Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 2, 1949

Jim Cope And Florida Christian College

As our readers are well aware, the Bible Banner and the Gospel Guardian have consistently fought the idea of putting the colleges into the church budgets. We have sought to make it clear all along that we are not opposed to "Christian education" (We do not feel it right to restrict that term to the work done by the schools), and that we recognize the right of individual Christians to operate, promote, and contribute to schools of this sort. As we said in the original statement, "We are not 'anti' anything except anti-wrong"'.

It gives us a great deal of pleasure, therefore, to publish the following letter from Brother James R. Cope, newly elected president of Florida Christian College. The letter speaks for itself. It certainly sets forth the position which we believe to be scriptural. If all the "schools among us" had long since been as forthright and candid in their statement of, and adherence to, such a policy, we believe considerable misgivings could have been spared the brotherhood, and that much greater confidence could now be felt in their intentions.

With Florida Christian College adhering to the positions outlined in Brother Cope's letter, we feel she will deserve, and will receive, the wholehearted support of a grateful brotherhood. Christian parents can send their children to such a school with confidence and assurance.

But here is the letter:

Dear Brother Tant:

As you know I am to assume my responsibilities in connection with Florida Christian College, Tampa, Florida, July 1. I am sure that my brethren are looking our way with mingled feelings—some with confidence, some with misgivings, and some just wondering. Occasionally you will be asked your opinion concerning the school; hence, this letter for your own information and brethren who may be asking.

(1) Contributions from churches. Florida Christian college will not solicit contributions from churches nor will it accept them.

(2) Faculty. Every member of the teaching staff will be sound in faith and in good standing with his home congregation.

(3) Attitude toward other schools. It is our hope to be cordial toward other schools operated by Christians, but completely separate from them organically. We do not aim to be dictatorial toward any other organization nor do we propose to be dictated to nor play politics with any individual or group.

(4) Criticism. We purpose to profit by the constructive criticism of loyal brethren without counting them our enemies when they disagree with us in matters of judgment. We deserve their rebukes should we err in matters of faith.

(5) Point of emphasis. Florida Christian College proposes to not only declare emphasis on the Bible but it intends to make that declaration true. Either the Bible penetrates every fiber of school life or it merely takes its place as just another study in our curriculum. God being our helper, we do not intend the latter to happen now or later. Every student must receive at least one lesson in God's word every regular school day. Not only so, but we aim to make the Bible the chief consideration in every activity. If we fail in this, we shall fail in the purpose for which the school was founded.

(6) Preacher training. While we expect to have academic work accepted as readily by other educational institutions, we make no apology to anybody for placing emphasis on the teaching of young men desiring to preach the gospel and others desirous of doing religious work We believe that the safety, security, and soundness of the church depend upon the kind and amount of teaching and preaching done. Those who take the lead in this matter are elders and preachers, and unless they are thoroughly grounded in the faith, innovations, error and inertia will abound; hence, we expect to have a Bible Department second to none. Our students will be taught the issues and how to meet them. It is inevitable that some hobbyists will come our way and in such event we hope to sober them; however, we sincerely desire as expect that none shall become a radical or hobbyist be cause he has attended Florida Christian College.

(7) Academic ambitions. We have no objections to any institution's desire to improve its educational standing by seeking entrance into any recognized accrediting organization or agency. In fact, in the future we would like to be so honored, but let the following be once for all known and understood: if Florida Christian College must surrender any principle prompting its founding an existence in order to obtain entrance into any secular or educational accrediting organization, those organization can go their way and we shall go our own. We do no propose to sell principle for popularity even if it means the closing of our doors never to open again.

The foregoing is a statement of my personal attitude and that of the Board of Directors concerning some matters on which I believe brethren should be informed. We stand in constant need of financial support, personal good will, and the prayers of God's people. The road ahead is a rugged one, our problems are many, and our responsibility staggering, yet with the support of faithful brethren: and the help of God we must not, we shall not—we cannot fail!

Cordially and faithfully, James R. Cope, President-Elect