Search this blog


On April 17, 1960--Easter Sunday--Bob Jones Sr. gave a radio address entitled "Is Segregation Scriptural?" on station WMUU AM 1260 (the call letters stood for World's Most Unusual University).


The address, probably about 45 minutes in length, was broadcast early in the morning for residents of Greenville, South Carolina (and beyond), who were listening while preparing for the Sunday morning service at their local church.

The Southern fundamentalist began his address by stressing its significance: "My friends, I am going to bring you today one of the most important and most timely messages I have ever brought. I hope you will sit close to the radio. Do not let anything disturb you. I want you to hear this message through."

[To get a sense for what Bob Jones Sr. sounded like when delivering a studio address, you can sample the audio below.]

Before looking at the address itself, some context will set the stage.

Six years earlier, in May 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, concluding that "in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' [from Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)] has no place.” The court, led by the new Chief Justice Earl Warren, declared that "Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," which meant that racial integration of public schools was mandatory (even if many school districts dragged their feet instead of proceeding “with all deliberate speed“).


This did not apply to a private Christian institution of higher education like Bob Jones College, which Bob Jones Sr. founded at St. Andrews Bay, Florida (1926-1933), before moving the school to Cleveland, Tennessee (1933-1947), and then to Greenville, South Carolina (1947-present), where it became Bob Jones University under the presidency of Bob Jones Jr.

No African American students were permitted to enroll at Bob Jones University.

White Southerners felt threatened by the disruption and undermining of their laws and social order by these racial agitators. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for failing to obey the orders of a Montgomery bus driver to move to the back of the bus, setting off a yearlong bus boycott led by the 27-year-old Baptist minister, Martin Luther King Jr.


In September 1957, the governor of Arkansas blocked nine black students from entering the previously all-white Central High School in Little Rock, until the federal government stepped in to enforce the integration.


On February 1, 1960, four black students from North Carolina A&T College were refused service at a segregated F. W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, and the college students staged a sit-in, refusing to vacate their seats. Within weeks, there were sit-in campaigns across the South at other Woolworth and Kress department stores, most notably in Nashville, where the sit-ins lasted for nearly three months.


The Civil Rights Bill of 1960 was also making its way through Congress. After adding some amendments, the Senate approved the House bill on April 8. Two weeks later, the House approved the Senate amendments, and then President Eisenhower signed it into law on May 6.

Martin Luther King With Eisenhower

But perhaps it was the racial turmoil hitting closer to home in Greenville that led Jones to speak out. In October 1959, the African-American baseball star Jackie Robinson--who had retired a few years earlier from the Dodgers and was in town to speak at an NAACP state conference--was threatened with arrest when he refused to vacate the white waiting room at the Greenville airport, sparking a protest march on January 1, 1960, from Springfield Baptist Church to the airport.

Two months later, on March 1, 20 African-American students were threatened with arrest if they did not leave the segregated Greenville Public Library, encouraged to go to the smaller Negro library instead. (A few months earlier, college freshman Jesse Jackson returned to Greenville for Christmas break and tried to use the library, only to be turned away by the police. He would return that summer for a planned protest that made the news.)


Then there were the actions of another, more popular, Southern evangelist: Billy Graham. Graham was a former student at Bob Jones College who transferred to another fundamentalist school after one semester. As Graham’s stardom and fame increased and as he distanced himself from separatistic fundamentalism (allowing modernists to play a role in his crusades), the tensions between Graham and Jones increased.

In the spring of 1953, at a crusade in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Graham personally removed the ropes separating the black section and the white section, declaring that he would not preach in a segregated crusade. In 1957, he invited Martin Luther King to pray at his Madison Garden crusade in New York City.

On April 7, 1960, Billy Graham (then 41 years old) returned from a ten-day trip to Africa, criticizing the segregation of white evangelicals in the United States.

The following week, on Good Friday, Graham issued a statement through the UPI regarding Christianity and Jim Crow:

The whole trend of Scriptural teaching is toward racial understanding. Many use the Scriptures that were applied to Israel. It is true that God called Israel to be unique among the nations and told them to separate themselves from the evil nations round about them. But the white race cannot possibly claim to be the chosen race nor can the white race take for themselves promises that were applied to ancient Israel. . . . Jim Crow must go. It is absolutely ridiculous to refuse food or a night’s lodging to a man on the basis of skin color. . . . Modern communications and travel have made the entire world a neighborhood. Who is our neighbor? Jesus gave us the answer in the parable of the Good Samaritan, and yet the Samaritan showed who his neighbor was by helping a person of another race. . . . The message of Christ has led to many great social revolutions and upheavals in history. We are certainly living in one of those crucial periods of social change at the moment, largely caused by the penetration of the teaching of the Scriptures. These periods of history are not easy nor can this type of social change take place over night. Great love, understanding and patience must be exercised by all.


Graham’s statement made the front page of the local Greenville Piedmont afternoon newspaper.

Two days later, the 76-year-old Jones--who was born five years after the completion of Reconstruction and who was the son of a Confederate soldier--took to the airwaves on Easter Sunday to make his case from Scripture about why all of this racial change from outsiders was not something to be welcomed and celebrated but rather to be rejected and condemned.

After the address aired, Jones had the talk transcribed and printed as a booklet, which became the school's primary statement on race and integration throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and into the 1980s. The pamphlet was also sold in their campus bookstore and sent to donors and inquirers.

In 1971, three years after the death of Bob Jones Sr., the school began admitting black students--but only on the condition that they were already married, and married to someone of the same race.

In 1976, the school opened its doors to all Christian black students, but also strengthened their prohibitions on interracial dating and marriage. One of the most significant reasons for segregation was that if blacks and whites swam together and ate together and went to school together, they would eventually date and marry each other, mixing the two races.

In the spring of 2000, Bob Jones III told Larry King that the school was dropping its ban on interracial dating.

In 2008, Stephen Jones--president of the school, son of Bob Jones III and great-grandson of Bob Jones Sr.--issued an apology on behalf of the school, saying (in part):

For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the segregationist ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than providing a clear Christian counterpoint to it.

In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry. Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful.


Bob Jones University no longer teaches or distributes Bob Jones’s 1960 defense of segregation, and should be given credit for publicly repudiating its position. I have reprinted it below in its entirety, despite some repetitiveness, so that you can read his full case without abridgment.

I disagree strongly with his reasoning here, which is logically, historically, and morally fallacious. Ironically, its tragic misuse of Scripture supported a worldly agenda--as his great-grandson would later acknowledge--all in the name of biblical clarity and fidelity. (For a careful account of race and ethnicity from the standpoint of sound biblical theology, start here.)

Nevertheless, this is an important historical document that helps us get inside the mind of a segregationist who was absolutely convinced that he was doing and expressing God's will in contrast to those who were undermining God's created order for society and for sexuality in particular.

