Crossroads Conference: Q & A with Dr. Ollila

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Jay's picture

Bob's article from the other day contained this piece of information:

The premise of my point...was that Northland’s involvement in the Big Daddy Weave Concert was minimal at most. Instead, I have since found out that the concert from start to finish was the brain-child of NIU for the direct purpose of recruiting students and that it was disguised on purpose so as not to be a “distraction” from the over-arching mission of the University by inciting a flurry of criticism from conservative constituents, board-members, and faculty. It was also done in direct opposition to the wishes of the board. For those who knew the full story I came off as a willfully blind lackey that brazenly perpetuated the narrative spoon-fed to me while using the sacred responsibility God entrusted to me to preach the Gospel.

(Bolded emphasis, Bob.  Underlined emphasis is mine)

I defended the BDW recruiting trip for NIU because I thought that NIU had chosen to go there to recruit for students as an secondary decision (as in, the concert came to town and NIU decided to go there to recruit as a result).   Bob has now made it clear that NIU orchestrated the entire thing themselves as a deliberate attempt to grow the school by pragmatic means, which (not incidentally) was done directly in opposition to the Board's wishes.  I wasn't entirely comfortable with it at the time, but I didn't have a huge problem with it, either, as I assumed that the trip had unfolded as I previously mentioned.

I felt like I should comment on this story now because I, like Bob, was mistaken in my understanding of what happened.  I was wrong, and I am sorry for being deceived as well; I am also grieved that in hoping to believe the best about my fellow believers at NIU, I  misrepresented the case.  Had I known that NIU orchestrated this concert for recruiting purposes, I would have argued that they were wrong here and especially would have brought this up when I contacted the school a few weeks ago.  This is, as far as I can now tell, a pragmatic attempt to grow the school and never should have made it past the Administration, much less the Board.  It is exactly the kind of thing that Doc O and others at NIU warned us against when I was there, and I am profoundly disturbed that it occurred.  The fact that the Board opposed it and yet it happened anyway is another profoundly disturbing incident, and it runs explicitly contrary to Romans 13:1-4, which is the worst part of it all.

I am thankful, I suppose, that the truth has come out, but I am grieved that this occurred, and I am also grieved that I may have mislead others in an attempt to defend what is now a clearly unacceptable and unbiblical decision.  Because of that, I felt like I should also get on SharperIron and apologize for my part in the ruse.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin 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

Why this need?

  • "I am sorry for being deceived as well"
  • "[I] apologize for my part in the ruse"

I don't see a need for you to apologize ... you weren't a part of it!


mmartin's picture



While Bixby was very clear in his statement about the BDW concert, Tetreau was not willing to go that far when asked about Bixby's statement concerning NIU's role in that concert.  Joel is saying his sources give him different information than what Bixby stated so he doesn't feel comfortable to be as direct as Bob was. 


However, Bixby is now a board member, is close friends with people on campus, and has been on campus himself at least once in the past several weeks and by the sound of it likely another time so I would expect Bixby to be a reliable source.  It could easily be as Tetreau stated where two different people hear and see the same situation differently, not that either one of them is lying.  I think Joel could've answered the question better than he did after offering continued glowing support of Olson and since Bixby is his friend and a reliable source in this case.  Not that Tetreau needed to throw either of them under the bus, but to take a pass like he did considering the source . . . .  For NIU to be involved, if not outright organizing the BDW concert would be a major event, a significant departure from previous practice.  It was no small matter.  I find it hard to believe that NIU people involved in the planning discussion about that event could come away with interpretations of the discussion so different.  I'm not suggesting either Bixby or Tetreau is misleading us, just saying it is strange in this case that both are saying two very different things about a significant event.


Either way though, it is a major fiasco calling into question NIU's credibility.

Anne Sokol's picture

mmartin wrote:

Either way though, it is a major fiasco calling into question NIU's credibility.

Bob Jones has it's share of these episodes, also, about more grievous issues. I try to be charitable, well, maybe I am not trying, to be honest, but I probably should. I will actually think and pray about this now. I may write some letters.

D. Patz' statement is nice for me in this way. It sounds like they're striving to be humble and admit their faults and repair their reputation.

Vitaliy mentions this about people whose sins are discovered. That God knows when to uncover sins, that He builds or tears down the reputation. There is a time of reputation rebuilding (vs. self promotion), and they seem to have accepted this.