Matt Olson: "to draw dividing lines that He has not drawn grieves Him, hurts the body of Christ"

What Matters Most: How We Draw the Lines

I can visit a church on Sunday morning, fellowship with believers, love what I am seeing, encourage fellow believers in what they are doing—and still choose not to join that particular local assembly. When we start separating over every belief and opinion we soon find ourselves standing all alone, criticizing the rest of body of Christ. I don’t think that is what God intended

37132 reads

There are 117 Comments

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

dgszweda wrote:

I agree with Matt on the point that a lot of fundamentalists will be ashamed in heaven.  It is crazy the level of separation, when at the milisecond moment after your last breath you will be fellowshipping with that same brother in heaven.

This argument gets used a lot. The missing ingredient is that a millisecond after your last breath, you will both know indisputably what is right and be in total agreement on the point. Until then, disagreement about the understanding of scripture means someone (maybe everyone) involved in the dispute has/have been wrong.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I read a funny line today about Christopher Hitchens in the WSJ. The writer, Henry Allen, said about Hitchens:

Hitchens's contrarianism worked well among Washington's dinner-party liberals, though, who loved to receive a spanking from a man who refused to share their fraidy-cat tolerance of all points of view.

I am reminded that a publicly avowed nonbeliever (only God knows what Hitchens did with his last breaths) understood the nature of those who believed and acted as if tolerance of all points of view was a virtue or a form of enlightenment and  definitive and certain answers and positions on many matters was a lack of virtue or Neanderthalsim. Even he comprehended, whether he had the answer or not, that accepting-as possible-many answers to many things, is no answer to anything.

 

Mike Harding's picture

Joel,

 

I have endeavored to be a gentleman in this discussion.  You are not helping Northland with your comments.  You are reading into others' comments your own prejudices.  It does not aid your argument at all.  Name calling, personal attacks, assumption of evil motives, and illegitimate totality transfer are not working.

 

Now take a deep breath.  It is clear that Matt has adopted Mohler's triage as a paradigm for ministry.  This is new for the administration at Northland.  Remember that Mohler's triage enabled him to sign the Manhattan Declaration.  What a colossal error in judgment that was!  What did it profit him or the cause of Christ when he signed a document that recognized Rome as legitimate Christianity!  I know he wrote a full disclaimer; nevertheless, he signed it much to the chagrin of John MacArthur and others.  That one act is clear evidence that his personal triage is flawed.  I respect Mohler for cleaning up Southern at great personal cost and that he is a brilliant man who is a cultural champion of sorts.  Nevertheless, he does not object to hiring on his faculty those who reject a literal, normal interpretation of Genesis 1-2.  Bruce Ware is not a young earth creationist (I know my doctrinal legalism is showing).  If I recall 2 Thess 3 accurately, the matter of work was not considered "a fundamental of the faith"; yet Paul makes a big deal out of it because refusal to work was a violation of the apostolic tradition. Some of these issues in level two or three would trump the work issue. The triage is somewhat arbitrary and reductionist and it is not at all consistent with the written, public policies of NIU historically or presently.  Matt is the president of NIU, not the owner.  Much money, sweat, and blood went into that school and camp long before Matt set foot there.  If he in good conscience does not agree with the historical positions and policies of NIU, then he should acknowledge that.

Pastor Mike Harding

Garry Geer's picture

Joel,

I worked as an auditor for almost a decade out in the secular world. It was (and is) a badge of honor to have someone say "They do what they say, and they say what they do." That is what ISO certification is all about.  If the secular world can see that, we as believers need to go way beyond, understanding it ultimately as an issue of integrity, not separation. 

As you know, I don't even really consider myself a fundamentalist, so what Northland does, in and of itself, is irrelevant to me. I'm not a fan of Don's writing. I also don't get why everyone is so enamored with SGM. I use some of their books and music (as I do everyone else's) but to be honest, in structure and application they remind me more of your "Type A" fundamentalists than a sound model to imitate. Their definitions of roles within the church, and continuationist tendencies allow them to "leapfrog" their expository paradigm. 

 

With all of that being said, people may not like what Olsen did just because he is not being consistent. That is not a bad thing to point out.

 

Garry

 

Joel Tetreau's picture

Brothers!

This will probably be my last point on this NIU thing. I will try and walk away from this if I can. Of course I've tried to walk away two or three times and have been compelled to come back.

