Most historians suggest that the neo-evangelical movement was born when the National Association of Evangelicals was established in 1942.
When Pope John Paul II visited Bob Jones University in 1987, Bob Jones Jr.said he would rather “speak to the devil himself” than meet with the Pope.Interesting fact: Billy Graham spent his first year of college at Bob Jones College (when it was located in Cleveland, Tennessee).He left the college because he could not handle the rules. As Adam Laats notes at his blog I Love You But You’re Going to Hell, Bob Jones and Wheaton College have not always been on the best of terms.The fundamentalist university did not allow black students until the 1970s and, at the time of Bush’s appearance, still banned interracial dating.
Mc Cain also criticized the school for its long history of anti-Catholicism.
There will always be some jealousy between these two giants of evangelical higher education, but it seems possible that the worst of the fundamentalist feud may have passed. He has uncovered some very interesting history on the relationship between these two schools. thesis at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (thanks Darryl Hart for being my second reader on that beast), but if you want to learn more about this school I recommend Mark Dalhouse’s Island in a Lake of Fire: Bob Jones University, Fundamentalism, and the Separatist Movement.
I don’t think we can make too much of BJU president Steven Pettit’s visit to Wheaton, but it is worth contextualizing. BJU no longer seems to use the term “fundamentalist” to describe the university.
But somebody snapped Steve’s picture, then wrote up an article in the Wheaton student paper. Laats and Fea are trading in guesswork and gossip over an event that has no significance at all.
Next thing you know, bloggers like Adam Laats and John Fea were speculating about some sort of rapprochement between Wheaton and Bob Jones University. BJU is not moving toward neoevangelicalism, and Wheaton certainly isn’t moving toward fundamentalism.
Just as BJU did in the 1980s, Wheaton insists that its religious beliefs must give it some leeway when it comes to federal rules.