June 28, 2013

Of Sin, Because They Believe Not

At the Revival Focus blog an excellent and concise refutation of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel has been published.  Lordship Salvation corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). Brother James Hollandworth exposes and answers one of the most egregious errors of Lordship Salvation.

And when he (Holy Spirit) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me; John 16:8-9
James Hollandsworth
The way in which the Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers of sin is by shining a light on their unbelief. Lost men do not believe on Jesus Christ, in the sense that they do not depend on him for salvation. That is their great sin.... Lost man may not realize the full extent of his sin, but the Holy Spirit convinces him that he is guilty of rejecting Jesus as Savior when a believer declares the gospel to him.... Going forward, that new believer is then equipped to repent of individual sins, as the Holy Spirit reveals them through the Word, working toward the goal of making Christ Lord of his life.
For Brother Hollandsworth's complete article I invite you to continue to, Of Sin, Because They Believe Not


Related Reading:

June 19, 2013

Q&A Session with Dr. Les Ollila

Here is Dr. Ollila sharing his decision on what has caused him to step away from a ministry that he was a part of for 30 years. While many diverse opinions will be formed, it is well for all to remember to encourage a person when they are going in the right direction. The spirit of the prodigal’s father is the Spirit of our God and needs to be our spirit as well.

June 17, 2013

A Special Hufhand Report: Les Ollila, The Crossroads in Ministry Conference

The “Crossroads in Ministry” Conference met at the Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis, IN this morning (June 17) to hear Dr. Les Ollila expound the truth of God’s Word and answer some question concerning his roll in the demise of Northland Baptist Bible College.  After the conference was over, I asked Dr. Marc Monte if he would collaborate with me to put out this special Hufhand Report, which he consented to do.  So this Report represents our impressions of the meeting.

From our understanding, Dr. Chuck Phelps and Dr. Rick Arrowood put this Conference together to clear the air concerning Dr. O’s fundamental credentials and explain his role in what happened at Northland.  Most of us knew that this meeting would have no bearing on what was going to happen next at Northland, but we did believe that Dr. Les Ollila would tell us about his roll in what happened at the school, but sadly that never came out.

By and large, the meeting didn’t live up to its billing, unless “Crossroads to Ministry,” was a “promotional” to transition Dr. O from Northland to his next ministry.  We certainly didn’t come away with any more information than what we already knew, and from that perspective, we were sadly disappointed; not with a Dr. Ollila’s preaching, because his preaching was right on target.  His message on his own personal legacy using the backdrop of Ephraim was excellent.  He spoke of Ephraim coming from a background of comfort, which ultimately led to compromise, cowardice, and carnality. Using Hosea’s prophecy, he spoke of how he had turned back in the day of battle and became a “cake half-baked.” It was an excellent message.

Then came his second message, which was on “Avoiding Pragmatism.”  This was likewise an excellent message but it would have been better received had it been preached by one of the two coordinators of the meeting.   What was obviously clear to us, was the fact that “Dr. O was preaching to himself” as it related to his experience over the last three years at Northland.  Pragmatism is what has destroyed Northland Baptist Bible College and frankly, it’s difficult for us to understand how Dr. O went along with what was going on and supported everything Dr. Olson was doing.  Both Dr. Monte and I remembered the fundamentalism of days gone by that would never have allowed Northland to slip away without a fight.  It seemed that everyone studiously maintained their stature as “gentlemen,” while the school slipped away, a victim of calculated silence.

In the question and answer time, most of us were disappointed that we didn’t have an opportunity to ask Dr. O some questions. This made the question and answer time appear somewhat synthetic and contrived.  Dr. Phelps was only able to ask a few of the really hard questions, and they appeared to be sanitized to the point that Dr. O’s answers were less than forthright.  The first question that was asked, “Are you still on Staff at Northland?”  The answer was brief, “NO!”  But the follow-up question never came.  “When did you sever your relationship with Northland and why did it take so long to do it?”  That was never asked.  Several more “one answer” questions were asked like, “Are you a Fundamentalist?”  Dr. O answered, “Yes,” and then went on to clarify his position on CCM and CCM style of worship and a couple other fundamental issues.

