John Vaughn (FBFI President/CEO): "one thing is clear: this video ends the fiction that 'Northland has not changed.'”

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JD Miller's picture

dgszweda, what makes you a CE instead of a Fundamentalist?  Is it how we label you or how you label yourself.  I have begun to realize more and more that when I determine which churches I am the most comfortable fellowshipping with, I have to look at both their beliefs and practices instead of what "camps" they have traditionally been associated with.  (In spite of my earlier posts I do notice what music a church uses and I am most comfortable in the traditional ones- it is just that I do not view it as as big of issue as others do- preference vs conviction).

In belief and practice, some CE churches may be closer to what a fundamentalist believes (more separated and more conservative even) than some "Fundamentalist" churches.  I fear though that some are afraid to fellowship with others who believe just like they believe because maybe others will judge them as compromisers who have gone outside "the camp."   I think there is a longing to just have everyone fit into nice little categories so we can have easy answers to where the boundaries are at.  I think that is part of the frustration with "Northland" right now.  None of us are really sure what they believe, what their practice is going to be, and where they fit.

 

 

SamH's picture

Ok, everyone, we need to talk about the anatomy of a freed-from-sin's-slavery-Gospel-centered-worship song and band dynamics.

First, you gotta start with a clean 6 string acoustic guitar with open string chords first, just strummed--and I dunno, just go from a major to a minor or a major to a diminished chord, in 2/2 time, and then form a little intro pattern, and make it sound "meaningful, and maybe a little airy or well, "thoughtful" or did I mean "meaningful?" Oh, I said that already. But, not "deep." (That's coming...)

Then, (oh yeah, then...) when the artistically poignant musical tension of this repeated meaningful, airy chord pattern is just too much to take, (like ya know, 5 seconds or so) let's break in with a Les Paul (Chinese knockoff?) electric guitar power chord reinforcement of the acoustic riff (with a little Jimmi Hendrix-distortion--piped through another knockoff --this time of a Marshall amplifier), and (note this) to make sure that the power-chords show depth of meaning in the music (because the acoustic guitar didn't communicate "deep"--only "meaningful" and "airy" or was it "fun"? I dunno), the electric guitarist--who should be made in the image of Jonny Buckland (Coldplay for all you lame-os who don't know)--he needs to do "deep" knee bends when he strums down on the guitar. Note carefully! This is a new move, no other rock guitarist has ever done this move, and not only is it sure to help communicate the deep feeling behind the theologically powerful and well-written lyrics, but we're guessin' that unsaved rock guitarists all over the world will copy this move from now on. And maybe they will want to hear the Good News because of this move--ya gotta hope so anyway.

Ok, levity over...too nice?

SamH

Dan McGhee's picture

Some real life persecution would do the people of God, and especially pastors here in the USA, some good. Perhaps then, with the testing of our faith, all of this foolish, petty, nit-pickiness, where brothers are attacking brothers over non-essential matters, would end. When you are sitting in a jail cell together for the sake of Christ's Gospel it won't matter to you if your brother likes to sing Chris Tomlin songs in his church. Radical Islam continues to march onward toward complete domination here in the US and you want to fight with your brothers because they are allowing their students to use guitars and drums? 

 

SamH's picture

I do not get the sense that John is attacking anyone. I am not with him or the FBFI on a good many things, including how they might or might not define what to separate over or what biblical separation is. But, this is about a generation of disciples learning what worship is--which is our highest calling. As regards the priorities and traits of character which float to the top in the midst of trial, many from Vaughn's generation have faced much of real life trial as you describe--in real life mission work where lives, health, security and safety were on the line. And, lo and behold, the Christian priorities which were birthed in their version of fundamentalism (a f'ism which I do not wholly identify with) these priorities bore them through in ways we younger men could learn from.  My own remarks as to the formation of some of the more modern music are meant to speak to the lack of art, careful & thoughtful devotion in some songs, and frankly to suggest that there is a shallowness which is as thin as "I Come to the Garden Alone" or the like in so much of what I hear. (Hope things are going well with you and yours--still remember the Youth gatherings up in cold Houghton Lake, and struggling to stay awake during finals week at DBTS...)

