"Matt Ols[o]n would do well to eject, but it may cost him his school"

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Jim's picture

William Dudding makes some excellent points:

Northland has not officially made any kind of official statements on a change in direction, but the president is acting in a way that goes against the very written philosophy of ministry the college has historically held to. That's a fair expectation.

AND

To be honest with their constituents, Northland should officially make some statements or changes to their official documented positions on whatever they have been changing in practice for honesty's sake. The Fundy's who are up in arms about this do have a point. If they're going to recruit at Christian Rock Concerts, then it shouldn't be done off the grid.

Matthew Richards's picture

Here:

They get the Sovereignty of God in salvation wrong,
They get the Lordship of Christ in Salvation wrong,
They get the Bible wrong with their KJV Onlyism
.

AND

(Not to mention their ecclesiology which still operates in most churches as single pastor rule)

AND 

Furthermore, if monotone, unemotional music and girls culottes are what make someone distinctly a Fundamentalist, then who needs them?

Matthew

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

William's working with a faulty definition of Fundamentalism, but he's still got several strong points there.

Faulty definition: it's never a good idea/quite fair to define something by its worst representatives, however numerous they may be. (It's one thing to say "A whole lot of singers have major lifestyle problems," and another thing to say "A singer is a person who does vocal performances in front crowds and spends the rest of his/her time carousing, abusing drugs and generally engaging in gradual self destruction.")

That said, it's debatable whether a school can find enough fundamentalists of the sort to keep it going if it flouts certain traditions.

To illustrate the definition point, I would not personally encourage my kids to attend a Bible college that is not culturally astute enough to see the need to be counter-cultural in the area of worship music. But I'm not for "separating from" everybody who shares a platform with someone who doesn't separate from someone who might have joined hands with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association at some point... or for "separating from" everybody who doesn't see the cultural drift as I do (though I have to say that I find that whole thing face-palmingly obvious).

And KJVO? There are definitely enough non-KJVO fundamentalists to keep a few schools staffed, and populated with students and donors. How many schools, I'm not sure.

But WD's post gets one thing very right: to survive (much less thrive) Northland is going to have to figure out what it's brand is, firmly commit to that and sell it to constituents and new prospects.

TylerR's picture

Editor

To say this:

They get the Sovereignty of God in salvation wrong,
They get the Lordship of Christ in Salvation wrong,
They get the Bible wrong with their KJV Onlyism
.

represents fundamentalism is to say Harold Camping represents Calvinists . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Just for the record, because so many get this wrong. It's Olson with an "o" and no "e" anywhere.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

TylerR wrote:

To say this:

They get the Sovereignty of God in salvation wrong,
They get the Lordship of Christ in Salvation wrong,
They get the Bible wrong with their KJV Onlyism
.

represents fundamentalism is to say Harold Camping represents Calvinists . . .

These 3 observations may not represent fundamentalism as some (like here at SI) define it, but it certainly does represent the loudest wing of fundamentalism.

In all fairness, I think that there is legitimate debate on the first two points, since both contain a paradox that is not really resolvable within our finite system of logic.  Still, the "loud" wing doesn't hesitate to call heretics those with a more "Calvinistic" bent on the first two points.

Dave Barnhart

TylerR's picture

Editor

I used to be a KJVO, IFB. I honestly wonder how large group they speak for? It seems to me to be a loud, narrow group of folks. I am still an independent, fundamental Baptist - certainly not KJVO or anti-Calvinistic though! I know where the author was coming from, but I've since learned there is more to fundamentalism than "KJV is good, skirts are bad and Calvinism is evil!" I used to think that . . . !

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jay's picture

So let's say that NIU's board lived in a complete bubble, had no idea what was going on, and fired Dr. Olson today as a result.  Would that 'save' Northland?  Would it resolve the concerns of the 'anti-NIU' crowd?

That might be an interesting conversation.  My gut feeling is that NIU is now irreparably outside our 'orbit' in the eyes of the crowd, and that would be a shame.

