Tag Archives: Bob Jones III

PSA: We Have Archived Every Sermon by Jim Berg and Bob Jones III

 

Some commenters here felt it was unethical to save these sermons when GRACE has recommended their deletion. In our opinion, it’s worth having the real, “uncensored” words of these men saved for several reasons:

1. BJU might go beyond the GRACE recommendation and delete ALL sermons by these speakers, thus removing any permanent record of important public statements made therein (including ones related and unrelated to abuse).

2. Even in the event that only “offending” sermons are removed, GRACE left the definition of what constitutes “offensive” to BJU itself (“any sermons it determines to be offensive…”). Also, there’s the possibility that BJU might ask SermonAudio to edit and re-upload certain sermons minus offensive content, thus saving face.

Even if no one ever contacts us for a copy of these sermons, or even if BJU never deletes them, we felt it important that BJU be notified that its publicly-spoken words can’t be permanently erased.

One of the recommendations in the GRACE report was for BJU to remove from its archives any sermons “insensitive or hurtful to sexual abuse victims” (pg. 230). This directive, combined with BJU’s habit for disappearing any information detrimental to its image, makes it important that sermons from Jim Berg and Bob Jones III, in particular, are preserved in some way. We took it upon ourselves to download each of Berg’s sermons (about 150) and each of Bob Jones III’s sermons (over 500) from SermonAudio while they still exist there. This vital audio record could prove essential for further investigation.

Although we unfortunately don’t have the resources to upload all of these sermons here for easy downloading, we have compiled a sermon guide for both speakers listing all of the sermon titles along with date, location and other information. Simply drop us an email if you’d like to listen to any of them.

Click here to download the Jim Berg sermon guide.

Click here to download the Bob Jones III sermon guide.

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The 5 Best Comments on Bob Jones III’s Chuck Phelps Defense

This past weekend, we were given an audio recording of a meeting between a BJU alumnus and Bob Jones III that took place in 2011. The meeting was conducted in order ask Jones why BJU was continuing to defend embattled pastor and BJU grad Chuck Phelps. The Phelps scandal became national news at that time after a 20/20 investigation examined the failure of Phelps and others to treat a rape victim in Phelps’ church with anything resembling compassion or justice.

While the transcript of this meeting had been available for awhile now, an audio version is only now being heard, here. It’s made quite an impression on the internet, piling up hundreds of YouTube views and bringing over 10,000 visitors to this site. Much of the most interesting commentary, however, has been at Stuff Fundies Like, one of the first and still the most popular of the ex-fundamentalist sites. Here are our top 5 comments from around the web summarizing Jones’ response as heard on our recording (which you can listen to here):

1, From commenter CS on Stuff Fundies Like:

“Dear SFL Reader:

Years ago, I served on a committee mandated to investigate allegations of abuse by church leaders – sexual, physical or psychological. We soon learned that abusers retain an extensive array of verbal stratagems that includes [but is not limited to] rationalizing, blame shifting, non-answers, irrelevant statements, evasive answers, denials, minimizing of one’s role in the abuse, minimizing the wrongness of the abuse, reshaping the meaning of statements or events, doubting/questioning/discounting facts, counter explanations, challenging of the questions and the questioning the questioner’s motives. The list is seemingly endless.

Those involved in such inquiries see abusers adopt and use such stratagems time and again as standard linguistic convention. Abusers fall onto these conventions and speech patterns to hedge themselves, to guard their careers, and to present themselves in the best possible light. And they do it all the time.

As a committee, we also role played scenarios where someone posed as an abuser. This was an illuminating experience. Even among themselves, committee members found that tempers flare at evasive, sleaze-driven replies. Those who posed as abusers reported feeling very uncomfortable as they played out the exercise.

Over time, our committee learned that every interruption resulted in a 2-4 minute reminder of the gravity of the accusations, their hurtfulness, followed by reminders of the difficulty of pastoral ministry, and that they [the abuser] agreed to be interviewed, an appeal for fairness, an appeal to let procedure do its work, etc., etc.

Those who role-played as abusers said repeatedly that they lengthened replies as much as possible hoping to wear-down committee, and to expire committee’s time and thus evade delving deeply into the issues at hand.

Committee eventually realized that most often, the best approach was to say nothing, thereby feeding rope endlessly until the one being questioned hung themselves with it. In other words, we allowed people to talk about multiple things to reveal their character.

From my perspective, the clip’s significance is this: Bob Jones III adopts and uses adroitly linguistic conventions employed consistently by perpetrators of spiritual, sexual and physical abuse. This doesn’t address whether or not Triplesticks has ever abused; it merely notes that under questioning, he adopts linguistic thinking/speaking patterns that are indistinguishable from the former.

Earlier, I implied that the list of conventions was not exhaustive, but merely representative. We could easily add duplicitous hypocrisy. While feigning accountability, abusers/Bob Jones III consistently refuse accountability to any outside authority. They do this precisely by relying on answers that are not answers, and then dismiss further questions in the pretense that they have answered. That sounds like a denial of accountability to me.

Why does [Bob Jones III] employ the linguistic convention of abusive persons?”

2. From Bald BJU Grad on Stuff Fundies Like:

1. I am a BJU grad.
2. I had to go to another school after BJU to get an accredited degree to even become a cop.
3. I’ve had a fine career as a cop. I now oversee the police and fire service in my town.
4. I’m planning on retiring in 2 or 3 years.
5. I listened to the entire audio that Darrell posted.
6. Chuck Phelps’s guy had sex with a 15 year old female.
7. Under the law, a 15 year old is INCAPABLE of giving consent to a sex act.
8. Chuck Phelps blamed the 15 year old girl, and made her get up and apologize to the congregation.
9. Bob Jones kept Chuck Phelps on their board of trustees after all of this came to light.BJIII even defended Chuck Phelps in humilitating the victim.
10. Both Bob Jones III and Chuck Phelps are defenders of the rapist, and are complicit in blaming this little girl who was victimized before she was old enough to give consent to having sex.

11. I bet Jesus is proud of both of them.

3. From Facebook:

“It’s difficult for me to even type after listening to this because I’m so angry that a man in his position of power can be a rape apologist and not be held accountable. I’ll just say that when I was raped in my IFB community, no one wanted to help me. No one listened. And it was exactly the arguments that Bob Jones III used here that were used to silence me: questioning whether I “wanted it” (even though legally I was far too young to give consent and even though my rapist was an authority figure and repeatedly blackmailed me into silence). Thank God I stopped listening to the rape apologists and got justice for myself and my family. Men like Bob Jones III who defend the powerful and abuse the powerless will have a lot to answer for some day.”

4. Sent to us via email:

“Just finished listening to your recording of Bob Jones III defending Phelps and in general being a complete jerk to that poor woman. All I can say is that if any man I knew spoke about these matters in the way this “godly, wise” man does here, he would get a mouthful from me. To think that the kids who go to this school are duped into believing they’re in a safe environment is astounding. Is this the school’s official position, that 15 year olds can legally consent to sex? There are grade schools at BJU. Kids who are, ultimately, under the policies and philosophy that this evil man sets. Do parents know about this? Do the kids? I hope they listen.”

5. From our site:

Nothing BJ3 says surprises me, although this recording is pretty awful. A question for prospective students and parents: if you or your child are mistreated on campus, is this how it will be handled? Would you want to be spoken of in the way BJ3 speaks of a rape victim? Shudders.

Audio From Bob Jones III’s Infamous “Consensual Rape” Interview Leaked

In 2011, an anonymous woman met with Bob Jones III to ask him some tough questions about the then-current Chuck Phelps scandal.

You can read more about the Phelps scandal here and here and especially here.

You can read more about this interview here.

The transcript to the interview is here.

Suffice to say, Bob Jones III does not come off looking good in this interview. Listen below:

Bob Jones III Uses Chapel To Blast “Bloggers Who Ruin Lives”, BJU Withholds Audio [UPDATED]

According to several witnesses in Chapel today and student tweets, Bob Jones III railed against “bloggers who ruin lives” during today’s service. The tirade was seemingly in response to the revelation made last week regarding former BJU Chief Branding Officer Joseph Bartosch.

IIIhaters

BJU has so far declined to upload audio of this morning’s service to Sermon Audio, as it often does for Jones’s famous attacks. If the audio is ever uploaded we’ll update this post.

Controversial Public Statements Undercut BJU’s Attempt at Re-branding

It’s no secret that for the last few years Bob Jones University has been attempting to clean up its public image. There’s a certain amount of cognitive dissonance involved in this attempt, since the school categorically denies any wrongdoing past or present (take, for instance, BJU’s current hiring of G.R.A.C.E to investigate claims of sexual abuse mishandling after Bob Jones III thundered from the pulpit in 2011 that no accusations of such abuse had ever been swept under the rug at his school). But the signs of an attempted shift in attitude are everywhere, from Stephen Jones’ emphasis on “a culture of appropriate change” at the 2011 faculty/staff meeting (leaked audio here) to BJU’s new intercollegiate sports program, new website, and its seemingly endless quest to attain regional accreditation.

