Special Alert, 8/31: The FBFI’s Proclaim & Defend blog published an article on the NIU controversy. See, Questions for Matt Olson and NIU. I am grateful the FBFI has finally joined the discussion over and is questioning NIU’s involvement with a Charismatic church.In these discussions of the changes at Northland International University, not I or anyone I am familiar with would suggest that Matt Olson does not love the Lord. We believe that Matt is a sincere man and is trying to please the Lord. We believe that we’ll meet Matt before the throne of God and for eternity worship the Lord together. Until that time, however, we are seriously concerned with the new direction that Matt is going, which has begun to resemble New Evangelical compromise. The concern is compounded because Matt sits in a position from which he can influence impressionable young people to follow him in what we believe to be a direction that draws believers away from fidelity to God’s mandates for separation and ultimately harms the cause of Christ on the earth.
Until Matt Olson begins answering questions about his actions and statements in precise terms he is causing confusion and uncertainty about where Northland is headed and/or going to stand. Clearly, Northland International University is drifting far from what was the Northland Baptist Bible College. Under Matt Olson Northland has changed, “radically” some would say.
Many men in Fundamental circles recall Les Ollila constantly warning that “it’s not what a person says, it’s where his feet are pointed,” that brings corruption. He illustrated the concept with Solomon who wrote wonderful truths (Proverbs), but pointed his feet toward pagan women and was corrupted. Matt Olson has been saying, “Northland is unchanged!” His feet, however, are pointed toward Reformed, non-dispensational, amillennial, non-separatist, CCM /Rock-music-oriented, non-Baptist, Continuationists!!
Following is a series of questions that any pastor or parent can comfortably ask Dr. Olson. They are brief, simple, but penetrating questions. These questions get right to heart of widely held concerns with Northland.
Dr. Olson would you kindly tell us...
1) Will NI teach that the church is Israel?
2) Will NI move away from a Dispensational hermeneutic and embrace a Covenant hermeneutic?
3) Will NI open its chapel music to the kind of music featured at the Resolved conference?*
4) Will NI continue to establish Bible, Chapel and Community Churches or will they begin to plant Baptist Churches?**
5) Will NI accept the apostleship of the Sovereign Grace Ministry leaders?
6) Will NI students continue to be encouraged to attend T4G events?
7) Will NI change its Handbook doctrinal statements and Articles of Faith to allow for open acceptance of the Charismatic churches and pastors?
8) Will NI students who leave their dispensational, Baptist heritage to become leaders in Charismatic “Continuationist” churches continue to be lauded?Approach Dr. Olson or any NIU administrator and board member in a spirit of Christian love with a seeker’s heart. If you are sincere, then I can think of no reason why a brother in Christ, the president of a Christian college, would be reluctant to answer these questions in precise terms.
*Rick Holland is the founder of the Resolved conference. Matt Olson had Rick Holland, the former executive pastor of John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, as a chapel speaker on October 5, 2010 at NIU. See, Rick Holland Speaks to Students in Chapel at NIU
“Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr. John MacArthur’s pastoral staff [Rick Holland], gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.)” (Dr. Peter Masters: The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness, italics his, bold mine)**Brother Dick Fellers recently left NIU, but before he did he was the Church Ministries Chair, was involved in and taught church planting. The Church he planted while at Northland is the Timberland “Bible” Chapel of Crivitz, WI. Brother Fellers was pastor of the Immanuel “Bible” Church in Scottsdale, AZ. He was pastor for 27 years until leaving in 2007 to take a position at NIU. Dick Fellars is a plurality of elders man. How does a “Community” church man come on staff at what was then the Northland Baptist Bible College. While discussing this with a pastor in the Midwest, he asked: How is it that no one at NBBC/NIU ever brought this to light? Are other Bible Church/Community/Chapel people on the faculty of NIU?
Is NIU “UnChanged?”
Exactly How Does Northland's Music Remain, "Unchanged?"
Is NIU Opposed to and Reject[ing of] the “Modern Charismatic Movement?”