124 thoughts on “BJU Bible Conference”

  1. I know of Dr. Anderson. He pastored a church I visited once or twice. I was distracted by the other teens passing along Guns & Roses paraphernalia back and forth in the back row pews, amongst many giggles and exclamations of surprise,, mock horror, and one or two “good kids” being slightly offended….

  2. So Dr. Whitfield has retired. Seem to recall that his son Dan was my classmate at BJU.

    Gone are the great days when Ian Paisley took a break from whatever he was doing in Ireland (another story) to preach to BJU. He was a thunderous preacher who could extrapolate whatever he wanted to find from a minor prophet.

    These guys look second string.

    1. “These guys look second string.”

      My thought exactly. The old school “pillars” are no more. Except for Sam Horn and Les Ollila I know nothing of these guys. Oh wait, Shelton had a radio program on WMUU…

      Ollila and Rob Bell worked together in Greenville back in the early 60’s at Mt. Calvary I believe. So, maybe Ollila can be considered a so-called pillar even though the last time I pulled something up on him he sounded defeated and appeared worn out.

    2. Always gives me an odd turn to see Ian Paisley mentioned. My family vaguely knows his brother Harold, who is also a preacher, but is significantly less… extreme, shall we say?

  3. Funny. I have pretty close ties with all four in the top row. And I have high respect for three of the four: Dr Anderson is my dad’s boss at Baptist Mis-Missions. And both Dr Horn and Dr Ollila were at NBBC while I was a student. (Dr Horn gave me an A+ on a paper and told me I should make a career of theological writing!) Mike Harding, not so much. He is the pastor of the church my husband grew up in, and when my husband and I started dating (in a different state from his church) Mike Harding called us into a meeting in his office, while we were visiting my husband’s family, to preach at us about how terrible it was that we were going to a non-fundamentalist church. What really bothered me was when he said he knew my parents, whom he had never met and knew nothing about, were disappointed in me. Um, no. My dad (yes, who works at the Baptist Mid-Missions home office) is not really much of a Fundie and he’s the one who recommended the non-fundamentalist church to us.

    1. I echo high respect for Gary Anderson. We started with BMM in 1995 (maybe we know your dad), then went ABWE in 2003 and are now very happy with Pioneers. We still love both of our former agencies. Dr. Anderson is top notch and way more reasonable than the fundies highlighted here.

  4. Hmmm…I’m not familiar with any of these guys (blessing or curse?)

    At my former Fundy college, BJU was jokingly referred to by one of my teachers as “Egypt.” Superiority complex on his part, perhaps? 😀

    1. Yep, mere sheeple cannot know the will of God until the Called™ M-O-g tells them what God’s will is for them. Stupid sheeple can’t think for themselves, they must have a M-O-g to show them the way… That’s the Independent Fundamental Baptist way!

      1. Don,
        Have you ever noticed in Fundyland the regularly attending sheeple are feed a steady impossible dose of MOG-initiated standards and are expected to obey them? Yet each year for VBS the Fundy church will announce that 100% of children were “led to the Lord” and even though they will never be heard from again…it’s somehow acceptable for those new “Babes In Christ” to NOT adhere to the standards.

        1. At least not until the Archons are brought completely into the fold and given their place in Landru, then the will of the pulpit replaces their will for the good of the body. 😉

  5. I went to Bethel Theological Seminary and lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for nine years and never heard of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth is a western suburb). Decided to check out their web page and their statement on Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism and was shocked at their criticism and rejection of KJV onlyism and what they term as “hyper-fundamentalism”. They still sound quite separatist, but by fundy standard they must be flaming libs.

    1. Looking even more at Central’s website they actually have credible full-time faculty with PhD’s from places like Dallas Theological Seminary and degrees from other nationally accredited seminaries like Denver and Trinity. I understand Sam Horn’s connection to this conference because his bio says he’s a BJU alum, but he has to be borderline heretical from a fundy perspective to be president of seminary like this.

