2001 BJU Accreditation Pamphlet Surfaces, Shows School’s Apparent About-Face on the Issue


A pamphlet entitled “Taking The Higher Ground: The Accreditation Issue From The Bible Point Of View”, written by Bob Jones III 2001, has surfaced online–and its inflammatory anti-accreditation rhetoric emphasizes how completely Jones and BJU have reversed course on the issue, though without explaining that reversal.

Jones’s premise in the pamphlet is that “uniting” with an accreditation body is tantamount to apostasy for a Christian University.  The arguments used here are quite similar to those employed by Bob Jones Jr. in his 1960 defense of the school’s segregationist ethic (read that document here), particularly the paranoia regarding “the world” and its influence.

The accrediting associations will not approve our educational process if it does not include the worship of their gods. All education is brainwashing. We wash with the pure water of God’s Word, and they wash with the polluted waters of the New Age. [pg. 6]

Jones states flatly in “Taking the Higher Ground” that lacking accreditation will “not be easy” for BJU grads, but also claims that God will help those grads and honor BJU’s choice to remain “separated” by refusing to seek accreditation. That explanation seems inadequate in the face of the numerous and well-documented stories of BJU grads who experience endless frustration because of BJU’s proud unaccredited status.

As long as there is a Bob Jones University, God helping us, we will not make covenant with them, nor worship their gods. [pg. 6]

This brochure, which was apparently displayed publicly at BJU and mailed to pastors and alumni to reassure them that BJU would not “compromise” on accreditation, raises several questions. First, has there been some kind of enormous change in the so-called “agenda” of accreditation bodies that now allows BJU to in good conscience consider applying to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools*? Or was Jones simply trying, in this pamphlet, to justify a position that has now become untenable for a University trying to compete against more value-focused alternatives? It seems impossible to reconcile the extreme, caustic condemnation of accreditation in “Taking the Higher Ground” with BJU’s current overly-eager attempt to sell prospective students on its intention to pursue what Jones in just a decade ago equated with idolatry.

Regional accreditation is a sellout to the gods of the secular educational world. How can we make a covenant with them? [pg.5]

Hopefully the school will eventually explain how, in less than ten years, regional accreditation has gone from an indication of a school’s spiritual demise to being BJU’s favorite marketing tactic. If they do, you’ll hear about it here first.

(*note: BJU has NOT applied to that organization and, even if it did so today, would be years away from achieving accredited status even if the process went smoothly)



65 thoughts on “2001 BJU Accreditation Pamphlet Surfaces, Shows School’s Apparent About-Face on the Issue

  1. Mark Smith

    Well, its simple. BJU under Bob Jones III tried to make a fight there was no way they could win. The entire education world has kow-towed to accreditation. I work at a secular university and ENORMOUS changes have been made to make the accreditation councils happy. It truly is sad, but with EVERY other school falling in line with accreditation, BJU really has no choice to submit GIVEN THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO BE A LIBERAL ARTS SCHOOL. With the school of ministry who cares…but for grads to get education certification, or nursing, or acceptance into certain grad schools, there is no other option.

    Welcome it rather than complain about it…for those who already are suffering because of no accreditation, hey, you went to BJU. Part of the blame is in your court.

    I still submit that there are few situation where there is NO accommodation for a BJU grad. Work with the school you are trying to get in to. If they won’t, you really don’t want to go there no matter what you may think!!!!!!!

  2. Michael Kreger

    Mark Smith, I am convinced of the power of your arguments by your use of capslock and excessive exclamation points.

    Nice attempt at defending the indefensible, but I detect a note of bitterness against the accrediting bodies: the authority that is long-established in the field of education. As BJU Defenders are so fond of saying, you need to repent of this bitterness and submit to the authority.

    BJU likes to say, “if you don’t want to play by our rules, don’t come here!” At the same time, they refused for decades to play by the rules of the game they chose to enter. Such arrogance, duplicity, and hypocrisy is conduct unbecoming a place that holds itself up as God’s Last True Bastion On Earth.

    As Paul said, we should run our race according to the rules so that we won’t be disqualified. Schools fall in line with accreditation because it is right to do so. It isn’t sad at all. It is reassuring to know that a school has studied and shown itself approved, so that its graduates need not be ashamed like so many BJU grads over the decades.

    And, of course, you couldn’t avoid the canard that BJU grads must shoulder their own blame, since they believed the people (parents, pastors, teachers…the authority) whose marketeering for BJU dominated the first 20 years of their lives. Yep. Good job on that. Shall we apply the same logic, and body slam the victim of a mugging as well, since he was fool enough to be walking down the street with a wallet in his pocket?

    What are we supposed to welcome? That BJU is thinking about maybe someday possibly applying for accreditation, if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise? Based on current trajectory, I seriously doubt that BJU will survive long enough to gain accreditation, Bruins or no Bruins. Meantime, they continue to accept students without warning them that their degree holds limited value. They continue to accept a student’s money and then expel him under any pretext.

