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.


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.


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


  1. Dr. Benjamin Heffernan12/20/2021 10:06 PM

    I feel powerless to stop the direction that my alma mater has gone. I want to thank you for using your respected voice to sound the alarm and help others understand how far BJU has strayed from its separatist founding. May God bring it back through repentance and a return to the biblical truth that fundamentalists have defended and proclaimed without apology.

    1. Dr. Heffernan:

      There are many BJU alumni like you who are grieved by what is happening to the university. Apart from genuine repentance and/or the alumni wresting control of the university from Steve Pettit the school is forever lost.


  2. As a 1994 graduate of BJU my heart is saddened by the drastic turn BJU has taken toward Broader Evangelicalism. I've always appreciated Dr. Beale's Zeal for the "Pursuit Of Purity" in Fundamentalism. I'm thankful for men like Dr. Beale who are an encouragement to pastors like me who are just trying to "...contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3)

  3. Gentlemen:

    I have sent an email to Dr. Beale to make him aware of your comments here.

    We are witnessing another modern day tragedy. Apparently it wasn't enough for Pettit to see the closure of Northland, Clearwater, Pillsbury, TTU and Calvary Seminary (Lansdale) and realize you can't take these schools to a hard left or right and expect to have your alumni with you.

    Kind regards,


  4. The article states, "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. Prior to preaching the chapel message, Fant was welcomed with a standing ovation."

    I was in chapel that day as a BJU faculty member (since laid off in a downsizing move), and I remember this introduction. The wording of the statement seems pretty clearly to imply that Gene Fant was the chapel preacher that day. Those who have been in chapel during the past 5 or 10 years know, though, that the kind of introduction described and shown on the video clip supplied in the footnote is not an introduction for a visiting speaker but rather a special welcome for a visitor seated in the section of the auditorium reserved for special guests. That date was a Monday, and Dr. Pettit always preaches on Mondays if he is on campus; Monday is his day for preaching the special semester-theme series. Anyone can confirm that Dr. Pettit was indeed the chapel preacher that day via this link to that day's chapel message on Sermon Audio: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=25181449382

    If the writer intended to say, "prior to DR. PETTIT'S preaching the chapel message...," then the statement is accurate. But the wording makes that interpretation very unnatural, and the natural implication that Dr. Fant preached the message is false. Someone unfamiliar with the relatively recent practice of welcoming honored chapel guests in this manner (as Dr. Beale very well may be) might easily misunderstand the video clip linked in the footnote as the introduction of the day's preacher or speaker. The issue at stake is significant enough to require this correction.

    1. Thank you for that input. I will forward to Dr. Beale’s attention. I think we agree that your clarification in no way diminishes the thrust of Dr. Beale’s FACTS article. His summary statement in his new book, which I have repeated here in previous articles is very clear. 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.”

      In seven years Steve Pettit has essentially erased the fundamentalist and separatist legacy of BJU. I have documented many of his egregious actions. In the past year alone Pettit steered BJU into cooperative ministry with Franklin Graham’s ecumenical movement. He gave Bible Conference donations to Save the Storks another ecumenical group.

      How many times do we need to see that once the schools take a hard shift away from its fundamentalist moorings the school is lost? Pillsbury, Clearwater, TTU, Calvary Seminary and Northland all closed because of the very same kind of shift Steve Pettit is doing at BJU. That said, I think instead of closing BJU is being morphed into a clone of Liberty. Pettit has it half way there already.

      And a closing thought- Those who legitimize, even a small segment of evangelicalism (conservative evangelical or whatever adjective you wish to put with evangelical), hurt the cause of Christ and His Truth. Steve Pettit, Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder fall into that category.

      Kind regards,


    2. I had intended to include in my initial post the detail that I emailed Dr. Beale about this a week ago, telling him that I would hold off posting for about a week in order to give him time to make any correction he might want to make. I did not get a reply from him, but of course it is the holiday period, and I think there may be some other personal pressures preventing him from tending to all the details of the correspondence that comes in. So I'm not faulting him for not replying, but I did want to go ahead and post my correction without further loss of time.

    3. He is very busy with "personal pressures."

    4. Btw, Dr. Beale got back to me about your concern. He asked me to edit the article to make the correction you suggested, which I have done.


    5. Just received an email from Dr. Beale letting me know about the editing. Sorry I missed this update in "real time"; I was just occasionally looking at the bottom of the thread for the latest comments. Perhaps I missed some other comments as well from higher up in the discussion. I guess I should have turned on notifications. :-) Thanks for this follow-up.

  5. Space limitations prevented my including what follows in my previous comment. Since the subject matter is different, it's probably just as well.

