March 6, 2020

Bob Jones University Lurches Further Into Evangelicalism

In a recent article we reported Sam Horn was leaving Bob Jones University (BJU) to assume the presidency of The Master’s University and Seminary.1 Some men openly wondered how long it might before BJU would join hands with John MacArthur.  The wait was not long.

Men in Fundamental circles will recall Les Ollila constantly warning that “it’s not what a person says, it’s where his feet are pointed,” that brings corruption. He illustrated the concept with Solomon who wrote wonderful truths (Proverbs), but pointed his feet toward pagan women and was corrupted.

When Northland International University was moving towards its demise Matt Olson had been saying, “Northland is unchanged!” His feet, however, were pointed toward Reformed, non-dispensational, amillennial, non-separatist, CCM /Rock-music-oriented, non-Baptist, Continuationists.

The difference here is that BJU is not claiming to be “unchanged.” The university is changing. The changes, which we have documented, are out-front and proudly displayed.2 Steve Pettit and the BJU administration have abandoned the university’s legacy as a fundamental, separatist institution.

When we see BJU president Steve Pettit crossing the country to participate in John MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Conference, posing for pictures and posting them on Twitter we can know for sure the direction his feet are pointed, and where he is taking BJU. The direction is undeniably toward non-separatist evangelicalism. And with it BJU is embracing the aberrant theology, ecumenical practices and worldly culture of the evangelicals, all of which has already found a home on the university campus.

Maybe you’re one who has been trying to give benefit of the doubt and/or hopeful BJU would reverse this trajectory. With all that we have seen in recent months, leading up to this event, the course is set.  Bob Jones University is taking a sharp turn away from its roots and legacy. There will be no turning back.

In Transitional Fundamentalism Dr. Milton Jones stated how we must respond to institutions moving away from their fundamentalist roots.
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.3

We believe nothing more needs to be seen, and we havent seen the last, to make any clearer that Bob Jones University has drifted far from its foundational moorings.


1) The Master’s University & Seminary Appoints Sam Horn President

With his departure for Masters what does Sam Horn leave in his wake at BJU? Very much the same conditions he left Northland in, which ultimately destroyed the once fine fundamental Baptist college. Now he leaves BJU on the same trajectory toward non-separatist evangelicalism. We believe Sam Horn’s appointment to Master’s will lead to greater collaboration between so-called conservative evangelicals and BJU.
2) Articles documenting the changes at BJU include:

BJU has embarked on a departure from ecclesiastical separation. Since the installation of Dr. Steve Pettit as president followed by Dr. Sam Horn as an executive vice president, BJU becomes increasingly unrecognizable to the purpose and philosophy upon which it was founded. Is this Northland all over again?
“This is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile,” and Neither is Bob Jones University

BJU has become a marginalized shell of its former self.  Steve Pettit’s redesign has transformed the school into something that is, “Not Your Father’s BJU.”  You can’t come into an institution and take a hard right or hard left and expect to have your alumni with you. Continuing its current trajectory BJU will continue to diminish, and very possibly as with the Oldsmobile brand, it will go away.
This is Not Your Father’s BJU (ReDux)

Under Dr. Steve Pettit’s leadership, Bob Jones University continues to follow a path of ecclesiastical compromise, embracing the spirit of Neo-evangelicalism, and rejecting its historical legacy as a Bible fundamental, separatist institution. At least we who were in classes and privileged to be challenged by separatists like Drs. Bob Jones., Bob Jones III, Gilbert Stenholm and Richard Rupp can take consolation in this: Whilst the current administration has sadly tarnished the reputation of Dr. Stewart Custer, they have so far spared the Jones’ of that humiliation.
An Analysis of BJU’s Position Paper on Calvinism, Arminianism and ReformedTheology

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.

Is BJU Moving Closer to “Pseudo-Fundamentalism”?
Last semester Andy Naselli, a member of TGC, was invited to BJU as a special speaker. BJU collaborating with and financially supporting Save the Storks for a positive social good is not an indifferent thing. We see BJU adopting methods that have more in common with The Gospel Coalition’s ecumenical movement than with the separatist, fundamental university it once was.
3) Transitional Fundamentalism (Reprinted by Permission)

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