2 March, 2024

Johnson Bible College Changing Name to Johnson University

by | 6 May, 2011 | 8 comments

Last week, Johnson Bible College also announced a new name; the school will become Johnson University.

“Committing ourselves to be a Great Commission school means that we explore as many ways as possible to prepare persons for Great Commission work,” says the school”s Web site. “It also means that we must try to eliminate any barriers to that purpose. . . . This new name enables us to provide alumni greater access to “˜closed” and “˜limited access” countries, thus to most of the unreached/unevangelized world; recruit more students for Great Commission vocations by more accurately communicating our academic quality; facilitate acceptance of alumni into many graduate schools; and  communicate that we are a degree-granting institution to those in foreign countries where “˜college” means a “˜technical school.”””

The name change will officially take effect July 1. The school”s new Web site is www.JohnsonU.edu.


  1. Patrick Cline

    I know from my own experiences at Ghana Christian University as Dean of School of Community Development there will be those who will not agree with this change. Nonetheless, Johnson’s leadership has used impeccable and unassailable logic in its case for the name change. The American Christian Academe has much to offer the world in Science, Humanities, and Business along with traditional theological education and that one word, “university,” makes all the difference in terms of acceptance of credentials. Higher education is no different than any other business in that for it to survive there must be unique growth.

    The change we are seeing with the Restoration Movement colleges, e.g., Kentucky Christian University, Johnson University, and Cincinnati Christian University, etc. is, in my humble opinion, something long overdue.

    May God bless the leadership of these institutions with the wisdom necessary to become beacons of academic excellence for the honor and glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  2. Jessica Ladlee

    This whole paragraph is code for: We will take “Bible College” out of our title, let the entire secular world into our school, have them change and corrupt our morals and principles for fear of seeming “not loving” or “inclusive,” and give way to a new breed of pseudo-Christianity. This is ridiculous and the biggest put-on I have ever read. You mean to tell me that previous alumni have not gotten into the best graduate schools, and they are just now seeing this problem by changing the school’s name? OUTRAGEOUS.

  3. Patrick Cline

    Jessica, what is in a name? What about your name connotes a Christian ethos? Names are mere words and we all know their value in the mind of God. Yet, man is who we are trying to reach for Christ. And to man words have power and meaning.

    To answer your question about bible college graduates not getting into the best graduate schools, the answer is yes. The reality is that if a decision-maker in some schools, especially those in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, see anything than implies Christianity in the name of the college an instant judgment is the result. Just look at your own evaluation for confirmation in how people make snap judgments on names. You are being quite presumptuous in your assertions that just because a word is missing in the name of a college, its moral foundations will crumble.

    Is your faith so weak that you believe you cannot interact with sinners with the intent to teach them about a risen Savior? Did not Jesus join tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners? Paul lived among the sinners of Ephesus to plant the Way there. Faith requires one to take risks for God. If the leadership can maintain a Christian ethos on campus then the risks you allude to are negligent. Hence the reason for my prayer. Instead of beating down our college leadership you should be praying for them.

    For far too long Bible colleges neglected the power of the Holy Spirit in them by retreating to academic enclaves of theology, ignoring the sciences, economics, sociology, etc. The result of such is the current moral condition of our society. Christian academics fed off each other in the safety of church and bible only colleges, instead of feeding the poor of spirit with the Truth. Jessica, let go of your fear and replace it with prayer, or better yet, join the Christian academic in the front lines of social restoration.

  4. jam

    Patrick, you state,

    To answer your question about bible college graduates not getting into the best graduate schools, the answer is yes. The reality is that if a decision-maker in some schools, especially those in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, see anything than implies Christianity in the name of the college an instant judgment is the result.

    It is bit naive to think that “decision-makers” at “the best graduate schools” at home and abroad will not Google the names of schools, colleges, and universities that they are not familiar with prior to admitting a graduate from that institution. So, I will grant your point that an instant rejection may not occur. But, it is more than a bit naïve to think that graduates Johnson or any of the other new universities can hide their Christianity from competent graduate school admission personnel, let alone the faculty, behind such a name change ““ at least for long.

    Besides, and I speak from experience, it is much more difficult to finish a graduate program at a so called secular institution once one”™s Christian commitment is witnessed in class discussion and in papers than gaining admission.

  5. Al Edmonds

    We want to remove Christian from the name of our institution so folks won’t know we are affiliated with Christ. Hmm. Is something wrong here?

  6. Laura

    I went to JBC and I’ll never forget the atmosphere of it. Being truly centered around Jesus. I read all the arguments in different places for and against. But a little voice inside keeps saying “…but they took the word BIBLE out of the name” — What does that say??? To me, it says a lot. And not in a positive way. I don’t think Johnson should change for the world. I think Johnson should stand for something higher.

  7. Al Forthman

    Open reply to Brother Al Edmonds and Sister Laura,

    First, my bona fides – I am the spouse and the parent of JBC alums. I admit, removing the word “Bible” from the title was jarring to me, too (although Brother Al Edmonds may have his institutions confused, I understand his point).

    It is entirely possible that you could do all of the research that was done by Dr. Weedman and others and come to a different conclusion – that the name “Bible” was not a detriment to the fulfillment of the great commission. You could conclude that the old name is a help, not a hindrance, to gain access to “difficult” countries. However, you would have to conclude that another conclusion was at least reasonable.

    As I understand it, the name change is intended to serve two ends – enabling access to such difficult countries, and proper recognition of the work done by the students (by changing “College” to “University”). This was what they said they were trying to achieve. If there was something more devious intended, then we will surely see in the years to come. I’m inclined to take Dr. Weedman at his word. While I do not know him personally, I respect the Board and the Council of Seventy, and do not believe that they would line up behind a lie.

    I personally am overjoyed to see our schools examine carefully how to be “all things to all men that they might by all means gain some”. I am pleased to see the explosion of outreach in this generation to nations too long ignored, or thought “too difficult”.

    JBC, soon to be JU, need not bear the name “Bible” to bear the Bible to many places where it has never been!

  8. Scott Sutherland

    Johnson truly stands for something higher, namely reaching people for Jesus Christ. Frankly, it would be quite easier for Johnson University to operate under the over 100 year held name (originally founded as School of the Evangelists). We don’t face denied access here in the US. My wife teaches within the public school systems as can any JBC graduate here in the states. Turning to the global commission, denied access exists and is real. So a passionate teacher who loves Jesus spends 5 years of life equipping herself with a fully certified MA in a great program primarily desiring to carry the life and lifestyle of Jesus to China or Indonesia or… only to be denied access. It’s a real issue. And while traditional mission efforts are valid, so are these “tent making” efforts. Tent making efforts that integrate directly into the fabric of a community immediately. I continue to applaud this very strong decision. It would have been a whole lot easier to continue operating under a 100+ year name. In the meantime, I’ll continue to wear my full array of JBC t-shirts to the gym and the soccer fields. I don’t know if I’ll ever buy a JU t-shirt. Frankly, I don’t know that I like the change – but I sure do agree with it for the principled, mission critical, and right reasons.

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