One of the values of carefully reading a document like this is that it prevents us from constructing straw men, which are counterproductive in argumentation and in understanding the past. For example, if you said that Bob Jones claimed that whites are superior to blacks, or that whites and blacks should not fellowship together, or that slavery was biblically permissible--then he would rightly complain that you have misrepresented his words. Or if your definition of racism requires an explicit affirmation of racial superiority or inferiority, and if you think that Bob Jones was a racist, then you would have to show how his words entail such a position even as he explicitly denies it. We never go wrong, and we always strengthen our case, when we accurately represent those without whom we disagree.

I have added headings in bold type, seeking to provide guideposts for your reading.

[Many thanks to historian John Matzko--a professor at Bob Jones University who is authoring the first scholarly biography of Bob Jones Sr.--for his research and help on various historical details related to this address. And a special thank you to independent historian Camille Lewis who transcribed this address and made it public.]

Is Segregation Scriptural?

[This Is an Issue of Utmost Importance]

My friends, I am going to bring you today one of the most important and most timely messages I have ever brought. I hope you will sit close to the radio. Do not let anything disturb you. I want you to hear this message through.

[When the Bible Speaks Clearly on a Subject, That Settles It]

Now, we folks at Bob Jones University believe that whatever the Bible says is so, and we believe it says certain fundamental things that all Bible-believing Christians accept; but when the Bible speaks clearly about any subject, that settles it. Men do not always agree, because some people are dumb--some people are spiritually dumb; but when the Bible is clear, there is not any reason why everybody should not accept it.

The Bible makes some things plain. It makes it plain how to be saved. We are saved by grace through faith in the atoning blood of Christ. The Bible makes it plain that man is naturally a sinner and that he has to become supernaturally a Christian-born again.

All orthodox, Bible-believing Christians agree on one thing; and that is, that whatever the Bible says is so. When they had old religious debates, they used to get together and say, 'Well, we will discuss this subject.' One man would say, 'The Bible says this,' and another man would say, 'You are mistaken. It says this.' They argued about what the Bible said. They agreed that whatever it said was so, but they argued about what it said.

[The Source of Much of Today's Troubles: Biblical Authority Is Being Undermined and Replaced with the Opinion of Man]

In recent years there has been a subtle, Satanic effort to undermine people's faith in the Bible; and the devil has led the race along until men have put their own opinion above the Word of God.

You will find that practically all the troubles we are having today have come out of the fact that men in many instances have ceased to believe in an authoritative Bible.

[Racial Turmoil Is Contrary to the Word of God]

For instance, we are living in the midst of race turmoil all over the world today. Look at what they are facing in Africa, and look at what we are facing in this country. It is all contrary to Scripture-it is all contrary to the Word of God.

[The Bible Is Perfectly Clear on Races]

I am going to show you that the Bible is perfectly clear on races-just as clear as it can be.

[God Is Not the Father of Everyone but Only of the Born-Again]

People come along and say, "Well, God is the Father of everybody." No, He is not. God is the Father of born-again people. The Bible says this as clearly as it can be put in language. We are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.

[Born-Again Christians Do not Have Trouble with Each Other If They Follow God's Word]

There is no trouble between a born-again white man and a born-again colored man or a born-again Chinese or a born-again Japanese. Born-again, Bible-believing Christians do not have trouble. They may not understand some things; but when we give them the Word of God for it, they see it and understand it.

You know, we have gotten away from the Bible. Modern education came along and put the opinion of man above the Word of God, and man has come along and tried to give us an explanation. All you have to do is live up to the Word of God, and you will have no trouble about knowing how to meet life's problems.

[What God Teaches about the Races from Acts 17]

What does God teach about the races of the world? If you will go to the seventeenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, you will find where Paul preached a special sermon on Mars Hill. Remember now, Athens was the center of culture. There are still fragments of the Athenian culture today in the museums over there; and you can walk around among the crumbled ruins. Paul was there. Paul was chosen of God (he was a Jew) to be the great apostle to the Gentiles. I think the greatest man who ever lived was Paul-I mean I think he was greater than Moses and greater than any other man who lived. Of course, I am not talking about the Lord Jesus Christ Who was God-Man. But to my mind, no other mere human ever reached the height of greatness that Paul reached. He was honored as God never honored any other man. He suffered as few men have ever had to suffer. He was misunderstood; but, oh, what a man he was.

Paul tells us in his sermon on Mars Hill, "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heave and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands." Now, the statue of the Grecian goddess, Athena, was in the Parthenon; and Paul said that God did not dwell in buildings made with hands. "Neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things."

[Acts 17:26 Is Crucial and Clear: God Fixed the Bounds of the Races' Inhabitations]

Now, notice-this is an important verse-the twenty-sixth verse of the seventeenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (in some of the best original manuscripts, the word "blood" is not there, but it is not important anyhow, because the thoughts are the same). "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth. . . ." But do not stop there, ". . . and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." Now, what does that say? That says that God Almighty fixed the bounds of their habitation. That is as clear as anything that was ever said.

If you have a legal document and there is a paragraph that is clear and you come across an obscure passage, you interpret the obscure passage in the light of the clear passage. Any lawyer will tell you that. If he has a case in court, he will say, "Now, gentlemen of the jury, here is what this paragraph says. This one paragraph is not quite clear, but this other paragraph is clear; and we will interpret this in the light of the clear passage."

[Example: The Chinese Live in China and They Should Marry Fellow Chinese]

God Almighty did not make of the human race one race in the sense that He did not fix the bounds of their habitation. That is perfectly clear. It is no accident that most Chinese are in China. There has been an overflow in the world, but most Chinese live in China. There are millions and millions of them there, and there are no greater people in the world. I have never known lovelier and more wonderful people than the Chinese.

We were over in Formosa a few years ago and conferred an honorary degree on Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and I never met a greater man. I never met a man of more intelligence or a more wonderful Christian; and Madame Chiang Kai-shek is a wonderful woman. There they are. Now, what happened? They married each other. She was a Christian Chinese woman educated in America. When she finished her education, she went back to her home in China. How God has used Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek-not only as Christian witnesses but also in other ways. I was never with a man who pulled me to him with stronger ties than Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek when I was over there and conferred an honorary degree on him. All right, he is a Chinese. He married a Chinese woman. That is the way God meant it to be.

[Trouble Comes When Nations Break Out of Bounds of Their Fixed Habitation, Contrary to God's Clear Word] 

Paul said that God ". . . hath made of one blood all nations of men . . . ." But He also fixed the bounds of their habitation. When nations break out of their boundaries and begin to do things contrary to the purpose of God and the directive will of God, they have trouble. The world is in turmoil today because men and nations go contrary to the clear teaching of the Word of God. Let's understand that. The Chinese people are wonderful people. They have internal troubles, of course, because Communism has gone into China and disturbed a great deal of the population. But the Chinese people are wonderful people. The Japanese people are ingenious-they are wonderful people. The Koreans are wonderful people. The Africans are wonderful people. In many ways, there are no people in the world finer than the colored people who were brought over here in slavery in days gone by.