    I share the writer's disappointment with many of the recent changes at BJU, so I am not writing in BJU's general defense--though welcoming the president of a neighboring university in a chapel session does not violate any biblical teaching that I'm aware of and strikes me as a matter of common decency, assuming that the purpose of the campus visit was itself legitimate. As the situation appears to me, though, the blame for these changes does not lie primarily at Dr. Pettit's feet. I see the responsibility as much broader, resting on the shoulders of our movement as a whole, extending back at least to the point where diminishing appetite among us for counter-cultural forms of Christianity prompted a relabeling of BJU from “The World’s Most Unusual University” to “The Opportunity Place: God’s Special Place for You.” I have come to see Dr. Pettit’s presidency as analogous to Saul’s appointment as king and the prodigal son’s being granted his inheritance. God's way is often (not always) to grant people their unwise and even disobedient insistences and then let them reap the consequences that naturally flow from their error. I don’t believe BJU has been stolen; I believe its custodians--the majority proportion of every layer of its whole constituency--have been insistently refashioning it to reflect their own appetites. Dr. Pettit is probably the one most influential person within that whole, but I don't see him as driven by appetite so much as by a different understanding of Biblical separation than prevailed in the past. Undoubtedly others among the influential are similarly principled. But it seems to me that behind them and their ascendency into positions of influence does lie a movement-wide appetite to be more "like the nations" and to enjoy the pleasures offered by our culture without troubling much over questions of worldliness and holiness.

    It is likely that this perspective of my own is not 100% correct, so I don’t offer it with any insistence on its accuracy but rather as thoughts for others to consider reflectively and prayerfully for what they may prove to be worth.

    As to my own relationship with BJU since my layoff, I am on record with my friends and acquaintances as being profoundly grateful for the University's influence in my life and for the rich and priceless privilege of being able to serve in such a wonderful ministry for so many years--a privilege that I never deserved for a moment. My layoff has generated no bitterness in me. I'm actually deeply thankful for it, because it allowed those decades of ministry to come to a mutually graceful and gracious end when I had begun to fear the possibility of a train wreck over some irreconcilable difference. God willing (and my flesh not getting the upper hand!), my words about BJU will always be tempered by this gratitude to the Lord and to BJU that I feel to the very bottom of my soul.

    1. If I may react to one portion of this comment. You wrote, “I don't see him [Pettit] as driven by appetite so much as by a different understanding of Biblical separation than prevailed in the past.”

      Over 10+ plus years Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder have done immense damage by allowing for, tolerating, ignoring, running interference for or excusing the doctrinal aberrations and non-separatism of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. Doran conjured a novel interpretation of the scriptural principles of separation- a separation in “academic contexts” to give himself cover. It appears Pettit has bought into this folly.


    2. I think it is wisest for me at present not to get deeply into discussion on these issues, as I have my hands full with more work than I am managing to stay on top of. I did consider the content of my posts here to be weighty enough to spend a bit of time on, but I think I should let them stand without much further comment and let others correct them as may be warranted based on good evidence. Thanks for letting me post!

    3. No problem, happy to share your thoughts here.

    4. Actually, I think I do want to make one more comment, since I think it will help make my point. In reply to my first post about Gene Fant's welcome in chapel, you wrote, "In the past year alone Pettit steered BJU into cooperative ministry with Franklin Graham’s ecumenical movement. He gave Bible Conference donations to Save the Storks another ecumenical group."

      If my read on things is correct (others may be in a position to confirm or correct me), BJU's engagements with these groups have come about at the initiative of students, as student leaders have been given opportunities for input on who the recipients of fund-raising efforts should be. Certainly Dr. Pettit has veto power that he has chosen not to exercise with respect to these groups. But I seriously doubt that Dr. Pettit has personally chosen them as his preferred recipients. My somewhat educated guess is that he has chosen to allow students to decide who their money should go to.

      If I'm correct about this, then these fund-raising efforts serve as cases in point that the impetus for these changes comes from sources much broader than Dr. Pettit personally and that these choices reflect the changing sensibilities of the total BJU constituency as much as if not more than those of new BJU leadership. And one of those changed sensibilities is that top-down, unilateral management is out of style, and management by soliciting a consensus of stakeholders has become the expected norm.

    5. I appreciate your input. Students decide? Well, who's running the asylum? To put it plainly, "the buck stops here." Pettit has allowed for and/or personally driven BJU into compromise with men of questionable doctrinal integrity, disobedient brethren, ecumenical movements and secular pragmatism. Every one of these terrible decisions had to go through his office. He happily put his stamp of approval on all of it. Sorry for being blunt, but it's late and I'd just as soon get to the point.


