Thursday, November 27, 2008

How can God be wrong?

In 1972, a man named Harry McCall was attending Bob Jones University; in the bookstore, they sold a 32 page pamphlet called "Is Segregation Scriptural," written (you probaly guessed this) by Bob Jones, Sr. It was based on a message he'd sent out in 1960, in response to a little ruling called Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka (for those of you not up on your legal rulings, Brown declared that segregated schools, and therefore segregation, were unconstitutional).

Now, this little booklet (which Mr. McCall excerpts in a blog called Debunking Christianity) gets right to the point. In the words of Dr Jones (pater):
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 are dumb-some people are spiritually dumb; but when the Bible is clear, there is not any reason why everybody should not accept it.
Straightforward, isn't it? Keep that thought in mind. "The Bible is always right."

Dr. Jones then points out the following bit of Scripture (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."

He seems to base his entire argument on that point: God set up each race in the place He felt that they needed to be. Or to put it more bluntly,
God never meant to have one race. It was not His purpose at all. God has a purpose for each race. 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 hundreds and hundreds they could have gone back to Africa and got the Africans converted after the slavery days were over...

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 taken to them as God command His people to do.
Now is where the logic gets spectacularly twisted.
Now, you colored people listen to me. If you had not been bought 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. Bt 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.
See, that's the important point - as far as Dr Jones is concerned (definitely Jones pater - and probably fils, considering that he wouldn't allow the flag flown at half-staff when Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot), God wants the races kept separate. It's pretty plain in his closing 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 throughout 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 Christians 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 Thy glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
So, as you can see, segregation wasn't just the official policy of Bob Jones University: as far as the founders were concerned, it was the unerring word of God. (Keep that phrase in mind, too. "The unerring word of God.")

Let's move up a couple of decades, to the present day. Bob Jones University has reversed their former policies on race. On their website, they've posted the following statement:
On national television in March 2000, Bob Jones III, who was the university’s president until 2005, stated that BJU was wrong in not admitting African-American students before 1971, which sadly was a common practice of both public and private universities in the years prior to that time. On the same program, he announced the lifting of the University’s policy against interracial dating.

Our sincere desire is to exhibit a truly Christlike spirit and biblical position in these areas. Today, Bob Jones University enrolls students from all 50 states and nearly 50 countries, representing various ethnicities and cultures. The University solicits financial support for two scholarship funds for minority applicants, and the administration is committed to maintaining on the campus the racial and cultural diversity and harmony characteristic of the true Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
Remember those two important phrases? "The unerring word of God"? "The Bible is always right." It really doesn't matter whether you subscribe to them. The point is, BJU based a policy on their interpretation of a Biblical passage. Which they now admit was wrong.

Maybe, people's interpretation of the Bible aren't always right.

Now, let's tie this into current events. (Current events other than the recent racist resurrgence, that is.) In the middle of this pamphlet on segregation (which they now admit was wrong), you find the following statement.
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 hatred and do not have any bitterness see that?
Does anybody remember a little thing in California recently called Proposition 8?

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