Honesty. Integrity. Transparency.

Some people talk a lot about such things. The cynic suspects that those who talk most about these topics give the least evidence of their internal presence. As if talking will substitute for the real thing.

For example, my most recent post highlighted a chapel speaker at Northland International University in recent days. It included a link to a recent worship service at the church where the speaker is the pastor. I encourage you to check out that link today.

  • A sample of the “worship” at this church.
    Today, April 27, 2013, this  is what you get when you click that link:
This is a private video. Do you have permission to watch it? If so please provide the correct password.

Honesty. Integrity. Transparency.

Yeah, you can get that in spades from NIU and its friends.

Below is the “Core Values” page of NIU (emphasis added):

Philosophy of Education

The goal of Northland International University is to provide an atmosphere of academic excellence and classroom discipleship to prepare servant-leaders for Great Commission living. True education produces individuals with “both hands of skill and hearts for God” (Psalm 78:72). The Northland International University faculty is committed to train individuals whose chief desire is to serve the Lord so that they will be motivated to serve others in their chosen field of ministry.

Northland rejects the idea of a value-free education and believes that truth is centered in Jesus Christ and that all knowledge should be related to Him. Northland believes that the Bible should be the philosophical foundation for all subject matter and that it is a faithful guide for all curricular and pedagogical decisions. By committing to carefully and purposefully delivering truth in the classroom, Northland seeks to produce future servant-leaders who can likewise communicate biblical truth with clarity and passion.

To accomplish this goal, Northland strives to offer courses that provide students with both academic theory and character development in a rich, hands-on learning environment. This emphasis allows Northland to equip students with the ability to confront the unforeseen challenges of the future while enabling them to have immediate success in a variety of ministry settings. In order to continue their education and to graduate, Northland students must demonstrate both academic competence and godly character consistent with the vision, values, and philosophy of the institution’s mission and ministry.

Purpose Statement

Preparing the next generation of servant-leaders for Great Commission living

Mission Statement

The mission of Northland International University is to glorify God (1) by providing an educational environment for developing servant-leaders in honesty, obedience, wisdom, and service to love Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, and mind and (2) by teaching students to live by the principles of God’s Word, to walk with God as His faithful laborers, and to serve in local churches for revival, world evangelization, and the discipling of future generations for the cause of Jesus Christ.
Statement of Practice

Northland International University stands firmly in the stream of Baptist faith and practice. We recognize the need for a Bible college to rekindle a fervor and zeal for the ministry both at home and abroad. Each major is saturated with Bible and doctrine courses as well as practical ministerial training courses, both of which are vital in preparing and training students for life and ministry.

Institutional Objectives

We aim to direct students to:

  • Grow in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to love Him with all their hearts, souls, and minds.
  • Develop hearts for God and conformity to Christ’s character in academics, attitudes, and actions.
  • Strike a biblical balance in their lives between holiness and love, the external and the internal.
  • Build and defend their faith.
  • Grasp the polemical (attacking the error) and the apologetical (stating the truth).
  • Grasp the exegetical (opening their minds to the Word in private) and the affirmational (opening their mouths to the world in public).
  • Gain confidence in holding their views and humility in expressing them.
  • Live in godliness and faithfulness by developing the following patterns: walking in the Spirit; learning and living the principles of God’s Word; establishing daily devotions, Scripture memorization, and an effective prayer life; and serving in the local church and reaching others for Christ.
  • Demonstrate the love of Christ by reaching the unsaved for Christ and by strengthening and discipling other Christians.
  • Have a burden for worldwide missions and to prepare laborers for worldwide evangelism.
  • Develop their academic potential to the fullest for the glory of God and the good of others.
The Seal

We have chosen the Northland International University logo to be a constant reminder of our mission and core values: the four missional lines from Acts 1:8 crossing our four core values of honesty, obedience, wisdom, and service.


Being transparent with God and others


Doing what I should do, when I should do it, how I should do it, and with the right heart attitude and spirit toward the authority asking me to do it


Skill, ability, and insight gained from God’s Word for the purpose of living a life that honors and glorifies God


Investing my life (personal relationships, personal plans or priorities, and personal possessions or pleasures) in ministry for the good of others rather than for the pleasure or advancement of self.

Our desire is that Northland will encourage others to experience “an extraordinary life.” May God be glorified throughout all His creation, and may the good news of Jesus Christ be preached to the ends of the earth!

Code of Conduct

To preserve the integrity and philosophy of ministry at Northland, we have established the following standards of biblical conduct, as further explained throughout our policies and procedures.

  • Dedication to God: an unreserved, life time commitment to God (Romans 12:1–2)
  • Devotion to Others: an unselfish, sacrificial love for others (1 Corinthians 13; Mark 10:44)
  • Disciplined Living: a sustained, daily effort to be controlled and directed by the Holy Spirit (1Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 9:25–27)
  • Dependable Spirit: doing what I ought to do (1 Corinthians 4:2; Proverbs 25:19)
  • Discerning Mind: the ability to see people and circumstances as they really are (Hebrews 5:14; 1 Corinthians 2:14)
  • Discreet Lifestyle: the ability to avoid words, actions, and attitudes that are not pleasing to God (Psalm 112:5; Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:29–30)
  • Discipleship Ministry: transferring convictions to others (Matthew 28:19–20; 2 Timothy 2:2)


Don’t send your kids to Northland

“Thank you Steve for your contributions to the church!” – Matt Olson, sharing a link to this video music presentation on his Facebook page.