Guys - my last post was attempting to mix fun with a point. I regret that was missed by a few of you and I really hope you're not too wounded by that. So - actually I really don't have a problem with pointing out a disagreement with a school like Northland. My point is that there is a better way to do that than what we've seen here. Once again friends who say they are friends to Matt/NIU are quick to say things in public and slow to say them in person. Now I'm sure some of the guys have communicated with Matt - but I wonder if there was really an attempt to dialog prior to the back and forth. Probably not is my guess. By the way - you will remember I said the exact same kind of things back months ago where there were some public shots at BJ. I asked the question, "Did anyone talk w/ Bob or Stephen?"

Again I apologize for lumping in statements I hear from X, Y and Z into the same response - I know that's not the best - and usually I would be willing to take the time to do that - but that's what I have to do in part because of the lack of time I have to deal with SI in general and this thread in particular. When I said that the attacks on NIU are guilty of all three forms of legalism - What I mean is that I've heard and I've seen attacks on Northland that are in my opinion sourced in Lifestyle, Doctrinal or Organizational legalism. So - if the mod's want to say that assigns motive - I'm willing to submit to there wisdom - they are good guys and I trust them. So, if it helps I let me back off the "legalistic charge" and just say that I'm concerned that these three categories I mention demonstrate that some of NIU's critics are possibly headed in a schismatic direction. I do want to be a gentleman here - so let me demonstrate with a more calm tone - "Lifestyle" (NIU's music is going bad - heard that one!); "Doctrinal" (NIU is being careless in doctrine because of this connection with a CJ church, Matt is a 0-point Calvinist so we can't support him - and if you listen to the context of that comment - Matt is far more Calvinistic than many 5 pointers would admit), "Organizational" (I've heard several of these - Matt doesn't run things like Dr. O; The school brings in a Southern Baptist to teach a module class). It would be one thing to say, "I disagree with Northland on X, Y or Z." We are going beyond that here - we are saying X, Y and Z actually violates Scripture - when actually Scripture is not violated but rather the opinion of man (or men) is being violated. The very most we could say is "Here is a doctrine or practice that good men differ - and we differ with Matt." That's not what I heard because that's not was said - or written. Again this is taking a 2nd or 3rd or 4th level issue and making it a first.

So, I remain convinced here that Northland is a solid institution. I remain convinced that some of the same guys that think the world of fundamentalism must be ordered in such a way that has their blessing are once again ruffled by a ministry that dares to be different. By the way - I use A, B and C only to designate differences within fundamentalism - but despite what some of you think - and what especially one or two of you have said - I don't worship my taxonomy! In personal dealings with ministries that are actually in my orb or direct contact - there is one category - "friends in the ministry" - and I don't care if you are A, B or C as long as you are a "friend in the ministry" and you are balanced and obedient for Christ - and not judgmental against the differences we might have.

So there you are my friends. I rest my case and I trust that the Body of Christ including the world of conservative evangelicals and ballanced fundamentalists who might be tempted to support or not support NIU in general or specifically here - will use good desernment. The Scriptures call it "righteous judgement." Almost always when I have to choose between the collective desernment of the body of Christ vs. a small group of people that think they know better - We are almost always better siding wtih the collective wisdom and desernment of the body of Christ. So I turn this one over to God, His people and let's see where Northland is 5 years from now - let's see where they are ten years from now. No suprise to friend and foe - I'm confident that Northland will remain faithful just like she's been for decades. Then let's compare where some of the critics of Northland are 5 years from now or 10 years from now. I'm sad to say they will probably be as schismatic as they are today.

One more personal point that covers this thread and the few threads where I get pretty "militant." If you notice - that doesn't happen very often. I am far more happy - working on my book, preping a sermon, visiting the sick, enjoying my lawn on the Lawn 4000!, watching College Football. In the early days I was more militant more often. You have to understand when I see God's men and solid ministries under attack, especially when men who I love and trust are there - if you violate the rules of a fair fight - no, I'm not turning my back on that and I will defend God's good people. For the record I hate to fight. Growing up in fundamentalism I"ve had a belly full of it! - and I really hate it. I've watched the ecclesiastical canabalism in the varoius sub-movements of fundamentalism for too long - fundamentalists chewing up fundamentalists. I know that happens in other parts of evangelicalism but this is where I've grown up. Ask anyone who really knows me - I would much rather sit around the camp fire, sing a few songs, enjoy some sweet fellowship and song - holding hands and ending our time with prayer and a hug. If you view me any other way you don't know me. The reason I get involved in an occasional scrap is the same reason we had a leader in a civil war that was willing to have blood spilt to keep unity. Every time I've done this - the 3 lines in the sand episodes, this NIU episode, fundamentalists of all stripes are drawing lines and separating and undermining when they should not be. So in the words of a really cool German, "Here I stand I can do no other!"

