January 10, 2011

Is NIU “Unchanged?” Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity

An individual recently provided me with an official document used at Northland International University. The document is titled, Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity. This document was originally prepared by the college and endorsed by the NBBC board. This document was once and still may be distributed to visiting guests with questions about Northland’s stand on issues. Topics that the NBBC Position Statement address, but is not limited to, but includes: Accreditation, Divorce, Promise Keepers, Social Drinking, Billy Graham, Jack Hyles, Calvinism, Bible Versions and Navigators. For today’s purposes, however, I am highlighting four topics from the document. Let’s review these four categories from the NBBC Position Statement and then consider certain current events at Northland in light of those official position statements.

Bob Jones, Jr. and Bob Jones III speak on campus occasionally. We are a Baptist school but appreciate their strong stand on Fundamentalism.1

1. Principles of Music- We believe that all music must glorify and be a direct reflection on the life of a Spirit-filled believer (Ephesians 5: 18-20). We do not believe that music is amoral or “Value-neutral,” but that music plays an important role in the spiritual life of a believer. The style in which a piece of music is written and the manner in which it is performed strongly colors the message of the music. Or desire is to promote the style and type of music that will edify the believer and encourage holy living, and to avoid styles that contradict or hinder the spiritual well-being of the Christian. With these principles in mind, we have developed the following guidelines:

2007 Resolved, "Rock Out?"

2. Types of Music- Sacred music must be conservative in style. The music should support the message, and the message should be scriptural. We avoid music classified as “Contemporary Christian Music”- sacred music which is written or performed in a popular or worldly style. These styles include rock, Blues, Jazz, “big band,” rap, New Age, and other styles normally associated with worldly entertainment or dancing. We also avoid “pop” or rock arrangements of traditional hymns, recordings with the typical rhythm section of bass and drums used in pop and dance music.

Some styles of secular music, such as classical music, marching band music, fun songs, or traditional folk songs may be appropriate for certain occasions. However, some styles, such as jazz, rock, rap, punk, dance band, or New Age are never considered appropriate.

3. Music Performance- We do not encourage a singing or playing style which mimics the style of popular musicians. This includes scooping, sliding, breathiness, unnecessary syncopation, “scat” singing and other techniques common to nightclub, jazz, and other popular singers. We do encourage a style of singing and playing based on traditional, legitimate principles of good musicianship, including rhythmic precision, breath and tone support, proper intonation, and a direct, unaffected mode of expression.
From Resolved 2008

4. Music Performers- Because of our conservative stance regarding music and performance, we do not endorse “Contemporary Christian” artist who use worldly techniques in performing or recording their music.

Christian Rock Music
We view this as a contradiction in terms and reject it as being Christian.

John MacArthur
We have no institutional ties with Dr. MacArthur. We disagree with his view of church polity, but see value in his writings and in his expository preaching. We disagree with his neo-evangelical associations.2

With those NBBC Position Statements in mind, please consider the following four events that took place on NIU’s campus in 2010. Read objectively, and as you do ask yourself, has anything changed in principle and application at NIU?

1) NIU Initiates and Establishes Institutional Ties with John MacArthur
In April 2010 NIU President Matt Olson with Sam Horn, Les Ollila and Doug McLachlan traveled to the Grace Community Church to meet with John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland. This meeting was not publicly disclosed until Matt Olson’s Friends in Ministry open letter (Nov. 2010).3 See- NIU’s Convergence with Evangelicalism and Our Children Learn Not Only By What We Teach Them, But by What We Tolerate

2) Rick Holland, executive pastor of Grace Community Church Founder/director of John MacArthur’s CCM/Rock youth conference Resolved was presented to the undergraduates in an October chapel meeting.4

While NIU views Christian Rock “as a contradiction in terms and reject it as being Christian” by putting Rick Holland in the chapel pulpit NIU’s leadership, at the minimum, gave tacit endorsement to his Resolved conference. Dr. Peter Masters correctly describes Rick Holland’s Resolved Conference as an,
...extreme charismatic-style worship…sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert.... Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. Pictures…betray the totally worldly, show business atmosphere created by the organizers [Rick Holland].”5
3) Wayne Simien Speaks in Undergraduate Chapel
Simien’s Called to Greatness, among other ministries, offers dance classes for girls age 8-12, “intended to instill in young people a love for dance along with the fundamentals of ballet and jazz,” as well as Jazz/Contemporary dance instruction for girls 13-17. See-
Former NBA Player Speaks in Chapel 6

4) NIU Students and Staff Perform Music From and Dance to Broadway play Wicked
In the video link you will see Wynne Kimbrough, dean of students, on the platform with another student performing the duet lead role along with four off stage (student) dancers. You will see Dr. Kimbrough and five students performing a song and dance selection from Wicked, What is This Feeling, Loathing.

From the Music section of the NBBC Position Statement above, “We avoid music...styles normally associated with worldly entertainment or dancing.” Not anymore! One might assume that since this was Spirit Week on campus that this was done as a parody. Nevertheless, there is no justification whatsoever for this presentation on the campus of a fundamental Christian college. As the NBBC Position Statement indicates, “…some styles, such as jazz, rock, rap, punk, dance band, or New Age are never considered appropriate.”

In his Friends and Fellow Followers letter Les Ollila wrote, “…the foundational principles and historic theological positions to which we have always been committed remain unchanged.” In Matt Olson’s Open Letter to Friends in the Ministry he stated,
Our Music Philosophy: Philosophically, it is unchanged. Let me say it again... unchanged. What we have always been trying to do, and will continue to do into the future, is to make sure Northland’s practice of music (as with every aspect of the Christian life) is built principally on clear teachings from the Bible…. 7
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? Did the name change from NBBC to NIU negate and dissolve the Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity?

NBBC was so “Baptistic” that when the NBBC Position Statement was written they found it necessary to offer an explanation for having in Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. and Dr. Bob, III. Today, NIU presents non-Baptists and Southern Baptists in the classroom and chapel pulpit who are not known as, and do not want to be indentified as fundamental Baptists or with Fundamentalism. Yet NIU’s president and chancellor insist the university “is unchanged.”

The happenings of recent months from Northland’s campus strongly suggest that NIU is moving in a direction that is at odds with some elements that the NBBC Position Statement articulates. In light of tangible evidence that NIU has embarked on a new course in its philosophy and has formalized ties with evangelicals, the administration must decide to either:
1) Publicly disavow the NBBC Position Statement or,

2) Repent of recent activities identified above and live up to the NBBC Position Statement in principle and application. Cease and desist immediately from the new trajectory the administration has set for the university.
What tires objective observers is letters like those from Les Ollila and Matt Olson where they seem to use subjective imprecise language to quell any concerns. Complete details of what is transpiring in the administration and on campus are obscured for the sake of the new philosophy, trajectory and agenda for impressionable NIU students.
“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.”8


Related Reading:
NIU Plunging Headlong Into a Liberal Entertainment Approach Ministry

Is NIU Opposed to and “Reject[ing of] the Modern Day Charismatic Movement?”

Sharper Iron & NIU: Censorship by Omission

Headline: Update, May 8, 2011
For details see, Dr. Matt Olson UnInvited from BJU Baccalaureate

MAJOR Development, See-
NIU Students RAP to “Jesus Loves Me” and it’s Blasphemy!

1) Northland identified itself as a, “Baptist school but appreciate their (Bob Jones, Jr. and Bob Jones, III] strong stand on Fundamentalism.” Fall 2010 semester’s guest speakers on NIU’s campus (Rick Holland and Wayne Simien) are not Baptists and do not have a “strong stand on Fundamentalism.” So, what is it that NIU appreciates about Holland and Simien that would have them invited to speak on campus?

