Dave Doran Takes on the “Ungodly Attacks” of BJU’s Victims and Critics

In a new post on his Glory and Grace blog, Detroit-area BJU grad and pastor Dave Doran (who doesn’t list his BJU degree on his church site, by the way,), took aim at the “distractions, distortions and deceptions” of certain unnamed “character assassins” who have recently tried to “derail” ministries and leaders. 

This isn’t the first time that Doran has attempted to rally the faithful during a time of “persecution” against “good godly men.” In November 2011, as a petition demanding that BJU remove disgraced pastor Chuck Phelps from its Board picked up steam, Doran took to his blog to rail against online petitions. ” I don’t see how online petitions fit within a biblical framework for these things,” Doran wrote, seemingly ignoring the fact that many of that petition’s signers also contacted the school directly, or didn’t fit into Doran’s “biblical” paradigm and were just outraged that BJU allowed a rape apologist to remain on its staff

This time, though, as BJU again makes national headlines for its treatment of victims, Doran’s defense of the school seems to be a solitary one. We haven’t heard any other voices being raised to defend BJU’s firing of GRACE.

Doran’s criticism of these “ungodly attacks” as originating from the “echo chamber” of a Facebook page misses the fact that many of the criticisms of BJU’s handling of the GRACE situation came on BJU’s own page, and were made by long-time supporters of the school. Doran’s attempt to marginalize the critics as those who “scream louder, fight dirtier, and use the internet to bully their way forward” is undercut by a comment like this, one of over two hundred made on BJU’s Facebook page:

 

Doran also conveniently ignores the testimony of victims who say they were neglected and ignored after being abused at BJU. To Doran, these horrific stories are just “distractions” that shouldn’t be allowed to distract pastors and colleges. Nor does Doran consider the fact that some of BJU’s critics at this time, particularly those who have been lifelong supporters of the school, might be trying to help it by bringing more accountability and protecting the school from legal action or further embarrassment. In Doran’s world, anything less than a full defense of BJU is apparently equal to an “ungodly attack.”

Doran’s stubborn defense of BJU is even more puzzling after this post he wrote back in March of 2013 condemning Jack Schaap and calling for increased transparency and  “a higher commitment to God and His Word than our ‘circles’ and institutions.” Apparently, Doran only feels these concerns are valid for those outside his own “circle”; an institution like BJU is just too close to home for him and must be defended at all costs. 

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24 thoughts on “Dave Doran Takes on the “Ungodly Attacks” of BJU’s Victims and Critics

  1. Anson Mills [BJU Professor John Matzko]

    A pretty stealth defense of BJU (if that’s what it is). Doran’s blog post mentions neither BJU nor GRACE. He does mention Nehemiah a dozen times.

    1. James Montgomery from Florida

      If I was defending the kind of insanity that Doran is, I wouldn’t want to be too specific either. After all, this way you can dog-whistle support for BJU and only certain people will catch it. Plus, if the GRACE report comes out and BJU is shown to be as full of scandal and abuse as victims claim, Doran can pretend he was never talking about them in first place.

      Pretty similar to how you won’t use your real name when trolling blogs, right John Matzko/John Foxe?

      1. Anson Mills

        James, for real my Bible reading this morning included Psalm 37: “Do not fret because of evildoers/ Be not envious toward wrongdoers./ For they will wither quickly like the grass/ And fade like the green herb.” Is mentioning this fact an attack on you or this blog?

  2. A James

    LOL on his not owning BJU. Seems to be the trend with faculty even in Greenville (see Gray at http://brooksidebaptist.org/about/OurSupportStaff.html ) Perhaps this is in pursuit of a “culture of appropriate change”. This church isn’t on the God-blessed BJU website church list, but it is on the less-blessed intranet list. Makes me wonder why? There’s some sleuthing in order here.

    Anyway. Finally! No big names have appeared on the SI discussion (except for an early brief comment by Doran where he said: “I would be slow to say that Stephen’s public announcement and the letter do not square with each other….” There was a brief comment by Don Johnson (significant FBFI member) regarding the GRACE termination on BJU Facebook: “Hurray! Very good news.”

    Other than these, not a peep from big names that I’ve seen–thanks for the info. I see what you mean, Anson. He did not name names, so we don’t realllllllllly know.
    Ormiston also gave advice on depression/discouragement in chapel yesterday…http://www.bju.edu/events/chapel/ and I guess we could wonder if he was worried about BJU leadership, too.

