NIU has entered into a “strategic partnership” with The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“[T]he overall goal is to leverage Southern Seminary’s strengths to help Northland fulfill its mission of ‘training the next generation of servant leaders for Great Commission living’ with greater efficiency and greater gospel impact.”

Northland Partners With Southern

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

While I think this certainly constitutes a change in direction from what NBBC was say 15 years ago, I view it as moderately positive. I will say I would prefer the former position of the school, but Mohler is a smart, solid guy. Not surprisingly, I have some separation problems with him, but he is clearly and firmly conservative. This should provide an anchor for Northland to keep them from sliding off into doctrinal oblivion as they settle into their new identity. What I am wondering is how it will benefit Northland. I just don't see Southern Baptists sending their kids there for undergrad work when there are so many other, seemingly more attractive choices available - i.e. accredited, broader selections of majors, more students, better weather, bigger cities (for recreation and jobs). I am still not sure what the draw will be.

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

rogercarlson's picture

I dont Understand why Southern is doing this......I thought they had a Bible college on their campus already?

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Paul J. Scharf's picture

I think it is always a PR mistake to "make an announcement" when you have nothing ready to announce.

On a substantive level, I think this will cement NIU's need to find a completely new constituency. This will take them out of the world not only of IFB, but officially from GARBC and likely from IFCA. Had the partnership been with The Master's Seminary, I think that leaders of sister schools might be losing some sleep tonight. Partnering with SBTS? My guess is not so much...

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

mmartin's picture

Back in April NIU acknowledged they needed to restructure their program but have yet to define the reality of that will look like.  Now there is this big announcement about a "Strategic Partnership" with Southern but with few details.  Apparently the details will be forthcoming.

Partnership in what way?  What does this partnership mean?  What will that look like?  I am echoing Paul J. Scharf's comment about announcing something when you have nothing ready to announce.

We keep waiting for NIU's freefall to stop, wondering if/when it will finally settle and define itself.  This at a time when parents & students are deciding on where they should go to college in the fall.

NIU is an organization that couldn't stop itself from flushing $10,000,000 down the toilet within the last 4-6 years.  Is SBTS going to financially enable NIU next year?

I don't see this "Strategic Partnership" changing anything that is fait accompli about NIU's future.

James K's picture

NIU will be renamed to North Boyce College.  Also, this will hurt the alleged IFB seminaries as well (ie, Central), as where would they be encouraged to go now?  SBTS.  I like it.

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.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

We all know about SBTS already... Will having a branch campus in the woods of northern Wisconsin make it more convenient to attend there? For all those hard-core SBC Packer fans??

And what is "alleged" (note spelling) about "IFB seminaries"? Sort of a backhanded compliment, don't you think?!

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

Rob Fall's picture

means to me is Northland has ceased to be a Northern Baptist school.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

James K's picture

Of course they know about them Paul.  However, a partnership will encourage a continued education at SBTS.

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.

paynen's picture

Uh... no. Central if anything would be a GARBC seminary. and they are not harmed by this at all. In fact no one will be harmed except Northland. Why would any southern baptist want to go their? they have plenty of better options in their pocket. And they are continually losing their previous consistency. If anything this will help FBBC&TS and to some extent MBU.

Greg Linscott's picture

Central has much more favor of late with GARBC constituents, especially with Bauder's influence, but I don't think it would be precisely accurate at all to describe them as GARBC. I know there are plenty of MBA men who are also Central grads who would not do so.

Northland was somewhat of a feeder school for Central, as Maranatha was to some extent before the started their seminary. Faith has its own seminary, so doesn't really feed prospects to Minnesota, either. Central won't be hurt specifically by the partnership with SBTS, but the Northland's change in direction didn't do them any favors. 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

paynen's picture

But since Bauder has influenced them they definitely seem to be more GARBC and have very close relationship to Faith. The Seminaries almost combined a few years back, but due to one professor who couldn't sign Faith doctrinal statement (I believe he is gone now) and Faith's inability to lift Central out of some of their financial hardships the merger fell through. Perhaps soon some of these recent developments will open up that possibility again.

Rob Fall's picture

Greg, IIRC, MBU has always had a graduate school.  Remember there was bad blood between, Dr. Clearwaters and Dr. Cedarholm and MBBC (it was a one way dislike mind you).  So, after Dr. Clearwater's home going MBBC men were welcome at Central, but not before.

