An Open Letter from Dr. Matt Olson of Northland International University

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Dear Friends in Ministry,

Thank you for your demonstration of true friendship over these past few months. So many of you have called, emailed, and written me. Yes, God has been doing great things. Yet, when He does, the pot gets stirred. Conflict often follows.

What God has been doing among us…

I thought it would be helpful for me to share a few thoughts concerning recent events at Northland as well as our process of thought. My prayer each day is that God would give us grace to work through our present opportunities and challenges in ways that fulfill His purposes for us and that please Him most. Never has there been a more exciting day to prepare this next generation for Great Commission living or to advance kingdom causes!

January 2008: I began praying for God to do “greater things” here at Northland. It seemed to me that the church as a whole had grown cold with the works of men and was crying out for the works of God to be manifest. I prayed to that end:

  1. For God to give us vision and clarity for what He wanted at Northland.
  2. For wisdom in navigating from where we were to where we needed to be.
  3. For boldness and grace—as we knew the process would be difficult.
  4. For abundant provision.
  5. For His name alone to be magnified.

In many ways God has been answering those prayers and has blessed Northland beyond our expectations. We felt, however, that this was only the beginning.

August 15, 2010: I began a forty day journey of fasting and prayer for the works of God to be manifested and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. I took this step of faith with some uncertainty—not really knowing how I would do or what God would do. I was certain that I was not content to coast through this final stretch of life and ministry without seeing God do something much more. I have been longing for “greater things.” Dr. Ollila, the administration, faculty, and staff joined me in this. I wish I could share all that has taken place. It has been an incredible time!

What I did not expect was the testing that would follow. Yet, now I realize this to be a familiar pattern in scripture and in history. So, we take it from the Lord and respond with strength and grace that He gives. Sometimes our motives and actions can be misunderstood and miscommunicated. I know that happens. I have always felt that the best response would be to communicate in a positive way. The following are a few points of clarification on what is happening at Northland:

1. The Way of Discipleship

We have superseded our demerit system with what we feel is a biblical model of discipleship. In reality, it is a re-commitment to a means of discipleship that has already been present at Northland. We just took away an artificial demerit system that was awkwardly laid on top of our student system of governance. Our standards and expectations remain the same. But, the way we confront and encourage is relational and the consequences practical. Quite honestly, it is a lot more work with this new way. But, it’s more biblical. And it already appears to be yielding better results. We see “The Way of Discipleship” in the spirit of Matthew 5 where Jesus “raised the bar” from the Old Testament law. We believe grace expects more—and deepens more. While we see our system as a “work in progress,” we have been very pleased with the responses of our students, faculty, and staff.

2. Our Music Philosophy

Philosophically, it is unchanged. Let me say it again…unchanged. What we have always been trying to do, and will continue to do into the future, is to make sure Northland’s practice of music (as with every aspect of the Christian life) is built principally on clear teachings from the Bible rather than on reactionary, extra-biblical reasoning that has proven to be troublingly insufficient when exported to cultures beyond American borders. We believe the Bible is sufficient to bring us to right and God-honoring positions regardless of time and culture. Even though we haven’t changed our music at a philosophical level, we are changing our music on a missional level. Where you will see changes is in our intent to expand our training to prepare students for worship and music globally. This only makes sense because, as you may have noticed, Northland International University has become more and more an international, global ministry with a passion to take the gospel where it is not proclaimed. Over 41% of the world’s population is still without a Gospel witness. This has become our students’ burden. Our Director of Fine Arts, Kevin Suiter, has recently informed us he does not believe he can take us forward in this way and thus has announced his plans to move on. We wish Kevin and Grace the best and thank them for the investments they have made here.

3. Our Guest Speakers

We invited two speakers that have generated some questions.

a. Rick Holland. Dr. Holland is the Executive Pastor at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where John MacArthur is senior pastor. Since we get many questions concerning John MacArthur and where he is in regard to fundamentalism, we decided that the best way to address this was to meet him face to face. In April of this year, Les Ollila, Doug McLachlan, Sam Horn, and I went to California and sat down with Dr. MacArthur, Rick Holland, and Phil Johnson (Executive Director of Grace to You). We had an excellent visit and found that while we did not agree on everything, we did agree on the most substantive issues of life and ministry. While we realize we function in different circles and with different constituencies, we appreciated what they were doing. I invited Rick to visit our campus to see what we were doing at Northland, meet with our Bible faculty, and speak in chapel. This was an opportunity to get to know one another and discuss significant issues of our day.

b. Bruce Ware. Dr. Ware is a professor at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville. He is a well-recognized teacher and author. We have invited him to teach half of an advanced-degree seminar on a specialty subject our leading pastors need to be fully versed in. Why? Because Dr. Ware has written so skillfully and authoritatively on this particular topic. This seminar is for experienced, mature pastors who are presently in ministry. We see this as appropriate in the academic context and the type of thing we have done in the past for the very same reasons. In fact, most seminaries bring adjunct professors in to address key issues that they believe helpful. Never has this been intended as a move to align with any other group.

We did not see that having these speakers would be a significant problem. Biblically, we worked through a process of decision making and felt these choices and the context in which they were made were consistent with what we have always believed. Knowing now that these decisions might be confusing, misunderstood, or miscommunicated, we would likely have planned differently. We have no desire to distract from our focus here or on the field of ministry.

We affirm that Northland stands in the historic tradition of Fundamentalism and is committed to remain as an independent, Baptist, separatist institution. We will do our best to serve the local church, which we believe is the primary institution ordained of God to carry out the Great Commission. We respect the autonomy of the local church, the priesthood of the believer, and individual soul liberty. We know that other Fundamentalists will develop different applications based on biblical authority and the principles that flow from it. We will do our best to defer to our brothers in Christ but refuse to be swayed by party politics, threats, and pressures. While deference brings unity, the fear of man paralyzes our ability to serve Christ. In the spirit of Galatians 1, we will serve Christ.

Sometimes I have to smile when I think about the politics in college ministry. Early on I found that I had to just keep it simple: do the right thing, keep a right spirit, communicate the best I can, and leave the results to God. That is all I can do. That’s what I will do. I am not disappointed with differing views and opinions or even challenges that come from healthy critics. These help me grow. What I do think needs to be confronted in our movement is the lack of biblical process in responding to one another when we have questions or disagreements.

