Why did Bob Jones separate from John R. Rice?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Paul33, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. Paul33

    Paul33
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,434
    Likes Received:
    0
    What issues were involved in Bob Jones University separating from John R. Rice?

    How was the doctrine of separation applied in this case?
     
  2. foxrev

    foxrev
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow. Well, you may want to read the book "Fortress of Faith" on that one. John Rice was a very loving man and loved Bob Jones Sr. dearly. They were very, very close friends and Dr. Rice felt that he should be the next pres. of bju after Bob Sr. That did not happen. However, Rice kept his respect and love for Dr. Jones. Have a recording of him speaking admirably of him. Rice was a good man though and I had the priviledge to meet him when I was young and hear him preach.

    Don't really know if this was a "separation" issue per se though.

    Seems like bj3 wanted to mend fences with the Rice crowd back in 1987 when the annual "Sword Conference" was held on the campus of BJU. That seemed like a pretty honorable thing for bj3 to do and must have had his father's blessing as well as BJ Jr. was a speaker as well for the conference.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    I'm a newbie, so I don't know if this will go through, since this is an old thread. But I'll try.

    The kind words by Foxrev about John R. Rice are right on target. He was very loving, and he was close friends with Bob Jones Sr. and the whole Jones family until the whole thing went down in 1972.

    Not only did I know John R. Rice very well (I lived with him for a year), I was a student at BJU in 1972. Therefore I know that Foxrev is mistaken (not on purpose, no doubt).

    First of all, Dr. Rice had no desire to take over and become president of BJU. When he was young, before he became a preacher, he wanted to be a college English professor, and studied at the U. of Chicago grad school, but that desire disappeared once he found out what a joy it was to preach and win souls. Further, by the time Bob Jones, Jr., was made president of BJU in 1964, Rice was 67 years old with a very established, world-wide ministry at the Sword of the Lord (SOTL).

    I will not speculate on Bob, Jr's, private reasons for the split. I do know that Dr. Rice never wanted it in private or in public. There were two public reasons for the split: (1) the issue of what Rice called "secondary separation," and (2) the issue of what Jones called Rice's "mechanical dictation" theory of inspiration.

    (1) Jones, Jr., criticized John R. Rice's relationship with certain churches and people. Jones believed that you should separate not just from liberals, but from Christians who were not separated from sinners like you thought they should be. Rice wrote an article in the SOTL calling that "secondary separation," Jones responded with an "open letter" to pastors, etc.

    (2) Rice differed in a SOTL article with the position taken by BJU prof Stewart Custer in his book, "Does Inspiration Demand Inerrancy?" Jones retaliated by calling the position taken by Rice in his book, "Our God-Breathed Book the Bible," calling it "mechanical dictation" (though Rice specifically said in his book that he did not believe in mechanical dictation)."

    The articles flew both ways until Jones, Jr. wrote a pamphlet personally attacking Rice entitled, "Facts John R. Rice Will Not Face." At that point Rice said in private that he would not respond to personal attacks, and never again wrote publicly about his differences with Jones, Jr.

    In an interesting postlude, Jones, Jr., requested permission to attend Rice's funeral in 1980 and was told he could come if he didn't cause a fuss. Jones, Jr., attended and sat quietly, perhaps thinking of that friendship and the sadness of its destruction.

    God bless.

    John of Japan
     
  4. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,148
    Likes Received:
    1,309
    Excellent recap, John. The "secondary separation" issue arose around Billy Graham. Both Jones and Rice separated from Billy Graham as he sank further and further into Neo-Evangelicalism, but the time of that separation became an issue. As Jones separated first (1954) he considered Rice's continued relationship with Graham (Graham was on the board of the Sword of the Lord) to be a violation of his position on separation so Jones separated from Rice. However, when Rice separated from Graham (1957), the rift continued even though there was no longer a separation issue. It became an issue of personalities. [​IMG]
     
  5. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2000
    Messages:
    9,631
    Likes Received:
    310
    I think these brothers are examples of men who Dr. Dollar called Prima Donnas of Fundamentalism.
     