"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

Jim's picture

William Dudding said:

 

Northland’s Dilemma: If Matt Olsen is truly trying to lead Northland out of Fundamentalism and into mainstream Evangelicalism then he has a dilemma because he has several untenable options:

  • He either has to be his own self-styled fundamentalist in his own mind with little regard to what his peers think of him and his philosophy.
  • Or he must try to change Fundamentalism so he doesn’t have to say that he’s leaving it.
  • Or he has to send out a press release that he’s no longer going to be leading the college as a Fundamentalist Institution and lose his entire constituency.
  • Or, he has to do it quietly and slowly until he has built a new constituency for the school to survive.

The problem with all three options is that they’re impossible to do if you want to be totally honest with yourself, others or if you want the institution to survive.

Comments:

Mike Harding's picture

I have had conversations in recent months with former faculty and current faculty, administrators, camp leaders of NBBC/NIU and they are concerned about the school and some are heart broken.  These conversants with me are pro-Lordship, Calvinistic Baptists, who hate KJV Onlyism, none of whom are cultural extremists.  I just read today a recent email by a very pro-Northland insider who is directly related to the founders and he made it very clear that the main leaders today want to take the school in a different direction (including the acceptance of the Baptist General Conference and the Billy Graham Association). Personally, I seriously doubt NIU would go that far.  Nevertheless, He lamented the fact that Northland had been too separated in the past under the previous administration and that now it was going the direction that the founders originally wanted.  The author of the email had nothing but disdain for "BJU fundamentalism" and decried its influence upon Northland over the last several decades. This man who is related to the founder and well-connected to the leaders is elated over the new direction of Northland.  By contrast, I think it is important to remember that Matt served for many years on the BJU board, the GFA board, and the FBFI board, and founded/pastored an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church in Colorado for over 20 years.  Les is still a member of the FBFI cooperative board.  Les built the school to over 800 students as a beloved speaker in those general circles.  Les and Matt were never in the KJVO, non-Lordship, anti-Calvinistic circles of fundamentalism.

 

Here is what another pro-Northland pastor said yesterday:

 

"I pastor in the general vicinity of NIU. I am greatly disheartened by the moves that Northland has been making and it's not because I'm in the Lou Martouneac camp or even remotely close. In fact, my church uses the ESV, I believe that music is a cultural rather than biblical issue, I hold to the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation, and believe that repentance and faith are inseparable.

Northland frustrates me because I had hoped that they were moving to a place where someone like me could have a strong partner.Unfortunately, they have entirely skipped that place for generic Evangelicalism. You recognize that associating with someone like Big Daddy Weave is undignified, but it is far more than that. I don't think that because of the genre of music; I think that because the half bit theology of broad evangelicalism.

Northland's throwing out of the baby with the bath water has put guys like me in a really difficult place. We want to reform fundamentalism while holding to the historical principles that give it value. However, now we face even more suspicion from the institutions and people we were hoping to gradually play a role in reforming.

The actions of NIU have pushed other institutions, particularly MBBC, even farther to the right. They have ostracized a huge moderate influence forcing lines to be drawn.

Of course, Northland's influence only goes so far, and they certainly haven't destroyed all hope of reforming fundamentalism, that would be an extraordinary overstatement. They have, however, made the task a lot harder for people who were hoping to see a more balanced fundamentalism coming out of the excesses of the past 60 years. I wish they were helping instead of hurting."

 

Since I have personally supported, financially supported, and ministry supported the school and camp for 30 years, I think I can honestly say that I deeply appreciated the school and the camp.  Even at this point I have not given up on them, but I have pulled back. I personally like Les and Matt.  On a personal level I would consider them friends.  Les originally recommended me to Troy 29 years ago. I hope that the current leaders will rethink their alleged new direction and hold with conviction to their stated, written positions on doctrine and philosophy.  I have no problem with appropriate change, but I honestly think they are changing their direction from what they have been over the last three decades.  I really hope I am wrong about this, because I have appreciated the wonderful influence the school and camp have had over the decades.  We don't need another Cedarville or Cornerstone; there are plenty of schools like that in evangelicalism. 

 

Pastor Mike Harding

Greg Linscott's picture

We don't need another Cedarville or Cornerstone; there are plenty of schools like that in evangelicalism.

