‘GREENVILLE, S.C. (November 19, 2021) – BJU Seminary is expanding its corps of “pastor-professors” with the appointment of Dr. Billy Gotcher, renowned for revitalizing churches and Christian institutions, and the return of Dr. Sam Horn, senior pastor of Palmetto Baptist Church and former Bob Jones University executive vice president and BJU Seminary dean.
Their addition further builds on the “people” plank of BJU Seminary’s 5P Plan to achieve its 500 x 5 x 5 strategic vision of putting 500 pastors in the pulpit in the next five years—and every five years after that. Gotcher and Horn join more than 10 faculty members currently engaged in full-time pastoral ministry or key church leadership positions.
‘Earlier we documented Bob Jones University (BJU) stepping into ecumenical compromise with Franklin Graham. See BJU Embraces Franklin Graham’s Ecumenical Movement. That was the latest among many excursions, engineered by BJU president Steve Pettit, into non-separatist evangelicallism and the ecumenical movement. From Dr. David Beale’s new book Christian Fundamentalism in America I included a brief excerpt in the BJU/Graham article above and in the BJU: Compromised Spiritual Sanctification for Secular Pragmatism article. Dr. David Beale has written an article to expand on and bolster his argument. That article follows.
“After being the premier fundamentalist academic institution for eighty-seven years, BJU elected Dr. Steve Pettit in 2014, as the president who steered the University out of separatist Fundamentalism into the inclusive, Broad Evangelical movement,” David Beale, Christian Fundamentalism in America (Maitland, FL: Xulon, 2021), 179, 530.
• Dr. Andy Naselli, in his 2006 BJU dissertation, scorns independent, Fundamental Baptists for giving invitations to “surrender oneself to God.” Naselli criticizes the practice and calls it a “second blessing.” Naselli unsuccessfully tried to identify the Fundamentalist movement with Keswick extremes on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Naselli then identified with Broad Evangelicalism. He now serves on the faculty of John Piper’s College and Seminary, which are Reformed Charismatic schools urging every Christian to seek all NT gifts, including tongues and healing. Piper claims that “Signs and wonders” and all spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are valid for today and must be “earnestly desired.” Piper says, “Prophecy and tongues will continue until Jesus comes.”1 Naselli is a pastor of Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Naselli seeks to transform Fundamentalists into Evangelicalism. In 2019, Dr. Pettit brought Naselli back to BJU to present the lectures for the annual Steward Custer Lecture Series. Naselli’s books were promoted. The late Dr. Custer all his life had been a stalwart Fundamentalist. Naselli represents Broad Evangelicalism. The bond between BJU and Evangelicalism has been clear since the beginning of Pettit’s administration.
• Dr. Sam Horn was executive vice president for enrollment and ministerial advancement at Bob Jones University when, on 2-7-2020, Dr. Pettit announced to all, “Dr. Horn is greatly honored today, and BJU is honored to have one of its own become the next president of The Master’s University and Seminary.” Horn succeeded Dr. John Stead. Dr. John MacArthur, a leading Evangelical, had led The Master’s University and Seminary as president from 1984 to 2018. Dr. Pettit preached for John MacArthur in a conference that year (2020). John Street, Chair of Biblical Counseling at The Master’s University, spoke at BJU’s CoRE Conference March 9–10, 2020. Street is an adjunct professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. By claiming that the word Fundamentalism can have no single definition,2 BJU leaders claim the label separatist but practice non-separatism (inclusivism). With such a notion, BJU attempts to sit on both sides of the fence—Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism—at the same time.
• Under Dr. Pettit’s administration, BJU students are permitted to bond with churches of denominations harboring apostasy.3 The following churches (underscored below) are among those approved for BJU students to attend.
• Covenant Community (Taylors, SC): An Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). On one of their website videos, the pastor poured water on a little child’s head and said, “This is like Abraham’s ‘baptizing his whole house’” (Genesis 17). The pastor substituted the word baptism for the word circumcision and called it regeneration. Augustine and Roman Catholicism devised and standardized this doctrine, which assumes an OT circumcisional regeneration for Jewish males.4 Romanism transformed that doctrine into NT water baptismal regeneration to elect infants. Forms of that doctrine passed into Reformed theology. John Calvin insisted that OT circumcision engrafted the Jewish infant into the covenant [elect] family of God; thus, NT baptism engrafts a newborn child into the body of Christ.5 Reformed doctrine leads many to believe the seed of regeneration is implanted at infant baptism, though salvation might occur later.6
• Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church (Simpsonville, SC), PCA church.