    6. I can't vigorously disagree with you. I just believe that the forces at work to produce such decisions are movement wide and subtly variegated, not just simple and personal on his part. The decision to empower students with a greater level of participation in decision-making is something that I would love to discuss at length: personally I see strong pros and cons in it. But I am not an insider to the administrative discussions on this topic, so I doubt that I could speak accurately about even the whats, let alone the whys. For that reason, I don't think it's appropriate for me to share my thoughts publicly. I do think that I can say this much, though. From the pragmatic, secular perspective of doing business within current American culture, not very many considerations are worthy of being ranked higher than student satisfaction. The role that God Himself would want this perspective to play within a Christian college is highly debatable, and I won't claim to have the final word. My inclinations run strongly opposed to it. And then I remind myself of what I wrote a few posts ago: God often (but not always, as James 4:3 shows) gives even His foolish children what they insist upon, and upon few things if any do today's students, as a group, insist upon more strongly than their own satisfaction!

    7. Thank you sharing these new, insightful thoughts.


  6. Lou,
    I have appreciated Dr. Beale’s willingness to issue such a statement. A statement that was bound to get pushback. Sadly, men are pushing back by trying to nuance words or dance around meanings in order to seemingly make a segment of evangelicalism acceptable to fundamentalists as an alternative to a truly Biblical position.
    I believe Dr. Leedy is right in his assessment that what we see unfolding at BJU is emblematic of a much broader departure that has been on going. Yes, this would include what Bauder and Doran have espoused over the past decade and more.
    My alma mater is not the separatist, fundamentalist bastion that I went to back in the late 70’s and on through the 80’s.

    1. Thanks for that Brian.  A great many BJU alums appreciate Dr. Beale speaking up about what has been done to BJU by Steve Pettit and his collaborators.

      What we have witnessed Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran word-smithing the Scriptures to give them cover for cooperating with their friends in non-separatist evangelicalism. Separation in "academic contexts" what rubbish.They have attempted to blur the lines of distinction between fundamentalism and evangelicalism. Tragically,they have had some success deceiving the younger men in particular. Here's a link to Doran's novel idea


      Incidentally, Steve Pettit has invited Dave Doarn to be among the keynote speakers at next year's CoRE Conference. One might wonder if Doran having written a negative review of Beale's new book figured in. The irony is Dave Doran stood by Northland and Calvary Seminary as they were driven into the ground by Matt Olson and Tim Jordan respectively. What that track record might mean for BJU is anybody's guess


    2. Lou, I'd like to offer a few thoughts on the guys you mention here.

      It is clear that Doran has shifted his positions somewhat, but I think his comments on Dr. Beale's book would have nothing to do with his invitation to the CORE conference. The Conference planning is very long-range, they wouldn't be so slap-dash as to make a sudden invitation over a recent review of a negative book.

      On Bauder, I think you are uncharitable. It is true that there was a period where he flirted with the more conservative side of evangelicalism, but he has pulled back from that. I haven't spoken to him directly about it, but I think his recent work has been much more clearly separatist than he may have been in the past.

      I'll leave it at that. I share your concerns about BJU, appreciate Randy's words here. Randy is a good man and a long-time friend. I appreciate his remarks here.

      The whole sorry mess is a great tragedy among us, but in the end, we are each responsible for ourselves. We have to maintain our own fundamentalist testimony and ministry, and trust the Lord finds our work worthy when we get to the end of the road.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

    3. Don:

      Thanks for stopping by. We're seeing eye-to-eye on what is transpiring at BJU. Dr. Leedy’s comments have been very helpful.

      If I suggested Doran's invitation to speak at the CoRE Conference wad because of his negative review of Beale's book that was an over-speak, but I'm certain Doran's negative review endeared himself to Steve Pettit.

      Over ten years ago we began discussing and documenting examples of Drs. Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran spear-heading a movement of practice and encouraging men...to set aside the principles of biblical separation for a type of “separation in academic contexts.”  (See Link 1 below) to legitimize entering into fellowship and cooperative ministry with the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. Btw, at your own blog you questioned this. I'll post that in a separate reply.

      Kevin Bauder went so far as to state Al Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration, alongside Roman Catholics, was merely an “Occasional Inconsistency.”  (See Link 2 below)

      Bauder, furthermore, in 2009 on the eve of that years FBFI annual fellowship disparaged and besmirched Drs. Bob Jones, Jr and John R. Rice.  See link 3 below.

      FBFI Resolution 97.05 accurately describes Doran’s conjuring his novel “degree of secondary separation.”  It speaks to Bauder excusing Mohler's ecumenical compromise. It calls their degree of separation “fallacious.” It is harmful to the cause of Christ, His Truth and must be rejected.

