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Bob Jones University and Race

DISCLAIMER

  1. This page contains a substantial amount of material which is archival in nature. This means that items stated as "fact" at a given date may not be accurate now. Please read with your eyes and mind wide open.
  2. I believe that when the Bible states in Colossians 3:5-11 that "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all,"  this is accurately understood to mean that racism is un-Christian and un-Godly.
  3. I believe that when the Bible states in Acts 17 that God  "...made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth," this refers directly to the fact that all humans share a common ancestor; therefore separation based on any genetic means whatsoever is not Biblical.
  4. I believe that--based solely on a Biblical basis--Bob Jones University should never have had a rule prohibiting inter-racial dating, but rather should have taken the correct stance and permitted same.
  5. I do not believe that Bob Jones University was being intentionally racist against any particular group, nor that the school endorses any sort of racism.
  6. On March 4, 2000, Dr. Bob Jones III of Bob Jones University removed the inter-racial dating prohibitions of Bob Jones University. He stated plainly that the rule "did not matter" any more and did not achieve any substantial purpose.
  7. I do not endorse racial separation by any means, in any way, or by any name.
  8. Racism under any umbrella or by any name is counter to the cause of Jesus Christ, and will only cause harm to Christianity.
  9. As of this writing, I no longer attempt to defend BJU's previous rules on inter-racial dating. It has been remedied as much as can be expected.

The material you are about to read has not been substantially altered since March 4, 2000.

Please keep this in mind as you read.

If you want my opinion now, email bjuqa @ troyandjessica.com.

 

Inter-racial Relationships, BJU... and the Bible

 

March 4, 2000: Important Update: BJU has DROPPED their inter-racial dating policy

Live on national television, Dr. Bob Jones III explains the decision to remove the inter-racial prohibition from the BJU student handbook, thus ending the controversy... that is, until those minority of fundamentalists who still believe that God intends for the races to be separated begin to blast Bob Jones University as "going liberal" or "giving in." (Yes, this will happen.)

My opinion: Bravo, BJU! Thank you for making the change.

A Letter to BJU: March 4, 2000

Dear Dr. Bob, friends, alumni & University family:

I just finished reading the transcript of the Larry King Live interview. My wife and I would like to thank BJU for the change of the inter-racial dating policy. Dr. Bob's presentation of this on a public, live forum was an EXCELLENT decision, and one that should stem the word-smithing and editing that often twists conservative voices in our less-than-conservative media.

I have faced the inter-racial dating policy frequently since attempting a defense of it on my personal web site. I have received many vitriolic emails about BJU--many of which were ill founded rants. However, several messages expressed concern that this rule did more harm than good for the cause of Christ. I had difficulty answering those, and after much prayer and Bible study concluded that the rule was indeed not the best.

Now, I am quite certain that detractors will question BJU--even some who previously supported the university. But those who will separate from BJU on this decision have insufficient Biblical grounds to do so.

This is indeed for the greater good of the cause of Christ. I do not believe that this indicates weakness, but rather a clarification of the stance which the University strives to uphold.

Thank you, Dr. Bob and University family, for making this difficult decision. I believe that the end result will be a greater blessing and ministry for God.

Our prayers are with you!

- Mr. and Mrs. Troy and Jessica Thompson
(Alumni, classes of 1993 and 1996)

 

March 3, 2000: The Way It Looks from Here

I am amazed at the number of e-mails and comments I get regarding the "racist" views of Bob Jones University. This topic deserves careful treatment, for its roots are much more than opinion: it deals with the legal system, basic morality, treatment of fellow mankind, and years of racial issues that have troubled our nation for years and mankind for millennia.

Please read this first!

I have received a number of emails recently due to Bob Jones University appearing prominently in the press coverage of the Republican primary. Note the school's response at their website: http://www.bju.edu; then come back here!

I have been praised, corrected, lambasted, compared to Hitler, accused of lying, and asked for interviews... basically swamped for my opinion from all sides, pro and con.

So, I'll give my opinions first--since some readers of this site seem to have missed it in my ramblings that follow. And, I need to reconsider that my audience is no longer mainly Christians looking for an inside view of BJU before visting campus.

What you're about to read was written March 3, 2000--about a year after the remaining content. Hopefully, it's a year wiser.

