Perhaps you have heard the news that Bob Jones University has received the findings from an independent firm involving problems the university had regarding dealing with sexual abuse allegations. The findings showed systemic problems dealing with these issues over many years. Since I have discussed many problems in this series, I want to take this opportunity to applaud BJU for allowing this independent probe to take place and mention a few lessons we might learn.
I realize they fired the firm at one point of the investigation, but I will still give credit for regaining composure and rehiring the firm they fired. They had to know some measure of unpleasant findings would come out, so no matter how it all went down, at the end of the day the probe was done. The study uncovered some embarrassing situations, but the positive I see is that steps of correction are much more likely to happen. Accountability has come and that is a good thing.
This situation teaches us that dealing with issues is the best, and only way, to regain respect. Too many churches and Bible colleges have felt that coverup is the better way. In the long run, that approach is doomed to failure as the Lord Himself instituted the law that sin cannot be effectively hidden. I am not suggesting that every sin has to be confessed to every person, but a direct dealing with the situation that handles all parties involved honestly and fairly is essential.
What this study of BJU is going to require is that who can counsel and the credentials they should have had better have a more sensible criteria. Apparently, one man with dubious credentials handled the bulk of their counseling of students with these serious problems.
The probe also uncovered an attitude that victims must suffer silently so as not to hurt the “man of God”. That is wrong on every level. Besides being a most unbiblical way to address an issue (At what point is he no longer a man of God?), it makes those who hold to it a party to the sin. Sadly, a public university would do a better job on that score, which is a shame for anything with the name Christian on it. Again, BJU has subjected itself to accountability in this critical area and I congratulate them for it. Those of us who point out these things have never wanted to destroy anyone, just see these egregious errors corrected.
Another thing we must learn is that some things are crimes and not involving the law is criminal itself. That is a liberty that some have imagined they possess when they actually do not. In other words, there are situations where our first step must be to call the police. Until we reach that point, we are going to face a deserved lack of trust.
My prayer is that BJU’s situation will usher in a new day of accountability and real Christian leadership. May God help us.
[I am breaking my habit of not naming names of those associated with the Independent Baptist world in this series because,ultimately, I am offering BJU praise.]
Find all articles in the series here.