The answer to Dr. Phelps question concerning Dr. O’s meeting with Dr. John MacArthur and Rick Holland back in [April] 2010, was put on the same level as going to the Hyles Pastor’s School or some other religious event.  In his answer, he heaped praise on Dr. MacArthur as being a godly leader, despite the fact that Dr. MacArthur preaches a “Lordship Salvation” gospel and despite the fact that his church polity is Elder Rule.

He likewise heaped praise on Dr. Olson for his leadership despite the fact that Dr. Olson is the reason that NIU is where it is today.  What surprised us the most was that Dr. O had no regrets about anything he did.   While we commend Dr. O for his clear-cut, passionate sermons, the time for passion was when the downgrade of the school became obvious. Today was a little like fighting the battle after it had already been lost.   We were glad for the personal clarification of Dr. O’s personal position on certain fundamental issues, but posturing for the future cannot reclaim the school.  There were many lessons we could have learned from the demise of Northland, but sadly, we learned precious few of them today.

Dr. O made much of humor in answering his questions, which is a good way to direct people’s minds away from the real issue.  He also made much about being under authority, as if to say that his culpability in helping to destroy NIU as a strong, fundamental Baptist school was simply “being submissive to authority.”

Loyalty to leadership can be commendable, but culpability in compromise is not.

He pleaded ignorance on knowing what was going on and believed that he was being used and even acknowledged himself as being a simpleton on occasion, (which we know he isn’t) but not once did Dr. O apologize or show any remorse for his silence over the last three years as Chancellor, while Dr. Olson methodically changed the philosophy, as well as the direction of the school from being a strong, fundamental, Baptist Bible College to a weak, generic, New Evangelical school.  To that end, we went away disappointed.  

Nevertheless, we both wish Dr. O good success in his future ministry of “Building Leaders” for tomorrow’s churches.   Personally, we believe that Dr. Ollila has time to repair the breach he has put in his own ministerial life.  Just because he’s made some serious mistakes, doesn’t mean that he’s out of the game.  He has something to contribute, if we let him do it.  He can still have a measurable impact on fundamentalism if we let him.  You Pastors have to decide that.  Like Fox News says, “We report, you decide.”

Dr. Lawrence Hufhand and Dr. Marc Monte

(Reprinted with permission)

For the complete video/audio recording please go to Q&A with Dr. Les Ollila

Live Stream from Conference With Dr. Les Ollila Today!

A live stream option has just been added for the conference with Dr. Les Ollila.  Go to Crossroads in Ministry and click on the Live Stream button.

For an opinion piece on the Q&A session with Les Ollila see, A Special Hufhand Report by Drs. Larry Hufhand and Marc Monte.


June 14, 2013

Matt Olson Resigns: What Bearing Does This Have on the Q&A With Les Ollila?

A live stream option has just been added for the conference with Dr. Les Ollila.  Go to Crossroads in Ministry and click on the Live Stream button.

By now many of you have learned that Dr. Matt Olson has resigned the NIU presidency with immediate effect. Yesterday, I sent a bulk email to many of my readers about the announcement. Since then I have read a number of reactions to and speculations about the roller coaster of Matt Olson and NIU these past few weeks. The only things we know for sure are that Matt Olson was let go, he was retrieved and then he resigned.

As for the impact on NIU of this latest twist in its leadership: I believe it hastens the day that NIU will cease to exist. These events mean more uncertainty, more upheaval and that is going to cause parents and their young people, prospective and returning who may have considered NIU, to look elsewhere for their education.

One recent Bible college graduate, whom I have know since his elementary school days, summed up what I think many of us feel. He wrote, “Northland is a mess of an organization as it appears from any outsiders vantage point.”

Others began to ask and speculate about what impact the Olson resignation has on the June 17 Crossroads in Ministry conference with Dr. Les Ollila. In my opinion, the Olson resignation puts more pressure on or freedom for Les Ollila to be transparent in the Q&A session at the conference.

