“We have done a Day of Prayer the last seven or eight years…. I didn’t want it to get to routine where you get into the same ol’ same ol’ all the time. So, this last year I thought I really want to tie this to a right view of God and worship because I think that is so woven in with prayer. So, I had met Jason and Drew earlier this year and was impressed with their teaching on worship and I invited them to come to join us, same with Josh Beers. I think for many of you it was a real blessing Day of Prayer.
Some expressed to me concerns that you were not comfortable with that day. And I just want to say to you I apologize for that. The last thing I ever want to do (indiscernible) is someone, especially students to be uncomfortable about something. That is not my intent. My intent is completely that we are united to worship God and learn to pray. It was probably different than we normally do and I know for most of you you’re thinking, “what is he talking about?” I think for some of you, you understand what I am saying. It was different.
I go back to this; these principles have almost always driven when it comes to music in worship. Music is not going to be a controversy at Northland in the future. We are not going to let it [music] be. We are just not going to fight over that. It [music] is going to look different not that we’ve changed our core values and principles, but as you reapply those to the times it will look different. Most of our alumni that I am with look different than me….
People ask where is Northland heading in the future? I will say we are catching up with our alumni because I think they get it. When it comes to worship and music here is what I am committed to:
1) It’s Doxological. In other words, passionate pursuit of the glory of God above all things.
2) It’s Biblical: The commands and teachings of the Scriptures are the principles that guide us.
3) That it’s spiritual. That it’s in the heart. It is in the heart level and it manifests love.
4) Where it’s in the proper context.I just want to say to you as students there are going be things that you may really love and really not love as much or feel uncomfortable, but if there’s ever a time like in a service you’re not comfortable with something, two things: 1) You feel free to step out and I’ve said even if God’s working in your heart you need to go and pray, you feel free to step out. I don’t want you to feel trapped by anything. 2) You know the door is always open to come and talk. I am not going to try to twist or change or convince. I just hope that you feel we can talk through these things.
And I believe this with all my heart: If you live committed to these principals, what I’ve talked about: God’s glory, to be guided by the Scriptures in your life and do everything in love that God is going to bless that kind of life and ministry.
As we lead Northland we don’t do things perfectly, but I want you to know the heart in that and the heart behind the Day of Prayer is to be unifying and I think for many of you it was. I don’t want to create a controversy of some saying, “did you think it was good or not?” I don’t even want to get there. How you feel matters. It matters to me. It matters to all of us here and we want your experience at Northland to thrive and be a real, real authentic Christianity that’s rooted in Scripture, the Word of Christ.”
1) Matt apologized for a portion of the Day of Prayer that was not normal saying that something was done that “was not what we normally do.” Would you please clarify for us what it was that wasn’t “normal?” (Those who will be listening could come to any number of uncomfortable conclusions.)
2) There are those who are saying that some students walked out of a segment of the Day of Prayer because of the style of worship being introduced. Is that your impression of why they would walk out?
3) Dr. Olson said, “Some expressed to me concerns that you were not comfortable with that day. And I just want to say to you I apologize for that.” What exactly about the Day of Prayer made some students “uncomfortable,” and brought about Matt’s apology to them?
4) We understand that Jason Janz was recently invited to campus. His appearance on campus was noted at the NIU site. Was he part of the leadership or platform presence overseeing the Day of Prayer this year? What other role(s) did Jason Janz have with the student body in addition to and/or if not with the Day of Prayer?
Bible College students don’t walk out of a Day of Prayer when they are lead in the singing of “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”*Dr. Olson acknowledges that it was something “new” that concerned their conscience. What was this “new” thing that concerned students to the point of walking out? Dr. Olson said, “I Apologize to you for that.” We ask, “apologize to them for what?”
Words: William Walford, 1845
Music: William B. Bradbury, Golden Chain (New York: 1861)
Pastor Brian Ernsberger has just published an article that has direct bearing on our discussion here. Please see, Is NIU Fundamental?
“Do fundamentalists recruit students at rock concerts? Do fundamentalists attend evangelical churches and charismatic churches and promote both? Do fundamentalists have evangelicals preach in their chapels? Do fundamentalists promote camps that teach our daughters to dance? Do fundamentalists reproduce Broadway musicals in chapel, even if done in parody? Personally, to answer the above questions, I give an unequivocal, NO!”Addendum:
In his remarks Dr. Olson said, “People ask where is Northland heading in the future? I will say we are catching up with our alumni because I think they get it.”
There are alumni that have gone over to the world's CCM/Rock styles for their worship services. There are NBBC alumni that have gone over to the C. J. Mahaney Sovereign Grace, Charismatic movement. From all indications, which have been documented, it is these kinds of alumni that Matt Olson thinks “get it” and is racing to catch up to. I dare say the vast majority of NBBC alumni are not going in the direction of CCM/Rock worship methods or the modern Charismatic movement.
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