  6. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,148
    Likes Received:
    1,309
    I think so too. Dr. Dollar was refering to Shields, Riley, Norris, and Straton in his chapter by that title, but the next generation of Prima Donnas would certainly have included John R. Rice, and BJII. [​IMG]
     
  7. Brother Ian

    Brother Ian
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    TCassidy,

    I sent you a PM. Did you a get it?

    Thanks.
     
  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    TCassidy, are you sure you don't mean Bob, Sr., separated from Graham in 1954? Also, what is the 1954 date all about? The official biography of Bob, Sr., "Builder of Bridges," doesn't talk about a 1954 separation--not that I doubt your word, I just never heard of anything in 1954.

    My own information says that Jones, Jr., thought Rice should have separated from his old friend W. A. Criswell (and others of a similar ilk). As John R. used to tell the story, they met when Criswell as a boy heard John R. preach and saw his Baylor U. belt buckle. The boy Criswell said, "I'm going to go to Baylor and get me a buckle like that!" Criswell surrendered to preach in that meeting. Of course to criticize Rice on his associations with people in the SBC at that time was somewhat disingenuous, since BJU had SBC church members on its board at that time.

    On another note, yesterday while looking for something else I coincidentally found my file on the whole 1972 thing. Bob, Jr.'s, "A Statement From the Chancellor of Bob Jones University," starts out by saying, "Dr. Rice has given wide circulation to a letter which he wrote me on September 20, 1971, stating, in effect, that he was breaking with Bob Jones University and did not expect to come back to this campus." Bob, Jr., then describes the issues I have already mentioned.

    Jones closes his statement with, "We have not attacked Dr. Rice, and I have told the Bob Jones University students that we will not tolerate anyone in bob Jones University mounting such an attack." He certainly changed his view later with his personal attacks in "Facts John R. Rice Will Not Face."

    God bless.

    John of Japan

    [ September 29, 2005, 02:57 AM: Message edited by: John of Japan ]
     
  9. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,657
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear John of Japan,
    I think we are really going to enjoy your company here on the board.You seem to go back away and have some firsthand knowledge.
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    Yes, Plain Old Bill, I'm not an old man yet but I passed the start of middle age some time ago. And I've been around Fundamentalism all my life--have conversed with and heard preach most of the "big names" of the '50s through the '70s over the years.

    Since we've been in Japan all these years, though, I don't know much about current Fundamentalism. On furlough, people throw "famous" names of evangelists, etc., at me and I just don't know them! :confused:
     
  11. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think you are out of balance here. The Graham issue was resolved when Rice separated from Billy. However, Dr. Bob, Jr. did always consider Dr. Rice to be soft on separation.
     
  12. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think you are a little off here. The Graham issue was resolved when Rice separated from Billy but Dr. Bob, Jr. always did consider Dr. Rice to be soft on separation. The secondary separation issue had more to do with Dr. Rice publishing sermons of SBC preachers in the SOL.

    Dr. Bob, Jr. did publish a booklet defending the split. It was a number of factors really. For example, Dr. Bob, Jr. said that Dr. Rice recommended that a student attend TTU instead of BJU while Dr. Rice was still on the Board of BJU. He considered this disloyalty. (I know that he said this privately but I don't recall if he made this charge publicly.)

    Also, the Jones clan was caught in the fray between Dr. Rice and Dr. Charles Woodbridge. Both were speakers at the 1972 BJU Bible Conference, as I recall, and Woodbridge almost walked out. Woodbridge wrote a book critical of Rice that was published by Perry Rockwood. Dr. Bob, Jr. said that he and Dr. Bob, III both tried to keep Woodbridge from publishing it. They thought Woodbridge had agreed not to publish the book but he did anyway. Dr. Bob, Jr. suggested that his wife, who was much younger than Dr. Woodbridge, changed his mind.
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    You've covered things pretty well, paidagogos. You sound like you may have been there in '72 also.