Straight Ahead!

jt

 

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Yeah, name calling, personal attacks, assumption of evil motives...all in good fun and the fault of others for simply not understanding it was just that...all in good fun.

It's their fault, right. They didn't understand that "name calling, personal attacks and assumption of evil motives" is really just fun.

However, your garrulous and manic style of writing is amusing so maybe that is also part of the "fun" you have in mind.

And no, it is not about taking a 2nd, 3rd or 4th level and making it first, it is about a first level issue (integrity) and maintaining it. The policy is explicit about Charismaticism and Olson is violating it without explanation. That is an integral failure which cannot exist in any group in order to succeed.

Jim's picture

I've held off for as long as I could.

First of all I respect Matt Olson and I think NIU is a good institution (I've said in the past that I think it is disingenuous to call a Bible college a University when they don't offer STEM majors but that is a minor thing to this conversation)

My views (and mine only):

  • For Matt to commend grads serving in Philly is a good thing (perhaps I stated that on another thread)
  • For a NBBC grad to serve in a church ministry with a different doctrinal perspective than NBBC is not "the sin" of NBBC. BJU grads sometimes serve in ministries that don't agree with BJU and we don't blame BJU for it.
  • The issue unresolved for me (note italics!) is the employee who is in a church that is not in harmony with the NBBC doctrinal statement. I know the employee is a S/I member and please don't take this as as a criticism of you. I would think that employees of the school would have to sign some kind of statement agreeing without reservation to the school's position.

If I were Matt I would say:

  • The doctrinal position of NBBC has not changed!
  • There have been some changes but we believe they are healthy changes. These changes are: (list 'em) .. and we made these changes for these reasons. Most people understand that change is a part of growth and adjusting to the world (waiting for someone to jump on "the world") around us!
  • I suggest that you address the employee issue directly. Perhaps he does agree with the NBBC doctrinal statement but finds himself in a location where the current church (the Philly church) is the best fit for him at this time. If said employee agrees with the SGM doctrinal statement and NOT with NBBC's ... well I think there is a problem that you need to address

Finally: It really is not a big deal to me because I am not in the NBBC orbit. I've been out of college for 41 years and I am not going back.

 

To Joel on name calling. Not good to joke about it on a public forum (my 2 cents). It did not come across as joking and I personally found it offensive. But I love you man!

Mike Harding's picture

Joel,

Thanks for trying to clear things up in your last post.  It is not easy discerning between disagreeing brothers, disagreeable brothers, and disobedient brothers.  The former can be to the extent that no ecclesiastical cooperation is beneficial or wise.  The latter is that there is a clear pattern of persistent disobedience to Scripture with no repentance and remorse in sight making ecclesiastical cooperation impossible.  A few months ago I met with a fine Northland representative in my office.  I know the man personally and will vouch for his godliness, doctrine, and character.  I just hired a Northland grad as a fulltime intern and am paying his way through DBTS.  He is a godly separated man and he just married one of the godliest girls in our church who has the highest standards of conduct and decorum.  Unfortunately, his parents who were long, longtime employees at NBBC were let go---Salt of the earth kind of people.  Humble, godly, hard working, and scripturally sound.  I think this young man by-and-large represents some of the best grads out of that institution.  I have no interest in writing off NBBC/NIU or Dr. Matt Olsen.  I hope these discussions will aid them in thinking through their decisions and in being more careful about the implications of their public writings.  Fair enough? 

Pastor Mike Harding

Joel Tetreau's picture

Mike,

Fair enough.

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Paul J. Scharf's picture

There is an art to writing skillfully in succinct, concise, cogent, tightly-wrapped passages that are rich and deep with meaning.

Perhaps SI needs to develop shorter comment boxes in its next upgrade to encourage this type of advance in writing skills.

