Unbiblical thinking always comes home to roost

[Emphasis mine.]

Dear BJU alumni and friends,

In 2008 BJU Press published The Christian and Drinking: A Biblical Perspective on Moderation and Abstinence by Dr. Randy Jaeggli, professor of Old Testament at Bob Jones University Seminary. The book is part of a series of short monographs published by the Seminary to help Bible-believing Christians apply biblical principles and discernment to difficult issues. Taking an inductive approach, Dr. Jaeggli presents Scriptural, medical and cultural evidencethat brings the reader to the conclusion that a Christian should totally abstain from the beverage use of alcohol.

A Problem
The sensitivity and complexity of the topic of the book, combined with the brevity (72 pp.) and inductive arrangement of it, have caused confusion for some readers. They have concluded from some select portions of the text that Dr. Jaeggli condones a Christian’s moderate use of alcohol, which is the opposite of what the book actually teaches. Articles have been written questioning Dr. Jaeggli’s research and Scriptural interpretations, Bob Jones University’s position on the use of alcohol has been questioned, and some of you—our alumni and friends—have asked for clarification.

Our Position
Let me assure you that the University’s position on alcohol has not changed throughout our history; BJU does not believe the Scripture condones the beverage use of alcohol to any degree by Bible-believing Christians. Please read our complete statement on alcohol use on our website: http://www.bju.edu/welcome/who-we-are/position-alcohol.php. All of the administration and Bible and Seminary faculty, including Dr. Jaeggli, fully support complete abstinence from alcohol and teach and preach this position. 

The Solution
While our position is clear and we stand by Dr. Jaeggli’s conclusion that Christians should completely abstain from alcohol, we do not want the University to be in a position of causing confusion or misunderstanding among our Christian brethren. Therefore, we are temporarily pulling the book from distribution. Our plan is to rewrite and edit those portions of the text that have been misunderstood and reissue the book. Please understand that the revised edition, while clarifying earlier in the book that the evidence leads a Scripturally-sensitive believer to an abstinence position, will continue to approach this issue in a way that differs from some approaches of the past,which have become less tenable over time. 

As alumni and friends you are a key part of the university family, and my purpose in writing this e-mail is to show you the University’s heart in this matter and to clarify our position. 

Stephen Jones
There are some days when I am (relatively) proud of my BJU heritage. Today is not one of them.

Dr Randy Jaeggli is a professor of OT studies at my alma mater, BJU. As part of the seminary’s continuing series of short booklets on difficult interpretation questions, he wrote a “biblical examination of the issue of alcohol” which was recently published by BJUP.  The Sword of the Lord crowd and others have thrown down the gauntlet to attack Jaeggli’s scholarship, integrity, mental capacity, and (*gasp*) separateness from the world.

I have not read the book. I understand from the various online rantings and ravings that Jaeggli came to the bluntly obvious conclusion that Scripture does not ever condemn the use of alcohol. Any argument for abstinence must be drawn from extra-biblical (cultural or medical) reasons.  Knowing Dr Jaeggli (I took a wonderful grad course on Isaiah from him in 1997), I am sure his scholarship was unquestionable. I don’t agree with his abstinence conclusion personally, but I respect him for putting the discussion back on extra-biblical grounds (which is the only viable option for someone who abstains). I certainly know plenty of people who choose not to drink, and as long as they don’t define that as a biblical imperative, we’re all good.

Not exactly on pins & needles, I have been waiting to see how the BJU administration would respond to the virulent attacks by radical Fundamentalists on Dr Jaeggli’s booklet.  Jaeggli stands on Scriptural footing, but of course, that is far from adequate in a world governed more by backbiting, character attacks, and the supremacy of tradition over biblical argumentation.  I had hoped Stephen (Jones — the 2nd son of Bob III) and the Board of Trustees would stand behind Jaeggli on the foundation of sound and accurate Scriptural exegesis.

While nothing in the above letter is particularly surprising, I am deeply saddened by the backpeddling. The language is laughable. Essentially — “because people are too dumb or ignorant of the principles of sound exegesis and inductive logic to understand that Jaeggli isn’t a drunken liberal, we are pulling the book from the Press catalog & the shelves until we can make Jaeggli (or someone else) edit into the text a clear, repetitive statement that the Bible demands abstinence. We do this in the hopes that the SOTL crowd won’t separate from us over their incorrect understanding of what the Bible actually says.”


So 1) people are too dumb to handle the Scripture for themselves;
2) when people misunderstand, BJU’s job is to remove well-written exegesis and replace it with “party-line” propaganda; and
3) when push comes to shove, keeping the constituency happy is THE most important priority for the Administration – not biblical truth.

Oh, and
4) Fundamentalists talk a lot about separating for the sake of theological/doctrinal purity — in fact, “separation” is THE highest virtue — yet, when the opportunity arises to draw a line about something truly biblical (not music or the length of one’s hair or third-degree associations), Fundamentalists capitulate again and again. The biblical doctrine will be sacrificed to maintain “friendships” with unbiblical factions.

I left Fundamentalism when I realized they cared more about syncopation than the purity of the doctrine of inspiration & preservation (the KJV/Received Text issue). This is yet another example of an unbiblical emphasis gone amok.

PS> While I’m here, I’ll mention the other reason I’m disappointed today in BJU:
I just ran across the latest version of the Graduate Bulletin (course catalog). … I’m sure these changes aren’t new, but the Masters degrees in the seminary have been reworked now to include “male” and “female” tracks.  When I got my MA in Bible (and granted, I was only the 3rd woman to ever earn the degree at the time, and #2 girl was a year ahead of me), we took everything the men did and benefited greatly from that level of intellectual stimulation.  Writing a sermon outline isn’t a male job.  Learning to exegete well is a gender-neutral task.