      With that I'm closing any further discussion of Doran and Bsuder here.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts

      Link 1- http://indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com/2010/05/redux-is-there-second-definition-for_17.html?m=1

      Link 2- https://indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com/2010/06/kevin-bauder-discussing-al-mohlers.html?m=1

      Link 3- https://indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com/2009/05/kevin-bauder-call-for-his-removal-from.html?m=1

    4. This you posted at yourown blog. You questioned Doran's application of separation. I forgot to save the link, sorry. You wrote,
      "I don’t understand how it would be acceptable [for Dave Doran] to preach in a conference with a fellow when you have refused to speak for him in his church…. The two venues are different: one is a conference at a seminary; the other is an invitation to speak in a church. What makes speaking with Dever at the conference acceptable and the speaking for Dever in his church unacceptable?"

  7. With all due respect to Dr. Leedy, from whose books I have greatly profited, I have observed that Dr. Pettit has demonstrated repeatedly that he is not a Biblical separatist in the historical sense of the term. He has frequently invited chapel and conference speakers who are not Fundamentalists, but New Evangelicals. He has had speakers from Master's Seminary on several occasions. He has had Ken Hamm speak several times, even recently, not to mention Andy Naselli. Dr. Pettit speaks at conferences dominated by and sponsored by Reformed theologians, included a recently-concluded Reformed conference held earlier this month at BJU. He speaks glowingly of John MacArthurt's ministry. In addition, though Dr. Leedy didn't specifically state this, but did infer it: the BJU board is also partly to blame for the drift of the school. I can still hear Dr. Bob Jr. saying, some 40 years ago, that if the school ever drifted from its foundational position, he would personally light the match and burn down the school. He also asserted that graduates of the school were duty-bound to keep the school on the right path. Sadly, precious few graduates seem to take that responsibility seriously. Regrettably, I believe that the school has crossed a line from which there will be no return, and it grieves me to my core.

    1. Gary: Thanks for those numerous proofs that Pettit and BJU have erased virtually every trace of the university's fundamentalist, biblical separatist legacy. And without a doubt Pettit could never have gotten away with this apart from the silence and/or complicity of a majority of board members. IMO, apart from Pettit and his co-betrayers being removed the university is irreparably lost to a non-separatist evangelism. A sad and disgraceful chapter in the school's history.

    2. I would have to agree with you that Dr. Pettit's form of separatism is not at all that which characterized BJU a generation ago. My understanding of the "close down the school!" admonitions is that it applied to departure from core Christian orthodoxy rather than a shift in the particular lines of separation adhered to within the range that is open to debate.

      To make my own views a little clearer, I'll quote my own statement, which I was graciously given a golden open door to express some years ago to the then-chairman of the board: "I believe it would be better for BJU to come to a graceful and principled end than to survive in a form that only testifies of spiritual failure." I don't know just where the line is between spiritual success and failure, so I won't claim to be the arbiter of when the time has come for alumni to assert themselves toward closing the school. I would caution, though, against pulling that trigger too quickly, based on our own assessment, when God's record shows an amazing amount of patience, to allow opportunity for repenting and returning. Is the die fully and finally cast? Or might change yet come about.

      I keep writing more when I've said I'm finished. I really need to stop, now that I've stated my position, I hope, a little more clearly. May the Lord deal as He knows best, and may we all pray earnestly for the Lord's best, whatever that may be!

    3. Dr. Leedy, again I thank you for sharing your thoughts. They are helpful and appreciated. You wrote,

      "I believe it would be better for BJU to come to a graceful and principled end than to survive in a form that only testifies of spiritual failure."

      Your statement here is as eloquent and pointed as any I have read.

      You also wrote, "...when God's record shows an amazing amount of patience, to allow opportunity for repenting and returning. Is the die fully and finally cast?"

      While I appreciate that greatly my reaction is this. Every struggle with compromise has those who linger trying, hoping that recovery will happen... and it doesn’t. How many times do we need to see that once the schools take a hard shift away from its fundamentalist moorings the school is lost?

      Pillsbury, Clearwater, TTU, Calvary Seminary and Northland all closed because of the very same kind of shift Steve Pettit is doing at BJU. We have seven years of this already. It's more egregious more frequent.

      The only difference I see is rather than close like the others apart from repentance and/or Pettit and his board removed BJU will continue becoming more like Liberty University and Cedarville. That essentially closes down the school that once was Bob Jones University.

      Thanks again for your expressions.


    4. I guess, to be candid, I am waiting to see whom the board chooses as the next president. The SBC seminaries, while still (and increasingly) problematic in so many ways, did move much further back to the right 20+ years ago than we would have thought possible. And there are parallel business stories as well, of companies that lost their way for a time and then managed to return to their roots. Apple Computer and Charles Schwab (discount investment brokerage) come to mind. These are the exceptions rather than the rule, so history is on your side. I'm just not yet willing to give up a hope that does not seem to me entirely unreasonable. My thanks to you, as well, for engaging in an interesting and, I think, important discussion.