We must keep our focus. A friend of mine shared this with me, and I found it to be a great encouragement:

Stick with your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let sectarians quarrel, let critics malign, let enemies accuse, let the devil do his worst; but see to it nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the work God has given you. He has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed. He has never bidden you to defend your character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood about yourself which Satan’s or God’s servants may start to peddle, or to track down every rumor that threatens your reputation. If you do these things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord. Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and rejected, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives; you may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends, and despised and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.”

If you have further questions or comments, please feel free to write or call me. I welcome that. We have never been more excited about our future than we are now. Doc O and I believe that God is moving in a very special way and that the evidence is seen in both the abundant blessing of God and in the attacks of the Devil. We have the greatest and most exciting opportunity in the world—preparing this next generation of servant leaders for Great Commission living. Pray with us as we move boldly forward for the cause of Christ.

Your friend and fellow servant,

MO

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Since 7/21/09 22:44:31
675 posts
Commendations

I commend Northland for exposing its students to such first-rate teachers and speakers. That is what a college experience should involve. Not that these speakers are even espousing controversial ideas -- but if they were, what safer environment to hear from them than in a fundamentalist college?
Hearing from the best and brightest is part of what you pay for when you plunk down that big chunk of change called college tuition. This should include having the opportunity to learn from world-class speakers who -- even though they may have some disagreement with a particular school -- nevertheless have enough expertise on a certain subject to merit their appearance to address that topic.
On the flip side, how many horror stories could we pull together regarding speakers who we heard in college chapel who were borderline heretics, but were considered "safe" because they were "fundamental." :Sp :Sp :Sp :Sp (I once heard one mock the hypostatic union.)
BTW -- in January Northland will host three speakers from Answers in Genesis on its campus: Terry Mortenson, Jason Lisle and Ken Ham. I think it's great -- great for the students and a good sign that fundamentalism is maturing. Biggrin

The views I express are purely my own. However, I am happy to promote the great ministries with which I work: I minister for www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. I do freelance writing for www.RegularBaptistPress.org. I speak through www.IMISOS.org.

Dan Burrell's picture
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Since 6/11/09 09:22:30
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Amen to everything Paul said.

Amen to everything Paul said. I couldn't have said it better.

Kudos to Matt Olsen and Northland for refusing to genuflect before petty critics and instead seem to be renewing a commitment to giving their charges a well-rounded education by teaching them how to think Biblically, not what to think politically.

Matt -- you don't need to worry about explaining yourself or responding to heel-nippers. Carry on and watch the Lord bless and students come to the great White North. I'm sure there are days when it feels like you are getting nibbled to death by ducks, but in the end, the institution you lead will produce strong grads because you are giving them a broader educational experience.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

WilliamD's picture
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Since 6/2/09 02:22:11
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I wonder...

I wonder that if schools like Northland get to cozy with Southern Baptist and Non-Denominational colleges - will they lose students to those schools and end up dying due to lack of enough of a fundamentalist distinction? This is what I think some might fear who disagree with Northland on this.

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Since 5/6/09 22:36:48
782 posts
Unfortunately, too many

Unfortunately, too many people in fundamentalism are plagued with a critical spirit that results in falsely lumping people and ministries into categories in which they do not belong and where friends become enemies. It also results in a mindset where one can only see the wrong in others but can't quite see the wrong in ourselves, or, it sees the wrongs in others as "worse" than the wrongs in ourselves.

As parents, this hypercritical environment does not help when it comes to leading our children in decisions as to which college they should attend. The only way parents and children will ever be able to make wise choices is to make visiting these campuses a high priority. By visiting the campuses and meeting their leaders, you will be able to filter out truth from the falsehoods out there in blogdom.

As pastors, I believe it is imperative to not jump to conclusions. The pressure for party loyalty, even in fundamentalism, can compete with our loyalty to the Lord and His Word.

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Since 5/6/09 22:36:48
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Oops, I'm sorry. I

Oops, I'm sorry. I overlooked the fact that Northland is not using a demerit system. I am not sure how you can ever encourage sanctification in the Christian college environment without demerits. :bigsmile:

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Since 6/2/09 06:23:23
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As I already emailed Dr Olson

As I already emailed Dr Olson and what he hinted at, a lot of this has always been true at Northland. Most of the things that have been coming from here lately seem to be just a reaffirmation of what has always been true, but not necessarily taught and displayed adequately by every faculty member.

Of course some things like the removal of the demerit system are new, but the attempt at heart change(discipleship) was always there. I know because I frequented the dean of men's office on many occasion, of my own accord and not. Smile

Only thing I could wish was that this happened while I was still there. And again, keep up the great work there.

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Since 3/6/10 08:09:31
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First Steps on the Path of Rapprochement

Several years ago I studied under Bruce Ware in a doctoral program and have a great appreciation for his work in certain areas. However, I know firsthand that he also embraces theological views that position him outside the parameters of Northland's doctrinal statement. Surely there is an obvious difference between using the man's published work and bringing him personally to the campus. There are men within fundamentalism who have equal or superior gifts (and yes, I know several).

A shared pulpit communicates substantial affinity. Eighteen-year-olds who inevitably tend toward hero-worship will never navigate the nuances that distinguish the position of the institution from that of the speaker. Consequently, these are the first steps on the path of rapprochement with conservative evangelicalism. I do not suggest that this is Matt's intention, but it certainly will be the result. To deny this, in my opinion, exhibits a degree of tone deafness to the lessons of history.

Some hastily applaud and justify these moves by pointing out the shameful fact that our institutions have used chapel sessions to expose our students to the worst that fundamentalism has to offer (poor theology and worse exegesis). Such an obvious fallacy carries no weight. The solution is relational consistency that clarifies and supports our biblical commitments rather than broadening the inconsistency so that confusion multiplies.

I am certain that these decisions will eventually prove unwise, prayer and fasting notwithstanding.

ST

Steven Thomas

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Since 7/27/09 10:43:57
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I applaud Northland and

I applaud Northland and brother Matt Olson in this. I pray God's blessing on their willingness to follow God's leading and be truly independent. Fundamentalists prize autonomy and independence, except when it means people break from the ranks in some sacred cow issue.

I am excited about the change with demerits and the desire to offer a quality education. The strong arm politics that is involved in the administration of Bible colleges on both spectrums of fundamentalism -- I've seen first hand. It's not pretty.