I highly doubt the woman’s exegesis course is as rigorous or challenging as the men’s.


Concert Review: Warped Tour 2009 (and tips for concert noobs)

Trevor begged for a ride to Warped Tour 09… and it’s summer… and a lot of my daytime plans fell through a couple weeks ago so I can’t really say i’m busy …
so I went.

Typical big-festival experience:
50% of the 70+ bans suck ass.
30% more are mediocre. Your ears don’t bleed or anything, but you wouldn’t pay to hear them.
15% are solid. No complaints. Not phenomenal, but fine.
5% are actually good and worth the price of your ticket.

Bands I saw & liked live (in order of best showmanship & entertainment value):
Chiodos (fantastic live show; great crowd)
Attack!Attack! (just crazy-nuts-fun)
Senses Fail (famous. well-played)
Streetlight Manifesto (they were ridiculously fun live — sax/trumpet/brass metal.  Nuts)

and i caught a couple songs by Devil Wears Prada.
Saw some other stuff that sucked balls.

Best T-shirt slogans of the day:
“Shakespeare Hates Your Emo Poems”
“Fat is the New Black”

Trevor & I were wearing the only BTBAM shirts we saw that day. Sad.

Lori’s Rules for Concert Attendees
(based on an ever-growing pile of experience)

First off, I need to list the cardinal rules I learned from Nate during my early show experiences. They’ve kept me alive… LOL:
–Always wear closed-toed shoes.
–Prepare to be hotter than you’ve ever been before in your life, for a LONG TIME
–Expect to smell horrible, horrible smells.
–Put your wallet in your front pocket and check for it regularly.
–Buy your T-shirt early in the evening … but don’t wear it if it’s a gift for someone else. 

My additions:
1. Expect to be stomped on, spit on, sweated on, smashed, and completely violated during the concert experience. If you can’t handle any of those, you probably shouldn’t go.

2. Girls who weigh more than about 125 pounds shouldn’t crowd surf. Guys can be a little heavier, but not much.  Otherwise, we (the crowd) WILL simply let your ass hit the ground because we’re tired of hauling your body weight over our heads during the show.

3. People who crowd-surf from the back should be shot. Or let fall.     …..Really, people? The rest of us are facing forward and paying attention to the show. We’re not expecting your 140 pound body to land on our heads, or to get kicked in the neck by your flailing limbs as you lurch forward on your claim to concert fame.

4. Girlfriends who come to concerts only because they wanna be with their boyfriends generally leave the pit area crying and traumatized. The look of fear on their faces is predictable and hilarious.  If you don’t like this kind of music, don’t come. Or at least don’t get up front and then freak out that you’re going to die.  Your boyfriend really wants to enjoy the band.  Yes, he likes the excuse to put his arm around you and feel you up … but in the end, he’d like to be able to listen to the music, not you whining about the experience.

5. Guys, if your girl doesn’t like your music, don’t fool yourself into thinking she’ll have a good time if she comes with you. She won’t. She’ll spend all her energy trying to pretend she’s enjoying this smelly, gross experience… but she isn’t… unless she’s really easy and you spend the whole night sucking face in a corner… which is pretty gross considering what all has probably happened in that same corner over the years. Ewwww. Do that at home. And leave her at home if she’s not a fan of metal/hxc/moshing music.

6. Smoking is a given. If you hate cigarettes, crowd, and loud noises, shows aren’t for you. And cigs smell hella lot better than BO & ass, which are your only other olfactory options at a rock show. Suck it up and drink more water while you’re there.  Or pass out cigarettes you like to those around you (I’ve seriously considered doing it).

7. Why do people come to these concerts in flip flops? I haven’t met a pair of flip flops yet that can handle 6 straight hours of standing plus jumping and kicking and getting stomped on and smashing into other people’s feet. We saw bloody body parts at Warped Tour….. plenty of damaged toenails.  And a guy who cracked his skull open in a mosh pit and started seizing. … That was scary. Had nothing to do w/ flip flops though.

Notable Sights at Warped Tour 09:
(no particular order)

–too many plus-sized girls in bikinis.  Bikinis shouldn’t be produced in anything above a size 8. We don’t want to see your fat. I’m sorry. You can wear something really flattering instead…. Go find it.
–lots of fathers who obviously don’t like the music but came with their kids anyway. They all looked so plumb tired by the end!! lol
–plenty of odd hair colors.  And the occasional kick-ass mohawk or other interesting hairstyle
–lots of Tshirts sporting the word f*ck. I’m pretty sure that word has lost its shock value for anyone under the age of 30.
–billions of Devil Wears Prada shirts. I think a lot of WT kids don’t actually like metal or hxc. They like one band; maybe two … and that makes them feel all kickass and scary…. *coughs*
–really, really nice people.  For real. Every crowd has its jerks, but I generally like the people who go to shows
–tons of really bad tattoos. “Bad” as in poorly drawn; poorly placed.  The 10% that are awesome are REALLY awesome though.

I hope to preserve my concert energy for this fall.  Muse/U2 on Oct 6th is gonna be so cool–can’t wait!  I’m hopingBTBAM will do their CD release in Charlotte again in late October/early November, hopefully NOT when we’re with the high schoolers in Boston. (That would be so ironically horrific. lol) Thrice releases their album (physical version) on Oct 13th…. would be nice to see them live sometime.  And I’d like another round of Opeth– please sir, can I have some more? lol