• Second Presbyterian Church (Greenville, SC): A Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). This church’s senior pastor is Dr. Richard Phillips, adjunct professor and member of the Board of Trustees at Westminster Theological Seminary, which enforces no dress codes and allows the use of alcoholic beverages.7
➢ Richard Phillips is also on the Board of Directors of (1) the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals; (2) the Council of The Gospel Coalition, and (3) the Council of the Gospel Reformation Network.8
➢ On October 12, 2019, at Phillips’ Second Presbyterian Church, Dr. Pettit participated in a Conference on Reformed Theology.
• To begin chapel on February 5, 2018, Dr. Pettit announced, “We are honored this morning to have as our guest Dr. Gene Fant,” president of North Greenville University, a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) school. Prior to preaching the chapel message, Fant was welcomed with a standing ovation.9 The so-called “SBC Conservative Resurgence” has now spiraled into a deadening mix.10
• Calvary First Baptist Church (Greenville, SC): SBC church.
• Roper Mountain Baptist Church (Greenville): SBC church.
• Rock Springs Baptist Church (Easley, SC): SBC church. Dr. Pettit, BJU President, spoke here October 6, 2019.
• White Oak Baptist Church (Greenville, SC): Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and the Greenville Baptist Association. Their lead pastor is Lonnie Polson, BJU Division Chair of Communication of the School of Fine Arts. Their music director is Jeff Stegall, BJU Associate Professor in the Theatre Arts Department.
• For the article, “Bob Jones University Embraces Franklin Graham’s Ecumenical Movement: HaveYou Finally Seen Enough?” click the following link: BJU Embraces Franklin Graham….
• Dr. Steve Pettit permits dress style, music, and entertainment of the world’s style. For the Artist Series of January 27, 2015, he brought in the music group, “Cantus,” which includes beer drinkers and known homosexuals.11
• The following letter was sent to me on 10-14-2021 from a concerned grandfather who has grandchildren at BJU:
In 2021, at Bob Jones University, the first of the fall semester’s artist series was conducted on October 7 in the FMA. The program was titled “Symphonic Hollywood: Featuring the Music of Lee Holdridge.” The guest conductor was Richard Kaufman. The featured selections were beautifully done, and each was announced by Kaufman, interspersed with lavish praise on BJU and its leadership. Kaufman mentioned his background which included his participation with a Los Angeles orchestra in which he played violin for the recording of music for “Animal House,” a raunchy R-rated movie. He expressed no regret for its production. On the contrary, he mentioned that his contribution helped launch his career as a conductor. Not once did he mention any conflict between Christian beliefs and the moral cesspool of Hollywood. Nor did he give any confirmation of Christian belief. Yet he gave the impression that a believer could function contentedly in such an environment. Toward the end of the program, Jay Matthews and another representative, on behalf of the University, awarded Kaufman with a certificate and plaque granting him lifetime membership as an honorary alumnus of BJU. In the program notes on Kaufman, the bio states that “his wife Gayle is a former dancer and actress in film, television, and on Broadway, and his daughter, Whitney, is a highly successful singer and actress.”
All of this conveys to BJU students that a vocation in the worldly Hollywood scene is perfectly acceptable and, indeed highly commendable. The artist series productions have in recent years included more Broadway-type productions, mingled with the brilliant work of such Christian artists as Dan Forrest. “Broadway” sums up the philosophy of the new Bob Jones University— broad and inclusive.
Students are not learning to distinguish the true from the false kinds of entertainment, evangelicalism, and life-styes. This is lamentable and tragic. There was a day when Bob Jones University could be trusted to instill in its students the virtues of a separated godly lifestyle. Now the University simply wants to “fit into” the culture, to accommodate and even imitate its behavior.
Believers identified with the SBC, PCA, OPC, etc. are lending credibility to false teachers and false gospels. The believer who willingly does such is living in sin. People all over the country know that BJU is Evangelical. It is old news. Evangelicals often say, “Identification is a non-essential.” That mindset constitutes the difference between Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism! Indifference is dangerous! It is a path God forbids! “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John verse 11). One’s personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ determines his church identification! “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward” (2 John vs. 8). We must never entangle the message of the gospel with man-made organizations and institutions that harbor false gospels.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers…. After my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28–30).
Every moment of our lives, we are building our ministries upon either the foundation of gold, silver, and precious stones, or upon a foundation of wood, hay, and stubble. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:11–13). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:10–11a). “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (First John 2:28). In Romans 1:1, Paul introduces himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”
Charles H. Spurgeon promised his church, “That I might not stultify [invalidate] my testimony, I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them. What more can I do to be honest with you?”12
Dr. Bob Jones Sr. so often cried, “Earnestly contend for the faith. Stand up and fight.”