Another reality- if they lose they uniqueness, and become, say, another school along the lines of Cedarville or Cornerstone, or (IMHO, a better comparison of what they are attempting to do in their own minds) The Masters College or Bethlehem College, why would students want to come all the way up there? It is very, very isolated, while others have advantages of being located in larger metropolitan areas. Matt Olson (if I were southern, I would insert "bless his heart" here) is virtually unknown to the new target constituency, while others have the pull of nationally known figures like John MacArthur or John Piper. I would think most students came to Northland in spite of the location, not because of it.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

James K's picture

I have no love for NIU.  He has adopted a position closer to The Gospel Coalition from what I have read.  Although I like Carson, too many loose screws are close to TGC leadership for me to take it seriously.

Some want Olson to slowly bleed out by holding on to a history of failure.

Fundamentalism failed.  It failed when they fought the liberals.  It failed against the NE.  It is failing against conservative evangelicals.  It is a history of failure.  Bauder might want a fundamentalism worth saving, but it is a pipe dream.  Olson has thrown his lot into something he thinks will last.  When the uniting issue is division, you have already lost.  Fundamentalism is like those Japanese soldiers in the pacific islands who were living off the land years after the war was over.

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.

Greg Linscott's picture

Olson has thrown his lot into something he thinks will last.

I understand your sentiment, James. But the question I have is at that point, why would "they" want what Olson was selling when there are other established options? To use a tech analogy, it seems like NIU under Olson is like Microsoft looking at the success of Apple with iOS and Google with Android devices, and trying to compete with them by throwing Windows 8 into the ring. No one wants it, and those who have it are quite discontent and looking for other options.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Jim's picture

http://indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com/2013/03/dr-matt-olson-i-apologi...

 

Matt Olson is following many of Northland's alumni into historic fundamentalism. That's right, into historic fundamentalism. Today's modern "fundamentalism" is a mere shell of what thriving, healthy fundamentalism looked like in the early 1900s. Then, men and women from many denominations banded together around the fundamentals of the faith. Denominational distinctives, though important in each denomination, were not barriers to fellowship and unity. This is the direction Matt Olson is going. Northland is removing the unbiblical "separation" barriers that it had erected between itself and other Bible-believing denominations such as the Baptist General Conference, Conservative Baptist Convention, Evangelical Free Church of America, etc.

This movement out of the fringe and back into historic, fundamentalist Christianity is a breath of fresh air. I know, because as the grandson of the founder of Northland, I took this step in the early 80s. Sure, Northland's leadership at the time called me names, such as "new evangelical." But I knew that I was actually walking down the path of historic fundamentalism. More importantly, I knew I was obeying God and no longer calling "unclean" what God had called "clean." It wasn't that hard of a step because the Patz family was never in the camp that Harold Patz led Northland into. BJU style fundamentalism was not our history as a family! And separating from Billy Graham was unheard of.

So things are changing now, but for the good. Northland is returning to the Patz family roots. Harold Patz has watched his children and their spouses live devout lives for Christ in the denominations mentioned above. And Harold Patz, Les Ollila, and Matt Olson have seen the light. When your own kids are serving Christ faithfully in denominations once renounced, it creates dissonance. Thankfully, God has used this dissonance to wake up the leadership at Northland. Now, perhaps, Northland can become the school that God intended it to be. One that is in line with the founder and his family. One that reflects the glory of God and the unity of the saints. May God be praised.

Blessings,

Don Sailer

James K's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:

Olson has thrown his lot into something he thinks will last.

I understand your sentiment, James. But the question I have is at that point, why would "they" want what Olson was selling when there are other established options? To use a tech analogy, it seems like NIU under Olson is like Microsoft looking at the success of Apple with iOS and Google with Android devices, and trying to compete with them by throwing Windows 8 into the ring. No one wants it, and those who have it are quite discontent and looking for other options.

I would love to see the answer to that question as well.  I don't see that they offer anything that other schools don't offer a better version of.  Maybe they can go SBC and become the northern branch.

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.

dgszweda's picture

I would really like to have a clear list of what Matt is doing that is freaking everyone out.  It is interesting what Don Sailer states, because that is where I believed Matt was heading.  Back to more true fundamentalist roots.  While I agree the recruiting at the Big Daddy Weave concert is weird, I wonder if this is the true trend, or just accidental blip.  My take on this was that Matt was not changing to become more acceptable to the world (which is where so many other institutions have headed to and have subsequently failed), but that he was removing some of what he (and quite a few others) felt were the trappings of fundamentalism.  Lets be honest, many people are also not going to BJU either, for various reasons as well.  So there is quite a bit of a departure from Christian colleges in general.

