Jenni and I are visiting family in Greenville, South Carolina, and this afternoon I guided one of my brothers on a tour of the Jerusalem Chamber at Bob Jones University‘s library. On our way out, I showed him the seminary building, which includes several interactive kiosks, one of which contains video testimonials from faculty, pastors, and graduates attempting to convince prospective students to come to BJU Seminary. That kiosk includes a letter on BJU letterhead with this explanation: “In 1994 a young man preparing for the ministry wrote to Dr. Bob Jones Jr. asking for his advice to someone who is called to preach. The following is Dr. Jones’ reply.”
The letter begins, “There are three simple and very important matters on which I would advise you.” His three points are:
- “Keep your life pure and clean.”
- “Stay in the word.”
- “Keep humble.”
Point two consists of this advice:
“You are called to preach God’s word—not man’s opinions and man’s ideas but what God has to say. I would suggest that you refrain from reading the books written by New Evangelicals and compromising men. You do not need help and counsel from those who are themselves living in disobedience to God’s commands to separation from apostasy and unbelief and heresies and false teachings of all kinds. You judge a man not only by what he preaches or writes but also by what he does not preach and does not write. Unless a man is declaring the whole counsel of God, he is not a friend of God, and his writings should not be the source of our study.”
- Reaction: I was surprised to see this letter on a BJU kiosk because BJU does not appear to follow this rather extreme advice. Evangelical books written by non-fundamentalists are
- (1) required texts for the vast majority of classes at BJU Seminary and
- (2) sold in BJU’s Campus Store.
- Reflection: This seems to be another indication that BJU’s more recent fundamentalism is considerably softer than Bob Jones Jr.’s.