April 29, 2014

What is Truth? (Part 3)

This is the third article in a series on hermeneutics that demonstrates why the one biblical hermeneutic exposes errors of interpretation. I have been reading a number of wide-ranging articles particularly dealing with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the church, and church polity. Many of them illustrate how easy it is to insert personal presuppositions into a text. A partial hermeneutic is often responsible for this. Ignoring texts that clarify or failing to use grammar, context, or the historical setting of the text is a sure formula for theological disaster.

God, the author, in His wisdom gave the average believer a clear way to understand what He intended to convey in the text. The unlearned person, as well as the intellectual, has no trouble finding ways to corrupt the scripture. Sometimes this is done by adding to the text and other times by taking away from it. Every error you can think of has violated either some part of or the entire single biblical hermeneutic. Pride would make us think that our positions are pure and without flaw, but that is not true. Baptists are proud of their doctrinal distinctives, but few are able to give explanation for them without violating the text. Much of what we have adopted has come from culture or history and is only a reaction to the wrong interpretation others have used to build their error. That is not to say there is no truth in what they propose, but we tend to be selective in our use of scripture in order to build our own tower of Babel.

If I have any area of expertise at all, it is in the doctrine of the church and particularly church polity. Not a single one of us is infallible, and that is why we need to be willing to honestly challenge each other’s conclusions. I am amazed at how blatantly our own crowd will often make a “grammatical pretzel” out of the text, twisting it in an effort to insert a cultural polity into their position. God has given us clear tools to define congregational government, but those have to be ignored to arrive at a political structure. One reason this is done is in reaction to error. It is right to oppose the idea of the pastor’s acting as a despot or dictator, but the answer to this problem is to let the text speak. The interpreter does not have to destroy the office of the bishop/elder/pastor/shepherd to deal with that error. To relegate the office of pastor to one of a mere lackey who only serves as an example is desperately misguided. This is often done by tossing proof texts around and ignoring all the teaching on the subject. In the text, the whole of the teaching about this office gives a powerful picture of the function of a true under-shepherd.

Sometimes the office of pastor has been developed in response to cruel and despicable treatment of pastors by those who often are goats, and not sheep. Even this sinful practice does not give us leave to create an unbiblical style of pastoring. Both of these described errors rest on the ignoring of the context and the historical setting of the text. God gave us simple examples so we couldn’t possible miss what He wanted our polity to be. Can you imagine a shepherd who led only by his example? The answer is so elementary that even a child could tell you what sheep and shepherds do.

We have already noted that a study of grammar, language, and words is the first task of the interpreter. Few believers are trained grammarians, but that does not mean we cannot know what the text says. The problem with language experts is that they too often tend not to observe their limitations. Let me say again that when we have done our best with the language, words, and meaning in the text, we are still left with a question; an accurate conclusion needs to be tested by a study of the full context and the historical setting of the text. This is where the average believer should begin to ask questions about an uneasy conclusion provided by the experts. The answer is not in just a part, but in the whole.

The sinful nature is prone to wander. When someone wants to be free to sin, he will even use selected scriptures to give credence to his unwarranted conclusions. This selectivity in choosing texts that agree with them is well illustrated in today’s rush for schools and others to approve the drinking of debilitating alcohol. Lust is a terrible thing, and it causes us to do what even common sense tells us is wrong. How could you possibly trust the conclusion of anyone who seriously believes in the Big Bang theory? I personally wonder how you can even trust the theology of anyone who says that the Bible does not condemn booze as a beverage.

In case you are wondering about these strong words, let me tell you that being this close to the Bema tends to discourage one from giving support to sinful practices. The crowd who reject plain words like “sodomy”, or “murder” for abortion, have tipped their hand. We are too close to the end to be nice to the devil and make sinners comfortable about the heinous moral error that God hates.

People who often say they believe in literal interpretation may not mean what you do when you use that term. Even Luther and Calvin claimed to use literal interpretation - and they did - but not when it came to eschatology (prophecy) and soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). Not all their teaching was bad, but that still is no excuse for giving them or anyone else a pass when it comes to the clear, normal, plain, consistent use of the Bible text. Go ahead - make my day!

Dr. Clay M. Nuttall

What is Truth, Part 2

SHEPHERD’S STAFF – April, 2014

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. Write for information using the e-mail address, Shepherdstaff2@juno.com or visit The Shepherd Staff

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

April 24, 2014

Dan Patz Responds to a Woman Preaching in the NIU Chapel: A Critical Review

Dr. Lina AbuJamra Preaching at NIU
Northland International University (NIU) president Daniel Patz posted an article at his blog on April 23.  His article is titled, “College Chapel and ‘Women Preachers’.”1 Apparently Mr. Patz was responding to concerns raised on the NIU FaceBook page and IMO the previous IDOTG article, A Woman Preaches in NIU’s Chapel. The issue was Dr. Lina AbuJamra in the NIU chapel preaching a Bible message to the student body.2 The Patz blog article attempts to clarify what happened at NIU.