Please note that I use the term "Christian" to include all denominations and faiths that...

  • Believe the Bible is a book inspired by God

  • Believe that salvation of the human soul is through faith in Jesus Christ, God incarnate, Who died to pay in full our sin debt--not through adherence to a set of changeable human rules, and

  • Believe that the rules of faith and practice as revealed in a sensible, literal interpretation of the Bible in its historical and social contexts are valid for us today.

So yes, Catholic brothers and sisters, if you believe the above--you're Christian. Even BJU would agree on that one, regardless of denominational labels.

How do I defend BJU's rule prohibiting inter-racial dating?

After much time and study: I can't. I used to try... and it just didn't figure right.

And it's not my job.

It really pains me to take a stance that is counter that of a school I so highly respect and agree with on other issues, and it's not a conclusion I have reached lightly. And, per BJU's own letter, they say there are many Christians that differ with them on this issue.

I'm now one of them--and I still respect BJU.

What do I think about BJU's rule prohibiting inter-racial dating?

Frankly, while I was a student, I couldn't have cared less either way. It was a non-issue. Nobody really cared about it either way, as far as I was concerned.

Now that I have been asked to defend it... think about it... and study my Bible about it...

I think it is unnecessary, divisive (on both social and spiritual grounds), and overblown.

Unnecessary

The cited goal of BJU's inter-racial dating policy is to help stem the tide of "one-world" thinking prevalent in modern society. Most Christians interpret Bible prophecies in the Revelation, Daniel, and other Bible passages to mean that a one world government, monetary system, and religion will be instituted shortly before a period of anti-Christian persecution and the subsequent return of Jesus Christ to earth. This is where the traditional terms of "The Beast," "The Mark of the Beast," "Rapture," "Tribulation," and "The Anti-Christ" come from. (Yes, I hold to these traditional interpretations.)

I ask you to consider this: if you believe--as I do--that the Bible predicts such things, then as with all Biblical prophecies, it will happen regardless of your actions to slow, fulfill, or prevent it. Nowhere does the Bible demand that the Christian actively participate in the self-fulfillment of prophecy (Please note in Matthew 26:51 - 54, when one of Jesus' disciples attempted to "prevent" the fulfillment of the prophecy regarding His pending arrest and crucifixion, He rebuked the disciple.)

The Bible gives very specific commands for Christians to keep themselves separated from the world's ways of thinking and actions.

The goal of avoiding one-world thinking by prohibiting inter-racial dating is misguided.

In every Biblical instance where God's people are punished for inter-marriage or mixing with the heathen, the emphasis is placed on the straying from God's Word and the worship of heathen deities, not on the act of racial mixing itself. It is always a spiritual straying.

Christians would be far better off obeying some of the more obvious commands, such as

  • Go ye therefore, and teach all nations...

  • Be ye not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit

  • Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

  • Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

  • And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Divisive, socially and spiritually

The social controversy around BJU's rule is obvious, so I'll focus more on the spiritual side of things. Suffice it to say that I am baffled as to why Christians in the South did not lead the fight against slavery and racial prejudice... and why even today some Christians believe that any one race is inferior to any other by the mere distinction of genetically-carried skin tone and facial features.

In the spiritual realm, i.e., amongst Christians, this issue takes a particularly nasty twist. There are many well-meaning Christians who believe that--though equal--the different races are not to be mixed. "God had some good reason for separating them, so who are we to mix them?" I guess you could say, "What God hath put asunder, let not man put together." The passages cited are the Tower of Babel (where the races of mankind separated linguistically (and then have developed different physical traits depending on where they lived), and Moses' curse on Ham in Genesis 9:24-27.

The step from "separate and equal" to "separate and different" to "separate and inferior/superior" is such a small one to make, it's questionable that it's a wise position to even be near. But Christians are divided on this issue.

In fact, here is a quote from the footnotes in the Scofield Reference Bible [that's the non-inspired part! Fundamentalist inside joke there...]: just imagine what this could be twisted into...