Also, in case anyone cares, I do not read posts with spelling errors, misspelled names, imaginary conversations, dramatic re-creations, etc. (I didn't even read Dr. Bauder's letters to himself :).)

Blessings on your day!

Proverbs 17:27

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

GregH's picture

Paul J. Scharf wrote:

There is an art to writing skillfully in succinct, concise, cogent, tightly-wrapped passages that are rich and deep with meaning.

Perhaps SI needs to develop shorter comment boxes in its next upgrade to encourage this type of advance in writing skills.

Also, in case anyone cares, I do not read posts with spelling errors, misspelled names, imaginary conversations, dramatic re-creations, etc. (I didn't even read Dr. Bauder's letters to himself :).)

Blessings on your day!

Proverbs 17:27

There is also a skill to writing in a way that people won't instinctively dislike you.  If you can do that, people may actually care what you say and might even be influenced by what you say. Wink

Steve Davis's picture

“I understand that some feel that having an employee of NIU who is a member of an SGM church violates our doctrinal statement. Our statement clearly expresses our separation from the Charismatic Movement. Although SGM is charismatic they are in no way part of the Charismatic Movement."
 

If Matt said something like that I do not think it would make any difference for those who have been hammering Matt for a lack of integrity and accusing him of violating NIU’s statement on separation. Those who oppose NIU’s direction will continue to confound and conflate the SGM with the CM. As I said earlier I am a friend of the church in question.  I have significant enough differences with SGM that I would not join a SGM church but it’s not because they are part of the Charismatic Movement. They are not. But if I or anyone else says that repeatedly others will continue to cry foul that NIU is violating its position on the CM. For some there is no room for nuance. Frankly I am glad I am not part of whatever movement, fellowship, or mindset to which they belong.
 

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Can someone point me to a source that explains the difference between being charismatic and being part of the Charismatic Movement? I have never heard that until this thread.

I am all for nuance when called for, and stood up for Olson in principle on the other thread, so I am not trying to be hostile. But if there is another way for his friends to defend him, I would try that. I think this one is a non-starter.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

ADThompson's picture

A few of the posts have a "Do Right NIU" vibe--different end of the spectrum and certainly a different issue, but a similar vibe nonetheless.  

I was a member of Marquette Manor Baptist Church nearly twenty years ago (when it was the sending church a well-known blogger who takes an active interest in NIU).  In those days NIU was disparaged by some for its inferior academics and, to some extent, for its servant leadership emphasis. It wasn't recommended, but it was tolerated for students with less potential.

University is a misnomer, but they seem to have improved their academic standards.  Perhaps, NIU should also adopt a more generic statement of faith such as BJU's creed.  I don't know if that would assuage any concerns of inconsistency.

Joel Tetreau's picture

Friends - I've killed the post where I was trying to have fun with reasons NIU is still a great place. The post probably didn't help my overall argument. The other posts before and after will stay because they represent well my point/view/heart/etc.... Straight Ahead Gang!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Greg Long's picture

Paul, the basic idea is that SGM and other "small-c charismatics" still (in theory at least...some might disagree but at least they assert this) hold Scripture over the charismatic gifts. So they believe the charismatic gifts have not ceased but must be used according to Scriptural regulation and must never be elevated over Scripture. Others in this camp include John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and Wayne Grudem. Check out his Systematic Theology, ch. 52-53, for this perspective. This is also known as soft cessationism; Mark Driscoll calls this "charismaticism with a seatbelt on."

Big-C Charismaticism is where the spiritual gifts tend to run roughshod over Scripture (they wouldn't agree with this characterization, of course). Experience is often elevated over Scripture, everyone should speak in tongues, etc.

I don't agree with either position, but that is the distinction in a nutshell.

The question remains as to whether NIU's doctrinal statement would stand against both camps or only to The Charismatic Movement proper.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Wayne Wilson's picture

If one has a special microphone set up near the front of the church for prophets to use when they receive a message, is that just charismatic or part of the Charismatic movement?

If prophesying is encouraged in small groups, is that just charismatic or part of the Charismatic Movement?

If one claims to be an apostle, is that charismatic or part of the Charismatic Movement?