2) NIU disagrees with John MacArthur’s “neo-evangelical associations.” Yet, NIU officials (Olson, Ollila, Horn, McLachlan) flew to California to meet with John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland. the meeting resulted in establishing “institutional ties” with the invitation to MacArthur’s executive pastor, Rick Holland, to speak in NIU’s chapel to the undergraduates. Who changed? It wasn’t MacArthur, Johnson and Holland!

3) Dr. Matt Olson’s Open Letter to Friends in the Ministry

4) See- NIU Presents executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to Its Student Body

5) “Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff [Rick Holland], gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, show business atmosphere created by the organizers.)” (Dr. Peter Masters, The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness)

6) See Wayne Simien’s Called to Greatness Event Information tab, CTG Dance link.

7) Dr. Matt Olson’s Open Letter to Friends in the Ministry

8) Discussion Over the Closing of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College


  1. Site Publisher’s Addendum:

    On December 27, 2010 I sent an advance copy of this article to NIU President, Dr. Matt Olson for his review. I encouraged him to read the article and if he were to find any factual errors to notify me so that I could make any necessary corrections. In several e-mail exchanges Brother Olson offered no suggestions for correction.


  2. Lou, that video clip alone illustrates the deep-seated compromise at Northland. I think pastors around the country should take a look at that and then decide if they still want to support Northland. The whole thing is ridiculous.

  3. Ps. Monte:

    In addition to what the video illustrates NIU has become, there are several other issues, which have come to light from NIU that has given pastors and parents good reason to rethink whether or not, in good conscience, they send their students and/or support to a college that claims to be fundamental, baptistic and separatist.


  4. To All:

    If you want to share a comment under this article I am requiring that you provide your real name. No anonymous or handles will be accepted. Ordinarily, I do not require that level of disclosure, but for this one I am. If you do not have a Blogger account simply include your (first and last) name at the end of your comment.


  5. To All:

    A pastor just e-mailed me noting that this article and the video in particular is “VERY POWERFUL evidence of the compromise at NIU. A picture is worth a thousand words. Let’s get it out there…Let’s get this thing viral.”

    By “out there” he means to as wide an audience as possible through the Internet. For any who wish to share the article/video with friends and acquaintances the best way is to link as many as possible through an e-mail with a direct link to my blog so they can see it for themselves.

    The video alone, however, is not enough. They must see it in light of what NIU has at its historic stance, which I documented from the NBBC Position Statement against that kind of thing, did it anyway and still claim they are “unchanged.”

    The video is the most shocking issue, but look at the rest JMac, Rick Holland, Wayne Simien, Bruce Ware, etc. 

Just use the following link in an e-mail to your friends and the ask them to forward it along to as many as possible. Be sure to include a brief, personal note with the e-mail.


    You can be sure these events at NIU, the video especially, will get NO play whatsoever at sites such as Sharper Iron (SI). SI has NIU as an advertiser.


  6. David Oestreich1/10/2011 10:05 AM

    This is actuall journalism/editorial. I hope to see you continue in this vein. Not that I agree with all your goals, but I can at least appreciate this method as opposed to others used here.


    (I re-sent this cuz I used a semi-anonymous name earlier, before I read your request for self-identification.

  7. David:

    Thanks for the comment. If you'll carefully review the majority of this type of article that is I posted here they are often thoroughly documented. In the midst of journalistic efforts there will, however, be opinions shared by the authors(s) of articles or participants in thread discussions.

    Kind regards,


  8. I posted regarding this on my blog.

    "Some of this discussion regarding redefining separation is being done by men I have counted as friends and have respected. After listening to their discussions for about two years now, it seems to me they are a little like the guy who drove far too fast into his garage and is trying to back out slowly to avoid all the destruction and carnage created by his original haste. They entered into the discussion critical of what they viewed as extremes in separation (and some areas are extreme in my opinion), but ended up driving that discussion to another extreme and through the back wall of the garage. The automatic door closure of the Old Guard has begun to close the garage door on them locking them in with the carnage they have already created. The more they try to move around in their havoc, the more carnage they create. This is what Rationalism always does.

    This discussion is being driven by leadership in what historically have been separatist Baptist higher education institutions. I would say this is unique, but of course it is not. It is merely a repeat of history in the praxis of the Hegelian Dialectic within theological dialogue. The dynamic of the Hegelian Dialectic in this dialogue takes place within the academic institutions when diverse theological positions are allowed to enter into public debate. The outcome is always that the majority of the hearers/listeners to the discussion are moved (or manipulated) to land theologically somewhere in the middle of the diverse positions being postulated. In the continuation of this discussion over a lengthy period of time, the middle or center is constantly evolving and changing. The more diverse the positions in the theological dialogue, the more the center moves. All during the discussion we hear the leadership of these educational institutions proclaim that their theological positions have not changed and that they are merely discussing or re-evaluating the application of those positions. This is the historical pattern in the moving of orthodoxy to heterodoxy by redefining orthopraxy. In other words, the position of the institution does not change, just the practice. THIS IS DOUBLESPEAK!"

    The whole article can be read at:

  9. >>If you want to share a comment under this article I am requiring that you provide your real name. No anonymous or handles will be accepted.

    >>A pastor just e-mailed me noting that this article and the video in particular is “VERY POWERFUL evidence of the compromise at NIU. A picture is worth a thousand words. Let’s get it out there…Let’s get this thing viral.”

    Lou, just curious if you'd be willing to share who this anonymous pastor was, since you have mandated that all comments on this article require a full name. The pastor's comments could be construed as anonymous commenting by proxy, which would be a violation of your terms. Thanks.

    --Tom Mount

  10. I am a current student at Bob Jones University and have close friends at NIU so would like to give a sort of inside perspective from us young guys on what is happening. First off, I want to also commend Lou for his outstanding work in this article, like David stated I also appreciate this form of analysis where the facts are given and the reader is left to decide for himself. Whether or not people among this debate agree with the current stance NIU has taken one thing must be made abundantly clear: NIU has significantly changed from their NBBC positional statement. I for one have read the emails put out by Matt Olson and find it reprehensible to attempt to somehow mask what is going on there. My friend who attends there, works on stage setup for chapel. He was told about a month ago to "no longer set up the organ as we will no longer be using it in worship." I am certainly not against this but it does at least show a shift in direction in the musical style being used. Also a key change occurred in music rules this past year now allowing students to listen to music that conforms with their own personal standards as long as they use headphones. Once again I don't mind this but it shows a change from NBBC's statement. I have another friend who transferred from BJU last year simply because she liked the new direction NIU was taking and the fact that they were having less rules in their institution.
    I summarize all of this up by stating that it is incredibly clear that NIU has and will continue to seemingly "distance" themselves from mainstream baptist fundamentalism. Whether or not this is a bad choice will remain to be seen. I personally appreciate NIU's strong passion for reaching the world with the Gospel which I have not seen matched at any other institution. The point of this article is not however whether or not this is a good or bad thing, the point is that NIU is masking what they are really doing which is deceitful. I for one think this needs to come to an end and NIU needs to send an email from Olson with a new positional statement reflecting these recent changes.
    -Kevin Cummings

  11. one quick edit upon further clarification I found out the organ change was changed due to a lack of a player to play it not because they didn't want to use it in worship.

  12. Kevin:

    Thanks for sharing from your particular boots on the ground (of our colleges) perspective. It is important to hear from and give serious consideration to young men preparing for ministry.