    Having said that, which booklet you are referring to that Bob, Jr., brought out on the split? If you are referring to "Scriptural Separation, First and Second Degree," that was fairly balanced, but was only a six page leaflet. "Facts John R. Rice Will Not Face" was little more than a rehash, with a lot of rumor and innuendo added. I feel it is sad that Bob, Jr., hurt his reputation with that. Example--I don't know if this is what you are talking about when you mention Rice recommending someone to go to Temple, but that pamphlet accused Rice of bribing his grandson to go to Temple! It wasn't true--I knew the boy!

    You are on target about the Woodbridge part in the whole matter. As I recall, though, wasn't it the '71 conference where Jones and Woodbridge were both there?
     
  14. Pipedude

    Pipedude
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    0
    In addition to whatever errors were there, the booklet "Facts JRR Will Not Face" presented corrective documentation regarding some historical misstatements JRR was currently making. It's an important resource for understanding the split, even if understanding the split is not, itself, important.
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    Well, Pipedude, you may be right there. I have no idea where you'd get ahold of the thing, though. I don't have a copy myself.

    What historical misstatements in particular did you have in mind that JRR was making?

    As for whether understanding the split is important, it was important to those affected by it at the time, but not so much in the general scheme of church history, perhaps.
     
  16. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    "Facts John R. Rice Will Not Face" was the booklet. Yeah, it probably was in '71--I really don't remember the date but I think I can remember the girl that I dated that Bible Conference. ;)
     
  17. Pipedude

    Pipedude
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    0
    My copy is buried somewhere around here, so I will refrain from being as specific as I'd like to. I think I remember correctly, but I hesitate to affirm definitely.

    JRR, defending his philosophy of separation (which was not as narrow as BJU's), invoked Bob Jones, Sr. To counter this, the booklet reproduced letters showing that Sr. and JRR had often differed--JRR taking the less strict position--and only in response to Sr.'s corrections did JRR adhere to the stricter standard. This was so especially in the dispute over Billy Graham's alliances with the enemies of the gospel.

    JRR also was saying that Sr. had stayed in the Methodist Church. This was not the case. The date when he and BJ, Jr. pulled out was decades before what JRR was claiming (although I cannot recall specifically what JRR was claiming).
     
  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    Okay, I remember something about all of that. Thanks for the clarification.

    God bless.
     
  19. Pipedude

    Pipedude
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    0
    I found my copy [​IMG]

    JRR had claimed that Sr. was a Methodist until death, but he had stopped claiming it before the booklet was printed. BJ, Jr., in the booklet, referred to the fact as an example of how JRR would garble history, despite admonitions by others who knew the facts. He and BJ III had corrected JRR repeatedly to no avail, and finally sent him some documentation, which caused him to cease.

    Upon rereading the booklet, I found it to be an intriguing combination of incisive logic and personal failings. BJ obviously had the facts on his side, yet he couldn't refrain from occasional jibes that lack compelling support, and that reflect a mentality that seems mildly anachronistic now, thirty years later.
     
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    "Anachronistic." Interesting way to put it. Would you mean in an old-line Fundamentalist sense?

    In spite of his many obvious strengths (what an orator and actor!), Bob Jr. did have a little bit of nastiness in him which diminished him as a leader, in my opinion. That trait would have put off the casual reader of his booklet, who might then wonder what was true and what was rumor.

    I've never seen that nastiness in Bob III, who I do like and respect. I was invited to a BJU alumni meeting here in Japan years ago, though I only went there two years, and Bob III was very gracious, as he always has been.

    JRR, for his part, was more of an apologist than a theologian, though he did write good theology occasionally. And he was very gracious in public and private, a sign of greatness to me. However, if you wanted to debate him, you needed to come with a full load of ammunition. J. Frank Norris said about him (quoting some politician, I've heard), "John R. Rice was the kindest, gentlest man to ever stab a man in the back or scuttle a ship!" (Of course, I personally don't believe JRR did any back-stabbing!) Not that Norris didn't do his own share of backstabbing, including JRR's broad back!
     

Share This Page

Loading...