Earlier we saw that Dr. Matt Olson, Northland International University’s (NIU) president, praised a Charismatic church, its pastor and by extension the Sovereign Grace Ministries, founded by charismatic preacher C. J. Mahaney.1
Praising a charismatic ministry is a stark contravention to NIU’s current Articles of Faith, its Faculty, Staff and Student Handbooks,2 which state,
“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 which it has brought. (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; 13:8; Ephesians 4:11-12).”
“The university’s position is not to cooperate with any organization or movement that is connected with apostasy or that places less than primary emphasis on the authority of the Word of God…. Furthermore, Northland is opposed to Liberalism, Neo-Orthodoxy, New Evangelicalism, Hyper-Calvinism, and the Charismatic Movement.”
“Therefore, we cannot accept the position reflected in the Ecumenical Movement, Neo-Orthodoxy, New Evangelicalism, or the various branches of the Charismatic Movement. We believe cooperation should be limited to those of like precious faith. (1Thessalonians 4:16–17; Revelation 3:6–19, 19:11–16, 20:1–6, 11–15; 21:1–8).”Let’s take a closer look at Pastor Ian McConnell. First, I am sure Ian loves the Lord and wants to please Him with his life. Second, I believe we will see Ian in Heaven worshipping our Lord together. Ian has, however, gone off into what I believe to be doctrinal error. Ian is [senior] pastor for preaching and vision of the Grace Bible Church. The Grace Bible Church is listed among the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) membership of churches. SGM is unashamedly a Charismatic organization, with roots in the Catholic/Charismatic movement, believing the sign gifts of tongues, prophecy and healing are active and should be sought after today.
“The organization of over 70 member churches grew out of the charismatic renewal of the 1970s under the leadership of Catholic Charismatic Larry Tomczak and has its roots in the Gathering of Believers (now Covenant Life Church) in Maryland. It was formally established in 1982. CJ Mahaney and Larry Tomczak were the co-founders of both Covenant Life Church and People of Destiny International (PDI), the former name of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Mahaney describes himself as a ‘former pothead.’ Both Mahaney and Tomczak withdrew from the Charismatic Catholic scene shortly before the creation of Covenant Life Church.”3
Pastors/parents it seems you can expect impressionable NIU undergraduates to be influenced to accept and praise the “modern Charismatic Movement” just as the university president has done. Will NIU students will be encouraged to tolerate the aberrant theology and practices of the modern Charismatic movement? This is new wave New Evangelicalism in stark relief.How can NIU’s president, in good conscience, personally and publicly praise a charismatic church and its pastor when the official doctrinal position of the university opposes, rejects and cannot accept the modern Charismatic Movement?
Are you prepared to send your student to a school where “Reformed Continuationists,” gives the university president “great confidence” and that they, Charismatic pastors and churches, “get what matters most?”
At some point Dr. Olson must begin answering questions. Until Matt Olson answers questions in precise terms he is causing confusion and uncertainty about where Northland is headed and/or going to stand. Clearly, NIU is not what it once was as Northland Baptist Bible College. It has changed! Under Matt Olson Northland has changed, “radically” some would say.If acceptance of the “modern Charismatic Movement” is a component of the education you want for your young person then NIU appears to be the right choice for you.
In the next article I am going to post a short series of questions that any pastor or parent can ask Dr. Olson. They are brief, simple, but penetrating questions that can’t be answered with imprecise language or vague terminology. These questions get right to heart of the actual changes at NIU and others that may have already taken place or appear to be just over the horizon.
1) Is NIU, “Opposed to and Reject[ing of] the Modern Charismatic Movement?”
2) Northland Undergraduate Catalog, Articles of Faith
3) Source, Wikipedia, accessed August 23, 2012
4) SGM’s Pastors Conference
Ligon Duncan is the keynote speaker for this conference. Among non-separatist evangelicals Ligon Duncan is best known for co-founding T4G, but especially for ecumenical compromise in having joined with Al Mohler to sign the Manhattan Declaration alongside apostates and Roman Catholic priests.5) Ian McConnell: Revitalizing Instead of Planting