 

 

Paul J. Scharf's picture

I do believe that there are some charismatics who are more responsible than others, and that there are some who really should not be called charismatics at all but who theoretically are not convinced from Scripture that tongues have ceased, etc.
I also know that there is actually a fair amount of cooperation between strict cessationists and responsible charismatics in many areas of ministry – which is one reason I think we should not overreact against Olson's commendation of this church. I believe this kind of thing is a regular occurrence in the sphere of parachurch ministry, such as NIU operates.
But to divide between some charismatics and the Charismatic Movement is, I think, a distinction without a difference. I don't think that can be the basis of a legitimate argument backing NIU in this matter.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

Andrew K.'s picture

But to divide between some charismatics and the Charismatic Movement is, I think, a distinction without a difference. I don't think that can be the basis of a legitimate argument backing NIU in this matter.

Maybe someone with a little more historical knowledge in this area can correct me, but I thought there are some very significant differences.

Isn't one of the major distinctions of the Charismatic Movement the necessity of Spirit-baptism or second-blessing in sanctification? And isn't it true that these newer charismatic groups do not take this view of sanctification? That hardly seems a minor difference to me.

Furthermore, I thought one of the major objections to sign gifts were that, in theory and practice, they could challenge the authority of Scripture. If healthily subordinated to Scripture, I believe that would agreeably reduce the most objectionable elements of the charismatic groups.

I think this issue needs to be rethought, with careful attention to the history of how our concept of the Charismatic Movement developed. If the grievousness of the differences has been removed, only the differences remain.

Don't we risk becoming rather like the charismatics themselves, if we focus so much on the presence of sign gifts (I speak in matters of fellowship here) and treat the issue of Scriptural authority as though it were simply a minor matter?

神是爱

Shaynus's picture

I would second Greg's previous post. A non-cessationist does not a Charismatic make. I don't think Matt Olson is inconsistent in principle with Northand's view of the Charismatic movement, because SGM simply isn't in what I think of as the Charismatic movement. 

SBashoor's picture

In reality, there are charismatic movements. There's the old-line Pentecostal groups, the charismatic renewal groups, seed-faith groups, third wave groups, etc. SGM sees itself as having some continuity with the charismatic renewal, though it's definitely an offshoot that's been reformed (in more ways than one).

I agree that being a non-cessationist doesn't necessarily make one a charismatic in any of these varieties (cf. Martin Lloyd-Jones; and, for what's it worth, this was my position for a while many years ago). But a non-cessationist who claims to practice charismata would likely see himself in some kind of continuity with the movements above.

M. Scott Bashoor Happy Slave of Christ

PhilB's picture

As I read the responses to what Matt did and said and as I have seen and heard these discussions before I am amazed.  What amazes me is what some in Fundamentalism are willing to separate or at least limit interaction with over.  Not to bore with a reminder history lesson but when Fundamentalism began as a movement, IMO, with the writing of The Fundamentals, it was much broader and inclusive then today.  Writers who were included and viewed by Fundamentalists as Fundamentalists held to some of the things that Matt lists as being not fundamentals of the faith and gets blasted for.  For example, James Orr and to a lesser extent B.B. Warfield were at the very least open to the possibility of theistic evolution. (I think they're wrong)  There were men who were Anglican(Ryle, Gray), and  Presbyterian (Erdman, Warfield, Pierson), which would all imply that mode of baptism was not a Fundamental (I am not saying it is not important or immersion is not right but men who disagreed were still considered Fundamentalists).  In fact, Lyman Stewart who came up with the idea to come up with The Fundamentals was a Presbyterian layman.  All of this is to say that Fundamentalism was much bigger than what it has become and things that are now considered of upmost importance once were not.  We would do well to remember that Fundamentalism was much bigger and more inclusive than just people who all agreed on everything or most things.  They agreed on what was most important and outlined it.  IMO, today, while we may disagree with others on certain things, we would do well if we would remember where we have come from. 

Not that anyone really cares but as an alumni of Northland of both undergrad and grad I am thrilled for and with Matt, his following the Lord's leading, and Northland in general. 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Both historical fundamentalism and immediate fundamentalism has rejected apostolicism, both the extension of the office and it's gifts. Clearly SGM is embarrassed by its history and is trying to change is the view of the apostolic office continuing. However that did not come from CJ it came by way of being forced upon them to C J's rehabilitation with Mark Dever.

That being as it may SGM still holds to the apostolic era sign gifts existing today and operating. That is both counter fundamentalist and counter conservative evangelical.