    Nonetheless, the current post is a too Protestant Popish for me to not raise an eyebrow. He fails to positively acknowledge how social media can help keep ministries/individuals accountable and more cautious to make right decisions knowing they are under this “magnifying glass”. I would think this would be the best way to productively respond, but who am I but a lowly commenter.

    Whoa, I just noticed this, “Perhaps the only thing sadder than ungodly attacks is when those being attacked allow their attackers to set the agenda and redirect them away from fruitful ministry.” Who is he referring to? Is he also upset that BJU began with GRACE in the first place, or that they are allegedly attempting to reconcile with GRACE?

    I’m okay with praising Nehemiah since we have “God-breathed” approval on the perspective. I’m not okay lifting our leaders up to Nehemiah’s pedestal erasing any obligation to question or rebuke their actions. I do like how he recognized we can be “challenged from an unexpected source”. I don’t like how he failed to acknowledge that unexpected sources can be tools in the Lord’s hands to accurately point out our mistakes–think Israel’s enemies. “Like Nehemiah, if we are walking in obedience to the Lord (cf. 2:12), we must not allow them to stop us.” I like that “if”.

    Rather it said, “Ministry leaders can’t afford to mistakenly think that the echo chamber (or even one voice) might not actually raise a valid concern.” I know I shouldn’t be, but I am still surprised that even after Doug Phillips or Hyles or etc., that leaders are so quick to dismiss dissenting voices regardless of their source. The battle should be about truth and accurately reflecting truth rather than in our protective pride that keeps us from considering an accusation of untruth.

    Don’t worry too much about Doran, though, having much of an impact. He’s been having an identity crisis of his own that has been called out at SI and Oxgoad at (http://oxgoad.ca/ ) (just type Doran in the search box) by both the new fundys and traditional fundys. He really does have to choose his words carefully, or he’ll end up with few friends as he decides how to realign himself. We can’t be confident enough to know who he would side with at the end of the day.

    Could be his March 2013 “When Silence is Consent” will be a fine template (especially since he’s distanced himself by naming no names) for a future post which could go something like this:

    “The tragic happenings associated with the (final GRACE report, fines, employee dismissals) (at BJU) are a sad spectacle. Well before any of this blew up, I (vaguely) expressed my (concerns) about (GRACE). I’ll not rehash that here, but will note that the outcome, sadly, really isn’t shocking given the perverse way in which (they would not separate with Sexton–for not separating from Schaap–and included him at Bible Conference).

    I (have finally) recently read (the online testimonies of the GRACE interviewees) that (are) painful, in many ways, to read. (Many are now expressing) regret for not speaking out against (BJU’s) excesses, especially in light of the ultimate tragedy connected to (GRACE). You can read it for yourself here (and here and here and here).

    I don’t know (these GRACE interviewees), and I am pretty sure I wouldn’t agree with (them) on many things. What I do know, though, is that (these are incredible testimonies). And I know that there should be many men serving as pastors and leaders within the various Fundamentalist orbits that should be ashamed of themselves. The (signs of covered) sins (at BJU) were not hidden, and I am not just referring to the ones brought forward by (Do Right, Truth Seekers, BJU News, bojo.us) and others (but also by not a few commenters at BJU Facebook, SI, and Bruin Core. (Something suspicious has been going on) and people (with discernment) knew it. I (might should have) figured it out when I was a college student (but) I made the mistake of believing and (and defending) only to find out that (they were not completely defensible). I simply cannot believe that the people around (them) did not see these things. I also can’t believe that (I didn’t pursue the concerns of) other organizations and institutions.

    And, look, not much work to be done here should this template be needed:

    (My) regret about not speaking out sooner should be felt by those who didn’t speak up. And a new generation should be warned by this mess, leading to a fresh, firm resolve to not let it happen again. The “it” to which I refer is not that a pastor will fall or some abusive leader will emerge. The “it” is the silence of men who know better and should have acted. Nobody is above accountability to God’s Word. Nobody.

    That men like Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap (and other leaders) can keep their places of influence is the fault of their followers and those along side of them who refuse to do what God says. That certain segments, perhaps most, of the old Fundamentalist coalitions allowed such ungodliness to go unchallenged is one of its worst blemishes. I wish I were sure that those days are gone, but I’m not. They need to be, but they won’t unless there is a higher commitment to God and His Word than our “circles” and institutions.

    God wrote Mene Mene Tekel Parsin on the walls of Jack’s (and other college administration offices) long before the piled up garbage spilled out. Braggadocios claims about numbers or pulpit bravado about being God’s man shouldn’t cause people to ignore biblical qualifications. It is well past time to put to death the false idea that apparent blessings serve as some kind of divine endorsement. It is also well past time to recognize that the ministries of men like the two Jacks have given God’s enemies cause to blaspheme, and that people who are genuinely concerned about the Faith once to the saints delivered will separate themselves from those who continue to promote and perpetuate their unbiblical beliefs and practices.”

    That’ll work just fine, just fine.

  3. Bill

    Doran was my hall monitor when I was a student at Jonestown. It was 33 years ago but a still remember him being a tool. A tool in the sense that he represented the status quo of Jonestown and a tool in the sense that he was a tool.

  4. Jen

    I went to Sharper Iron and read the thread about this topic, and it seemed as though at least 2/3 of the commenters thought this whole thing made BJU look very shady. They pointed out that the reason Stephen Jones gave in the letter to GRACE don’t match the reasons he’s shared in chapel, press releases, etc.

    I just don’t understand what kind of mental gymnastics you have to do to *not* see a problem with this! If President Obama did something suspicious, I can guarantee conservatives wouldn’t be saying, “Well, we don’t know the whole side of the story. There’s information that hasn’t been released yet. Until then, let’s give Obama the benefit of the doubt.”

  5. Pingback: The BJU Sex Abuse Coverup, Day 13 | The BJU Sex Abuse Coverup

  6. John Pittman Hey

    Can somebody point me to the online testimonies of the GRACE interviewees? I haven’t been able to find but one or two first person stories online – I must not be looking in the right place.

    Thanks.

    1. shelly

      You’re not going to find the testimonies of the GRACE interviewees. They were promised that their names and stories wouldn’t be public. And that BJU wouldn’t know who they were, except in certain cases where GRACE needed to access information from BJU about them in particular. Anyplace you find a first person story online you will also find a bunch of people piling on further abuse in what they say to them. No one WANTS to go public. The behavior of BJU will likely draw more victims out into the open to tell their stories. The “good” people will be lined up ready to smear and attack and say there isn’t the right sort of proof.
      And that is exactly why the victims have kept silence. Just keep looking, The stories will come.
      And this blog will likely have the links.
      http://bjucoverupblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/the-bju-sex-abuse-coverup-day-13/

      1. John Pittman Hey

        Shelly,

        That’s what I sorta figured, but somebody up above in comments referred to finally reading the “online testimonies” of GRACE witnesses. I just thought maybe there was material out there that I have missed.

    2. A James

      John, I think something I said above gave you confusion. I apologize. I was speaking from a future perspective when imagining that one day Doran could read online testimonies that would probably be available.

      For the time being though, one should be concerned enough with the accounts at
      Cathy’s http://lostchildnowfound.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/my-grace-experience/
      (There is at least one or two other commenters throughout her site that also give brief testimonials.)
      Linda’s http://lindafossen.blogspot.com/
      Erin’s summary at http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/why-is-bob-jones-university-so-nervous/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-is-bob-jones-university-so-nervous
      and some info at Hoffman’s http://bjunity.org/press-release/bob-jones-university-must-resume-the-g-r-a-c-e-investigation/

      Again, my apologies for the misleading statement.

  7. A James

    The best place to start is probably by scrolling through and keeping up with the links at http://bjucoverupblog.wordpress.com/ which include a couple of the interviewees’ sites.
    Linda Fossen, Lost Child Now Found, maybe a couple of others. There have been tidbits in comments from other interviewees throughout these weeks, but it’s hard to round those up.
    If things don’t go well this week between BJU and GRACE, I’m sure more and more will put their stories up. Going on Facebook might have more info via
    https://www.facebook.com/TellTheTruthBJU
    They’d probably be the best source in knowing if any other testimonies are available.
    I’d be interested in more direction, too.

  8. A James

    A lot closer to the action.
    http://www.fbctaylors.org/Pages/Sermons/
    Sermon at Faith Baptist in Taylors, SC Sunday PM, February 16, 2014
    Growing and Changing: People Problems
    Psalm 54

    So, I’m not accused of “rumors and mindreading,” I’ll use a disclaimer reminiscent of Anson’s comment: “A pretty stealth defense of BJU (if that’s what it is). Monroe’s sermon mentions neither BJU nor GRACE. He does mention David a dozen times.”

    and difficult people, and being misunderstood, and strangers rising up, and violent people having the goal of destruction, and self-professing Christians on the social media acting in self-interest, and needing to be prepared for active opposition, and using our thumbs to weigh in on things, and breaking down social etiquette, and social media serving no real purpose, arrogance thinking people want to know their opinion, and our enemies being held accountable,
    and once we make sure that it’s God’s side we’re on, then we can talk the way David talks about God exterminating our enemies, and persecution being at our doorstep, and difficult days ahead that will test our faith, and preparing for even what tomorrow holds, and to be bold as we seek to gain ground in enemy territory, as we seek God’s agenda.

  9. Carson

    The book of Nehemiah is not about you; it’s not about me; it’s not about mud flying or “keeping your head.” It’s not about keeping poised in a raucous board meeting or staying on point when your HOA tries to cancel your home Bible study. It’s not “leadership principles from Nehemiah” any more than we should be turning to “Highly Effective Habits of the Minor Prophets.”

    The book is actual history: it is about Nehemiah and the Lord’s preservation of the lineage of the Messiah and his promise to redeem creation. It isn’t an allegory to help us when mud flies.

    This approach just starts the battles of the allegories: when the powers that be want to throw you and your complaints to the lions, look to Daniel. You can bring down overbearing authority with a well placed sling of the truth.

    This isn’t just not helpful, it is really hurtful. These weren’t distractions that Nehemiah was facing, they were people trying to interrupt God’s work in this world. And everyone in a conflicted situation sees themselves as on the right side — that is, everyone sees themselves as Nehemiah. That’s the problem: the leaders see themselves, like Nehemiah, busy about building the wall, bringing God’s people together and they see the opposition not just as having a different point of view or a legitimate complaint but as Sanballat! They need to be eliminated! They are fighting God’s work in this world.

    The OT is for our profit, but not these shmoozy reads where every event is about me and my personal struggles. These are “coach” talks: “we have distractions but we are going to build our wall, our big defensive line, and not let the opponents of our work score.” When we start putting ourselves at the center of every biblical event and see ourselves as Ezra and Daniel and Noah and Moses we are not learning from Scripture, we are using it for our own purposes.

    The Doran piece is unfortunate because it hardens the resolve of all sides not to collaborate through the misapplication of Scripture.

  10. shelly

    I was an elementary education major at BJU and graduated in 1994. Not once were we taught anything about mandatory reporting, statutes of limitation, or how to possibly spot signs of abuse. That should have come up in four years.
    I also had serious problems with PTSD and flashbacks although I didn’t know what to call them at the time. I explained what was happening to me to Mr Berg…
    I interviewed with GRACE. I hope for justice someday.
    I’m not brave enough to tell the world just yet. BJU’s firing of GRACE is a catalyst. I have a blog, but have rarely told people about it. It’s too much of me for my friends to see and not enough disclosure of who I am for anyone else to care about. I’m in the process of thinking how to change it or to magically block it from people who know me. I don’t want people to read it on Saturday and look at me funny on Sunday. But again, back to BJU firing GRACE, I almost don’t care about people knowing, and looking at me funny. Maybe when someone asks me at church if I’m feeling ok because I look sick, instead they may ask if I’m having trouble with triggers again. Maybe someone will ask me where I am, when I dissociate, and know what that means. Maybe if they know me, they will still like me. Maybe I have to take that risk. I’m thinking about it.
    Yes, BJU fired GRACE. That may end up helping me to find MY voice, and to stop hiding it behind a curtain of anonymity in a nameless blog.
    In case you are mildly curious this is my blog: http://the-journey-of-grace.blogspot.com/
    BTW I’m a bad blogger. I never post when I’m suicidal, or when my kids are sick or when we are dealing with major changes in life. I write a lot during those times, but it’s just not public kind of stuff. 😉

  11. Rachel

    Pt. Doran is my pastor here in Allen Park, Michigan, and I’m disturbed to read posts from people who have never met him. I graduated from BJ in 2003 and received an excellent education. Many of my teachers were great people who loved God and spent time helping me in my courses. There were quite a few things that also happened that were unfair at BJU (which I won’t list because there’s no reason to and I think I’ve gotten over the bitterness of those things). After I graduated, my parents didn’t send any of my other siblings there, and I don’t plan to send my children there because of my bad experiences there. Having said that, my pastor does not push anyone here to go to BJU, and he has not defended the college from the pulpit EVER. He has spoken to our congregation about some of the things that have happened at these Christian colleges. He doesn’t condone the terrible, sinful actions that people have done to others, but he does prepare us for how to correctly deal with these things. His point is ALWAYS to teach us how to respond correctly–God’s way, not the world’s way. Abuse is terrible. We have people in our church who have been abused, and these people are sheltered and cared for. Pt. Doran is a loving pastor who genuinely cares for us and shepherds us. Our communication regarding all of these horrific things that have happened must be pleasing to God.

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