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The Bob Jones III Non Apology Apology

bob jones III

Recently, thanks to a petition by the gay rights activist group BJUnity, Bob Jones III, chancellor of Bob Jones University, was forced to apologize for saying that homosexuals should be stoned to death. In 1980, Jones III told  the Associated Press (link no longer active):

“It would not be a bad idea to bring the swift justice today that was brought in Israel’s day against murder and rape and homosexuality. I guarantee it would solve the problem post-haste if homosexuals were stoned, if murderers were immediately killed as the Bible commands.”

According to WXLT, Jones III made this statement while “attending a meeting at the White House with other fundamentalist leaders to deliver a petition to protest extending the protections of the Civil Rights Act to homosexuals.”

While Jones III indeed apologizes for what he said (link no longer active), have his beliefs about homosexuality and same-sex marriage changed? Of course not. While this is certainty a small, hard-fought victory for BJUnity, the apology is meant to a be band-aid covering up the bigotry that is prevalent on the Bob Jones University campus. I am quite certain that, belief wise, the Jones’s and the administration of the University believe just like they always have. I am certain that they do not support equal protection under the law for gays. They remain steadfastly opposed to homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

BJUnity had this to say about the statement:

“This means a lot to us because it represents the beginning of a change in the rhetoric and conversation.”

I really wish this was true, but alas it is not. Bob Jones III, like his father and grandfather, remains a hateful bigot. He will certainly pay closer attention to what he says and where he says it, but any thought of the Jones’s or the University moving away from their beliefs about homosexuality is naïve. They remain unabashedly fundamentalist. They remain committed to inerrancy and literalism. In their mind, the Bible is THE standard for morality, and the Bible is clear: homosexuality is an abomination and the mark of a reprobate mind.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    • Avatar
      Becky Wiren

      That’s funny. There are all kinds of things in Leviticus that no Christian follows, such as stoning a disobedient child, no eating seafood, etc. I bet those Christians can give a good explanation why they don’t follow ALL of the things in the Bible.

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        Becky, there is a reason that Christians don’t follow Levitical Laws, and it’s a pretty simple one. They were for the Hebrews, nobody else. Read a Bible and understand it.

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          Becky Wiren

          That’s in Leviticus and most Christian denominations have decided it is no longer applicable, but not all. However, Christians ignore a lot in the New Testament that is inconvenient. Like divorce…which is supposed to happen only for one reason. And yet Christians get divorced at the same rate as everyone else.

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            You seem to be attributing superhuman abilities to mere mortals., i.e. Christians.

            Why would you hold a Christian to a higher standard than anybody else? Are they greater and more powerful? No, they are not. They are no better than you or I.

            One thing that atheists get caught up on is righteousness by works, and they turn it into a cornerstone of their reasoning. They look at at all the things that God revealed to us that make us unrighteous and they say, “this is impossible, and these Christians are all hypocrites”. Well, yes it is impossible and that’s the whole point God tries to make to us throughout the entire Bible. We cannot keep His level of righteousness. So, of course Christians get divorced. Christians also lie, steal, cheat, commit adultery, commit fornication and commit murder.

            Is this a reason for you not to believe Jesus? Absolutely not! Jesus said, our righteousness is like filthy rags to Him. No matter how good we try to be it will never be enough. The only thing that makes us righteous before an almighty God is to be covered by the blood of His Son.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            According to the Bible, aren’t Christians superior to unbelievers? After all, they have the mind of Christ and they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Did not Jesus say, be ye perfect, even as my father in heaven in perfect? If Christians have God living inside of them and they are no better morally or ethically than an atheist or a nonbeliever, why would one want to be a Christian? What benefit is there to being a Christian?

            I think James and I John make it clear that works play a central part in a person’s salvation. Didn’t James say, faith without works is dead? Didn’t John say, he that sinneth is of the devil? Please square these texts with your comment.

            There are actually at least four plans of salvation taught in the Bible. This is why there are so many sects. Each sect thinks they have the one true way of salvation. How do you know that your plan is correct?

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            Jesus’ call for us to be perfect is the only standard He could possibly set for us, and yet at the same time, it is an impossible standard to meet. It is the only standard our Lord could offer when we consider the possible alternatives. Could He have said, “Be, therefore, 75% unselfish, 90% chaste, 98% honest…”? Or how about, “Be loving and charitable to the extent that it feels right to you”? No, a righteous and loving God can neither accept sin, nor can He allow us — given our sinfulness — to set our own standards. If there is to be a judgement, and if there is pardon for sins, surely a loving God would show us beforehand by what measure we will be judged, and for what we need forgiveness. And yet this is truly an impossible standard; one that none of us will achieve in this life. Our sin nature, our tendency to act selfishly, runs too deep. Try as we will to eliminate all fleshly sins, we will soon find ourselves immersed in pride or judging others. Try to be charitable and give away all that we have, and we find ourselves preoccupied with ourselves and how we spend each dollar and each hour.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser

            So you don’t really believe what the Bible says? Remember you are the one who said I (we) just need to read the Bible. Sounds like you are doing a whole lot of ‘splaining.

          • Avatar
            Bruce Gerencser


            I was studying the Bible before you were born. That’s a fact.

            You seem to think that your interpretation is the one true interpretation. That’s great, I encourage you to start a sect/church/cult so people can get the one, true “Biblical” interpretation.


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    It always amazes me when people such as Bob Jones III, Pat Robertson, et al, make statements that they claim to believe, then when the heat is turned up, they apologize or hem and haw around what they said. If they were persons of integrity, they would stand by what they have said and suffer the consequences. The fact that they never do just shows how spineless they are and makes one wonder whether they really believe what they say they do. If they don’t believe it, they should keep their mouths shut and save themselves the embarrassment.

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    I think they are trying to rehabilitate their quite tarnished reputation by attempting to be a little less nasty to anyone who is not a white male. I don’t know if many of you saw the Grace report on sexual abuse and harassment that was done on BJU. It’s scary and fascinating at the same time. While secular universities have a long way to go on this issue as well, they are no where near as scary as the religious schools.

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