Greg Linscott wrote:

Central has much more favor of late with GARBC constituents, especially with Bauder's influence, but I don't think it would be precisely accurate at all to describe them as GARBC. I know there are plenty of MBA men who are also Central grads who would not do so.

Northland was somewhat of a feeder school for Central, as Maranatha was to some extent before the started their seminary. Faith has its own seminary, so doesn't really feed prospects to Minnesota, either. Central won't be hurt specifically by the partnership with SBTS, but the Northland's change in direction didn't do them any favors. 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Greg Linscott's picture

My understanding from people who would know is that Maranatha students come less frequently to Central since they formally established a seminary (as opposed to "graduate school") than they had of late.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Joel Shaffer's picture

Several GARBC churches, particularly in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, still maintain good relationships with Cedarville, even with their SBC influence.  NIU would be another option for them, especially since NIU is moving to a more conservative evangelical direction from its IFB roots.  To several of the people in these GARBC churches (as well as thelr leadership) a school like Faith would be too conservative for them.  My point is that the GARBC has alot of type C fundamentalists that move freely among both the GARBC circles and the conservative evangelical circles.      

Rob Fall's picture

it's a situation that developed after 1981 when I graduated.

Greg Linscott wrote:

My understanding from people who would know is that Maranatha students come less frequently to Central since they formally established a seminary (as opposed to "graduate school") than they had of late.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Bob Hayton's picture

I have some positive reflections on this move.

1) Students at Northland can see that their degree may mean more now, with an academic institution like Southern "backing" it.

2) There are lots of churches who are loosely IFB but not committed to one particular sphere or fellowship, this partnership makes Northland attractive to some of these churches now.

3) It allows Northland to receive help from another institution and continue to exist - and in the area of Northland there are not an abundance of conservative evangelical schools of any stripe.

4) It expands the base of Northland to other conservative churches aware of Southern but not necessarily aware of Northland.

Remember this is a connection with a particular institution not the SBC as a whole, nor every SBC seminary, just Southern. As such, Northland doesn't have to be seen as eschewing fundamentalism.  Fundamentalism was a para-denominational idea to unite around the gospel. Might it not be time for conservative IFB churches to unite more formally as NIU is doing here, with conservative bastions of evangelicalism, whether they be GCC/TMC, Southern, or what have you?

The IFB movement prizes independence. Northland is acting independently. They already forged a partnership with the CCEF, and now with Southern. This is not old-school fundamentalism, but it might just be the natural progression of the growth of Type B/C Fundamentalism.

What exactly would be the case for separating from Northland for partnering with Southern?  What exactly is the case for not sending students to Southern, or for being willing to send them to The Master's College but not Southern? Is Fundamentalism an idea that is more important than a movement? Time will tell.

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.

Jim's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:
Students at Northland can see that their degree may mean more now, with an academic institution like Southern "backing" it.

Comment: While Boyce College has regional accreditation​ (details) , NIU will need to go through their own process to gain it; unless there is some Boyce College / NIU merger. 

Bob Hayton wrote:
It allows Northland to receive help from another institution and continue to exist 

Reply: Unclear / undefined if such “strategic partnership” means money flowing North


mmartin's picture

Money flowing North is the Only way NIU can survive.  As I stated above NIU managed to burn through $10 Million within the last 4-6 years plus their program is shrinking, they are laying more people off again or people are leaving on their own.  This downward spiral they are in is extremely hard to pull out of.

Not sure how this partnership with SBTS will make NIU's degrees "mean more." 

Regarding the idea "It expands the base of Northland to other conservative churches aware of Southern but not necessarily aware of Northland."  I think this notion is misguided.  Reasonable assumption there aren't too many of those churches in the MN, WI, MI, IL, IN region and if there are, those kids are Far more likely to go to schools like Bethel, Northwestern, Moody, Wheaton, etc. who have broader programs to offer, aren't in the middle of re-defining themselves, or are in an easier location.