      1. When he was Vice President of Northland Baptist Bible College, Dr Horn is the one that decided it was time for the girls to be allowed to wear pants, seeing as it was 30 degrees below zero and all!

  6. I know that when I was in school at BJU all the students voiced with much enthusiasm how much better Bible Conference was than a heathen worldly Spring Break!!

    1. I worked at the Information Desk. Because of the big influx of visitors to campus, I always had to work a lot of extra hours during bible conference.

        1. Amen. Grass sitting was great. Seriously.

          And all the prospective students on campus could get the impression that grass-sitting was a way of life there. If only.

        2. My parents attended BJU in the 70’s, and my mom still has a picture of the two of them sitting on the grass during Bible conference.

        3. @Bibb: Did you live in Graves dorm? I lived there for (as I recall) my first 3 years. 1975, room 105.

        4. I refused to sit on the grass just because of the absurdity of thinking it was something special. On the occasion of the recent rule relaxation on facial hair, EVERYBODY who could (I think only grad students and faculty were allowed) was rockin the hippie-whiskers. I just can’t follow a crowd like that.

        1. @Bald Jones Grad-Yes I did. I was in Graves my freshman year then i Smith every year after. Just thankful I never got stuck in Johnson or Brokenshire.

        2. Can you tell me the name of the former fundy CEO? I may have stories on him…

          I worked the Desk from 1977-1980.

        3. BRO,
          What was his name?

          (I tried to post this earlier and it didn’t show up. May be operator error on my part. It’s Monday.)

        4. BJg,

          This puts me in a tough spot.

          I know you know him, so publicly displaying his name may not be in everyone’s best interest!

          What to do…what to do…

          ***pondering***

        5. I used to be a detective.

          He was a nerd even back then. Unlike me, he was never one to skirt the rules. We were NOT close.

    2. Well, you must have hung out with dudes from Bryan or Omicron or somesuch. Because you sure wouldn’t have heard any Chi Delt saying foolish stuff like that!

    1. My dad has worked at the home office of Baptist Mid for 25 years, and I have to say, they are not really all that Fundamentalist (Dr Anderson’s home church has contemporary music!). But they try not to rock the boat because many of their missionaries are supported by uber-Fundie churches, and the home office staff feels it would be irresponsible for them to do something that caused one of their missionaries to lose their support and have to leave the field.

      1. We felt that BMM was stuck in the 80s and couldn’t move forward exactly for fear of “offending” fundy supporting churches.

        A guy in our candidate class had to shave his beard he’d had for a loooong time to join the mission. We were told that we needed to avoid the possibility that some little old lady in a church would be offended. I pushed the limits on the field adding chin hair to my permitted mustache reasoning that it wasn’t really a “beard” because it wasn’t full. I got called on it by another missionary–not because he thought beards were sinful but because I wasn’t following the rules. Wrote a letter to our administrator questioning how long we needed to be worried about offending someone based on something demonstrably not unbiblical and that was only prrohibited because it was countercultural BEFORE I WAS EVEN BORN. Don’t know if my missive had any influence, but policy was changed soon thereafter.

  7. Chuckling as I read the titles of this year’s Blessers, I recall being a non-Baptist at BJU and how offended everyone got when I once referred to BJU as a Baptist school.

    “We’re non-denominational!” they cry indignantly. “And multi-cultural, too. Look at all them Koreans.”

    1. Nope, Triplesticks gives Second Sermon after every “service” during bible conference. Stephen plays hooky– oh, wait, he resigned, so I suppose it’s okay that he’s gone. So somebody named Jones still gets a say.

      1. Ohhhh, those atrocious “second sermons.” Usually, they were done under the guise of “prayer.”

        “Now, Lord, you know that it’s just not right for these young people to do whatever they are doing that I don’t like. Lord, you need to convict them. I pray that you will give them no rest until they stop doing whatever they are doing that just gets under my skin, Lord.”

        Bleah. He would go on and on and on like that, in that pugnacioius way of his, like he was talking down to a subordinate, rather than speaking as a supplicant to the Lord and Creator of the Universe.

        Nobody with a lick of sense would ever let that man within a country mile of a live microphone.

        By the way, it’s “Triplestyx.” “Styx” is the key.

        From Wikipedia:
        The Styx (/stɪks/; Ancient Greek: Στύξ [stýkʰs], “Hate, Detest”) is a river in Greek mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld (often called Hades which is also the name of this domain’s ruler). The rivers Styx, Phlegethon, Acheron, and Cocytus all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh, which is also sometimes called the Styx.

        “Hate and detest” is what does it for me. Every time I ever heard him speak, those two words were the apt description for his tirades. My parents thought I was too hard on him until they went to a “Friendship Banquet.” The wait staff came in to clear the tables when everyone was done eating. Normal, right? Well, not to His Bobness. He wanted to talk Right Now, you see, and those minions had absolutely NO RIGHT to clear tables when He wanted to speak. He went off on a rant at them, right in front of everybody, over the sound system that was provided by the people he was haranguing.

        What a jerk. And, as we have all seen in his outright lies on Larry King, and his callous behavior toward victims of abuse, he is a total psychopath as well.

  8. I find it interesting that Mike Harding preached against the Southern Baptist Convention until his son decided to attend Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Then it was all suddenly okay. Last Christmas I heard him preach (his church is my in-laws’ home church), and he was holding up Al Mohler as someone he admired.

    1. Harding certainly is a BJU/FBF fundy of the fundies, although he has learned to seem a little edgy in those circles without actually damaging any sacred cows. Master of tightrope walking.

      I am very familiar with Harding due to some extended family connections and he has appeared to change a lot. These guys have learned to distance themselves from the crazy uncles of the Hamblin/Sword variety, you have to spend a lot more time listening to them and asking specific questions to unearth their continued commitment to unbiblical and unloving divisiveness in the body of Christ over secondary and peripheral issues, its still there, just covered with a layer of pedantic wordsmithing and seminarian bullshit.

      1. Very good description of where Harding seems to be standing. My husband grew up in his church and says that although Harding has made some changes to his list of rules and separations, the same arrogance of telling everyone in his congregation how to live is still there. A James, my mother-in-law texted my husband to say he should get coffee with Harding while he was in town. Nope! That will not be happening! No desire to hear him badmouth our current church again! When we visit my in-laws, we try to plan it so we have to travel home on Sunday, so there isn’t a chance of having to go to church with them. Once when we were there, we were preached at from the pulpit (something about leaving the godly ways in which you were raised, etc.)

      2. Something Harding is well-known for…Preaching about specific people/situations – both inside and outside his church. I have witnessed one of these sessions first hand and heard about many more from eyewitnesses. The one I saw was years ago, but I have heard of recent examples.

        Nothing has changed except the drapes.

  9. I’d guess 0.5 as the over/under. It’s Bob Jones where that kind of thing is more “just understood”, and not addressed from the pulpit, I would think. I can’t recall anyone at PCC ever addressing pants on women from the pulpit. But I could be way wrong.

  10. Dallas Theological Seminary liberal?
    Everything is relative, I guess. In Dallas, the community as a whole sees DTS as uber-Fundy (I used to work just up the street from the DTS campus). It is widely seen as one of the more intellectually respectable Fundamentalist institutions, though.

    1. I know DTS is by no means liberal in the larger scope of things, but the school is by no means KJV only and when you look at the credentials of the faculty there, they clearly haven’t maintained the IFB separatist line. For instance, Dr. Douglas Blount, a theology professor completed his PhD at Notre Dame–a CATHOLIC university. I would have to believe that would make DTS a compromiser from the IFB perspective. And when you consider that some of the alum are people like Chuck Swindoll, Andy Stanley and John Townsend, more typical conservative evangelicals, they clearly don’t fit the mold of being the product of a fundamentalist institution.

  11. Interesting information. I also have heard rumors that one or more of the Bible Conference Speakers might be ‘in the running’ for Prez. Guess we’ll have to wait to find out.

  12. Funny thing around our neck of the woods is that while all the public schools in the county have spring break on a certain week, the christian school that is run by a church that has strong connections to BJ (the pastor is on the board) always has spring break the week of the BJU Bible Conference.

        1. I think it’s better for Held to answer this one. My answers are dated, since I have stayed as far away from the Hallowed Halls as possible since graduation. Things are probably different now, but twenty years ago, it was based on their hair styles, makeup styles, and the fact that Jaw Bones girls generally looked uncomfortable in jeans…like they thought God (who obviously is nothing more than the Giant Whack-a-Mole Player in the Sky) was just about to bop them one.

          I sure hope it’s different now.

          But anyway, A James, I think I might have a terminal case of Grinning over here, and it’s all your fault.

      1. By the way, Held, I worked off-campus for three years, and I know you are right about the limited impact Jaw Bones has in the Greenville community. My colleagues either never heard of the place, or they had extremely negative interactions with it.

        Yep. When people ask where I went to college, I say, “South Carolina.” In the next year or so, I hope to earn a second bachelor’s degree so I can expunge BJU entirely from my CV.

      2. Even at my church (which was home to Bob Jones Jr back in the day, but is now on the “off limits” list for students), I’d say only about a third of the 3000 member congregation knows anything about BJU, other than vague rumors.

  13. So tired of Bob Shelton. His whole eschatology (one wonders if he remembers there are any other doctrines) seems to hinge on the dating work of some British scholar. I didn’t think his arguments held up when I was firmly pre-trib pre-mil.

      1. I always thought their preaching was sleepy. At the risk of repeating myself — They would read the Bible text du jour, and then you could hear Bibles closing all over the Auditorium, because we all knew we wouldn’t be using our Bibles for the duration. There were exceptions to this rule, but they were rare and refreshing. Bible Conference was, in my mind, one of the biggest misnomers in history, since there was precious little Bible to be found there. But the music was awesome!

  14. DTS, Dallas Theological Seminary is, of course, in Dallas, Texas and is not Southern Baptist, although a number of Southern Baptists have graduated there.

    SWBTS, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is in Fort Worth, TX and is a SBC seminary. Their president is Dr. Paige Patterson, a leader in the SBC Conservative Resurgence.

    A number of BJU graduates serve in the SBC today.
    David R. Brumbelow

      1. I just shook my head in amazement. That guy was a freshman the year after I graduated.

        I think he meant well, and so I tried to take it that way, even though it didn’t sit well with me at first, especially in light of some of the other gunk he had posted.

        I wonder how often I come off EXACTLY the same way in what I type.

        “O wad some Power the giftie gie us
        To see oursels as ithers see us!
        It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
        An’ foolish notion:
        What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
        An’ ev’n devotion!”

    1. I didn’t read it that way at all. How would he know if you were on an Android? I figured he was breaking up his comments because HE was on an Android. My comments would probably be shorter if I weren’t on a large Screen and a respectable Keyboard. When I have to type on a phone, my Messages get VERY short.

      My other groan was related to Accountant jokes. Boy howdy, is it easy to make accountant jokes! And if that isn’t bad enough, I was an Auditor for ten or Eleven years, too. Introverted Nerd City! That’s the stereotype, anyway. Pocket protectors, masking tape on the coke bottle glasses, highwater Pants hiked up to here, greasy hair parted on the side (when it is combed at all), green eyeshades, no social life whatsoever…

      Yep. We could go on all day. And I have met those stereotypes. Some of them are far worse than you could ever imagine. If you ever want to hear them, I’ll try to warn you, but some of them are too ridiculously funny to keep to myself.

      You might not want to hear them around mealtime, though.

  15. I documented sermons from Bible Conference for two years running and never heard one sermon that had anything to do with the text of the Bible. To be fair, at least half of the sermons were incoherent. The ones that were coherent used people from the Bible as role models to tell the listeners how they should imitate these people. Needless to say, the egregious sins of several of the main players were ignored, just as fundy ministers do today with their own colleagues.

  16. Accidentally posted this elsewhere, but…

    What’s the deal with Les Ollila? I heard him speak at Christian school teachers’ convention in the early 90’s and I thought he was enjoyable. But I was drinking the kool-aid pretty heavily at the time. (I was aware of the bitter taste, but it took a while longer to figure out I could quit any time I wanted.)

    1. He has tried to do some rehab on his fundy image post NIU with none other than good old Chuck Phelps at a conference hosted at Phelps’ church. Basically involved saying it was hard to leave Northland, he didn’t actually know what was going on, and that the internet was evil because it let people attack him (where he also sympathized with Phelps…) or something like that. Haven’t heard exactly what he will be doing, he’s probably not going to do anything full time at his age. I always liked listening to Les, he was certainly more gracious than most fundamentalists in the pulpit at least and could be very funny.

      Matt Olson is a pastor at a Community Church in Colorado, he has certainly left the BJU/Northland “camp” but honestly it looks like a positive move on his part. I know another fundy outcast pastor who is in that area and has worked with that church – it would be right in the center of what Northland’s desired new constituency group would be. Seems like Les and Matt went in somewhat different directions after their exit from NIU.

  17. I happened upon this blog while doing a search for BJU Bible Conference. I read on your “About” page that this is a site for people to recover. I don’t want to sound bad or hurtful to anyone but I don’t see words of healing. I see a lot of slander and bitterness. I even see profanity on the site. We, myself included, are guilty of harboring bitterness in our hearts. If we are children of God we should not get caught up in slander and putting everything brewing in our hearts on blogs to insight more anger…bitterness….slandering…. We need to pray for one another and if we have an issue with someone we need to go to that person and make it right and leave it with the Lord to handle. Not should we harbor any ill feelings but pray for the whole body of Christ. Without doing so we show ourselves worse than the unbelieving or worse yet perhaps ourselves as unbelievers. If I have angered anyone…please be the first to cast a stone.

        1. You threw the first stone.

          I’m not angry. Just saying that just because you don’t find words of healing, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I don’t believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but that doesn’t meant that there isn’t one.

          What makes you think we aren’t praying for those who have deeply wounded us? Some aren’t, I’m sure, but maybe they are too deeply hurt to do that. Accusing all of us of not praying is casting a stone, is it not?

          Your initial comment sounds exactly like what comes from the fundies. Your second comment further solidifies my thought that you are, indeed, a fundy.

          If you truly are seeking healing but don’t find it here, go somewhere else. But don’t come here and say we’re doing it wrong. No one’s forcing you here.

          BTW, I tried reconciling with fundies. They weren’t interested.

    1. Not angry. Just tired of the same old drivel.

      It isn’t slander if it is true.

      Bitter schmitter. Learn a new argument. “Bitter” is nothing more than an attempt to silence someone with whom you disagree. As a card, it is dog-eared and battered to the point where all the other players in the game know when it is the only card in your hand. As such, it has completely lost its effectiveness.

      Nowhere in my life did I encounter more bitterness than from the pulpit at BJU. No place has been profaned more than that pulpit.

      You don’t see.

      You could have stopped right there. Because people like you really DON’T see. Because there is none so blind as he who WILL NOT see.

      Stuff Fundies Like: playing the Bitter card because they have no other cards to play.

      The people on this site have tried, many times, many ways, to go to the people with whom we had problems. For our troubles, we have been sneered at, threatened, shunned…

      And Matthew 18 is for individuals within a church. Not for organizations that do not come under the authority of any church.

      Nice use of personal opinion as fact at the end, there. You know what they say about someone who assumes…

      Come back if you ever wake up, and see if things don’t take on a whole new tone here, in your estimation. Because there is LOTS of stuff at BJU about which a true follower of Jesus Christ is naturally VERY angry; justly angry. And that is why so many of us, once we discovered the Jesus of the Bible, found our paths diverging quite sharply from BJU and similar places. And THAT is why the place is shriveled to a fraction of its former size: because so many graduates can see ICHABOD in letters of fire over the place.

      1. Mark and semp…see the comment I made was proven exactly as I thought it would. You know nothing about me and what has happened in my life. I could put all my problems on the internet or blog and have a huge following and insight people to join me in healing. But I kept it to a small group of people I could trust and went forward. But because this is the internet…it turns into name calling and false accusations. Totally against the Word of God. We find answers only in the Word of God how to handle problems … Especially people problems. Doing it our own way is just that…our own way. Putting God aside and His Word.

        1. Susan,

          You came in here, spreading bovine fecal matter with your rotary cooling device. You may as well have been an Indy Fundy robot, churning out the same tired old piffle that people with superiority complexes have been churning out for lo these many years.

          We have seen dozens like you. We used to BE you. We understand you inside and out, backwards, forwards, and upside down. I strongly doubt you can come up with a thought that we haven’t chewed on until it became paste in our mouths. Like you, we used to think we had the right to jump into someone’s conversation and berate them for their tone, think that we were doing God a favor by doing so, and call it “persecution” if we got smacked in the snoot for our rudeness.

          You think you are sharing some great wisdom when you talk about our words, and how we come across. That’s quite ironic, because we have spent a great deal of time talking about that very thing amongst ourselves. Meanwhile, you lobbed a hand grenade in our laps, and when we responded accordingly, you had the unmitigated gall to be surprised and offended (we were casting stones at poor little ol’ you).

          Bah and Humbug.

          If you want to join the conversation with a civil tongue in your head, you are welcome. You might actually learn from us, and we might actually learn from you. But you came barging in, condemning us as if you had a right or reason to do so, and I’m not putting up with that garbage from ANYONE. Especially when it is couched in the same old unthinking terms that we have heard before.

          I frequently tell my kids to “enter a room with your eyes, ears, and mind OPEN, and with your mouth SHUT (and, online, with your typing fingers in your POCKETS). Learn what is going on first. Spend time listening and learning FIRST. That way, when you decide to talk, you can speak intelligently, at the appropriate time, rather than being rude and making a fool of yourself.”

    2. I admitted I have harbored bitterness myself. If anyone says they haven’t they would be lying. But blogs like these tend to make fun of people…give wrong biased information at times….and stir up a lot of emotional problems rather than solving problems. The reason I said cast the first stone is because I know there are people in cyber land that can never be pleased or even understanding. That was the first two responses. I knew if I said that it would happen. Not someone saying….”you know you might be right. Let’s think about how we word things and how we come across.” But the first responses were exactly what I thought would happen. If a person is disgruntled they can’t come across in a right spirit. They have to make an accusation which they themselves condemn others for doing. But I don’t plan to stay on here. Not into blogging. But people all need to see that even if they are treated wrong they need to do right. Or nothing gets accomplished for the Lord. After all…He is all that matters.

      1. So THAT’s what I said to you, way back when! “Is that really you?”

        I had forgotten.

        Well, I’m very glad to have learned who you are over the weeks. I’m sure I’ve gone WAAAAAY over the top sometimes, unjustly slapping someone in the face with a cold, dead mackerel. In fact, I am 100% certain that I am more likely to do that than you are.

        Live and learn. I sure hope that’s what I’m doing.

      2. Hmm, Susan wrote this critique to describe this blog: ” tend to make fun of people…give wrong biased information at times….and stir up a lot of emotional problems rather than solving problems. ”

        But I would point out that the same description applies to Fundamentalist sermons and practices.

  18. “It is because they have no Oyarsa,’ said one of the pupils.

    “‘It is because everyone of them wants to be a little Oyarsa himself,’ said Augray.”

    ― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

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