Something that has not been commented on much, but should be, is the several distinctly unbiblical practices of the University.? This is not a rant about being morally constrained or made to think in a box.? This is a serious review for those who hold the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice and want to know how this plays out at Bob Jones University.
The first thing that bears mentioning is the way Bob Jones sinfully attempts to usurp the legitimate authority of the family and church.?The first illustration of this is stated at the beginning of their handbook.? (Or was, at least up till 1998).? The exact words escape me, but the gist of the matter is that the school discourages students from spending any more time then necessary away from the campus, because of the great environment.? The context was not talking about going off the campus to have dinner, but leaving the campus to return home for any kind of extended visit.? Somehow, they had determined that staying on their campus was the best thing and visiting under the God ordained authority of one's parents or church was somehow less desirable and liable to damage the student.?
Another illustration of this attitude can be found in the requirements for a student to go off the campus with their own parents or pastor.? The rigamarole of getting permission and signing out illustrates their contempt?intended or otherwise?for these authorities.? It is one thing to insist that parents and pastors inform the school that they are taking a student off campus and prove that they are the student's parent or pastor (this is certainly understandable, as the school is accountable for the safety of the students) and another to get permission: as if a father needed permission to take out the child the Lord gave to him, or a pastor his own church member.?My first year there was the first year they allowed fathers to take their daughters off campus without a chaperone.?That rule was finally dropped because one of the girls on my hall came from California and her mother had passed away.? Because of the great distance her father had to come to see her, and the fact that she had no mother to ?chaperone,? she and her father prompted the school to drop it.? The question is: why would the school have such a sinful rule in the first place?? In the Christian world, what can be the justification for saying that the head of a family may not see one of his children without the school's permission and chaperoning??Children are a gift from the Lord, and God puts the solitary in families. Who is Bob Jones University to question God's placement?
Bob Jones also claims the ?right? to command the behavior of students when they are home during the summers under their parents' authority and insists that it should be consulted for permission before any student is permitted to go on a summer mission trips. If it's their own mission trips this is understandable. But where does a para-church organization such as a college find Biblical warrant for telling any church whether or not it's members may be involved in ministry? Most people I knew there very rightly ignored these "rules" when home under family and church authority during holidays.
This problem of usurpation of the family's place can also been seen in the high-handed manner the school uses in dictating many aspects of family for its staff and faculty, and for the wives of married graduate students who do not live on campus.
There is also rebellion against the civil government.? This is just a small thing, but is illustrative of the attitude (and terribly ironic in a school so serious about keeping rules.) It is a federal crime to interfere with U.S. mail at any point between the sender and the sendee.? This is one of our oldest laws and is violated frequently at the school when dorm supervisors receive pieces of mail not addressed to them and proceed to alter the contents of that piece of mail before allowing it to go on.? What is involved are not private letters, but things like news magazines.? Of course the arguments are understandable: protecting the students and keeping inappropriate material off the campus.? But there are several other ways to protect the students that would not involve breaking the law.? For instance, these magazines could be simply banned for students and more copies, edited at the school's pleasure, placed in the library.? Or, students could be asked to meet the mail carriers at their dorm supervisor's room at given times each month to retrieve their mail, which they would THEN give over to be edited by their supervisor.?Perhaps there is some clause I'm not aware of that allows mail being sent to the property of an entity like BJU to be altered by them before reaching the recipient. But this doesn't excuse the bad example being set by the school by not even explaining how they have the legal right to do this, or coming up with another solution that doesn't have the appearance of evil.
The final and perhaps most blatant usurpation of authority takes place in the Sunday morning services on campus.? These are compulsory to all.? These meetings are not "church", and cannot supersede the authority of the Church.? Yet staff, students, faculty and their families are forbidden to attend a church on Sunday mornings, but must attend BJU's ?church-like? service.
In all these areas, BJU has become a law unto itself, rather then bowing to the legitimate God given authorities of family, church and state.?
I will just touch on another practice which I witnessed frequently while at the school.? This was the ?guilty until proven innocent? quality of life, at least in the women's dorms.? Rather then keeping to the Biblical model, they took confrontation into their own hands and again made laws of their own.? Let me give a personal example: In my freshman year, I was called into the apartment of my dormitory supervisor, Priscilla O.? There, I was questioned about having supposedly hit my roommate in anger.? I was not permitted to know who had accused me of this. Much less was any part of the biblical model followed.? I was pushed to "confess" what I had done, and my repeated insistence of innocence ignored despite the Bible's clear instruction that believers are to think the best of one another.? Finally, I was ?threatened? with having my roommate brought, a move which the supervisor seemed surprised to find I welcomed wholeheartedly.? Upon arriving in the apartment, my roommate was as visibly confused by the whole thing as I was.? Though this entire charge revolved around her, she had not even been asked if it was true!? After making us a wait a while, this supervisor finally talked to my roommate directly and discovered that I had never hit her for anything, let alone in anger.? After asking us both more questions, evidently to find out if there was something she was missing, we were free to go.? As I left, I was silent.? This prompted the supervisor to say to me, ?Chill out!? We always have to assume that everyone is trying to break the rules.?
Needless to say, this is a horribly unbiblical way to treat one's fellow believers?assuming the worst with no proof and not even the requisite "two or three witnesses" in which everything is to be established.? The person supposedly wronged was never consulted, and the accuser never came to speak to me.? I was not approached by the offended party privately, then by two or three and then by the Church as Jesus set out for us in Matthew.? This experience of mine was not the first I noticed along these same lines, instead of encouraging students to learn and practice implementing Biblical methods of dealing with sin or offence--or even encouraging them to confront or ?turn in? others cautiously,?examining their own hearts first, lest they also be tempted.?Instead ?turning in? others was often (certainly not always) a good thing, and one which garnered brownie points for the accuser.? My disgust with this unbiblical and much abused system prompted me to refuse any kind of student leadership position in the dorms during my whole four years there.?
The education is fine, and the rules are just rules.? Anyone of maturity will understand most of them, and accept the ones they don't. A school responsible to thousands of parents and churches for the welfare of their young people is bound to need more stringent rules then your parents had in their home with just a couple kids to look after, all of whom they knew intimately.?If you have personally signed and agreed to keep BJU's rules, you have no cause for complaint concerning them.?My primary warning is to those sincere believers who take the Bible seriously.?You may find much to distress you there and should enter this school cautiously.?