David Beale (Enlarged 12-8-21)
David Beale taught courses on Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism for some thirty years at Bob Jones University and Seminary. He is a prolific writer and historian. Since Dr. Beale retired in 2010 he has taught and preached in schools and churches.
4) Augustine, City of God, 6.26–27; Enchiridion: On Faith, Hope, and Love 43; cf. 93; Sermon 294; and On Forgiveness of Sins, and Baptism 1.27.
5) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (4.15.1—22).
6) L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939), 632–42.
7) Letters from a recent graduate to David Beale (2021); see Paul M. Elliott, Christianity and Neo-Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond (Unicoi, TN: Trinity Foundation, 2005).
10) George Houghton, “Are Conservative Southern Baptists Fundamentalists?” Faith Pulpit, January/February 2004 at: https://faith.edu/faith-news/are-conservative-southern-baptists fundamentalists/; J. Gerald Harris, The Rise and Fall of the Conservative Resurgence: The Southern Baptist Convention: 1979-2021 (Taos, NM: Trust House, 2021); and David Beale, “SBC Today,” in Baptist History in England and America: Personalities, Positions, and Practices (Maitland, FL: Xulon Press, 2018), 581–83.
This is an old article but still very pertinent (I think) for the times in which we live and the recent resignation of Sam Horn from TMUS. Oh, now that Sam Horn has resigned TMUS is there a place for him back at BJU? There aren’t many surprises anymore with the new-fundamentalist!
‘Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary (DBTS), a ministry of Inter-City Baptist Church, will hosts its annual E3 Pastors Conference this October. The guest speakers include two Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) pastors Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Rick Holland, host pastor Dr. David Doran and Bob Jones University (BJU) Executive Vice-President Dr. Sam Horn.
It is not particularly newsworthy that Dr. Dave Doran is sharing his platform with (SBC) preachers. For example in 2011 Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder participated with Dr. Mark Dever at the now defunct Calvary Baptist Seminary’s Advancing the Church conference. On the other hand, Dr. Sam Horn, BJU’s Dean of the School of Religion and the Seminary, sharing a platform with SBC preachers is something new.
Dr. Richard Caldwell is a man whose roots run deep in the SBC. There is, however, a connection between Sam Horn and SBC pastor Rick Holland. Sam Horn got his D.Min. (2007) from John MacArthur’s Master’s Seminary. In April 2010 Northland International University’s Matt Olson, Sam Horn, Les Ollila and Doug McLachlan traveled to the Grace Community Church (GCC) to meet with John MacArthur, Rick Holland and Phil Johnson. It is my understanding that Sam Horn orchestrated this meeting. After a day of discussions the Northland men came away finding no reason not to have fellowship with them. An invitation was extended to GCC’s then executive pastor, Rick Holland, to speak in Northland’s chapel.1 This confirmed a new alliance for NIU with the so-called “conservative” evangelicals.
Who is Rick Holland? You can find a brief up-to-date biography at the DBTS site. Rick Holland was Executive Pastor to Dr. John MacArthur and served as the college pastor at Grace Church. He was the director of the doctor of ministries program and a faculty associate in homiletics at The Master’s Seminary. Rick was also the founder and executive director of the controversial Resolved Conference. He has degrees from The Master’s Seminary (M.Div.), and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
For BJU Sam Horn’s participation in the E3 Pastors Conference is much more than the University hosting the vocal group Cantus (a male ensemble partially comprised of practicing homosexuals) for an artist series, more than hosting new-evangelical Billy Kim and his Korean Children’s Choir, and more than an ambivalent dress-code change. This is BJU’s leader of ministerial training sharing a platform, in joint ministry, with SBC pastors.
Dr. Sam Horn operates in an official capacity as BJU’s Executive VP for Enrollment and Ministerial Advancement, Dean of the School of Religion and the Seminary. Sam Horn represents and speaks on behalf of Bob Jones University. If Dr. Horn were only the VP for Enrollment his appearance at DBTS might not be quite so problematic. Dr. Horn, however, has oversight of BJU’s Division of Bible and the Seminary. The Seminary and Bible faculty answer to him. Make no mistake, Dr. Horn’s appearance at the E3 Pastors Conference is a departure from BJU’s legacy as a separatist institution, which raises the stakes of compromise to an unprecedented level with serious implications for BJU’s School of Religion and the Seminary.
Dr. Horn’s appearance is about the future of BJU’s Bible graduates, their theology and practice. Pastors who have ministerial students at BJU now, or contemplating sending your Bible majors in the future, risk seeing them swept into the broader sphere of a so-called “conservative” evangelicalism.
