March 30, 2020

Archival Series: May the “Northland Heart” Perpetuate

Introduction (March 2020): Bob Jones University (BJU) has been set on much the same course that ultimately ruined the former Northland Baptist Bible College. BJU alumni look on with sadness as Steve Pettit and Sam Horn have converted the university into something almost unrecognizable. It is difficult to gather how the current BJU administration believes they can succeed with essentially the same changes that brought down Northland. Near the time Northland closed its doors former faculty member Dr. Dana Everson wrote what amounted to Northland’s obituary. We believe his thoughts are applicable to what is fast becoming the “tragedy” of BJU.

After a while, one runs out of adjectives to describe the tragedy of Northland. This recent news of SBTS’s decision NOT to bring the school under its wings after all is yet another embarrassing blow to the ministry.* I was not expecting the Southern Baptist support to be an improvement anyway, but their rejection of accepting the school as a gift seems to affirm the hopelessness of bringing the college into financial and ministry solvency.

One grief is added to another for those of us who felt a deep loyalty to what the school stood for in its best years. Was the school ever perfect? None of us believed that. But the overall direction, humility, and sincere attempt to be Biblical were consistent qualities over most of its existence.

The rapid ruin of the school brings to mind images of the Hindenburg. The fact that the disaster might have been prevented or at least delayed had there been honesty and a willingness at the top level 4-5 years ago (cf. Jeroboam in 1 Kings 12:8) to hear counsel from scores of pastors, alumni, and staff brings to mind images of the Titanic.

I hope no one will respond by saying “well, fundamentalist/conservative Baptist ministries are failing everywhere because they have become irrelevant, old-fashioned, or legalistic.” Northland and most of its supporting churches had much life and refreshing ministry as evidence of its heart and faithfulness to the Scriptures. I saw this first hand for over 12 years and continue to see this in Northland alumni in our own local church and school ministry.

These images may seem overinflated to those watching Northland Baptist Bible College’s demise from the outside. However, Northland had a lot of wonderful ministry for most of its years as an independent Baptist college. Thousands of people who have been trained, inspired, and encouraged by the school’s ministry are now seemingly watching the last faint pulses of the “Northland Heart.”

Hopefully, alumni and former faculty and staff who have transplanted the “Northland Heart” into themselves, and into their ministries and will perpetuate that kind of Biblical attitude till the Lord returns.

“Lord, in your mercy please bless and protect other schools and their leadership, which are doing your work with integrity and a right heart!” 

No doubt there will be last-gasp attempts to salvage the ministry, but unless the LORD by some miracle sends wholesale revival, R.I.P. Northland Baptist Bible College.

Dr. Dana F. Everson
Originally publish April, 2015.

*NIU a Gift? Thanks, but No Thanks!

Previous articles by Dr. Everson, on the tragedy that has become NIU:

Questions Answered on the Changes at NIU: An Insider's Report, Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

For Dr. Everson’s philosophy of music please see Sound Roots, his dissertation in book form.

Current Reading on the Changing of BJU

BJU Lurches Further Into Evangelicalism
“This is Not Your Fathers BJU,and Neither is BJU

March 16, 2020

Has Hope for BJU to Reverse Course Been Dashed?

In recent years Bob Jones University (BJU) has put into effect changes in policy, speakers and alignments. These have raised serious concerns and questions among alumni and friends of the university. In one of our previous articles This is Not Your Fathers BJU1 we saw that the university has drifted far from its separatist heritage. While briefly mentioned in that article we will review here in greater detail the implications of BJU hosting Dr. Billy Kim and his Korean Children's Choir.2

Dr. Kim w/ Billy Graham
While hosting the children’s choir posed no particular problem, welcoming on campus Dr. Kim most definitely did. Dr. Billy Kim, a BJU graduate, spoke at Billy Graham’s funeral, and was the translator for Graham’s Korean campaign in 1973. Dr. Kim was president of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) 2000-2005. During Kim’s tenure as BWA president, in June 2004 the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) voted to pull out of the BWA.