In a previous article on Les Ollila and the Crossroads conference, which I am reposting in part below, another question for Doctor Ollila was recently submitted. 
Dr. Ollila: Is there anything you would like to say en masse to any alumni who have contacted you over the past four years with their concerns? Some received strong responses from you that nothing was wrong and we did not have the right to question leadership. We realize you can't respond to every alumnus individually. Would you take a moment to say something - anything - to those of us whose concerns did actually turn out to be accurate?”
Dr. Les Ollila remains the only question mark left from the former Northland Baptist Bible College. He did not participate in the 2013 graduation. Les was not on the platform. Les stood in the back and left before the graduation formally ended. Les Ollila is no longer part of the institution. Les was one of four men (Matt Olson, Sam Horn and Doug MacLachlan) who went to California to meet with John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland.  That event, in April 2010, was the first ominous signal that something was changing at NIU.  Dr. Ollila was on campus as chancellor personally observing NIU’s transformation under Matt Olson to non-separatist evangelicalism, an embrace of charismatic theology, and the infusion of CCM/Rock genre on campus.

To date the only public document on NIU from Les Ollila dates back to December 2010. Is Northland Changing? A Chancellor’s Perspective from Dr. Les Ollila. In that letter Dr. Ollila bolstered Matt Olson’s position that “NIU is unchanged,”2 and he strongly supported what Matt was doing at the time.

In the previous article I opened the thread to give readers an opportunity to submit questions, that if you were at the Q&A with Dr. Ollila you would personally like to ask him.  (See, footnote #1 below) You may submit more of your questions here.  Your submission must be in the form of a question and avoid making a personal statement.  Submit your question for Dr. Ollila and I will publish it at my earliest convenience.

Kind regards,


1) What Do We Know About the Northland Camp Ministry & Dr. Les Ollila?

2) An Open Letter from Dr. Matt Olson of Northland International University, Nov. 24, 2010

June 9, 2013

Archival Series: Our Children Learn Not Only What We Teach Them, but by What We Tolerate

On June 17th at the Crossroads in Ministry Conference,  Dr. Les Ollila will be giving two messages and stand for a Q&A session. As the date approaches I bring to you from November 2010 this article. In the 2+ years since this article first appeared Dr. Ollila went on to tolerate a great deal more in radical changes at NIU. We trust that a great many answers from him will be forthcoming at next week’s conference.

In its history Northland International University (NIU), the former Northland Baptist Bible College, has not been in a situation requiring a strong call to separate. In the early days Northland was a refreshing voice because of it’s good conservative stands, refreshing Northwood’s feel, friendly campus, servant’s heart, with a love for revival and the Lord Jesus Christ. Students were being discipled with a demerits system in place and properly emphasized for correction and growth. There are many fine pastors and Christian workers serving the Lord today because of Northland’s ministry to them.

Our children learn not only what we teach them, but by what we tolerate.”

According to NIU alumni Dr. Les Ollila (NIU Chancellor) said that over and over to the student body. With decisions made in recent weeks at Northland a new kind of teaching and tolerance has come to the campus.

In 2005, because of Rick Holland’s inclusion as a speaker, Dr. Ollila pulled out of the God-Focused conference. Some believe that NIU president Matt Olson insisted Ollila withdraw. Just five years later, however, Dr. Ollila along with Matt Olson, Sam Horn and Doug McLachlan reach out to and traveled across the country to meet with John MacArthur, Rick Holland and Phil Johnson.* Then Ollila/Olson/NIU have this same man (Rick Holland) speak in chapel to impressionable young people. (see NIU Presents... article below)

What changed between 2005 and 2010? It wasn’t Rick Holland. He is today what he was in 2005: an advocate for Lordship Salvation1 and the founder of the Resolved Conference, which merges preaching with the world’s CCM/rock culture and extreme Charismatic style worship.2 NIU embracing MacArthur, Johnson and putting Rick Holland in its chapel pulpit confirms they are willing to teach Lordship Salvation, teach/tolerate a neutered form of biblical separatism, tolerate and allow for the worldly culture of events such as the Resolved Conference.**

Regrettably, in just five years, Les Ollila has changed. NIU is being transformed by its president, Matt Olson, and administration decisions. With and because of their change the historical trajectory of NIU has been radically altered.

With the changes at NIU many share concerns over ministry, direction and leanings of NIU. There is a declining interest in maintaining fellowship by many former alums, good Christian leaders and lay workers. Many who have some relationship with NIU are contacting the administration to express their concerns. Others will quietly pull away and encourage their young people to look elsewhere for a Christian college. Now unfortunately, because NIU’s administration wants it both ways their friendship base will have to change just to maintain status quo not to mention growth.

