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GodHimself IsWith Us
Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to us by an individualwho wishes to remain anonymous. For other posts related to recentcontroversy over changes in music at Northland InternationalUniversity, see “Should differences over music philosophy hindercooperation between Christians?” and “Thoughts on Music notBeing a Controversy When It Really is.” We also recognize thatmany readers of this site have no connections with NIU. If that’syou, move along…
Dear Northland Student,
E J O U R N A LE J O U R N A L
C A T E G O R I E SC A T E G O R I E S
R E C E N T B L O GR E C E N T B L O GP O S T SP O S T S
An Open Letter to NorthlandStudents
Irreverent and Culpable
I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’llblow my imaginaryargument down!
Thoughts on Music not Beinga Controversy When ItReally is
The Power and Place ofRidicule
R E C E N T B L O GR E C E N T B L O GC O MM E N T SC O MM E N T S
Kevin on Thoughts on Music
An Open Letter toNorthland Students
by ANONYMOUS on APRIL 15 , 2 013 ·∙ LEAVE A COMMENT
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Seriously. Do you really want a Christian college that’s hipand relevant? Do you want to attend a school that does notpolice your personal preferences? Where worship is led bypraise bands? Where the only dress code is “modesty”?
Then why are youin Dunbar,Wisconsin?! Don’tyou realize thatthere are dozens ofother colleges anduniversities just likewhat Northland istrying to become,
yet with superior academic programs in a far better location?
I mean, don’t get me wrong. Northland has a wonderful,caring faculty and administration, and all . . . . But there are somany other schools where you can earn your degree and nothave to deal with 40 degree below zero wind chill, whiletechnically living in a clearing in the woods.
Now, back in my Northland days there were some very uniquethings about the school, and I could understand the decision toattend then. Northland Baptist Bible College, as it was calledin those days, was one of the few Christian colleges you couldattend where the leadership still articulated a position forconservatism in worship. They taught the students the dangersof acquiescing to the culture, and the importance of shining asa sanctified light for Christ, not merely offering the world awatered-‐‑down version of what they already have. They werenot beholden to any other school, but tenaciously maintained
D O N A T ED O N A T E
R E C E N T T W E E T SR E C E N T T W E E T S
There are plenty of people committing acts ofprofanity and irreverence in the name of God.ow.ly/k0FVQ 2 days ago
Irreverent and Culpable ow.ly/k0qwY2 days ago
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not Being a ControversyWhen It Really is
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Christian distinctives. They taught “institutional standards”—a particular dress code, stricter disciplinary measures thansome of the other schools, and so forth. These were not“biblical standards,” we were told, but necessary disciplinesfor a college setting; for, as Dr. O used to explain to us everysemester, there was a certain product they wanted. “We arenot,” he said in a message on 2 Timothy 2, “here to playChristian college. We are training soldiers for battle.” I confessthat kind of language sounds strange now in the context of thepostmodern, softer Christianity in vogue.
But come to think of it, I remember many of Dr. O’s bi-‐‑annualchapel messages. He was very good at helping us tounderstand the big picture of how we were honoring God asan institution. At least once a year, using an overheadprojector, Dr. O. would draw the illustration of a boat in thewater. Then he would explain how when you’re sitting in theboat you don’t realize that it’s moving until you look up andrealize how far you’ve drifted from shore. That is why, hesaid, our lives and ministries need an “anchor point”: to keepus from drifting. And the anchor point is ultimately the Wordof God. Those are great memories for me and they have helpedto shape my own life and ministry over the years.
But I imagine that Dr. O’s chapel message stopped gettingpreached somewhere along the way, because in the last fewyears several of us have looked up to realize just how farNorthland has drifted from its position on popular culture. Butperhaps you have no issue with this. You think it’s great. Thereasoned explanations of how “nothing has changed” makesense to you and, after all, the relaxed “standards” and kindsof music being offered as worship are what you have grown
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up with anyway.
So this leads meback to my originalquestion. Why areyou still in Dunbar?Why don’t youcome to one ofseveral otherconservativelyorthodox schoolsthat take the same position on aesthetics—only with thefacility and personnel to provide a superior academicprogram? There is a great private college near us. It’s small,like many private colleges; only about 500 students—but Iunderstand that the enrollment at your school has dwindledfar below that in recent years. The school I’m thinking of has abeautiful, historic brick campus. Spring is here, and with it thewarm weather. (Can you imagine warm weather in April inDunbar? Sorry to bring that up.) Soon the magnolias will beblossoming and their fragrance will fill the campus air.
You want progressive, relevant worship? They have amagnificent chapel building with two trap sets on stage—I’veseen them. And I’m sure they have talented college studentson the worship team. They advertise several conferences eachyear with special guest artists leading the worship—evenrappers and Reggae artists. And they have great chapelspeakers from all over the evangelical world. Do you want tolearn in an environment where everyone simply loves the Lordand music and personal standards are not the first thing thatpeople wonder about you? You would probably love this
But maybe you’d rather have snow on the ground eight tonine months out of the year; or drive miles and miles tocivilization; or have to dress in bright orange to avoid beingshot during deer season. But what about the fact that this isyour college degree we’re talking about? You wantaccomplished faculty? Why make such a fuss about having avisiting professor from a major school on your campus, whenyou could actually have the opportunity to study under one?Come sit under and interact with the authors of the bookswhich may only appear as reading assignments in your syllabi.These men and women hold degrees from leading universities.Stellar academics. Excellent accreditation. And talk about“heart”! I visited the campus once, and was delighted todiscover that every time I passed a group of students Ioverheard something about what the Lord is teaching them,how he is working in their lives, what they were wrestlingwith in the Scriptures, or their plans for future ministry. Andnot only do they have heart, but they also have intellect. And Idon’t mean that the school is liberal in their theology; they areas conservative theologically as your own school. Do you wantto study missions? Their missions program is one of the best.Their graduates received exceptional training and serve allover the world. And all of this on a campus where no one, tomy knowledge, gives progressive worship styles a secondthought.
If this school would not be your choice, there are dozens ofothers as well. I just wanted you to realize that there are manyother choices for you, now that your college is trying tobecome like all the rest. Or, perhaps somewhere there is
another school still struggling to maintain Christianuniqueness in all areas. But you may have to look very hard tofind one.
A sincere and concerned brother in Christ
Related Posts:Should differences over music philosophy hindercooperation between Christians?
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