"A prophetic declaration is made that from Ham will descend an inferior and servile posterity (Ge 9:24,25)"

"A prophetic declaration is made that Shem will have a peculiar relation to Jehovah (Ge 9:26,27. All divine revelation is through Semitic men, and Christ, after the flesh, descends from Shem." [italics mine - TDT]

"A prophetic declaration is made that from Japheth will descend the "enlarged" races (Ge 9:27). Government, science, and art, speaking broadly, are and have been Japhetic, so that history is the indisputable record of the exact fulfilment of these declarations..." [italics mine - TDT]

(Let me re-iterate a previous point. Just because the Bible prophesies something, it does not mean that Christians are held responsible to enforce or fulfill that prophecy. Unconditional prophecies of God always happen, regardless.)

Could it be that it was--is--easier to flex some Bible passages to fit the societal stance--rather than stand against an overwhelming tide of popular opinion?

I'll drop that open can of worms now and move on.

I will admit that until I studied this issue in earnest, I too had some very racist ideas that I had to confess to God, and asked Him to change my mind.

Overblown

Let's face it: there's almost nothing more provoking today than to imply that someone is racist, bigoted, homophobic, or otherwise deprives anyone of civil rights. And the mass media just loves to point out hypocrisy of Christians any chance it gets. (Can't say I blame them: there's plenty of material, much to my own shame.) To hit an "ultra-conservative" Christian school with accusations of racism and hypocrisy in one shot is certain to have some anti-BJU folks just tickled pink!

But if it were not for the media spotlight, I dare say that this issue would not even be addressed. In fact, I can almost comfortably predict that after election day, this will just drop off the radar, so to speak.

This rule is a rule of convenience, and not a rule over which BJU seeks to cause division. It might be an attempt to protect students from facing the scorn of those who still think inter-racial mixing is un-Biblical. It might be harking back to a bygone era when such a thing was more necessary--when persons involved in mixed-race relationships (or children of inter-racial marriages) were derided by all.

(And I certainly wish that era was "bygone": but it's not.)

But this rule is by no means an attempt by BJU to intentionally set one race against another. All students who attend BJU choose to attend; if they don't like it, they can leave. There is no line item on an agenda to make laws prohibiting the mixing of races. There is no moral ground in the Bible for this rule to stand on--and no moral ground for saying that BJU cannot have such a rule.

Conclusion

It is quite reasonable from a Biblical standpoint that Christians are to avoid associating with those who live in a manner detrimental to their beliefs and antagonistic toward God. This is why I don't hang out with atheists, agnostics, Satan worshipers, skin-heads, and the like.

But nowhere does the Bible say that I must separate from anyone based on their physical characteristics. The human soul has no color.

Based on my personal experience at Bob Jones University, my continuing contact with those affiliated with the school, and discussion with those who believe in BJU's stand, I believe that BJU is in the "well-meaning but incorrect" category on this issue, attempting to take a convenient path that is no longer necessary.

BJU does not tolerate racism or hatred in its student body. Its rule is based on a traditional interpretation of a very brief Bible passage--an interpretation which I believe is...

  • ... going to be more divisive among Christians who otherwise support the school, and

  • ... does not sufficiently contribute to the Christ-likeness which BJU desires to achieve to warrant continuance of the rule.

If BJU dropped this rule, the school would lose the support of some Christians who still believe that racial mixing is not Biblical.

If BJU keeps this rule, it might lose the support of other Christians who believe racial mixing is a non-issue.

If you'll pardon the crassness: it's a classic case of "Damned if you do; damned if you don't."

What about Constitutional freedoms?

I must admit I have not studied this in great length. But I am thinking hard about this one.

Let's suppose that BJU gets rid of their inter-racial dating prohibition--maybe states that they have evaluated the Biblical foundation for their actions and believe they were wrong.

Would they be giving in to pressure from the public--a general public that is more and more non-Christian, even anti-Christian? Or would this be simply the clarification of one's beliefs under pressure?

Assume the inter-racial dating rule (and for argument's sake, the anti-Catholic stance of former, now-deceased members of the University family) was somehow resolved. What would be the next step?

The rule against public displays of affection? The curfew? The prohibition against alcohol? The rules against sexual promiscuity? I'm certain those infringe on the right of freedom of expression! (... try and find that in your Bill of Rights...) Certainly against the promised of "pursuit of happiness!"

Once you start, where do you draw the line between the freedom to make rules and guidelines in a private institution--whether it be your home, church, school, or business--and the changing of those rules on the whims of the government or opinions of the general public?

