The years 1927 to 1947 were not only pivotal for the world, bringing the Great Depression and World War II, but also for Bob Jones College.
The urgency of the times was reflected in the spirit of the College. These were the beginning years, full of growth and passion, especially for the seminary students.
The ministerial classes were directed personally by Dr. Bob Jones Sr., founder and president of BJU, and the bond he and the ministerial students shared was exceptional. The president traveled often, preaching in different venues, but when he was on campus, Dr. Bob Jones Sr. was meeting with his “preacher boys.” They spent an hour together four evenings out of the week.
The passion that Dr. Bob Jones Sr. instilled in his first ministerial classes is the theme of Thursday’s Heritage Day chapel. Researched, written and directed by Mr. Dan Boone of video services, the video presentation will be held in Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium at the regular chapel time.
“I became impressed with the fervency of Dr. Bob Sr. and the ministerial students—of how that passion for the Gospel was transferred from Dr. Bob Sr. (who was for his entire life an evangelist) to these young men,” Mr. Boone said. He has titled the program “Fervent: Bob Jones Sr. and His Preacher Boys.”
Mr. Boone began researching the program two years ago. Since no one had previously compiled any information on the topic, Mr. Boone conducted almost all of the original research himself. He began by reading the local newspapers from 1927 to 1947, piecing together details and tidbits of information.
Besides newspaper clippings, Mr. Boone used the scrapbooks of former students to find photographs of student life in those times. Included in his production, the photos lend a personal, candid touch.
When Bob Jones College moved from Florida to Tennessee in 1933, most of the college’s records were lost. The six original preacher boys of the first ministerial class became faceless and nameless. Since beginning his research, however, Mr. Boone has discovered all six and has matched names with pictures of five of the six men.
Since the College had only a two-year program at the time, the preacher boys went on to earn their degrees at other colleges, and all of them became involved in full-time ministry.
Another of Mr. Boone’s greatest finds came from a scrapbook. “I actually have a photograph of preacher boys in coats and ties in the back of a truck as they were hitchhiking to town,” he said. When the College was located in Florida and most people didn’t own cars, the ministerial students would hitchhike all over the Florida panhandle, Alabama and Georgia to attend preaching engagements, demonstrating once again their devotion and fervency to the ministry.
Mr. Boone hopes Thursday’s Heritage Day chapel will not only be informative for students, but will also be inspiring, spreading Dr. Bob Sr.’s fervency to a new generation.