    Thanks also for the correction to your earlier extended comment above. Do I understand you correctly: No one at NIU can play an organ?

    When we moved to South Africa my oldest daughter was 13 and could play piano well. The church had an organ as well as the piano. In a few weeks she was playing hymns on the organ. I can still see the faces of folks in the congregation beaming that someone was playing the organ that sat silent for so long. I have another organ story from SA, but for another time.

    Kind regards,


  13. Lou,
    I talked to my friend in depth about this wanting to get as clear of a statement on what he heard was the reason for the organ change. I am also in discussions with the former NIU music director who had resigned for a clarifying comment on the situation. I don't think it's a big deal either way to be honest but I certainly don't want to misrepresent anything. Here's what I have as an official comment from someone very close to the situation, "after Dr. Suiter stated his resignation, him and his wife no longer wished to perform on the platform ministry. Due to this the Fine Arts Staff was stretched so they had to cut out the organ in order to still be able to rotate players in and out at other positions." Once again keep in mind this person is not in an authority position so if I find an official reason that is different from this I will let you know. Sorry to all for drawing this out longer than it needs to be.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. To All:

    One pastor just suggested to me the NIU video of Wicked may be no more objectionable than a Christian college having cheerleaders doing a routine. He also suggested we should consider NIU staff and students performing Wicked as a case of “bad judgment.”

    To many, in light of the NBBC Position Statement, the video is over the top, indefensible. I was/am aware there will be those who will say, “It’s a student body event. Shouldn’t we allow freedom?”

    Sadly it is becoming apparent that we are being steered so far from a place of holiness that a video will have to be nearly pornographic to elicit a response.

    Bad judgment,” as in the same way Dave Doran declared Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, et. al., signing the Manhattan Declaration was merely “a wrong decision based on bad judgment?”

    Is “bad judgment” the new response, from some self-described separatists, to ecumenical compromise and worldliness in ministry?


  16. Our Church had the group from Northland come for a ministry presentation on a Wednesday night and all I can say about them was that they were an embarrassment!They were dressed in a cool dude attire with clothes that looked like they had slept in them. The presentation in the main auditorium was poor and then they went down stairs with the young people and screamed and yelled and worked them up into a frenzy.

    It was just the next day it came out about the school having the speaker from MacArthurs school!Then it all made sense about the direction that they are going.Schools and Churches that are going in this direction will defend and excuse it to the end!

    Watching the video was bad enough, but probably one of the most troubling things was to see all the students standing up and cheering.

    Whenever a person, Church, ministry, school or anything else starts to compromise they then loose the ability to discern!

  17. Hi, my name is Phil Palmer, and I am currently a sophomore at Northland International University. First of all, I do wish to thank you for doing your best to provide a fair analysis of the recent happenings at Northland. Nevertheless, I feel I can provide a more informed perspective, having personally met with Dr. Matt Olson about many of the events you mention after having experiencing them myself.
    Your article primarily cites a contemporary issues statement as proof of Northland's supposed shift in philosophical positions. What must be remembered, though, is that contemporary issues change and application of Biblical truth must also change, therefore. By nature of the term "contemporary," we must remember that applications change, but philosophy cannot change.

  18. In response to each of the four incidents you reference, I offer some thoughts:
    1. Meeting with someone does not necessarily mean associating with them. In Jude 3, we see the biblical example of contending for the Gospel. How can we contend without ascertaining a person's stance and exhorting them to live with clarity for the Gospel? Please keep in mind that Northland has used MacArthur textbooks almost since he began writing. To meet with someone for the sake of clarity does not prove association. In no way did Northland establish institutional ties; rather, they met with Dr. MacArthur and some of his senior-level staff members to more clearly understand his positions and to encourage him to live and preach with clarity for the Gospel.
    2. Dr. Rick Holland was invited to speak in chapel. However, the student body was informed of certain differences, and urged to listen with discernment. In an academic setting, we must know that differences will surface, and students must be discerning, seeking to best espouse a BIblical position on every issue. Dr. Holland spoke on the topic: "Focus On Christ." I would urge you to listen to the sermon before judging, as he preached an excellently biblical message. Dr. Holland's personal application of biblical music standards were completely irrelevant to the message. In fact, no endorsement was given (no more than using a MacArthur textbook in a class), and Northland presented Holland in the pulpit only after encouraging discernment and offering background.
    3. Wayne Simien was asked to speak on the importance of using every opportunity to "Advance God's Kingdom." His message had nothing to do with dancing. Once again, philosophy does not equal application. Would Northland encourage us to live exactly as Simien does? No. But Northland would encourage us to take the opportunities God has given us and use them for eternal ministry. You can listen to the message here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=122101434441
    4. Dr. Wynne Kimbrough and his son, Caleb, are the two you see singing in this video. The video was, in fact, done as a cheesy lead-in to a more important segment done in Spirit Week: what is Northland really all about? In short, we love to have fun, to mess with each other, and, yes, be a little quirky, but Northland is not about judging and alienating people. Rather, we are focused on the advancement of the Gospel around the world. Ask any unsaved person if this would be called dancing; I would venture to say 9 out of 10 would not call this dancing. At best, it would be called synchronized movement; at worst, uncoordinated attempts at acrobatics. It was a joke.
    In conclusion, we must remember the difference between application and philosophy. Northland's philosophy has remained unchanged. The doctrinal statement, the mission - these things are still espoused and taught. If some major change was really taking place, wouldn't you see a huge amount of turnover within the Bible faculty of a Bible college? Furthermore, wouldn't there be some key shifts at the administrative level? However, none of this has happened, and the reason is simple: the changes that Northland has implemented have only been on the applicational level. Questions of contemporary issues will continually evolve in their answers, for contemporary issues continually change and people (who are sinners) are hopefully growing in their understanding of the Bible and their espousal of a Christian worldview.
    Above all else, I encourage my brothers to stop focusing on questions of application. Instead, let us together dedicate our resources to the advancement of the Gospel for the cause of Christ. Northland has not given up on the Gospel, so instead of emphasizing and focusing on differences, let us join together and unite in preaching the Gospel.

  19. To R. Hanes:

    It is a shame to read first hand accounts like this. Those who have been hosting or has considered hosting a group from NIU might want to contact the administration to find out if what you’ve experienced is what they can expect.


  20. Phil:

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. I’ve had some discussions with a particular pastor, whom I appreciate, along the lines of your core point(s). I’d like to share some thoughts from these discussions.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I hear you saying that NIU is standing true on matters of philosophy and principle but changing on matters of application and that changes in application shouldn’t be of any great concern. You are saying that NIU’s philosophy has not changed but its practice has. Since many people define “philosophy"” as “that which I believe which impacts what I do,” one is led to wonder if what Northland’s philosophy has changed because it seems evident to a great many that what Northland is doing has changed.

    If the positional statements that Northland once published were being followed today there would be a difference in what is being practiced (inclusion of Southern Baptists, allowances for contemporary music and those that promote it, dance or “stage movement” in a “chapel” service). Northland’s published position statements have been public indicators of the expected philosophy and practice of the institution. It seems evident to those who read them and then read, listen to (or see) what’s being said today that things have changed.

    You seem to be saying the changes are a matter of “practice” and that we shouldn’t really be concerned about that because the cause of the gospel is of greater consequence than a few seemingly insignificant practices.

