As I was doing some research on Grace Baptist Church in Gaylord, Michigan and its pastor Jon Jenkins, I learned that the church operates Grace Baptist College, an unaccredited Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) institution. As I perused the college’s website, I came across their Student Handbook . Here are some of the rules that every student at Grace Baptist College is expected to obey:
1.4 Socializing, Dating, and Courtship Defined
Socializing is participating in activities where men and ladies mingle and fellowship—any casual conversation. Social privileges include any public conversation with a member of the opposite gender—for example: on a college activity, at a meal, at chapel, in Holy Grounds, at a group gathering, etc. NOTE: Students placed on Disciplinary “Social Probation” are not permitted in Holy Grounds,Student Union, Game Room, or Anderson Hall after 1:00 p.m. and are not permitted to attend scheduled activities.
Dating is a prearranged plan to be together for an extended period of time such as time spent together at church, the Student Union, or a college-sponsored activity. An exclusive dating relationship requires a Courting Pass.
Courtship is a commitment anticipating a potential future engagement. A Courting Pass is a safeguard ensuring parental involvement in the developing relationship. The pass is issued upon verbal consent from both sets of parents and approval from the Administration. (Courtship Pass request forms are available at the Receptionist Office.)
A commitment to be married.
1.5 General Socialization Rules
- (a) All dormitory and non-dormitory dating students must follow the same socializing guidelines.
- (b) Men should treat their dates with respect and kindness at all times.
- (c) No physical contact may occur between students of the opposite gender. A “6-inch rule” will be enforced. Demerits will be appropriate to the offense. 20 Demerits to Expulsion
- (d) Students of the opposite gender may not be in any room without an appropriate third person present. This would include but is not limited to the piano lab, library, chapel, and computer lab. 10 Demerits
- (e) Students of the opposite gender may not be outside together after dark. This includes Grace Baptist Church parking lots after church services and campus sidewalks after work dismissal. “Dark” will be set by the Administration. 10-25 Demerits
- (f) Students of the opposite gender may not be alone together in a car. (Siblings must obtain Administrative permission to ride together.) 10-50 Demerits
- (g) Members of the opposite gender may not loiter near nor go to a dormitory except for assigned work purposes with Administrative approval. 10 Demerits
- (h) Students may not date/court anyone who is not a Grace Baptist College student without parental and Administrative approval. If approval is given, all college dating/courting rules apply. Students will only be allowed to date people who are members of Grace Baptist Church or a church of like faith.
- (i) College students are not allowed to date high school students without both Administrative approval and written approval from all parents involved. (This exception is for local students only.) 10 Demerits
- (j) Students who serve in the Youth Ministry of Grace Baptist Church are not allowed to date teens in the youth group. 10 Demerits
- (k) Students who are dating/courting may not work on or ride the same bus route. 10 Demerits
- (l) Ladies may be walked to the dormitory to end a date as long as a third party is with the couple. No loitering at the close of dates is permitted near the dormitories. 5 Demerits
- (m) During off-campus college activities dating/courting couples must remain in the presence of a third party. 10 Demerits
- (n) Courting/engaged couples planning an off-campus date must have a pass signed by the Administration and a chaperone approved by the Vice President. A chaperone may be a student’s parent or a married college/church staff member. Demerits to Expulsion
- (o) Courting couples may not exceed one off-campus date per three-week period of a semester. Engaged couples may have up to the equivalent of one off-campus date per week.
- (p) Dating couples will not be issued passes for off-campus dates. (Passes may be granted when accompanied by parents or pastor with prior Administrative approval.)
- (q) Dormitory students may not socialize in an area home even when parents, staff, or faculty are present unless the activity has been approved by the Administration. 20 Demerits
- (r) Dating/courting couples may not stay in the same home overnight. Demerits to Expulsion
- (s) Social issues involving divorced students will be dealt with on an individual basis.
Is it any wonder that many IFB young adults who attend colleges like this are unable to function in the real world? They are taught to deny their sexuality and humanity. Normal human and sexual behaviors are considered sinful. Is it any wonder that there is so much sexual dysfunction in IFB churches? Students are never allowed to grow up. They are never forced to deal with sexual want and desire. They are just told over and over: don’t touch, don’t look.
Attending colleges like Grace often causes psychological dysfunction and damage. These kind of colleges attempt to force a false reality on students, and when students rebel and disobey they are labeled sinners, given demerits, and, if warranted, expelled from college. How can this kind of environment be mentally, emotionally, or spiritually good for students (that’s a rhetorical question)?