey always demands a change in leadership; and when the new main leaders are not biblical theologians, the slide becomes more rapid.  The truth is that sometimes this change is deliberate, even as it is in churches that have left the Bible and Baptist out of their identification.  It is not that the leaders are heretics, but rather that they are swept away by motives that differ from their foundational standard.

It appears that the further an individual or institution moves on this journey in order to have the respect of human leaders, the further they also move from a theology that is biblical.  Every change has its cost, and those who protest this maxim only prove the point.  I am not opposed to higher education; much of my ministry has been there.  I am opposed to teaching and defending error.  Of course, some Bible colleges have problems with academic and theological issues. That is to be expected because we are all human.

GONE?  NOT EVERYONE!
While dozens of Bible colleges have gone out of business, and some have moved on to other areas of emphasis, others have stood firm in their majority purpose of training men and women for the mission field and church ministry.  The great thing is that God today is raising up new Bible colleges that have returned to the foundational goals of training.  While these schools have gotten their share of criticism, they have come to life to fill a gap left by those who have gone on to different things.  One of those new colleges gets my thumbs-up; it is Grace Baptist Bible College of Winston Salem, North Carolina.  Not only has it successfully put together a program that looks like that of the Bible college of old, but a number of well-respected saints in our movement have come to join its ranks.  Perhaps God will raise up some more of these fine institutions to take the place of the departed.


SHEPHERD’S STAFF
Clay Nuttall, D.Min, October, 2011

A communication service of Shepherd’s Basic Care
For those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible
Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches. Write for information using the e-mail address, Shepherdstaff2@juno.com

Related Readings:
1) NIU Closes: The Pattern of Demise 

NIU a Gift? Thanks, but No Thanks

May the "Northland Heart" Perpetuate

2) What Do NIU, Pillsbury, TTU Have in Common?

Closure of Calvary Baptist Seminary: Predictable & Repeatable

Calvary Baptist Seminary: They Are Accountable and Won't Own Up To It

Piedmont/TTU: A Predictable Pattern of Merger With Only ONE Survivor

November 12, 2021

God's Sovereignty: He Can Be Trusted

Since I first mentioned my cancer diagnosis in February many have reached out to me with kind expressions of hope and encouragement. I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (left kidney) stage 4, which had spread to my left lung and liver. I shared that news here in Embrace Trials, Hold Joy, God is Near You.

Today, I can provide an update. On Wednesday I had a CT scan. This morning my oncologist called with the results. She said, 

"The scan looks great. Everything is stable. No new spots. Nothing is bigger and nothing is smaller. Should continue with the same therapy, maybe increase the dosage every 3rd or 4th day. All in all a good result."

For this my wife and family are grateful. While my cancer is incurable we are happy that my life expectancy is being extended. My quality of life, the chemotherapy side effects, has also much improved over time. In fact up until the weather recently turned I was able to get in a few rounds of golf. I hope to hit the slopes this winter as well.


In October I was found to have developed a skin cancer on my left hand. A minor surgery was performed to remove it. The good news is that they got it all, and had not spread. 


While my cancer is incurable, the chemotherapy has thus far reduced the size of the tumor and slowed its inevitable spread. Two previous CT scans showed the tumor had been reduced in size by approximately 50%. My wife Liz and I thank God for His loving kindness toward us as we walk this path He has entrusted to us.

Incidentally, in April I suffered a mild stroke and contracted bi-lateral Bells Palsy. All that right on the heels of the cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy issues. It was a vortex of issues one on top of another. I began to feel like Wylie E. Coyote waiting for the next anvil to drop.

I was born again in April 1979. From that day to this I knew that when I leave this corruptible body I would be in Heaven. The only thing I did not know was how I was going to get there. It appears, unless the Lord supernaturally heals my body, that question has been answered. 


Through all of this the Lord has given me many opportunities to tell of His goodness and witness to lost folks I otherwise never would have met. I want you all to know that when you face adversity, when life takes a turn that you had not anticipated God is in the midst. He is working out His perfect plan for your life and you do not need to be afraid of it. You can trust Him and find joy in trials. I am being prepared and perfected to enter into His presence.  It is our glorification we are all being prepared for and we need not fear it. 


Thanks again for your expressions of concern, encouragement and kindness.


Kind regards,



LM

November 8, 2021

Archival Series: “Why These Schools Collapsed & What Does It Mean for [BJU]?”

Today [June 18, 2020] I am drawing your attention to a message given by Dr. Will Senn given at the FBFI Annual Fellowship on June 12, 2019. His message title is, What are the Qualities of True Christian Fellowship?1You will appreciate the relevance of the latter part of his message as it has a direct bearing on our discussions about the changing face of Bob Jones University (BJU).