    Phil, you realize, I trust, that Peter’s unwillingness to eat with the gentiles while in Antioch (Gal. 2:11-14) (“they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel”) was a matter of practice and not a matter of philosophy. His practice was so wrong that the gospel was at stake. You realize, I trust, that Aaron and the children of Israel said that they were worshipping Jehovah while they built a golden calf. There unorthodox practice (building what God called an idol) was destroying the orthodoxy of their position. You realize that Ananias and Saphira believed in giving but their practice was so tainted as to cause their death. The church in Corinth was challenged to come to the Lord’s table in a “worthy manner,” (practice) as well as to come believing in the substitutionary sacrifice of God’s Son.

    Plain and simple, practice matters! It is not just the “meditation of our heart, ” (Psalm 19:14) but the “words of our mouth” (Psalm 49:3) that needs to be “acceptable” in God’s sight.

    You seem to be arguing that the priority of the gospel ought to be a license for conduct that many believe unbecoming the gospel. A theme and influence that is becoming common place from some men in IFB circles.

    Yours in His service,


  21. Samantha V:

    Your comment submitted earlier, was dropped. If you will e-mail me I can send it back to you from the Blogger moderation e-mail cue, with a note.



  22. Lou,

    Thanks for the article. I was concerned by the video in that they were using the skit as a way to then talk about what Northland is. It came across that they are willing to engage culture to reach the lost.
    This is code language for compromise. I remember skits and parodies that were done at times in the past at Northland that would have raised a few eyebrows had they been recorded and put on the internet. There were times where students went a little too far with their society
    recruiting skits but this is unacceptable. I would be more upset if I didn't know Dr. Kimbrough. I appreciated his ministry at Northland while I was there. I'm sure that he felt that there was nothing wrong with the skit but it looks very bad from the outside looking in. I understand that this is not an actual chapel service but it does convey that Northland has changed. I had a hard time making out what the young man was saying toward the end but it sounded like more of the same hype and philosophy that Matt Olsen and others are putting forward.

  23. Phil,

    I appreciate your comments. Here is my response.

    1. The problem is that men like MacArthur and Holland put forth a lordship view of salvation. You have to ask yourself if men can work together in ministry while some put forth this view and others teach salvation without adding in things like discipleship and a decision for total commitment before being saved. There are those of us who have trouble working with those who hold flawed views on soteriology. You must be careful to watch out for error no matter how subtle. I’ve seen some people confused to the point of frustration by those proclaiming a so called “Lordship gospel.” Why muddy the clear waters of the gospel just for the sake of unity?
    Northland basically approves of John MacArthur and Rick Holland along with much of their work or Rick Holland would not have been allowed to speak in chapel. The same can be said for Wayne Simien. He also fits with their new direction.
    2. Rick’s invitation shows that Northland values what he has to say. Many people like Rick use a “focus on Christ” in the gospels to justify their views on lordship salvation or things like reformed theology. You should consider Rick Holland's overall body of work and decide if you agree with him or not at that point. Anyone can sound good for one sermon. Some are also very good at hiding their more controversial beliefs.

    3. I listened to Wayne Simien’s message and he said some good things but he does present a view that is consistent with Northland’s new direction. Be careful to understand what it means to “advance the kingdom.” It can mean different things. Some use this to justify compromise. They say that we should engage the culture around us in order to further the kingdom of Christ. I say that you should be Christ-like and let the world notice that you are different. Don’t be so worried about culture as it can steal your focus from things that matter.

    4. I’d say that Northland’s philosophy has changed. Their change in actions point to their change in philosophy/beliefs. It is undeniable. I have talked with Matt Olson on this. Northland is doing exactly what it wants to do. The application/philosophy argument lacks relevance. The real issue is that there is disagreement in fundamentalism over lordship salvation, Calvinistic soteriology, and biblical separation. People need to decide where they stand on these issues and move forward with the courage to be what they really are.

  24. Ethan Kimbrough1/12/2011 11:17 PM

    To Jim Floyd:

    I think you are definitely reading into things, like many people have been doing recently. Northland, like it has done for you in the past, is changing lives for the better - In this country and in over 70 other countries from Northland's alumni. I am a current student at Northland, and I am seeing the amazing things that God is doing there. A guy named Peter Cushman just graduated from Northland, and he is already doing missions work, just like plenty of other students who are on fire for God will be doing next year. We send out so many ministry teams to different countries throughout our Christmas, Summer, and Spring breaks, and will continue to do that no matter how many people disagree with it.

    All I know is that Satan would love to use trivial matters to bring down such an influential institution. Students are on fire for God here at Northland, and I can see that. Northland is an amazing place and I feel like it would be wrong for me not to defend it on here.

    I know Dr. Olson personally, and I know he has spend hundreds of hours on his knees in regards to Northland's future and it shows that he spends that much time with God in the way he speaks, and in the way he deals with the attacks on his character. I love that man, and I love Northland. I have been here for 19 years now and can tell you all that Northland really is changing, but for the better. Thanks and God bless all of you as you discuss this further. I'd love to see some of you come out and see for yourself all the amazing things that God is doing, instead of just speculating.

    -Ethan Kimbrough

  25. Ethan:

    Thanks for sharing your perspective, your comments are welcome. It is very late for me, but just a few brief reactions. I do expect that Brother Floyd may have a few thoughts to share with you.

    1) No one I am aware if questions the intention that NU has for its student body. Many do, however, question and are alarmed with the new way of doing things at Northland. I speak primarily of alumni and friends of Northland. I am not, speaking just for myself, and I suggest to you we are not “reading into things” at Northland. What is happening at Northland is in plain view.

    2) “Attacks on his [Olson’s] character.” I trust you are not suggesting there are attacks on Dr. Olson’s good character in this or any of the articles that have been presented here. I do not and would not allow any personal attacks on the character or motives of Dr. Olson. However, if you and Dr. Olson were to see samples of the e-mails and/or comments submitted here, directed to me in the last two days you men would be shocked and embarrassed. The level of vitriol toward and imprecatory desires for me coming from certain students is very disappointing to say the least. I know that what these few are writing to me does not reflect the nature of the entire NIU student body, but it is disappointing to see what some have resorted to who name the name of Christ as their Lord and Savior. I any event, I hope you can understand that what is happening at and what NIU is becoming is under scrutiny and legitimate criticism not the character of men who are making the decisions for change at NIU. When what one does or the words he says come under scrutiny those who love and appreciate that man might feel as though his person and character are under attack, when it is in fact not so.

    Ethan, are you aware that I sent an advance copy of this article to Dr. Olson almost two weeks prior to publishing? I asked him to review it and inform me of any factual errors. I promised to rectify any verifiable errors in the article prior to publishing. We exchanged several cordial e-mails and Dr. Olson did not identify any errors or misrepresentation in the article.

    3) These changes at NIU are not “trivial matters,” they are radical shifts away from the stands articulated in the NBBC Position Statement.

    4) You wrote, “I have been here for 19 years now and can tell you all that Northland really is changing, but for the better.” I appreciate you recognize and acknowledge that NIU is changing. I think you appreciate that many alumni and others close to the school do not see these changes at NIU as for the better. I refer specifically to the items detailed in this and a previous article: John MacArthur, Rick Holland, Wayne Simien, Wicked, Bruce Ware, et. al. May I ask: You recognize that NIU is changing, why do suppose Dr. Olson and Dr. Ollila insist that NIU remains “unchanged?”

    Finally, just as you have invited Brother Floyd to visit NIU, a few days ago Dr. Olson invited me to visit, which I cordially declined due to family and professional responsibilities. I was on campus for several days in 2000 and again in 2001. What I saw then and can see now at the NIU website, through the video and other sources from NIU shows me a college that has changed dramatically from what it a when I last visited there. We are not “speculating” at what is happening at NIU, it is plain for any objective observer.