Joel Tetreau's picture

The only thing this does really is establish a wider and newer support system and strengthen stability. Think about it, the vast majority of NIU supporters from within various strains of Type B fundamentalism are not going to be bothered (at all) by the new connection with Southern (viewed by many as a solid Type C fundamentalist school). I don't think brothers in either the IFCA or in the main of the GARBC will be smashed in our spirits for this new realationship. NIU has a chance to build new relationships with a network of ministries that will have much in common with NIU. As a matter of fact - take me - I'm a Type B fundamentalist and I'm thrilled for the move - I think the relationship with Southern will anchor NIU theologically in a much safer place than it might otherwise have on it's own. I probably would have prefered to see NIU anchored to Central - but I'm not sure that is possible with the exit of certain leaders at Plymouth from the support of Dunbar. NIU needed someone - I would have loved to seen a relationship with Masters....but Southern is a good choice in this case. I am a friend of NIU and so I don't mean this as a shot - to me there has always seemed to have been a bit of a subjective-ism that I think has blown NIU around a bit - You don't really think of a verbose "subjective-ism" when you think of Southern.

My ministry at IBL connects me with leaders around the country and many places internationally. I'm constantly talking to the younger guys - almost none of the 20 or even 30-somethings at our Type A/B+ schools (such as BJ, Maranatha, IBC, Faith, etc...) will care that NIU has a relationship with Southern. That is also true at Type B/C schools (Appalachian, Calvary Kansas City, Piedmont, etc...) and at our seminaries (Detroit, Central, Virginia Beach, Masters, BJ, Clark Summit, even Faith) - again the 20 and 30 year olds are (in the main) not moved, upset or surprised by the move in Dunbar. We middle aged guys (40's and older) - a large % of us are not surprised or moved either. Those statistics matter because we will be the main leaders of conservative ministries in the years to come (God willing!). Look - let's be honest here - If you liked NIU prior to this annoucement - you probably still like NIU. If you didn't like NIU - well - you probably still don't like NIU. The men who care are primarily leadership men in Type A schools/other ministries that are watching the leadership stream that share their particular philosophical views that would separate B from C ...... or A from C - shrinking.....big time. That is the reality.

It's going to be interesting to see what the A guys do. Will they reach out to the guys in Type A+ circles? Yep - we've seen some of that already - which is telling (Crown College?). Will they reach out to the B/C Coalition that is building? Well - not yet. They can't publicly do that without hurting their Type A financial base (that maybe has about five to ten years of life left). I'm irritated when I hear some leaders say things in private (the B/C coalition is good) and they don't have the integrity to say that in public.

I have great love and respect for careful/thoughtful Type A men who take the more separatist position than I do. I'm not suggesting they need to give up their view - which is their view and for most of them are the result of exegetical and God-honoring reasons why they take the view they do. My appeal would be for them to take the highest road - which might be for the type A's to have their view and then not compromise to the right or the left. Yes - it means they shrink, but if truth is truth - you choose to be smaller and embrace God's blessing and trust that God can do more with less......which in the more!

A few thoughts.......

Straight Ahead!


ps - my apologies - some of my post here found itself off the topic of the NIU thing - my involvement here at SI is limited these days - so sometimes when I actually write - I include other thoughts that have been impacted by other threads here at SI (and elsewhere). This is what happens when your mind begins to wonder as you grow older....thx for your patience everyone. Straight Ahead!

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

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Joel, I always enjoy reading your perspective, but (as someone who probably does not fit the "Type A" on your classification scale) I respectfully question your highly enthusiastic and overly broad reception of this announcement.

You claim, basically, that our brethren in the IFCA, GARBC and virtually all conservative seminaries ("even Faith" - I love it and will take it as a compliment!) "are (in the main) not moved, upset or surprised by the move."

I'm not sure that anything spoken that broadly about the participants in this thing we call "fundamentalism" could possibly be accurate. If it were true, I am wondering what it would say about our collective discernment. After all, we are talking about a school forming an apparently comprehensive relationship (not mere "platform fellowship" or a working relationship on a specific point of agreement) with the flagship seminary of a denomination that, in Dr. Mohler's own words, "faces a moment of unavoidable decision." On what question? Oh, that is whether or not it will continue to uphold the Biblical standard of marriage (

Also, if your assessment is correct, I am wondering what it says about the future of some of the theology that many of the schools you list have historically stood for, specifically in the realm of dispensationalism. After all, let's remember that many of us went to those schools - not SBTS or comparable places - and we did so for specific reasons that still resonate in our hearts.

I for one hope that the future is brighter and filled with things bigger than merely trying to find a way to theologically subsist.