The SBC study committee noted in recent years the BWAs increasingly anti-American stances, tolerance of liberal theology and disregard for its own procedures in accepting the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as a member in 2003.”  (Baptist Press: SBC Severs Ties with BWA as Theological Concerns Remain. June 15, 2004)

The Southern Baptist Convention voted yesterday to pull out of the Baptist World Alliance, accusing the worldwide organization of a drift toward liberalism that included growing tolerance of homosexuality, support for women in the clergy and ‘anti-American’ pronouncements.” (Washington Post: Wednesday, June 16, 2004; Page A02.)

We can’t remember a time when the SBC practiced authentic biblical separation.  So, when the SBC decides to split from another Baptist organization that is saying something. This begs the question- Why would BJU host the BWA’s former president when the SBC saw enough to separate from the BWA under Kim’s leadership?

The optics of hosting Dr. Kim, a new evangelical, was terrible.

We understand the invitation to Dr. Kim was extended by Dr. Bob Jones, III. In his own words he explained the rationale for invitation. Dr. Jones, whom we love and appreciate, had left the president’s office several years prior. Then and current BJU president, Steve Pettit would have done well to disallow Kims appearance on campus.

We are documenting numerous disconcerting occurrences at the university. For example:

  • Featuring the men’s music group Cantus for their Artist Series. Cantus is partly compromised of practicing homosexuals, which was known to the university when the invitation was extended (Jan. 2015).
  • A modernized casual dress code that strays from modesty for Christian young women (Sept. 2018).
  • Hosting evangelicals Ken Ham (twice) and Tim Tebow.
  • Sam Horn and Steve Pettit in cooperative ministry with Southern Baptists and Presbyterians.
  • Retaining Southern Baptist (SBC) ministers on faculty. (Lonnie Polson & Jeffrey Stegall)
  • Inviting to campus for special meetings Dr. Andy Naselli from The Gospel Coalition and John Pipers seminary (Nov. 2019).
  • Dr. Pettit forming BJGrass, a bluegrass performance group compromised of himself and BJU students. The vocals present a country western style, with vocal scooping and sliding. This takes BJU into the realm of popular culture.
  • Directing its Bible Conference offering to Save the Storks, a secular pro-life organization headed by new evangelical Herb McCarthy (Feb. 2020).
  • BJU brings Cary Schmidt to its Bible Conference, (Feb. 2020) on staff at Lancaster Baptist Church with Paul Chappell, and further contemporary and pragmatic than West Coast and Chappell. (Ht: What is Truth blog)
  • Dr. John Street- featured speaker at the CORE conference. A Southern Baptist, adjunct professor at Southern Baptist Theological and Chair of Biblical Counseling at John MacArthur’s Master’s University & Seminary (March 2020).
  • Steve Pettit crossing the country to participate in John MacArthurs Shepherds Conference and meets with John MacArthur (March 2020).
The Pattern is Self-Evident
Steve Pettit and Sam Horn have BJU on a pathway much like that which ultimately ruined Northland Baptist Bible College. The first indication that Northland had changed was Sam Horn’s role in bringing non-separatist Rick Holland from John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church and Master’s University to speak in Northland’s chapel. Rick Holland at the time was John MacArthur’s executive pastor and founder of the Resolved Conference.3 Since Sam Horn’s arrival at BJU the university has seen many so-called “conservative” evangelicals on its campus.
Doran left, Dever center, Bauder 2nd right

Early Sign of the Coming Compromise
Nearly ten years ago I began discussing and documenting examples of Drs. Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran spear-heading a movement to practice and encourage men in their sphere of influence to set aside the principles of biblical separation for a type of “separation in academic contexts.”4 This legitimized entering into fellowship and cooperative ministry with the so-called “conservative” evangelicals.

2001 Graham Crusade
I suggested then that their efforts could eventually bridge the gap from Fundamentalism toward new evangelicalism through the “conservative” evangelicals. At the time we had already seen John Piper and Al Mohler embracing new-evangelicalism. Examples such as: Dr. Billy Graham, Rick Warren, the Mormon Church and signing the Manhattan Declaration.

Have Hopes Been Dashed
One pastor wrote, “It saddens me greatly that [Steve] Pettit is bringing down my alma mater.”  He followed with, “I doubt there is an alumnus, who graduated during [or prior to] the Bob Jones III era, which would be unwilling to acknowledge the university, has and is violating the very separatist principles we were taught as students.”

BJU’s changes in policy, speakers and alignment compromises are eerily similar to those that brought down Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, Tennessee Temple, Clearwater Christian College, Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale, PA) and the former Northland Baptist Bible College.

Good men pray for and have met with BJU President Steve Pettit encouraging him to reverse the current direction of the university. Their appeals, while given a hearing, have not produced any positive moves to reclaim its separatist heritage. What more does one need to see to be convinced that BJU has changed? The situation there appears to have become unrecoverable. Hopes for the school returning to its foundational principles have essentially been dashed.

Steve Pettit and Sam Horn have pushed BJU far off its historical moorings to come alongside compromising, non-separatist evangelicalism.

Lou Martuneac

Related Reading:
1) This is Not Your Fathers BJU

2) Billy Kim and The Korean Children’s Choir

3) NIU Presents Rick Holland to its Student Body

In April 2010 Matt Olson, Sam Horn, Les Ollila and Doug McLachlan traveled to the Grace Community Church (GCC) to meet with John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland. After a day of discussions the NIU men came away finding no reason not to have and increase fellowship with them. Inviting GCC’s executive pastor, Rick Holland, to speak in chapel confirms a new alliance for NIU with evangelicalism.
4) Under the guise of a so-called, Second Definition for Separation in Academic Contexts, we have seen scores of younger men encouraged to neuter, water down or sidestep the doctrine of biblical separation for the sake of cooperation with compromising evangelicals. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, et., al. have by their own example encouraged the next generation to cooperate with evangelicals, and thereby put them on the road toward new evangelicalism.

March 11, 2020

The Coronavirus of Ecumenical Compromise: Are You Infected?

Following is an excerpt from the new article by Dr. Travis Smith.

Twentieth century philosopher George Santayana observed, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  I fear that truth has befallen many churches, Bible colleges, and institutions in recent years.... Sadly, I have lived to witness the failures of venerable Bible-preaching churches, closures of Bible colleges, and compromises of Christian institutions led by men either ignorant of the lessons of the past or dismissive of the spiritual heritage of the fundamental institutions. The result of leadership that either lacks spiritual discernment or is contemptuous of the past is the same: those fundamental Bible institutions either close their doors or become a shadow of what they were in their golden years.
For the complete article please continue to,  From the Heart of a Shepherd


Related Reading:
Is Northland International University, "Unchanged?"

This is Not Your Father's BJU, A Continuation

Bob Jones University Lurches Further Into Evangelicalism

BJU's Subtle Rejection of Ecclesiastical Separation: Is This Northland All Over Again?

March 6, 2020

Bob Jones University Lurches Further Into Evangelicalism

In a recent article we reported Sam Horn was leaving Bob Jones University (BJU) to assume the presidency of The Master’s University and Seminary.1 Some men openly wondered how long it might before BJU would join hands with John MacArthur.  The wait was not long.

Men in Fundamental circles will recall Les Ollila constantly warning that “it’s not what a person says, it’s where his feet are pointed,” that brings corruption. He illustrated the concept with Solomon who wrote wonderful truths (Proverbs), but pointed his feet toward pagan women and was corrupted.

When Northland International University was moving towards its demise Matt Olson had been saying, “Northland is unchanged!” His feet, however, were pointed toward Reformed, non-dispensational, amillennial, non-separatist, CCM /Rock-music-oriented, non-Baptist, Continuationists.

