The campus originally consisted of Old Main, a T-shaped brick building with white columns and curved front stairs. Classrooms, auditorium, administrative offices, library, dining room, and a swimming pool were on the ground floor. The second floor had dorm rooms, designed for two students each. A fallen down garage, a heating plant, a kitchen, and several other outbuildings were in the rear.
Massive work was needed to be ready for September. Virtually every window in the building needed to be replaced. The Cleveland Chamber of Commerce gave $10,000 and supplied volunteer work to help get the campus ready. Other donations and the fact that during the Depression labor was extremely cheap (skilled carpenters willing to work for 25 cents an hour) permitted BJC and BJA to open on schedule.
Over 700 people attended the September 6 opening meeting in the school’s auditorium. Local dignitaries spoke and Jones Sr. told the community of the school’s philosophy—“Education with God left out will ruin our civilization; education with God left out is worse than no education. The aim of Bob Jones College is to combine learning with the principles of Christ.”
Because of the influx of students later in the week, Jones Sr. indicated that the school was crowded, but “room will be made for all who come, even if members of the faculty have to be crowded out into private homes or nearby residences have to be engaged to house the overflow” (Turner, 57).
(Pinkston, W.S. (2016). A History of Bob Jones Academy.)
The old buildings in Cleveland, Tennessee, were greatly in need of repair—but with renewed hope, many people embraced the challenge to renovate the campus. And while Dr. Bob Sr. recognized the need for adequate buildings, he understood the greater importance of a biblical philosophy of education. To this day, BJA considers a philosophy founded on the Word of God to be of utmost importance in the education of children.
Turner, D.L (2002). Standing Without Apology. Greenville, SC: BJU Press.
With great anticipation, we look forward to the start of BJA’s 90th year in just two-and-a-half weeks! We look forward to getting to know our new families and trust that the Lord will unite our hearts together as we partner in the education of your children. Overall, our enrollment total has increased about 55 students, and we give a special welcome to over 150 new BJA students—for whom we praise the Lord!
The Markham Center renovation is nearly complete. For those who are new to BJA, the Markham Center is the high school “snack shop,” which is used by our students as a place for enjoying food, fellowship, and studying. I hope you all will make a point of stopping by this year to see the transformation.
Most important, we look forward to what God has in store for us this year as we seek to know Him better, to look to His Word for direction, and to challenge our students to follow Him faithfully. Please pray that God will teach us in the classrooms, in the hallways, and on the ball fields.
It has been said that the heart of education is the education of the heart. Our goal at Bob Jones Academy is to provide quality academics to prepare our students to be effective servants in their local churches and godly influences in society. Academics alone cannot do that—more importantly, a student needs to yield his heart to the Lord.
Many truths can be drawn from the familiar story of David and Goliath.
First, we need to fear the Lord—not our enemies. David did not fear the giant; he feared the Lord. It is so important that we not fear those enemies that Satan brings into our life to destroy us. They are real. Many enemies we can see. Yet we need to trust in the Lord, Whom we cannot see. That is faith.
When David protected his heart and gave it wholly to the Lord, the Lord blessed him and gave him victory. In fact, because of David’s stand, the once cowardly Israelites found courage to pursue the Philistines when they saw what God had done in David’s life. Oh, that we would see many Davids in the lives our students here at Bob Jones Academy!
Since the passing of the School-to-Work Opportunities Act in 1994, public schools have given significant attention to preparing students for the workplace. Certainly, this is an important focus of K-12 education. Learning how to make a living is important, and student success should translate into career success. Parents desire a good education for their children that will enable them to land a good job in a field that they enjoy. But are a good job, a comfortable home, and a happy family the highest aspirations in life? For many, they are—as Christians, however, we must not fall prey to this secular mindset. We must look beyond the temporal things of this world and recognize that we are citizens of the kingdom of God. Our King is sovereign. He will take care of us and has commissioned us with a higher calling.
Dr. Bob Jones Sr. used to say, “Jesus never taught men how to make a living; He taught men how to live.” This is the mission of Christian educators—teaching students how to live as Christ-honoring citizens of God’s kingdom while dwelling in this temporal, fallen world. Christ challenged His followers, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
That is why we integrate the Bible with every subject that is taught at BJA. We want our students to analyze and respond to life’s situations from a biblical worldview—whether it be instruction in the classroom, interaction in the hallways, or reactions on the ballfield. The promises of God give us hope. The principles of the Bible give us direction. The Person Jesus Christ gives us the motivation to love Him and others. Paul puts it this way, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11) Christ showed us how to live—He is the perfect example!
Yes, we endeavor to provide top-notch academics that prepare our students to make a living. But we recognize the more important “school-to-service” role to which God has called us—to challenge students to exalt the King and expand His kingdom.
Bob Jones Academy exists to assist like-minded Christian parents in challenging students to love Jesus Christ, to embrace God’s truth, to exercise integrity, to pursue excellence, and to serve others.
This week the news media reported that a historical local Baptist church decided by consensus in May to embrace homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The members overwhelming supported the new statement: “In all facets of the life and ministry of our church, including but not limited to membership, baptism, ordination, marriage, teaching, and committee/organizational leadership, First Baptist Greenville will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” Can this be happening right here in Greenville? The church allowed culture to dictate its beliefs rather than adhering to the clear teachings of Scripture.
As Christians we may be discouraged to see what is happening; but we ought not to despair, and we ought not to be surprised. In fact, these very issues highlight how relevant the Word of God is for us today. Let us step up to the responsibility of being salt and light in a dark, dark world. We have the message of hope. While we “wrestle…against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” we find our strength in the Lord and in His power and can stand firmly on the unshakable truths of God’s Word.
Be assured that at BJA we will continue to teach the truths of Scriptures which will prepare your students for the increasing onslaught that they face in today’s world. As public school teachers are pressured to talk about daddy and daddy, we will reinforce God’s timeless truths in spite of anticipated opposition. And as we do, we pray that God will use us “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in” Christ.
Please pray for us as we partner with you to provide an excellent, Bible-based education that will direct your children toward the Lord and empower them to shine as lights for God.