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

Jim's picture

My conclusion about NIU:

  • ​It will continue to have an effective camping ministry
  • It will never grow much beyond what it is today (I understand it to be about 300)
  • It will not be a major player in education
  • I personally doubt it will reach the objective of regional accreditation
  • Not that this is the worst thing, but they've lost their former fundamentalist  constituency and it will not be regained. MBBC will be the beneficiary of this (frankly in my own view MBBC seems to do all things right. (Well run. Balanced. On track)
  • On the C/E (conservative evangelical) side, there are so many better options than NIU
  • ​It's a niche ministry. 
  • Frankly I doubt the Patz's pockets are deep enough to make it thrive
Bert Baker's picture

I now realize I have been sleeping while being a fundamentalist.  Can you please tell me what the types, "A,B,C" are?  By the names mentioned above I have a smidgen of an idea, but really

cannot tell specifically.

Northland, before all the shrinking became nationally noticeable, was in the process of eliminating some of its professional courses in favor of ministry   focused courses.  When it became

apparent it had fallen out of the good graces of the strict fundamentalists, they knew they would never get that back, they needed some other support systems.  They have found it.

By the way, just as most of you already know,  many of our right wing fundies from time to time, online or in person, receive help from  more moderate institutions or men.

Bert Baker's picture

Thank you, Tyler, I really enjoyed your short epistle on the types of fundamentalism.  I see myself as a "B" as well.  I place the  highest place on the "Holy Scriptures which live and abide forever."

I would be a zero or less without  them dominating my life.

Two things, one, I  believe the Blood of our Redeemer is in God's Heaven today, presented by Christ Himself, which is why He told Mary not to touch Him because He had to ascend to " His Father and our

Father, to His God and to our God."  He did not mean He could not be touched before Acts 1:8 because He told Thomas to touch Him.

Second, the day    is soon coming when we all will recognize our enemies are not types A,B or C , but the adversary himself and this world's system.


I think what lies in front of us will have both a purifying and unifying effect on on true believers.  The true ones will come to light for sure.

Once again, thank you for redirecting me.  Totally enjoyed it.  I also had forgotten I had read it before.  Guess I had slept since then.

In Christ our Holy Redeemer,


Bert  Ex. 15:2

TylerR's picture


Just be sure to direct your thanks to Joel; it's his article! Smile Take care! 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Baker's picture


Thank you for the article.  I really appreciate it.  Great job.  My name is Bert, I am type "B".  Tyler, thanks for reminding me to thank Joel.  God bless.


Ex. 15:2

mmartin's picture

I agree with Joel's assessment above about NIU in recent years being being blown about by subjective-ism as well as Jim's post immediately above.

NOT to pick on Bert Baker but above he refers to NIU falling out of the good graces of "strict fundamentalists."

From my point of view I just want us to be clear about something, that is the issues the former base constituency and much of the alumni have with NIU is two-fold.

First, it is the philosophy of ministry changes and shift in associations.  I get it that some people do not like the new associations NIU is involved with including this "strategic partnership" with SBTS.  However, at the same time I would think most reasonable people would have to agree that NIU is still preaching and teaching the Bible and it truly wants to glorify the Lord.  Some of the associations may make some people nervous, but even I would say the core of NIU is the same.

Second, it is the attitude and the method behind the changes.  I would strongly submit to you that this second point is what is most offensive to former supporters.  The extreme lack of grace in how most of the changes were made by many - including the former AND current president and many of his younger supporters has broken the trust and confidence of ALOT of people.  Remember, it was Daniel Patz who started that petition to urge NIU and Olson to continue with their changes and direction which included the process of burning through $10,000,000 and basically poking a stick in the eye of NIU's support base while running off with the NIU name and buildings.  I have yet to see Olson, Patz, or NIU really try to connect with the former constituency and alumni and apologize for what they did and how they did it.

Please keep in mind the churches, pastors, and people that gave of their time, money, and energy to build NIU's program and buildings.  The parents, grandparents, and people that gave because they believed not only in where NIU was at at the time, but they also believed in the future of the ministry.  I know of one family who received funds from a death benefit from an accident involving their family and gave a fair sum to NIU.  Would they have done so if they knew how NIU would turn out and the way it would happen?  And yet it is those very people that Olson, Patz, and many others blew off while they ran off with the very program and buildings those people supported.

The best simple analogy I can give is similar to Jim's note above.  Think of a man who started a church and pastored it for 20 years.  He and a core group of people poured their heart into that ministry and the Lord blessed it.  Then along come some young guys with their own hot shot ideas of how ministry is "Supposed" to be done.  In short time they take over, bring in a rock "worship band", push out the founding pastor and most of the core original members - all without a real lack of grace, respect, and understanding.