Rob Fall's picture

By failure, do you mean Fundamentalists should have simply acquiesced to the Flood of Liberal and Modernist apostasy and be neutralized by not separating?

James K wrote:

I have no love for NIU.  He has adopted a position closer to The Gospel Coalition from what I have read.  Although I like Carson, too many loose screws are close to TGC leadership for me to take it seriously.

Some want Olson to slowly bleed out by holding on to a history of failure.

Fundamentalism failed.  It failed when they fought the liberals.  It failed against the NE.  It is failing against conservative evangelicals.  It is a history of failure.  Bauder might want a fundamentalism worth saving, but it is a pipe dream.  Olson has thrown his lot into something he thinks will last.  When the uniting issue is division, you have already lost.  Fundamentalism is like those Japanese soldiers in the pacific islands who were living off the land years after the war was over.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Jay's picture

Here's what I know of concerns with NIU so far from Mike Durning's posts on other threads:

  1. The BDW Concert trip to recruit for students
  2. The guest teaching of Bruce Ware in a grad level course
  3. The invitation for Rick Holland to come visit and speak in Chapel
  4. The issues vis a vis the juxtaposition of the NIU doctrinal statement & the faculty member's doctrinal statement

Here's my responses-

1. Not good, but I'm not sure where else NIU should look for students.  Let's face it, IFB churches aren't going to be able to supply enough students in the future to support these Bible colleges and Fundamentalist schools.  Pillsbury has already closed.  NIU (I'm sure) wants to avoid that.  Furthermore - at what point do we separate over 'non-theological' arguments (since this is a recruiting trip and not a theology trip, I put it in parenthesis.  I understand the concerns that it is a theological issue, but I think we have to make a distinction there.)

2.  Non-issue for me.  Yes, I understand the problem of Ware's positions re: Open Theism, but I think and hope that grad level students would be able to handle this at their level.  I know that we were required to read textbooks from authors that the school disagreed with when I did my grad studies (Grudem's Systematic Theology is an easy example to use - he builds a case for tongues speaking, I think).

3.  Non-issue for me.  End of story.

4.  I contacted the school about this.  They said that the NIU DS is referring to the abuses of the Pentecostal / Charismatic / TBN wing, not a modern form of 'tongues could be possible for today' case that one can make.  I am not in any favor of charismaticism or glossolalia, so I accepted this explanation.  Others may disagree.

I think, really, what we're beginning to see is the new Fundamentalist civil war between the "young fundamentalists" and the "established fundamentalists".  The creation of SharperIron began to expose the differences between the two sides, and we've seen the isolated tremors before with the "Dead Right" controversy, Joel Tetreau's A-B-C taxonomy, the Sweatt mess, the Phelps-Anderson-Willis mess, and now NIU's position and policies.  Dr. Bauder seems one of the 'young fundamentalists', and I think that's why he gets attacked so vehemently in some quarters.  (I should joking ask if he is given any quarter by them - but I'm fairly sure there are a few who would like to see him drawn and quartered...ok, ok, I'll stop now Smile ).

In any case, the next couple of years are going to be very, very interesting as we struggle to figure out who we are, what we stand for, where we're going, and how we relate to each other, other Christians, and the unsaved.  

Buckle up!

"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

Greg Linscott's picture

dgszweda wrote:

I would really like to have a clear list of what Matt is doing that is freaking everyone out.  

This is my recollection of some things (some a while ago, others more recent)...

  • Ollila speaking at PAFC God-Focused Youth Conference with Rick Holland- pressure eventually led to a back out
  • Name change (dropping "Baptist Bible College" from prominence)
  • Inviting Rick Holland from MacArthur's church to speak in chapel
  • Having Olson's son (who is a staffer with Campus Crusade) speak in chapel
  • Connections with SGM/Charismatic movement with professor/staffer that contradict published doctrinal statement
  • Recruiting at (and bringing several current students to) a Big Daddy Weave CCM concert

Some are more concerning that others, depending on who you talk to.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

dgszweda's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:

dgszweda wrote:

I would really like to have a clear list of what Matt is doing that is freaking everyone out.  

This is my recollection of some things (some a while ago, others more recent)...

  • Ollila speaking at PAFC God-Focused Youth Conference with Rick Holland- pressure eventually led to a back out
  • Name change (dropping "Baptist Bible College" from prominence)
  • Inviting Rick Holland from MacArthur's church to speak in chapel
  • Having Olson's son (who is a staffer with Campus Crusade) speak in chapel
  • Connections with SGM/Charismatic movement with professor/staffer that contradict published doctrinal statement
  • Recruiting at (and bringing several current students to) a Big Daddy Weave CCM concert

Some are more concerning that others, depending on who you talk to.

 

Greg, thanks.  I would agree that some more concerning than others.  I would agree that some are more concerning than others.  In general, all more or less have to do with separation more so than any doctrinal changes at the university.  Is this correct?  Essentially most of them have to do with what stage individuals have stood on.  And of course the Big Daddy Weave concert which has me perplexed.

dgszweda's picture

Jay wrote:

 

In any case, the next couple of years are going to be very, very interesting as we struggle to figure out who we are, what we stand for, where we're going, and how we relate to each other, other Christians, and the unsaved.  

Buckle up!

 

I would agree.  I also don't view as detrimental to our cause as the older generation.  We already know for sure that some good is coming out of this.  Where it lands may be another issue, but time will tell.  I think by default you will see the education institutions being at the forefront.  The younger generation is not "buying" the older generation of fundamentalism, or the need for a Christian college education.  In the town that I live in, there is a large church here that funneled a ton of kids into Bob Jones University.  In the last few years not a single christian kid went to BJ.  The vaste majority went to community college for the first two years and lived at home with mom and dad.  In addition, enrollment is dropping like crazy at historic fundamentalist institutions, and there isn't even enough kids available to fill the empty spots, hence why many are closing or significantly reducing their services.  For many young kids, it just doesn't make financial sense to pay upwards of $40K to go to BJ for the first two years, when they can live at home, continue attending and serving in their church and go to a community college for $5K-$10K.  That is one hit the christian colleges are taking.  The second one is the whole young fundamentalist movement.  This is where I saw NIU moving.  Like I said, where it ends up we will need to see.  But for too long the older generation has held to the slippery slope idea, so we will see where that ends here.  At this time, I don't have a concern with what they are doing yet, except for the Big Daddy Weave concert.  But that is mostly 1) why are you recruiting at a concert period, and 2) really Big Daddy Weave?  I am not sure they are the ones that I would want to make a stand with.

Jay's picture

dgszweda wrote:
The second one is the whole young fundamentalist movement.  This is where I saw NIU moving.  Like I said, where it ends up we will need to see.  But for too long the older generation has held to the slippery slope idea, so we will see where that ends here.  At this time, I don't have a concern with what they are doing yet, except for the Big Daddy Weave concert.  But that is mostly 1) why are you recruiting at a concert period, and 2) really Big Daddy Weave?  I am not sure they are the ones that I would want to make a stand with.

Yes, I agree with you on both points, but I do think that NIU and other schools will have to try something.  Maybe they'll sponsor the whole FrontLine magazine instead of concerts?  I think that BDW was a 'Bridge Too Far' for some (maybe including myself). 

The big, big question that I have now is what the 'established' fundamentalists do when they see schools like NIU leaving their orbits - do they retaliate and keep their kids away from Fundamentalist schools and wind up destroying them because the schools can't afford to keep their doors open?  Or do they try and graciously work through it anyway, realizing that there may not be any Fundamentalist schools left when this all shakes out?  Last I knew, BJU was taking some hits in the student enrollment and finances too.  I'm betting there are others I don't know about.

From what I'm seeing - it looks like there are some people who are out to destroy the schools for deviating from the 'established Fundamentalist' orbits...but I could be mistaken.  I hope I am.

"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

Anne Sokol's picture

so, dgszweda's question got me onto google searching for "christian contemporary music" b/c I'm way out of touch.

and that took me to youtube,

and boy howdy, that about freaked me out.

and i did note that bdw didn't even make it into various people's top 10s/top 15s. they're not even in the sidebar of related options

so my theory: maybe bdw is very tame/calm from all the choices available?

I mean, if you have to target teens (and not middle-aged women), your choices are kind of ... (insert big eyes) ... interesting ...
 

you can actually watch part of a bdw concert on youtube, which i did the other day due to these threads.

but then again, maybe someone should just write and ask why. it is probably an answer none of us could imagine.

dgszweda's picture

Anne,

I think CCM is such a broad stroke.  In essence Chris Anderson is a contemporary christian music writer, but I would in no way loop him into any of the mainstream groups you see on youtube or elsewhere.  But he is writing theologically deep songs with fresh lyrics and fresh music.  Then you have people like Stuart Townsend, Getty's, even Heather Sorenson and others.  Many of these have even been brought into the fundamentalist institutions.  Then you have the Matt Redman's, Chris Tomlin and others.  And then you can go into further edges like Big Daddy Weave, which I am not sure anyone is stating we should have in our church services.  I think to me and many younger fundamentalist is that just because it is new doesn't mean we can write it off.  The church that I attend doesn't shun CCM, but you will probably find that the music doesn't sound much different from Mike Hardings church.  There is a concerted and serious view that all of our music honors God, is worshipful, is theologically correct, doesn't look like the world.....  I think the difference is where we would draw the line.  Just because Chris Tomlin wrote it doesn't remove it from consideration and just because Chris Tomlin wrote a song, doesn't automatically mean it's included for consideration.

Anne Sokol's picture

I've never heard of chris tomlin or sorenson.

but I watched a clip that had these artists/groups: chris tomlin, building 429, the city harmonic, tenth avenue north, peter furler, francesca battistelli, mat kearney, josh wilson, chris august, the afters, bradon heath, jamie grace, mercy me, laura story. 

i have never heard of any of them. and maybe bdw is calm in comparison? i dont know that much about it. ...

it's funny to be talking about this.

Greg Linscott's picture

it's funny to be talking about this.

I do think it is a worthwhile topic to consider. It is interesting, though how, NIU aside, the specifics seem inevitably to go to hip-hop/rap (like we're discussing with Joel S., for example). Even the FBFI in the aforementioned series almost presumes that the presence of SG/Getty music is a given. 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

CAWatson's picture

Jay wrote:

 

4.  I contacted the school about this.  They said that the NIU DS is referring to the abuses of the Pentecostal / Charismatic / TBN wing, not a modern form of 'tongues could be possible for today' case that one can make.  I am not in any favor of charismaticism or glossolalia, so I accepted this explanation.  Others may disagree.

 

I don't think that this response works. It also says in their doctrinal statement: 

"We believe God has given spiritual gifts to Christians to serve in and through the local church. Every believer has at least one gift, and the use of the gifts is always for the ultimate purpose of bringing glory to God. Among the gifts listed in the Bible, we believe that sign gifts have ceased for today. Therefore, we reject the modern Charismatic Movement and the confusion it has brought. (Romans 12:6–8; 1 Corinthians 12:1–11, 13:8; Ephesians 4:11–12)"

Their statement clearly argues for cessationism of sign gifts. I'm fairly certain that the statement "sign gifts" includes gifts of healing, tongues, prophesy, revelation, etc. That's what they taught in their classroom, and I doubt that Lamansky has changed his lectures on that in the last ten years. 

Don Sailer's picture

Mike Harding:

I tried to contact you today to discuss with you your comments below:

I have had conversations in recent months with former faculty and current faculty, administrators, camp leaders of NBBC/NIU and they are concerned about the school and some are heart broken.  These conversants with me are pro-Lordship, Calvinistic Baptists, who hate KJV Onlyism, none of whom are cultural extremists.  I just read today a recent email by a very pro-Northland insider who is directly related to the founders and he made it very clear that the main leaders today want to take the school in a different direction (including the acceptance of the Baptist General Conference and the Billy Graham Association). Personally, I seriously doubt NIU would go that far.  Nevertheless, He lamented the fact that Northland had been too separated in the past under the previous administration and that now it was going the direction that the founders originally wanted.  The author of the email had nothing but disdain for "BJU fundamentalism" and decried its influence upon Northland over the last several decades. This man who is related to the founder and well-connected to the leaders is elated over the new direction of Northland.  By contrast, I think it is important to remember that Matt served for many years on the BJU board, the GFA board, and the FBFI board, and founded/pastored an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church in Colorado for over 20 years.  Les is still a member of the FBFI cooperative board.  Les built the school to over 800 students as a beloved speaker in those general circles.  Les and Matt were never in the KJVO, non-Lordship, anti-Calvinistic circles of fundamentalism.