One might reasonably ask in light of the upcoming joint ministerial fellowship of Sam Horn and Rick Holland at DBTS: How long will it be before BJU president Dr. Steve Pettit invites Rick Holland, Mark Dever, John Piper or Al Mohler to BJU’s chapel pulpit?
It wasn’t that long ago that Sam Horn went to John MacArthur’s The Master’s University and Seminary but now there is ‘…the announcement of Dr. Horn’s resignation given in the chapel at The Master’s University (TMU) today. In the announcement, Abner Chou, John F. MacArthur endowed fellow, implies that Horn resigned because of complaints that Horn was “quick tempered or pugnacious,” and therefore, disqualified from service as an elder. Chou states:
You might remember 1 Peter 5, it says we don’t Lord it over others. And we don’t exercise authority in a way that’s quick tempered or pugnacious. You might remember that from Titus chapter one, verse seven. That is God’s Word. Those qualifications are non-negotiable. We understand that. You can’t bend on those things. We can’t accept when people do. Those qualifications—TMU takes them very seriously, because we recognize that they lie at the core of our credibility as spiritual leaders.
Sadly, in recent weeks, significant concerns from multiple sources—faculty, staff, and students—were raised about the nature of Dr. Horn’s leadership along the lines that I just mentioned, and strictly along those lines. Does this make sense to everybody? Do not read anything beyond it—just the things that I just listed.
Bob Jones University was once looked upon as the flagship of fundamentalism. Well, how times change.
On March 7, 2020 the President of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI) wrote that ‘Over the past few years changes have been occurring at Bob Jones University rather quickly. The FBFI has had a reputation of being in close kinship with BJU since the early 1970’s. Because of that we have received many questions about the changes at BJU in policy, speakers, and alignment. Those questions should be directed to BJU. We do not believe it would be ethical or edifying for us to try to answer such questions. We have no part in the decisions that are being made and we operate completely independent of BJU. Please be assured that the FBFI is completely committed to function under the same principles and values that we have always maintained as a fundamentalist, separatist, Baptist, dispensational, and Great Commission-focused fellowship. We are a fellowship of individuals and are not governed by any particular individual, church, educational institution, or parachurch organization. We have become convinced that organizing loyalty/fellowship groups around educational institutions is not wise (1 Corinthians 1:12-13). Fellowship should be based upon commonly held theology and practice rather than institutional loyalty.’ https://www.proclaimanddefend.org/2020/03/07/a-note-from-the-president/
Perhaps one of the reasons the President of the FBFI wrote the above is due to ‘The Board of Directors of The Master’s University and Seminary in Santa Clarita, California, today voted to name Dr. Sam Horn their 9th president, succeeding Dr. John Stead, effective in May or June 2020. Dr. Horn is the executive vice president for enrollment and ministerial advancement at Bob Jones University.
The Master’s University and Seminary is a non-denominational, conservative Christian liberal arts university and seminary with an enrollment of approximately 2,000, including seminary, graduate, undergraduate and online students.
Prior to joining the BJU administration, Horn served as a faculty member in BJU’s School of Religion and as the director of BJU’s Office of Extended Education. From 1996 to 2002, he served in various academic and administrative positions at Northland International University. In 2004 he became senior pastor of Brookside Baptist Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and in 2011 accepted the presidency of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota.’ https://today.bju.edu/news/the-masters-university-and-seminary-appoints-dr-sam-horn-president/
People and organizations change but God and His Word do NOT!
Over thirty years ago Ernest Pickering wrote on page ten in his book BIBLICAL SEPARATION that ‘A new generation of separatists has arisen.’ He was certainly correct then and the same can be said with more emphasis today. As Kent Brandenburg writes: ‘Movements even by definition have what we might call a “shelf life.” Movements come and go. The church isn’t a movement. The question then remains, were the underlying principles of the movement true or right? Fundamentalism started as a response to and stand against pervading institutional liberalism. The attack on scripture and its authority first met by biblical defense led to a necessary practice of separation. Thus began regular controversies over the grounds of separation. Sermons were preached, conferences were held, new associations were organized, and books were written that attempted to draw lines and set boundaries for the protection and the propagation of the truth. The ones constituted by fundamentalism were not scriptural. They chose arbitrary lines that constantly shifted one way or another, so that when someone did separate, it often seemed just political.
Fundamentalism is known for separation. It marks fundamentalism. Scriptural separation is not so difficult to understand. The Bible lays out what, why, and how in and for separation. Fundamentalism separates, but never practiced biblical separation. For that reason, the history of fundamentalism is one of confused and distorted separation. When I have defended fundamentalism, it is because it does separate over right doctrine and practice. Separation preserved fundamentalism and its erosion will also end it.
Was the separation of fundamentalism ever right? Fundamentalism taught it. They punished those who didn’t comply. Should fundamentalists have separated from John MacArthur as they once did? Some are saying, No. What is the juxtaposition of Carey Schmidt and John MacArthur? That doesn’t make any sense, and probably more for MacArthur than BJU. I’m not going to keep asking questions. First Baptist in Hammond has never repented over the theology of Jack Hyles. When it keeps up his statue, it accepts the non repentance over the other well-documented things. There are just too many issues and situations here to either unwind, wind back up, put back in the bottle, or whatever metaphor works.
I actually see a circle in my mind. It goes like this. You tell me if I’m wrong. I’m going to start with Jack Hyles. Jack Hyles – John Wilkerson – Kevin Schaal – Wayne Van Gelderen – Paul Chappell – Carey Schmidt – Bob Jones – Steve Pettit – Sam Horn – John MacArthur – Matt Redman – Hillsong and Bethel Music.
I’m not talking about degrees of separation: first, second, third degree. I’m talking about how any of this could fit together. It shouldn’t. For the sake of biblical doctrine of practice, for the sake of God Himself, someone should say, No. At some point, someone can’t cast a blind eye. There’s actually more than what I’ve written here, but this is all bad for quality control. Someone needs to do some explaining. Let me explain just a little.
Bob Jones separates from John MacArthur and now it doesn’t. A step needs to be taken. If you don’t believe in separation from MacArthur, then explain that from the Bible. If you are Bob Jones and you still believe in separation, then explain why the change. Explain why you were wrong before and you are right now. If not, then it looks like your feeder churches aren’t feeding enough, and you are just making a pragmatic move to increase the potential feed. I could say the same thing for why the girls are now wearing tight blue jeans on campus. That was wrong too at one time, but now isn’t. People can remember these things.
There are a lot of differences between these various groups of people. Is anyone right in all this? I don’t believe any of them are right. Some are better than others, but all of them are wrong. Bob Jones and all of these others are being tested for the practice of the doctrine of separation. I would be interested in their explanation for how they are obeying the Bible in doing what they are doing.’ https://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/
Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
This is the conclusion to the demise of Northland Baptist Bible College. What instigated these articles was the installation of Dr. Les Ollila as Chaplain at Faith Baptist Bible College, Ankeny, Iowa. Being a graduate of this school when Dr. David Nettleton was president it was of interest as to what effect Ollila will have on Faith’s future and especially as to separation.
Until he became chaplain at Faith Dr. Ollila was pretty much an unknown to me. However, Northland Baptist Bible College was known to me in that a friend of mine had received an honorary DD from the school. When he received that degree, I became aware of two things, the school was in the northern part of Wisconsin and it was considered a fundamentalist school.
It was sometime in the 2000’s that I learned of Northland dropping the name Baptist and changing to Northland International University. That in itself meant (at least to me) it was moving away from its foundation and that other changes were or had already occurred. Dr. Ollila was president from 1984 to 2002 and chancellor from 2002 to 2013. In the video of the Q & A of July, 2013 Dr. Ollila says over and over that he was just being loyal to the leadership. Well, that isn’t really an excuse for not saying something when things are not Biblical! He also said he was a ‘simpleton’ which supposedly gives one a pass on certain matters.
Of course, whether something is Biblical or not is determined by the doctrinal glasses one wears. For instance, ‘There is a lot of noise today among some “fundamentalists” about “conservative evangelicals,” and there is a growing association between the two groups.
Central Baptist Seminary of Minnesota, Calvary Baptist Seminary of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and Northland International University (formerly Northland Baptist Bible College) have all recently praised “evangelical conservatives” for their “vigorous commitment to and defense of the gospel.”
Northland recently invited Bruce Ware, Southern Baptist Seminary professor, in to conduct a seminar for pastors. To justify this, former Northland president Les Ollila sent out a letter in December 2010 stating:
“At Northland we have chosen to keep our focus on the highest concerns facing our generation while keeping Fundamentalism centered on the historic fundamentals of our faith that best articulate our core understanding of biblical truth.”
