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 personal 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? Update (August 30, 2023) An employee at BJU has recently (8/30) informed me that while the fashion show "was blasphemous the young man who wore that crown of thorns did not have that cleared or approved as one of his garment items. He did it at the last second. The young man was discipled by Dr. Pettit every week for the rest of the semester."

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 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,


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.

Update (August 30, 2023) An employee at BJU informed me that while the fashion show "was blasphemous the young man who wore that crown of thorns did not have that cleared or approved as one of his garment items. He did it at the last second. The young man was discipled by Dr. Pettit every week for the rest of the semester."

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."