    You can submit all the claims you want about accommodation for BJU grads. It doesn’t change the facts, which, as we have been told, are stubborn things. Just because an accredited school doesn’t want to risk its accreditation by accepting students from a place with a toxic reputation like BJU – that is not a blot on the escutcheon of the accredited school. Not by any means. Rather, it is a sign of integrity, which is a quality that I would have expected Christians to hold in higher regard than the BJU Defenders seem to do. That integrity will draw people, rather than make them not “want to go there no matter what you may think!!!!!!!”

  3. Mark Fitzhenry

    “Bob Jones University, its founding family, and its passionate supporters, are an eclectic mix of had-and-fast convictions and ambiguous actions.” Mark Dalhouse, An Island in the Lake of Fire

    Got out of BJU in 1980, happy as could be with the experience, destined to be a supporter of BJU for life…or so it seemed at the time. Back in the day, we were taught that “preferences” can change but “convictions” never change. Oh, how the Jonesians liked to talk about their “convictions” and how their “convictions” were based upon immutable Bible principles! I recall how Bob Jr. and Bob III proclaimed the piety and Biblical authority for their “convictions” right up to the time they flip-flopped! (It’s called ‘pragmatic expediency’).

    Oh, the reversals of the Joneses/BJU! The school started out with a Calvinistic Bible faculty, trained its students in Calvinist theology, and then the Jones boys excoriated graduates for holding to the Calvinistic doctrine taught them by BJU! Then the Joneses purged the Calvinists from its Bible faculty only to embrace Ian Paisley, the world’s leading Calvinist!!!! Consistency, though art a jewel!

    Then there was the interracial dating ban that the Joneses and BJU faculty preached, taught, and defended until just 10 or 12 years ago. The University lost its tax-exempt status in 1983. In the Greenville News, Bob III proclaimed their position was one of Bible conviction and that they would never change it. On Larry King Live, (2000, or so?) Bob III renounced his/BJU’s position banning interracial dating/marriage, denied the ban had any Biblical-basis when asked, and denied that the University had ever tried to teach, preach, or support the “conviction” to its students.

    The truth that Bob Jones III misrepresented is that churches were put off-limits because of the rule, employees were fired, students were expelled, denied enrollment, all incoming students forced to sign the rulebook before admittance, supporting pamphlets were published, chapel messages were preached on it, etc. If you want insight into the true character of Bob Jones III, google “BJU, Dr. Bob Jones III and the Interracial Dating Ban Controversy”. As Bob Jones Sr. said, ‘A crisis doesn’t make a man’s character. It reveals a man’s character.’

    But there are many more examples of the Joneses’/BJU’sPharisaical-duplicity: Masonry, separation, financial integrity, etc., etc.

    Looking back at the history of BJU, there are many instances where the Joneses/BJU have completely reversed themselves on matters they cast as matters of “conviction”. Where these matters of “preference” this would not be an issue. But the pattern of reversals of things BJU cast as matters of religious, biblical “conviction” brings into question the integrity, wisdom, and competence of an organization that not only purports to be an educational institution but an institutions that holds itself out as competent to teach religion.

    It seems that in a religious/educational context, “hard-and-fast convictions” coupled with “ambiguous actions” strongly suggests Pharisaical hypocrisy, something that Christ strongly condemned in Matthew 23.

    Nothing is more important in an educator or a [religious] leader than setting a good example for those under his or her instruction. It has taken many Bob Jones University graduates – including me – decades to sift through the leaven of hypocrisy sown into the teachings, convictions, the example, and the traditions of the Joneses and BJU. Often, that which we were taught by the Joneses and BJU amounted to nothing more than the doctrines of men. Many graduates, unfortunately, blithely go from BJU never giving a second thought to what they have been taught.

    This is not simply a question of accreditation. This matter, once again, raised the question of Trust and Confidence in one’s educators, the very foundation of education. When Trust and Confidence is repeatedly undermined, no amount of accreditation can restore the Trust and Confidence that are foundational to the teacher-student relationship .

  4. Mark Smith

    I am not a BJU grad. In fact, I’ve never even been to Greenville, SC. I know many BJU grads however. All of them are ministers or wives of them.

    I am fascinated by the self-loathing of many BJU grads as expressed on BJU sites like this one. People act like BJU and everyone who attends there are scions of virtue and all that is holy. That no one who attends there, works there, or is faculty/leadership there, would or should ever make a mistake. When they do, people point it out as if something really amazing has happened.

    I attended secular colleges for a BS/MS/PhD. I now work at a secular college as faculty. Trust me, every college I have attended or worked at has had some scandal nearly every year. Leaders have been sent to jail or resigned in disgrace. Careers ruined by angry advisers to graduate students. Leaders have reversed direction over and over again.

    Why is it so odd when that happens at BJU? Do people really believe the Jones’ to be infallible?

    1. Mark Fitzhenry

      The uniqueness of error it Bob Jones is that many times they Cloke positions in biblical authority and when that position is no longer useful deny or ignore there invocation of biblical authority.
      So it’s not amazing when they are wrong what is amazing or sad is the hypocrisy that surrounds their reversals. Again this is a time worn pattern. At some point those who invoke biblical authority to justify a position and then change that position when the position is no longer beneficial lose all credibility. Who in their right mind could remain loyal to such contradictory religious-based leadership?
      This is entirely different then how secular schools operate. Sent from my iPhone

    2. MSK

      Yes. Yes, they do. Nobody moreso than the Jones family. They MUST not be challenged. We MUST be loyal, and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. It’s the basis for their family business.

