August 16, 2012

Questions Answered on the Changes at NIU: An Insider’s Report, Final

Previously, we posted Part One, Part Two and Part Three for your consideration. Today, we conclude the Q&A series with former faculty member Dr. Dana Everson on the change in trajectory of NIU, the former Northland Baptist Bible College.

Q20. Can you comment on the morale of the staff, the students?

Some staff (mainly those who have left) are disappointed with some of the changes. Others question some of the changes, but are reluctant to speak up or leave the institution for various reasons. Some are happily engaged and on board with Matt Olson. The students that most strongly objected to the “new” Northland have mostly not returned. I know several who have transferred to other schools. Some students have justified remaining because they are close to graduation or because their parents felt they should finish at NIU and make the best of it.

Q21. Are you aware of the many friends that have distanced themselves from NIU? Can you articulate why that is in your opinion?

I have heard various reports. One caution to those who would ask questions of NIU administration:
Be sure you are not relying simply on tradition, but on solid Biblical principles for expressing your concerns. 
NIU is big right now on “sola scriptura” almost as if the gospel is the ONLY thing that matters. Of COURSE the gospel is the central message of the ministry, but I like Dr. Bob Jones III’s series on Phil. 1:27 in BJU chapels [see below] last school year in which he reminds us that the gospel includes the redemption story of Christ and the immediate conduct related to the gospel. I consider this an excellent, thought-provoking message.

Q22. NIU says they still use the KJV from the chapel and classroom podiums? Is that observably true? Is the translation issue a non issue to NIU administration?

Yes, it was used regularly from the pulpit most of the time. On occasion, we would hear the ESV, or NKJV quoted. In staff meetings, the ESV and occasionally other versions were quoted.

Q23. What type of student is attracted to NIU compared to previous years?
NIU Student's FaceBook Profile

In my last 2-3 years, there seemed to be a growing interest in missions. Many sincere, God-seeking students came hoping to find God’s will for the promptings they sensed. As far as personal standards, I can only speak empirically: It seemed to me that the percentage of students coming in having already accepted CCM was growing. In my informal conversations with colleagues in other Christian colleges, this seemed to be true for them in their situations as well.

I wonder if many good-willed students come to NIU based on the reputation of the college from the Les Ollila years, but I don’t know. I do know that there are some fine teachers and staff members there who love God, love the Bible, and truly want to further the ministry of local churches by helping to train students. I applaud their efforts; but this makes it even more of a concern to me where the NIU ship is heading.

Closing Thoughts from our Guest Dr. Dana Everson:
I was and am still more concerned about WHY and HOW Northland has come to their conclusions about music than exactly WHERE they stand. There are always going to be slight differences between this school and that, this church and that, and so on. However, if a church or institution begins to accept the idea that music is amoral (or, waters down the definition of the term amoral), then eventually, anything goes. NIU’s board and ADMIN have the legal right to set their standards anywhere they wish, but in my opinion, they have changed the rules during the game and at best have created confusion by HOW they have made their changes.

I trust it’s not too late to encourage everyone associated with NIU to ask good questions of the leadership. Compare the responses with unchanging Scriptural principles. Then be willing to do what is right even if it costs you something.

Dr. Dana Everson

Site Publisher’s Close: 
This concludes the Interview series with Dr. Dana Everson. For anyone who might be interested in finding out what Dr. Everson believes and teaches about music, his Northland doctoral dissertation has been put into book form Sound Roots and is available from his son’s ministry Bible Revival Ministries.

Related Reading:
And if we embrace the philosophy that it’s just about the gospel we can put our arms around about every wrong, unbecoming Christian behavior in all the world. We can put our stamp of approval on counterfeit Christianity.”

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