I applaud from a distance and appreciate their trajectory, and humility. May God raise up other courageous leaders who will serve within fundamentalism in ways faithful to God and not be afraid to pursue Christian unity when possible with other likeminded believers.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Ted Bigelow's picture
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Since 6/2/09 07:10:12
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Steven Thomas wrote: I am

Steven Thomas wrote:
I am certain that these decisions will eventually prove unwise, prayer and fasting notwithstanding.
ST

Hi Steve,

How will you be able to "eventually prove" that Northland's decisions were unwise? IOW, what measure will you use to show that their changes were unbiblical?

Just wondering...

Greg Linscott's picture
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Since 5/22/09 14:27:02
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Cross-Comment

Also posted in this thread: http://sharperiron.org/comment/21780#comment-21780

Matt Olson wrote:
We did not see that having these speakers would be a significant problem. Biblically, we worked through a process of decision making and felt these choices and the context in which they were made were consistent with what we have always believed. Knowing now that these decisions might be confusing, misunderstood, or miscommunicated, we would likely have planned differently. We have no desire to distract from our focus here or on the field of ministry.

Don Johnson wrote:
It is simply unbelievable that you didn’t see a huge negative reaction coming.

I think Don is right in this statement. Whether or not you agree with what Olson is doing at Northland, it seems incredibly naive at best to think that this would not evoke a response from Northland's established constituency, who were used to previously established practices that (for whatever reason) did not include practices or invitations such as have recently occurred. Even if you agree with these changes Olson has implemented, I don't think it's unreasonable to say that a better job could have been done at explaining the rationale prior to the events, or at least acknowledging that some will differ and disagree with the choices made. Appealing to "oh, we didn't know" strikes me as incredibly lame.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Since 10/3/09 19:51:01
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Steven Thomas wrote: A shared

Steven Thomas wrote:

A shared pulpit communicates substantial affinity. Eighteen-year-olds who inevitably tend toward hero-worship will never navigate the nuances that distinguish the position of the institution from that of the speaker.

Perhaps Mr. Thomas missed the part where Matt Olson said:

Matt Olson wrote:

This seminar is for experienced, mature pastors who are presently in ministry. We see this as appropriate in the academic context and the type of thing we have done in the past for the very same reasons.

On top of this, the letter did not mention the fact that when Bruce Ware will be teaching at NIU is in the summer, when students are not here. The reality is most students when they have heard about this have responded "who is Bruce Ware?"

NIU is not a church and Bruce Ware is not preaching in a chapel so there is no shared pulpit. He is sharing his academic expertise to mature pastors in a doctoral program.

Susan R's picture
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Since 5/6/09 20:48:52
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The use of the pulpit

Brethren, I think we are altogether too superstitious about the function of a pulpit. I think most people of average intelligence can discern that someone's presence behind a pulpit does not endow them with super spiritual powers or infallibility. I don't think it should be used to sell Tupperware or host American Idol tryouts, but in a university setting, it also has an academic purpose as well as a spiritual one. I don't think it is cause for alarm if someone is given the opportunity to speak- and if they espouse something the administration finds objectionable or inaccurate, then they are free to deal with this with the student body and the speaker in an appropriate manner.

In our every day lives, we use materials and study from resources authored by unregenerate men and women who are considered experts, and who is going to question the validity of that? Why shouldn't an educational institution avail itself of people who have earned their stripes in their field? Christian universities are not churches, and although they should be guided by Biblical principles, they are not founded for the same purpose as a church, and thus their operational methods will not be the same in every area.

I believe that thinking of 18+ young people as being little more than large children is wrong-headed. And if these young people are attending college without two brain cells to rub together or the ability to adequately discern truth from heresy, it's the parents who need to be paid a visit. Where is the discipling, mentoring, and training before these kids turn 18? And if, angels forfend, young men and women are into "hero worshipping' at the expense of truth, then they are idolaters at heart, and that's a problem that a university isn't responsible for nor is it really equipped to handle at the institutional level.

Ditto on getting rid of demerits. I graduated (not from Northland, btw) with 99 demerits (100 earned automatic expulsion) for things like walking through the dorm with my tennis shoes untied. Apparently loose laces were a sign of loose morals. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-confused002.gif[/img ]

Blogging at Susan Raber Online

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Since 3/6/10 08:09:31
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A Point of Clarification

gadietrich wrote:

Perhaps Mr. Thomas missed the part where Matt Olson said:

Matt Olson wrote:

This seminar is for experienced, mature pastors who are presently in ministry. We see this as appropriate in the academic context and the type of thing we have done in the past for the very same reasons.

I did not miss anything. I dealt with Northland's invitation to Bruce Ware in the first paragraph. This quote is from my second paragraph in which I moved on to another, but related subject, namely the use of conservative evangelicals in the chapel pulpit. I did not refer to Rick Holland by name, but that portion of the letter was my point of reference.

[color=gray ][size=10 ]Edited to fix quote tags- AB[/size ][/color ]

Steven Thomas

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Since 6/1/09 19:00:00
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niche

WilliamD wrote:
I wonder that if schools like Northland get to cozy with Southern Baptist and Non-Denominational colleges - will they lose students to those schools and end up dying due to lack of enough of a fundamentalist distinction? This is what I think some might fear who disagree with Northland on this.

I think this is an angle that many who appear to be "blurring the old lines" might be overlooking.
And it speaks to the question that has been on my mind for a while: even without the reaction factors, why is it worth the trouble to get a group together and fly out to CA to get to know the folks at Grace and then invite one of them to preach? I can't believe that the chapel pulpit schedule was running out of competent expositors (nobody asked me to preach there yet... and I'm not nearly so far away or so controversial Smile ).

You can find out everything you need to know about these folks by listening to their preaching and reading their writings (and what you find out as that, as the letter says, there is substantial agreement yet important differences). So after the visit and the chapel event, what do we know that we didn't know before? "Finding out..." doesn't seem to be an adequate motivation.

So I don't mean to be cynical, but I wonder, are the fundamentalist institutions that are forming closer ties to evangelicals simply unwilling to remain small and focused on their core constituency?
Maybe, since that constituency is shrinking, holding on to the niche is a losing proposition. But if that's the case, I'd love to see NIU (and the folks in PA who have Dever coming to speak in a few months) just come out and say: "Hey, we want to keep growing and we just can't find enough students among dyed-in-the-wool fundamentalists anymore, so we're reaching across the old boundaries."
But as William suggested, I think this will not work as a growth strategy.

So you can probably see that the burning question for me remains "Why bother?"

As for Bruce Ware, that one actually makes complete sense to me. Sure, bring in an expert on a topic. But the chapel at Northland and other fundamentalist institutions has generally not been a venue for diversity--not a place to sample the thinking of "people who are not us." It hasn't been that kind of forum. Rather, I think the chapel pulpit has generally been seen as a place where you highlight examples--showcase the finest (or at least those deemed "safe"), so to speak.
Perhaps I'm way off on that. I didn't attend NBBC. But we certainly got that impression at BJU.

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Since 5/6/09 20:45:47
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What is Leadership?

While I do agree with Don that NBBC should have expected some backlash, I really think that at the end of the day, this is ultimately a good example of leadership by Olsen and the school.

You can sit and be safe by avoiding all kinds of controversy, or you can do what you think is best by exposing your students and staff to viewpoints that differ from yours. Holland and MacArthur aren't the same kind of Fundy that we are, but I'd rather have been challenged and come to the right decisions than spend my life parroting lines that I know I can't believe or support (which is something that I have already gone through personally). Ware is supposedly a world class scholar in his field (Open Theism?), but since I don't know what he taught on at NIU I really can't comment on that. I'd support his speaking to the D.Min as well.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Since 8/29/10 19:10:56
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The chicago way will not die.

The chicago way will not die. The mentality that it is best for the young people to just sit down, shut up, and believe what you are told by the veterans of the mob wars is still all too real.

Too many make decisions based on fear under the disguise of biblical faithfulness. I am glad Northland is moving away from the neofundamentalism of yesteryear and instead moving toward actual historic fundamentalism.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Since 7/21/09 22:44:31
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Amen to Susan

Susan R wrote:
I believe that thinking of 18+ young people as being little more than large children is wrong-headed. And if these young people are attending college without two brain cells to rub together or the ability to adequately discern truth from heresy, it's the parents who need to be paid a visit. Where is the discipling, mentoring, and training before these kids turn 18? And if, angels forfend, young men and women are into "hero worshipping' at the expense of truth, then they are idolaters at heart, and that's a problem that a university isn't responsible for nor is it really equipped to handle at the institutional level.

I think you are hitting on a long-standing, deep-seated problem within fundamentalism. We really have come a long, long way, but there is still a lot further to go in some quarters. By the time a young adult graduates from high school and goes off to a fundamentalist college, he or she should already be somewhat prepared for life and should be excited about learning new information at a very high level (worth $15,000+ per year[? ]), sorted through a Biblical worldview.
He should not need to be told things like when to go to bed and when to get up. This isn't the military, and "because we said so" is not a good enough reason to have such a rule. (Perhaps institutions also need to become rigorous in their entrance requirements.)
The same applies to "pulpit fellowship." If I can turn on my radio or MP3 player and hear world-class teaching at the touch of a button, why would I want to invest a life savings into hearing mediocre (or worse) chapel speakers and teachers -- such as inadequately-trained evangelists and pastors who are important to the school's constituency.
Technology is changing all this. It is not so much that today's students are more sophisticated -- it is simply that they have more options and many of them are not going to put up with this kind of thing any longer at today's costs.

Pastor Thomas states: "Some hastily applaud and justify these moves by pointing out the shameful fact that our institutions have used chapel sessions to expose our students to the worst that fundamentalism has to offer (poor theology and worse exegesis)."

I would add, let's not be too hasty in dismissing the harm that this has caused in the lives of young people or the damage it has brought to fundamentalism's reputation.

The views I express are purely my own. However, I am happy to promote the great ministries with which I work: I minister for www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. I do freelance writing for www.RegularBaptistPress.org. I speak through www.IMISOS.org.

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James K wrote: The chicago

James K wrote:
The chicago way will not die. The mentality that it is best for the young people to just sit down, shut up, and believe what you are told by the veterans of the mob wars is still all too real.

You're kind of losing me on what the mob wars have to do with anything here.

James K wrote:
Too many make decisions based on fear under the disguise of biblical faithfulness.

I wonder how you could know that? I mean, I don't doubt it happens, but how do you know how "many" have done this?

James K wrote:
I am glad Northland is moving away from the neofundamentalism of yesteryear and instead moving toward actual historic fundamentalism.

I think it's fair to say that historic fundamentalism had a different focus--anti-modernism vs. anti-evangelicalism. And I would agree that, as a focus, this was much healthier. On the other hand, it might be naive to suppose that we can sort of turn back the hands of the clock as though the neo-evangelical movement never happened. It did happen, and so the simplicity of the pre-NEA and pre-Billy Graham days of fundamentalism are truly beyond reach now. There's no putting that paste back in the tube.

Susan wrote:
Where is the discipling, mentoring, and training before these kids turn 18? And if, angels forfend, young men and women are into "hero worshipping' at the expense of truth, then they are idolaters at heart, and that's a problem that a university isn't responsible for nor is it really equipped to handle at the institutional level.

I don't really disagree with this except that we have to deal with what is. Schools have to train the students they have, not the students they ought to have. And it's a solid observation that younger folks tend more toward hero worship than older ones. You tend get a little more skeptical by the time you're 40. So we shouldn't be too quick to dismiss the "Schools need to be careful who they hold up as examples for the adoring fans" argument.

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Since 5/6/09 20:47:03
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"The Meeting" fascinates me

"The Meeting" fascinates me

Quote:
Since we get many questions concerning John MacArthur and where he is in regard to fundamentalism, we decided that the best way to address this was to meet him face to face. In April of this year, Les Ollila, Doug McLachlan, Sam Horn, and I went to California and sat down with Dr. MacArthur, Rick Holland, and Phil Johnson (Executive Director of Grace to You). We had an excellent visit and found that while we did not agree on everything, we did agree on the most substantive issues of life and ministry. While we realize we function in different circles and with different constituencies, we appreciated what they were doing. I invited Rick to visit our campus to see what we were doing at Northland, meet with our Bible faculty, and speak in chapel. This was an opportunity to get to know one another and discuss significant issues of our day.

Questions / Comments:

  • "we decided that the best way to address this was to meet him face to face". Comment: I would think that one could know quite a bit about John MacArthur by just reading his books and following his ministry.
  • " ... went to California ...". From a businessman's perspective you would think they could set up a meeting without the expense of traveling. You know each group in a conference room with a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycom ]Polycom .
  • This is would like to see fleshed out
    • "while we did not agree on everything" - as in like what!
    • "we did agree on the most substantive issues of life and ministry" - ditto
    • "discuss significant issues of our day" - ditto

    As to Don's blog post ( http://www.sharperiron.org/filings/11-23-10/17090 ]filing here ):

    • Some have seen that Don's comments are "condescending and obnoxious". I don't see it that way. I think he raised some good points like - what changed since 2005? (with links back to the old S/I)
    • As to "It is simply unbelievable that you didn’t see a huge negative reaction coming". No negative reaction from me, but I can see why many would react the way that apparently they have!
    • I can see the value of having Ware speak to D Min students. At that level you would think they would be able to sort out the wheat from the chaff of any conversation.
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WilliamD wrote: I wonder that

WilliamD wrote:
I wonder that if schools like Northland get to cozy with Southern Baptist and Non-Denominational colleges - will they lose students to those schools and end up dying due to lack of enough of a fundamentalist distinction? This is what I think some might fear who disagree with Northland on this.

Quite the opposite WilliamD. The "schools like Northland" are ALREADY losing students to other colleges and universities by the droves because they do NOT expose their students to a more diverse view of the whole of conservative Christianity and give them an environment in which to fail, pick themselves back up and try again. That's why the Liberty Universities and Cedarvilles continue to set new attendance records while Pillsbury closes and multiple other similar schools are on life-support in the face of dropping enrollment (Names redacted to avoid unnecessary controversy). They get it.... albeit sometimes imperfectly and in some cases in ways that deserve some brotherly confrontation, but they seem to understand where today's generation of college-aged students are living.

The Southern Baptist colleges are by and large gone. Corrupt. They saved some of their seminaries, but lost their colleges. I can't think of one original SBC college where I'd fit theologically. The failure of the fundamental colleges and universities to reach out and include a broader definition of "fundamentalism" (aka "historic") has forever stunted their ability to have a leadership role in the direction of evangelicalism in general (as they once did.) It's a shame.

Today, fundamentalist colleges/universities fight for a shrinking pool of available candidates who would even consider attending there and in order to attract a loyal following, they define themselves too frequently with narrow, extraBiblical positions that appeal only to people who already sing in their own choirs. If fundamentalism represents TRUTH, why should we not be using it to challenge the thinking of others rather than retreat to our high-walled palaces and waiting for the inevitable? Can it not stand up to the pimply-faced emergent kid who walks on campus with "Velvet Elvis" under his arm? Do we not have scholars who can pick apart deconstructionism and hyper-Calvinism and social gospel revivalists? How can we expect to make an impact when we are more concerned about purity in the puddle than making waves in the ocean?

And on another note, whether or not Olsen was naive (or even manipulative) requires a level of insight and judging with which I'm not comfortable. How frequently have I, when on the defensive, tried to explain my rationale for something and ended up inaccurately articulating my heart and motivation. Leaders are human and prone to pride, paranoia and simple mistakes. I don't understand the rush to pin Olson's motivation to the wall by virtue of a single letter. Johnson seems like a weak and pathetic choice to try and do so for those who seem so inclined.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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Jim Peet wrote: "we decided

Jim Peet wrote:

  • "we decided that the best way to address this was to meet him face to face". Comment: I would think that one could know quite a bit about John MacArthur by just reading his books and following his ministry.

    As to Don's blog post ( http://www.sharperiron.org/filings/11-23-10/17090 ]filing here ):

    • Some have seen that Don's comments are "condescending and obnoxious". I don't see it that way.

As for the first point -- Actually, you will find the "in person" John MacArthur to be quite different than in his books. While his books come off rigid and at times harsh, in person he is warm, expansive and reasonable. I think it was an excellent idea to talk to John, Rick and Phil in person -- all of whom are immensely intelligent and interesting men. In addition, one of the problems in fundamentalism has been that we tend to talk "over" each other in the form of books and open letters rather than "to" each other.

On the second item -- I really find that stunning, Jim. Seriously, you don't find a palpable difference in the tone of Johnson vs Olson?

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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Stunned? Answering

Dan Burrell wrote:
On the second item -- I really find that stunning, Jim. Seriously, you don't find a palpable difference in the tone of Johnson vs Olson?

  • Yes I see I difference in the tone
  • And no, I didn't find Don's comments "condescending and obnoxious" nor do I find him "weak and pathetic"

Suggest you interact with his views (whether you agree with him or not)

On these two I agree with Don:

  • "It is simply unbelievable that you didn’t see a huge negative reaction coming" (Like I said early ... no negative reaction form me!)
  • And Don's comparison of NBBC circa 2005 versus today.
    • Whether the change is good or bad, for better or for worse
    • It is a change

* I would be ok with John Mac speaking at my own church!

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Dan Burrell wrote: If

Dan Burrell wrote:
If fundamentalism represents TRUTH, why should we not be using it to challenge the thinking of others rather than retreat to our high-walled palaces and waiting for the inevitable? Can it not stand up to the pimply-faced emergent kid who walks on campus with "Velvet Elvis" under his arm? Do we not have scholars who can pick apart deconstructionism and hyper-Calvinism and social gospel revivalists? How can we expect to make an impact when we are more concerned about purity in the puddle than making waves in the ocean?

Amen, good thoughts, Dan.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

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Since 7/21/09 22:44:31
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Just thinking...

"We did not see that having these speakers would be a significant problem."

"It is simply unbelievable that you didn’t see a huge negative reaction coming".

These are two entirely different issues. I don't "see" a problem with it either, although I might "foresee" others having a problem with it. Perhaps this whole line of interpreting Olsen's letter is skewed.

The views I express are purely my own. However, I am happy to promote the great ministries with which I work: I minister for www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. I do freelance writing for www.RegularBaptistPress.org. I speak through www.IMISOS.org.

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Words Mean Things...

Dan Burrell wrote:
And on another note, whether or not Olsen was naive (or even manipulative) requires a level of insight and judging with which I'm not comfortable. How frequently have I, when on the defensive, tried to explain my rationale for something and ended up inaccurately articulating my heart and motivation. Leaders are human and prone to pride, paranoia and simple mistakes. I don't understand the rush to pin Olson's motivation to the wall by virtue of a single letter. Johnson seems like a weak and pathetic choice to try and do so for those who seem so inclined.

Dan,

The choice of words used by Olson in this letter is what I am basing my agreement with Don's point on. Supporting the recent choices of Olson at Northland is another issue. Olson's intentions, even in this letter, perhaps are commendable. But to say "we did not see" or "knowing now that these decisions might be confusing, misunderstood, or miscommunicated" (as though there was no possible reason to anticipate negative reaction) is bordering on impossible, especially in light of the specific events that Don highlighted when Les Ollila withdrew from the God-Focused conference because of Holland's inclusion as a speaker. A friend who was intimately involved at Positive Action at that time shared details of the situation at that time that included the decision to have Ollila withdraw being initiated by Olson himself.