  5. Mark Smith

    My last comment on this unless something interesting is said, I promise.

    I think what got BJU in trouble was not foreseeing that accreditation became a way for brick and mortar colleges to distinguish themselves from on-line schools and so called diploma mills. By not pursuing accreditation BJU thought they were taking the high road, all the while not seeing that lack of accreditation was forcing them into 3rd class status.

    Now, in my discipline, physics, no school I know of asks if your degree is from an accredited school. The reason is probably because many international students are accepted in US grad schools. But accreditation does matter in things like education and nursing. Probably law schools as well so that people with on-line degrees are kept away.

  6. John Matzko

    Actually there’s been almost no discrimination against BJU graduates who applied to law schools. All law school applicants are required to take the LSAT. Score high and you’ll be accepted even if the law schools have to squint at their own rules.

    1. Nathan

      Let me see if I can decipher your response. Essentially, “it doesn’t matter that Bob Jones III lied about the impact of accreditation, either or on the student or the university; it doesn’t matter that he stretched Biblical passages to fit his personal preference; none of this matters because BJU graduates got into law school.” So the end justifies the means?

      1. Nathan

        Mark, for someone who indicated two comments ago that he was done commenting, you sure seem interested in this. And since I can’t seem to reply below your comment, I’ll just reply here.

        I posted my response because both you and Matzko are missing the point of this blog post; I can’t tell if it’s willful or not. The point of the blog post isn’t the affect of accreditation — or the lack thereof — on BJU graduates. The point of the blog post is that Dr. Bob Jones III — long-time president of BJU and current chancellor of BJU — made the lack of accreditation a *spiritual* and *Biblical* issue. He said they weren’t accredited because it was a conviction based on Biblical principles (much like their early prohibitive stances on interracial dating and intercollegiate sports). Jones said, “The issue at stake is nothing less than the spiritual quality of their education.” Now, they’ve obviously reversed that stance, just as they have on interracial dating and intercollegiate sports. It makes me wonder how many other issues are extra-Biblical or just plain lies?

      2. Mark Smith

        Nathan, reread my comment. I said that was my last response unless someone said something interesting…that should be a compliment for you !

      3. John Matzko

        I was simply addressing Mark Smith’s question about whether regional accreditation is important to BJU grads going to law school. It’s not. For that matter, it’s not of much importance to BJU education or nursing majors either because those majors are both already state accredited.

        1. Michael Kreger

          Okay, John, now you are either ignorant, or you are lying.

          I prefer to think that you are simply ignorant.

      4. farkus

        @Matzko You are pretty much completely and totally wrong on all points in your last comment. As for law students. There are some well known students studying law at well known schools. That doesn’t mean that regional accreditation wouldn’t help those students, nor does it mean that it hasn’t been an issue for other students. Yes some students have found success, but that doesn’t account for the many students who may not have had success because of BJU’s lack of regional accreditation, or even future issues that may crop up with those currently studying/practicing law.

        As for education majors I can speak to that very clearly. BJU’s lack of regional accreditation is a *MAJOR* concern for all education majors. BJU is cleared by the state to grant education degrees, that is very different from actual accreditation and a far cry from regional accreditation. This is important because your comment implies that there are no issues facing education majors when, in fact, there are major issues especially if they leave the state of SC. I’ve experienced it personally multiple times in different states. I’ve heard from many other people who have faced the same issue. One person contacted me just last month she is devastated because she cannot teach. I’ve known people who have completed degrees all over again just so that they can teach. These are the ugly facts, it cannot be disputed. Now either you don’t know your facts or you are just being disingenuous. But you cannot say that regional accreditation is not of any concern for education majors because it is already taken care of, quite the opposite actually.

        The same is true for nursing, though the actual details are hard to pin point I’ve heard of issues regarding nursing majors and accreditation. It may, as with law students, not be as wide spread as education majors, but it has and does happen. So again it is a major issue that cannot be so casually brushed aside especially when you get major details so very wrong.

  7. Mark Smith

    I do understand Nathan, the problem is BJ III put himself into a box. The reality is the educational world has moved to accreditation. Essentially everyone except BJU up until now. Without accreditation certain majors become pointless to offer, like nursing if the student is seeking a position that requires a BSN from an accredited school, or education. There are other examples.

    So BJU has 2 choices, seek accreditation or scale back the school by eliminating those majors that need the accreditation.

    The fact is BJ III wasn’t that wrong. Accreditation means you submit a great deal of your institution to outside control. I suspect BJ III and others are really struggling over this…because to actually seek and acquire regional accreditation would be a significant change in position. On the other hand not being accredited means scaling back the school, which is hard to accept. I really feel for the administration and faculty at BJU as they make this critical and major decision.

    1. Nathan

      But from everything I was taught when I was there, this would be an obvious choice, then. “Do right till the stars fall,” correct? You follow your convictions and Biblical principles, regardless of the cost. Otherwise, they’re not really convictions or Biblical principles, and you shouldn’t have preached it as such in the first place.

      1. Mark Fitzhenry

        I can see both points of view, Mark and Nathan, but Nathan brings up a disturbing point of view. The University has always maintained that it ‘does right till the stars fall’. But the rub begins when the Joneses take positions that benefit the University at a certain point in time, painstakingly justify that position from Scripture, and then, when the position no longer benefits BJU, they change the position. It leaves one with the sense they have been duped.

        Secular schools do this all the time…only they don’t invoke God’s name, cite Divine Authority, and quote the Holy Scriptures to justify their position. When a secular school – which didn’t cackle like a chicken that has just laid a golden egg when they take a position – changes such a position for the good of the institution, we don’t shake our heads and charge them with hypocrisy. But, through the years the Joneses have strut around and convinced their supporters that some pretty bigoted positions were sanctioned by God and the Holy Scriptures. Therein is the difference in the way BJU is perceived and other schools are perceived.

        These types of flip-flops have happened over and over again at BJU. I finally decided that they were no longer worthy of my trust or confidence and that they would never change. Google the Charles Underwood open letter to Bob Jones III. He had a front row seat to how duplicitous the Joneses have been through the years. While the personnel at BJU has changed through the years, that distinctive BJU-styled leaven endures; loud, proud, puffed up, hard-and fast, rigid, pious, bigoted, ambiguous, and subject to a complete reversal when pragmatic expediency stirs in the hearts of the Joneses!

      1. Mark Smith

        So Nathan, what do you expect out of BJU? If they resist accreditation then certain majors loose their luster. Enrollment around those majors will shrink. Others will hype the impact of non-accreditation and BJU will continue to shrink…Who knows if BJU would survive in that situation. OR, they embrace accreditation in the new environment as a necessity to survive and then move on.

        What do you want?

        What BJU tried to do was stand on principle, but the world dramatically changed around them to the point where a liberal art school is not tenable as a non-accredited school. What is BJU supposed to do?

      2. 1911man

        “So Nathan, what do you expect out of BJU?…What is BJU supposed to do?”

        I cannot speak for Nathan.

        IMHO, the University and the Joneses are simply expected to be honest about their errors…just like any institution and just like any individual.

        For starters, BJU/the Joneses, should issue a humble admission that their “conviction” was ill-conceived, and that Jones III was wrong to invoke Divine Authority to justify an ill-conceived position. They need to renounce the hidden things of dishonesty that have surrounded this issue and their handling of this issue, seek forgiveness from those they have deceived, and make restitution to those they have defrauded.

        Ridiculous? Improbable? Unreasonable? Crazy notion? You be the judge. I’m only suggesting that the Bible is relatively clear as to individual responsibility in similar instances. Of course, in reality the Bible – at least here on earth – is subject to personal interpretation and discretionary application.

        I am not suggesting that the Bible is an Objective Standard of Behavior at the Fortress of Faith. I am merely speaking as a BJU graduate and long-time observer of BJU who has come to the conclusion that it doesn’t always matter so much what the Bible says within the BJU orbit. It sometimes matters more what those at BJU SAY the Bible says.

        At any rate, Nathan seems to be pointing out some dramatic “inconsistencies” in BJU’s shifting positions and its narrative of events. I cannot speak for what Nathan expects out of BJU. Based upon the past 30 years or so, I can find no reason to expect anything other than more dissembling and reversals all cloaked in self-righteous religiosity.

        1. Michael Kreger

          It would be nice if they would quit defrauding current students, too. They KNOW there is a huge problem (Dr. Matzko’s protestations notwithstanding), yet they persist in claiming that everything is fine. FINE, I tell you!

          It is simply not true that BJU stood firm while the world of accreditation changed around them. Accreditation is nothing new. BJU was unable or unwilling to comply with the requirements, and so they invented a narrative to support their position (and possibly to soothe their bruised egos). Once the student body started declining so precipitously, thanks to my generation’s refusal to send our kids to the place that took our money and gave us precious little marketable in return (and thanks also to our new-found ability to share our stories of trouble caused by our BJU degrees over the internet, and our refusal to be silenced by our BJU pastors), they were forced to reconsider their position.

          Because an existential threat is the only reason BJU EVER reconsiders its position on an issue.

      3. Mark Smith

        Accreditation has changed. I am well aware of it. What happened is most (almost all…in fact I know of none other than BJU and perhaps smaller religious schools) brick and mortar schools seek regional accreditation to say “see, we aren’t an on-line diploma mill and we get plenty of federal aid”. Before that accreditation was a way to assure federal aid (which BJU lost long ag0 so it wasn’t that important to them) and as a status symbol. Now, transfer credit is HEAVILY connected to regional accreditation so as to keep out those diploma mill and on-line school students. Though, the school I teach at has no requirement that credits only come from accredited schools.

        Now, for students wanting to be in the ministry accreditation is no big deal. Also, I think a lot of graduate schools in Arts and Sciences don’t care about accreditation either. So I wonder if this issue of accreditation is a little over-hyped…

    1. Nathan

      Mark, you ask what I expect out of BJU? On one hand, I’d say that’s irrelevant, because Bob Jones III is the one who painted them into this corner by trying to make accreditation a spiritual and Biblical issue.

      On the other hand, I believe in being a person of principle and values, so if your principles call for you to avoid certain situations or relationships, then you avoid those situations or relationships, regardless of the cost. “What BJU tried to do was stand on principle, but the world dramatically changed around them to the point where a liberal art school is not tenable as a non-accredited school. What is BJU supposed to do?” I know what BJU *taught* me to do — do the right thing, regardless of the price. So if that means staying away from accreditation and becoming a smaller school, then that’s the right thing.

      Listen, I think getting regional accreditation is the right thing to do. I know that the students will benefit from it, I think the academics will improve, and I know that the faculty and staff will benefit. I think BJU is a place that *needs* influence from an outside regulatory agency; they’ve been independent and insulated for far too long. But now they’ve put themselves in an awkward situation of trying to explain (or just hoping we won’t notice) that this move for regional accreditation goes against what they’ve taught as Biblical principle for so many years. So if it was a principle, stick with your principle. If it wasn’t a principle, and you were lying for all those years in an attempt to justify your crazy conservative preference, then own up to it. We all have to do the same. Why can’t they?

      1. Mark Smith

        Nathan, thanks for the dialogue by the way…

        Just curious, if what you were taught at BJU was just “crazy conservative preference” why did you go there? Why go to such a conservative school if you aren’t a conservative? Why go to BJU to be a nurse anesthetist (I bring that up as an example I read at BJUaccreditation.com)? Why go to BJU if you want to teach in public K-12 schools? Why go to BJU if you are wanting to study a major that is heavy on accreditation? I’ve personally never understood that. Perhaps that is because EVERY BJU grad I personally know was either a Bible/Divinity or Music major…

      2. Nathan

        Why go to BJU, Mark? A few reasons:

        1. From the time I was 12, my Dad told me that I was going to BJU. That was my only option. I personally wanted to go somewhere else to play sports, and I had scholarship offers from other schools, but in my Dad’s mind, BJU was the only place I could go, so I went.

        2. I had my 18th birthday a week before I went to BJU as a freshman. I didn’t know what accreditation was or what it would mean to my future chances of getting into graduate school. I didn’t even know what I wanted to study. I was good at music, so I studied music. Now I work in business, and I’ve checked into furthering my education. Because of my choice of majors and the classes I took, and the lack of regional accreditation, I would have to earn another bachelor’s degree from an accredited college before pursuing graduate studies.

        And really, I’m not bitter about this. My parents made what they thought was the best choice for me, where they thought I would be most protected. Being a parent now, I understand that desire. And I was a kid when I went to BJU — I didn’t know what I was in for, nor did I really grasp what was important. I don’t think my parents understood the importance of accreditation either. Nor do I think they were given the truth or the full picture on accreditation. I can’t change that now for me. But I’d like others to know what accreditation (or the lack thereof) means.

  8. Mark Smith

    Sports analogy….Notre Dame is an independent school without a conference in football, for example. They have survived over the years without being in a conference because they have been historically very competent at football and have a significant following. Imagine if over time the conferences locked out ND and wouldn’t play them any more, or recognize their previous coaches work (not hire them or promote them). The graduates of the program were locked out from getting coaching jobs and no transfers were recognized. ND would be in a heap of trouble no matter how hard they tried to compete…

    That is a somewhat silly analogy for BJU. They tried to be the “outsider” that stood on their reputation. Does anyone really believe that a regionally accredited graduate of a small state school in SC is better educated than a BJU grad? The academic game now requires accreditation…no way around it for several majors. So, does BJU change or shrink??? That is the call. Quality doesn’t matter anymore, just a stamp on your diploma saying some pin-heads at a regional accreditation company recognize your degree…its really sad.

  9. John Matzko

    I’m no expert about BJU education grads, but as the BJU prelaw advisor for more than 30 years, I am an expert about BJU graduates who’ve attended law school. I don’t know of a single case in which an academically qualified graduate was unable to attend law school because he came from BJU. And I know of only one case in which a student purportedly rejected for reasons of accreditation was not able to attend a law school more prestigious than the one at which he was rejected.

    1. farkus

      “I am an expert about BJU graduates who’ve attended law school.”

      Yeah, but we are talking about the ones who couldn’t attend. A lot of people miss this point. People think BJU doesn’t have issues with grads getting into grad school because everyone they know got into a grad school, or worse they know one person who got in so therefore no issue. They miss the fact that even the person who got into a grad school may have had rejection because of accreditation, and they miss the others who simply don’t talk about the rejection.

      “I don’t know of a single case…I know of only one case in which a student purportedly rejected for reasons of accreditation”

      So you are telling me that you actually are aware of someone rejected because of accreditation. I mean at least there is one according to you. Rejection is rejection. If there is one that you are aware of there is certainly more that you are not.

      Again I’m not saying that the issue is prevalent or that it is the brick wall that is prevalent with education majors. But I am saying that I’d bet money that it happens even to academically qualified people. Now those people might be able to get into other schools, sure, but they still were rejected because of accreditation, thus there is a problem even for law students. No one is saying that BJU students can’t get into some grad school somewhere, but they do get rejected based only on accreditation. The fact that they got in somewhere at sometime doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist and it doesn’t make the original wrong go away, and it certainly doesn’t help the person who for various reasons cannot choose a different grad school.

  10. Steel Magnolia

    John, you are completely wrong about BJU education majors. (I’ll respond to your comments before reading the others.) In 1999, we moved to Colorado for the sake of our daughter’s health. In spite of my education degree, my years in the classroom, and former teacher licenses in two states, I do not even qualify for substitute teacher certification without a regionally accredited degree. I qualify only for paraprofessional positions paying barely above minimum wage. Can you imagine how odd it felt for me to attend inservice training with our daughter’s high school friends? My only options are to pursue a second (or first?) bachelors degree – no small challenge for someone my age with limited resources. Liberty and Walden University online programs still accept some of my credits from BJU, but both require a minimum of 30 hours for a second bachelors. I don’t know how long even that window of opportunity will remain open.

    For those who would ask, “Why did you let your state licenses expire?”, my answer is that my husband and I made a deliberate choice for me to stay home when we had our daughter. We extended my time at home after she lost all of her hearing. It never occurred to me that I would not be able to take post-graduate classes and return to teaching at the appropriate time.

    So if you do have an education degree from BJU, and you can get into a regionally accredited graduate program, enroll as fast as you can and get another degree while you have the chance.

    Jean Sanders Shumaker
    BJU class of 1977

    1. Michael Kreger


      I know of BJU/PCC grads who went to accredited grad schools in order to be able to teach in Colorado…and they were STILL rejected from teaching positions on the basis of their unaccredited undergrad degree. I couldn’t believe my ears, but there it is. So, an accredited post-grad degree isn’t the answer. The answer is to refuse to go to a school that is lacking regional accreditation, and to warn all the people who matter to you, so that they can avoid making the mistake we made.


      1. Michael Kreger

        Correction. My wife did get one job offer to teach in Colorado…

        At Hilltop Baptist School. You may have heard of them. They have been in the news.

        They offered to pay her $500 per month, or, based on the hours she would be expected to work, $1.74 per hour.

    1. Michael Kreger

      The very same.

      We are very thankful to have already been abandoning our past with its warped view of God and of the Christian life by that point, so my wife doesn’t have THAT place on her resume.

    2. Mark Fitzhenry

      Wow, Magnolia, so it appears your 4 year degree at BJU is not only worthless, in a professional/educational sense, you wasted 4 crucial years of your life.

      I graduated 3 years later than you did with Business degree. I recall that BJU justified its lack of accreditation by saying that “Harvard isn’t accredited either!” Like so many other young people, I didn’t give accreditation much thought. Did you ever hear the ‘we are just like Harvard’ meme when you were contemplating BJU?

      Mark, I thot this thread was dying a couple of days ago but it looks like it just keeps on going.

      This is a crucial issue for any school. Based upon the current educational environment and the trend mandating accreditation, if this issue isn’t addressed by BJU it could spell the end of BJU.

      1. Michael Kreger

        It sounds so HARSH when you say it like that. But it’s hard to argue that those four years of work were anything other than a waste, since there isn’t a marketable degree at the end of it. That is why the fraud is so bad. It was committed against trusting Christian kids by “Christians” who KNEW that they were selling an inferior product, but who declared up and down and all around that they were selling a superior product that would cause us no problems in our life. Some of us worked very hard since our childhood (I started saving when I was seven years old) and earned every nickel to attend BJU. And now that we know we were defrauded, and that they continue with nary a sign of remorse to defraud students even today, we say with every fiber of our being that it will be a cold day in hell before one of our children sets foot on that campus. Thus the huge drop in enrollment. My generation’s kids are now approaching college age, and they don’t even consider BJU.

        I graduated with Stephen, and I traveled with Erin on the Musical Mission Team. I like Erin, and wish nothing but good for her and Stephen. But I wrote to them back in 1994 (when I became aware of the fraud) and told them that if they didn’t do something about accreditation and the utter dishonesty permeating every BJU statement on the subject, BJU would die, and deservedly so.

        Harvard accreditation. Yet another lie from BJU…one that was still being told ad nauseum in the late ’80s and early ’90s when I was there. Of course, back then, we and our parents believed them. They (and their acolytes) were the only authorities we had ever known. We didn’t know we had reason to DISbelieve them. The internet wasn’t available to us, even if we HAD disbelieved them enough to look for verification of their claims.

        Truth is, Harvard has been accredited since 1929, and its Divinity School has been accredited since 1940, according to the three sources I checked. And I doubt very seriously that Bob Jones College was arguing against accreditation on the basis of Harvard’s statud way back then, which means this claim has been a lie from the very beginning.

      2. Michael Kreger

        It’s not ironic. Their reputation for hypocrisy is well-deserved. They wear a mask, like the Greek actors for whom hypocrisy is named. They say things that are not true, that THEY don’t believe to be true, as if those things are straight from the mouth of God — and that people who don’t agree with them on the topic (no matter how small) are spawn of Satan. BJIII is the worst.

        Then, when it becomes expedient, they say that they never believed that thing in the first place, and that it was never an issue to them, that the OTHER people are the ones who have changed, and that people are making mountains out of molehills. They could get away with their sociopathic dishonesty in the past, when information could not go out as far, wide, and fast as it can in the Internet Age. They can’t get away with it anymore. In fact, the garbage they said (and the completely un-Christian way they treated people) over the decades is all being unearthed and put out for the world to see. A pretty picture, it is not. But it matches perfectly with the treatment I saw when I was an employee and student there, so it rings far truer in my ear than anything being put out by their propaganda machine.

        I hasten to say that my condemnation is of the administration, not of the faculty. I greatly respected the faculty with whom I dealt. They were, almost without exception, good people whose aim was to serve the Lord. A Matzko was one of my favorite teachers. I can’t remember if it was you. He was the dark-haired one, and he taught history. I liked his attitude, his honesty, his enjoyment of his topic, and his method of simplifying things for those who were struggling.

        Anyhoo…if BJU would just do right in the first place, rather than allowing their animal passions to rule them (I speak of the Joneses before Stephen, who seems to have the temperance, the self-control, that was so clearly lacking in his forebears), we wouldn’t be having this discussion today, and BJU might not be failing.

        Besides, they haven’t addressed the issue. If my son is disobeying, and I call him down for it, and he keeps on disobeying but says, “I’m planning to obey you, Dad!”, I do NOT accept that. Nor does God. BJU has known about the accreditation problem for decades. They refused to do right, insisting instead that it would be wrong to do right…until they recognized the existential threat, at which time they started filling the air with words, expecting us to be mollified with claims that they are thinking about starting to do the right thing, and that we are being too hard on them. Well, we have seen them fill the air with words before, and we are unimpressed. Action. That is what we want to see. Talk signifies nothing.

  11. John Matzko

    As I said, I don’t claim to be an expert about folks who graduated from BJU in education. I’m an expert about BJU graduates who’ve attended law school. Let me repeat what I said above because it was misquoted later in the thread: I don’t know of a single case in which an academically qualified graduate was unable to attend law school because he had a degree from BJU. None. And I know of only one case in which a student purportedly rejected for reasons of accreditation was not able to attend a law school more prestigious than the one at which he was rejected.

    I myself was rejected from a PhD program at a secular graduate school after previously earning a master’s there, presumably because I had returned to teach at BJU after being told by my advisor not to. (He said–in the words of Thomas Wolfe–“You can’t go home again.”) Not surprisingly, I was discouraged. But then I was admitted to, and earned my PhD in American legal history (a cooperative grad school-law school program) from, a more prestigious school. I don’t intend to draw general conclusions from this solitary experience, but I think it’s appropriate to express my personal gratitude for the Lord’s leading and my own BJU undergraduate education.

    1. John Matzko

      I am indeed the history Matzko–though “no haired” would be closer to the truth than “brown haired”–and I appreciate your kind words. As for the Joneses, I think you’re being overly judgmental about their motives and thought processes, but then I also know them better as people.

      1. Michael Kreger

        Heh. I thought about saying that, but that wouldn’t have differentiated you from your brother, now, would it? I remember his hair was lighter, but he didn’t have much of it, either.

        All I can judge is what I have seen and heard, and the negative effects I have witnessed. Stephen seems to want to move things in a better direction, and people have said that he has done some good things. But only once in the past twenty years have I seen BJU in the news when it wasn’t something cringe-worthy, and even that one instance (Stephen’s interview when he assumed the presidency) had a painful quality to it as he danced around the issue of his father’s and grandfather’s behavior.

        Maybe BJIII should simply retire, and avoid live microphones for the rest of his life, and get out of the way so Stephen can do what needs to be done.

        I would like to be proud of my alma mater. I wish they got attacked because of the right stance they have taken on various issues. But that’s not how it is. Every time I have been confronted with a news headline by my unsaved colleagues, or by Christians who are not of the BJU orbit, I have without exception found myself taking them to Bible passages to show how Christians OUGHT to have acted, as opposed to how the BJU administration DID act.

  12. Dan Marvin

    “I don’t know of a single case in which an academically qualified graduate was unable to attend law school because he had a degree from BJU. ”

    Classic “No True Scotsman”

    1. John Matzko

      My statement’s not a logical fallacy because law schools require applicants to prove their academic qualification by taking the LSAT. If I’m retailing a fiction, some BJU grad should step up to the plate and say, “I scored in the x%ile on the LSAT and still didn’t get into law school because I graduated from BJU.”

  13. Starrstruck

    Is this the same Matzko that was attacking Tina Anderson and claiming that she was lying about what happened to her or that she was somehow to blame?

    As to the theme of this thread, Bob Jones, III is the most blatant liar I know. Having attended BJU, I know what he taught from chapel and in the preacher boy’s classes. He is a liar plain and simple. What Bob Jones, III needs to do is apologize for being wrong about interracial dating and marriage, accreditation, and any number of other issues. But being a Jones means never having to say your sorry. The same is true of Northland and Ollila/Olson.

    MBBC has been regionally accredited for a long time now even as BJ, III railed against it. Makes me laugh. Let’s just pray that the nonsense that is the fundamentalist movement comes to an end.

  14. Starrstruck

    I have a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctorate. But my credits from BJU won’t transfer to a local community college. No one should go to any college that is not regionally accredited or in the process, ever. And this includes the ministerial students. You have no idea where your life is going to take you so don’t think it doesn’t matter. It does.

    1. John Matzko

      Since you can’t refute my statement that all academically qualified BJU grads who’ve wanted to go to law school have gone to law school, I don’t blame you for wanting to change the subject.

    2. Mark Smith

      Why on earth would a person with a bacelors, 2 masters, and a PhD WANT credits to transfer to a community college????????

      1. Steel Magnolia

        Mark, because of the economy, many people with undergraduate and graduate programs are going to community colleges to learn marketable skills. For instance, South Dakota is begging for people to learn welding, because companies there can’t find enough welders to fill the available jobs.

      2. Nathan

        Mark, my interpretation of Starrstruck’s comment is that regardless of what additional degrees you attain after leaving BJU, none of that will help your BJU credits transfer somewhere else, not even to a community college.

      3. broncats

        a lot of community colleges offer continuing education type courses to maintain a license, or to help one advance at work.

  15. Steel Magnolia

    John, entrance requirements to law schools could be changed, and most likely will be changed, to require regionally-accredited degrees in the near future. Academic advisors who fail to explain those potential changes to pre-law students do them a disservice. Every student, of any major, deserves to know and understand the full and potential ramifications of having a non-accredited degree. (TRACS doesn’t count. In my opinion, it’s academic window dressing.) And they need to know that information before enrollment.

    1. Nathan

      I would agree that “TRACS doesn’t count.” For reference of why I dismiss them, look at the other schools that are “accredited” through TRACS. It’s not a “Who’s Who” of American Colleges and Universities, that’s for sure…

  16. John Matzko

    Even before I became BJU prelaw advisor in 1978, most law schools required an undergraduate degree from an accredited college (occasionally they said “regionally accredited”). But in practice our students’ high LSAT scores have meant that BJU students have been accepted in law schools across the country–the best ones too, since it’s only Podunk Law School that has to worry about someone looking over its shoulder and asking why they accepted a graduate from Bob Jones University.

    Interestingly enough, law school discrimination against BJU grads has actually declined during my tenure, in part because the number of law schools has grown, in part because our students have made such good track records when they got to law school. (I’ve heard grads complain about BJU’s lack of accreditation but not about the quality of its education. That’s one reason BJU has such articulate detractors.)

    So far as I can tell, TRACS membership hasn’t made any difference in law school admission or in admission to grad school in history, my other area of expertise. (We currently have history PhD candidates at Princeton, Yale, Brandeis, and Penn State.) TRACS accreditation is probably of most value to say, criminal justice majors who need to have BJU on some bureaucratic list to get a job.

    And yes, when students and parents bring up accreditation, I tell them that there are no guarantees. But I can also tell them about my own tale of discrimination and how the Lord blessed.

  17. Dave

    The timing of this pamphlet’s publication and the audience it was marketed to makes it clear what it was about. and who it was likely aimed it. Clearwater had been regionally accredited for almost 20 years and had a certified teacher program, MBBC was regionally accredited by 2001 and had a new state certified teaching program, and both schools were growing significantly with new young charismatic presidents (ok I guess Stratton didn’t start at CCC till 2002…) who were actively meeting with pastors all over the country and introducing them to the great improvements and investments in solid academics in addition to their ministry degree programs (which were also strengthened by accreditaiton) – these schools invested in highly qualified and appropiately degreed faculty, facilities, and curriculum in order to demonstrate that they were providing high quality education in any field they offered. BJU continued to say their education was better, stronger, etc than these “little” Bible colleges, but refused to demonstrate it by meeting the objective standards of accreditation. Dr. Bob III wrote stuff like this tripe, and spread his horse apple pate’ in meetings all over the country in an effort to stop the drain of students from churches with BJU alumni pastors to these other schools through spiritual arm twisting. As usual it was a whole lot of hot air supported by little in the way of facts, and twisted scriptural applications in an attempt to lift up BJU by making their weakness in these areas a matter of religious comittment and so malign these schools and anyone who said they were acceptable or even better than BJU for some students. I heard the FUD trickling out of BJU alums after this campaign, and I regularly heard ridiculous assertions about these schools heading down the path of Princeton and Yale, etc. It was sad, undignified, and pathetic, but of course to say so made you a compromisin’ librul.

    PCC did a similar thing, they just chose a different issue, the KING JAMES BIBLE, as their hill to die on.

    Their about face on this when they went with TRACS should have come with an apology to those they attacked in order to prop up their own rotten carcass.

  18. broncats

    I must admit that I have earned 60+ credits at local colleges after graduating from BJU. One of those colleges used to be known as “Granola U” and it balked at BJU’s lack of accreditation. Yet, the last “christian school” I taught at did not renew my contract because “three parents were going to pull their students out of the school if I was still a teacher there the following year” because I was too hard as a teacher. I would have taught one class for them the following year.

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