The difference here is that BJU is not claiming to be “unchanged.” The university is changing. The changes, which we have documented, are out-front and proudly displayed.2 Steve Pettit and the BJU administration have abandoned the university’s legacy as a fundamental, separatist institution.

When we see BJU president Steve Pettit crossing the country to participate in John MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Conference, posing for pictures and posting them on Twitter we can know for sure the direction his feet are pointed, and where he is taking BJU. The direction is undeniably toward non-separatist evangelicalism. And with it BJU is embracing the aberrant theology, ecumenical practices and worldly culture of the evangelicals, all of which has already found a home on the university campus.

Maybe you’re one who has been trying to give benefit of the doubt and/or hopeful BJU would reverse this trajectory. With all that we have seen in recent months, leading up to this event, the course is set.  Bob Jones University is taking a sharp turn away from its roots and legacy. There will be no turning back.

In Transitional Fundamentalism Dr. Milton Jones stated how we must respond to institutions moving away from their fundamentalist roots.
Further we must refuse to surrender resources to those institutions, agencies, and churches who are moving. It is not wise to continue to send our children to colleges, give our money to agencies, or support churches that are in transition while we wait to see where they will land. By then it is too late! Look at where their feet are pointing! At some point there must be separation from this disobedience. It is the only tool which God has given to us to police ourselves and to maintain the priority and purity of our position.3

We believe nothing more needs to be seen, and we havent seen the last, to make any clearer that Bob Jones University has drifted far from its foundational moorings.


1) The Master’s University & Seminary Appoints Sam Horn President

With his departure for Masters what does Sam Horn leave in his wake at BJU? Very much the same conditions he left Northland in, which ultimately destroyed the once fine fundamental Baptist college. Now he leaves BJU on the same trajectory toward non-separatist evangelicalism. We believe Sam Horn’s appointment to Master’s will lead to greater collaboration between so-called conservative evangelicals and BJU.
2) Articles documenting the changes at BJU include:

BJU has embarked on a departure from ecclesiastical separation. Since the installation of Dr. Steve Pettit as president followed by Dr. Sam Horn as an executive vice president, BJU becomes increasingly unrecognizable to the purpose and philosophy upon which it was founded. Is this Northland all over again?
“This is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile,” and Neither is Bob Jones University

BJU has become a marginalized shell of its former self.  Steve Pettit’s redesign has transformed the school into something that is, “Not Your Father’s BJU.”  You can’t come into an institution and take a hard right or hard left and expect to have your alumni with you. Continuing its current trajectory BJU will continue to diminish, and very possibly as with the Oldsmobile brand, it will go away.
This is Not Your Father’s BJU (ReDux)

Under Dr. Steve Pettit’s leadership, Bob Jones University continues to follow a path of ecclesiastical compromise, embracing the spirit of Neo-evangelicalism, and rejecting its historical legacy as a Bible fundamental, separatist institution. At least we who were in classes and privileged to be challenged by separatists like Drs. Bob Jones., Bob Jones III, Gilbert Stenholm and Richard Rupp can take consolation in this: Whilst the current administration has sadly tarnished the reputation of Dr. Stewart Custer, they have so far spared the Jones’ of that humiliation.
An Analysis of BJU’s Position Paper on Calvinism, Arminianism and ReformedTheology

After reading BJU’s position paper, I feel that it reflects a style commonly employed by many New Calvinists. Their writing typically skirts issues to avoid offense or exclusion, while maximizing inclusivity. They achieve this by allowing the reader to supply his or her own theological definitions rather than offering clear-cut ones that would reveal Calvinist views. The fact that BJU’s paper appears to use a similar strategy concerns me.

Is BJU Moving Closer to “Pseudo-Fundamentalism”?
Last semester Andy Naselli, a member of TGC, was invited to BJU as a special speaker. BJU collaborating with and financially supporting Save the Storks for a positive social good is not an indifferent thing. We see BJU adopting methods that have more in common with The Gospel Coalition’s ecumenical movement than with the separatist, fundamental university it once was.
3) Transitional Fundamentalism (Reprinted by Permission)