    5. Dr. Leedy:

      Thanks for that perspective.

      I wrote an article years ago that drew a parallel to the closing of schools like Pillsbury and Northland. I spoke of the closure of Bill Knapp's restaurants. Bill Knapp's was a long time well established chain in the Midwest. Rarely was there a time their restaurant wasn't running at or near capacity. Loyal customer base, largely middle aged and seniors with their grandkids always. Their success was due primarily to the menu. So, what happened? A new executive took over. He decided the menu needed freshening, msny of the long time favorites were dropped, the decor updated to appeal to a younger generation. It didn't take long for the loyal customer base to fall away. The executive realized a mistake was made, tried to bring back the old menu, which he did. But, it was too late, the base was gone, they moved on and every one of the Bill Knapp's restaurants closed.

      Here's the link to that article


      As for the next president of BJU I'll make a prediction. Because the current majority board has stood by either silently or fully supporting Pettit's reshaping BJU, unless he is terminated, they'll look for another just like him. Matter of fact, here's another opinion I hold. There were enough yellow flags of caution with Steve Pettit that couldn't be missed prior to his hiring. That said I believe they may have brought him in to do exactly what he has been doing.

      Well, we've had a good discussion. Thanks for that.

      Kind regards,


    6. Apple and Schwab actually brought back their former leaders, and both were able to recover--Apple's financial success has of course been particularly astounding. It's hard to imagine a BJU return to a more separatist position that would be a huge FINANCIAL success, though, unless the Lord were pleased to do something really extraordinary. The "success" might well be that graceful and principled end that I wrote of earlier.

      I haven't been privy to board discussions, so I don't know details on the board's thinking. That's why I think their selection of the next president will be particularly telling. I would not be shocked if your prediction proves to be spot-on.

      Unless the Lord grants us a large-scale revival, it is hard for me to see a place within the cultural landscape for a thriving, older-style BJU.

    7. Sorry I haven't replied since last year. I'll try to do better. 😉

      A key difference between corporations like Apple and Schwab is that they never ceased being what they had always been at their core. Computers and financial planning respectively. My Bill Knapp's restaurants example demonstrates the new executive stripped away what at its core identified the restaurants unique niche.

      BJU at its core has been fundamental and biblically separatist. Pettit and the board have seen to it those core foundations have been steadily chipped away to the point of essentially erased.

      I hear from many BJU grads who, rather than it continue on the trajectory into doctrinal and ecumenical compromise, want to see the university close by graceful, principled or any other means.

      You wrote, "Unless the Lord grants us a large-scale revival, it is hard for me to see a place within the cultural landscape for a thriving, older-style BJU."



    8. I named those two companies because they really did drive away from the core character that had made them successful. When Steve Jobs first quit, Apple got away from the style factor that had endeared its computers to so many, and the company nearly went under when its customer base lost interest. Schwab was successful as a discount broker, but they started moving toward full-service with associated fees that alienated its clientele. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple and Charles Schwab returned to leadership at Schwab, they went back to their basics and their success returned. BJU has never ceased being a Christian Liberal Arts college, but it has moved away from earlier position on the landscape, so the scenarios look very similar to me as far as these considerations are concerned.

      To my way of thinking, the biggest difference between BJU and these other "stories" is that BJU's movement seems to me to be driven by the majority of its customer base, while those companies tried unsuccessfully to force their customers to accept changes that the customers didn't want. This is a huge difference, and it's the main thing that keeps me from high hopes of seeing BJU return to a more rigorous separatist stance. It seems to me that those of us with a desire for that kind of change are the distinct minority. So, while I'm not giving up hope, I do have to admit that my level of hope is very modest.

    9. Dr. Leedy:

      I'd like to close out our discussion with a few brief observations.  You wrote, "BJU has never ceased being a Christian Liberal Arts college, but it has moved away from earlier position on the landscape."

      Liberal arts colleges dot the fruited plain. They are numerous. The distinction is that BJU was founded and for 87 years identified as a Christian Liberal Arts school and further identifying at its core- fundamentalist and separatist. I'd also say largely "baptistic."

      While BJU remains a Christian Liberal Arts college the rest has imo more than been moved away from. It's being effectively erased in Steve Pettit's tenure as president. The erasure of fundamentalism and biblical separation is evident to every objective observer. The long time "earlier position" base seeing what has been done have largely abandoned BJU.

      If BJU is going to survive it will have to keep betraying the legacy to draw an increasing number of compromisers and evangelicals. If the school every tries to return to its "earlier position" the evangelicals, Reformed men and pseudo-fundamentalists Pettit has been pandering to will bail.