Many alumni view what Northland is doing today as completely contrary to what was taught not long ago. Students were told that they will become in the future based on two things: the friends you have and the books you read. Is it any wonder they have done what they have? If you live long enough, you will have to change your friends or change your doctrine. NIU is changing its friends for new ones in Evangelicalism. Certain doctrines, separatism in particular, is not far from being compromised for the sake of their new friends.

Why do men who claim a heritage and commitment to separatist Fundamentalism take the initiative to reach out to evangelicals who openly repudiate biblical separation in principle and in application? Is it possible that these alleged fundamental separatists want to retain the label they are comfortable with, but have lost the will to contend, to wage the battle for fidelity to the God-given mandates? Is it possible they will redefine the principles and application of separation to accommodate the need to tolerate, allow for and excuse aberrant doctrine and ecumenism for the sake of fellowship with evangelicals?
Have self-described fundamental separatists decided to move toward a safe, non-confrontational middle ground at the expense of fidelity to the Word of God on separation to be accepted and respected by evangelicals?
So called “conservative” evangelicals have not and show no inclination of moving toward a Fundamentalist’s commitment to biblical separation. Someone is moving, someone is changing, and it isn’t the evangelicals.

With recent revelations we are learning a great deal about Northland’s new trajectory. NIU will try to placate alumni and donors while it moves further away from its historic stand. Matt Olson’s recent open letter to Friends in Ministry was just such an attempt that in the opinion of many was an abject failure. If Northland maintains this new direction and discussions among concerned persons are any indication of a national response, I fear Northland’s best days are behind it and the worst is yet to come.

Northland’s new trajectory has a historic parallel. The devastating effects of introducing Evangelicalism’s philosophy and practices into a biblical Fundamentalist setting are no more stark than the demise of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College.3


*For the Q&A Session with Dr. Ollila I opened the thread of What Do We Know About...Dr. Les Ollila? for questions you might like to ask him.  The following question was submitted by Pastor Brian Ernsberger and I believe would be an appropriate opening question.
Dr. Ollila: Why did you go along with the trip to John MacArthur’s ministry in April of 2010 when you uninvited yourself to a conference in 2005 that also had Rick Holland in to speak? What changed in those five years that you accepted to go and what was your take on Rick Holland as a result of that April 2010 trip coming to NIU in Oct. 2010?”
**In less than three years, with the formation of NIU's Redeemed CCM/Rock band, Matt Olson fully transformed the school into a place for Resolved conference type music and worship. For complete details and a video trailer see, The Real “Unchanged” NIU Comes Forward. You might also read, NIU Plunging Headlong Into Liberal Entertainment Ministry.

For previous articles in this series see-

NIU’s Convergence With Evangelicalism: What Does It Mean for Impressionable Students?

NIU Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body

1) An Example of Lordship Salvation’s Man-Centered Message

2) The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness, by Dr. Peter Masters

3) Discussion Over the Closing of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College
Although Pillsbury struggled for a number of years to recover itself from the devastating effects of hob-nobbing with Evangelicalism, it never really dealt with (in any real tangible way) its ruined reputation. Although it was repeatedly brought before them by many friends of the college, they never really did what was necessary to regain the trust of the pastors and parents who send students.”

June 2, 2013

Birth is the Beginning of Death

I have often said that in the creation of any local church or institution are the seeds of its own destruction. A careful look at the history of any one of these will confirm this. The wise mind will be able to see those seeds long before they come to fruition. Human organizations and documents are always flawed since only God could create, or write, a perfect one. The Bible is a perfect document for those who have a high view of scripture. The Body of Christ, the Heavenly Church, is viewed as “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”. (Eph. 5:27) No one could honestly say that about any local church or institution. When Adam sinned, he died spiritually and also began to die physically, just as God said he would. Some institutions die a slow death; others race full speed to their destruction.

The problem is that people are blinded by loyalty and thus are unable to be objective about their own church or institution. They will foolishly say that their organization is the same as it has always been, with no movement away from its foundation. Some loyalists know better, but are quick to use “turn-speak” in an attempt to hide a move to the left. Others are just plain ignorant or apathetic, and some are too fearful to ask the right questions.