[Why You Cannot Talk about a Superior Race and an Inferior Race]

You talk about a superior race and an inferior race and all that kind of situation. Wait a minute. No race is inferior in the will of God. Get that clear. If a race is in the will of God, it is not inferior. It is a superior race. You cannot be superior to another race if your race is in the will of God and the other race is in the will of God.

[Trouble Came When Man Ran Contrary to God's Will and Purpose for the Races]

But the purposes of these races were established by Almighty God; and when man attempts to run contrary to the directive will of God for this world, there is always trouble. Now, that is the trouble.

[History in America: The Wrong of Slavery Turned for Good]

What happened? Well, away back yonder our forefathers went over to Africa and brought the colored people back and sold them into slavery. That was wrong. But God overruled. When they came over here, many of them did not know the Bible and did not know about Jesus Christ; but they got converted. Some of the greatest preachers the world has ever known were colored preachers who were converted in slavery days. John Jasper was one of them. One of the greatest preachers who ever stood before an American audience was John Jasper. And Sam Jones, years ago down in Georgia, told us about an old, colored preacher down there. He said, "There is no man who ever stood on two legs who could preach like him."

God Almighty allowed these colored people to be turned here into the South and overruled what happened, and then He turned the colored people in the South into wonderful Christian people.

[No Two Races Have Ever Gotten Along So Well as the Whites and the Coloreds in the South]

For many years we have lived together. Occasionally there will be a flare-up. But the white people have helped the colored people build their churches, and we have gotten along together harmoniously and peacefully; and everything has come along fine.

Sometimes we have a little trouble, but then we adjust everything sensibly and get back to the established order. But the good white folks have always stood by their good colored friends, and the good colored folks have always stood by their good white friends. No two races ever lived as close together as the white people and the colored people here in the South and got along so well.

[The Effort Today to Disturb God's Plan and Established Order]

Now, what is the matter? There is an effort today to disturb the established order. Wait a minute. Listen, I am talking straight to you. White folks and colored folks, you listen to me. You cannot run over God's plan and God's established order without having trouble. God never meant to have one race. It was not His purpose at all. God has a purpose for each race.

[What Might Have Happened If the Freed Slaves Had Gone Back to Africa]

God Almighty may have overruled and permitted the slaves to come over to America so that the colored people could be the great missionaries to the Africans. They could have been. The white people in America would have helped pay their way over there. By the hundred and hundred they could have gone back to Africa and got the Africans converted after the slavery days were over.

[Instead, We Have Racial Disturbance All Over the World That Is Not of God]

All right, now what is happening? Down in Africa there is trouble and turmoil. There is racial disturbance all over the world, and it is not of God. The Bible is clear on this. When people come along and say, "Well, God is the Father of everybody," they are wrong. He is not the Father of everybody. That is not in the Bible. That is a Satanic lie. Let me repeat, the Bible says as clearly as language can put it that people are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. We are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. That is what the Bible says. Let's take the Word of God and quit slandering the Word of God. We are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. A born-again white man and a born-again colored man can settle any differences they have. God is their Father. They are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.

[Outsider Agitators in the Name of Piety]

Individually, Christian people in the South-white and black-through the years have been able to work together and to understand each other. But now a world of outside agitation has been started, and people are coming in the name of piety, but it is a false piety, and are endeavoring to disturb God's established order; and we are having turmoil all over America. This disturbing movement is not of God. It is not in line with the Bible. It is Satanic. Now, listen and understand this. Do not let people lead you astray.

[Both Colored Folks and Poor White People Have Been Mistreated]

"Well," you say, "The colored folks have not been treated right." I agree with you. Neither have the poor white people been treated right. When I was a boy in Southeast Alabama, we lived in what was called the white section of the State. There were not many colored people there. The slaves were in the western part and in the midsection of the State. Down in Southeast Alabama there were some slaves but not many; but they had the reconstruction days-hard days-and the time came along when people were having a hard time. Some white folks were not treated right. They paid 20 percent interest on money. They were oppressed by people who had money. The colored people down in my country were treated just as well as the white people by businessmen. Any man who would mistreat a colored man would mistreat a white man. If he is mean enough to mistreat one man, he is mean enough to mistreat another.

[But You Don't Right a Wrong by Trying to Overthrow God's Established Order]

You can go to any city in the country and find the poor people living in a certain section there. I do not say that things are right. But things are not going to be made right by trying to overthrow God's established order. That is not the way to make things right. You cannot make them right that way. The colored people in the South today are better off than they are anywhere else in the world. The situation is not a perfect situation for the white folks or the colored folks or for anybody else; but we have never had a perfect situation in this world since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.

[This Agitation Is Satanic Propaganda]

I want you folks to listen-you white and you colored folks. Do not let these Satanic propagandists fool you. This agitation is not of God. It is of the devil. Do not let people slander God Almighty. God made it plain. God meant for Christian people to treat each other right. If you are a Christian white person or a Christian colored person, you will treat each other right. We Christians are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. We are one in Christ; but let us remember that the God Who made of one blood all nations also fixed the boundaries of their habitations.

Yes, Paul said, "God . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men . . . ." All men, to whatever race they may belong, have immortal souls; but all men have mortal bodies, and God fixed the boundaries of the races of the world. Let me repeat that it is no accident that most of the Chinese live in China. It is not an accident that most Japanese live in Japan; and the Africans should have been left in Africa, and the Gospel should have been take to them as God commanded His people to do.

[Wherever There Is Racial Mixing, There Is Trouble]

Wherever we have the races mixed up in large numbers, we have trouble. They have trouble in New York. They have trouble in San Francisco. They have had trouble all over California. Back in the old days when I was a young fellow, Captain Richmond Pearson Hobson went up and down this country and lectured on the "yellow peril" and told us we were owing to have trouble with Japan. He said there would be a war with Japan some day. People said, "Oh, well, he is crazy." Other leaders went over this country and lectured on the "yellow peril" and the dangers we were facing. Remember, we did have a war with Japan.

The best friends we have in many ways are in the Orient. There are millions of Chinese over there. Dr. Grace Haight, who used to be on our faculty and who was a missionary to China, told us that the Chinese were the best people in the world. Let me tell you something. When it comes to quality of races, all these races have quality. They have good qualities and bad qualities.

If we would just listen to the Word of God and not try to overthrow God's established order, we would not have any trouble. God never meant for America to be a melting pot to rub out the line between the nations. That was not God's purpose for this nation. When someone goes to overthrowing His established order and goes around preaching pious sermons about it, that makes me sick-for a man to stand up and preach pious sermons in this country and talk about rubbing out the line between the races-I say it makes me sick.

