March 5, 2015

Piedmont/TTU: A Predictable Pattern of Mergers With Only One Survivor

Tragic, isn’t it? It has not been a delight to report on a pattern of the predictable demise of once fine, not perfect, schools. That’s right, “demise.”  One survives and the other goes away.
“…but the merger effectively means that come May 1, Tennessee Temple University will no longer exist.” (The End of Tennessee Temple in Chattanooga, Times Free Press, March 3, 2015).
Last time we considered Tennessee Temple’s demise, being folded into Piedmont International University.1 Look at the schools that already have or may be near to folding.  Is there common denominator?  There are, in my opinion, two factors, to be considered.  First, and foremost, was these schools becoming in practice like, and aligning with the non-separatism of so-called “conservative” evangelicalism.

Second, while possibly less of a negative impact than the former, these schools also drifted into allowing for and tolerating two major doctrinal errors.  Those errors are: 1) Reformed Theology, which includes Calvinism and Covenant theology. 2) Lordship Salvation (LS), which is a works based, man-centered message that corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).2 That said, some of our schools have been or lean toward Calvinism and enjoyed relative health.

Schools that get dislodged from their biblical separatist roots, and veer away from their constituencies cannot survive. Pillsbury, Northland, Central Seminary and TTU learned this the hard way. On the theological grid, I think many of our separatists are regrettably willing to endure Calvinism and even LS more so than they are willing to endure a false eschatology and hermeneutic (“the church is Israel” – “Historic Premill,” etc.).

Consider the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC), formerly known as NANC, and their link to Jay Adams. That marriage paved the way for Reformed Theology to make deep inroads into our own ranks.

I would, furthermore, offer and repeat a serious caution: When it comes to the star personalities of the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism, including cooperative ministry, Drs. Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran are willing to tolerate, allow for, ignore and excuse all sorts of aberrant theology (including Reformed, Covenant theology) ecumenical compromises, cultural relativism and worldliness.  Those men (Bauder, Doran, et., al.) through casting aside authentic biblical separatism, paved the way for Covenant Theology to make deep inroads into our circles, and essentially ruin nearly an entire generation of young preachers.  Dr. Ernest Pickering wrote,

“Some leaders operate on the principle that they will use speakers who are well-known even though they may be shaky in their convictions in some areas-because they have special abilities that are helpful and thus can be a blessing to their congregations. The wisdom, however, of following this course of action is very doubtful…. But a man is more than his pulpit message. He brings to the pulpit a lifetime of associations, actions and perhaps writings. He comes as a total person. Is he in his total ministry the type of person you would want the young people at the separatist college to emulate? If he is a compromiser, his example would be harmful, and the college president would be at fault for setting him up as such. The separatist cause is not advanced by featuring non-separatists.”3 (Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, Implementing Separatist Convictions, Whom to Invite to Your Platform, p. 229.)

Where we stand today gone are Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, Northland Baptist Bible College (NIU), Calvary Baptist Seminary and Tennessee Temple.  As for my personal opinion of other schools traditionally in our circles: I suspect Central Seminary will soon join the others in closing. How Bob Jones University fares will in part depend upon how new president Steve Pettit aligns with some of the drifting churches in Greenville, i.e. Heritage Bible, Hampton Park, etc.

Maranatha Baptist University, I believe, and am hopeful will be with us well into the future.  Ambassador Baptist College is debt free, and I believe is being lead well by Ron Comfort’s successor, Alton Beal. The Baptist College of Ministry & Theological Seminary is on sure footing for a long term future.  It seems to me that Pensacola Christian, West Coast and Crown College will around for many years to come.

In all of these closures I wondered where does Piedmont fit it.  TTU is not the first to be absorbed by Piedmont.  Previous to TTU Piedmont absorbed Spurgeon Baptist Bible College of FL., and Atlantic Bible College, VA.  Piedmont also got libraries from other sources. While Piedmont claims to keep the schools alive they have simply digested them.  These were not, unlike most mergers, [un]like a marriage,” because only one entity (Piedmont) has, thus far, survived and the other(s) have gone away.


Related Reading:
Discussion…the Closing of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College
Although Pillsbury struggled for a number of years to recover itself [from its slide into evangelical compromise], it never really dealt with, in any real tangible way, its ruined reputation. Although this was repeatedly brought before them by many people, they never really did what was necessary to regain the trust of the Gatekeepers who send students.” (11/06/2008)
Northland…Culmination of a Modern Day Tragedy
For the many fine former NBBC faculty, staff and graduates this is indeed a tragic and closing chapter for their alma mater.  Northland once was unique and unwavering in its fidelity to the whole counsel of God.  Under Matt Olson’s tenure as president the school was steadily lead into compromise and ultimately ruined for the cause of Christ.” (10/15/2014)
Closure of Calvary Baptist Seminary: Predictable & Repeatable
Calvary joins Pillsbury in its demise. I…believe we will see the closure of NIU and Central Baptist Seminary (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!” (8/20/2013)
CBS is Accountable for Failure & Won’t Own Up to It

My opinion is that these men fell prey to the desire to be somebody and became very focused on their own motivations and what they wanted out of life. Unfortunately they’ve gotten the outcome of what happens when you do things that way. It’s obvious they are upset about the failure and they have tried to put the best face forward on the closure by calling it a success or celebration. The reality is that they are accountable for the failure of the seminary and just won’t own up to it.” (6/15/2014)

2) See, Summarizing Lordship Salvation From a Single Page of John MacArthur's books

3) For Dr. Pickering’s complete comment see, The Separatist Cause is Not Advanced by Featuring Non-Separatists

1 comment:

  1. Editors Update: (March 6, 8:25am)

    Within this article there was a mention of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College. That mention appeared in the final paragraph alongside the reference to Atlantic Bible College, Spurgeon Baptist Bible College and TTU. It was not my intention to suggest a Pillsbury, Piedmont merger, but the context of that paragraph erroneously gave that impression. I have pulled the mention of Pillsbury from that paragraph. If my source(s) offers further clarification on any connection to or past conversation between Pillsbury and Piedmont I will update.