    Thanks again for sharing your perspective.

    Kind regards,


  26. A brief reminder, from earlier in this thread, to all who wish to post comments here.

    If you want to share a comment under this article I am requiring that you provide your real name. No anonymous or handles will be accepted. Ordinarily, I do not require that level of disclosure, but for this one I am. If you do not have a Blogger account simply include your (first and last) name at the end of your comment.

  27. Brother Floyd:

    Thank for your very helpful comments above. Among other excerpts you wrote,

    The problem is that men like MacArthur and Holland put forth a lordship view of salvation. You have to ask yourself if men can work together in ministry while some put forth this view and others teach salvation without adding in things like discipleship and a decision for total commitment before being saved. There are those of us who have trouble working with those who hold flawed views on soteriology. You must be careful to watch out for error no matter how subtle…. Northland basically approves of John MacArthur and Rick Holland along with much of their work or Rick Holland would not have been allowed to speak in chapel.

    In a portion of your commentary above you have touched on my greatest concern in all of this with NIU’s new direction; the doctrine of the Gospel.

    You wrote, “Northland basically approves of John MacArthur and Rick Holland…” which includes (at the minimum) tacit endorsement and approval of MacArthur and Holland’s Lordship Salvation* interpretation of the Gospel.

    That is the subject of the next article I am preparing on the changes that have come to NIU. That article is going to discuss the implications of NIU agreeing with and embracing the “most substantive issues of life and ministry” with John MacArthur. What are tangible implications of placing Rick Holland in the NIU chapel pulpit to address the impressionable undergraduates? Are we witnessing a shift at NIU on the Gospel or a revelation of what interpretation of the Gospel NIU believes, endorses and is encouraging its student body to “believe, preach and defend?”

    What are the implications of this for NIU students, their parents and pastors who endorse the ministry of NIU?


    *Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

  28. To Ethan,
    Your thrust of your argument is very similar to what you would hear from someone seeking to justify a charismatic ministry. Now I know that NIU is not charismatic and please don't even think I am implying it by any means because I am not. But you have in essence said, don't criticize NIU because it is evident God is doing great things here and through our students around the world. The ends never justify the means. God may very well be doing great things through Northland students around the world on ministry teams, but that is not the point here.
    Your same argument could be used to justify the ministry of Balaam in Numbers. Balaam had a great message, Biblical in fact, but his practice is reprehensible and condemned over and over again in the Bible.
    Bro. Lance Ketchum has already touched on this, our doctrine and practice (application) must both be Biblical. We must have orthodoxy and orthopraxis. What is happening at Northland is a shift to hetropraxis which will eventually change the orthodoxy to hetrodoxy. The Christian college landscape is dotted with institutions which have gone bad. BIOLA, Moody, Wheaton, Cedarville. Many of these changed their praxis (practice, or application) first and their doctrine has slowly followed suit.

  29. To Ethan/All:
    Dr. Moritz in his book, Be ye Holy, states;
    “Fortunately some leaders have given thought to how they set standards for the ministries in which they are involved. Les Ollila, president of Northland Baptist Bible College, has arrived at several conclusions. He states, that there are ‘individual standards and institutional standards.’ Practically, parents with three or four children in a home can maintain godly standards with different rules than can a Christian college with hundreds in a dormitory.
    In determining standards, Ollila constructs a three-step model. It involves defining purpose, principle, and then policy. The home, church, or ministry must first understand its purpose. Ultimately that purpose is to glorify God and to reflect His Holiness. The home, church, or ministry will state its purpose in a way consistent with its own work. After defining its purpose, the organization will seek out principles. Those principles for the college where Ollila serves as president are ‘always biblical.’ These principles apply to educational objectives, morality, social development, and so on. As the church, home, or institution applies those principles to its individual situation, the policy takes shape. These are the standards and rules by which people in a ministry or given setting live and work. An institution is able to arrive at policies, or standards, which reflect Bible principles because it begins with biblical purposes and principles. People who are involved in ministries are able to understand leadership and follow willingly because they see that there is a biblical foundation to the structure. Any Christian who has trouble living in such an environment will probably not be in harmony with God’s Spirit and His Word in his personal life. A person who has developed a passion for God’s holiness will likely be content in such a frame of reference.” (p. 41, 42)
    Dr. Moritz’s book is an excellent resource to understand the believer’s mandate to separation.
    Dr. Olson was noted as saying in the past that Northland will take the high road. We will keep the standard high. As was noted in this article, they kept the standard such that they had to make note that even though they were a Baptist institution and the Dr. Bob’s came that they were acceptable to the institution’s purpose (rather ironic, both Dr. Olson and Dr. Ollila were trained at BJU and the Dr. Bob’s were Baptists).

  30. The following will be the first of two posts that make up one thought. I would prefer that they be kept together and the information be held in context.

    I think most of us are really missing the most important thing!

    If there is one thing I believe I picked up at Northland back in the 90's, it was that the glory of God is always paramount (1 Corinthians 10:31). The gospel, mission, music, skits, chapel invitations, classroom activities, blog posts and replies all must fall under the scrutiny of the question: Does it glorify God? I am wondering if the secondary idea of mission (the Gospel) or separation is not eclipsing our primary responsibility (to glorify of God). This is a common and plausible mistake, but it has been repeatedly (if not immediately) disastrous.

    Now for some the above paragraph presents something they whole heartedly agree, and thus to attribute it to what apparently is happening at Northland and this blog may cause offense. Let me then build from agreeable points above and say the following: What we believe glorifies God reveals what we believe about God. To assert that God can be glorified by my practice is to assert something about Who I think God is. One ought to be humble enough to recognize that none of us has achieved or maintains an full-orbed and accurate view of God. We trust that God accepts our immature attempts to exalt Him, but we ought to seek to ascribe and offer to Him higher and higher (read: more accurate) views and practices rather than lower and increasingly debase. I believe that secondary means (the gospel/separation) distract us from our primary ends (His glory) and thus our means to meet our now misplaced priorities violates what should be our primary objective. {please do not assume that I think these secondary means are in any way unimportant!)

  31. The danger I see in the recent attempts to justify and explain the present shift in practice at Northland is that it appears to reveal a truly subtle but very real shift in practiced philosophy even if it is not different than the stated purpose. The new mantra is about "mission," but the real biblical purpose ought to be the glory of God through missions. In reality the purpose statement of N-land is and has been for some time: "Preparing the next generation of servant-leaders for Great Commission living." Until today I did not have a problem with this, but now I would say it is fundamentally flawed for it leaves out the real ultimate biblical purpose for all things -- the glory of God (Revelation 4:11). Whenever we drop this ultimate purpose we are left ever so slightly off track. Back in the 90's during my time at N-land the glory of God was paramount (Dr. O pounded this into our heads!), but the stated purpose statement was setting a course that has resulted in what we are seeing now. (This more pointed paragraph does not leave Lou and those that who agree with him off the hook. For question of the glory of God penetrates our blogging as well.*)

    I would encourage the alumni, faculty, staff, present students, bloggers, and pastors (both critics and supporters) to ask in what way is my life today, my communication about this subject, and my past practice and thinking about this truly exalting the character of God. Is His majesty really being put on display? Is His holiness being eclipsed? Is His mercy, love, position as ultimate Judge being replaced with any part of "self." Has this become about me, my views, my desires, my passion for the furtherance of the mission? Have my sensibilities been offended or am I really concerned about an accurate display of the character of God. If the glory of God is really important to me then I will be in a humble state of mind to objectively see my own faltering attempts at worship, communication, evangelism; and I will be wiling admit to them.