I have had the sweetest fellowship with colored Christians, with yellow Christians, with red Christians, with all sorts of Christians-the sweetest fellowship anybody has ever had, we have had. Christians have always had it. We have never had any trouble about that. The trouble today is a Satanic agitation striking back at God's established order. That is what is making trouble for us.

[The Southerners Should Not Have Bought Slaves from Northerners But Should Instead Have Sent Missionaries to Africa]

Of course, it is easy to look back over the years and see the situation from another standpoint; but when the folks up North went to Africa and brought the slaves over to this country and sold them to the Southern people, the Southern people should have been Christian enough to have said, "We will not have any slaves. We are not going ahead." But, you know, they went ahead.

Only a small percentage of the Southern people held slaves. Only a small percentage of them were slave owners. A great many people in the South in the old days did not believe in slavery-they stood against slavery. But they went ahead, and the commercial element was dominant; and people bought slaves and sold them. This slavery was not right. It should not have been. What we should have done was to have sent missionaries to Africa. Yes, that is what we should have done. That would have been in line with Scripture.

God put the Africans over there. They are fine people. They are intelligent people. Do not think they are inferior in every way. It is not so. But we should have sent missionaries over there, and Africa should have been a great nation of colored Christians. If we had done what God had told us to do and sent the Gospel to them and made a Christian nation out of them instead of bringing them over here and selling them into slavery, Africa could have been a great nation of colored Christians. What we did was wrong. It was not right. It cannot be justified. We should not try to justify it. But people went along. Some good people fell for it and went ahead with it; and God overruled it.

I will venture there is not a population in the world where there is a larger percentage of professing Christians than among the colored people in the South. We Christian white people all have good friends among the colored people. The colored Christian people are sensing the dangers we are facing now. There is already an uprising among good, Christian colored people in the South. They are trying to fight back the subtle, Satanic disturbance we have in this country.

[White Southerners Have Never Been More Eager to Help the Colored]

There has never been a time, especially in the last ten years, when the white people in the South were so eager to help the colored people build their schools and see that they get what they ought to have. All this agitation going on is not headed up by real, Bible-believing, Christian people.

[Religious Liberals Are the Worst Infidels]

These religious liberals are the worst infidels in many ways in the country; and some of them are filling pulpits down South. They do not believe the Bible any longer; so it does not do any good to quote it to them. They have gone over to modernism, and they are leading the white people astray at the same time; and they are leading colored Christians astray. But every good, substantial, Bible-believing, intelligent, orthodox Christian can read the Word of God and know that what is happening in the South now is not of God.

[God Segregated the Jews Because of His Purpose, Not Their Inferiority]

God gave every race something. He gave the Africans something. He gave the Chinese something that he did not give the Japanese. He gave races certain things. He chose the Jews. They are the most wonderful people who ever lived in the world. God chose them; and God segregated them, not because they were inferior but because He had a purpose for that race.

God Almighty had a purpose for the Jewish race; and for that purpose to be carried out, He had to separate them from among the nations of the earth. God chose Israel; and through the loins of Israel, He brought us the Messiah. He gave us the Bible through Israel. The Jews have outlived all the nations. They have been scattered over the face of the earth, and they have kept their racial identity through the years. You will find the Jew in London, the Jew in New York, the Jew in San Francisco, the Jew in Tokyo, the Jew in Hong Kong. I congratulate them. I am a friend of the Jew. I believe that the Covenant that God made with Abraham holds good until this day, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee. . . .”

The Jews are back in Palestine with a Government today. God scattered them, but He brought them back to their homeland. I am for them, and I am for their homeland and for their Government. I do not agree with them about Jesus. I know Jesus Christ was the Son of God; and I know that when Jesus Christ comes back again, He will be the King of the Jews and will be accepted and a nation will be born in a day, and Jerusalem will be the capital of the world. That is all in the Bible. It is clear as day.

[If You Are Against Racial Separation, You Are Against Almighty God]

Yes, God chose the Jews. If you are against segregation and against racial separation, then you are against God Almighty because He made racial separation in order to preserve the race through whom He could send the Messiah and through whom He could send the Bible. God is the author of segregation. God is the author of Jewish separation and Gentile separation and Japanese separation. God made of one blood all nations, but He also drew the boundary lines between races.

Of course, in America we do not have a serious problem with the Orient. If we had as many Chinese and Japanese as we have colored people in the South, we would run into the same problem; but we have no Oriental problem here in the South.

Some of the most wonderful people in the world are Chinese and some are Japanese; and some of the most wonderful people who ever breathed the breath of life are colored people. Every one of you white folks who are listening to me now have colored friends. I have, and I would fight for them; and you would, too. It has always been that way. Individually, we are friends. Racially, we are not at enmity; but we are separate races. We have lived here in the South through these years.

[Colored People Should Remember All That White People Have Done for Them]

After the Civil War the colored people wanted to build their schools and churches, and white friends made financial contribution to the building of these schools and churches. Back in those days it was not easy when the white folks were paying most of the taxes-don't you colored friends forget that when you are inclined to turn away from your white friends. You colored people might also remember that your ancestry in the South who were slaves breathed an atmosphere of culture back in those pre-Civil War days. Think of what your ancestors received in such an atmosphere. Think of the religion that they learned and how they found God in slavery days. Think of those old white preachers who preached to your colored ancestors when they were slaves.

Now listen, the time has come when we ought to sit down and go to thinking some things through in this country. And you colored people listening to me and you white people listening to me ought to keep your heads cool and your minds clear and your hearts warm and keep up these friendly relations we have had through the years. Do not let this outside, Communistic, Hellish influence disturb the friendly relation we have had in the South. The situation in the South had been better in recent years than it had ever been; and all of this agitation is going to set this country back in the South for twenty-five to fifty years. We are headed that way. We ought to rise up and begin to face this thing like we ought to face it as neighbors and fiends. Every one of you colored people know your white friends. All you white people know your colored friends. We have some of them, and we would not let anybody mistreat them if we could help it; and they would not let anybody mistreat us. It has always been that way in the South.

But racially we have separation in the Bible. Let's get that clear. Any race has a right to come to America. We do not mean that when we came over here we wiped out the line between races. We did not do that. We should have let the Africans stay in Africa instead of bringing them here for slaves, but did you colored people ever stop to think where you might have been if that had not happened? Now, you colored people listen to me. If you had not been brought over here and if your grandparents in slavery days had not heard that great preaching you might not even be a Christian. You might be over there in the jungles of Africa today, unsaved. But you are here in America where you have your own schools and your own churches and your own liberties and your own rights, with certain restrictions that God Almighty put about you-restrictions that are in line with the Word of God. The Jews have lived a separated race. They have been separated from the other races of the world. They have been miraculously preserved. Now they have a homeland. They are back there today, and what a wonderful thing is happening.