      Fwiw, earlier in my articles I documented from first hand eyewitnesses at the college and seminary that Covenant Theology is being taught by some faculty as the correct hermeneutic. That should alarm every believer who recognizes that the Bible is a Dispensational book.

      Calvinism, Lordship Salvation, Reformed Theology are becoming the dominant theologies on campus. Rob Congdon's article addresses the doctrinal shift at BJU. See,


      The doctrinal shift has been enabled by Pettit alinging with Reforned men and churches. His embrace of John MacArthur and Andy Naselli is hastening BJU's slide. Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder have done immeasurable damage to the cause of biblical separation within fundamentalism. Doran couldn't help but attack Dr Beale's new book. Ironically, Pettit has invited Doran to speak at 2022 CoRE Conference. That speaks volumes.

      As I noted earlier we've seen this pattern already. Betray the founding principles and the base will leave. Pillsbury, Clearwater, TTU, Calvary Seminary and Northland. Maybe Pettit thinks he can succeed where these others miserably failed and consequently sunk those schools.

      In closing I want to thank you once again for sharing your helpful perspectives.

      Yours faithfully,


  8. Dear Lou,
    I haven't commented in a while, but still follow your blog. I would like to know where Dr. Bob Jones, III stands in all of this. He speaks regularly in chapel, still travels at the behest of the University, yet he never seems to receive any questions about the direction of the University upon whose Board he still sits.

    I get showing deference to a man who for many years piloted the University in the faithful way. I certainly mean no disrespect to him. However, he still has influence on the University. There needs to be some clarity from him as to where he stands on all this change at BJU. The silence is deafening.

    Tod Brainard
    1987 BJU Graduate

    1. Brother Brainard:
      Thanks for stopping by with your comment, question. Where does Dr. Bob III stand in all this? Good question and no one I know of has that answer. He may be expressing himself in private conversation. All we know for sure is the university's legacy is being erased whether or not Dr. Bob III has expressed an opinion one way or another to the board.

      Thanks again,


    2. Tod, I think I remember you (with respect!) from your BJU undergrad years, when I believe we had at least one Greek course together. Since I read your post some six weeks ago now, it has stayed on my mind, and I've pondered whether and how I might reply. I think I have a little something to say now that, while probably not all that helpful (certainly not highly definite), may be worth a little something.

      I don't have an inside track on Dr. Bob's mind, but I've tried to put myself in his position. Let's suppose, based on the positions he took over the years of his presidency, that he is not enthusiastically supportive of all that Dr. Pettit has done. We can even suppose that he may disagree quite strongly with some things. How can he be expected to handle that disagreement?

      One of Dr. Bob Sr.'s chapel sayings comes to mind: "Go as far as you can with a man on the right road." Some of us believe that Dr. Pettit is not on exactly the right road. But we should stop and take a broader look at all the bad things that MIGHT have happened at BJU under his presidency that did not. Things could be much worse, and there are many roads much more clearly wrong than the road Dr. Pettit has been on.

      We should also be fair in taking stock, and we should recognize some commendable things about Dr. Pettit's ministry. He has been an extremely hard worker in keeping the university afloat financially. And when we remember that his wife Terry suffers from cancer, and that he has had health issues of his own, his work ethic has been really remarkable. And of course Dr. Bob has been observing all of this up close.

      When I imagine myself in Dr. Bob's position, this is what I say to myself (again, supposing that I disagree with Dr. Pettit with some vehemence over some issues). There are a lot of my friends and BJU alumni who have some right to know what I'm thinking, since I've taken strong positions on such things over the years. Since my silence probably seems to them to imply my agreement, and since I always taught that faithfulness to God requires us to speak out against biblical disobedience, I no weak urge to put my disagreement on public record! But here is a dear friend of mine who has accepted a call of God to lead BJU--a school bearing my and my fathers' names--through a very difficult time in its history. If I come out with public disagreement, I'm going to stir up that much more trouble for the school. I'm absolutely willing to do that if God convicts my conscience by Scripture that I must. But I REALLY need to be sure that I have exhausted every possibility to avoid it before I take that step; I can't shoot from the hip. I have access to Dr. Pettit (and let's suppose that Dr. Pettit hears Dr. Bob respectfully whenever Dr. Bob wants to talk about something, and even seeks Dr. Bob's advice often--again, I don't know anything for a fact; I'm just supposing), and I seem to get some traction with him. Can real change take place soon that would avert my having to take a public stand against the school with all that that would entail? If so, wouldn't that be far better than my taking a public stand against the school?

      (to be continued, as I have hit a length limit)

    3. (continued from previous)

      Now I'm speaking as myself again. I am very sympathetic with the predicament that I suspect Dr. Bob might find himself in. I think what is required of me is to pray for him, be patient toward him, and give him the space that he needs to discern the Lord's leading in what may very well be a terribly difficult decision for him.