    To be frank: I question whether any "side" of the present discussion has taken seriously the glory of God. We are too quick to defend positions, and practices, or point to inconsistencies. Not one leader of college, blog, or church would claim sinless perfection. However, it is like pulling teeth to get any of us to admit to any wrong doing publicly. Too often the glory of God takes a back seat to self.

    So I close by asking you the reader (whoever you may be): How have your actions and reactions glorified God -- Note I am not interested here in the "furtherance of the Gospel" for that can be done for the glory of other things. May we all humbly retreat to examine self and return to this discussion with Him on our mind instead of our pet peeves (ie the mission or separation).

    For His glory,
    Christian Markle

    *For this reason I would ask that no portion of what I have said in this post be quoted without its context. Quote the whole thing, but no portion.

  32. Ethan,
    Thanks for articulating your point of view. I think it is great that your family has been at Northland for so long and that you are learning valuable truth there. I also love Northland and what it stood for. I am grateful for men such as your father, Dr, Ollila, Dr. Horn, Dr. Von, and Neil Cushman. I am saddened to see though that things have changed in philosophy at Northland. I personally don’t mind certain changes in application as they are called but the most important core factor is what is being taught at a more foundational level. Subtle changes in belief there can then result in outward changes in application – for the better or worse. Northland is also under pressure to attract students. I’m wondering how far they will go to do so.

    I will also say that I have nothing against the students or those who are truly trying to serve the Lord. I just would caution you as a student to search out the scriptures for yourself to see what is truth and what is not. Be careful of politics within fundamentalism and of overarching movements toward compromise, all while under the cloak of unity for the gospel’s sake.

    I remember clearly Dr. Ollila preaching about the danger of Northland becoming an institution that no longer teaches the truth. He would bring up places like Yale and Harvard where truth was once taught but now have become anything but what they were in the past. He stressed the importance of not compromising on the truth. Not that Northland is anywhere near that level of compromise yet but they have taken a posture that has open arms toward conservative evangelicalism and all that goes along with it. I remember Neil Cushman teaching a lesson on black and white vs gray issues in a men’s Christian service class. He made the point that there is really very little that is truly a gray area. I remember Dr. Horn teaching us that the biggest problem in ministry/fundamentalism lies with each of us men if we allow sin to corrupt us. Where does error fit into the picture? If someone like MacArthur teaches error concerning lordship salvation, then why would men at Northland meet with him and decide that they agree with him enough to invite Rick Holland, one of his right hand men to speak at Northland – unless they don’t see a big problem with his views? Dr. Olson basically confirmed this to me himself through email. While Olson does not articulate exactly what MacArthur does, he does not see Mac’s views as being a big problem. What about Holland’s Resolved conference? Do they support that? They would not have before.

    I have not made pure assumptions about Northland. I originally wrote your father and my questions got passed on to Matt Olson. I have had cordial emails with Matt and I understand now where he is coming from but we will have to agree to disagree about certain things. I told him that I would indeed like to come and visit Northland and talk to him about issues. I don’t know how soon that would be possible or if that would do any good. He seems resolute in his desire to take the school in this “new” direction. I have also talked to a recent graduate and he confirmed that things were getting worse there. I noticed a few things just a couple years back when I came up for Heart conference.
    There are others that have issues with Northland’s change i.e. alumni and Pastors around the country. Their concerns are warranted. My friends are divided. Those of them who favor things like reformed theology, lordship salvation, Calvinism, Acts 29 network, sovereign grace music, covenant theology, leaky dispensationalism, have tended to like Northland’s changes. Others that are more traditional fundamentalists do not. It is pretty simple to me to see what is going on. This isn’t just confined to Northland. These issues are at play at seminaries like Central, Detroit, and Calvary of Landsdale. My overall concern is that Satan is indeed getting a victory if the gospel message is being clouded at these four fundamental institutions.

  33. Christian/all,

    I appreciate the reminder that it is important to glorify God in all that we do. Part of my contention has been that God's glory is at stake when faulty views of the gospel are presented. God is not glorified either when Christians cannot properly debate legitimate issues. There is too much emotionalism on the parts of some in this debate. Others have also seemingly forgotten that they represent Christ. Don't be too quick to blow off those who raise concerns. We must be willing to talk things through.

    I have some trouble with those who ascribe Satanic motives to those who have the gumption to stand up and ask the hard questions. I'm sad that some of this has come from Northland recently. Anything I post about Northland is intended for edification and building up of believers. Anyone may agree or disagree with me. I have no ax to grind or any self fulfilling motives to pursue.

    I found Lou's blog as a result of a search that I did for information on the "Lordship" debate. I have found that it is a good forum to discuss legitimate issues relating to Christianity and fundamentalism. I invite others to post on here regarding this topic. Where do people stand on this?

  34. My name is Andrew Wingreen and I currently work for the mens basketball program at NIU. This blog was brought to my attention in regards to Wayne Simien speaking at Northland's chapel last semester.

    This past summer I had the privilege to live with Wayne Simien and his family down in Lawrence, KS. This opportunity came about after meeting Wayne a few years ago while I was coaching at a University of Kansas basketball camp. I was blessed to work for his sports ministry, "Called To Greatness" and I was amazed to see how God used that ministry to bring several kids to know Him as Savior. I also have a basketball ministry called, "Driven To Win." (driventowinbasketball.webs.com) I attached a link of him speaking in our chapel at NIU. I just wanted to make myself available if you had any questions. I do know this, Wayne Simien was a mentor leader to me. I praise Jesus for bringing a man such as Wayne into my life to disciple me and help me know Him better. You can criticize Wayne, his ministry, and Northland all you want, but the coolest thing about that is that it doesn't matter! I know Wayne Simien is man after God and he is on fire for the gospel of Jesus. I know that "Called To Greatness" is a ministry that is doing the work of Jesus in a Biblical manner. I pray that you will open the eyes of your heart and consider the magnitude of what Wayne Simien is doing to proclaim the gospel, because it truly is awesome!


  35. Brother Wingreen:

    Sorry that I am late in posting your comment and reply. I’ve been out of town for a couple of days.

    The issue is not Wayne’s love for the Lord or heart for ministry. NIU, since its inception has been a Baptist, separatist ministry. The NBBC statement is very clear and it is irrefutable take certain specific practices of Simien’s ministry run afoul of it, runs antithetical to that statement.

    Matt Olson and Les Ollila say there is no change at NIU. In light of what is transpiring on campus their statements are just not believe. Not even the folks who agree with the new direction of and changes at NIU accept their statement that nothing is changing.

    Kind regards,


  36. Zach Mercado1/30/2011 11:39 PM

    After reading this long chain of "discussion," my mind is left thoroughly confused as to what the actual purpose of this entire topic is. To be honest, I don't see much of one. I am traveling on a Northland Ministry team right now and I do not understand the attacks and questions about where we stand. We stand for the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. And we are careful to promote that message with simplicity and accuracy, to remove all glory of man, and give all glory to God. Not only that, but we are very careful to in no way mare the purity of that message. I cannot see how, in any of the concerns you and many others have mentioned, Northland has damaged the message of the Gospel: its simplicity, and purity. How have we kept the Gospel from going forth? after all, is that not the supreme goal?

    And to address Jim Floyd's comment regarding the ministry of Wayne Simien, which was "and be careful to understand what it means to “advance the kingdom.” It can mean different things. Some use this to justify compromise. They say that we should engage the culture around us in order to further the kingdom of Christ. I say that you should be Christ-like and let the world notice that you are different."