It seems that you have read my comments at Lou's site. I think you got some things wrong.

I am not an insider.

I am not well-connected to the leaders at Northland.

I have never spoken with Matt Olson.

I did not disdain BJU style fundamentalism.

I don't have insider information from the leaders of Northland.

 

I am a grandson of the founder.

I do know what the Patz family believed about fellowship and unity with other denominations.

I do know that Northland was a reflection of Harold Patz's beliefs and not those of the family in general.

I am hopeful with regard to Northland's "reconnecting" with alumni.

 

 

Don Sailer's picture

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Matt Olson is following many of Northland's alumni into historic fundamentalism. That's right, into historic fundamentalism. Today's modern "fundamentalism" is a mere shell of what thriving, healthy fundamentalism looked like in the early 1900s. Then, men and women from many denominations banded together around the fundamentals of the faith. Denominational distinctives, though important in each denomination, were not barriers to fellowship and unity. This is the direction Matt Olson is going. Northland is removing the unbiblical "separation" barriers that it had erected between itself and other Bible-believing denominations such as the Baptist General Conference, Conservative Baptist Convention, Evangelical Free Church of America, etc.

This movement out of the fringe and back into historic, fundamentalist Christianity is a breath of fresh air. I know, because as the grandson of the founder of Northland, I took this step in the early 80s. Sure, Northland's leadership at the time called me names, such as "new evangelical." But I knew that I was actually walking down the path of historic fundamentalism. More importantly, I knew I was obeying God and no longer calling "unclean" what God had called "clean." It wasn't that hard of a step because the Patz family was never in the camp that Harold Patz led Northland into. BJU style fundamentalism was not our history as a family! And separating from Billy Graham was unheard of.

So things are changing now, but for the good. Northland is returning to the Patz family roots. Harold Patz has watched his children and their spouses live devout lives for Christ in the denominations mentioned above. And Harold Patz, Les Ollila, and Matt Olson have seen the light. When your own kids are serving Christ faithfully in denominations once renounced, it creates dissonance. Thankfully, God has used this dissonance to wake up the leadership at Northland. Now, perhaps, Northland can become the school that God intended it to be. One that is in line with the founder and his family. One that reflects the glory of God and the unity of the saints. May God be praised.

Blessings,

Don Sailer

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Matt Olson is following many of Northland's alumni into historic fundamentalism. That's right, into historic fundamentalism. Today's modern "fundamentalism" is a mere shell of what thriving, healthy fundamentalism looked like in the early 1900s. Then, men and women from many denominations banded together around the fundamentals of the faith. Denominational distinctives, though important in each denomination, were not barriers to fellowship and unity. This is the direction Matt Olson is going. Northland is removing the unbiblical "separation" barriers that it had erected between itself and other Bible-believing denominations such as the Baptist General Conference, Conservative Baptist Convention, Evangelical Free Church of America, etc.

This movement out of the fringe and back into historic, fundamentalist Christianity is a breath of fresh air. I know, because as the grandson of the founder of Northland, I took this step in the early 80s. Sure, Northland's leadership at the time called me names, such as "new evangelical." But I knew that I was actually walking down the path of historic fundamentalism. More importantly, I knew I was obeying God and no longer calling "unclean" what God had called "clean." It wasn't that hard of a step because the Patz family was never in the camp that Harold Patz led Northland into. BJU style fundamentalism was not our history as a family! And separating from Billy Graham was unheard of.

So things are changing now, but for the good. Northland is returning to the Patz family roots. Harold Patz has watched his children and their spouses live devout lives for Christ in the denominations mentioned above. And Harold Patz, Les Ollila, and Matt Olson have seen the light. When your own kids are serving Christ faithfully in denominations once renounced, it creates dissonance. Thankfully, God has used this dissonance to wake up the leadership at Northland. Now, perhaps, Northland can become the school that God intended it to be. One that is in line with the founder and his family. One that reflects the glory of God and the unity of the saints. May God be praised.

Blessings,

Don Sailer

Mike Harding, others:

Please compare what I actually wrote with Mike Harding's portrayal of what I wrote. 

 

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