April 10, 2013

So What? This is NIU’s Plan and We are Glad!

On Wednesday, April 3, 2013 Mr. Don Sailer, who is the grandson of Paul Patz, submitted a comment to my blog for posting. The comment I refer to, however, was one that I felt needed a wide reading. Mr. Sailer’s statement is a powerful commentary on the direction of where NIU is going, essentially has gone. You may view Don’s original commentary here under the article, Dr. Matt Olson, “I Apologize to You for…” What?

Of all the pro-NIU (for its changes) persons I have interacted with from NIU’s campus and outside Don Sailer has been the most honest, which is why I posted his statement. Don’s comment highlights almost exactly what I have been saying and documenting for several years. I want to thank Mr. Sailer for being the first to recognize and acknowledge the changes at NIU. Today people are paying attention.

Sharper Iron (SI) has run interference for and ignored the issues at NIU through the liberal media tactic of censorship by omission.  Instead of doing the research to either debunk or verify the issues SI instead stifled reporting and made claims such as: There are no credible sources. With Don Sailer’s entrance into the discussion SI was compelled to open up for discussion over what has been the obvious and widely known changes about NIU in areas of music and behaviors of its administration, primarily Matt Olson,  in direct contravention of NIUpublished and in force Articles of Faith and Handbooks. With Don Sailer a revelation of facts from NIU have come forth that I strongly suspect many of the SI leadership are very unhappy about having essentially been forced to disclose and allow for discussion.

Historical Perspective:
In recent days I have been talking to several persons with intimate knowledge of NIU’s history and leadership. From that I have prepared a short historical perspective. The Patz family was rather isolated in Northern WI. “Pappa” Patz and sons all served in local churches. Harold Patz was the appointed family member to watch the family store on the NIU campus. Harold served as CFO. Harold was a graduate of Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music (not a bastion of fundamentalism). When Les Ollila came to Northland in 1982, he had recently worked with Life Action (again, not a fundamentalist bastion). Les pulled back into his BJU roots very soon after coming to NBBC and brought Harold along with him. I am fairly confident that there have been Patz family members who have been uncomfortable with separatist fundamentalism for a long time. The Patz family is still the family with stake to the NIU board. NBBC was not founded with as clear a pedigree as some may have thought. The perception of clear separation came under Les Ollila. Les came after the school had been going for a few years. Another item of significance is this - the kids (Patz, Ollila, Olson) have not graduated from NBBC and waved the fundamentalist flags. So, there is pressure for Matt Olson to drift with his kids and he is succumbing to the pressure.

Personal Commentary:
Don Sailer is among those saying, so what, this is NIU’s plan and we are glad! Don is the closest to the inner circle of Patz family members to speak so clearly and succinctly. This ‘confession’ has the feel of a last chapter moment. If I was looking to wrap things up on NIU, and all I needed was a good ending, Don may have provided it. In some small way what I posted here for Don has gone viral in our narrow band of the blogosphere. Don’s commentary represents the whole. Don is like a final character that knows all the other characters, and in their absence/silence essentially speaks for all. Don is like a final classic chess move, where the clever chess master utilizes his most unlikely chess piece to end the game and secure the match. 

For over three years many people were ignoring, in disbelief or angered by my reporting on the changes at NIU.

I would like to recognize Don for being the first to recognize the change. I would theorize that the Patz family has talked about it and he is merely telling the public what the Patz family has said privately. The fact that he would speak for Les Ollila and Matt Olson and Harold makes me wonder if allowed to be publicly printed, would they have to respond? 

I believe Don is a person with direct knowledge of family matters and this speaks authoritatively. The grandchildren of the Patz family are all in their early forties to mid thirties. Don is a cousin to all and they all lived in same vicinity and they are all family people thus giving him ample time to discuss and process his conclusions. I think it is fair to say that all these grandchildren are exactly where he claims.

Don’s openness, first posting here at IDOTG, may have ultimately been the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. There have been significant resignations and forced departures from NIU already, but before the fall 2013 semester I foresee wholesale resignations and defections occurring. I foresee freshmen, sophomores and GA’s transferring, while most juniors and seniors endure to complete their degree. None of which makes me in the least happy to report.



  1. Just one point of contention..... Your point that Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music not being a bastion of fundamentalism. Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music (GRSBM) was one of the flagship schools of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America, an association of about 1200 non-denominational fundamental churches. They happen to be a different stripe of fundamentalism than the BJU and/or PCC kind. Here is their history. http://www.ifca.org/site/cpage.asp?sec_id=140006911&cpage_id=140032401

    1. Opinion noted. Also note that a fairly large contingent of IFCA members left the IFCA over some issues with John MacArthur and his membership in the IFCA. Pastor George Zeller would be able to provide the history of that departure. I will write him on the matter. I have also produced two articles here on the IFCA. See-

      IFCA Statement on the Nature of Saving Faith

      Insights from the IFCA Interview with John MacArthur


  2. Joel/Others:

    Pastor George Zeller has responded with a great deal of helpful information about the IFCA. I will post his remarks and links across several comment boxes. Beginning here.


    The main issue was that the IFCA leadership was unwilling to enforce the clear and obvious meaning of the IFCA doctrinal statement.

    The IFCA allowed John MacArthur to be a member of the IFCA even though he clearly contradicted the IFCA doctrinal statement in his published writings and public audio sermons.

    There were three or four issues in particular:

    The major issue was MacArthur's denial of the eternal Sonship of Christ (although after he caused a serious split in the IFCA over this issue, he later claimed to change is mind on this matter).

    The IFCA statement says, "We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three Persons---Father, Son and Holy Spirit" (Section 2) and "We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God..." (Section 3a).

    MacArthur denied this truth: "Over the years, theologians have debated about whether Christ is the Son of God in eternity. Christ is and always has been the second member of the Trinity but only became a Son in His incarnation...Nowhere in Scripture does it say that Jesus has eternally been the Son...The term Son, then, refers only to Christ's incarnation (p.35)...He became a Son by His virgin birth and was affirmed a Son again at the resurrection (p.39)...From eternity He has been the second Person of the Trinity. He assumed the role of a Son in His incarnation (p.41)" (Acting on the Good News--Romans 1:1-16, Moody Press, 1987).

    For full documentation of this, see http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/sonship/sonjm00.htm

  3. A second key issue was MacArthur's denial of the two natures of the believer.

    The IFCA doctrinal statement says, "We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit..." (Section 8).

    MacArthur denied this truth: "I believe it is a serious misunderstanding to think of the believer as having both an old and new nature. Believers do not have dual personalities...there is no such thing as an old nature in the believer" (Freedom From Sin--ROMANS 6-7, Moody Press, pp. 31-32)

    For full documentation of this, see http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/1natjm00.htm

  4. A third key issue is MacArthur's denial of the fact that Christ died for all humanity (his denial of unlimited atonement).

    The IFCA doctrinal statement says, "Christ died on the cross for all mankind as a ...vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice." (Section 3b).

    MacArthur denies this:
    In 2003 MacArthur’s major commentary on 2 Corinthians was published. In it he denies that Christ died for all mankind:

    Christ did not die for all men without exception, but for all men without distinction....Those passages [passages such as Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 2:6] cannot mean that Christ actually paid the penalty for everyone’s sins, because the Bible teaches that most people will suffer eternal punishment in hell, and few will be saved. If Christ paid the penalty for everyone’s sins, how could God sentence people to hell for sins that Christ bore the punishment for? (page 202).
    For full documentation of MacArthur's position on the atonement, see http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/reformed/macatone.htm

  5. Another key issue is MacArthur's teaching on Lordship Salvation which contradicts section 6 of the IFCA doctrinal statement ("We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ..."). For documentation on this, see http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/salvatio/lordshrq.pdf

    So in conclusion, the IFCA leadership (the National Executive Director and the National Executive Committee) allowed John MacArthur to be a member of the IFCA even though he did not hold to the IFCA doctrinal statement in several important areas. Their answer was that the IFCA doctrinal statement is subject to "freedom of interpretation" and that this somehow makes MacArthur's denials harmonize with the IFCA statement. Many of us, including the entire New England Regional of the IFCA, did not agree with this "interpretive freedom" idea and we thus separated from the IFCA.

    The letter of separation from our church can be found here: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/separate/destand.htm (Why the Middletown Bible Church Left the IFCA).

    Hope this helps.

    George Zeller

  6. Mr. Sailor did what so many at Northland refuse to do. He told the truth. He admitted the reality. I think there would be a lot more respect for the institution if it's leaders were willing to do the same. They have tried to stay on the fence for too long. They have wanted to collect as much tuition as possible from those conservatives and knew that coming out about where they were headed would slam that door. As an alumni, I hate to see them fall so hard - especially while they have been blinded to believe that they are not obvious about what they are doing. I'm disappointed in Dr. Ollila. If he agrees with the changes, he is not the man that I learned so much from and had such respect for. If he doesn't agree with the changes, he should have separated himself from that ministry a long time ago. I feel for the friends I have there who now have to make tough decisions about what to do - many having sacrificed long and hard for that ministry.

    1. "They have tried to stay on the fence for too long."

      Well, IMO they have not been on the fence in the application of what they have become, but they have tried to give the appearance that they are on the fence to folks on the outside looking in. The video of the in-house Redeemed CCM band removes any lingering doubt about what NIU has devolved, been changed into by Matt Olson. And its more than just the mixing the holy with the profane music that has saddened and troubled so many alumni, friends and supporters who remember the once fine Northland Baptist Bible College.


    2. If you have not seen the video of NIU's in-house CCM/Rock band Redeemed, go to-

      The Real "Unchanged" NIU Comes Forward