Language constantly changes. For instance, if you have
ever seen a copy of the 1611 King James translation, you know that the
English of that translation is completely incomprehensible to today's
English reader. We preach and teach from the King James translation here
at Bob Jones University, but it is the translation of 1769. Between 1611
and 1769, English changed drastically. It continues to change. Words
take on new meanings and associations.
Until the late 1940s, the strongest Bible believing Christians
distinguished themselves from religious liberals by the term
"Evangelicals." When the strongest Evangelical group of the
day, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), slowly began a
leftward turn, which has accelerated unto the present day, those who
wished to be more steadfast and less ecumenical began identifying
themselves as "Fundamentalists." Bob Jones University is
unashamedly Fundamentalist, but the term is beginning to carry an
onerous connotation with the world at large because of the media's
penchant for lumping Christian Fundamentalists in the same heap as
Islamic Fundamentalists. Instead of "Fundamentalism" defining
us as steadfast Bible believers, the term now carries overtones of
radicalism and terrorism. "Fundamentalist" evokes fear,
suspicion, and other repulsive connotations in its current usage. Many
of us who are separated unto Christ feel it is appropriate to find a new
label that will define us more positively and appropriately.
It is too early in the process to know what term may ultimately be
embraced by the majority, but I like "Preservationist." We
believe the Bible was verbally inspired and inerrant in the originals
and preserved in all languages where it has been carefully and literally
translated from the Hebrew and Greek.
Because the faith of Jesus Christ is always under attack and is the
subject of diabolic corruption, it is the believer's responsibility to
"earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the
saints" (Jude 3); to be "striving together for the faith of
the gospel" (Philippians 1:27); to "keep that which is
committed to thy trust" (I Timothy 6:20); and to be like Paul,
"set for the defence of the gospel" (Philippians 1:17). We
are, by these scriptural definitions, "Preservationists," are
Ecumenical butchers dismember the faith, doctrine by doctrine and
compromise by compromise, and leave a Christianity that bears no
resemblance to the biblical model. We who are biblical Preservationists
can express our resolve by the words from the songwriter who wrote:
Faith of our fathers! We will strive
To win all nations unto thee,
And through the truth that comes from God
Mankind shall then be truly free.
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!
For 75 years, this is what BJU has tried to be and, by God's grace,
always will be.
-- Bob Jones III
- President's Column, BJU Review, Spring, 2002