Before publishing this response to the Patz article I consulted several pastors for their reaction to his article.  What follows is a compilation of their thoughts with mine in a critical review of the Patz article.

There are several points to debate with Mr. Patz:
1. NIU seeks to simultaneously to define their chapel music ministry as a time of gathered worship and their speaking time as a “convocation.”  Those who follow the regulative principle on worship universally recognize that a key element of New Testament “worship” is the exposition and declaration of God’s word.  If the 1st part of the chapel is “worship,” then it follows that the bible-teaching part is worship.  I Timothy 2 provides instruction for the assembling of believers when involved in worship.  It is spiritually cavalier to assume that a Christian college chapels “worship” time should not be governed by the regulative principles of worship.
2. A Christian College is a place where “life touches life” in order to disciple the next generation of Great Commission servants. What is modeled is what is molded!  Those who would have their daughters move into a life of service with a meek and quiet spirit, adorning the gospel would do well to beware of NIU.  Their chapel speaker was irreverent, “the sexy part,” less than lady-like and certainly not the model of a meek and quiet spirit one would expect to mold future evangelicals. 
3. The contents of the chapel message reflected a feel-good, Schuller-esque, experiential theology.  Dr. Lina actually told the students “God spoke to her.”  If this is a model of NIU’s new hermeneutic, it's frightening to say the least.
Further issues with the Patz article include:
1. Mr. Patz wrote, “I shared with Dr. AbuJamra my position on women and preaching; she agreed and told me that she would not preach.”  Why does someone have to tell a female about their position on female preachers if she does not preach? It’s clear that Dan Patz knew and recognized her as being a “preacher.” What pastor/Bible college president has to tell a single lady missionary “do not preach” when they invite a woman to present her mission field and/or ministry? This was not about Dr. AbuJamra presenting her ministry, very little of that was clearly given, only slightly mentioned.

2. Mr. Patz went on to note that her message did “bless many students and staff.”  With that claim we have New Evangelical pragmatism: the ends (blessings) justify the means (a woman preaching).

3. Whether teaching, presenting or preaching we have her stating, “...I work part time in the ER. The rest of the time I teach God’s Word, and I write. I didn’t see that coming, but ya know that’s kind of the sexy part of saying it…” Totally inappropriate and disgraceful, yet no mention of it by Mr. Patz.
The Patz article is a continuation of what the compromised evangelicals at Sharper Iron (SI) wrote to legitimize and/or excuse having a woman preaching in the NIU chapel service. Mr. Patz, for example, wrote, “I do agree that the tone and direction of her testimony was more than I anticipated and expected.” What was presented from the pulpit in chapel was far, far beyond a testimony. Dr. AbuJamra made a very brief mention of her testimony within the first three minutes of her sermon, but for the balance she was preaching to the student body. If this were a man, in those pants, instead of a female there would be no question, did “hepreach or not? “He” preached!

Mr. Patz comes close to, but ultimately sidesteps admitting that this was “preaching.”  Mr. Patz at least knew her reputation as that of a preacher, and went forward with having her. He had to ask her not to preach. He knew and now he’s trying to do damage control.

The article by Mr. Patz does not clear up what took place in chapel nor does it acknowledge the wrong, and there is no genuine repentance for it.  This was wrong and needs to be admitted as such.


I encourage all guests to read Don Johnsons We're Not Comfortable, So Heres a Statement About Something in which he reviews the Dan Patz article.


2) Lina AbuJamra, Failure is Your Friend
Lina AbuJamra preaching Failure is Your Friend is now available at Sermon Audio.

Related Reading:

April 22, 2014

A Woman Preaches in Northland’s Chapel

If not for all the other disappointments that have previously transpired at the former Northland Baptist Bible College, this might have been a jaw dropper. Here is a link to the NIU site with the chapel video of a Miss Lina Abujamra preaching the chapel message.

Miss Lina Abujamra- NIU Chapel

You’ll hear in the first minute that Miss AbuJamra is not the first female to speak in NIU’s chapel. Later, at 3:20 she says,

“...I work part time in the ER. The rest of the time I teach God’s Word, and I write. I didn’t see that coming, but ya know that’s kind of the sexy part of saying it- like you’re, you know, I teach God’s Word, I write, an author, teacher, Bible speaker, whatever you want to call it.

Lina AbuJamra preaching Failure is Your Friend is now available at Sermon Audio.