That is the “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty” philosophy. To say that it was the position of “historic fundamentalism” is true, but that does not make it right.’ https://www.wayoflife.org/reports/conservative_evangelicals.html
Of the three schools mentioned above two have closed their doors. Central is the only one still operating. The doctrine that is missing from these new fundamentalists is Biblical separation. ‘Dr. Ernest Pickering wrote how the New Evangelicals showed a disdain for the ‘Bible Institute mentality’ and had little use for Bible colleges. An increase emphasis on scholarship was the need. This reminds me of Northland Baptist Bible College in Dunbar, WI. For many years I spoke there in an Urban Ministry block class, chapels, and mission conferences. The last time I was there I felt the shift. Innocently, the name was changed to Northland International University. Then a Southern Baptist was invited to speak at a block class. Matt Olson the president, visited a Sovereign Grace Church ministry of a young man who had split from a good fundamental church. Recently, Albert Mohler of Southern Seminary (Southern Baptist and co-founder of the Together for the Gospel Conference) spoke at the convocation. A contemporary rock band was formed and played on campus and soon the school had moved from its fundamentalist roots.
We must remember that just as King Jehoikim took his penknife to shamelessly shred God’s inspired words, so the world will not blush to disregard His truth. “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness,” and “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.” (1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:14). Time will not change this truth, and neither will writing New York Times best sellers, tolerating false teachers like N.T. Wright, or playing academic games in the lust for respectability. We live in a day where it is thought to be a ‘hate-crime’ to speak the truth in love that God alone has the right to define the definition of marriage. These are serious times. What is needed is not the persuasive words of man’s wisdom, but to stand and speak by the power of His Spirit.’ https://www.proclaimanddefend.org/2014/08/06/new-calvinism-best-sellers-scholars-and-compromise/
Those who were the leaders of Northland when it met its demise are in the NEW FUNDAMENTALIST camp! They have bowed the knee to what they see as scholarship, outward success and have an attitude of inclusivism. These new fundamentalists are comfortable with new Calvinists such as Al Mohler, Mark Dever, John MacArthur and Tim Keller. These four men are prominent in either or both the Together 4 the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition. These gatherings are a mixture of denominations which brings with it a concoction of various doctrinal beliefs. If we will be true to God’s Word ‘We must not join with those who unite with those unfaithful to the Word of God. They may be popular. They may write good books or commentaries. But we must avoid assisting them in their compromise.’ https://www.proclaimanddefend.org/2014/09/10/the-ringing-call-of-new-evangelicalism-repeated-in-the-new-calvinism/
The present president of Faith is a graduate of Northland Baptist Bible College and has received an honorary doctorate from Bob Jones. So, with Dr. Les Ollila as chaplain and a Northland graduate as president the future of Faith will be interesting to watch. For instance, Faith will be holding a REFRESH CONFERENCE January 28-31, 2020 and of the nine speakers five have some connection with the old Northland, one with Central Seminary, and three with Bob Jones University. This is what I view as just another ‘good ole boys club’. It is not a healthy situation for fundamentalism in general, the schools involved and especially the students. Too be honest, Spurgeon’s Downgrade Controversy of the 1800’s has not really ended.
This is a continuation of Northland Baptist Bible College’s demise and Dr. Les Ollila relationship to it. What occurred at Northland did not transpire in a corner. The college had a president, a chancellor and a board to oversee the operation of the school. Someone took their eyes off the ball and the school eventually had to close its doors. The following is an expose of a video 9th July, 2013 Q & A with Dr. Les Ollila who related what he saw occurring at Northland which eventually ended in its demise.
‘Monday, June 24, 2013 Debriefing the Les Ollila Interview
Les Ollila is the former president of Northland Baptist Bible College, now Northland International University. When I was in high school, our family had Ollila in for a meal when he was in Watertown, WI to speak at the Wisconsin State Youth Conclave. I think it may have been the first ever WSYC. At that time, I think, Les Ollila was some type of “youth evangelist,” who spoke all over the country in meetings. He was a well-known fundamentalist leader and popular fundamentalist conference speaker.
NIU has made a massive change in leadership and direction in the last 5-10 years. Ollila is not at Northland any more and he doesn’t support its changes. Recently, he was invited to Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis, IN, where Chuck Phelps is pastor, to speak at the Crossroads Conference. There Ollila was given time in a brief Q & A to answer questions especially relating to what’s happening in relationship to NIU. That I know of, this is the first public revelation of where Ollila stood and stands on the NIU situation.
What makes Ollila endearing is that in many ways he’s a sort of one-of-a-kind speaker or person in fundamentalism. He’s got a campy and out-there sense of humor. He’ll say things in a very unique way that often times covers for the poor content of what he says. You’re too busy thinking about his funny and forget that he just said something you don’t agree with. At one time in the Q and A, he sent everyone reeling with his in depth exegesis of Alf, illustrating something with the television show that I’ve never seen. I think I remember the puppet-like figure Alf (sp?), which was enough to spur intense disinterest. Ollila seemed to love Alf. It was funny watching Dr. O go into a total Alf machination to make a point that was totally lost without Alf knowledge.
