hat does it take for us to read a Bible for ourselves? Few people in history have had the opportunity to answer that question. Few had access to the Bible in their own language. Fewer still were literate. And only the very wealthy could obtain their own copies. To communicate the value of these copies, artists often elaborately illustrated them in a process called illumination. The gold leafing worked into the designs made these Bibles appear “illuminated,” as if they were literally giving off light.
Today we have the Word of God at our fingertips. We carry the Bible on our smartphones. Spare copies line the back of our church pews. A massive array of study tools are only a few clicks away. But easy access to the Bible does not ensure our understanding. We approach God’s Word with minds and hearts darkened by sin. We know God’s Word should be our lamp, but how can it guide us if we are blind? Only the Holy Spirit can open our eyes to the truths contained in the Scriptures. We call this necessary work illumination: the light of God on the hearts of men. Without illumination, we are like blind people learning about the sun. While we have unprecedented access to the Bible and more theological resources available than ever before, we are blind without God’s Spirit. Without illumination, we remain in darkness.
But Christ, the Light of the World, has provided a way for all to see His glory and be brought “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). Through His atoning work on the cross, Jesus Christ takes our blinding sin and gives us new eyes, hearts, and minds to believe and receive the Gospel. It is the Spirit’s work of illumination that enables us to see the person of Christ revealed to us in Scripture. It is the Spirit’s work of illumination that first awakens us to the goodness, beauty, and truth of the Gospel. It is His work of illumination that warms our affections to delight in His law. With this in mind, our prayer this year is the Psalmist’s: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from thy law” (Ps. 119:18). God has given us His Word, and He has not left us helpless to understand It. In this, the 90th year that God has granted BJU to continue, we celebrate His ongoing promise to shine in the hearts and minds of His people.
We recognize this year’s dedicatee for his leadership through important and historic University milestones and his commitment to the purpose and mission of BJU. His unquestioned love for and loyalty to BJU are evidenced not only through many decades of service to the University but also in his interactions with faculty, staff, and students alike.
Larry Jackson has been associated with BJU since he was a few months old. His parents moved from Durham, North Carolina, to Cleveland, Tennessee, to become employees of Bob Jones College. He was a year old when his family relocated to Greenville, where the College became Bob Jones University. Mr. Jackson graduated from Bob Jones Academy and went on to the University to earn his bachelor’s in Cinema in 1968 and his master’s in Cinema Production in 1971. In 2000 the BJU Alumni Association honored him as Alumnus of the Year.
After serving in the U.S. Army where he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Mr. Jackson began an over four-decade career in the marketing communication industry when he joined Ford Motor Company’s Public Affairs Department. In 1980 with fellow BJU grad Sam Dawson, he formed Jackson-Dawson Marketing Communications in Detroit, serving the major automotive companies. In 1985 he relocated to Greenville and opened a second Jackson-Dawson offce, which today is Jackson Marketing Group.
Mr. Jackson has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1982 and has served on the Board’s seven-person executive committee for nearly 14 years. In 2013 the Board unanimously con rmed its executive committee’s election of Larry Jackson as chairman of the Board of Trustees, a position he has held through early November 2016. Bob Jones III, Mr. Jackson’s predecessor, says, “Larry’s loving heart and understanding of the University’s mission give me the utmost confidence that he is called of God to this role.”
Larry Jackson skillfully shepherded the University through governance changes, including the election and investiture of a new president. He continues to provide needed, helpful, and wise counsel to the president and other executives. Steve Pettit, president of the University, says, “Larry Jackson is an unselfish person who understands the history and the culture of the University because he grew up here and who is a very wise leader. He is extremely approachable, and you know he’s committed to doing what is best for Bob Jones.”
Recognizing his love for the Lord Jesus Christ and his unquestioned love for and loyalty to Bob Jones University, we count it an honor to name Mr. Larry Jackson as the Vintage dedicatee for the 2016-17 academic year.
Left to Right:
MR. MARSHAL FRANKLIN
EXECUTIVE VP FOR OPERATIONS
MR. JOHN MATTHEWS
VP FOR ADVANCEMENT AND ALUMNI RELATIONS
DR. STEVE PETTIT
DR. GARY WEIER
PROVOST AND EXECUTIVE VP FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
DR. SAM HORN
EXECUTIVE VP FOR ENROLLMENT AND MINISTERIAL ADVANCEMENT