      Strong leaders who age well often mellow in their maturity--sometimes to an extent that discredits them but often to their credit, as they become aware of others' personal needs that require as much attention and care as matters of principle do.

      God never seems to be in as much of a hurry as we tend to be in. So my advice, for whatever it's worth, would be to assume the best about Dr. Bob's spiritual character (he has done nothing that I'm aware of that clearly discredits himself), sympathize with the dilemmas he likely faces, pray that he will know the Lord's mind about the steps he should take, and wait to hear from him until he believes the time is right to speak. If someone has a real NEED to know where Dr. Bob stands on a particular issue, then that question can be raised directly with Dr. Bob, and I like to think that he would be entirely reasonable in deciding whether and how to reply.

    4. Dr. Leedy:

      Thank you for posting those thoughts above. Dr. Bob’s (III) hands are tied. The board now runs the school and the president answers to the board. One might hope Dr. Bob has tried to counsel Steve Pettit about what is the on-going ruin of the university's legacy. But beyond talk there is no real pressure he can bring to bear on the situation.

      Incidentally, Dr. Bob spoke at the recent BJU Bible Conference. Afterward I suspect Pettit might have regretted giving Dr. Bob the platform. Late in his message it was quite clear he was expressing concern and frustration over some of the recent events (without naming them directly) having taken place on campus. But his references were clearly made about the fashion show, Midsummer Night's Dream and Pettit entangling BJU with Franklin Graham's ecumenical movement.

      Here is a link to Dr. Bob's message:

      Advance to about 37 minutes for the noteworthy things he said.

      Kind regards,


    5. Looking back over some things this morning, Lou, I find that I did not reply to this post. I had viewed the video of Dr. Bob's message and was very thankful to hear it. I, too, wondered what Dr. Pettit thought and was pleasantly surprised to hear him voice, in his concluding comments after the message, the strongest approval that I can imagine, saying, in effect, that Dr. Bob had preached exactly what had been asked of him. Taking that statement at face value as sincere (as opposed, say, to taking it as a ploy to keep as much "right-wing" support in place as possible while continuing to move the school leftward), I was very much encouraged by it. So this seems like a fine time for concerted prayer for the school and its leadership at every level!

      And with this, I really think that I need to go pretty silent. I think I've said as much as is appropriate for my position--and have run considerable risk of saying far TOO much! And other matters are pressing me these days. May the Lord grant His mind to each of us as we labor to serve Him as faithfully as we can according to the light we are able to gain from His Word!

  9. A 2000 graduate of BJU here. As many have stated, I too am grateful for the BJU I attended and have known and am deeply saddened by the obvious drift from its original separatist foundation. It does however do my heart very good to read from some of my former professors who themeselves have not changed and are willing to say something. Thank you, Dr. Beale and Dr. Leedey for your faithfulness.

    Pastor John Flanders, Clio, MI

    1. Thanks for your kind words, brother John. We all stand in great need of the Lord's help in these challenging days in which decision-making has become so difficult. If a person is going to draw a line at all, it's going to have to be drawn between things that are so similar that they don't seem to deserve opposite treatment. We can avoid that scenario by drawing a box around a wider gray area in which we operate with some combination of approval and disapproval, but those decisions will always be subjective enough to generate disagreement from those who see things differently. May the Lord grant us abundance of both holiness and love, operating correctly together, so that we can somehow honor Him even in our handling of the disagreements that arise in part from our own failures and imperfections!

  10. Thanks for your kind words, brother John. We all stand in great need of the Lord's help in these challenging days in which decision-making has become so difficult. If a person is going to draw a line at all, it's going to have to be drawn between things that are so similar that they don't seem to deserve opposite treatment. We can avoid that scenario by drawing a box around a wider gray area in which we operate with some combination of approval and disapproval, but those decisions will always be subjective enough to generate disagreement from those who see things differently. May the Lord grant us abundance of both holiness and love, operating correctly together, so that we can somehow honor Him even in our handling of the disagreements that arise in part from our own failures and imperfections!