Since I’m on comedy, another funny moment was the outburst of Ollila about bloggers. Get a life! I don’t know who the people are who he’s talking about. I’ve not read a blog post critical of Ollila. He doesn’t blog. The technology is past a lot of guys his age, no disrespect. Phelps started to cry on this point, wiping his eyes with a handkerchief. That didn’t connect with me like it did Phelps. I had no unction to well up with tears, so it got me thinking about how much blogging there has been about Phelps and how that connected with him emotionally. I’m sure he wished blogging didn’t exist as it related to the Tina Anderson issue back in his Trinity days, so he had true empathy with Ollila’s feelings about blogging.
Ollila did not take questions from the crowd and there was little to no follow-up to the questions he answered from Chuck Phelps. Phelps appeared to have his own questions and some with him from the audience. All the interaction was with Phelps. It’s obvious that Ollila doesn’t like what’s going on at Northland. My overall analysis of the Q & A is that it seemed to be an opportunity for Ollila to reestablish his fundamentalist credentials and to reconnect with the mainstream of the FBFI branch of fundamentalism. He’ll need it for his future parachurch endeavor, as he hooks himself up to another ox-cart in fundamentalism. At the same time, Ollila was able to and will be able to remain a kind of hero among young fundamentalists with so much of what he said and how he said it.
Important aspects of what Ollila said did not jive with what I thought fundamentalists believed. Where he clashed with typical fundamentalism, he used humor to deflect. Phelps could have easily cleared all that up, but he just let it go. I can’t imagine that Phelps agreed with Ollila, but perhaps he didn’t want to embarrass him in public. Even though Ollila detached himself from NIU, I don’t see how he’s much different in principle. His answers bothered me and they should be a problem for fundamentalism. However, I would think that most young fundamentalists would have liked what he had to say.
In no particular order, first, Ollila said that CCM wasn’t a sin — it just wasn’t wise. That’s a hard one to work through, but that does almost nothing to eliminate CCM. It’s either false worship or it isn’t. If it is false worship, it is sin. If it isn’t false worship, then it is acceptable. Ollila didn’t explain how it was unwise, and Phelps didn’t follow up at all. I would have asked, “Is CCM fleshly or worldly lust? If so, then it is sin, isn’t it?” Or, “How is it unwise? What do you mean by that?” Ollila gave a big permission for CCM in fundamentalism with his statement on CCM. That Phelps didn’t disagree showed Phelps to either agree with him or to indicate that it is a liberty issue in fundamentalism. You are free to use CCM fundamentalism, because it isn’t a sin. I think this is where fundamentalism is at now.
Second, Ollila talked about his visit to John MacArthur. I don’t think there is any problem with someone visiting with John MacArthur. Ollila was checking him out. It’s his conclusion that was a problem. Right there in a fundamentalist meeting, Ollila gave a complete endorsement to MacArthur with zero disclaimer and he was not challenged at all by Phelps. Lots of cheering had to be going on from conservative evangelicals and young fundamentalists. Phelps asked Ollila, “Are you a separatist?” Ollila: “Yes.” Phelps: “Are you a fundamentalist?” Ollila: “Yes.” So there we go. Penetrating, probing analysis complete.
Ollila’s defense of MacArthur was three-fold as I heard it. I could defend MacArthur too, because there is a lot I like about him. But that’s not the point here — it isn’t what we’re talking about. Ollila defended MacArthur with moral equivalency. Ollila wasn’t going to the Hyles pastors’ conference. What? That came out of left field, but it seemed to be a shot at those who have appeared with Jack Schaap at various functions, including the president of the FBFI. Ollila has a point to be made there, a legitimate one, but it doesn’t stand as a defense of fellowship with MacArthur. At most, it scares away criticism, because it says that you can’t criticize me for MacArthur because others did worse with Schaap. Tit for tat politics. It should have been argued by Phelps, but he just laughed it off.
The next part of his defense was that MacArthur’s music, the one day Ollila was there, was better than a BJU vespers. Who knows if that’s true or not, but we know that on other days that Ollila was and is not there in Southern California, MacArthur uses rock music. That’s not hard to find out if you’re just the slightest bit curious. I guess one day is enough to evaluate all of MacArthur’s music for anyone, according to Ollila.
Lastly, he said that MacArthur preached a true gospel, and although MacArthur might be Calvinist, Ollila himself isn’t one. This was again fundamentalism being reduced to a defense of a true gospel alone, gospel centered fundamentalism. Is that truly all that fundamentalism is? Because if not, someone should step up, but Phelps does not. Crickets.
Although Ollila really didn’t clear up the music issue, this was not and is not the main problem with MacArthur for fundamentalists. MacArthur is the most conservative, conservative evangelical, but he does not practice separation like a fundamentalist. If that were the case, then fundamentalists would be having MacArthur in to preach for them. He fellowships with Southern Baptists. He fellowships with Charismatics. That has been a no-no for fundamentalists. Ollila left that out of his evaluation, maybe because he is a simpleton, like he referred to himself. If you are simpleton, you get a pass. You get to preach at the conference, but you are excused for everything else because simpletons can pull the simpleton card. It’s a sympathy card, very convenient.
Why Ollila left NIU was because of pragmatism. He’s death on pragmatism. I’d be happy to believe that. I would call Ollila selectively death on pragmatism. Why? He’s so pragmatic. He signed on to the name change of NIU. He defended it. Why? It was pragmatic. It all depends on what kind of pragmatism you’re talking about. He blamed the changes on the PR guys that Olson brought in. Olson brought them in, but it was the PR guys’ fault. Why? He knows Olson’s heart. I know Northland had the heart conference, and I never attended it, but I hope that wasn’t the essence of it. As long as your heart is in the right place, you really, really are sincere and want it all to be good in your heart, then you’re fine. What you actually do, like hiring the PR guys that cause the demise and fall, that is excused by your “heart.” This kind of goopy sentimentalism is a big issue in fundamentalism.
It might not be the worst, but the worst part of the interview of Ollila to me was Ollila’s explanation of the superiority of being a moderate. You aren’t in the right ditch. You aren’t in the left ditch. The Bible teaches balance (where?) and you stay away from the right wingers and the left wingers and keep right down the middle. That’s the explanation of fundamentalist unity, I believe. You can unpragmatically (of course) take the right course by lopping off the extremists on either side. Who are the right wingers? They’re probably the ones who take strong positions on cultural issues. Who are the left wingers? Those are the almost-anything-goes guys. Suddenly Northland was considered right ditch as it stayed in the middle of the road. What to do? When you are a parachurch organization, looking to keep your enrollment up, you’ve got to find that sweet spot. Northland had it when Ollila was there. Success is found in finding the middle of the road, bridging the gap between both sides. That’s not how I read it in the Bible, but this is a generally acceptable idea for fundamentalism. It’s not the model for a church with the Bible as sole authority.
After watching Bob Jones University’s President Stephen Jones give BJU’s reasons for terminating GRACE from further abuse investigations I wrote the following.
Bob Jones University (BJU) was once considered by many to be the flagship of Bible Fundamentalism. Having this reputation as a fundamentalist organization did not keep BJU from various accusations such as sexual abuse. Because of these accusations BJU appointed the organization Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) “to review past instances in which it was alleged that the University may have underserved a student who reported they had been abused at some point in their lives.”1 GRACE began their investigation the 10th of January, 2013 and submitted updates in March, May, August and November of 2013.
GRACE says they were in the process of conducting the last of their interviews with the intention of “drafting the final report scheduled for publication in March.” However, the 27th of January, 2014 BJU surprised GRACE by terminating them and therefore ceasing any further investigation. BJU has also requested that GRACE keep all documents, information and interviews confidential. In other words nothing is to be exposed to the PUBLIC!
Now remember, the final report of GRACE would have been made in March, 2014 and that report would have eventually been made public. Does this termination just a few months from completion have anything to do with BJU seeking to keep something secret!?
Of course BJU gave their reasons for the termination of GRACE just as the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) gave theirs when GRACE was conducting an investigation into sexual abuse within ABWE. That GRACE investigation cost ABWE their president. It is interesting that Michael Loftis resigned as ABWE’s President before ABWE terminated GRACE but Loftis’ resignation was certainly a result of GRACE’s investigation. Now in December, 2013 BJU’s president, forty-three year old Stephen Jones, told the BJU board of trustees that he would officially be retiring in May, 2014 due to health! Coincidence!? You decide.
As for me (and this is only my personal opinion) there is something rotten at both ABWE and BJU. Both organizations seem to be suitable places for manipulation and abuse. An uneducated guess is that the resignations along with the termination of GRACE by both ABWE and BJU are similar. The similarity is that by doing these two things, along with the final GRACE report being put to rest, just maybe the smell of the rotten garbage that has been buried for so many years at both institutions will not rise to the surface for all those outside the walls of these two institutions to smell.
Both BJU and ABWE rely heavily on local churches for their support. May the Lord awaken the churches that support these two institutions to their responsibility to the Lord. If nothing is done by the churches to hurt the pockets of these two institutions (again this is my personal opinion) the garbage will continue to pile up and eventually when the rotten smell surfaces it may be too late!