    Tell me if this was un-Christlike. Engaging a culture totally in love with sports. While being in love with sports is wrong, SPORTS ARE NOT! We are to use the gifts and talents God has given us to spread his good news. Paul often referenced sports in order to relate Truth to a sports-crazed people. All I am saying is it is a very unwise, possibly foolish thing to believe we must disengage our culture in a vain attempt to be more Christlike.
    Watch this video (http://www2.kusports.com/videos/2011/jan/30/33994/) tell me this was not Christlike. Tell me that even though he is a sports super-star, that he did not clearly seem different. We, as Christians, need to engage society so that the world CAN see we are different.


  37. Zach,
    You seem to miss the point of the original article. Read it again. As far as your comment, "How have we kept the Gospel from going forth? after all, is that not the supreme goal?" The giving of the Gospel the "supreme goal?" No, it's not. That is our commission, our supreme goal is holy living (I Peter 1:15, 16); it is living doing ALL to the Glory of God (I Cor. 10:31). Living like the world is not engaging the world with their need of salvation. Ultimately, that hinders the giving of the Gospel. When there is no distinction between the life of a believer and the life of the lost, why would anyone want the Christ we speak of? That kind of presentation lowers the Gospel to a kind of "fire" insurance policy, some thing to keep me from Hell but does nothing in this current life for me. Sorry, that's not the Gospel.

  38. Zach,

    The whole point here is that a little bit of error is like a little bit of leaven. If left unchecked, it spreads and destroys from within like a cancer. Take time to read and study through Galatians 4 and 5 paying special attention to 5:1-13. The Judaizers were getting believers to turn back to law living and Paul had strong words for them. How are those who teach reformed, covenant, Calvinistic, lordship salvation not like the Judaizers in the sense that many often take a person seemingly to salvation only to take them back to law doing and living? Sometimes, as in the case of Morning Star Church, this is promoted to establish the righteousness of God in the world in order to make way for the return of His earthly kingdom.

    It is one thing to be clear about the gospel but let’s also be clear about what we are saved to. We are bought with a price, not to become slaves again, but we are redeemed in the sense that we are now sons of God set free from the bondage of the law. We are positionally seated in heaven with Christ. We are joint heirs with Christ. We are to be in this world but not of the world. There is no more need for law doing but there is a need for grace living. We should be constrained/motivated by love to live the Christian life, not out of fearful duty to a Master but as out of willing love and service to a loving Father. We should be growing in sanctification so that the world will notice that we are different, regardless of the culture around us. Any service done for Him is then all for His honor and eternal glory.


  39. Zach, Andrew, all…
    Consider the stance of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and their articles of faith. The link is here: http://www.sbts.edu/about/truth/bfm/

    Please consider the following statement from their Baptist Faith and Message.

    IV. Salvation
    Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

    A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
    Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

    (The bolded words are my added emphasis.) Why would Northland invite Bruce Ware, a professor at this seminary, to teach in a doctrinal class? SBTS’s teachers have to agree to this statement. Do you see any problem with the above statement? Is this the gospel that is now being taught at Northland? If not, then why confuse matters by bringing people in that come from churches and schools that are “off” as far as gospel clarity? Why is Northland now willing to embrace those who are of reformed, Calvinist, lordship, and or covenant in theology? Don’t they see the danger? Why have speakers who are now telling people that regeneration precedes justification? Furthermore, why should they be looking to cooperate with people like John MacArthur who advocate a lordship gospel?


  40. Zach,Andrew...

    I’d like to take this opportunity to respond to some of the questions that you have asked. I have to say that these questions touch upon the tip of an iceberg so to speak. I will have to point out some things for you to read on your own time should you be interested. It will be important to look at the bigger picture of things.

    It is clear that you mentioned the gospel repeatedly in your post. Zach,perhaps it would be beneficial in this discussion for you to outline what you believe the gospel is exactly. What would you tell someone who comes to you and asks how to be saved?

    As far as Wayne Simien goes, my problem is not that he plays sports or that he uses sports as an opportunity to talk about his faith. The problem is that the church that he attends, Morning Star Church, teaches false doctrines. I challenge you to listen to some of his pastor John McDermott’s messages online, as I have, and tell me that it is not a problem that Wayne’s pastor teaches these things. Here is a link. http://www.msclawrence.com/#/messages

    I listened to the one on the Lord’s Yoke and the last one on Soteriology. There are many problems with the teaching and doctrine just in these two sermons. Another telling site is linked to on Wayne’s www.iamctg.org. It is www.midweststudent.com. On this site among other things there is an article on the Kingdom Driven Life. Read through that and tell me in all truth that there is no problem with this teaching. This is what I was referring to in my comment. This article contains ideas that are touched upon by McDermott in his messages. It is a problem that Northland has reached out to those who hold these kind of views. They have shifted from their stand on truth and have opened their arms to the groups that are of a different theological paradigm.


  41. Greetings all!

    It looks like this post has been almost two weeks without a comment, but I suspect it may become a hot topic again. David Cloud just linked this post in his Friday Church News Notes that came out today, which is how I found you (not having been aware of your blog previously).

    I have to say that besides the video, some of the most revealing facts are the comments of those on here that have tried to defend Northland. The fact that they see nothing at all wrong with what is going on speaks volumes about their own philosophy. The question in my mind then becomes, Did they pick up that philosophy from Northland, or does Northland now simply atract those who already hold such a philosophy?

    The second thing that is interesting about those currently at Northland and defending NIU here is that their comments focus on whether or not the "changes" are wrong, but they have all totally ignore the issue of the duplicity and deceit being propagated to cover up the changes. The point seems completely lost on them that the former position statement is at odds with the current practice.

    Even if someone agrees with what is now going on at Northland, they can see that the former position statement does not. That seems to be the entire point of your blog post, but those defending Northland here do not want to address it. Very curious indeed.

    About the video itself, the "choreographed stage movements" label fits it better than "dancing" in my mind. However, the world itself has called this type of thing "Modern Dance," so since they invented it, let's use their terms. It is dancing. Regardless of what label you give it, the goal should not be to see how close we can get to the line without crossing, but how far away we can stay and remain distinctively holy.

    Nobody here has even mentioned the immodest attire worn by the female performers or the female student spectators, so I will bring it up. At least the attire of the performers should be in discussion here, as there are clearly certain things they did in the video that they could not have done in more modest clothing. That means that what they did is itself not modest, does it not? Somebody once said, "If you cannot do it while dressed like a lady, it is not a lady-like thing to do." (Okay, I'm the one who says that). By the way, I'm not trying to debate pants or skirts, I am just saying that any separated funadmental church would not allow ladies to "perform" or do special music dressed like the girls in this video. I have noticed a ten-year slide in the dress standards for ministry teams of many fundamental colleges. Somebody needs to say something about it.

  42. My previous comment was about the response of NIU students to this post. A few minutes later, I noticed that response has been formed into its own posts. Apparently I am not the only one to think their response was interesting!

    For NIU students or any others defending Northland, you really need to simply answer this question with a Yes or a No: "Does the philosophy and practice of Northland currently line up with the prior position paper?" It is not rocket science - Yes or No.

    I am a new reader to this blog so I want to take the opportunity to thank the author.

  43. Brother Mowery:

    Thanks for your interest, concern and comments here. Sorry, I am late in posting your comments. I am just back from time away on business.

    I plan to reply in more detail later and may like to highlight what you've contributed here for greater exposure and consideration, especially to the NIU students, their parents and pastors.

    God bless you.

