April 4, 2024

Bob Jones University: A Return to the Founding Principles & Purpose?

n recent days the Bob Jones University (BJU) Board of Trustees met. Among other topics it is believed narrowing the choice for the next president was on the agenda. Reaction to the person who will be named and speculation of what direction his coming might indicate for the university is sure to follow quickly.

The future direction, even viability of BJU remains uncertain. Possibilities include,
  • Status quo- continuation of Steve Pettit's transition toward non-separatist evangelicalism and proliferation of Reformed theology
  • Return to a reasonable semblance of what the best of BJU was prior to Pettit’s arrival
  • Restructure and consolidate across campus
  • Guide the school into a graceful closure
What of the Disenfranchised Base?
Most have moved on, formed or firmed up alliances with other educational institutions to support and send their young people to for Christian education. In March 2017 an opportunity to retain the "conservative" base was lost. See, Steve Pettit's Break With the Conservative Base  Whether or not they can be recovered is uncertain. 

Following that 2017 meeting conditions that raised alarms worsened. For example, but not limited to:
Staff Shake Up
It's widely known that BJU is not renewing the contract of Dean of Fine Arts, Darren Lawson. Lawson and his department are responsible for several presentations that had more in common with Broadway, Hollywood and Disney entertainment standards than conservative Christian principles. Additional persons who are aligned with Lawson's production values may be leaving campus. Budget considerations might lead to a structured downsizing including additional staff layoffs across campus.

Approved Places of Worship
There's been some discussion suggesting Presbyterian (PCA) churches may become off-limits. If the Board moves to add or return churches to a "prohibited" list it will be on a church by church basis. BJU has the right to set and enforce university policy and insist its employees agree to and abide by policies as a condition of employment. The same can be said of the student body. Believers have the right and soul liberty to attend whatever place of worship they choose. Should an employee or student decide to attend a church that does not align with BJU''s guidelines, that individual should leave the university voluntarily or expect to be removed.

A Better Direction
A little over 20 years ago Pillsbury
 could not recover from an agenda similar to what has taken place at BJU. Northland, Clearwater, TTU and Calvary Seminary (Lansdale) all suffered the same fate. Even though insolvency is a possibility BJU possesses a level of resiliency that the closed schools did not. 

In August 2023 we said the search for a new president presents A Choice Between "Respect for" and Returning to the "vision of Its Founder" or the Status Quo. 

Is a new, better future ahead for BJU? Instillation of a new president will be the crossroads. We tend to believe the Board has recognized the necessity of steering the school in a better direction.

If the ministry of BJU is to be saved it will ultimately be through the Lord's intervention. Pray for God to grant the wisdom needed among the decision makers. Pray for the Board to find a pathway to restoration of the very best founding principles and purposes of Bob Jones University. 


Related Reading

“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.

February 22, 2024

Archival Series: Israel is a Tough Nut by Clay Nuttall D. Min.

 A lot of opinions have been tossed around as to who Israel is, and it is time to ask some questions. To begin with, what is behind the “replacement theory?”  That is the idea that the Church replaces Israel. Actually, this theory comes from a humanly developed hermeneutic. The one biblical hermeneutic recognizes the clear, distinct, and eternal differences between Israel and the Church: Israel is the wife of God, and the Church is the Bride of Christ. This distinction cannot be changed and will remain in eternity.

At least the replacement idea is clearly stated and is easy to recognize. The problem for those in our camp is that there are small encroachments on this subject. Any narrowing of that clear biblical distinction has to use the same hermeneutic that the replacement theory uses. Any distinctive that belongs to the Church and is assigned to Israel is a step in the wrong direction. It even appears to be a mild form of anti-Semitism.


In the Arabic world, we teach some of the finest believers I have ever known. This subject is difficult for them because of things that have been done to them. I don’t excuse anything that anyone does that is wrong or inconsistent. On the other hand, though, this discussion deals with who they are and not what they have done.

The nation of Israel that is now in the land is a nation. It is foolish not to recognize that fact. This present nation, however, is not equal to the Old Testament theocratic nation of Israel. It is not equal to the nation of Israel in the Millennium. The people in this present nation are God’s chosen people despite their rejection and hard-heartedness. The Bible does tell us that they will return to the land, but that they will return in unbelief. They will be a different people in heart when the “New Covenant” is fulfilled just prior to the Millennium. That will be a miracle of God, just as your own personal salvation was a miracle of God.


Many writers have been proposed opinions about this subject. It has been suggested that the nation now in the land has no claim on the land. This would be the Reformed position, but it is wrong. It is the Jews that God has chosen as His special people, no matter when or where they are on the earth. The land grant - all of it - was given to the people, not to the nation. (Genesis 15:18-21) Even when there was no organized nation, the land belonged to them, the people; thus the people in the land at this hour do indeed retain the promise of the land grant.