If you were that pastor and those core members how would you justifiably feel?  (Maybe not a perfect analogy, but I trust you get my point.)

What I think many people, including one on this conversation thread, do not realize is at the end of the day NIU is a business and it needs us as consumers.  Yes, NIU is a ministry but basic business principles still apply.  Trust is vital in a business relationship and NIU has broken that trust on multiple levels multiple times.  I see too many people thrilled to see the changes at NIU, its new associations & philosophy of ministry while being blind to the fact that in that process they alienated most of their consumers, have no money left over, are laying off staff again, and are trying to enter into the same marketplace as Northwestern, Moody, & Cedarville.  NIU has this new partnership with SBTS and some are celebrating that.  OK, but that doesn't change the fact that NIU is in an extremely tough spot that is unlikely to change anytime soon, if ever.  It is like the saying, "Be careful what you wish for."

So, again not picking on Bert, but people can whine about strict fundies not willing to change with the times, etc - or whatever argument against fundamentalists they want.  But at the end of the day they are still chasing the wrong arguments.

It is less about the What and more about the How.  And Yes, it does matter.

Greg Long's picture

Paul, this is off topic, but I think you are misreading Mohler's piece "No Third Way." He is not saying "There's a big debate within the SBC about gay marriage and it could go either way, so let's be sure to choose correctly!" I think by all accounts there is no doubt that if the church in question doesn't voluntarily leave the SBC, the SBC will overwhelmingly vote to remove it. He was simply saying that all churches and denominations need to realize, if they haven't already, that they will have to take a stand on this issue one way or the other.

Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Paul J. Scharf's picture

I understand and appreciate that - and we probably all appreciate Mohler's courageous and clear leadership on that and many other issues.

My point - perhaps overstated - is that Mohler and SBTS are part of a denomination that is much closer to the fray on such matters than the IFCA and GARBC, at least for now. He is talking about a live issue within the SBC, not merely the legal threats that all churches will face. I am sure we all pray good will on the SBC in this matter and we are glad Mohler is there, along with many others.

But in another sense, he has chosen to be there - much closer to the heat of such battles. He lives in a different world than NIU has in the past.

So the question is, which ecclesiastical world do we want to live in? There may be merit to either choice. But I don't think we answer the question by trying to minimize the distinctions.

God's best to you, Greg!

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

Joel Tetreau's picture

Paul & Bert & others,

Thx for your response - I might be out to lunch on this - but I'm pretty sure I'm not. Don't take my word for it - ask the guys. Call Larry Oats at Maranatha, Call Steve or Stephen at BJ, Talk to the guys at Faith, IBC - any of the schools that are not KJVO but are trying to hold the line against conservative evangelicalism - even my "Type C's" - you know......the militant ones. Ask them whose sermons and whose books the theological students are reading and listening too. You will hear - Type C's and left of them - who are reformed (in the main). Not exclusively - they are reading we fundamentalists who write. They are listening to some of us preach. However - there is much excitement with the younger men about Mohler, Piper, Dever, and other men to the left of those guys (men associated with GC and Chandler's/Driscoll's network). How will that effect those same institutions in the future? Well - I suppose in part that depends on how those institutions respond to the change in their constituency. BJ Seminary has always given their guys a choice - here's dispensationalism - here's covenant theology - here's something in the middle - "almost dispensationalism/not-quit-covenant theology" - you choose. I actually appreciate that approach. Now at DBTS I was fed McCune-ian Dispensationalism and I loved it - still do. Of course I'm a theological T-Rex! When I first went to Central we had Ed Glenny on one side of the isle (a certain representation of progressive dispensationalism) and Roy Beacham on the other (think of Roy as the incarnation of Rolland!). Prior to DBTS I had classical dispensationalism at IBC. At Central, I was able to watch the back and forth - I'm still a dispensationalist - but I have great respect and even love in my heart for some of my very best friends who are really NOT dispensationalist. Paul - that sort of thing never and I mean never bothered me because I have always been a champion (well - maybe not champion - maybe a noise maker - lol) for Biblical Theology. I love Systematic Theology but have always preferred Biblical Theology. Many of the young men I talk to that are in these schools love theology, many of them are dispensational - but it doesn't bother them that there favorite radio bible teacher isn't dispensational and doesn't share some of the convictions of their alma matter.