    Acts 20:30-31

  44. Chris Fields9/21/2011 2:38 PM

    I am new to your site and found the things posted to be very intriguing. I have so many questions.
    1. Is it possible that the leadership at Northland is not being deceitful but truly does believe that the mission statements etc. are not in contradiction with their practice?
    2. If that is possible perhaps the issue then is not one of deceit but whether or not we can fellowship with Northland because of their practice?
    3. What is the Biblical definition of separation? Over what things do we separate, Particularly in regards to things not clearly stated in scripture such as music, dress, who speaks in our pulpits, etc.
    4. How does 'love your brother' fall into separation?
    5. Are we contending for the faith with compassion? Jude 22-23
    6. Is the association issue reason enough to separate from someone?

    I am sincerely wondering these things. The Glory of God is paramount in all things and I truly believe that Dr. Olson and those that oppose the 'new' direction at Northland would all agree on that. The question is what does that look like? How are we to bring God the glory due His Name? I am confused and have not taken a 'side' so to speak. I hate to see conflict and tension among God's people. I guess my main thrust is if we are to contend for the faith how do we do this within 'Christendom' without marring Christ's name by our disagreement? I don't know that I've expressed myself clearly. I want to stand for the truth of God and His Word. I want to 'Be ye Holy' because He is Holy. However, it is confusing when people I respect are on both sides in this issue and it seems the Bible is not the sole authority in all the decision making on both sides. This is not accusatory of this blog but questioning of how to truly discern between truth and error when the Scriptures don't say thou shalt not about everything.

  45. WOW. I find it interesting how easily people believe information they read and/or hear second and even third hand; and then proceed to make assumptions and attack people and institutions without ever talking and visiting that person or place first hand (not the Biblical model). It is no wonder that Christianity is destroying itself from the inside out with the aid of these negligent and hasty accusations. This is very sad.
    I have recently visited NIU and talked with leadership there and can emphatically say that your assumptions (and that's all they are) are drastically wrong. NIU is an excellent institution that is bringing glory to God all around the world.

    1. Typically, I won't post anonymous comments. If the writer doesn't have the character and backbone to identify himself he has no right to be heard. Yours, however, I have allowed for an example of the foolishness and naive attitude and factual errors it reveals.

      1) This article is thorough documented. It reports what is irrefutable about the changes and new direction of the formerly biblically separatist school.
      2) I have communicated directly with Matt Olson about a previous and the content of this article PRIOR to its publication. I gave him the opportunity to identify any factual errors and he cited none. That is because there are no factual errors! Dr. Olson knows he has an open door to contact me about any of the NIU articles at this blog. I gave him my personal promise that if he identifies any error I will immediately make the correction or deletion. He hasn't named any errors in any of the NIU articles at my blog because there are no factual errors and Dr. Olson knows it.

      Now, I challenge you to cite exactly what areas the NIU leadership allegedly told you what parts of this article are drastically wrong. Of course, these leaders won't mind if I contact them so that they can help me make the corrections. Incidentally, to post here again use your full name will be required.

      Btw, I visited NBBC twice in 2001 and 2002. Less than two months ago I was on campus again, early one morning, to visit and pray for its recovery from compromise, which has at its end a slide towards New Evangelicalism.


    2. what a blessing it was to discover this information. I was attending an Independent Bible Church in Lancaster, PA until last week. The church was offering a book by John Piper, known to be covenant and closely tied to John MacArthur. I thought that to be strange to introduce covenant theology into an independent Bible Church. The Associate Pastor is new, having been there about a year and is a graduate of NBBC and Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Virginia Beach. I could not figure out why he and I were discussing Piper's book, which we never got to, and instead were discussing the Calvinist concept of "chosen" as opposed to :whosoever". I follow Baptist theology!!! I believe in "whosoever". This Associate Pastor is thoroughly familiar with the Gospel Coalition, and has apparently infiltrated this independent Bible church with the MacArthur and Piper theology which he learned at a supposedly Baptist leaning school. Now I know why the emphasis on Chosen and Lordship teaching. We discussed the Greek on Eph 2, v8-9 with the Associate trying to explain that the "gift" is faith, when the greek rendering clearly makes salvation the "gift". What a revelation to me to have discovered your website/blog. Thank you again!!!!!

  46. Henry:

    I have heard testimony like yours over and over. Stories of subtle infiltration by Master's Seminary trainees or cut from that cloth who fawn over teaching of John MacArthur, John Piper and T4G camp men. Once among the people set about to indoctrinate folks in the church and run off those who won't accept their Lordship errors. You wrote, "Associate trying to explain that the 'gift' is faith, when the Greek rendering clearly makes salvation the 'gift'." Bad enough you have a Calvinist in among the church, but may I be frank: Both 'faith is the gift' and 'regeneration before faith' are twin extra-biblical teachings that are common among the advocates of Lordship Salvation. I have addressed both in my book and at this blog. I also highly recommend George Zeller's comprehensive works on those two egregious errors. Go to,

    The Danger of Teaching That Faith is the Gift of God

    The Danger of Teaching that Regeneration Precedes Faith

    If the senior pastor and/or deacons of the church, assuming they understand the danger of and reject Lordship Salvation, Calvinism and its extra-bibclail presuppositions, do not rein this associate in or have him removed he will split that church. It happens over and over with young men like him who fall into the trap of Calvinism and Lordship and then set out on an aggressive crusade to bring others over to their new way of thinking.

    Thanks for your contribution.


  47. I'm a little late to this discussion, but the last few months I have done considerable research into the changes that occurred in once-fundamental Baptist Bible colleges in America. Northland Baptist Bible College and Bob Jones University have, in my estimation, done more to shift the direction of Baptist churches in America than any other Bible college, and it is important to understand what happened to these two institutions.

    Could I ask for the original document that you mentioned in the article? I am especially curious about the school's position on Bible translations in their earlier years. Does anyone know if they ever used the Textus Receptus or if they used the critical text from their founding as Bob Jones did? This would be a great help!

  48. NBBC is another tragic example of how pragmatism totally changes the identity of a ministry and, in some cases, destroys the ministry altogether. Heartbreaking to study...

  49. Dear Max:

    Thanks for your helpful comments. I'll just share some thoughts off the cuff. Truly, these are modern day, heart breaking tragedies.
    Fwiw, my source for Northland's "original document[s]" was the NBBC website. It was all right there and current. I simply showed that Matt Olson and the board were acting contrary to stated, official positions of the college.

    You mention Northland and BJU. I'm sure you realize that those two are not alone in trying a different direction, essentially betraying and abandoning their founding principles and legacy. Pillsbury, TTU, Clearwater, Calvary Seminary are among the "Baptistic" separatist schools that opted for the non-separatist evangelicalism, which lead directly to their closure. Each and every time this has been tried it failed. BJU is irreparably ruined. Just like with the others before it once you alienate the base you'll not get them back. Pettit has been determined to fundamentally remake BJU. The executive committee and trustees who are charged with preserving the school's legacy have sat idly by 7+ years while the school was being ruined right out in the open. BJU has without any doubt embraced cultural relativism.

    Btw, many men knew BJU was going to be ruined the day they announced Steve Pettit would become its president. Sam Horn followed soon after, which accelerated the school's demise.

    Incidentally, BJU just announced the hiring of Richard Stratton, who went from BJU to Clearwater to become its president and in short order destroyed that ministry. I guess Pettit wants Stratton to do more of the same again.
    Here's another hire that further reveals the direction Pettit is taking the school.


    Thanks for stopping by. May the Lord bless and direct your research.

    Kind regards,