SamH

Greg Linscott's picture

Dan McGhee wrote:

Some real life persecution would do the people of God, and especially pastors here in the USA, some good. Perhaps then, with the testing of our faith, all of this foolish, petty, nit-pickiness, where brothers are attacking brothers over non-essential matters, would end. When you are sitting in a jail cell together for the sake of Christ's Gospel it won't matter to you if your brother likes to sing Chris Tomlin songs in his church. Radical Islam continues to march onward toward complete domination here in the US and you want to fight with your brothers because they are allowing their students to use guitars and drums? 

 

I understand what you are saying here, Dan. At the same time, if the Islamists were persecuting, for example, it would look a little different than the Spanish Inquisition. They might put us in cells alongside Mormons, Roman Catholics, and others we might have serious foundational disagreements with. I would hope that in circumstances like that, we could find some ways to help and in some ways work together to protect families and such without denying the gospel. But that wouldn't mean those contrasting principles wouldn't matter. In your illustration, just because something might overshadow this difference doesn't mean the difference isn't one worthy of consideration in the current circumstance.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

jcoleman's picture

TylerR wrote:

You wrote:

You're rewriting history to claim that the real fundamentalists separated -- when that decision came well after the fundamentalists began fighting for in the beginning all of them fought from within.

I am not re-writing history. Not at all. You are misunderstanding the history of these two movements. The approximate period before 1930 fundamentalists attempted to purge apostasy from within denominational organizations, schools, missions boards, etc. From approximately 1930 onwards, they chose to separate instead.

 

That is an incredibly simplistic way of looking at it since there isn't such a neat categorization. The continuum of when to leave versus fight from within was always incredibly fuzzy. And to make that claim (that after 1930 fundamentalists chose to separate instead( you have to make the claim that the entire wing of the original fundamentalists who stayed within to fight after some left were not true fundamentalists to begin with. But that is rewriting history.

jcoleman's picture

TylerR wrote:

The fundamentalist philosophy of ministry is, very broadly (1) militant separation from apostasy and (2) secondary separation from disobedient brethren. There are probably better definitions, but I don't have time to think of them now. 

So the question ends up being whether NIU is a disobedient brother. And to answer this question, we might ask this "If they continue doing what they're doing, would I practice church discipline on them? Which is to say, am I going to treat them as an unbeliever?"

Since I don't believe for a moment that they should be treated as unbelievers, I don't believe that you can call them disobedient brothers. The Bible knows nothing of separating from those whom we still treat as brothers.

I realize that last statement flies in the face of the strain of fundamentalism that managed to be the only one still claiming the name around the middle of the 20th century, but I submit that it is very much in line with what the earlier, broader, fundamentalists believed.

Dan McGhee's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:

Dan McGhee wrote:

Some real life persecution would do the people of God, and especially pastors here in the USA, some good. Perhaps then, with the testing of our faith, all of this foolish, petty, nit-pickiness, where brothers are attacking brothers over non-essential matters, would end. When you are sitting in a jail cell together for the sake of Christ's Gospel it won't matter to you if your brother likes to sing Chris Tomlin songs in his church. Radical Islam continues to march onward toward complete domination here in the US and you want to fight with your brothers because they are allowing their students to use guitars and drums? 

 

I understand what you are saying here, Dan. At the same time, if the Islamists were persecuting, for example, it would look a little different than the Spanish Inquisition. They might put us in cells alongside Mormons, Roman Catholics, and others we might have serious foundational disagreements with. I would hope that in circumstances like that, we could find some ways to help and in some ways work together to protect families and such without denying the gospel. But that wouldn't mean those contrasting principles wouldn't matter. In your illustration, just because something might overshadow this difference doesn't mean the difference isn't one worthy of consideration in the current circumstance.