Another thought, and please be honest: would this be an issue if the calendar read "1927" instead of "2000"?

No?

OK, now... does this indicate that our societal attitudes toward racial issues is now more un-Biblical and anti-Christian?

Or might it indicate that the inter-racial dating prohibition is un-Biblical--at best, "extra-Biblical"?

Or maybe those who think the Bible endorses racial separation are wrong.

Regardless of the year.

A Word from the Bible

I would urge my fellow Christians on both sides of this issue to heed the words of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:5-11:

"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all."

and in Acts 17:23 and following:

"For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;..."

I used to believe that the races were separated, and should not be mixed. And I tried to prove it with a handful of Bible passages.

Then, I decided to earnestly study my Bible--sans my racial presuppositions. And the conclusion was life-changing.

I would not think less of BJU if they re-evaluated this particular rule and dropped it.

What would you think?

Editor's note: older material follows. This is being kept mainly for historical purposes!

Does BJU permit racial minorities (esp. "blacks") to attend?

First of all, BJU does not deny admission to anyone on the basis of race. The racial makeup for BJU is diverse, covering many foreign countries and ethnic backgrounds. While a student at BJU, I met students from South Africa (both "white" and "black"), Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Scotland, and Russia. I met students from the United States' varied ethnic populations: native American, Afro-American, Japanese, Korean... you name the group, there are representatives!

Does BJU discriminate in its dating rules?

Here's a sticking point for many people. BJU does state that students are not to date or marry outside their race. Period. That's all it says. There is no delineation for what constitutes a "race," nor a measurement of skin tone, spoken accent, nor taste in clothing.

As far as I know, no one has ever been prohibited from returning to the campus because they married outside their race. There are many other offenses for which former students have been told to stay away--but as far as I know, not due to an inter-racial marriage.

BJU's rules fall into two rather broad categories: those which are based on undeniable Biblical truth which no Christian would reasonably disagree with, and those which are based on tradition, culture, or the need of simplification. It seems that the inter-racial dating rule is based on the latter, not the former.

And for what it's worth: I am aware of one mulatto student who was confronted with this rule. She was told that she should declare a racial preference and stick to it while dating. That was the only graceful way "around" the rule.

So BJU's dating rules aren't color blind. To this I would say: so what?

"How can you be so thoughtless! BJU is OBVIOUSLY VIOLATING A BASIC TENET OF SCRIPTURE!" says the skeptic.

Book, chapter, and verse, please.

I've done significant study on this, and have yet to turn up anything definitive one way or the other that would deny BJU the right to have this rule.

There are a lot of other dating rules that are in place simply to make life a bit more manageable, not because someone hates someone else.

  • Couples are to refrain from physical contact. So what does that discriminate against? The sense of touch? The Bible has something to say, but it's not exactly so "extreme."
  • Students are not to attend theatres. Doesn't matter what's showing: you can't go. Paul never wrote a thing about theatres, only "meat offered to idols."
  • Students are not permitted to leave a 10-mile radius of the campus without a written permission stating where they're going, when they'll be back, and who they'll be with. Good luck finding a reference for this one.
  • Dorm students under 23 are required to have a chaperone when dating. Probably smart: but not scriptural.
  • Dorm students have a 11:00PM curfew. Nope, nothing in the Bible about this one, either, except some admonition in Proverbs about getting enough sleep.

So which of these rules are hatred-based? None.

Update!

I received information from a source affiliated with BJU: a letter containing the "official" stance of BJU and an explanation of this rule. I promised that I would not republish the letter without the school's permission: I'd prefer that you hear the answer straight from BJU. (You can: go to the school's web site and get the phone numbers for the public liaison office yourself at http://www.bju.edu.)

Here is a summary of the BJU position:

  • The motivation for one-world unity at the Tower of Babel was to overthrow God.
  • God separated the races in Genesis, and these barriers still exist today in language, culture, geography, and ethnic background.
  • Many of those who endorse a one-world viewpoint today are also seeking this unity in order to replace God with men's reason and abilities.
  • Though no Scripture passage directly says inter-racial marriage is wrong, the principles of the Bible seem to point that it is not best for man.
  • God must have had a good reason to separate the races: therefore, any attempt to recombine them must be taken very seriously.