But a survey of chapel messages and public appearances by BJU ambassadors during this era of attempted re-branding shows that change doesn’t come easy for The World’s Most Unusual University. Below are a few recent examples of things that make it hard to believe that a kinder, gentler BJU is coming anytime soon.

Now, there’s a simple way to respond to rules that we do not like. Instead of fixating on what we think is the poor quality of the rule, we should recognize as reflecting the poor quality of our hearts. Instead of complaining what’s wrong with the rule, I should complain about what’s wrong with my mind that keeps me from seeing the wisdom of that rule. What is wrong with my heart that makes me so disinclined to obey?

Randy Leedy, BJU chapel 2/14/13

Bob Jones III, as expected, has been responsible for a number of incidents which might make would-be reformers at BJU cringe. The 2012 election provided plenty of fodder for such incidents, including Jones’ assertion that “neither candidate for President represents in his faith anything that any of us in this room believes,” and his public questioning of The President’s salvation.

On Feb. 6th 2013, it was reported by this Facebook group that Greg Mazak, chairman of the BJU division of Psychology, had told a conference of military chaplains that PTSD “is a sin.” Several witnesses confirmed the quote, and Mazak’s Nouthetic brand of counseling does indeed brand depression and other mental illnesses as “spiritual issues.” As recently as October of last year, Mazak claimed  that psychological disorders would be better termed “worship disorders.” You can listen to that sermon here.

Steve Hankins, BJU Seminary, gave a rather dismissive description of “the unsaved” in a chapel message from November 14th, 2012. According to Hankins, many unbelievers “Can’t string words together, are hygenically offensive, don’t dress the way they ought to dress, and don’t get life in a lot of ways.”

Although “dress standards” at BJU have been somewhat relaxed in recent years, Stephen Jones has made it clear on two occasions that, for women especially, the greater freedom comes with expectations. Jones told female students in chapel on October 10th 2012 that “wearing pants is a privilege, not a right.” The same quote was repeated again by Jones a few weeks later.

Several recent chapel speakers have carried on BJU’s history of in-pulpit belligerence. On October 24th, 2012, Randy Leedy offered a sneering description of “certain notorious Facebook pages” (possibly including BJUNews) which oppose the school. A few days later, on October 29th, Brian Hand of BJU’s Bible faculty accused his chapel audience of wanting him “to just shut up and get off this stage so you don’t have to listen to God’s Word anymore!”

This list is be no means exhaustive, it’s only a quick summary of things we’eve noticed in the last few years of covering BJU news. 

 

Bob Jones III Comments on 2012 Election: “Neither Candidate Represents Anything That Any Of Us In This Room Believes”

Bob Jones III made some pointed comments about tomorrow’s Presidential elections in today’s Chapel, skewering both candidates but reserving his harshest critiques, as expected, for Barack Obama. We’ve transcibed the relevant portions of his pre-sermon political comments here:

I trust that we’re all in prayer about tomorrow…the issues here are very great, greater than political issues. The truth is that while neither candidate for President represents in his faith anything that any of us in this room believes, there is a marked difference in the way they view government and how they view our founding principles. So the choice is a very important choice.

I do not know how any Christian could vote for a Presidential candidate who is on record as favoring same-sex marriage. Nobody can favor that without being the enemy of God. It marks a man automatically as the enemy of God because God has ordained marriage and He’s told us what it’s supposed to be. For a man to say it can be something other than what God wanted is to insult God Almighty.

Jones went on to describe Obamacare as “a tyranny against God and the First Amendment,” and encouraged students and faculty to be aware of political issues and to take action “for God’s glory.”

BJU’s relationship with conservative politics is well-documented–several GOP Presidential candidates have spoken in chapel in past years, and BJU this year referred students to the ultra-conservative Christian Coalition for political advice. That relationship has also been strained at times, though. Bob Jones III was no fan of Ronald Reagan, particularly for his choice of George H.W. Bush (who Jones called “a devil”) as Vice-President. Jones has also condemned Mormonism in the strongest terms, though he appears to prefer Governor Romney in this years’ election.

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)