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engaged in a controversy about the propriety of theological conservatives cooperating with theological liberals to support evangelistic campaigns, a controversy that widened an already growing rift between separatist fundamentalists and other evangelicals.
Negative publicity caused by the dispute precipitated a decline in BJU enrollment of about 10% in the years 1956–59, and seven members of the university board (of about a hundred) also resigned in support of Graham, including Graham himself and two of his staff members.
Children of church members were attending college, only to reject the faith of their parents.
Jones later recalled that in 1924, his friend William Jennings Bryan had leaned over to him at a Bible conference service in Winona Lake, Indiana, and said, "If schools and colleges do not quit teaching evolution as a fact, we are going to become a nation of atheists." While he himself was not a college graduate, Jones grew determined to found a college, and on September 12, 1927, he opened Bob Jones College in Panama City, with 88 students.
The university's nursing major is approved by the South Carolina State Board of Nursing, and a BJU graduate with a BSN is eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination to become a registered nurse.
In 1944, Jones wrote to John Walvoord of Dallas Theological Seminary that while the university had "no objection to educational work highly standardized….
The university requires use of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible in its services and classrooms, but it does not hold that the KJV is the only acceptable English translation or that it has the same authority as the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.
The King-James-Only Movement—or more correctly, movements, since it has many variations—became a divisive force in fundamentalism only as conservative modern Bible translations, such as the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the New International Version (NIV), began to appear in the 1970s.
Though he had served as Acting President as early as 1934, Jones' son, Bob Jones, Jr.
Candidate status—effectively, accreditation—was obtained in April 2005, and full membership in the Association was conferred in November 2006. After BJU lost the decision in Bob Jones University v. The year following the Court decision, contributions to the university declined by 13 percent.
In 2017, rated BJU as #2 in Best Four-Year College in South Carolina; rated it #3 Best Private College in South Carolina; and Christian University Online rated it #3 Most Affordable Christian College in the U. Although BJU had admitted Asians and other ethnic groups from its inception, it did not enroll Africans or African-American students until 1971. In 2000, following a media uproar prompted by the visit of presidential candidate George W. In 2008, the university declared itself "profoundly sorry" for having allowed "institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful".
Others take ministry positions straight from college, and rising juniors participate in a church internship program to prepare them for the pastoral ministry.
In 1995 there were 1,290 BJU graduates serving as senior or associate pastors in churches across the United States.