Where the message begins to move toward what is applicable to BJU begins at -20:50. Later the message hones in on specifics that precisely addresses what is happening at Bob Jones University (BJU). To appreciate the impact of what was said you must listen to the balance of Pastor Senn’s message from -17:20 through the end.

Dr. Will Senn
Dr. Senn begins closing his message with an illustration from a graduate class he was teaching at International Baptist College & Seminary (Spring 2019).  His concluding remarks are drawn from the students’ answers to the final exam he had given them. Their assignment was, “I am giving you five colleges where the doors are now closed…. You’re going to make an oral presentation…. Why did they close?” (-17:20) Dr. Senn’s assigned the final.
“Why did Clearwater close, Northland close, Pillsbury close, Calvary Baptist Seminary close, Tennessee Temple close…. why did they fall, what happened and what can we learn? I want you to do the research. I want us to learn something from history because it will have a current application and future application as it relates to our fellowship.”
Dr. Senn then assigned the students a second portion to the exam.  He said, “You’re going to take the lessons learned and I am going to ask you to put yourself in the context of addressing five current Christian schools where if you had the opportunity to talk to their boards what would you say to those board members from the lessons just learned?”

The five current schools assigned were: Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Faith Baptist (Ankeny, IA), Maranatha Baptist University, Bob Jones University and International Baptist College & Seminary.

The student answers are as revealing as they are factually correct. Dr. Senn read samples of the reasons students arrived at for the five schools closing, for example:
    Guard against sports becoming the focus of the school, rather than the focus being disciple making, loving Christ and other type of school.
    Maintain sound doctrine; do not compromise to broaden the school’s base of support.
    The need for the school to solicit input and support of the pastor and churches that are sending their students to the school.
    Be true to your mission statement. Do not try to be something that you are not.
    Southern Baptists and other evangelicals have their own well established and attractive schools. They are not looking for new schools, but are content with their current choices.
    Sports programming can become overbearing and expensive especially if you seek to compete in higher divisions.

The excerpted student answers above (there were thirty in all) boiled down to a summary statement. Dr. Senn prefaced their summary, “Why these five schools collapsed and then what would you say to the other five schools that I love?” Their summary statement was,
Every failed school veered from its conservative and historic base to accommodate a new base…and each time it was the death knell of the school.
BJU president Dr. Steve Pettit was in the auditorium under the sound of Dr. Senn’s message. From that day to this it appears virtually none of those student admonitions made a dent with Steve Pettit and his mission for BJU. Does Steve Pettit think he can veer from the university’s base to accommodate the SBC and evangelicals and the university will survive it? If that is Steve’s plan then he is not learning from history the lesson that the five closed schools learned the hard way.

Drs. Horn & Pettit
During the tragedy that became Northland’s closure objective observers knew that Matt Olson, with Sam Horn “veered from its conservative and historic base to accommodate a new base.” Today, objective observers recognize that Steve Pettit and Sam Horn “veered from [BJU’s] conservative and historic base to accommodate a new base.” BJU’s “conservative and historic base” recognize what Pettit and Horn together have done. The base has been alienated, their admonitions ignored.  Consequently much of the base has abandoned the school, plus the SBC and evangelical students Steve Pettit is trying to attract, “are not looking for new schools, but are content with their current choices.”

At this blog I have in various forms been writing statements like this, “For NIU the lesson from TTU [Clearwater, Calvary Seminary] and Pillsbury is the same, ‘You can’t come in and turn a hard right or left and expect to have your alumni with you’.”2Today we can take that statement with some editing to read as follows, “For Bob Jones University the lesson from NIU, TTU, Pillsbury, Clearwater and Calvary Seminary is the same, “You can’t come in and turn a hard right or left and expect to have your alumni with you.”

Closing with Dr. Senn, 
“You can’t build that [SBC, evangelical] relationship fast enough. So what happens is your pushing the good people out, the Calebs and Joshuas. And you start listening to the ten spies.”
BJU is well on its way to joining the five failed schools. You cannot alienate your core constituency and expect them to remain loyal. On its current trajectory BJU should not expect to survive Steve Pettits presidency.


LM

Originally published June 18, 2020.

Footnotes:


Related Reading:
Dr. Bob Jones, Jr, If BJU Ever Changes...I Pray the Lord Closes Its Doors. 
Ironically it is through the actions of BJU graduates, Steve Pettit (80’) and Sam Horn (86’ 88’ 95’) that the school has lost its ‘strong fundamentalist stand.’ Going forward, unless some radical intervention takes place, it will be through BJU graduate Steve Pettit that the university’s doors are destined to close.

The Northland/BJU pattern is virtually the same, casting off its fundamentalism, separatist roots, and the common denominator is Sam Horn. BJU is learning what the colleges learned the hard way when they went down the road of embracing evangelicalism.  And that lesson is: You cannot turn a college to a hard right or hard left and expect to have your alumni with you. 