The time has come when we good folks down here in the South-the good colored people and the good white people-need to use our heads. We should not let this outside agitation disturb us down here. Now, listen just a minute. You colored people are entitled to good schools. You ought to have them. I would like for you to remember something. Just remember that the South went through reconstruction and had a hard time. It was not easy. Then remember something else, too. When your ancestors were slaves in the homes of these Southern people, they got a breath of culture that they could not have gotten even in the schoolrooms of America. They heard the old-time preachers. I have said many times that the greatest preachers who have lived since the Apostolic days were the preachers of the South-the preachers who preached to the colored people. And back there the slaves had the Gospel. They heard it and were converted. They were saved.

Many of these slave owners were godly, spiritual people. I remember hearing about when John Jasper was converted at a corn husking and began to shout. His master said, "John, what is the matter?" He said, "I have just been converted-been saved." "Well," he said, "I am a Christian, too. We are brothers." They shook hands. He said, "Now, John, you take a day off and go around and tell all the colored folks how you found the Lord. Take a day off and tell them."

[Colored People in White Churches]

Back in the old days when I began to preach, over sixty years ago, nearly every church I went to had a few old colored people who never did leave. They said, "We want to stay here. We got converted here and want to stay here." They were encouraged, and the white people helped build their churches. They stood by them through the years.

Now, you intelligent-thinking colored people know that you are with your friends. Do not lose your friends. Your friends are not somewhere else. They are right down here in this country. Remember that now.

[The Plan to Build a Bob Jones University for Colored People]

I have no axe to grind. I would like to tell you something. We had planned to build a school, just like Bob Jones University, here in the South for colored people. We wanted to build it. But we have run into this agitation now that makes it difficult, and the years are piling up. I do not suppose I will ever be able to build it. We wanted to build a great school where colored people could come and get all the culture that we offer here at Bob Jones University. We would not have face the problems that are faced where there is integration. We wanted to build a place where Christian colored people could get their education in an atmosphere where their talents in music and speech and art and all could be preserved and handed down. We wanted to build that kind of a school. We had that in mind until all this agitation started. Now we have a mess on our hands, and it is spreading out over this country.

[White Folks Need to Remember Their Good Old Colored Friends]

You white folks listen to me. Just remember the good, old, colored friends you had in the days gone by. I remember mine. I remember that old, colored woman who was with my wife's grandmother when she died. She used to be a nurse in the home way back in slavery days. I remember how my wife's grandmother said the happiest day she ever saw was when the slaves were freed. She owned hundreds of them, and she said, "I was so happy. I was afraid some of them would be lost, and I felt that God might hold me accountable." That spirit represented the Old South.

You say slavery was not right. Well, I say it was not right. I say the colored people should have been left over in Africa, and we should have sent missionaries over there and got them converted. That is what we should have done. But we could not have converted them as fast that way; and God makes the wrath of men to praise Him. They were brought over here, and look what they have. They have their churches. They have a freedom here they do not have anywhere else in the world. They have an understanding here. Let's not wipe out the line of understanding.

[Keep Your Bible Where It Belongs]

Now, I am appealing to you colored people and to you white people. Let's use our heads. Let's be intelligent. Let's not try to kick the Bible off the center table. Keep your Bible where it belongs. When they tell you that God Almighty is not the author of the boundaries of nations, you tell them that is wrong. You tell them it is perfectly clear in the Bible that God made of one blood all nations but that He also fixed the bounds of their habitation. There is nothing unscriptural about that.

[Why Bringing a Few Foreigners Here Is Not Necessarily a Problem--But It Could Be]

Listen just a minute. We are trying to bring a few people from other lands here to Bob Jones University so we can educate them and help them. We have two Chinese gentlemen teaching here in this school. They are Christian men. They are intelligent men, and they understand what we are doing. They know where we are going. We honor and respect them.

There is no problem here. But it could be a problem. It could be a problem in California. It could be a problem anywhere. Whenever you get a situation that rubs out the line that God has drawn between races, whenever that happens, you are going to have trouble. That is what is happening today in this country.

[Communistic Agitation to Overthrow God's Established Order]

All this agitation is a Communistic agitation to overthrow the established order of God in this world. The Communistic influence is at work all about us. Certain people are disturbing this situation. They talk about the fact that we are going to have one world. We will never really have one world until this world heads up in God. We are not going to have one world by man's rubbing out the line that God has established. He is marking the lines, and you cannot rub them out and get away with it.

[Why Overthrowing God's Established Order Leads to Trouble]

The established order cannot be overthrown without having trouble. That is what wrecked Paradise. God set up the order of Paradise. He told Adam and Eve how to live and what food to eat and what not to eat. He drew the lines around that Garden; and when Adam and Eve crossed over the lines of God, thorns grew on roses. The first baby that was born was a murderer and killed his own brother. So it has gone down through the ages. It is man's rebellion (due to the fall) against a Holy God to overthrow the established order of God in this world.

[A Christian Can Have Fellowship with a Christian of Another Race, but Not Enter Marital Union with Another Race]

Now I can sit down with any Christian Japanese, and Christian Chinese, and Christian African, etc., anywhere in the world and as a Christian have fellowships. That is a different relationship. A Christian relationship does not mean a marriage relationship. You can be a Christian and have fellowship with people that you would not marry and that God does not want you to marry and that if you should marry you would be marrying outside the will of God. Why can't you see that? Why can't good, solid, substantial people who do not have any prejudices and do not have any hatred and do not have any bitterness see this? Let's approach this thing in a Christian way. Let's make the battle a Christian battle. Do not let people run over you by coming along and talking about the Universal Fatherhood of God and the Universal Brotherhood of man. There is no Universal Fatherhood of God and Universal Brotherhood of man. There is not a word about that in the Bible.

[Christians Are One in Christ, but Before Heaven We Are Not One Race or Nation]

We have three classes in the Bible. We have the Jew (a segregated race), the Gentile (and this includes everybody else), and the Church of God (meaning the Body of Christ, as it is used here). In the Church of God there are no Jews, no Gentiles, no white folks, no black folks. We are one in Christ. There is no trouble between a colored Christian and a white Christian. They operate as individuals and deal with each other as Christians who have their citizenship in Heaven. Up in Heaven there will be no boundaries. We will be one forever with Christ. But we are not one down here, as far as race is concerned and as far as nations are concerned. God said so, and Paul made it clear when he preached at Athens in the midst of Athenian culture. He said that God ". . . hath made of one blood all nations of men. . . ." But God has also done something else. He has fixed the bounds of their habitations.

[Certain Types of Evangelists Are Causing a Lot of This Agitation]

A lot of this agitation comes from evangelists of a certain type who have never gone into this situation but who are going up and down rubbing out the line between those who believe the Bible is the Word of God and those who believe the Bible just contains or may contain the Word of God. They do not get all of this "hot-air" stuff out of the Bible. It is not in the Bible. It is nothing in the world, but "hot-air" glamour with a sentimental, soap-bubble, anemic kind of religion that is not in the Word of God.

[The Good Old Days When People Followed God's Word]

I have been in this business all these years. I know something about it. I know what the Word of God teaches. I know what the great evangelists believed. I know how they stood through the years. We are facing serious dangers today-more serious than we can ever imagine. May God help us to see it and understand it and to be true to Him.

When you run into conflict with God's established order racially, you have trouble. You do not produce harmony. You produce destruction and trouble, and this nation is in the greatest danger it has ever been in in its history. We are facing dangers from abroad and dangers at home, and the reason is that we have got away from the Bible of our forefathers. The best Christians who ever put foot on this earth since the Apostolic days were the men and women in America back in the old days. Some of them owned slaves, and some of them did not; and some of them were slaves, and some of them were not. Back in those days they believed the Bible, and God called this nation into existence to be a witness to the world and to be true to the Word of God. Do not let these religious liberals blowing their bubbles of nothing over your head get you upset and disturbed. Let's get back to the Word of God and be sensible.

[Address to White Folks and Black Folks]

You white folks and you black folks listening to me this morning, if you are Christians, we are one in Christ. If you are yellow or red or whoever you are, if you are Christians, we are one in Christ. We can get along together as Christians, and we had better stand together as Christians.

[Address to Preacher]

You preachers, listen to me. I know what is going on. We are facing dangers in America. Enemies are being made now that are dividing this country as it has never been divided in its history. We are facing the greatest dangers we have ever faced, and the religious liberals are riding in now on the crest of a wave of what seems to be popular.

[Rubbing Out the Lines Between the Races Is Preparation for the AntiChrist]

If you are a Christian, you are not going to mistreat anybody. You will not mistreat a colored man or a white man or anybody else. Individually, we are one in Christ; but God has also fixed the boundaries of nations, and these lines cannot be rubbed out without having trouble. The darkest day the world has ever known will be when we have one world like they are talking about now. The line will be rubbed out, and the Antichrist will take over and sit down on the throne and rule the world for a little while; and there will be judgment and the cataclysmic curses found in the book of Revelation. We are going to face all this. May God help us to see it and to be true and faithful to Him.

[A Prayer]

Our heavenly Father, bless our country. We thank Thee for our ancestors. We thank Thee for the good, Christian people-white and black. We thank Thee for the ties that have bound these Christian white people and Christian colored people together through the years, and we thank Thee that white people who had a little more money helped them build their churches and stood by them and when they got sick, they helped them. No nation has ever prospered or been blessed like the colored people in the South. Help these colored Christian not to get swept away by all the propaganda that is being put out now. Help us to see this thing and to understand God's established order and to be one in Christ and to understand that God has fixed the boundaries of the nations so we would not have trouble and misunderstanding. Keep us by Thy power and use us for They glory, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

View Comments


39 thoughts on “Is Segregation Scriptural? A Radio Address from Bob Jones on Easter of 1960”

  1. Forxa Torino says:

    As an immigrant, I am always bemused by how Whites in the US see themselves as part of a homogenous collective. However, on the European Continent, the English mistreated the Irish so badly that the latter came to be known as the “negroes of Europe.” The Irish were deemed as racially suspect. Further, Hitler’s racial ideology was partly predicated on the racial inferiority of the Slavs; but the Germans had always held the Slavs in contempt, Hitler merely fully affirmed this racial ideology by having Germans enslave Poles, Russians, Czechs to work at Krupp Steel and Porsche. The Wehrmacht was also excessively brutal in the treatment of Slavic soldiers; Stalin responded by directing his Russian troops to rape German women as if to violate the women’s supposed pure raciam bloodline. So, I find it odd that Whites in America see themselves as a collective, as if the histories of the English and Irish and the Germans and Poles did not matter. Here in the US came to be a marker of racial purity; however,the same skin tone shared by Jews and Germans meant nothing for one group that had collectively set out to kill the other by the millions.

  2. The Larry King video with Bob Jones III from 2000 was simply amazing. Amazing. He said Bob Jones University never really preached and promoted the no-interracial-dating rule? …. That is just amazing…. Well, at least they were just doing their part to prevent the one-world government from taking over and subjecting the world to the coming AntiChrist (?????)

  3. Doug says:

    A few years back I attended a “racial reconciliation” event on the campus of UVA. One of the speakers—a well known African-American professor of theology—stunned me with what he said. After an outstanding message on how the diversity of races glorify God, he then proceeded to emphatically direct UVA students to interracially marry, and thus obliterate racial distinctions by breeding them out. I wrote the professor and questioned his contradictory message.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      I’m having trouble tracking with your logic, Doug. If one believes that God is glorified by a diversity of races, then one cannot celebrate or encourage interracial marriage?? How does one determine the purity of a “race” to begin with?

  4. Ruth E R says:

    Hi Justin, THANK YOU. This is a fascinating study in light of current events. To begin with, the idea of “race” is man-made. God created human beings. He created “One Race” as stated in Acts 17:26. Environmental factors brought out different shades and colors, as a way of protecting His favorite creation, so they they could obey him and “fill the earth.” the beauty of the United States is that we have gathered such a variety all together in one land, and God clearly LOVES variety. I stopped reading BJ, Sr.’s treatise for now, when I got to the part where he said that Chinese people ought to live in China. So was he about to say that all dark-skinned people, born and reared in the USA, belonged back on the continent of Africa? And then waht do you do with the Native Americans? For that matter, send all the palest, blue-eyed people to live in Norway or Scotland? Good grief.

  5. Doug says:

    If I remember correctly, the speaker’s message started by pointing out how the image of God was more accurately reflected through the diversity of races. Cool. Continuing, he ecouraged each individual to take pride in their ethnic identity. Still cool. Lastly, he proceeded to talk about racial issues and started exhorting the students to deliberately seek racially mixed marriages—with the specific intent of breeding out racial distinctions to eliminate the corresponding racial issues. This contradicted the first part of his message about glorifying God by our ethnic or racial identity and smacked of Nazi Germany. As for racially mixed marriages, it is one thing to marry in light of God’s word, to honor His purposes. It is quite another thing to marry acting on purely human motives—i.e. to create a race-neutral race. Christ is glorified by transformed hearts that love one another in spite of differences, not by trying to mask heart problems by eliminating the circumstances. Racially mixed marriages are not inherently wrong, but they can be wrong if formed with racially-charged motives.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      And you have met actual people who have gotten married for the “purely human motive” of creating a “race-neutral race”?? I’m glad to hear your affirmation that “Racially mixed marriage are not inherently wrong” (!).

