Bob Jones, founded in 1927, isn’t just any conservative Christian college; it’s the de facto center of the national Independent Fundamental Baptist network, which functions almost as a denomination unto itself, with thousands of affiliated churches, feeder schools, and businesses including Bob Jones’s textbook company, radio station, and music publisher.
Outsiders call the school the “mother ship” of fundamentalism; the university prefers another moniker, “the fortress of faith.” To call Bob Jones insular doesn’t quite cover it.
Tchividjian had become convinced that the Protestant world is teetering on the edge of a sex-abuse scandal similar to the one that had rocked the Catholic Church.
While Bob Jones was for decades the choice destination for conservative Christian students, enrollment at the school was dropping: down about 10 percent in the last decade and nearly 25 percent since its heyday in the early 1980s.
Alumni blogs published pictures of what used to be an overflowing chapel, now left with hundreds of empty seats; two dorms are scheduled to be demolished this summer.
Leaked minutes from a recent faculty meeting noted that Christian colleges are closing across the U. but that Bob Jones might find salvation in China and South Korea, where “the opportunity for Christian education” is still “unbelievable.” The school has begun selling off assets: the radio station, the music publisher, the hospital.
“The Promise” to support retiring faculty has been rescinded.
To almost everyone’s surprise, seven months after the report aired, Bob Jones announced that it had listened.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of the hire.
Rules for students are infamously strict—no TV, no holding hands, no Christian contemporary music, and, until 2000, no interracial dating.
By 2012, though, the fortress no longer seemed inviolable.
” For years, Protestants have assumed they were immune to the abuses perpetrated by celibate Catholic priests.
But Tchividjian believes that Protestant churches, groups, and schools have been worse than Catholics in their response.
Tina Anderson, a 15-year-old who lived in New Hampshire, was raped and impregnated in 1997 by one of her church’s deacons, then in his late thirties, while she was a babysitter for his family.