Kevin Bauder critiques my recent post “Response to Tyler Robbins” beginning this way:

In Pastor Don Johnson’s description of “Convergent” evangelicals, the first item is “Anti-separatism (or at least non-separatism).” This descriptor is so vague as to be nearly incomprehensible, and to the degree that it can be comprehended it is misleading. To know what Pastor Johnson means by “anti-separatism,” we would first have to know exactly what he means by separatism. Presumably he is thinking in terms of some version of ecclesiastical separation, though exactly what his theory of ecclesiastical separation is, I have never quite been able to understand. At any rate, assuming that he is accusing “Convergents” of rejecting (or at least not implementing) ecclesiastical separation, the accusation is terribly unfair.

Even the Neoevangelicals were not completely anti-separatistic. They never argued for engaging in Christian fellowship with Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Shintoists, Jainists, Sikhs, Bahaists, Theosophists, Spiritists, Atheists, Satanists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Millennial Dawnists, or Mormons. They clearly understood that no Christian fellowship was possible with adherents of these gospel-denying systems.

It is true that I did not define what I meant by anti-separatist, but I think brother Bauder is well aware of what I mean by separatism as he goes on to describe it later in his post. I think his opening, however, is an odd attempt to muddy the waters as he argues that the New Evangelicals were somehow still a kind of separatist. If everyone is a separatist, no one is a separatist. Clearly the New Evangelicals were not for separation from theological liberalism, rather they sought to infiltrate and cooperate with liberalism for various ends, some of which Bauder lists in his post.

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He’s a separatist! He’s a separatist!

Isn’t he?

So much for the rumor that John MacArthur separated from Piper over his connections to Mark Driscoll, C J Mahaney, et al.

Yet some of our leaders are fine with cooperating on platforms with fringe members of this crowd… are they really coming our way?

an interesting point

Alex Guggenheim raises an interesting point at his blog, here. A video has been circulating around the internet where Joel Osteen’s wife Victoria exhorts Christians to be ‘happy’ because when you are happy, God is happy.

But it’s not just Victoria Osteen who thinks this way.

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One of the plagues of our day is the softening of orthodoxy among Bible-believers. I wonder how we came to this.

Kevin Bauder posted an essay recently where he discusses Bob Jones Jr, among other things. He has this to say about Dr. Bob:

Whatever else Bob Jones may have been, he was never timid. He had a tender side alright, but (and I mean none of this to be derogatory) he was a vigorous, robust, confident, assertive, tenacious, resilient, square-jawed, straight-backed, tough-as-nails, heavy-duty, industrial strength, hardnosed, bull moose, larger-than-life, uncompromising fundamentalist leader who most definitely did not suffer fools gladly. He was the captain of his team, the general of his armies, the chieftain of his tribe, the commander of his troops, the admiral of his fleet, and the master of his domain.

Having known and loved Dr. Bob, I would say that this description is pretty well accurate. Dr. Bob was not shy about his convictions. He was also as warm-hearted as a man could be, at least in my experience. [Read more…]

a strange thing about Strange Fire

I’m listening to the audio of the Strange Fire conference. Good stuff for the most part. I am sure there are points to quibble with in content from time to time, no one gets it one hundred percent right all the time. I have to say, overall, that this is an impressive effort. I encourage everyone to listen. Having said that, there are two things that stick in my craw, one is perhaps minor, the other may be major.

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article on Mohler’s BYU visit

Just a heads up in case you don’t follow Proclaim & Defend every day (you should!)… I put up a post today raising questions about Al Mohler’s recent appearance at Brigham Young University.


sad story

I don’t know how else to describe the turn of events at NIU. I truly am sorry to see the continued turmoil. While I disagree with the chosen direction, I wish no ill will to NIU or to Matt Olson, former classmate and hopefully still a friend in spite of differences.

What next for Northland? I was talking to another educator yesterday and when he got over the shock of hearing this news his first comment was, “I don’t see how they can open in September.” How indeed. Sad story.

not naming names

But hitting the bulls-eye dead center.

For a pastor to chart a new course which effectively empties the church until the only ones remaining agree with him is unethical. For the leader of a service organization to pursue a new direction that leaves the organization vulnerable to collapse unless people go along with his choices is simply wrong. This is not servant leadership. Really it is not leadership at all; it is coercion. The congregation or organization is not allowed to make a free, informed choice about its new course or direction. The leader has imposed his will, not served. …

A genuine servant leader lives within the stewardship boundaries outlined for him in the governing documents of his church or ministry. If he finds himself in conflict with those, he either removes himself or calls for the church or ministry to reconsider its position. If he does the latter, he does that first, not after positioning things so that saying no will lead to catastrophic consequences. Leaving people no choice but to bend to your will is the antithesis of servant leadership.

Read the whole thing.



A few thoughts on the sudden about-face of Northland International “University”:

Clearly what we have witnessed is a power struggle. The conservative members of the board were able to get enough backing to fire Matt Olson, but the family spoke, the decision of the board was reversed, and according to some reports, all non-family members of the board resigned.

Which leads one to conclude that the board was a sham, the real power at NI”U” lies with the Patz family.

And one would have to think that the conservatives made a mistake in allowing Matt to continue through graduation, though perhaps they didn’t have enough clout to pull that off.

Clearly, the whiplash effect is an embarrassment – NI”U” is a sham school. It is hard to see how they have any credibility going forward. Will they have more than 200 students next year? Would you risk your hard earned $$$ to send a student there?

The chirping at SI by some that says this is showing leadership is incredibly amusing. Apparently these folks have no clue about leadership or integrity.

It’s a pretty sad situation. Hard to imagine how quickly this situation has deteriorated. Hard to see any way out for the Patz family and their play school.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

end of an era or a stepping stone?

I’ve been on the road all day, literally. Read about the termination of Matt Olson as president of Northland International University somewhere between Cache Creek and Kamloops, BC. I was more than a little astonished.

I’m not writing to pontificate today. I am sorry to see Matt lose his post, though I have been a very vocal critic of the positions he has been taking over the last few years. Matt and I were classmates and I think at one time I could have counted him as a friend. I doubt that he thinks of me in that way any longer.

His announcement by way of his public letter was very gracious. I applaud him for it. I haven’t seen the chapel session, probably won’t. Don’t have time this week and it will be old news by next week. But I expect it was handled in a similar fashion. I hope that Matt does well in the future and I also hope that he will come out in a better position with respect to fundamentalism / evangelicalism and holiness / worldliness.

Where does NIU go from here? It depends on who they select as a new president. One could wonder if anyone in their right mind would want the job, but surely some courageous soul will take it. Who that is will give us an indication whether the experiment with evangelicalism is over or we are merely moving to phase 2.