We are continuing with an important sub-section in the series What REALLY Matters Most. In his November 2010 Open Letter Northland International University (NIU) president Dr. Matt Olson declared that in the area of music philosophy, “NIU is unchanged!” We have in past articles seen video evidence that NIU has changed drastically in the area of music performance. Matt Olson wrote that the goal of NIU will be to, “make sure Northland’s practice of music…is built principally on clear teachings from the Bible….”1
Today, I am presenting a new video recording that challenges the claim NIU’s music philosophy is “unchanged” and that clear teachings from the Bible are behind the practice of music at NIU.
Had this been a one-time matter, there would be real disappointment. The video is, however, much like the behavior in NIU’s chapel with the song/dance routine to What is This Feeling from the Broadway play WICKED.3 Do the sensual chants of RAP measure up to our mandate to sing and make melody to the Lord? You have just seen students, at the home and under the supervision of NIU faculty, disparaging the name of Jesus.
How can any Bible-believing Christian justify the behavior of these students in light of Romans 12:1-2? Faculty members were present at this event! If worship is an “all the time lifestyle,” how could they allow for, condone and/or participate in such conduct?Can anyone honestly say that the conduct of the students in this video is “God-focused?”
Readers, this is a very serious matter! Our children once learned to love Jesus. On their parents’ knee they reverently, sweetly, and sincerely sang “Jesus Loves Me.”4 In Sunday school committed children’s workers lead them to sing that cherished hymn in praise to Jesus, the One who loves them. But now these students are using the same song in a sensual, base and vulgar way. How does this happen?
We sent our young people off to a training school like Northland for them to learn discernment. Instead, they learned it is acceptable to denigrate that which is holy, to thrust their hips and bounce their bodies like the children of Israel before the golden calf, to laugh at the old standards and those who taught them. Worse yet is the fact that these students are rehearsing their worldly styles in the backyard of the Academic Chair for Communication, a man charged with the spiritual task of leading music in the chapel hour. Would Northland be honest enough to put this kind of conduct in a video presentation when they visit our fundamental churches to recruit students?
Without a disciplinary guideline and absent a carefully presented philosophy of music the NIU administration can do little to correct the behavior of these students, even if the administration had a mind to. The administration talks about counseling, explaining and leading young people as they seek to conform them to the image of Christ. Yet, as this video shows, the young people gather at the home of the Chair of the Communications department and allows their mouths to expose what is in their hearts with apparently no fear of recrimination. The Bible says, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man,” (Matthew 15:11). The students do not demonstrate the beginning of wisdom, which is the fear of the Lord (Ps. 111:10).
There was a time when Dr. Les Ollila instructed youth workers to avoid worldly methods by saying that “Noah didn’t hire the Nile River Nine” to gather a crowd. Dr. Ollila taught those who came to Northland to watch where someone’s feet are pointed instead of listening to their claims.
This group around the bonfire would make Dr. Ollila’s representation of the “Nile River Nine” singing, “Does Anyone Here Want to go to Heaven, Say ‘I Do!,’” look tame.5Sadly, these students feet are pointing toward blasphemy and there doesn’t appear to be a faculty member, including Dr. Ollila, willing to redirect or stop their journey!
This video is another sad revelation of what happened to the faculty and student body once Northland’s leadership took a tolerant view toward CCM and RAP, yet tells the public they have not changed. The students know the real position of the administration on such matters. It was only a matter of time before this would start to come out in the open. And it is only a matter of time until this kind of behavior is seen in the chapel hour and on ministry tours.
That which is practiced in private soon becomes a public pollutant!Music faculty members who had enough discernment to see what was just ahead left Northland or were essentially forced out by Matt Olson. This video confirms their worst fears of what could become of music standards at NIU.
(Jan. 18, 2013) To All Readers, I highly recommend that you consider the following on NIU:
Is NIU Opposed to the Modern Charismatic Movement?
From the FBFI Proclaim & Defend blog, Questions for Matt Olson & NIU
Site Publisher Addendum:
NIU has done away with the demerit system. Even if there was a demerit system in place this behavior IMO would not be an issue for student demerits or discipline of faculty at the new Northland International University.
1) Is NIU “Unchanged?”
2) Mr. Miller’s home is one of the on campus duplexes. Brock Miller also leads the singing in chapel.
3) Chapel- Fall 2010, NIU. This and the video above establishes an on-going pattern of the NIU administration’s tolerance for and acceptance of the world’s music. Here you see Dr. Wynne Kimbrough, dean of students, with another student four off stage (student) dancers performing the duet lead role from Wicked, What is This Feeling, Loathing.
4) Jesus Love Me as it was originally written to be played, sung and enjoyed.
5) Frequently, when Les Ollila was illustrating against worldliness, he would say,
“Noah didn’t hire the Nile River Nine to jump out from behind the Ark and sing, ‘Does anybody here want to go to heaven!’” What you catch them with is what you keep them with. If you catch them with worldly entertainment, you’ll be forced to keep them with the same. Noah was blessed of God for his obedience. We need to follow Noah’s example.That is nearly verbatim of what hundreds of pastors heard Les preach. He’d always sing the “anybody here want to go to heaven” thing – memorable, convicting and typically penetrating observation from Dr. Ollila.