 

Hi Greg. Islamification, continued secularization, growing opposition from a world that sees our beliefs as "hateful" and "bigoted." Persecution seems inevitable for true believers. But brother, you have just listed people you might sit next to in a jail cell - Catholics, Mormons, etc... Are you really suggesting the differences you have with these groups is similar at all with the preferential difference you have with Northland's recent musical choices? Greg, Matt Olson and the others up there are BROTHERS IN CHRIST. They love Christ. They love the Gospel. They desire to see students serve Christ and preach the Gospel. They want their students to make a difference for Christ. I stand by my initial statement.  

jcoleman's picture

fljones3 wrote:

Are we confusing "fundamentals" and "philosophy"? Most mainline denominations have on paper that they adhere to some form of the "fundamentals". Perhaps NIU hasn't changed on the fundamentals of the faith, but they have changed in some form their philosophy ("any personal belief about how to live or how to deal with a situation"). By definition, yes.

I assume that the NIU of old, NBBC did what they did with a conviction that it adhered to their philosophy. If that activity has changed then the philosophy has changed to some measure. They are not handling their music in the same fashion as years ago.

 

No, that's precisely what I'm arguing against. Philosophy is not the same as application. My philosophy of how to approach culture remains constant. My application of that philosophy will change depending on what particular culture I'm interacting with.

So yes, they are not handling their music in the same fashion as years ago. But I don't that that necessarily means a change in philosophy. It's (and this is precisely what they claim) an updated (as the culture their interacting with has changed) application of the same guiding philosophy/principles.

jcoleman's picture

Jay wrote:

I'm increasingly amused by the anti-modern music arguments that have no actual basis in reality.  I am sure that someone out there thinks that they could take a song from the Billboard Top 100 and make a Christian song out of it, but I don't know of anyone who's ever tried.  At least, who tried and was brave enough to say it.

One would think that if you're going to argue against something, you would know at least a few of the actual arguments employed by your opponents.

This is possibly one of the best summaries I've seen so far.

Greg Linscott's picture

But brother, you have just listed people you might sit next to in a jail cell - Catholics, Mormons, etc... Are you really suggesting the differences you have with these groups is similar at all with the preferential difference you have with Northland's recent musical choices?

No- I am only saying that adversity such as you mention can change perspective on a lot of things. Potentially changed practice doesn't mean that issues aren't important now. I was giving an extreme example- I don't see the music issue the same as RC or Mormonism- but neither do I see that because adversity would come and the level of disagreement diminish as an indicator that the issue is unimportant. There are a lot of things that could be said of- I doubt we would speak much of cessationism or modes of baptism if there were Islamic oppression, either. I don't reduce baptism to a "preference issue," though.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

PSFerguson's picture

The World Congress of Fundamentalists November 12-19, 1980 held in Manila and Singapore passed the following resolution in respect of music,

The World Congress of Fundamentalists rejects the sensual trends of the religious music today because it contradicts and nullifies the spiritual emphasis of the preaching and teaching ministries of the church. We oppose the superficial and carnal fruit produced by this music in the lives of both those who perform it and those who are exposed to it. We oppose all such music that incorrectly places the emphasis upon the physical instead of the spiritual and that has roots in the world instead of the Bible.

I wonder would NIU sign up to that statement today. The music has not changed in the world but sadly it has in the church. We see the tunnel Matt Olson wants us all to go down but we don's see any light there. Amidst all the fifty dollar words like "missional" and "relational" that is bandied around to cover up the sea change, lets be honest and call it what it is - expediency and worldliness. 

I am reminded by the words of the late Margaret Thatcher who was known as the Iron Lady, "You turn if you will, but the lady's not for turning." The historical split between separatist fundamentalism and what became known as Neo-Evangelicalism started in a number of areas. One of those was music. 

For instance, Moody Bible Institute quietly mutated into a Neo-Evangelical institution without ever officially renouncing Fundamentalism. In an article in Moody for February 1979 music instructor David Brackley stated, “We are trying to span as many musical tastes as possible...we use a few classical numbers, but our music is mainly more contemporary gospel music.”  BIOLA founded by Rueben Torrey evidenced the same change. In the magazine Foundation was published an official statement from the BIOLA Music Department giving the University position on the use of jazz music stating,

... to a great degree, contemporary jazz has become ‘classical.’ It is also true that traditional jazz has to a great extent left its original association with the brothels of New Orleans, social dance, drinking, and other social practices which have represented ‘worldly values.’ Jazz, in effect, must be considered ‘classical’ in the broad sense of the term. It is entirely possible for college students to rehearse and perform jazz purely as another style of concert music.

Andrew K.'s picture

PSFerguson wrote:

The World Congress of Fundamentalists November 12-19, 1980 held in Manila and Singapore passed the following resolution in respect of music,

The World Congress of Fundamentalists rejects the sensual trends of the religious music today because it contradicts and nullifies the spiritual emphasis of the preaching and teaching ministries of the church. We oppose the superficial and carnal fruit produced by this music in the lives of both those who perform it and those who are exposed to it. We oppose all such music that incorrectly places the emphasis upon the physical instead of the spiritual and that has roots in the world instead of the Bible.

I wonder would NIU sign up to that statement today. The music has not changed in the world but sadly it has in the church. We see the tunnel Matt Olson wants us all to go down but we don's see any light there. Amidst all the fifty dollar words like "missional" and "relational" that is bandied around to cover up the sea change, lets be honest and call it what it is - expediency and worldliness. 

I am reminded by the words of the late Margaret Thatcher who was known as the Iron Lady, "You turn if you will, but the lady's not for turning." The historical split between separatist fundamentalism and what became known as Neo-Evangelicalism started in a number of areas. One of those was music. 

For instance, Moody Bible Institute quietly mutated into a Neo-Evangelical institution without ever officially renouncing Fundamentalism. In an article in Moody for February 1979 music instructor David Brackley stated, “We are trying to span as many musical tastes as possible...we use a few classical numbers, but our music is mainly more contemporary gospel music.”  BIOLA founded by Rueben Torrey evidenced the same change. In the magazine Foundation was published an official statement from the BIOLA Music Department giving the University position on the use of jazz music stating,

... to a great degree, contemporary jazz has become ‘classical.’ It is also true that traditional jazz has to a great extent left its original association with the brothels of New Orleans, social dance, drinking, and other social practices which have represented ‘worldly values.’ Jazz, in effect, must be considered ‘classical’ in the broad sense of the term. It is entirely possible for college students to rehearse and perform jazz purely as another style of concert music.

Of course it has. The music is always changing in the world. Do the Oldies sound like Rap to you?

神是爱

Jay's picture

One thing that I was thinking about yesterday is that Matt Olson said that NIU's position was 'unchanged' back in November of 2010 - some three years ago.  

Here's the salient point (on music) of the statement:

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

I'm not going to put words in Dr. Olson's mouth, but I do believe that he and NIU went through the same kind of musical metamorphosis that I did.  I kept a lot of the underlying principles on music that I had, but the outworking of those principles led me to a more modern form of music (as multiple threads here are making clear).  My journey on music was conducted completely independently of NIU's (and other alumni), yet we have all seemed to arrive at similar places at similar times with the exception of one man that I know, who is a missionary and who is doing excellent work in Mexico.  I'm not sure why that is, but it is a comfort to me in some ways that I'm not the only one 'off the deep end'.  It should also be noted that Dr. Ollila followed up this letter with one of his own (that you can read here).  Apparently, not all alumni are comfortable with that musical journey, and I understand their reasoning.  

It seems unfair to take a statement made from them in 2010 and accuse them of lying or being deceitful or whatever now because they made changes after the fact.  Maybe further evaluation and reflection and discussions prompted these changes after the letter was released.  

I'm not excusing NIU or Dr. Olson - I just figured that I should note that as we attack the school for 'lying' or 'misleading' or being 'deceitful' or whatever.  I am troubled by the professors' position vis a vis with the DS, but I spoke with the school and they've alleviated my personal concerns.  Of course, that doesn't mean that what I heard will reassure all the people who are watching and thinking about what the school is doing, or that people will assume that NIU is now OK because I spoke with them.

"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

It seems unfair to take a statement made from them in 2010 and accuse them of lying or being deceitful or whatever /now/ because they made changes after the fact.  Maybe further evaluation and reflection and discussions prompted these changes after the letter was released.