The Bible says, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve,” (1 Tim. 2:11-13).
Yours faithfully,

April 14, 2014

Northland Takes Giant Step Toward Closure

Northland and Central Seminary will not survive having abandoned their fundamental heritage, disdain for those who have gone before, and pursuing a path toward [so-called] ‘conservative’ evangelicalism.” (Closure of Calvary Baptist Seminary: Predictable and Repeatable, Aug. 2013)
On April 7 NIU President Daniel Patz made an announcement to the student body.  You can read his announcement in its entirety under April 2014 Announcement1 at the NIU website. 
“…It’s clear that we need to make more changes in order to live within our means…. reduce and eliminate programs and schools…the Discover. Develop. Deploy. program, our music department, and our education department, as well as our 5 school/outcome-based approach.”
In the article it is plain that NIU is taking a giant step closer to closure.  The closure of NIU, and its camp ministry, has been predictable and is IMO imminent.  The only question is when will NIU be shuttered.  A key contributor to NIU’s closure was the betrayal of clear statements of doctrine and practice stated in Northland’s Academic Catalogs and Articles of Faith. See, Is NIU “Opposed to the Modern Day Charismatic Movement?”
We have three statements from the Northland Graduate School Academic Catalog that unequivocally opposes and rejects the Charismatic Movement signs and wonders teaching.  The academic catalog explicitly rejects cooperation with the Charismatic Movement.  Yet, Matt Olson has honored the men and embraced the ministry of a church within the Sovereign Grace, Charismatic Movement.
The “NIU is unchanged” changes Matt Olson instituted at Northland alienated a vast swath of the Northland Baptist Bible College alumni and core base of support.  New enrollment fell sharply and some existing students transferred out because of Olson’s changes to the school.  For example see, Dr. Matt Olson, “I Apologize to You for…” What?
No, we do not doubt Matt Olson’s sincerity – we doubt his wisdom. He brings in Josh Beers and other men, possibly including Jason Janz for a “Day of Prayer.” Matt leads the young people to mix, that which is most holy (Prayer) with that which is profane (the world’s CCM/Rock music) and then renders an apology. Why doesn’t he inform and apologize to their parents and pastors? The students who are learning how to be involved in mixed-worship may not want to come home to the old ways.
Does Matt Olson believe he can succeed where others have failed? Matt Olson’s hard left turn put NIU on a trajectory to suffer the consequences, which began with losing most of the alumni. Significant numbers of alumni have already seen enough of Matt Olson’s leftward turn to decide they’re not going with him. (What Do Pillsbury, Tennessee Temple & Northland Have in Common? Oct. 2012) 
Northland is moving toward realizing the same fate that Pillsbury Baptist Bible College did in 2010, only NIU has been brought to ruin far more quickly. It was the radical changes that Matt Olson brought to NIU that has brought the once fine fundamental Baptist separatist school to ruin.  Those who never wanted to see the historic and biblical foundation of Northland Baptist Bible College dismantled have been affected.  Pray for these as they are or soon will be in transition to another place of service in God’s good will and timing for them. (Isaiah 65:24; Phil. 2:12-13)


1) Daniel Patz, April 2014 Announcement

Related Reading:
It is my belief that the closure of Calvary Baptist Seminary was predictable and will be repeated. Calvary joins Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and Tennessee Temple in their demise. I also believe we will see the closure of Northland International University (NIU) and Central Baptist Seminary (Minneapolis, MN). For drifting far from their original markers as fundamental Baptist separatist schools NIU and Central will not survive. NIU and Central will not survive having become non-separatist, evangelical schools. They will not survive having alienated their base and alumni! NIU and Central cannot compete for students with the star personalities of and/or high-profile schools in the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism.  Northland and Central will not survive having abandoned their fundamental heritage, disdain for those who have gone before, and pursuing a path toward [so-called] “conservative” evangelicalism.
Is NIU “UnChanged?”
Has NIU remained unchanged? In 2010-11 school year would NIU hand the Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity to a visiting pastor and/or parent and state that the university still abides by the philosophy and practice it defines? Is the NBBC Position Statement still in force, or has it been set aside to allow for what has the appearance of a change in direction for NIU?
With the imbedded video and accompanying pages at NIU’s web site the downward spiral of compromise of a once fine school continues. For some NIU has hit bottom. It’s one thing (not a good thing) for NIU to be participating in CCM/Rock concerts, which I have documented. It is quite another to have officially brought the CCM/Rock genre to the campus itself.
This video is another sad revelation of what happened to the remaining faculty and student body once Northland’s leadership took a tolerant view toward CCM and RAP, yet tells the public NIU has not changed. The students know the real position of the administration on such matters….  And it is only a matter of time until this kind of behavior is seen in the chapel hour and on ministry tours.