Editor's note: I rode my bicycle 35 or so miles to Folly Beach, SC, after I initially made this post. It seems that the only oxygen that reaches my brain is that which comes during such workouts. With the infusion of oxygen to my brain, I decided to change the Category to AA Food for Thought: A Look at Jonesianism From a Matthew 23-Perspective.
Christ says in Matthew 23:2, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat..." Mark Dalhouse observed that the Joneses have become "theological policemen." And, the Joneses and those who have adopted the Jonesian-ways often come across as Pharisaical....well, because they act like modern iterations of the Pharisees. That trend will not soon change: I have seen the types of students from my days at Bob Jones University who have risen to prominence within the BJU-orbit and within the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International.
I trust that these short (I hope) posts will truly be Food For Thought and be the genesis of much needed renewal and reformation.
Quotes of the Day:
"When Gov. George Wallace stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to prevent a black student from registering, Bob Jr. awarded him an honorary doctorate and praised him as 'David, warring against the giant, Tyranny.' The Washington Post, May 5, 2005
Bob III also inherited a gift for pugnacious rhetoric. In the '60s, he told an interviewer: "A Negro is best when he serves at the table," then quickly added, "I'm not a racist." The Washington Post, "Getting the Bob out of Bob Jones U".
President Gerry Ford's wife, First Lady Betty Ford, "is a slut." Dr. Bob Jones Jr.
President Ronald Reagan is "a traitor." Dr. Bob Jones III
"The evil hate the light - the light of goodness that shows them up, the light of scrutiny that exposes them, the light that penetrates their deception." People of the Lie, M. Scott Peck, M.D.
“…for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” Luke 16:8)
"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." Matthew 23:24
As a Bob Jones University graduate, I often wondered at the intensity of the hatred and ridicule directed at the university, its leadership, faculty, and student body. It seemed so unjust. The university was so neat, orderly. As we were told over and over, "Bob Jones University 'stands for the absolute authority of the Bible." Criticism was, therefore, often attributed to hostility to the Bible and the Gospel of Christ. The Joneses assumed the role of "theological policemen" of the fundamentalist realm. Many BJU-styled Fundamentalists relinquished their "independence" and their God-ordained individual priesthoos and unquestioningly accepted the Joneses as theological policeman, often to their own harm.
I heard the Joneses preach to the student body at chapel daily. I admired faculty members like Dr. Walter Fremont. The student body consisted of modestly dressed young ladies and well-groomed, purposeful young men who were required to obey rules that the world finds odd. As I recall, Bob Jones University's rules forbade inordinate speech - which certainly must have included publicly calling the President of the United State's wife "a slut." Bob Jones University was strict in controling the students' behavior, sometimes down to the minutest degree. A student who offered a critical comment on the food was guilty of "griping." Griping is not tolerated at BJU and those who "gripe" are subject to explusion.
No doubt a student who called Beneth Jones "a slut," would have been summarily expelled as well. But, the president and the chancellor were not bound by the same general code of conduct and deportment that they rigidly applied to the students; the Joneses seem more inclined to "say and do not." And, they certainly haven't been great proponents of the Golden Rule, at least through their examples of how the treat others.
The faculty, staff, administrators, graduates, students, and supporting fundamentalist preachers across America all just smiled and acted like nothing happened when the Joneses acted like Joneses. But, that was the "camel" that we swallowed and it was a distinctively Jonesian camel that nourished us and made us, unsurprisingly, Jonesians with Jones-like attitudes and self-righteousness. This winking at the sins of their icons - idols, if you will - is the way of fundamentalists within the BJU/FBFI camp and the Hyles camp.
But, the world is not made up entirely of willingly duped people, or people willing to accept the Joneses theological policing coupled with their inordinate speech: moral authority has to be earned. And, it was not hard - at least for those capable of objectivity - to see the incongruity between the evil speaking of the Joneses and the outward appearances of the students and faculty: long dresses, neckties until lunch, no jeans, no handholding, no G-rated movies, etc.
The "talk" and the attitudes of the leaders did not match the "walk" of the followers and the air of piety. At Bob Jones University, Frank Sinatra's, "The Lady is a Tramp," was banned and, yet, the Joneses could "preach" that the First Lady of the United States "is a slut" from the chapel platform.
Bob Jones University sent out a mixed message, a message that certainly proved to be an impediment to those who went out on ministerial extensions to preach the Gospel from BJU. Lend an objective ear to a conversation between a Jonesian student and a lady from the Greenville area and hear how the BJU Gospel message was sent and received:
BJU student: "Good morning, ma'am. I'm from Bob Jones University and I would like to share to the Good News with you."
Lady: BJU? Isn't that the school that just called President Gerald Ford's wife a four-lettered word? Oh, and doesn't it ban interracial dating? How does that rule work with someone who is one-quarter black like me?"
BJU student: "Yes, that is the school where Dr. Bob Jones Jr. called Betty Ford 'a slut'. I have no idea how they treat mixed races; I'm white and I never thought about that. I like Dr. Bob and want to be just like him."
Lady: Well, what makes you think I want to hear what his students have to say?"
BJU student: "What's that? Did you see my nice short haircut and my new tie?"
Lady: Do you know what 'shallow externalism' and 'phariseeism' are?"
BJU student: "Huh? No, ma'am, I don't know what 'shallow externalism' and 'phariseeism' are. I'm a Bob Jones University Bible major and I'm going to be a preacher, just like Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. and Dr. Bob Jones III. We have rules at BJU. Did I tell you about my haircut and that we can only hold hands with girls off campus on Dating Outings? Do you want to hear about the rules at BJU and our high moral standards?"
Lady: I'm not interested in BJU's rules or anyone's 'high moral standards'. I am interested in knowing why a school that publicly calls the First Lady of my country 'a slut' would think I want to know what they think about me and my religion. Jesus didn't talk like that. Isn't it a form of immorality to speak that way in your religion?"
BJU student: "Well, 'immorality' is like adultery and stuff like that, I thought. The 'Golden Rule' is conditional. It's not expressing hatred by calling Betty Ford 'a slut.' And, Dr. Bob, that's what we call Dr. Bob Jones Jr., was "preaching" to us students and we didn't see anything wrong with it. We admire Dr. Bob Jones Jr. and everyone in my preacher boy classes wants to be like him."
What could be more self-righteously hypocritical than for the respresentatives of a school to talk publicly in such a crude, unchristian fashion? But, it is not just the words that people see and hear; people pick up on attitudes by the way the BJU-crowd acts towards others and the way they prosecute issues against those with whom they disagree.
Contrast this with the Amish. The Amish also have modestly dressed young ladies and well-grooomed, purposeful young men who are required to obey rules that the world finds odd. Yet, there is a consistency, a consistency that shone through in the tragic shootings of the little Amish girls in the school house shootings in Pennsylvania recently. The Amish were not perceived as followers of leaders like the Joneses who called those who had done them wrong "demon possesed monsters clothed in human flesh" as Bob Jones Jr. did U.S. Secretary of State, Al Haig. How the Amish did it, I do not know, but the Amish publicly forgave the murderer of their children and reached out to his wife! The message sent by the Amish was one of consistency and authenticity.
As Christ taught, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts...These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands [fail to follow man-made rules] defileth not a man." (Matthew 15:18-20) The fruit of a man's mouth reveals the seeds within his heart and reveals his character. Though the faculty and student body either did not detect it - or wouldn't risk the terminal consequences of speaking out - the world readily detected the inconsistencies between the inner heart that is to accompany the Gospel of Christ and heart attitudes accompanying the gospel according to the Joneses. And, the world did not hesitate to speak out with, at times, intense hatred and ridicule.
Dr. Bob Jones Sr. once said, "People won't mock consistent Christians, they will admire them." One instictively thinks of the Amish in Pennsylvania and the Christian character they displayed recently. For all the outward show of righteous piety, the rules, the neatly landscaped grounds, the doctored faculty, and the well-scrubbed students, the Joneses have proven to be huge albatrosses around the necks of the university family and graduates.
The evil speaking and the racial bigotry practiced and promoted by the leadership of Bob Jones University has worked against the testimony of those trying to spread the Gospel of Christ. People notice hypocrisy, even if those from BJU act as if they don't.
What kind of graduates will such an environment - an evironment with huge contradictions and gross hypocrisy - produce? Could it produce authoritarian leaders who ignore the corruption of their fellow preachers, who bind their own followers with burdens of externalism (gnat-stuff) and expect everyone to "swallow" their own outrageous (camel-stuff) behavior?
In light of the leadership of Bob Jones University over the past 80 years, why shouldn't the "children of this world" be wary when someone says he or she is a graduate of Bob Jones University? I am a graduate of Bob Jones University and I have learned - the hard way at times - to be wary of the Bob Jones University crowd. It is always good to find out Who (Jesus Christ or Dr. Bob Jones III) or what (Bob Jones University or Northside Baptist Church and John Stevens) they worship.
The best change that Bob Jones University's "president" [and, let's not kid ourselves, Dr. Bob Jones III the Chancellor, is "The Top Man" at BJU], Dr. Stephen Jones could make, would be to set aright some of the wrongs done by his predecessors in the name of God and their university. The chances of that happening appear slim. When questioned about these issues, Stephen Jones, like most people associated with the Joneses, becomes evasive. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see a Jones break with the sins of the fathers by going to those wronged in the name of Bob Jones University, make restitution, and beg forgiveness? Stephen Jones could start with a personal and then a public apology to First Lady Betty Ford and then apologize publicly to Steve Keyes, Wayne Golson, and Gerald and Jackie's family for retaliating against them for violating Bob Jones University's ungodly, unbiblical interracial dating/marriage ban. What do you say, Stephen Jones, Dr. Bob Jones III, and Jonathan Pait?