Therefore, BJU plays it "safe" and doesn't permit inter-racial dating.


I submit to you that the inter-racial dating policy of Bob Jones University is based on convenience, "spiritual safety," and the surrounding Southern culture, not on hatred for some racial group or a "Biblical racism."

"So where's your proof, then?" you ask...

Let me clarify my position, based on what research I've done so far, and see if it makes sense.

What Did Jesus Do?

When Jesus was on earth, it's interesting to note how He dealt with racism.

In the context of Matthew 15:21-28, a Gentile woman comes to Jesus to plead His help. The typical Jewish thing to do would have been to throw her out of the house--which is what the disciples wanted to do. He even used the traditional Jewish terms when He referred to the Jewish thought of Gentiles as "dogs" in verse 26. But He showed compassion and said she had great faith.

Again, in John 4:4-42, Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman. She's amazed that He would cross racial lines to speak with her (v. 9), and He deals with her spiritual condition, remaining silent on the entire racial issue. In v. 27, the disciples are shocked that Jesus would violate a basic tenet of Jewish custom--but He doesn't address the law. He addresses the spiritual (v. 36).

Cultural Basis and the "Weaker Brother"

The following is from an e-mail I sent in response to a reader of this web site:

... BJU is in the South. The deep, deep South. South Carolina, where the Confederate Battle flag still flies over the state house. (The fact that the Confederacy is no longer a recognized legal or political entity seems to make no difference to a lot of people--but I digress.)

Did you know inter-racial marriages are illegal in South Carolina? South Carolina state constitution, Article III, section 33 states:

"SECTION 33. Marriages of whites and Negroes; sexual intercourse.

The marriage of a white person with a Negro or mulatto, or person who shall have one-eighth or more of Negro blood, shall be unlawful and void. No unmarried woman shall legally consent to sexual intercourse who shall not have attained the age of fourteen years."
From
http://www.lpitr.state.sc.us/reports/con3s33.htm

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Feb 21, 2000.

Based on http://www.lpitr.state.sc.us/scconst/a03.htm it would seem that the SC state constitution has been changed! Effective Feb 16, 1999...

The item now says:

"SECTION 33. Age of consent.

No unmarried woman shall legally consent to sexual intercourse who shall not have attained the age of fourteen years. (1999 Act No. 3, SECTION 1, eff
February 16, 1999) "

... and as far as I know, this has not been repealed via constitutional amendment. (Note: this was voted on in the November 1998 elections. Over 60% of South Carolinians said this should be removed from the state constitution. It wasn't exactly unanimous--draw your own conclusion.)

I suspect that if BJU endorsed inter-racial dating and marriages, there would be significant outcry from those who love to smear BJU at every turn, simply because BJU would be endorsing something that is technically illegal. So perhaps BJU is just playing safe, kind of a "let's not go there" stance.

I believe that when the South Carolina state constitution is amended to permit inter-racial marriages, you might see this rule change. To be frank, the general populace in South Carolina isn't exactly what you would call the most "open minded" when it comes to issues of race, anyway.

But in light of the Feb 16, 1999 modification to the state constitution, this no longer holds true. Neither does it hold water.

Maybe it's time for a change?

Similar case in point: Up until 1990, all BJU student and staff women were required to wear hats to church on Sunday morning. This was a rule based on Southern tradition, and it was not "repealed" until a rather prominent elderly member of the university family passed away. Shortly thereafter, the rule was eliminated. I suspect that this rule was held in high regard by this elder--possibly with a Biblical basis in 1 Corinthians 11:5 ("But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.") There were those who had a fit, I'm sure. But BJU survived it OK. (See http://www.zoomnet.net/~kyowva/bbacks/head.htm for an interesting article on this point.)

 

What Does the Bible Really Say?

I therefore assume, now that I'm no longer a BJU student, it's up to me to make up my own mind. Here's what I have found.

I can find nothing in the Bible that states that separation from anyone is required solely on the basis of skin tone or nationality. True, Israel was told to avoid intermarrying, but in every situation it was to avoid idolatry or a mixing of religions--not to avoid a mixing of skin types. The reason for the separation of the races at the Tower of Babel was to prove that God could still stop mankind from achieving "god-hood" anytime He wants--to show that God is still sovereign. Also, it forced mankind to spread throughout the world and replenish the entire earth, thereby fulfilling a command God gave earlier. (This is probably the only command of God that mankind has ever achieved well... but that's another topic altogether.) A recent visitor to this site reminded me that the only thing specified at the Tower of Babel was division based on languages.

Looking at my Bible, I find a few references that could be construed to indicate that inter-racial dating/marriage is "bad." But these references discuss Israel separating from the heathen--not based on mere skin tone, but rather religious differences. The false religions would cause severe problems for Israel's kings later. See 1 Kings 11:1 - 11... Note verse 6 and 9: why was God angry? Because Solomon didn't follow after God, and turned to idolatry. The key is religious separation--not racial.

Now, let's look at some inter-racial situations in the Bible.

  • Abram and Hagar (Egyptian) Genesis 16: the sin was mistreatment of another--not the inter-racial relationship.
  • Solomon and the "Shulamite" woman in Song of Solomon: quite possibly she was an Egyptian.
  • Joseph and Asenath: Asenath: An Egyptian name, meaning "gift of the sun-god", daughter of Potipherah, priest of On or Heliopolis, wife of Joseph (Ge 41:45) She was the mother of Manasseh and Ephraim (Ge 41:50-52 46:20)
  • In Deut. 21:10-13, there is provision for Israelites to take captives as wives! You can't tell me that wouldn't be inter-racial.
  • Boaz (Bethlehamite) and Ruth (Moabite): entire book of Ruth

*whew!* Sorry to belabor my point. Everywhere I see an inter-racial relationship in the Bible as "bad," there is mention of a religious straying. Does this mean that an inter-racial marriage will cause one to lose faith? No!

This leads me to believe that it is far more important to marry within one's religious foundation than to worry about one's skin tone. See 2 Corinthians 6:14-17

Hoyt W. Allen at http://www.zoomnet.net/~kyowva/bbacks/interacial.htm   has a good description of this situation. I quote:

"I was asked the question, 'Does the Bible condemn people from two different races to marry?'. If one can find Scripture to answer this in the positive they are doing better than I am. However, there may not be a "Thus saith the Lord" against "Interracial Marriage", but that does not mean that our society is ready for it. Those becoming involved in interracial dating which leads to interracial marriage are in for some "rough sledding". However, this is a personal decision."

"...may we not "Look Down" upon anyone from another race, as we may someday discover that we have blood in our veins of another race. However, the most important teaching is this, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13)."

I personally believe that inter-racial marriage is scripturally permitted. This does not mean that is easy. Keep in mind that within the past 30 years, the governor of Alabama would not permit blacks to enroll in public "white" colleges! We--Americans--have come a long, long way when it comes to racial issues. I believe we have farther to go.

BJU's rule about inter-racial dating and marriages is more a reflection of the current state of modern culture than an absolute statement of doctrine from the Bible. I do not fault BJU for having this dating guideline, and I believe that this rule will change someday.

In my experience, and based on conversations with other students of various races, BJU is quite color-blind when it comes to equal treatment of races. I've never met a BJU student who said they were discriminated against, and I've met a few who said they were treated better at BJU than anywhere else.

I realize you didn't ask for a sermon: my apologies for rambling. I would ask that you consider what I've written, keeping in mind that it's possible to disagree with BJU and still be a Christian.

At least, that's how my Bible reads.

An Attempted Defense of the BJU Rule

Here is an e-mail I received in response to the above, along with my reply.

"I would also like to thank you for your response to my earlier questions concerning inter-racial dating... I agree with you in what you said, but that makes me dislike the practices held by BJ."

I'm uncertain of what you mean by this. If you agree, you can also dislike it, I suppose.

"The only reason I care so much is because I have 2 friends in attendance there now. I understand that state law outlaws inter-racial marriages, but by BJ going along with that unscriptural mindset and not allowing inter-racial dating, I believe that they are conforming to the world. What's up with that?" [The South Carolina state constitution forbids inter-racial marriages--and specifies white and black! See this URL. - ed.]

Keep in mind that there is no clear, Biblical admonition against inter-racial dating--in my opinion. If you find otherwise, I'd like to be informed. Neither is their a clear permission in the Bible, either. Hence, it would seem we're allowed to make up our own minds, as long as we keep in mind that each Christian will answer to God for his or her self someday.

We (as Christians) are advised to not "cause any to offend." This doesn't mean that we have to live in such a way that no one ever is offended, but rather that we live such that no one offends their own conscience. See I Cor 8:9-13, where Paul says--even though permitted "technically" to eat meat, he was going to refrain from doing so such that those who had strong convictions to the contrary would not be distracted.

I believe that BJU's stand on inter-racial dating is an attempt to prevent offense to the greatest number of people, and to take the "safest," most Biblical stance they can. You must admit that no matter which side BJU would take, someone would take the opposite side and probably be able to "prove" it from the Bible.

Also keep in mind that the state constitution--whether right or wrong on this point--doesn't require anything that is contrary to a forthright Bible doctrine. For what it's worth, I still think the state constitution should be brought into the 90's... but I digress.

"[I don't] think that God approves that type of behavior. More than just white people are gonna go to Heaven. in fact, when Jesus was on earth, He wasn't white." 

True. But it's quite a leap to say "whites aren't permitted to date blacks" and jump all the way to "there will be only white people in Heaven." I can't see where that leap is possible. Besides, last time I checked, the Bible didn't give a color to a man's soul or spirit.

For what it's worth, every black person I met at BJU had a very high regard for the school and felt that they were treated better at BJU than anywhere else they'd been--as if BJU was more color-blind than the rest of the world. I can't just dismiss that.

"He also commanded that the gospel be preached unto the uttermost parts of the earth. That gospel also states that we are all ONE blood."

I assume you are referring to Acts 17:26: "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;" This was spoken by the apostle Paul in Athens. According to Gill, the Athenians believed they were of a different origin than other humans--almost a Hitler-esque view of a "supreme race." So this verse does indeed tell us that all humans are equal before God, of one common ancestry--Adam and Eve, of course.

"So, how can they call themselves a Christian (meaning 'Christ-like' or 'little Christ') college. That doesn't make sense to me."

Update!

I'm going to quote directly from the BJU stance on racial issues, because it's a great summary:

"... [W]e realize that this is a controversial position and that there are many fine Christians who disagree with us on it. We recognize the right of other Christians to hold differing views; we only hope that they will recognize the sincerity and love with which we hold ours.

"Christian students of all races find a happy and harmonious atmosphere here at the University, and the number of minority students grows every year. We believe prejudice to be biblically wrong, and it is not tolerated in the student body." (Emphasis mine. - ed.)

Because the inter-racial dating rule is just that: a rule. As far as I can tell, BJU does not break fellowship with those who believe otherwise, nor condemns anyone, nor states that those who don't hold this rule are not Christians. [Ed. note: Several current BJU faculty and staff members attend churches that accept inter-racial couples into their membership--and the school is silent on the issue.]

"Sorry to go on like this, but I care about my friends, and I want to know that they are making a wise decision by attending BJ."

I would be interested to know their point of view on this. How have they been treated so far? If you like, you can direct them to my web site--in fact, I've seen a few web site "hits" coming from BJU, so I know they can read it. And they have!

Summary

Here is my personal conclusion:

A human soul has no color. It is far more important to be concerned with the destiny of souls than the color of skin. That's what Jesus did.

BJU does indeed claim a Biblical foundation for their inter-racial dating policy; I would submit to you that this rule is an attempt to--as Bob Jones Sr. once said, "when in doubt, play safe." It is true that for some reason, God separated mankind at the Tower of Babel incident. However, that reason seems to be to force man to "go forth and replenish the earth" and to punish mankind for his pride in setting himself against God.

However, I do not believe that a trend toward intermarriage in the United States between whites and blacks (the most volatile part of this issue as far as I can see) is going to result in a new Babel-like defiance of God. After all, the Tower of Babel experience was intended--at its core--to prevent men from communicating effectively.

But let's suppose that mankind did have the ability of mankind to communicate instantly with anyone around the world--would that not bring another potential defiance of God?

Oh dear, I seem to have just described The Internet... let's not go there.

But Wait... There's More!

I've been accused of being one-sided on this site... then again, it's mine, right? Anyhow, want more sides of this issue? See these: