May 27, 2015
May 12, 2015
May 8, 2015
Dr. Rick Flanders
May 4, 2015
With the recently announced closure Northland International University,1 the latest in a string of Bible college closures,2 let’s turn our attention to a timely article from October 2011 by Dr. Clay Nuttall. Here now is, Where Have All the Bible Colleges Gone?We should begin with this question: “Is the day of the Bible college over?” In the past, this phenomenal movement produced huge numbers of ministry servants who then flooded the mission fields and filled the pulpits of our land. Many of those people have already retired or have been promoted to Glory and received a “well done” from the Master. A lot of well-known mission fields benefited from the service of these men and women who have left a major mark on mission history. Men trained in Bible colleges were used of God to build some of the largest and most effective local churches we have known.
It has been argued by some that the quality of Bible college students is no longer sufficient for the day we live in. The culture may be different today, but the Word of God has not changed; and that was the heart of the Bible college movement. Most of these institutions came into existence for the sole purpose of training pastors and missionaries. Theirs was meant to be a foundational training, and there always were institutions that could provide advanced training for those who chose specialized service. The idea that a Bible college education was not good enough to prepare people for ministry is seriously flawed, if not downright arrogant! A look at the thousands of servants who were trained, and the ministries that have been established, definitely settles this question.
This is not about the fact that some of those schools failed; the same is true of every movement. Even our Lord had one disciple who flunked the course! Not every Bible college graduate made a serious mark on the ministry, but the same is true of any level of training. A degree, after all, is no guarantee of success.
HOW DID THIS ALL HAPPEN?
As the years have passed, many Bible colleges have faded from the scene. There are a lot of reasons for this: some were poorly constructed and failed because of finances, leadership, and constituency. Some of them merged with other schools, while others left their original goal of training missionaries and pastors and broadened into other fields. Many in this category continued their new direction until they were no longer even Bible colleges, either in practice or in name. They had every right to follow this path, but the progression demands some honesty. If a school is no longer a Bible college, or doesn’t really want to be one, then the right thing to do is to move on. If they are not Baptist, if their main driving ministry is not the Bible, then the best thing to do is to openly confess their new goals.
Confusion arises, however, because of those who claim to hold onto the old even though they have chosen a new direction. To claim that they still are now what they had been leaves much to be desired.
Over the last forty years, I have heard those who have obviously moved away from the Bible college model argue that they still teach the same doctrine and still have the same statement of faith; that is absolutely irrelevant because of what is really being taught and allowed in the classroom. My favorite saying is, “We teach more Bible now than we did when we were a Bible college!” Of course you do, because you reached your goal of a larger enrollment; but being one of the “big boys on the block” doesn’t mean you still have the same theology you once taught!There is nothing wrong with admitting that the change is based on funding, enrollment, or even prestige in academia; there is something wrong with a shell game.
THE PURSUIT OF INTELLECTUALISM
Now we arrive at one of the major reasons why the Bible college has been left behind. As our movement has progressed, there has been increasing pressure for us to become respectable in our academics, like the “elite.” Both old and young fundamentalists have become enamored with the intellectuals and want to be like them at all costs; they even talk like them and walk like them. This is the same mistake that Israel made when they wanted to be like the other nations around them who had kings. So, where there once was a true Bible college, now the leaders mainly want to be respected by the intellectual pagans.
The journey from Bible college to a pursuit of prestige and intellectualism always takes a toll, and this sad declension is almost always represented by a change in theology. It is not always deliberate; in some cases, it may occur out of ignorance of a biblical theology. The journey always demands a change in leadership; and when the new main leaders are not biblical theologians, the slide becomes more rapid. The truth is that sometimes this change is deliberate, even as it is in churches that have left the Bible and Baptist out of their identification. It is not that the leaders are heretics, but rather that they are swept away by motives that differ from their foundational standard.
It appears that the further an individual or institution moves on this journey in order to have the respect of human leaders, the further they also move from a theology that is biblical. Every change has its cost, and those who protest this maxim only prove the point. I am not opposed to higher education; much of my ministry has been there. I am opposed to teaching and defending error. Of course, some Bible colleges have problems with academic and theological issues. That is to be expected because we are all human.
GONE? NOT EVERYONE!
While dozens of Bible colleges have gone out of business, and some have moved on to other areas of emphasis, others have stood firm in their majority purpose of training men and women for the mission field and church ministry. The great thing is that God today is raising up new Bible colleges that have returned to the foundational goals of training. While these schools have gotten their share of criticism, they have come to life to fill a gap left by those who have gone on to different things. One of those new colleges gets my thumbs-up; it is Grace Baptist Bible College of Winston Salem, North Carolina. Not only has it successfully put together a program that looks like that of the Bible college of old, but a number of well-respected saints in our movement have come to join its ranks. Perhaps God will raise up some more of these fine institutions to take the place of the departed.
Clay Nuttall, D.Min, October, 2011
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For those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible
Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches. Write for information using the e-mail address, Shepherdstaff2@juno.com
1) NIU Closes: The Pattern of Demise
NIU a Gift? Thanks, but No Thanks
May the "Northland Heart" Perpetuate
2) What Do NIU, Pillsbury, TTU Have in Common?
Closure of Calvary Baptist Seminary: Predictable & Repeatable
Calvary Baptist Seminary: They Are Accountable and Won't Own Up To It
Piedmont/TTU: A Predictable Pattern of Merger With Only ONE Survivor
April 30, 2015
today Daniel Patz announced the closure of Northland International University.
This is the result, predicted result, of Matt Olson’s Experiment with the “new wave” of new evangelicalism. In the closure letter Daniel Patz wrote, “In the last two weeks, Northland has faced unexpected events that led to this decision.” To any objective observer of what Matt Olson was doing to the former Northland Baptist Bible College, it was clear that the school would not survive Olson’s changes. The last two weeks event NIU a Gift? Thanks, but No Thanks was the final of many nails Matt Olson and his team had already pounded into the coffin of a once fine, fundamental, Baptistic, separatist school.
In our previous article, May the “Northland Heart” Perpetuate, Dr. Dana Everson called it, “R.I.P Northland Baptist Bible College.”
April 27, 2015
“Lord, in your mercy please bless and protect other schools and their leadership, which are doing your work with integrity and a right heart!”
April 22, 2015
|"Uhh, on second thought, no thanks."|
Dear Northland Family—
On Tuesday, April 21, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary informed the board and administration of Northland International University of its decision not to accept the gift of the Northland campus as they previously announced last October. Therefore, Southern will not open a branch campus of Boyce College or continue management of the camping program. With nearly two weeks until commencement, the Northland board is working to develop an appropriate response to this change of plans. The leadership of Northland is committed to doing everything possible to serve the faculty, staff, and students as we evaluate and adjust our plans for the future.
Despite challenges and changes over the past two years, God has continued to care for and use this ministry to glorify his name by equipping students, staff, campers, and many others for Great Commission living. Northland’s leadership remains steadfast in its commitment to that vision and is appreciative of the relationships developed with Southern and Boyce over the past year in support of that vision. At this time, the Northland board of trustees and administration continue to evaluate all available options and appreciate prayers as they seek to glorify God and trust him for his leading in the days to come.
We understand that you may have questions and concerns. We will be sending you more information very soon.
Because of Matt Olson's we are "unchanged" strategy NIU alienated its base, consequently blew through the entirety of its cash reserves, and was/is carrying some heavy debts. Why would the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) accept a "gift," that would saddle them (SBTS) with a cash poor, in-debt school with essentially no hope of recovery?
Among the options Mr. Patz and the NIU board are evaluating, surely closure is chief among them. There will be no recovery of what was lost, what was squandered because of Matt Olson's grand vision to remake Northland.
So, who will Mr. Patz and the NIU board reach out to now to buy or accept NIU as a "gift?" The Mormon Church, Rick Warren, KOA? Whether NIU closes or changes hands the once vibrant Northland Baptist Bible College, with a cause for Christ and His holiness, remains a stark image of what happens when leadership compromises biblical principles, its heritage and policies. A reminder of the result of Northland's leadership betraying its base, alumni, supporting churches, pastors and families.
1) Northland Joins Southern Seminary: Culmination of a Modern Day Tragedy
UPDATE: Al Mohler explaines why the SBTS/NIU deal fell through. Summarizing here:
When the plan was first announced, we all thought that there was a realistic hope of achieving a business plan that would work…In more recent days, we realized that we were unable to achieve a plan that we felt had a reasonable expectation of success.
Several factors played a role in this realization. First, it became apparent that no financial model we could establish for a Northland campus of Boyce College could sustain the academic program…. Second…we came to the conclusion that we could not accept students into a program of studies that we did not believe had an adequate chance of thriving and continuing over the course of their studies. Third, we faced the moral reality that, once we knew these facts to be the case, we had to act.
For Dr. Mohler’s complete statement see, Statement by R. Albert Mohler Jr. on Northland MatterSite Publisher Notice:
Dr. Dana Everson, former NIU faculty of over 12 years, is contributing an article on the failed NIU experiment. I heartily recommend his new article, May the "Northland Heart" Perpetuate. Given Dr. Everson's personal, first hand experience on the NIU faculty prior to and during the initial years of "change," his insights will prove to be a valuable read.
April 15, 2015
April 6, 2015
|Dr. Rick Flanders|
Then we read about “two of them” to whom He also appeared “as they walked, and went into the country.” This story is told in more detail in Luke 24. When “they went and told it” to the rest of His followers, they wouldn’t believe them. “Neither believed they them” (verses 12-13).