Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bob Jones III Gives Tacit Approval of Chuck Phelps

In his chapel message on Tuesday, November 15, Bob Jones III addressed the difficulty some pastors are facing around the country, exhorting students to pray for their pastors. He then went on to address the situation at Penn State regarding Joe Paterno's bare minimum compliance with reporting policies of a young boy by one of his longtime friends, Jerry Sandusky. This is the point at which Bob Jones III decided to give a tacit endorsement of Chuck Phelps and his actions towards Tina Anderson in 1997 and then again when her story became public up through the rape trial of Ernie Willis.
Quotes from the message (within first 11 minutes):
"...I’ve been away a great deal this fall in church, after church, after church -- literally from coast to coast. An impression has accumulated on me in the process that is - that faithful, Bible preaching men of God have never been under such assault -- satanic assault -- as they are today..."
"And then there are the efforts of angry and bitter people who would not endure sound doctrine, who instead of turning the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon themselves when the word of God is preached, they turn it outward upon the messenger. They go on their blogs and Facebooks and they start defaming and ridiculing and even some times slandering their pastors, accusing them of all kinds of unjust things. And in the process of that it weighs heavily on you. You know, in all of that there is only one thing to do about any of that, is ignore it and not to read it -- you can’t do anything about it. It’s one of the curses of technology. There are some good parts of it but there are some curses too, and that is one of them. You just don’t pay any attention to them -- you go about your business. You know you are doing right in the eyes of God and that’s all that matters ..."
"I share that with you because I think it is indicative of the growing venom and hatred against Christians whose testimony is bright for the Lord and unashamed, and you are going to face that as these days come nearer to the coming of the Lord. We are warned of those days. We were told about those days in Paul’s epistles and we shouldn’t be surprised that these days have come upon us. These days when people will hire preachers who will tell them what they want to hear and tickle their ears. They don’t want the truth -- they want to be flattered. They want to hear what they want to hear and if they don’t hear that they will find another preacher somewhere. There is always another preacher in any community who will tell them what they want to hear. It’s just that way in the end times, and it goes on and on until the Lord returns. But this is not unusual -- Peter told us not to be surprised when these things happen. The Lord said when you are ridiculed as the prophets were, rejoice and be exceeding glad. They were persecuted ahead of you and you will be persecuted if you have a testimony for Christ..."
"Before I come to the message I would just like to say one more thing because I think that in times like these it’s necessary for the university to be on record. You have probably heard the last week about the scandal at Penn State. Joe Paterno, their venerable coach, has been involved in it. I saw a little blurb yesterday that said it is possible that he might even face criminal charges in this. One of their people in the athletic department years ago molested -- he was a sexual pervert -- he was accused of being a sexual pervert and molesting some boys. The charges are that the president of the university and the vice president, I think, and the athletic department including Joe Paterno knew about this and swept it under the rug and did nothing about it. If that is true, it is shameful and there should be some criminal actions taken against those -- not only the man who did those things -- but the person who covered them.
I just want to tell you for your own peace of mind that Bob Jones University doesn’t do that. There’s an elementary school here, a high school here, a university here, a graduate school here. Physical molestation -- sexual molestation -- it will not be swept under the rug. It never has been -- it’s not the way we operate. It’s always reported to the authorities. There are some very clear guidelines written for anybody employed here, including student workers who work with children about what will happen -- what we will do -- about what this institution will do if we hear of such activity as that. Nothing is swept under the rug. Nobody would be kept here who did despicable deeds like that. Nobody would be kept on the board or on the faculty or staff who did such things as that or swept things like that under the rug. It’s just not the way we do things. And so I just want you to know that because this was another educational institution and it’s been much talked about. I want you to know that you can just tell anybody that might say anything to you, that by the grace of God the institution I attend does not function that way. It never has. And I know that I speak for the president and all the officers of this institution that it never will..." [punctuation is my own, as best I could tell from his speaking]
 Dr. Bob III doesn't really elaborate on what he means by "sweeping something under the rug." There is an excellent response to what Dr. Bob III had to say in chapel by Darrell here:
"The two topics are addressed in conjunction because they are not unrelated. They're seeing the online backlash against their support of Phelps and questions concerning his placement on the board. They see this as "persecution" of both Phelps and themselves. 
Then they protest their innocence (and Phelps' innocence) by saying that they always report crimes to the police. Ergo, since Phelps reported Tina's rape to the police he therefore fulfilled his obligation and is innocent of any wrongdoing.
That would be all fine and good if it weren't for the pesky fact that Phelps stood in his church while a man confessed to "adultery" instead of "rape" and allowed that lie to stand. He then introduced Tina's confession as a completely unrelated matter. That was a cover-up. That was sweeping it under the rug. And Phelps is guilty of it in a moral if not a legal sense. 
Not that I ever expect BJU to admit this. But it's documented from multiple witnesses that this is, in fact, what happened. This makes Bob Jones III either 1) willfully ignorant or 2) a liar."
I'm astounded that Dr. Bob III is taking this path by defending someone who is not above reproach -- who has not shown evidence of repentance for his incorrect statements issued before the trial that were stated differently on the stand as a witness at the rape trial of Ernie Willis. Charles "Chuck" Phelps has never apologized to Tina or even made a statement at all to her since the conclusion of the trial. Regardless of his reasons for doing so, he should not be held in high regard and added to the board of Bob Jones University. If BJU will "separate" from other Christians over such issues as music, Billy Graham crusades/services, or any other "standard," then surely the way Chuck Phelps handled Tina Anderson should qualify for their discernment when considering him for their board.


  1. Darrell was right on! This JoeThese 2 cases are almost identical. Just like Joe Pa, Phelps reported to the authorities, but did nothing more than the bare essential. Pastors are held to a higher standard, not only legally, but morally. And what he did report was a 'consensual' relationship, not a rape. Then he sent Tina away within 2 weeks of reporting it to hide her away and nobody but Phelps, Olsen, and Tina's mother knew where she went. I am stunned they still support Phelps, or maybe I shouldn't be stunned. Business as usual?

  2. I couldn't read all of it made me want to throw up. How deceptive. They don't want to lose their places in the synagogue. So sad I have no words. All I can say is CULT and in my IFB cult we were to blame when the leader failed because we didn't pray. So glad to be free.

  3. I'm trying to clarify something. Is Bob Jones III stating here that they report ALL sexual abuse to the police or JUST if it involves children? They do NOT report sexual assaults if they are committed against an adult (which would include their university students), so if this is what he is stating, it is completely untrue.

  4. I am an alumnus of the university and I am absolutely outraged at the statement that Dr. Bob III made in chapel. In my experience - every problem that I faced at the University was swept under the rug. Including one incident where a teacher was inappropriately treating the freshmen and sophomore girls in his class. As a student I did not feel supported or protected.