Continuationism in any form is a rejection of historical fundamentalist and conservative evangelical ecclesiology (and eschatology some might say). Yes continuationist of all forms light, heavy, moderate, or theorists give lip service often to fundamentalist and conservative evangelicals ecclesiology but in their additional doctrines for theorists and practice or a ceptance as legitimste practice they are denying it.

If Olson demonstrates the integrity to chameleon either action or policy so that they match, it is still let to determine what kind of school it is.

If it keeps the SGM partnership and keeps with Olson's blending or genericism of doctrine it will rightly be called either an Evangelical or Neo-Evangelical school.

Ron Bean's picture

I was in the ministry in the 1970's when the Charismatic Movement came to prominenence and was added to the Fundamentalists"s Enemy List, joining the New Evangelicals and Pseudo-Fundamentalists.

SGM is not the PTL Club and CJ Mahaney is not Jim Bakker.

BTW, until the rise of the Charismatic Movement, BJU had Sunday School classes for a fair number of its students who were Pentecostal and Assembly of God.

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

James K's picture

R A Torrey's doctrine of the Holy Spirit argued for a 2nd work of the Holy Spirit post conversion.  His views have been used by Charismatics to justify their theology.  While I doubt he would align himself with Charismatics today, nor SGM (he wasn't a calvinist), he had fundy street cred and academic cred.  Alex, you have been overstating your case that fundies have always been anticharismatic.

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.

ADThompson's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Post #2 ...Matt, have the integrity to change NIU's policies... Post #20 ...But hey, if he is trying to practice biblical Christianity, here is a start. How about making NIU's policy reflect their new practice. Honesty and integrity in ministry is quite biblical... Post #22 ...It is clear Matt Olson is redrawing lines for NIU but he needs to demonstrate some integrity and formally change their policy...  Post #37 ...it is about a first level issue (integrity) and maintaining it. The policy is explicit about Charismaticism and Olson is violating it without explanation. That is an integral failure which cannot exist in any group in order to succeed.  Post #54 ...If Olson demonstrates the integrity...

Brother Alex,

You have repeatedly alluded to a deficit of integrity on brother Olson's part.  Integrity is commonly defined as:

  • the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness: he is known to be a man of integrity

Therefore, a charge of lack of integrity would be equivalent to an accusation of dishonesty and lack of strong moral principles.  At the very least, please refrain from further attacks on his motives.

Jay's picture

If Matt said something like that I do not think it would make any difference for those who have been hammering Matt for a lack of integrity and accusing him of violating NIU’s statement on separation. Those who oppose NIU’s direction will continue to confound and conflate the SGM with the CM. As I said earlier I am a friend of the church in question.  I have significant enough differences with SGM that I would not join a SGM church but it’s not because they are part of the Charismatic Movement. They are not. But if I or anyone else says that repeatedly others will continue to cry foul that NIU is violating its position on the CM. For some there is no room for nuance. Frankly I am glad I am not part of whatever movement, fellowship, or mindset to which they belong.

Dr. Davis is right - some of this 'fundamentalist wildfire' seems to be driven by people who are more interested in being 'anti-NIU' or 'Anti-SGM' than they are interested in anything else.  That's sad, because no matter what happens or what Dr. Olson says, it will always be about bashing the opponent of choice more than it ever really was about this church in Philly or the NIU employee.  This is separation gone berserk, and it's the kind of thing that Phil Johnson was talking about eight years ago (see pg. 16 - "A Lack of Due Process") although so many people pilloried him for saying so.  Phil said (and I quote):

Here, in my view, is one of the main reasons so many of the best men and brightest young minds have left the fundamentalist movement. The way second-degree separation has been implemented by fundamentalists is
unseemly, ungracious, and unbiblical. The machinery of fundamentalist separatism has in effect established a form of excommunication without any due process. All someone has to do to ruin your ministry in fundamentalist
circles is publish a negative story about you in one of the fundamentalist gossip rags, and if it gets enough circulation, you will be branded for life as a neoevangelical; and anyone who has any kind of public fellowship with you will also then be tainted...

...But what is my duty to a fellow believer, someone who is fundamentally sound in his own doctrine, but who does not practice separation? What about an evangelical Anglican, who preaches the gospel himself, but is a member of a denomination that has ordained practicing homosexuals as bishops? Am I free to associate with him? Am I obliged to break fellowship with him? 

If I do break fellowship with him, that’s second-degree separation. Now, it may surprise some of you to hear me say this, but there are times when I think second-degree separation is perfectly appropriate. There are some who have tried to argue that there’s no warrant in Scripture to separate from other Christians, so that in effect, if I believe a guy is a true believer, I should not separate from him ever, even if he holds a conference and turns the pulpit over to the Pope. But I think that’s quite wrong. Second Thessalonians 3:14–15 says: “If anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not
keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”

So there clearly are times when it is appropriate to refuse to keep company with someone who is a believer—especially if that person is deliberately and incorrigibly disobedient to the clear instruction of Scripture. But notice that we’re explicitly instructed to admonish such a person as a brother. Separation from a brother should never be quick and easy.

What I object to in the way American fundamentalists have practiced separation is this: they are often rash and impulsive in the way they separate from other brethren without any kind of admonishment and without due
process.
Furthermore, they try to enforce separation to the third, fourth, fifth, and fifteenth degree...

...And you can be branded and condemned and excommunicated by the fundamentalists without due process and without any hope of remedy. That is exactly what happened to John MacArthur. Almost twenty years ago, Bob Jones Jr. ran an article in a Bob Jones University-sponsored magazine accusing John MacArthur of teaching heresy. The article accused John MacArthur of denying the efficacy and the necessity of Christ’s blood.

It seemed to me that Bob Jones had misunderstood John MacArthur and misconstrued some quotations, so I personally wrote to Bob Jones Jr. for an explanation of the University’s position. He refused to answer my questions and in a curt way told me it was useless to try to correspond with him. 

Five years later, after the controversy had already swept through the fundamentalist movement, Bob Jones III finally wrote privately to John MacArthur and in essence said MacArthur’s explanations of his position had satisfied BJU that MacArthur was not a heretic. But they never published any retraction. Thousands of their constituents to this day think John MacArthur is a heretic who denies the blood of Christ.

I'm concerned about this too, but I am not ready to jump to the 'Fire Matt Olson, Fire the NIU Employee, and install a new Board at NIU level' that some seem angling for.  Let's see how this plays out, and in the meantime, ignore those who really are just out for their 15 minutes of fame.

"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

Mike Harding's picture

Greg,

 

Thank you for clarifying the distinctions between soft-cessationism and hard-cessationism.  I have read Grudem's work on this.  I don't comprehend how one can have non-authoritative revelatory gifts.  Whether it be the gift of revelatory knowledge, revelatory tongues, revelatory interpretation, prophecy, or revelatory offices such as prophet and apostle.  The implications of all this on the canon are more than serious.  Either its revelatory or its not.  No middle ground here, unless one believes in white blackbirds.

Pastor Mike Harding

Alex Guggenheim's picture

ADThompson wrote:

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Post #2 ...Matt, have the integrity to change NIU's policies... Post #20 ...But hey, if he is trying to practice biblical Christianity, here is a start. How about making NIU's policy reflect their new practice. Honesty and integrity in ministry is quite biblical... Post #22 ...It is clear Matt Olson is redrawing lines for NIU but he needs to demonstrate some integrity and formally change their policy...  Post #37 ...it is about a first level issue (integrity) and maintaining it. The policy is explicit about Charismaticism and Olson is violating it without explanation. That is an integral failure which cannot exist in any group in order to succeed.  Post #54 ...If Olson demonstrates the integrity...

Brother Alex,

You have repeatedly alluded to a deficit of integrity on brother Olson's part.  Integrity is commonly defined as:

  • the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness: he is known to be a man of integrity

Therefore, a charge of lack of integrity would be equivalent to an accusation of dishonesty and lack of strong moral principles.  At the very least, please refrain from further attacks on his motives.

When practice conflicts with policy questions of integrity rightly arise. The problem with your complaint is that to ask questions and oiunt out integral inconsistencies is not an attack but questions with citations. Those questioning are waiting for answers and until practice and policy match then the citation(s) and question(s) remain as the are, certain and special interrogatives.

ADThompson's picture

Brother Alex,

I believe you are perfectly capable of legitimately pointing out inconsistencies without questioning a brother's integrity. Please do not seek refuge in nuance and assume responsibility for your words.

I will speak no further.

Pages