What follows is an excerpt from a radio sermon preached Easter Sunday, 1960 by Bob Jones, Sr. — the founder of Bob Jones University (BJU). This sermon was reproduced in printed form and sold in the BJU bookstore. No blacks were permitted to attend the college until 1971 — three years after the death of Bob Jones, Sr. Even then, only married black students were permitted to enroll. Five years later, BJU allowed single blacks to enroll, but strengthened its rules against interracial dating and marriage, leading to the IRS revoking BJU’s tax exempt status. Wikipedia states:
In 1976, the Internal Revenue Service revoked the university’s tax exemption retroactively to December 1, 1970 on grounds that it was practicing racial discrimination. The case eventually was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1982. After BJU lost the decision in Bob Jones University v. United States (461 U.S. 574), the university chose to maintain its interracial dating policy and pay a million dollars in back taxes.
It would be twenty-four more years before BJU would finally allow blacks and whites to date and marry.
Bob Jones University regained its tax-exempt status in 2017.
Is Segregation Scriptural?
My friends, I am going to bring you today one of the most important and most remotely 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.
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.
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.
In recent years there has been a subtle, Satanic effort to undermined people’s faith in the Bible; and the devil has helped 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.
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. I am going to show you that the Bible is perfectly clear on races — just as clear as it can be.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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 were it and were converted. They were saved.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.