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.