The criminal justice department will host its annual challenge coin ceremony May 5 at 4 p.m. in Levinson Hall.

Typically issued by the military and law enforcement, challenge coins are issued to distinguish and give honor.

“Law enforcement agencies throughout the country produce challenge coins as tokens of the professionalism and pride of their respective organizations,” said Dr. Mike Wilkie of the BJU criminal justice department.

“We give [a coin] to the seniors as a recognition of their achieving their degree.  It is similar in nature to the nurse’s pinning ceremony in that regard.”

Challenge coins usually contain the organization’s insignia and are designed to reflect certain characteristics that are important to an organization.

The 21 coins that will be given to each member of this year’s senior criminal justice class will hold a variety of meanings, Wilkie said.

Wilkie said the front of the coin is edged in gold, the traditional symbol of purity. The gold will remind the seniors of their need to both represent Christ and act with integrity, Wilkie said.

Visually, the coins are emblazoned with the words “criminal justice,” a banner with Romans 13:4, and a pair of crossed swords.

Wilkie said the verse serves as a reminder of the biblical calling for justice: “For he is the minister of God to thee for good.

“But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”  (Rom. 13:4)

Wilkie explained the significance of the ceremony, since the event is not well known.

“The challenge coin presented to our seniors will be, in most cases, the first such coin they ever receive.  It should serve as a reminder to them not only of the law enforcement profession, but also as a reminder to represent the Lord and the University with a faithful testimony.”