The future of the movement - Oh I have shared my heart - over and over. I've sort of given-up sharing on this because my wife tells me I talk too much! No doubt she's right on that. Bert - thx for the kind remarks about ABC. The genesis of that was nearly 10 years ago. I decided to go on an adventure! I thought I would try to divide up fundamentalism into three camps - Type A - these were like the Orcs - My group Type B - these were Dwarves - and lastly the cool and  "pretty people" - Type C - these were like the Elves. Forgive the levity. I'm in Australia and New Zealand with my middle son Jeremy and we just toured Hobbit-ville. In between ministry gigs he and I have been watching the Lord of the Rings followed up with the Hobbit. He is a Tolken nut. At any rate - Because I loved my fundamentalist heritage but have been rather exasperated by much of what has become "movement fundamentalism," I needed a taxonomy to teach God's people a historically accurate and in my view a responsible approach to historic and contemporary fundamentalism. I grew tired of explaining to people that yes I'm a fundamentalist but a historic one - not a hysteric one. It was my conviction that the type A (and to the right of them Type A+ guys) were separating over items they had no business separating over. Too many A+ guys were actually heretical - Christologically (mystical blood?), Bibliology (TR/1611 only?), Soteriology (no Lordship with repentance - none?). Then the type A men were very sure that they that is "their group" contained certainly the "only" or the "best" of fundamentalism. That is they were taking a variety of theological & ecclesiastical implications to levels of separation that violate the spirit of the text on rejecting that but keeping the core of historic fundamentalism I tagged this with what I designate as "type b fundamentalism." I noted in the first generation of fundamentalism (1920-40) a benevolence between militant men who stayed in groups to contend earnestly for the faith with other men who had already pulled out of groups because of a militancy for the gospel. In my world that never happened. If you stayed in you automatically were assumed to be a compromiser. Then I met some of those so-called compromisers and found out they were contending for the faith.....that is they were more fundamentalist than the fundamentalist. Oh my head hurt. Could not compute!

So......I see two paths for schools unlike Northland. You guys that want to hold the line against even responsible and militant Type C's. In words of John Calvin......good luck with that! The problem is you guys can't really win. If you tell your students - learn exegesis and respect the fact that we baptist allow Christian liberty - well those sharp young men will do that and will figure out that MacArthur is like the best thing sense Spurgeon. If you try to the other approach "John MacArthur and his ilk are not militant and are enemies of the cross." So then they actually hear MacArthur and start laughing about 5 minutes into his introduction with the idea that Mac isn't militant enough - isn't militant enough! You're kidding! You then try to explain how Mac and Dever and RC Sproul are enemies of the cross - but as you listen to these men you notice in their sermons they build a 20 foot cross - shouting the truths of redemption - and the sermons by the end are red-hot - glowing with message of the New Birth. Young people come back to your institution and see you as you are - confused - and frankly your integrity has taken a hit.

For the three people who care - my suggestion is exactly what NIU is doing. Here's a more traditional approach, here's a less traditional approach with this or that - but here's the gospel an here's our theological core (that never changes). You choose! If you want to have a more traditional approach to worship (like we do at Southeast Valley in Gilbert - where even our contemporary songs are played and sung traditional - because we don't know how to be contemporary) - fine! If you want to be more contemporary - fine. You choose. Look - if you take this approach you will win far more young leaders to a more traditional approach than if you try to sell them the bill of of goods that this evangelical approach or the contemporary approach is inheritably "evil" and full of "dead men's bones." They are fare more open if you just say - I don't like the contemporary approach because to me it seems to be more man centered here and here and there......

Bert - one disclosure. There are many aug-ust and brilliant people who don't like my taxonomy. You might want to read their commentary before running with the ABC thing. It works for me - I'm not hurt that not everyone is using Type ABC in these various ecclesiastical discussions. Of course the best people use ABC (ha! a little joke there). Well - Along with Bilbo - I will now try to go back into exile or perhaps a proverbial "Hobbit's Hole!" - I've spoken enough here to last a few months I'm sure.

Enjoy the journey my brothers - we live in strange times. Thankful the Spirit of God and the Word of God is as powerful and authoritative as they've always been.

Straight Ahead!


ps - Tyler - thx for directing Bert to me as the author of ABC - that's not necesary - from now on if you want to take credit for anything I've written that is controversial - you help yourself. Straight Ahead my friend!

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