  11. Brother Randy:

    Thank you for your response to my questions. Yes, I took second year Greek with you way back in the day. I appreciate your candor and gracious response. Dr. Bob answered to some degree his concerns about the direction of the University recently at Bible Conference. I, like you, have prayed for the University leadership and Dr. Bob since my graduation in 1987. I, like you, have thought the best about Dr. Bob because I believe him to be a godly man. My concern was the length of time it has taken for him to come public with his concerns. The changes at BJU did not happen overnight. They have been progressing over the last 15 years. I think we have all been patient with Dr. Bob. Personally, I think he felt pressured to finally say something. He has many godly friends who have spoken to him over the years of their concerns and he took the tact of "let's give the leadership time." Time has been given and time has proven that Dr. Petit doesn't want the University shackled to "fundamentalism." He has hitched his wagon to broader evangelicalism because he hopes students will come from that segment who would not have come to the university due to BJU's "fundamental" past. As at Northland, Tennessee Temple, Clearwater, Pillsbury, and other defunct schools, this assumption and its pursuit are deadly. You don't cast away your unique "Fundamentalist" distinctives and become like other universities (Liberty, Wheaton, Southern Seminary, LeTourneau, Cedarville, etc. who were never "fundamentalist" in the first place) without paying a tragic price. Time will show that Dr. Bob's concerns spoken at Bible Conference were too little too late. May God have mercy on what was one of the greatest centers of Christian training of servants for the harvest. Now the focus is on sports, business, and trying to be like other so-called "Christian colleges."

    God bless you, Randy.

    Pastor Tod Brainard, Milton, FL 1987 BJU Grad

    1. Yes, Tod, I get what you're saying. I heard the message and was surprised to hear Dr. Pettit affirm it so strongly in his concluding comments afterward. I don't know whether that means that we might see some turning back from the leftward drift or whether Dr. Pettit is just doing a little more right now to keep the right wing with him in positioning BJU more broadly than in its past. I don't really mean to defend his public silence as the only right thing to do; I only mean to sympathize with his predicament.

      I could have gone on to discuss personal factors that might disincline him to undertake a new battle at this point in his life. He has suffered the loss of many valued things in family life and in ministry. He's more than 80. It probably is not reasonable for us to expect from him just what he would have done in the full prime of his life with so many empowering factors supporting him.

      So, speaking for myself, I hesitate to impose upon him MY preferred timetable for when he ought to take the actions that would seem TO ME to be most in character for him.

      I, too, would love to know more of what Dr. Bob thinks about all these things. If I were to approach him and express a need to know, though, I suspect that his response MIGHT be that he never meant his ministry to make me dependent upon him as my leader. Rather, he meant to bind my conscience to God's Word and the leading of God's Spirit, both of which I still have in full measure even if he finds himself compelled by his own conscience not to express himself publicly at present. Maybe "conscience" is the key to what I've been trying to say: we need to give Dr. Bob the space to obey his own conscience before the Lord according to whatever light the Lord has given him at this point in his life, which may in fact differ somewhat from the light that he had 20 or 30 years ago.

      As Lou said in his post earlier, we really don't know what Dr. Bob has been saying in private. Perhaps it's much more than "too little too late." I'm inclined to emphasize your "May God have mercy..." line and pray that He might turn things back around. I don't want to give up hope too soon, and I don't want to destroy genuinely good things that are happening at BJU because I disagree with some of the other things happening.

      These complicated realities make it really difficult to know what we should do and how we should speak! We can hope that God will use both the harsher voices and the calmer voices in some sort of an effective combination to bring about good things. We see that same combination in the ministries of the prophets: both stern denunciation and tender wooing have their place in God's dealings with His difficult people.

      Blessings to you as well!


    2. Randy,

      I do not see a turn around in the future. The churches that once composed the support base for BJU are no longer sending their students there. More than half of the students attending BJU today come from Southern Baptist, New Calvinist, and broad Evangelical Churches. Let that sink in for just a moment. A "turn around" would mean the loss of those students who came there because the University's current dress standards, music standards, dorm-life standards, and sports emphasis aligns with their worldview.
      Please name me one Christian college or university that "turned things around" after they made their decisions to pursue broader affiliations and associations outside of Biblical, Separated Christianity. Dr. Pettit's statement at the end of the video was telling. He made the statement and I paraphrase, "discernment sometimes only happens after events take place." That is not the definition of discernment. Discernment sees and understands actions and consequences before the actions are taken. Damage control is the result of permitting actions without clear understanding, planning, and purpose and then dealing with the resulting consequences. Dr. Pettit is in damage control mode right now.

      I know that this seems "unkind" but it is realistic thinking. The University has placed itself on a pathway of change that does not include going back to what they were in the past. When you heard the University leadership speak of a Biblical Worldview, it does not include the Biblical principles of separation from the world and disobedient brethren. That is why they are perfectly content with bringing Trevor Lawrence and Andy Naselli to the platform to speak to the students. These are not separated individuals. Look who they fellowship with. Birds of a feather flock together!

      "Genuinely good things" happen at Wheaton, Liberty, LeTourneau, and many other "Christian" colleges and universities in the world. That is not the basis of "hope" for the future. Standing true to God's Word and being separated unto righteousness is a basis for "hope".

      I have said enough. I know that I will be accused of "ranting."

      Take care!

      Tod Brainard
      Philippians 3:10!