What tires objective observers is letters like those from Les Ollila and Matt Olson where they…use subjective imprecise language to quell any concerns…. Northland’s new trajectory has a historic parallel. The devastating effects of introducing Evangelicalism’s philosophy and practices into a biblical Fundamentalist setting are no starker than the demise of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College.

This is the predicted result of Matt Olson’s Experiment with the “new wave” of new evangelicalism. It was clear that the school would not survive Olson’s changes. Matt Olson and his team [Sam Horn] had pounded the nails into the coffin of a once fine, fundamental, Baptistic, separatist school. 

From the front pew it has been my sorrow to observe CCC’s decline over the past 13 years.  From a college with a strong following of biblical fundamental pastors and churches, CCC appeared to have lost her way.  Many reasons will be given for the doors of CCC closing.  Some will cite economics, a dwindling number of conservative churches, low student enrollment and competition from other colleges. Although all of the above no doubt contribute to the demise of CCC; I suggest from my vantage point that the leadership of the college over the past 10 years steered the college away from its founder’s purpose, philosophy and vision.



November 1, 2021

Bob Jones University: Compromised Spiritual Sanctification for Secular Pragmatism

On October 22 Bob Jones University (BJU) posted a promotional video for their production of A Midsummer Night's DreamThe screen shot at right is taken from the 1:20 video. Update 11/07: Over the weekend BJU removed the video from their Facebook page.

Since the installment of Dr. Steve Pettit as BJU president in 2014 we have witnessed and documented (see links below) a slow march away from the university’s biblical separatist legacy. The university has chosen a path of compromised spiritual sanctification for secular pragmatism.

NIU Student 2013
Dr. David Beale recently published Christian Fundamentalism in America in which the following appears.

“After being the premier Fundamentalist academic institution for eighty seven years, BJU elected Dr. Steve Pettit in 2014, as the president who steered the University out of separatist Fundamentalism into the inclusive, Broad Evangelical Movement, (p. 179, 530).

BJU has departed from any reasonable understanding of historic separatist fundamentalism. Unless BJU is recovered there are only two possible outcomes. 1) Become increasingly like Cedarville and Liberty, or 2) Follow NIU, Pillsbury, Clearwater, TTU and Calvary Seminary (Lansdale) into closure.

Yours faithfully,


LM

UPDATE (Nov. 7): 

1) The BJU administration has removed or blocked the video from its Facebook page we link to above. 

2) Dr. Kevin Schaal posted an article at the FBFI Proclaim & Defend blog.  In it he cites the section from Dr. Beales new book, which we have noted above. We appreciate the FBFI finding its voice over what is transpiring at BJU. The balance of Schaals article, however, essentially blunts the impact Beale's sharp and precise statement.

Related Reading:

This is Not Your Father's BJU

Alumni and friends of BJU have reached out to Steve Pettit about the direction he is taking the university. On hearing the reproof of friends Pettit and the administration have chosen not to change, and instead stepped on the gas-pedal. The trajectory the university is set upon can have only one of two outcomes, neither good.

Why These Schools Collapsed & What Does it Mean for BJU?

“Why did Clearwater close, Northland close, Pillsbury close, Calvary Baptist Seminary close, Tennessee Temple close…why did they fall, what happened and what can we learn? I want us to learn something from history because it will have a current application and future application as it relates to our fellowship.”

Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. "If BJU Ever Changes...I Pray The Lord Closes Its Doors

Many of the alumni…and long-time friends of BJU have seen enough of how the school is moving toward ecumenical inclusivism to abandon the university.  It appears there is little left to do other than: 1) Watch the university continue on an ecumenical trajectory or 2) as one alum said, It “…should be taken back by all who invested their lives, students, and for many…their fortunes in the place.”

BJU Lurches Further Into Evangelicalism

Further we must refuse to surrender resources to those institutions, agencies, and churches who are moving. It is not wise to continue to send our children to colleges, give our money to agencies, or support churches that are in transition while we wait to see where they will land. By then it is too late! Look at where their feet are pointing! At some point there must be separation from this disobedience. It is the only tool which God has given to us to police ourselves and to maintain the priority and purity of our position.

An Analysis of BJU's Position Paper on Calvinism, Arminianism & Reformed Theology

After reading BJU’s position paper, I feel that it reflects a style commonly employed by many New Calvinists. Their writing typically skirts issues to avoid offense or exclusion, while maximizing inclusivity. They achieve this by allowing the reader to supply his or her own theological definitions rather than offering clear-cut ones that would reveal Calvinist views. The fact that BJU’s paper appears to use a similar strategy concerns me.

A Failure to Stay the Course by Pastor Travis Smith 

For more than 15 years I have observed a pattern of change at Bob Jones University that is all to familiar. Like a ship slowly, imperceptibly drifting from its course, the university is adrift from the disciplines that shaped the character of generations of Christian students in its past.