Again, I am not disputing whether or not this is the right direction for Northland. What I am disputing is whether or not the situation is being represented accurately by Olson. If he believes that was the wrong decision back then, fine- Man up and say so. But don't go all Casablanca on us and say that you're shocked, shocked to find gambling going on at Rick's.

An aside- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27845030/ns/us_news-life ]Stephen Jones is a model of what good leadership can (and should) do in situations like these:

Stephen Jones, wrote:
Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it.

In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry. Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful.

"We were wrong" is hard, but it is sometimes what is needed. This Northland issue may not rise to the same level as BJU racist issue, but it is a similar admission that I believe is called for if Olson wants to maintain personal and institutional integrity.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Since 7/21/09 22:44:31
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Not the issue

Greg Linscott wrote:
Again, I am not disputing whether or not this is the right direction for Northland. What I am disputing is whether or not the situation is being represented accurately by Olson. If he believes that was the wrong decision back then, fine- Man up and say so.

For me, that is not the issue at all. Not being a Northland grad or anything, maybe I just don't have a dog in the hunt. But to me this is a teachable moment to evaluate the substance of where fundamentalism has been and where it is going -- in terms of the question of which is more important: theology and Biblical content, or separation (which in theory is supposed to be based on theology and content, but has often been pushed to center stage, with theology becoming a political football).

The views I express are purely my own. However, I am happy to promote the great ministries with which I work: I minister for www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. I do freelance writing for www.RegularBaptistPress.org. I speak through www.IMISOS.org.

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Since 6/2/09 06:23:23
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Can we correct the spelling

Can we correct the spelling error on Dr Olson's name?
Should be

olsOn

I know it may not be that big of a deal, but it is a bit distracting probably to most that attended N under him.

Thanks

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Somewhat in Agreement, Paul...

Paul,

The problem I see is with this situation is if changes in Fundamentalism are needed, leaders implementing them while simultaneously appealing that they are keeping things the way they always have been does no one any good.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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Since 4/26/10 12:07:01
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To the critics...

Perhaps Northland's critics could help us understand their position better by taking a moment to answer the following questions:

1. In what way did Rick Holland's chapel appearance hurt the cause of biblical Christianity?

2. How does a public denunciation of Rick Holland and Bruce Ware better advance the cause of the gospel?

3. How does completely sealing off fundamentalism from the rest of conservative Christianity promote a healthier fundamentalism?

4. Why do you feel that indoctrination is the best educational model? In other words, how will a "see no evangelical, hear no evangelical" approach to education improve the quality of the graduates?

Just wondering.

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Since 5/6/09 20:50:24
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Name spelling fix

Daniel wrote:
Can we correct the spelling error on Dr Olson's name?
Should be

olsOn


Fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out. I'm not one of the regular editors, but I try to fix these when I know about them (names are harder, since you have to know them first).

Dave Barnhart

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Since 2/19/10 12:33:22
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your questions are not exactly what the controversy is about

Brandon Crawford wrote:
Perhaps Northland's critics could help us understand their position better by taking a moment to answer the following questions:

1. In what way did Rick Holland's chapel appearance hurt the cause of biblical Christianity?

I am not sure we are in a position to evaluate this question. In criticizing Matt's letter, I am not really dealing with the appearance of Rick Holland at Northland, even though I disagree with it... and my disagreement isn't based on "hurting the cause of Biblical Christianity"... you are assuming too much in asking the question the way you do.

Brandon Crawford wrote:
2. How does a public denunciation of Rick Holland and Bruce Ware better advance the cause of the gospel?

How am I denouncing them? I am criticising Matt's letter, not them.

Brandon Crawford wrote:
3. How does completely sealing off fundamentalism from the rest of conservative Christianity promote a healthier fundamentalism?

Sealing off... I don't think that is what I would be advocating. But the issue for fundamentalists and evangelicals for the last 60 years has been ministry cooperation. Can we work with a brother given his positions vis a vis separation from error or worldliness? Apparently Matt believes he can work with, say Rick Holland and MacArthur in spite of the worldliness of the Resolved Conference and their connections with charismatics. That's fine, Matt can make his own decisions about that. But the rest of us have a right to evaluate our relationship with Matt based on his associations, no? And so we are.

And Matt appears to be surprised about it! Unbelievable.

Brandon Crawford wrote:
4. Why do you feel that indoctrination is the best educational model? In other words, how will a "see no evangelical, hear no evangelical" approach to education improve the quality of the graduates?

Just wondering.

Again, you are assuming some things by your question, so you are attempting to make us say something we are not by asking your question that way.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

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Since 6/2/09 09:45:50
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Don's Criticism

Don's criticism is substantially right. Doesn't really matter if you like him or his tone or his position. It boils down to this:

- To say that they are surprised by backlash seems remarkably naive.
- To say that they are not really changing seems to be remarkably disingenuous.

I say "seem" because I am happy about the changes and would very much like to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, I find it difficult to swallow the spin that things are as they always were since I was a student there myself and having persons such as Holland, Ware, and Simien was out of the question according to the lectured positions on separation when I was there. Call it what you will, but most reg'ler folk call it "change."

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Since 6/4/09 20:42:59
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Glad to see this

I'm thrilled that the leadership has such a great desire to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and Biblical frameworks for discipleship. This is SO refreshing in Fundamentalism!

Bruce

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Brandon's questions

Brandon Crawford wrote:
Perhaps Northland's critics could help us understand their position better by taking a moment to answer the following questions:
1. In what way did Rick Holland's chapel appearance hurt the cause of biblical Christianity?
2. How does a public denunciation of Rick Holland and Bruce Ware better advance the cause of the gospel?
3. How does completely sealing off fundamentalism from the rest of conservative Christianity promote a healthier fundamentalism?
4. Why do you feel that indoctrination is the best educational model? In other words, how will a "see no evangelical, hear no evangelical" approach to education improve the quality of the graduates?

I'm not sure if I'm exactly among the critics (I think I'll claim "Still not entirely clear on the whole chapel speaker thing"). But the questions are pulling at me so...

#1 - In my view, the impact is very indirect if any. My own concerns have to do with fundamentalist identity, which I believe has an important role in "the cause of biblical Christianity." But there are many important roles. But the event is significant both from the standpoint of the recent history of fundamentalism and also the institutional history of Northland.

#2 - I'm not sure anybody's asked for a "public denunciation." I wouldn't personally see why that would be necessary. But if indeed, as the letter says, there are important differences--properly valuing those differences may not be well served by chapel engagements. The case can certainly be made that they are well served, but given that this is a departure from fundamentalist practice over the last several decades, it's not unreasonable to expect this kind of reaching out to be preceded by publicly making a really strong case for it.

#3 - Several possibilities come to mind. For one, this has been the status quo for a good long time now, so those arguing for maintaining that kind of distance are not reaching for something new. I'm not sure "completely sealing off" accurately describes how things have worked, but sealing off to the extent that chapel--and usually course instructors--do not include non-fundamentalists has been the norm. It's pretty easy to make the case that in the environment of the 40's & 50's, that was essential to the health of fundamentalism. It's harder to make that case now since there seem to be more evangelicals now who do not fit the "new evangelical" mold.

#4 - I don't really know what you mean by that one. We all know that these guys are seen and heard by all. The controversy is about (a) what we are communicating and (b) what kinds of increased influence we are opening up to by these adjustments to the old boundaries. (I guess there are some who really do want to avoid books, conferences and everything else the CE's touch. In my view, that's impossible so whether it's good or bad is moot.)

Personally, I think the landscape has changed enough that some redrawing of lines is inevitable. But there are alot of ways to mess that up and I'm not clear on what there is to gain in some of these recent events.

It seems clear though that everybody's going to have to get used to a period of boundary murkiness. It's just where the movement is now, and I don't see any end to that on the horizon.

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Since 4/17/10 17:16:04
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This is a change

This IS a change. But sadly, it's a change without acknowledgment of or repentance over the legitimate problems they are addressing. Which means it won't be Biblical change. There is no humble heart of repentance. Apart from that, it's just changing the externals.

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I agree with the first 4 words

Louise Dan wrote:
This IS a change. But sadly, it's a change without acknowledgment of or repentance over the legitimate problems they are addressing. Which means it won't be Biblical change. There is no humble heart of repentance. Apart from that, it's just changing the externals.

I agree with the first 4 words! (and not the remainder)

I appreciate Dr Olson's letter. My observation is that as we pray, as we study the Word and seek to follow Him; that there will be differences of opinion about the application of the Word. One may differ with Dr Olson (as my friend Don Johnson did). It is change (as http://bobbixby.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/we-are-changing-we-are-not-chan... brother Bixby notes on is blog ).

For me, I have great confidence in the leadership team at Northland (although I still can't bring myself to call it an International University!)

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Since 6/2/09 02:22:32
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The issue is...COMMON SENSE!

I have posted on the thread regarding Don Johnson's statement on this matter.

My final summary was:

Quote:
Matt Olson, Les Ollilla, Doug McLachlan, and others must be naive as to the real ministry results and consequences of some of John MacArthur's beliefs and ministry, as seen by those here in Southern California and the West coast. He has a good ministry in many respects but the increasing negative consequences is a concern to many. Why do these classic Fundamentalists feel a need to have association with this ministry? Why travel to Grace Community for a meeting? Mac Arthur may be viewed as a big name and influential preacher in some circles. However, the concerns increase as you cross the Rockies and with those more familiar with all aspects of the ministry and results.

As convictions erode and institutions change, it is never clear cut denials and open change of practices. It is always gradual undercover change and a gradual minimizing of convictions without any direct assertions. It is here a little and there a little until all of a sudden a there is realization that there has been a real change that has taken place. Some Fundamentalists are not Paranoid just experienced.

As to the endorsing of KJVO and some considered Hyper Fundamentalists. Just don't do it!! That has no bearing on the right or wrong of other endorsements and associations.

As for those calling the statements by Don Johnson as arrogant and condescending: NONSENSE! That was the old continued accusations of the Neo Evangelicals whenever such issues were raised. By contrast they hoped to be seen as loving and humble as they advocated their compromise. I have lived through some of that.

Rick Holland is not only on the staff at Grace Community church, he is the driving and organizing leadership behind the ResolveConference for youth and young adults. This is a conference that pushes Reformed theology conviction within the context of extreme hard driving music imported from our contemporary amoral youth culture.

What was said to the students of a college or university when he is invited to speak in chapel?

Many posters here are very quick to give accolades to what is obvious compromise. The same old arguments heard over and over again in the sixties and seventies from the Neo Evangelicals who had left, and were leaving Fundamentalism, are still being trumpeted but now by a new generation. Some are; Fundamentalism is exclusive, losing their youth, closed minded, not accepting good men who have Biblical ministries, will accept right wing extremists, etc.

The reasons for my comments involve the ministry of John MacArthur and were given in two posts on the thread regarding Don Johnson's reply.

The issue here is the acceptability of the ministry of John MacArthur. That is so because Rick Holland is on John's church staff and Rick Holland's invitation followed a visit to him.

I am getting the impression that many who are Fundamentalist leaders today are just plain naive. This appears the case with Northland and also with Calvary Sem. who have invited militant Reformed Baptist Mark Dever to speak.

Some of what are being labelled CE's may say much that is good, and have much that we can benefit from in their writings and messages. However, they also are off the mark sufficiently to be a danger in influence if Pastors and other leaders give the impression of endorsements through invitations to speak. The admonitions of Acts 20:17-35 give us a mandate and duty to be ever diligent and discerning. I can fellowship with many I would not invite to speak or be associated with in ministry.

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Since 6/2/09 02:22:32
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One other comment

The message by Matt Olson is mush served with Chop Stix to eat it. Reminds me of other letters I have read written by some other college Presidents as they sought to placate the alumni and donors while moving away from the schools historic stand. Unintended consequences lie ahead.

Obama transparency at work.

Someone should read or reread Dr. Rolland McCune's book "Promise Unfufilled: The failed strategy of Modern Evangelicalism."

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Since 6/2/09 07:10:12
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Explain Yourself

Bob T. wrote:
Unintended consequences lie ahead.

Hi Bob,

Kindly explain what unintended consequences lie ahead.

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Since 4/26/10 12:07:01
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thanks and clarifications

To those who answered my questions, I thank you. And you are right, my questions did have some huge assumptions in them. Chief among them were the following: (1) That the mission of fundamentalism is to preserve and propagate the historic Protestant faith; and (2) So long as the decisions of a fundamentalist leader remain consistent with that mission, he should not be criticized on the WORLD WIDE WEB.

The changes at Northland are a legitimate subject for discussion. However, I don't think it serves our cause at all to lace our posts with sarcasm or unnecessarily harsh language. Matt Olson has not introduced Northland's student body to unorthodox teaching or encouraged the students to extend Christian fellowship to unbelievers.

Privately, some may feel compelled to talk to Matt Olson about these issues. But let's not be too critical on a public forum like this one. Publicly, let's either show him our support or remain silent.

P.s. If you are reading this and don't think my words apply to you, they probably don't.

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Since 2/19/10 12:33:22
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Brandon Crawford wrote: To

Brandon Crawford wrote:
To those who answered my questions, I thank you. And you are right, my questions did have some huge assumptions in them. Chief among them were the following: (1) That the mission of fundamentalism is to preserve and propagate the historic Protestant faith; and (2) So long as the decisions of a fundamentalist leader remain consistent with that mission, he should not be criticized on the WORLD WIDE WEB.

I thought it was only the "cultural fundamentalists" whose leaders were beyond criticism.

Brandon Crawford wrote:
The changes at Northland are a legitimate subject for discussion. However, I don't think it serves our cause at all to lace our posts with sarcasm or unnecessarily harsh language. Matt Olson has not introduced Northland's student body to unorthodox teaching or encouraged the students to extend Christian fellowship to unbelievers.

That is not what I am criticising him for in this instance. I am criticising him for playing politics and offering up a disengenuous letter to the WORLD at large.

Brandon Crawford wrote:
Privately, some may feel compelled to talk to Matt Olson about these issues. But let's not be too critical on a public forum like this one. Publicly, let's either show him our support or remain silent.

Right, move on, move on, nothing to see here. The new Babtist gurus have spoken and must not be subject to criticism. Might harm their fragile egos, you know.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

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Since 6/4/09 15:31:11
31 posts
And you wonder

Why people leave Fundamentalism?? I do not... with all of the sniping at Matt Olson, Northland, etc. It does not surprise me at all.

Personally, I think it is great that they have invited Rick Holland and Bruce Ware. Exposure to different viewpoints is not a sin.

I am also glad that they went personally and met face to face with MacArthur, Holland, and Phil Johnson. I have never met MacArthur or Holland, but I have met Phil and he is a Christian gentleman and I appreciate his contributions to the body of Christ in a larger context.

Did those of you who disagree with Matt Olson and NIU read that they admit upfront that there are some areas of disagreement?

Last time I checked there is such a thing called amicable disagreement - fundamentalists sometimes do not know what this means.

I can hear now, "Oh no, Northland is going liberal because they had Ware and Holland in to speak"

Nothing could be further from the truth....

It is about time a fundamentalist institution quit living in the 1950's and I am glad that they are not catering to the opinions of everyone out there.

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Since 7/25/09 21:47:12
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Righter than thou

Bob T. wrote:
I am getting the impression that many who are Fundamentalist leaders today are just plain naive. This appears the case with Northland and also with Calvary Sem. who have invited militant Reformed Baptist Mark Dever to speak.

Bob:

You have it right. These leaders are naive and you are discerning?. I mean why would anyone want to fellowship with a militant Reformed Baptist or with those who import music from "an amoral youth culture"? It's all so clear. Shame on them. Surely the Bible speaks to that and I will let you know when I find it.

Steve

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The family heads carve out

The family heads carve out their territories, and if you ever cross them, watch out. Beg for forgiveness and kiss the rings all you who wish to see scripture rule over culture.

By the way, did McCune ever write a follow up to Promise Unfilfilled regarding fundamentalism and its failures?

The new media has stripped the family heads of their power. They don't control the information anymore so they can't control the people.

Don and Bob help make my point better than I possibly could. On this day of thanksgiving, I thank you both.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Since 6/11/09 09:22:30
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Is the corresponding

Is the corresponding "Filings" thread that had Johnson's letter being censored or are the links broken?

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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Since 6/4/09 20:42:59
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I can't think of one original

I can't think of one original SBC college where I'd fit theologically.

North Greenville University - probably closer than you think Dan

Bruce

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Since 11/5/10 07:49:26
93 posts
Drive by shots...

James,

I think I understand you're basic point, but I'd like to appeal to you to not just take random shots at people or deliberately try to provoke argument by poking people in the eye verbally. Maybe we've reached the point where nothing good can be accomplished in forums like this, but I am not sure everybody agrees with that.

Dr. McCune was very clear in his critique of the problems within Fundamentalism and caught a good bit of flack from the kinds of people you are lampooning. We'd all be better served by sticking to the subject at hand and not taking random shots at people.

DMD

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Since 5/6/09 20:45:47
3666 posts
Filing link to Don Johnson's post on Northland is broken

Jay C wrote:
Dan, I do think that the Filings thread is wonky. We've already noted it in the Admin forum, but that's all we can do until Aaron checks into it. Thanks for the note though.

***** Forum Director Comment ******
I have tried to access that filing every which way in the last hour .... without success

We did not close it ... did not censor it ... just a broken link

Aaron will look into it
******************************

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Since 7/14/09 09:33:29
15 posts
Good on ya', Drs. O, et al!

I don't know all the details here, but from what I can read it sounds like you're doing some great things at Northland.

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Since 6/1/09 19:00:00
7433 posts
DMD wrote: Maybe we've

DMD wrote:
Maybe we've reached the point where nothing good can be accomplished in forums like this, but I am not sure everybody agrees with that.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. ;)

One thing's for sure: as the level of vehemence rises, the value of discussion falls. When we start declaring things to be obvious, we (perhaps unintentionally) we insult the intelligence of everyone who has a different opinion, which can only move a discussion toward more heat and less light.

In the long run, I don't think there's much profit in judging whether MO's letter is disingenuous or naive, etc. But we have some thinking to do about where the "lines of separation" ought to be in fundamentalist ministries in the present and future. We all know that "evangelicalism" is a moving target. So it stands to reason that the distinctions of the past are not always going to be valid.
The important questions have to do with what factors should determine fellowship/non-fellowship/separation on the scene today. The underlying biblical principles don't change, but applications have to continually adapt.

I think we owe it to NIU--and everyone else--to have some patience as they try to do that, whether we agree with their conclusions or not. I think the letter shows that they are not completely sure they've got it right either. But they're trying. I would personally be more conservative (because I still can't figure out what there is to gain as far the chapel pulpit goes), but application is complex work.

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