      1. Doug says:

        Justin, I can only reason that after such an exhortation, some would respond accordingly. Thanks for the post. I’ve heard much about BJ Sr., but never knew where he really stood.

        1. Doug says:

          It has been observed in social studies involving college campuses, that members of ethnic groups tend to associate with others like themselves—birds of a feather flock together—indicating an innate inclination toward “racial” or “tribal” segregation.

          Sadly, BJ Sr. does not expound on the purpose of the innate tribal segregation described in Acts 17, which was imposed by God at Babel, the purpose of which was to thwart the tendency of man to set himself up as God. Tribalism works AGAINST the kingdom of man; it works FOR the Kingdom of God. It works toward man’s salvation.

          A proper biblical understanding of the races should lead us to the conclusion that the only way to live together in harmony, is through Christ, not humanistic philosophy, “Americanism,” or mere government force. We MUST be a Christian nation if we wish to see racial reconciliation.

          1. Devin Smith says:

            Babel was a judgment, not a perfect state. By the way, most biblical theologies and commentaries will point out that the themes of Babel are reversed at Pentecost. Which is to say, the Bible is diametrically opposed to what you’re saying. You’re just cherry-picking verses. Take the whole story.

            1. Doug says:

              Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We must be careful not to ignore Biblical teaching in regard to the races because of an extremist position. Race is real, like gender. Only in Christ are we made “a new race.” In the world, we should expect racial tensions.

            2. Doug says:

              In addition, it is primarily our form of communication or language that distinguishes us and makes us divide, not physical characteristics like skin color. Nations are distinguished primarily by their language—their system of communication and thought. It is “nations” to which the Lord frequently refers, not “races” as we are prone to say. Thus, the grand division of the “nations” occurred at Babel. Genesis 10:32. The grand reunification will only be in Christ—Ruler of the nations. This was the significance of Pentecost.

  6. To distill the position expressed by Bob Jones into a single word, he would today be called a kinist.

  7. Robb says:

    Did any one else notice that despite the fact he kept mentioning about the Lord’s defined boundaries, Jones never mentions Europeans breaking those boundaries we they came to America.

  8. Joshua Bolaji says:

    I would have loved to ask him: do the lines distinguish between American-Bavarians, Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, Nordic-Americans…? Wow! Fantastically flawed logic, and abominable hermeneutics. Reading this piece, and thank you Justin Taylor, has not produced anger in me, but pity and sadness that people bought into this.

  9. The provenance of this text is rather strange itself. Since Bob Jones University required every Freshman to read a copy of the sermon from 1960-1986, it was nearly impossible to find a copy. The BJU Archives wouldn’t let visitors photocopy or photograph the document! Until I made it completely public here:

    Read the comments there, folks. Wow. I am regularly surprised by the kinists that show up.

    I’m glad to see that Matzko is open about the text now. ;) You’re welcome, Jack.

    Here’s my account from an academic journal:

    I would argue that Bob Jones Sr.’s initial fight with Billy Graham was over segregation — a rather clear term that morphed into a coded and more palatable “separation.” This transition astounds me — that I was indoctrinated to separate from my fellow Christian under a supremacist code for “black.”

    Understanding how that happened and how I was persuaded by it is the motivation for my scholarship.

    Thanks, Justin. I appreciate you reaching out.

    Camille K. Lewis

  10. Curt Day says:

    It is obvious by some of the statements made to justify segregation that God was not the only object of worship for Christians like Bob Jones Sr.. But we should note how his views on race and the mixing of races was probably closer to the views of those who settled and founded our nation than the views many of us today.

    1. Doug says:

      I.e. noted “infidel” Thomas Jefferson:

      “Among the Romans emancipation required but one effort. The slave, when made free, might mix with, without staining the blood of his master. But with us a second is necessary, unknown to history. When freed, he is to be removed beyond the reach of mixture.”

      It should be noted that when God created the division of races or “nations” at Babel, it was not by way of a command for the people to obey. The division happened as it were, by innate force. And so it is today. There is no explicit command against racially mixed marriage. There is no sin.

  11. Dan Kreider says:

    Justin, I’m not sure why it’s helpful to revisit this. As an alumnus of BJU, I can testify that the school has sought to move beyond this issue repeatedly – and not by ignoring it. Have you read BJU’s public confession regarding racism and reconciliation, written during the tenure of Stephen Jones? They flat-out said they had been wrong. Not sure what else they ought to do.

    Some people would like to see nothing less than the immediate closure of the school, and their animus has nothing to do with a lofty defense of the gospel. Articles like this fan the flames. Yes, BJU was once racist. Yes, they have unequivocally repented. No, they’re nor racist now.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Dan, not only have I read the confession/apology—it’s mentioned and linked to in the post. In fact, if you read the post, I explicitly mention that this is not BJU’s position now and commend them for repudiating it. But this is an evangelical history blog, and one of our hopes here is to revisit the past (the good, the bad, and the ugly) to understand it better, and hopefully to learn lessons from it for today and for the future.

    2. Really Dan? You don’t know why it’s important to understand the history of white supremacy in our own religious history?

      We were taught that Billy Graham had done “more harm to the cause of Christ than anyone else.” And when we as grown ups, realize that that was based on his racial integration, that should give us pause.

  12. shanna says:

    Deeply grieving. When I was in a private fundamentalist high school, I wrote to BJU and asked them to explain their inter-racial dating rule. I asked, as a person who was half Asian and half Caucasian, what I would be expected to do if I attended their university. What I got in return was a horrible article explaining how God separated the races at the Tower of Babel and we shouldn’t mix them now; also, if I went to BJU, I could pick either Asian or Caucasian students to date, and I’d have to sign to that effect. I was so baffled by the lack of Biblical support for the controversial rule that I started to question other issues being held up as Biblical truth without clear support, which in God’s grace was one tiny detail in a thousand of them that led me to seeing more of him. We are all blind to many things, and thinking through this just makes me want his protection from walking in my own foolishness today.

    1. David B. says:

      Well said.

    2. That was probably this text from Marshall Neal which replaced the sermon above in 1986 as required reading:

      That was what I had to read as a student.

      Around that time, BJU faculty member Charles Smith interviewed with a BJU history major for this senior project. That interview is memorialized here:

      Dr. Smith was fired weeks after that interview, and Dr. Neal’s pamphlet was the new requirement.


  13. Jeff Rickel says:

    I married a wonderful woman from China and we have a very special child who glorifies God and was created in his image because of the way God shows his glory through the weak and those with special abilities (John 9). This shows how important it is not to base a theology or policy on one verse of Scripture but to apply sound hermeneutics and to be able to understand and apply central themes in the Bible and simple logic. King David (hence Jesus Christ) was the great grandson and great great grandson of mixed marriages, which Matthew 1 goes out of its way to specify.

    Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

  14. David B. says:

    Bob Jones arguments are absurd coming from a European in North America. But he would probably argue that since Europeans are here, that is now their God-established boundary. And the same logic would apply to Africans in America. So his argument ultimately comes down to keeping “races” seperate (no cultural integration) within the same country. To me, that sounds a lot like multiculturalism. But I thought that multiculturalism was a product of the left. Seems to me, then, that ol’ Bob Sr. is a leftist.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      An unexplored part of this is that Jones is operating from a man-made conception of “race” rather then the biblical idea of “ethnicity.” So I would imagine he would have no problem with Irish people marrying Scottish people, and their offspring moving to a different boundary/country like the US, because he would think of these two ethnic peoples as one “race,” sharing similar pigmentation, body structures, and facial features.

    2. David B. says:

      To clarify the logic of my sarcastic comment above, his “boundaries” argument (if consistently applied) implies that Africans in America have a fully equal claim to the land as Europeans do. This full equality negates any possibility of legalized racial segregation. Since the “God-established boundaries” cannot apply to a literal plot of land (both “races” can legitimately claim the land), the only option remaining is to delve into something akin to multiculturalism in order to keep the supposed boundaries God established.

      In all seriousness, I’m blown away by the lack of rigor in his argument. And this is coming from a university president? No wonder fundamentalists got accused of being anti-intellectual.

  15. Mr. Conservative says:

    Maybe this is a huge understatement: It seems to be that Billy Graham’s position has held up far better over time than Dr. Jones. I also think Graham’s position is based on a superior exegesis of scripture (i.e., parable of the Good Samaritan) than Jones (Acts 17). I am not persuaded by Jones’ argument. Did Joseph (from Genesis) marry an Egyptian wife and Jacob (Israel) blessed his children–Manasseh and Ephraim–and they (and their offspring) counted as tribes of Israel?

  16. Lori Thomas says:

    What a sad ignorance to have lived in, and believed so strongly. And a sad misuse of the Word of God.

  17. M says:

    Dear Justin,
    On one hand, I see the value of sharing this article and transcript as a historical example of Scripture grossly misapplied. But on the other, I don’t see the point of singling out a single institution and displaying its past sin, since then repented of and apologized for. Perhaps a better approach should have been to present a survey article of various institutions and organizations (including BJU) that had such similar ungodly racism in their pasts, e.g. the Southern Baptist Convention. Viewed by many as the “bastion of fundamentalism,” BJU played a significant role in the history of US evangelicalism and therefore affected and influenced many, for better or for worse. So yes, I see your point, Justin, in sharing this bit of history. However, you’ve thanked and credited Camille Lewis for her work in transcribing and making available the full “sermon” (I cringe to call such wrong teaching a sermon). How much do you know about Ms. Lewis? If you read much of her work, it will not take you long to realize how embittered she is against BJU. Do you really wish to highlight and promote the work of one who so vehemently sows discord among believers? Her criticism is far from constructive. I’m quite disappointed that you, as a representative of TGC, an organization that I love and respect, have furthered her destructive efforts by sharing her name and website. Sharing history and learning from past error is profitable; furthering Ms. Lewis’s (and others’) malice is not.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Thank you for your comment. I think it is important to acknowledge where I initially received this information, which is an important part of the scholarly endeavor: giving credit where credit is due. That does not imply an endorsement of everything that the scholar has written. I agree with some of what Dr. Lewis writes, and I disagree with others. I understand those who might be hurt or frustrated that I’ve focused on this particular address from Bob Jones Sr. But the alternative (as you suggest) would be only to do survey articles and never to look at specific, unabridged, primary sources. We should also note that the school apparently stood behind this piece as recently as 1986—which is not all that long ago. I mean no ill-will whatsoever toward the school. My overarching goal is to understand and to help others understand, not to make anyone look bad. But I can imagine that the family members of the white clergy members in Birmingham would feel similarly if I were to highlight MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail (which I have done in the past and will do so again). Some of that, I think, is the unfortunate consequence of doing public history with specificity.

    2. It’s Dr. Lewis, “M.” And Dr. Taylor is acting like a scholar, as am I. Ad hominem arguments are not relevant, and anonymous accusations are not logical. It’s a distraction from our history, M. A history that we need to confess and repent from.

      I stand by my evaluation of this address as does Dr. Taylor since he repeats my original conclusion that Bob Jones Sr. was delivering an Easter morning sermon as a reaction to Billy Graham’s racial integration. Let’s stick to the topic rather than dissecting the me.


    3. But since you did bring me up personally, “M,” here’s my story of being forced to resign from Bob Jones University. That happened nine years ago yesterday.

      It’s not a story of bitterness. It’s a story of God’s care and how He took a set of really difficult circumstances and made a path for me and my family.

      Judge for yourself, everybody. I don’t mind. God’s doing the work:


  18. And not only, by the way, did I make this speech public, I’m the historian who discovered and documented why it was that Jones gave the speech in the first place — as a reaction to Billy Graham — and when — as an Easter morning address.

    No one was saying that before I did in 2013:

    So that should be footnoted. I’m not sure where Justin discovered that fact or if Matzko is now admitting it himself. He wouldn’t have admitted it before I documented it.

  19. Also for the facts behind the 2008 Please Reconcile effort see this manuscript:

    Bob Jones University was extremely reluctant to say anything at all. We alumni pushed them to make a statement, and up until the statement, the administration still denied that we alumni were part of the process at all.

  20. lato says:

    What is particularly noteworthy in this address is the lack of affirmation of racial superiority but rather the insistence of Jones that all races should be respected and treated well. It is interesting how the narrative of some deny that part of this address and still claim that this was about racial superiority or white supremacy. I am glad to see Justin point that out.

    Jones was wrong, to be sure, but not for the reasons usually (mis)attributed to him.

  21. Justin Taylor says:

    I’m going to go ahead and close the comments on this thread. I have no interest in adjudicating or featuring a debate between Dr. Lewis and her critics. I have simply acknowledged her as the source for where I first got the text for this address. (One or two commenters suggested I get a different source—which betrays a lack of understanding of scholarly conventions for acknowledging sources!) I will reiterate that I have nothing against BJU. I have friends who are alumni, board members, etc. I have spent time on campus and was treated warmly. I have no desire to hurt the school. This is a piece of their history they have rightly repudiated, and I think it’s worth studying and featuring in a venue on evangelical history (which in my nomenclature, includes fundamentalism).

    A quick addendum: “Independent historian” refers to someone who conducts historical research on their own, not as part of an academic university or an institution. It does not imply that the historian is neutral or unbiased. I’m sorry this wasn’t clearer in my original comment.

Comments are closed.

Search this blog


Justin Taylor photo

Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

Justin Taylor's Books