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Robert Reynolds Jones, Jr., Final Sunday Sermon, 29 June 1997

With Psalm 90 and Proverbs 27:20 as his text, “Dr. Bob,” Jr. delivers his final Sunday sermon before his death on November 12th. It’s quite long and . . . well, pretty odd.

Jim Berg begins the service with the Scripture reading.



Thanks to Harry McCall for the audio recording!

18 thoughts on “Robert Reynolds Jones, Jr., Final Sunday Sermon, 29 June 1997

  1. Some of us do not enjoy the idea of listening to 41 minutes of this, but we’d still like to know what’s so odd about it. Anyone care to volunteer the info?

    1. Well, give me some time. But on the face of it, I think it’s oddly autobiographical. It’s very sad. Very, very sad. He knew he was dying at this point. He knew this was it. And this was his swan song. And it couldn’t be more devoid of anything resembling hope. It’s just not there. At all.

      It’s really sad. I get that people in their twilight years feel lousy. I do. I get that death isn’t fun. . . . But for a Sunday-morning statement? This is bleak.

  2. Thanks for posting the sermon. I’d have to dig through a massive mound of personal effects to find it, but I remember taking notes on Jr.’s final chapel sermon during that Fall semester. I was in Junior High at the time and I think I remember it revolving around the story of Joseph. That doesn’t detract from what is a fascinating look into Jr.’s thought processes at the end of his life, but I’m not sure if this was his last public sermon.

  3. Oh he definitely preached later that fall before he died. At least I remember him speaking from the platform at the beginning of the semester before he went into the hospital.

  4. Kay, you all. . . . Joseph was the topic/Text, and it was on September 7, 1997 — the day after Princess Di’s funeral another alum remembers. . . . So we’ll find it. 😀

  5. Here’s the problem with sermons by Bob Jones, Jr. Go to the University’s “Sermonaudio.com” and try to locate any sermon by Junior in the last decade of his life. Other than the “75th Anniversary” talk (which was privately recorded), there are no sermons available out of the seventeen listed at this website. The ones I’ve check on this website by Junior are from the 1970’s. The question remains: Why is this so? For a man who was a major leader of BJU with a seminary named after him, who was “Beloved by students”; why just seventeen sermons listed after decades of chapel preaching? Do I detect an image control for the School here? Tell you what, if anyone can locate a sermon by Junior preached in the last five to ten years of his life which is available to the public, let me / us know.

  6. In light of what I said above, plus how Camille has this sermon listed (as being his last); technically, (unless someone can produce a copy of a later sermon by Jr.) then this one WILL stands as his final sermon available to the general public. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!”

  7. Just listened to it. What a sad personal commentary on a man’s ingratitude for God’s blessings of family, faith, friends, admirers, and his beloved BJU. Where are any words of thanks to God? Where is there any thanks for the gift of faith? Or had the man basically ‘lost’ the substance of faith, with only left , the deadly dregs of a ‘religious skeleton’ of infernal dead religious fundamentals. The saddest most depressing sermon I have ever heard. Really reminds me of how much we all need so much, the mercy and grace of God in our lives. And, to never ever take these precious spiritual gifts for granted.

  8. i remember the awkward chapels where bob III would play jr’s old messages, and we would have to stare at this picture of jr for 4o odd minutes. very very strange. i remember when he was alive (going down every year for Fall Festival) and he would preach in rodehaver and yell at people that were falling asleep. strange strange person.

  9. BJU / Bob, Jr. loved to do Shakespeare’s play, but I never recall them EVER doing “Romeo and Juliette”.

    I remember listening opera on WUMM one night. The announcer set up the Italian play by telling the listeners the pot. Without hesitation, he said the opera was about a married woman who had become pregnant by her lover and that the husband was out to kill his wife’s lover!!! (Un-checkable music . . . Demerits Please)

    Forget the trashy operas played on WMUU in Italian; I want to know how evil rock music is? LOL

  10. I have been thinking of this so many times, since first listening to this dreadful sermon. For us to consider choosing to take the exact opposite position’, of BJ II’s oh so sad, negative ‘swan song’ sermon position,of extreme negaivity. The negativity is so bad, so strong, that the sermon is like a religious black hole, devoid of anything that I could ever possibly call Christian! Then again, what’s christian about fundamentalism? The only ‘christian’ reality, seem to be the wonderful people who love God, but who gullibly, blindly follow Him ‘through bad leaders’ , as ‘unwitting prisoners in mental, emotional bondage of slavery, to highly controlling SYSTEM’, one that is so negative I don’t even like thinking about it. I don’t believe I have ever before heard a sermon begun on the theme of ‘destruction.’ I like to think of the exact opposite, of destruction, by looking to Genesis and the wonderful creation Story. If BJ II’s separatist brand of fundemantalism really was the truth and the superior form of belief and spirituality that he and his ‘firm’ who all had ‘that same spirit’ ( which was NOT the Holy Spirit ) , then why doesnt he praise what he’s been following all his life as having been the fulfillment of his dreams and spiritual needs so fulfilled by God? He isn’t praising it at all, is he? So what he ‘doesn’t’ do and what he ‘doesn’t’ say, says something.The words behind the lines that he cannot come right out and say. “IT DIDN”T WORK! I WENT THIS WAY ALL MY LIFE AND THIS WAY IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY AT ALL! Maybe he can’t admit that the way he ‘went and called others to go’, was ‘not the right way at all! And he’s trying to say this without coming right out about it!Why didn’t BJ II’s life mean anything to him anymore? Respecting the man’s personal suffering and normal depression about it, nobody could possibly ‘feel good’ about dying of Cancer! But why was there no sense of faith and hope in his life, nor any peesonal satisfaction, from all of the hard work and dedication to the BJU vatican / bastion of fundamentalism? If fundamentalism was the right way for him to have gone,all his life, and for all those he led (or misled) to go by ‘following him’,( follow meeee, and you’ll be freeee!) why then do we hear no praises and accolades for ‘the right way to go is fundamentalism?’ Or the ‘wev’e got it all’ and ‘without ‘our perfect way’ the rest of you will ‘fall’? Where is the praise for the system he followed all his life, believing it was ‘the truth that all non fundies had compromised on? Where are the accolades for all the accomplishments the fundamentalism system was supposed to have produced? He made fun of a Pope’s passing in a sarcastic remark in a negative magazine. So the man had no respect for the passing of a soul. Did he have any respect for himself at that sad point in his life? Remember how he abused Ted Mercer! Did some of his mean, merciless, negative and uncharitable judgements, come back to haunt him, in his final days? Were any of his sins even forgiven? IF he never repented of any of thm, and didn’t think he ‘had any’ sins to repent of? Or were his sins just hidden from the man’sslef-knowledge, by a seared, non-functioning conscience? “God is not mocked. As a man soweth so shall he also reap.” “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.” “The Kingdom of God is neitger meat nor drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.’

  11. when was his last good sermon? I remember a chapel sermon from the mid to late 80’s where he preached from the book of Esther. Not just a text but the entire book. It was his most brilliant moment I witnessed. No notes, no reading that could be seen everything including scripture quotations extemporaneously. Haven’t been able to find a record of it on sermonaudio.
    anyone else recall this one?

  12. I listened to most of this.

    I was a student 1971-72. I hadn’t listened to anything from BJU since then. I was astonished at how much of this was a repetition of his sermons in chapel or Sunday morning “church” in 71-72. Even certain phrases sound the same.

    Very triggering. I can remember how my heart would sink when he stood up on the platform in Rodeheaver.

    No surprise at all in this final sermon. Maybe it demonstrates the outcome of a certain level of family and personal dysfunction.

  13. I met a professor from Northwest Baptist Seminary who later died of cancer. While teaching during the final stages of cancer, he would stop his lecture smile and say to his class, “men, isn’t God good….”
    I did not listen to BJ Jr’s message but from the comments he made during his life (calling First Lady Betty Ford a slut, etc…..) I suspect that something vital was missing from his Christian life.

  14. We live in a pig sty of a world. Dr Bob called it the way it is – like an Old Testament prophet. This was a positive sermon if ever I’ve heard one, despite what you read above. As he said (as the cancer took him down), “Thank God in Christ is life, and his kingdom is forever”.

  15. so sad, so sad, soooo sad is he that liveth and breatheth and dwelleth and taketh delight in destruction, and delighteth speaking of death and destruction, and calling judgment UPUN others!!! Miserable!

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