I have often been asked, “If the present nation of Israel were driven into the sea, would that affect my understanding of prophecy?" The answer is no. We know only what we see and what is clearly stated in the Bible text, but God knows what He intends to bring to pass. On this subject we must be careful about assigning to Old Testament texts meaning that is not clearly tied to the specific subject.


Bible history is very clear: any nation, group, religion, or individual who offends God’s chosen people will, without question, be judged by God. In due time, any nation that has turned its hand to God’s chosen people will be destroyed. Theologians ignore this judgment by simply having those people disappear. In the end, scholars will be judged for their philosophical and allegorical treatment of Israel. The problem is that any offense, whether large or small, offends a Holy God. This is not just a matter of disagreement; it is a serious consideration.

The leadership of our country has turned its hand against God’s chosen people and has opened the door to their destruction. If the nation that is now in the land were to be slaughtered, how is that any different than what Germany did to the Jewish population? This is not about what the present nation is doing; it is about who they are. They are in unbelief and have rejected their Messiah, but they are still God’s particular people, like no other people in history. It is a backdrop for those who try to blend the Church and Israel. No matter how small, it is not a light matter; and everyone who has participated in this, no matter who they are, should expect judgment.

One has only to read the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to see what happens to those who set their teeth against this ancient people. Without doubt, it ends in the greatest bloodbath in the history of the earth.


You can do your own study from scripture and history as to why God’s people lost possession of the land. It was their own fault. They failed to obey, to keep the covenant; and God promised they would be dispersed and that others would take their land. In God’s time, though, they will have all of the land that God willed for them. While they are driven out of the land, not occupying it, the land still belongs to God’s chosen people. He has never revoked that promise of ownership.


The cancer of the “emerging church” has swept through our own ranks. The mantra is, “We have changed our methods, but not our message.”  It is possible that some do not understand what they have done, but that is a bold-faced lie. The “emerging church” is filled with theological error, and on the subject of Israel they are dead wrong. I find it difficult to understand why people who have been taught truth seem to find it so easy to ignore doctrinal error when moving to one of the “entertainment churches.”   In their disobedience they now say, “It doesn’t matter.”  Even those who have moved into cult congregations are unable to see the false teaching. They appear to be blinded to truth, and what is worse is that they actually enjoy the Laodicean congregations they have joined! Perhaps the “noise” has helped to impair their hearing and their hearts. In the end, they have no idea how these false teachers have arrived at ideas that offend a Holy God.

Shepherd's Staff is prepared by (the late) Clay Nuttall, D. Min.
Originally published September 15, 2015

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. Visit Shepherd's Staff.

Related Readings:
An Introduction to Dispensationalism

George Zeller's: Introduction to Dispensationalsim

February 13, 2024

What "Philosophy of Ministry" Can Get a Man Invited to be a BJU Conference Speaker?

The annual Bob Jones University Bible Conference begins today, through February 16. Dr. Dave Doran is among the featured speakers. With Doran's invitation we recognize the ongoing pattern of a particular ministry experience BJU finds attractive for new hires and/or conference speakers. From the BJU Alumni Letter, The Voice we read,

"Dr. Alan Benson1 emphasizes in a BJUtoday article that 'Our speakers were chosen from sister institutions who share our biblical philosophy of ministry and passion for the gospel'." That provides a glimpse into the "share[d]...philosophy of ministry" Benson and the Executive Cabinet desire in potential conference speakers and faculty.

In 2022 BJU rehired Richard Stratton. For the recent CoRE Conference Tim Jordan was invited to speak. And, of course, BJU has invited Dave Doran to the current Bible Conference platform. What do these men share in a select application of "philosophy of ministry?" Stratton, Jordan and Doran each directly and/or by extension contributed to the demise of one time Fundamental separatist (Baptistic) colleges.

Stratton was president of Clearwater Christian College (2002-2011) he instituted changes that destroyed the school's legacy and reputation among the base. Clearwater could not recover from Stratton's presidency and consequently closed June 2015.

The Closure of Clearwater Christian College

This Pastor's Perspective of Clearwaters Closure 2

Tim Jordan at Calvary Baptist Seminary (alongside Sam Harbin) destroyed the seminary through a doctrinal shift and entangling the school with new evangelicals.

Closure of Calvary Baptist Seminary: Predictable and Repeatable

Jordan is Accountable for Calvary's Failure and Won't Own Up to It

Doran supported Matt Olson's radical shift at Northland International University. Earlier, 
alongside Kevin Bauder, they supported Tim Jordan's embrace of non-separatist evangelicals and rank new evangelicals.

Northland Closes: The Pattern of Demise Continues

It appears repudiation of Fundamentalism and/or contributing to the demise of any one time fundamental, separatist college is an important consideration for BJU when evaluating potential speakers to appear on campus. We can look back over several years to recognize this pattern. For example BJU hosted Andy Naselli to present lectures at the 2019 Stewart Custer Lecture Series.3

This Bible Conference provides new compelling evidence that the current BJU Board and Executive Cabinet are determined to continue and accelerate Steve Pettit’s erasure of BJU's fundamentalist, separatist moorings.

"Sister Institutions?"
And again from Alan Benson’s statement above, "Our speakers were chosen from sister institutions." And over the years since Pettit’s arrival on campus most of those "sister institutions" are sisters, in large part, by virtue of their commitment to Calvinism and Reformed theology.

An Advocacy for the Advancement of Reformed Theology

BJU Foundations Conference: An Intrusion of Calvinism, Reformed/Covenant Theology, New Calvinism & Lordship Salvation

Candidates for BJU Presidency
Prospective candidates should be mindful that should they be called to interview for the position they will be stepping toward and into the university's transformational agenda into non-separatist evangelicalism.


1) Alan Benson’s Hidden History

2) "Although all of the above no doubt contribute to the demise of [Clearwater] 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.  Rather than an institution dedicated to educating, challenging and equipping young people to be “soldiers of Christ”, CCC evolved to a pragmatic philosophy of accommodation lowering her standards, adopting CCM music in her chapels and athletic events and most recently featuring an activity night of rap and rock music." The Pastor's Perspective

3) Excerpt from Dr. David Beale's- FACTS, An Enlarged Discussion

“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... 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.... 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.

February 4, 2024

Archival Series: Is Lordship Salvation a "Barter" System?

Much of the article above is excerpted from the revised and expanded edition of In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation. 

Following is John MacArthur’s definition of saving faith from the original edition of The Gospel According to Jesus:

Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus at all costs. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms.”
In his Revised & Expanded Edition, John MacArthur reworked the above statement as follows,
Saving faith does not recoil from the demand to forsake sin and follow Jesus Christ at all costs. Those who find his terms unacceptable cannot come at all
In the 20th Anniversary edition of The Gospel According to Jesus the section appears this way,
Saving faith does not recoil from the demand to forsake sin and self and follow Christ at all costs. Those who find His terms unacceptable cannot come at all. He will not barter away His right to be Lord
The message MacArthur conveys is consistent in all three editions of The Gospel According to Jesus. Only in the third edition, however, does the final sentence appear as shown above. The Lord most certainly will not “barter away” His lordship or sovereignty. Neither is eternal salvation something that can be gained through barter, but is Lordship Salvation’s interpretation of how a lost man is born again a barter system?

In each of the quotes above notice Dr. MacArthur is speaking in terms of coming to Christ. The obvious implication is of a lost man coming to Christ 
for salvation. You can read those quotes, apply them to a personal evangelism setting, and you have a lost man being told that he must come to Christ with a promise to “leave (stop committing) sin,” and follow Jesus at any cost to receive the gift of eternal life. These quotes, which appear in all three editions of The Gospel According to Jesus, remove any doubt that MacArthur conditions the reception of eternal life on a definition of “saving faith” that includes an upfront commitment to performance. That theme, which runs like a thread through each of his three major Lordship apologetics, is a works based message that frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).

Again from his original edition, MacArthur writes,
Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is nailed to a cross. . . . It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is. And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.”
Dr. MacArthur says the reception of salvation is based on an “exchange.” That is how he defines the way in which a man must come to Christ to be born again. Lordship’s terms for salvation are: “wholehearted commitment, a desire for him at any cost, unconditional surrender,” in “exchange” for the gift of eternal life.

Barter is defined this way: 
As to exchange in trade, as one commodity for another.

Therefore, we see “
exchange” and “barter” are essentially interchangeable. Dr. MacArthur says salvation, the reception of eternal life, is an “exchange.” Dr. MacArthur believes if there is no “exchange” there is no salvation. What is the exchange Dr. MacArthur calls for? He says the gospel requires an exchange of “wholehearted commitment, surrender, self-denial, cross bearing, a willingness to die for Jesus’ sake” for the reception of salvation, the free gift of God.

Does the Bible call on the lost to, “pay the ultimate price FOR salvation?” (emphasis added) Is receiving the gift of eternal life based on “an exchange” of “obedience” and “surrender?” Dr. MacArthur’s saving faith not only implies, it demands the “exchange” of a commitment to life long obedience and submission to the Lord, to receive His free gift of salvation. At salvation there only has to be surrender to what the Holy Spirit is convincing and convicting of at the moment. Future issues may not even be on one’s mind.

Lordship Salvation, according to John MacArthur’s definition of saving faith, is a barter system. In my book, and in my on line debates with the advocates of Lordship Salvation, I have documented from Dr. MacArthur’s own books that his interpretation of the Gospel does indeed demand an “
exchange” of “obedience” and “full surrender” for the reception of eternal life. Lordship advocates are, however, quick to cry, “straw man.” The straw man argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.

To set up a straw man or set up a straw-man argument is to create a position that is easy to refute, and then attribute that position to the opponent. The call for upfront promises to stop sinning, for “
obedience” and “full surrender” in “exchange” for salvation is found in Dr. MacArthur’s books, which I have cited. Lordship’s exchange/barter system does not need to be artificially attributed to Dr. MacArthur because it is his position.

There is no misrepresentation, no mischaracterization. There is, therefore, no straw man! Claiming “straw man” does nothing to negate the clear, incontrovertible evidence of Lordship Salvation’s barter system.

Lordship Salvation is a works based message that corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ and frustrates grace.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ,” (2 Cor. 11:3).

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain,” (Gal. 2:21).


Originally published August 2008 with lengthy discussion thread. 

For related reading:

January 10, 2024

2024 BJU CoRE Conference Speakers

Following Steve Pettit's departure from BJU we ask if his agenda to proliferate Reformed & Covenant theologies on campus remain a priority. We may have the answer from the speaker line up for BJU's 2024 CoRE Conference.

LtR: Doran, Jordan, Dever, Bauder, Harbin
Tim Jordan
: Retired pastor of Calvary Baptist Church at Lansdale, PA. Jordan received his training at Northland Baptist Bible College, Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS), and Westminster Theological Seminary. In 1976, Tim's Fundamentalist father, Robert (Chief) Jordan (1925-2009), founded CBTS. In 1986, Tim succeeded his father, as pastor of Calvary Baptist. In 2014, after thirty-eight years of life, CBTS suffered closure, due to weak finances and its moving into New (Broad) Evangelicalism. 

Chancellor Tim Jordan and President Sam Harbin marched CBTS to its death knell by bringing in New Evangelical speakers such as Haddon Robinson and Mark Dever. Haddon Robinson (1931-2017) had been the President of Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary (now Denver Seminary) for twelve years. Mark Dever (b. 1960) is a Reformed theologian and pastor of the SBC church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, in Washington, DC. He is President of 9Marks, formerly “Center for Church Reform.” In Reformed Theology, there is no biblical future for Israel; such future promises merely pass on as spiritual promises to the Church. Such is included in Dever’s Center for Church Reform. Dever is, furthermore, amillennial in his eschatology.1

CBS Hosts New Evangelical Haddon Robinson

Daniel Dionne MD, in Spokane, Washington, is a certified counselor by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC), an example of Broad Evangelicalism. See Speakers

See weak Doctrine of the Church

Stuart Scott, Professor of Biblical Counseling at Bob Jones University and Seminary, is also the Member Care Director of the ACBC. Scott received his BA at Columbia International University. He received a MDiv at Grace Theological Seminary, a MTh at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his DMin at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Scott’s current website reports that he still teaches graduate courses adjunctly at John MacArthur’s Master University in Santa Clarita, CA.  For nine years, Scott served as pastor of counseling at MacArthur’s Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA.

Scott has a ministry called “One-Eighty Ministries,” and among his most “trusted and faithful advisors” are SBC pastors. On July 6, 2022, Dr. Alan Benson wrote of Stuart Scott, “His careful scholarship and thought leadership exemplify our promise of uncompromised, next-level teaching. Dr. Scott will serve as director of biblical counseling.” See: BJU News

Stuart Scott is no true Fundamentalist. Scott is an Evangelical, at the head of the Division of Graduate Studies in BJU Seminary. See- One-Eighty Ministries & BJU Seminary

In past conferences we've observed the pattern of featuring almost exclusively Reformed speakers. The speakers invited to BJU's 2024 CoRE Conference strongly suggests Acting CEO Alan Benson and current BJU leadership remain committed to erasing the university's fundamentalist, separatist legacy and to Steve Pettit’s proliferation and advancement of Reformed and Covenant theologies. 


1) Mark Dever is amillennial believing there will be no 1,000 year reign of Christ (with His saints) on Earth. He is among the leading voices in the so-called "conservative" evangelical camp. Groups like T4G, The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God is an assembly of men, who for unity around Calvinism and their Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel, routinely tolerate, allow for, ignore and excuse numerous doctrinal aberrations and worldly expressions of worship.

Related Reading: