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)