Island in the Lake of Fire: Bob Jones University, Fundamentalism, and the Separatist Movement

Mark Taylor Dallhouse, Author, Mark T. Dalhouse, Author University of Georgia Press $29.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1815-8
At Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., the Christianity preached by religious right figures such as Jerry Falwell is rejected--becase it is too liberal. Three generations of Bob Joneses have run this militantly fundamentalist and separatist institution, passing the role of university president from father to son. Dalhouse, who teaches history at Truman State University (formerly Northeast Missouri State University), draws on extensive primary sources to tell the story of BJU, and then places this story in the broader context of American evangelicalism and fundamentalism. He highlights the curiosities of the school (strict parietals for students, including bans on kissing and holding hands; an honorary doctorate awarded to segregationist Alabama governor George C. Wallace) along with its achievements (students' acceptance rate into recognized graduate schools and their success in business careers; a film production program that can claim a Cannes Film Festival award). He also shows how BJU has promoted a strict doctrine of separatism from theological liberalism, and has attacked even attempts by conservative Protestants to make common cause with conservative Catholics and Jews. The only great flaw is that the book is so short--there is clearly much more to say about BJU and its place as the self-anointed guardian of U.S. fundamentalism. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!