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A Little Ocean Ambiance
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Doctrinal Writings
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Believing in Something

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Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Vassar, Michigan
A place called Bob Jones University has been in the news over and over again in recent weeks, and the publicity has not been good for the South Carolina religious school. They have been labeled racial and religious bigots by Republican presidential candidates and by every branch of the media. These charges are false, but Bob Jones is guilty of a crime considered by many far more sinister than even racism. It is the sin of believing in something.

Let me say that my children have attended the slandered school. Let me also say that racial and religious hatred are not part of their education. It would be easier to find a racist on the campus of the University of Michigan than at Bob Jones University. The rule against interracial dating (recently rescinded) must be understood in the light of the school's highly-regulated student life. People enroll at Bob Jones knowing that they are committing themselves to a campus experience thoroughly ordered according to fundamentalist standards. Dating is supervised and controlled in all its aspects. Couples cannot kiss, hold hands, or leave campus unchaperoned. The stipulation that dates may only be arranged with members of one's own race is not an unexpected aspect of the whole program. As the University president, Bob Jones III, said on television, the policy was of minor importance to the school. That's why it was dropped when Senator McCain and his media friends made it look like racism. That despised label was too much of a price to pay for this misunderstood rule. Any fair observer should look into this matter and find that the senator was just using this misrepresentation to smear Governor Bush.

Bob Jones University is anti-Catholic only in that it is Protestant. By definition, Protestants reject the Roman Catholic Church and much of its doctrine. Protestant creeds denounce the Pope in language identical to that supposedly used by officials at Bob Jones. The school is not anti- Catholic in the sense of advocating the persecution of Catholics. If it were, why would the administration invite Dr. Alan Keyes, a black Catholic running for President, to speak to the student body, as it did this year? Some Lutheran seminaries still speak to their students of the Catholic Church in traditional Protestant terms. Must politicians avoid Lutherans now because they are anti-Catholic? The problem we have in understanding this is the difficulty we have these days in finding real Protestants any more. Few spokesmen for mainline Protestant denominations still believe in Protestantism enough to disagree with Catholicism. Genuine conviction is rare today. It is hard to find anybody who believes in anything enough to disagree with anybody else. As a matter of fact, the Republican primaries were energized by excitement over a candidate that didn't disagree very much with the Democrats! The only "sin" left in our morally degenerate culture seems to be the sin of believing in something.

If you believe in something, then you will disagree with its opposite. If you disagree with anybody strongly, you may be called a bigot. And this attitude is called tolerance! Where is the tolerance of people who really believe? They are vilified, condemned, labeled, and shunned. Real tolerance will allow for differing opinions, conflicting religions, and unpopular beliefs. As long as true belief remains politically unacceptable, true believers of every kind can expect the worst treatment again and again. Wouldn't it be better to respect the right of Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Mormons, Amish and Adventists, and everybody else to believe in something?

Monthly Article
Sat, 18 Mar 2000
by Dr. Rick Flanders
currently Pastor of
Juniata Baptist Church
Juniata Baptist Church
5656 Washburn Road
Vassar, MI 48768
(517) 823-7848

Dr. Rick Flanders Biographical Data

Converted in 1963 through a radio ministry.
Earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bob Jones University.
Honorary D.D. from Pensacola Christian College.
Pastor at Juniata Baptist Church since 1973.
On BCPM Board, (Baptist Church Planting Ministry)
and also MACS. (Michigan Association of Christian School)

Articles published in the;
Sword of the Lord
Baptist Preacher,
Christian View of the News,
Pulpit Helps,
Maranatha Watchman
Church Bus News,
and other national periodicals.

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