Really, in my opinion, you shouldn’t send your kids to Northland International University. The school and its president have taken a strange turn – this is the latest example. Several of Matt’s friends on Facebook, mutual friends of ours, protested at this link in the comments that followed. You won’t find those protests any longer, they’ve been deleted (after Matt responded to one).

The latest comment, “Have you been hacked, Matt?” Alas, if it were only that simple. I’m afraid all of us who once supported Northland have been hacked.

Don’t send your kids there, you will be very disappointed.


hear! hear!

Dave Doran on things that annoy him in blogging debates.

Just thought the world should know that I agree with every point in Dave’s post.


defining ‘conservative evangelical’

A couple of my recent reading sources lead me to look at the term ‘conservative evangelical’ from a different perspective other than my normal ‘rabid fundamentalism’. One source is a book edited by Timothy George and David Dockery, Theologians of the Baptist Tradition. The other is an article by Michael Clawson appearing on Roger Olson’s site, “Young, Restless, and Fundamentalist: Neo-fundamentalism among American Evangelicals(HT: Sharper Iron).

Both of these sources come at the question from the evangelical side of the spectrum, in the case of Clawson and Olson, it is on the outside of conservative evangelicalism looking in, whereas George and Dockery are more or less on the inside of the movement. Both sources offer some interesting observations of the so-called ‘conservative evangelical’ movement.

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the Jakes-shakes continue

Another blog reacting to the TD Jakes invitation and defense by James MacDonald.

What makes this one interesting is…

  • That the author is a pastor in the Harvest Bible Fellowship, James MacDonald’s organization.
  • That the author is a graduate of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary
  • That some of the author’s co-bloggers are also graduates of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. (One is the son of a very close friend from ‘back in the day’.)

Given those connections, the separatistic bent of the blog post makes a bit more sense. (Although it remains to be seen if actual separation will take place.)

Along with making the post make a bit more sense, these facts raise some interesting questions:

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elephantine update

Thabiti Anyabwile comments on the Mark Driscoll / James MacDonald / T. D. Jakes love-in. You need to read it.

Money quote:

 And we kid ourselves if we think the Elephant Room invitation itself isn’t an endorsement of sorts.  We can’t downplay the associations by calling for people to suspend judgment and responding ad hominem against “discernment bloggers.”  We certainly can’t do that while simultaneously pointing to our association at The Gospel Coalition as a happy certification of orthodoxy and good practice, as Driscoll seems to do here with MacDonald. [emphasis added]

What a blessing it would be if men like Thabiti and the more conservative evangelicals would finally see that this is the crux of the fundamentalist-evangelical divide, and then get on the right side of it.


is a modalist a Christian?

First, what is modalism?

Modalism maintains that there is one God who manifests Himself successively as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but who is not contemporaneously all three. [Believer’s Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), Glossary.]

The ESV Study Bible expands on this with this paragraph:

One of the most fundamental ways to misunderstand the Trinity is tritheism, which overemphasizes the distinction between the persons of the Trinity and ends up with three gods. This view neglects the oneness of the natures of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. At the other end of the spectrum is the heresy of modalism (also known as Sabellianism, named after its earliest proponent, Sabellius, 3rd century), which loses the distinctions between the persons and claims that God is only one person. In this view, the appearance of the three persons is merely three modes of existence of the one God. For instance, God reveals himself as Father when he is creating and giving the law, as Son in redemption, and as Spirit in the church age. A contemporary version of modalism is found in the teaching of Oneness Pentecostalism. [Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2514-15.]

Sabellius, the man usually credited as the earliest proponent of the view was excommunicated by the Bishop of Alexandria in 260 or 261. The Sabellians appealed to Rome (the church in Rome played an early leading role, but there was as yet no papacy). In 262, the Bishop of Rome held a council and condemned Sabellius and his modalism along with tri-theism and subordinationism (an early variant of what would become Arianism).

False doctrines like modalism were condemned by the church in the third and fourth centuries. That settles the question, right?

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hippo critter?

It’s all very well to call the young, the restless, and the reformed to maturity and discernment, but… well, just read the comments following the post.


a summary: Worldliness edited by Mahaney

My review of Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, C. J. Mahaney, ed. turned out a little longer than I intended. I reviewed the book chapter by chapter, you can find each individual review here: Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six.

As I think back over these reviews, each chapter review was written as a ‘first impression’. My first impressions may be  more negative than need be. It is easy to be a critic. On the whole, I think that the book has some merit, in spite of my criticisms. However, it is not a book I can recommend on the subject of worldliness because of two weaknesses.

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Mahaney: “Worldliness,” ch. 6

Review: Chapter 6 – “How to Love the World” by Jeff Purswell in Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, C. J. Mahaney, ed.

A friend of mine loaned me his copy of this little book for my review. Since it is a compilation of six essays by five Sovereign Grace Ministries clergymen, I thought it best to review the book section by section. Previously: Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five.

Jeff Purswell writes the last chapter of this book. He is dean of the Pastors College of Sovereign Grace Ministries and on the pastoral staff of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

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