In this video Dr. Les Ollila speaks out against the recent changes at Northland International University. He claims to have “lost his heart” once NIU switched from “biblicism” to “pragmatism” at the hands of “PR” people. He also attacks bloggers and those he claims refuse to be placed under authority and share the same sense of loyalty he claims. But don’t worry, he also claims not to have any “sour grapes.”
Ironically, sharing the stage with Doc O is Pastor Chuck Phelps, the former president at Maranatha Baptist Bible College, a man who has been accused of, to some degree, covering up the rape of a young girl in a church he once pastored in New Hampshire.
I, for one, am excited to see a changing of the old guard at Northland. They have a new focus on the gospel that by definition must mean a retreat from the legalism so many fundamentalists cling to for dear life. Some may think it simple “PR” or pragmatism,” but the reality of it is it’s simply grace at work. Grace allows you to see yourself for who you are and allows you to embrace other sinners just like you, even if that sinner is John MacArthur. Grace doesn’t overlook sin (as some would think when we eschew legalistic standards), but helps us to recognize and deal with the very sin legalism teaches us to hide if we are going to be accepted by the rigid standard-makers. For some this may sound like someone trying to be cool and hip in order to appeal to a broader base of people, but in reality its just an acceptance that the body of Christ consists of more than just the people in my church and my theological tradition.
We can also appreciate Biblical scholarship outside of our own traditions and learn from what God has been teaching them, refusing to limit the work of the Almighty to our chosen few. Yes, we must be discerning. However, I fear that institutions that only promote and read those they are in agreement with on every point actually foster a spirit that produced blind faith. Students in this situation are told never to question the man behind the pulpit and so never develop a mind that seeks to search the Scriptures like the Bereans. The end result of this is First Baptist of Hammond and cult of Jack Hyles worship. Let’s instead learn to love our brothers in the Lord, even if that means we must appreciate the church down the street…
Be praying for NIU as they seek the Lord’s guidance on how to proceed down this new path.