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A Time to Rejoice

Cynicism is a sin. Because it’s refusing to see God at work. A cynic hears a baby crying and is incensed. A believer hears the same cry and thanks God for a providentially-created clear expression of an unmet need. A parent can be a cynic and a believer in the same day, mind you. Sin is like that.

BJU apologized. That’s the way the Mainstream-Media is reporting it even if BJU was so careful not to use the A-word. They said “profoundly sorry” for being “racially hurtful.” It’s enough for now. It’s new enough for now.

And the alumni effort at Please-Reconcile.org was part of that. A big, big part. It’s undeniable. I personally read their documents months ago, was skeptical at first, prayed about it, and eventually signed. I even fasted last weekend in order to pray about the effort. And as soon as the leadership team closed the signing on Wednesday, went off to the printers, and began to stuff their envelopes, BJU released a carefully-Carol-Kiersteaded and/or Gary-Weiered statement. 🙂

As one of the signers, I am rejoicing. It would be too easy to be a Jonah-like cynic even if I would have preferred a more Gospel-centered resolution like the PCA’s. I don’t even care that the MSM has their tongue firmly planted in cheek.  I choose to rejoice that a little glimmer of repentance has been offered.

But I’ve been surprised by one source of cynicism — BJU insiders. Never saw that coming. They assert that the alumni had nothing to do with it. That we shouldn’t be rejoicing. That our bluff got called. That we’re just conflating God’s work with academic politics which makes us the worst reprobate imaginable.


The petulant reaction is revealing. From inside, it seems, the statement was about corporate image and not about admitting (organizational) sin and foregrounding God’s forgiveness. It’s about a story (for the press), not the Story (of the Gospel).

It proves my theory on the rhetoric of the Romantic Separatist. For BJU, this was a new ball gown — more stylish and more up-to-date. The attention, they hope, will attract more people to their message. It’s all about the new designer dress, right? It’s about haute coutre!

But their sisters and brothers (in Christ) at the ball don’t see it as a new dress. They see it as an entirely new posture, with the sectarian Romantic walking into a room that she’d never dared enter before. And we are thrilled! We are running up to welcome her. We don’t even care what she’s wearing!

Because our beauty as Christians is not in our carefully-crafted words or in our snazzy new gown. It’s in Christ. His love makes us beautiful. Even when we’re klutzy, stumbling, and goofy. Or maybe especially when we are!

And I will continue to say, as I have for years as an insider and now an outsider, that Bob Jones University needs to realize that its appeal will not reside in its words or deeds, but in how Christ redeems those actions. Foregrounding that Redemption makes us less timid and inactive and more bold and fearless. We can act, fully confident in our standing as God’s own.

After having six pregnancies in my life and only two babies I’ve ever heard cry, positive pregnancy tests produce a great deal of anxiety for me. I look at that test and think, “Oh no!! Is this one going to take? Or is there sadness ahead? Is it safe to be happy? Or am I going to be made a fool?”

I learned awhile back that it doesn’t matter what’s ahead. This is now, and this is happy. It all starts with a positive test. It’s just a start, but it has to start. God will take care of the future. In admitting my own finite humanity, I can give Him the future.

This BJU statement is like that positive pregnancy test — pregnant with possibilities for God to work, a beginning for something we can’t yet fathom. It’s an EbenezerGod has helped us thus far. Repentance is just the first chapter of the Gospel story.

Yes, a cynic hears a baby cry and hears a rebuke or a punishment. But a believer hears God’s blessing. And we must believe.

10 thoughts on “A Time to Rejoice

  1. Which is not to say “we did it” but rather the timing on the Univ’s part was deliberate and correlative to the alumni effort. But God did it! He has done this!!

  2. My best guess is they’ve been working on a statement for sometime now. The administration monitors the internet to see what people are saying…and writing.

    It makes sense to me that they did this and that some BJU insiders are saying :the petition: had nothing to do with it. The administration has a lot to lose if the alumni were to ban together, go on LKL and make BJ3 out to have lied in the 2000 show.

    The 21st century poses a new time for religious and political leaders. When one denies something, someone else will dig up a clip of the denier saying what they said they didn’t say. It’s kind of funny – now the BJU administration is going to be held to the same accountability structure they hold their students to. Things that make you go mmmm.

  3. I am appalled that the University has nothing better to do than “monitors the internet to see what people are saying…and writing. What? Taking on CIA tactics with their graduates is somehow “spiritual”. We are not the biggest problem BJU has if the University is so lacking in assurances of where they stand and what others are saying about them that they google graduates and snoop into their private lives seeking to disrupt their targets life. The problem, if they are really doing this, is with themselves. How can they justify this as in anyway loving?

  4. This BJU statement is like that positive pregnancy test

    LOL! I will have to use that somehow, but just don’t know when and how :0).

    Great post.

  5. Pensacola Christian College pays people to monitor the Students Review site and write positive “reviews” of their school. Paranoia is part of the fundamentalist mindset.

  6. PS – On the web site named above, someone actually confesses to having been one of the paid “reviewers.”

  7. Monitoring what people say publicly about your organization is not snooping, and the people who put the petition forward never tried to hide what they were doing. They fully expected the university to find out about it before they formally approached the university, and I think it was a sign of responsibility and a favor to the people who presented the petition that the university kept itself informed and responded so promptly. By the way, I agree wholeheartedly with what was said about cynicism.

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