Jay,

If it were only based on that, your point would be stronger. But the posting/removal (without any explanation or acknowledgement) pattern factors into the assessment, too. What would be a justifiable reason for that kind of action?

If they are being treated unfairly, as you say, they have at the very least invited the scrutiny by their mismanagement of the public portrayal.

 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Jay's picture

If they are being treated unfairly, as you say, they have at the very least invited the scrutiny by their mismanagement of the public portrayal.

I'm not saying they're blameless or that they've done things perfectly.  I think that they could (should!) have handled this a lot better.  I just thought it was worth pointing out that the statement was made quite a few years ago.

 

"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

jcoleman's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:

It seems unfair to take a statement made from them in 2010 and accuse them of lying or being deceitful or whatever /now/ because they made changes after the fact.  Maybe further evaluation and reflection and discussions prompted these changes after the letter was released.

Jay,

If it were only based on that, your point would be stronger. But the posting/removal (without any explanation or acknowledgement) pattern factors into the assessment, too. What would be a justifiable reason for that kind of action?

If they are being treated unfairly, as you say, they have at the very least invited the scrutiny by their mismanagement of the public portrayal.

 

 

BJU regularly yanks chapel messages too (even from Dr. Bob III), but I don't hear anyone accusing them (on SI) of dishonesty.

Greg Linscott's picture

jcoleman wrote:

 

BJU regularly yanks chapel messages too (even from Dr. Bob III), but I don't hear anyone accusing them (on SI) of dishonesty.

Well, if so, I 'm not aware of them. Let me know- maybe I'll contribute to that thread, too... Wink

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Mike Harding's picture

Greg and Jay,

 

Years ago under Les Ollila I was invited to speak on music at Northland.  I spoke an expositional message on Phil 4:8. I then presented a topical message on The Beauty of God.  Both were very strong messages on a principle and application basis.  Les told me that those were the most helpful messages the school had ever heard on the subject.  He was 100% for them.  When Matt came over to Northland 10 years ago, I was never invited back to speak on the subject or any other subject for that matter.  Did Matt ever bring in experts in this field to chapel and class in order to educate the students under his presidency--People like Bauder or Aniol for instance?  Also, did the school ever have written policies about music in their handbook, employee manual, published statements on doctrine or philosophy?  If they did, exactly when did they officially change those written documents?

 

 

Pastor Mike Harding

jcoleman's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:

jcoleman wrote:

 

BJU regularly yanks chapel messages too (even from Dr. Bob III), but I don't hear anyone accusing them (on SI) of dishonesty.

Well, if so, I 'm not aware of them. Let me know- maybe I'll contribute to that thread, too... Wink

 

Some of them really should be yanked--I remember two specifically from an open evangelistic services special speaker during the first semester of my junior year there a couple of years ago that were...particularly insulting.

As far as the Dr. Bob III ones, well, some of those need to be yanked, but I wouldn't recommend getting in on the discussion as that might put you in the odd company of the Do Right BJU type folks Smile

Jay's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
When Matt came over to Northland 10 years ago, I was never invited back to speak on the subject or any other subject for that matter.  Did Matt ever bring in experts in this field to chapel and class in order to educate the students under his presidency--People like Bauder or Aniol for instance?  Also, did the school ever have written policies about music in their handbook, employee manual, published statements on doctrine or philosophy?  If they did, exactly when did they officially change those written documents?

I don't know.  Given what I know from my time at Northland, I'm fairly sure someone would have come in at some point, but I don't actually know.  I graduated long before Olson came onboard.  I would think that Bauder would have been brought in to speak, but that was a long time ago - well before Dr. Bauder became as well-known as he is now.

We did have an introduction to music class that was required of all students (first year, first semester), but it was more of an "exposure to classical music" type class than anything that dealt with the principles we're discussing here on SI, from what I can remember.  It looks like there is some kind of class like that now that all students must take (PHI 302 Christian and the Arts), but I have no idea who teaches it or what textbooks they use.  Or, for that matter, what the actual position is that they're teaching.

I do think it was probably a good idea to move it out of the Freshman level because we had quite a few block classes my freshman year and it was overwhelming to me to have so many short block classes.  I'd also support moving it to Junior year, after the students have started taking courses on theology and exegesis (as opposed to a guy like me who had no idea about what was acceptable other than the school said so and adopted their standard because it kept me out of trouble).

And, yes, some messages at BJU should definitely be pulled from the catalog.  There are some real whoppers in there. Smile

"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

Did Matt ever bring in experts in this field to chapel and class in order to educate the students under his presidency--People like Bauder or Aniol for instance?  Also, did the school ever have written policies about music in their handbook, employee manual, published statements on doctrine or philosophy?  If they did, exactly when did they officially change those written documents?

Mike,

Bringing in Bauder and Aniol would be good (I think). However, I think that even most fundamentalists would not agree with their conclusions (not just the ones traveling in NIU's trajectory). Bauder would, for example, identify problems with a great deal of the Majesty Music catalog, for example. As he himself acknowledged in a thread entry here recently, there are times he chooses not to sing. Whether you think that is a good idea or not, I know that there are those in leadership in Fundamentalist institutions that aren't agreeable to exposing their students to that.

Scott would probably be more nuanced and less controversial than Bauder, I believe- but would likely invite some unrelated controversy of his own, teaching at an SBC school as he does.

But again, this illustrates why I don't think you can say there is one Fundamentalist position on music. I mean, you look at all the different manifestations just in "BJU Fundamentalism," as it has been referred to here. Who would be representative of that? Dwight Gustafson or Patch the Pirate? Mac Lynch or the Steve Pettit Team? Fred Coleman or Scott Aniol? It gets more complicated as you branch out from there into other overlapping circles.

In the end, I don't think that having Bauder in once a year at NIU would have altered things significantly. Bauder hasn't even convinced the other Central professors fully of the nuances of all his positions. That's no knock against Kevin or what he believes, either. It's just where things are at.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

SamH's picture

dgszweda wrote:

Jay wrote:

TylerR wrote:
I do contend that CCM is indicative of an evangelical approach to ministry, in that it mimics secular music. It is more appealing to contemporary audiences because there is a corollary between the musical style of CCM and secular music. I contend this is reflective of the historic evangelical philosophy eschewing militant separation at the expense of love - to greater or lesser degrees depending on the nature of the ministry and temperament of the Pastor, etc.

Tyler,

As an attender of an 'conservative evangelical' / 'fundamentalist' church, we do not mimic secular music for evangelism.  That may be your experience or idea of what non-Fundamentalist churches do; it may be what you are told by traditional music advocates, but it is not our music philosophy.  Never has been and never will be (as long as Pastor, our deacons/elders, and I have something to say about it).

I'll be happy to provide a copy of our church music policy to any who ask.

 

 

This is a good point, as I am a member of a CE church that is not in the fundamentalist circle, and we do not mimic secular music as well, although we may sing a CCM (lite) song once in a while.  We would not allow the NIU group Redeemed to minister in our church, although many members and elders may listen to them and/or go to one of their concerts (or whatever they would call them).  We have not only a fairly strict and concise music philosophy, but also a very concise and detailed way in which we conduct the church services, neither of which resemble what we would even consider the looseness of fundamenalist church services.  I think sometimes fundamentalist (of which I still feel I sit in that camp to some degree), paint conservative evangelical churches into one camp, which as a member now for a year and interacting with other CE churches fully realize is not anywhere close to the situation.  Just as it is in fundamentalism.

Dave,

thanks for this. I am familiar with some of the pastoral staff at a church in the area that is confessional reformed, and among those we would label as CE, though they don't seem to use those labels much. Their pastors would never think of appearing in anything but a black suit and black tie in their pulpit. If they were preaching elsewhere, they would have freedom to do otherwise, but at home, for the sake of propriety and for matters related to reverence, etc, they have something of a uniform. Yet, to worship with them is to find a freedom and a joy which is delightfully connected to the Text, etc. At their choral concerts they might have more modern songs (but not of the type heard in the video), but their practice on the Lord's Day is Psalm singing. I would not say they alone "have it figured out"--but with their history in confessions, creeds, catechisms, and ties to Reformed and English Puritan practices/teachings, they help bring out a richness and a connectivity to Christian heritage which is phenomenally helpful in areas of worship--and is lacking in much of the free-wheeling fundy/CE stuff I see. Seeing what they attempt to do makes the notion of introducing CCM songs into their liturgy seem like introducing Tater Tots as the main course in a 5 star restaurant's menu. Their church is filled with young and old, not just from "old reformed" families, but from evangelistic efforts in their neighborhood. While they would likely not want to make remarks about the wisdom/propriety of what NIU is doing w/ their Redeemed team, the sense I get is they might ask "why feed the next generation of worshipers this kind of food when they may starve?" But, they would leave them to it, and perhaps see if they might be able to come in and preach on invitation. I am amazed at some of the areas in which they are strict, and where they are "loose" (so-called) at least in relation to some of the standards exhibited by members at SI.

SamH

JD Miller's picture

Last night I started to put Vaughn's statements in context a bit.  I am familiar with the FBFI, but am not part of it, but I realized that for some in the FBFI, "Northland" may have been out of bounds way before Matt Olson came on board.  For example, consider that Watertown, WI (Maranatha) and Menomonee Falls, WI (BCM) are only about 35 miles apart.  The impression I get from some who like BCM is that Maranatha is quite worldly.  Of course this is not representative of all of the FBFI, but perhaps this explains a part of what is going on.

 

Brent Marshall's picture

Dan McGhee wrote:
Some real life persecution would do the people of God, and especially pastors here in the USA, some good. Perhaps then, with the testing of our faith, all of this foolish, petty, nit-pickiness, where brothers are attacking brothers over non-essential matters, would end.
On what basis do you say that the issues are not essential? Is this not a matter of how we worship God? How can we call this supreme duty non-essential?

Dan McGhee wrote:
... you want to fight with your brothers because they are allowing their students to use guitars and drums?
Have I missed something? Who is objecting to the guitar and drums per se? It has seemed to me that the objections involve how and why they are being used. That is different.

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

Brent Marshall's picture

jcoleman wrote:
So the question ends up being whether NIU is a disobedient brother. And to answer this question, we might ask this "If they continue doing what they're doing, would I practice church discipline on them? Which is to say, am I going to treat them as an unbeliever?"

Since I don't believe for a moment that they should be treated as unbelievers, I don't believe that you can call them disobedient brothers.

It strikes me that you have this backwards. In essence, you are deciding whether one has broken the law (disobedience) by whether you feel that they should be punished (treated as an unbeliever). Instead, you should be judging disobedience by comparing the deeds, doctrines, or affections to the applicable commands and related principles of God's Word.

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

Dan McGhee's picture

Brent Marshall wrote:

Dan McGhee wrote:
Some real life persecution would do the people of God, and especially pastors here in the USA, some good. Perhaps then, with the testing of our faith, all of this foolish, petty, nit-pickiness, where brothers are attacking brothers over non-essential matters, would end.
On what basis do you say that the issues are not essential? Is this not a matter of how we worship God? How can we call this supreme duty non-essential?

Dan McGhee wrote:
... you want to fight with your brothers because they are allowing their students to use guitars and drums?
Have I missed something? Who is objecting to the guitar and drums per se? It has seemed to me that the objections involve how and why they are being used. That is different.

 

Brent, let's decide if musical style is an essential matter of doctrine by simply quoting all the specific passages of Scripture that deal with the issue. You go first.

 

Now substance or content is a different matter. Scripture speaks clearly and forcefully to the issue.

Brent Marshall's picture

OK, Dan, let's work with that. Two questions:

1. How would you complete this sentence: "Scripture clearly and forcefully says that the substance and content must be ...."? I am thinking of the primary attributes of right substance/content. What do you think they are?

2. How is substance or content a different matter than musical style?

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

Dan McGhee's picture

Scott Aniol wrote:

Ephesians 4:29.

 

Your turn.

 

Oh, I see. This verse speaks to the matter of musical style/genre? Ok, then... So, here's my verse Genesis 1:2.

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