We are now into graduation season. I am astounded when I read the list of schools that some of our graduates are headed for this fall. Do parents have no idea of what an institution believes? Are they without knowledge, or don’t they care? It could be because of any one of these reasons, but why would mothers and fathers send their young minds to a place where their intellectual, spiritual, and moral being would be under attack every day? There is no doubt that many adults have no idea of what is being taught. On the other hand, it also appears that the average parent would not even know what questions to ask in order to find out the truth behind all the promotional glitz of a certain school.

In our circles, the new theologies are “headed for the cliff” at breakneck speed. So-called “Christian” schools have embraced a number of these erroneous doctrines. Many of the “winds of doctrine” are cleverly based on intellectualism; after all, the scholars must be right. This, however, is only one of the problems. To assume that a popular, well known communicator who is widely published couldn’t possibly be wrong is a disaster. The truth is that many in this category have buried followers in an allegorical theology that leaves Bible truth far behind. Young men caught in the power of pride have no way to question the viability of the false teaching that currently covers the theological landscape.

It is heartbreaking to realize that parents do not know how to protect their children from this creeping culture of doctrinal doom. Where are the pastors on this issue? In Acts 20, it is made clear that the pastor/shepherd/elder/bishop/overseer has a responsibility to protect the sheep while “grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock”. (Acts 20:29) Do they not know the dangers that lie in wait for these young hearts and minds? Are they afraid to speak up about the spiritual, moral, and intellectual traps? Over fifty-three years of ministry, my interaction with various institutions has been quite involved. Watching schools drift, or race, away from a solid foundation is painful; but seeing that many dear friends still support and send students to those schools is absolutely heart-wrenching. These are not people we hate. They are dear friends, but why are they so blind? The answer often given is foolish philosophy. Is it just a difference of opinion or another point of view? That would certainly cover a whole lot of disobedience and ignorance.

What can be done when leaders do not know the scripture or are willing to sit idly by while others corrupt those we love? The problem here isn’t just a lack of knowledge of scripture and theology; it is a lack of interest. What I do know is that every error that is being carefully injected into churches and institutions comes from the same root problem - the fact that many, if not most, of our friends have never been taught the one biblical hermeneutic and so have missed the heart of a theology that is biblical.

No leader ever suddenly steps into the pulpit or college chapel and announces that he no longer believes in the virgin birth.
Such a move to error is a slow process, and the path is usually camouflaged.
The move to wrong views about sign gifts, the timing of the Rapture, the New Covenant, and the merging of Israel and the Church is a subtle one. Those who have a motive tend to simply pick at things. They make small adjustments in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the church, salvation, etc.; and only the careful observer will realize what is happening. Only courageous believers will be willing to point out those errors publicly, and they should be prepared for the vicious attacks they will receive for doing such a thing.

Those who are leaning left always complain about the “whistle blowers” on the right; however, they never miss an opportunity to brand them as “anti-intellectual, baggy pants know-nothings from the back waters”. Despite their protests, there is something that gives them away: they hide behind culture and methods, claiming they have changed their methods, but not their message. Sorry, that just won’t fly. Parents and pastors need to be aware that hard turns to the left on cultural issues are always accompanied by questions about a shift, slow or rapid, in their theology.

Those who have a high view of scripture and who are sensitive to small steps to the left are left to wonder why others choose to wander. We have long-time friends in ministry who appear to be numb about these shifts. It puzzles us why they remain in support of institutions which are communicating theological instability. Why do they send their children there? Why do they remain on boards? The only answer is ignorance or apathy. That is not an attack on their person; it is an expression of grief for them.

Let me sound a warning: If you have read this and are beginning to wonder if your church or institution is in view, don’t write me. If you have to question whether or not any of this applies to your loyalties, you already have your answer. You should be asking these questions of those who are taking your money and your youngsters. If you don’t know what to ask, seek help from those who do. Begin with the culture smoke screen. People who hide error are good at smoke and mirrors, and please don’t ask why I do not state any names. Others will do that for you; my task is to deal with ideas.

Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min

A communication service of Shepherd’s Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible. Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches.