And another one bites the dust….

Sometimes I hate to be right.

A decade ago, I wrote a series of articles on my blog (don’t look for them now, I took them down some time ago) on the problems facing the Christian Colleges largely supported by Independent Baptists. (I was still ensconced in that identity at the time.) It was a serious of 3-4 articles wherein I very pointedly named about a dozen things they would need to change if they were to survive in the coming decade. It created a firestorm. The articles got 10′s of thousands of hits — particularly in cities like Pensacola, Tampa/Clearwater, Greenville, Chattanooga, Springfield, MO, etc… I was informed I was no longer welcome on the campus of one of my alma maters for daring to publicly challenge them. Another one banned faculty and students from accessing my blog. (Such childish reactions, ftr.) Others accused me of being a rabble rouser.

Today, I heard that Clearwater Christian College is closing. This follows recent announcements from Tennessee Temple that this was their last year and they were “merging” with Piedmont (which has largely become an “online” institution) and also Northland International closed its doors. Prior to that, Calvary in Lansdale, PA had closed, as had Spurgeon Baptist Bible and Atlantic Coast Baptist. (Piedmont hoovered up their assets as the last two were closing.) Baptist University died. BJU has been hemorrhaging students in recent years as has Hyles — largely due to various scandals — and most other extreme right institutions affiliated with churches are barely functioning with the possible exceptions of Crown and West Coast which are both church-based colleges which will likely disappear when their founders die off or retire.. There are a handful of tiny ones run by churches, but they have never been credible. Cedarville does well, but they have moved more mainstream with excellent academics and a recent alignment with the SBC. Pensacola can afford to give away its education due to Beka Books, but otherwise would be struggling as they still don’t have credible accreditation. BBC/Clark Summit has changed its name as they struggle to find their niche and BBC/Springfield is on life support and I predict they’ll be one of the next 2-3 to close. Boston Baptist and Davis are about as small as a school can get before it collapses without outside support. Liberty has sucked the life out of most evangelical schools as they have developed a world-class campus and a national student body base with nearly 100,000 students. Ironically, some of these schools once had robust student bodies numbers in the thousands at their peak. (BJU/TTU/BBC-Springfield had 4,000+, HAC had nearly 3,000. BBC/CS had around 1,000.)

Years ago, I noted that if these schools wanted to survive they had to start thinking regionally, instead of nationally as Liberty and Cedarville took over the national market. I wrote that the right-wing schools had to get over the fixations with music styles, Bible versions, affiliations/associations, the hyper restrictive dating and dress rules, the lack of academic freedom, the incestuous over-hiring of alumni and over-control by alumni. They had to stop their foolish disparaging of any form of accreditation or their students would leave for more credible institutions. I was right. They refused. Called me a liberal and compromiser. They disparaged my ministry — PCC refused to allow us to recruit faculty from them and the Sword of the Lord magazine did a two-part series trashing my church, me and a conference we hosted.

I wish they had listened. Now it’s too late. As has been the case with many fundamentalists I know, if they can’t control something, they’d prefer to kill it. In their mind, they won by losing. It’s really sad, if not pathetic. I was right. I wish this time I hadn’t been.

I’ll probably write more on this in a few days.  Stay tuned.

8 thoughts on “And another one bites the dust….

    1. admin Post author

      You are correct, Todd. My apologies. I was thinking of Calvary in Lansdale. I’ve corrected it.

      Reply
  1. M.Moberly, ArmyVeteran &PCC alum

    …well Dan its’ a shame you feel this way….I am curious though, why did PCC not want you to recruit for your church/ministries? (…I mean the reason other than that you’d trashed ‘em, supposedly… over the anti-right wing stuff, right?) I look forward to your new stuff in a few days hence….

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Well, the excuse they “used” in the letter they sent me was because of the music we used in our worship services at Northside Baptist Church. At that time, I had a school headmaster who was sending reports to PCC on the “direction” of our music. (He eventually went to work for them the next year.) The controversy over our music? We decided to add drums to our church orchestra. Oh my!!!! Arlin did send me a book though on the evils of contemporary music. Kind of ironic beings that the Michigan FBF circulated a letter condemning PCC for the music on their radio station. How do I know that? Arlin showed it to me personally while I sat in his office one day. (I report this because some people don’t think I really had an inside perspective of all these goings on. I did…a front row seat, in fact.)

      Is raising questions, challenging things and reporting incidents that actually happened as they happened now called “trashing”? Sorry, but I just don’t believe it is healthy to create an inbred world wherein we use intimidation and “threats” of broken fellowship to keep people from speaking truthfully about things that need to be discussed. But then again, I did get a degree from one of those horrible secular places after leaving HAC and PCC.

      Interesting perspective. If that’s your real name, I like it. Haven’t met a lot of “Moberly” folks.

      Reply
  2. Larry

    This was part of your comment to Matt Olson’s letter in defense of his compromising Northland’s ministry:
    Amen to everything Paul said.

    Amen to everything Paul said. I couldn’t have said it better.

    Kudos to Matt Olsen and Northland for refusing to genuflect before petty critics and instead seem to be renewing a commitment to giving their charges a well-rounded education by teaching them how to think Biblically, not what to think politically.

    Matt — you don’t need to worry about explaining yourself or responding to heel-nippers. Carry on and watch the Lord bless and students come to the great White North. I’m sure there are days when it feels like you are getting nibbled to death by ducks, but in the end, the institution you lead will produce strong grads because you are giving them a broader educational experience.

    When I went to your site the first thing you said was you hated being right all the time. Well, then, you should welcome your above comment proving you are not always right. Just how many “strong grads” is
    Olson producing? Having a successful and a growing ministry seems to be your measure of the correctness of an institution’s standards, and an unwillingness to change biblical convictions seems to be your self-imposed punishment for not doing so. Familiarity with Scripture would dissolve that attitude quickly. In our world where godly attitudes and convictions are not just under attack but punished it seems strange that a Christian would use such a standard.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Larry….context is everything and accuracy is essential. FIRST…I never said I “hated being right all the time”. You undermine your own argument by playing fast and loose with quotes like this — particularly when they are so easily disproven.

      Secondly, Matt and Northland and the board did “genuflect” or perhaps it would be better said, “waffled”. Remember the whole fiasco that followed (I’m sure you do as you are a Sharper Iron fan and any Northland article received 100x the attention any weightier topic might find.) Olson’s out, no Olson’s in, let’s hide our CCM band, no let’s advertise a CCM concert, etc…, etc… The BJ Network and the old guard Northland/BJU critics went to town and the board create a tornado of uncertainty that seemed to change directions and velocities every few days.

      In addition, they waited too long. They waited until things got bad and tried to find a way to stay open. In the end, it was too late and add to that the pounding of good folks like your pals on SI, too few students were willing to enroll on a ship that appeared to be sinking.

      So are you rejoicing in the demise of places like Northland and TTU who indeed tried to make changes, but were ultimately unsuccessful? Does it give you great pleasure to see them close. Does this buttress some argument you have that had they stayed “pure” they would be flourishing today?

      C’mon….you’re capable of better thought on that. OR you can try and play gotchya’ with nobodies like me….

      Reply
  3. Jonathan

    I think Temple’s “merger,” was simply so they could walk away from the property leaving it to Piedmont to get rid of assets, and, if it benefited them in the end, so be it.

    Christian colleges are being squeezed between a vise of PCC and Liberty. Fundamentalist will send their children to PCC while evangelicals will send their children to Liberty. Why send a child to Clearwater or BBC when for just a little more, or maybe the same cost, you can have all the bells and whistles of Liberty? And then there are Christian families whose financial limitations have caused them to begin to question paying tens of thousands more Christian college over secular colleges.

    My son is at BJU; he loves it. But room, board and tuition went up 4.5% for 2015-2016. Inflation was only about 2%. If schools continue to raise costs faster than inflation, they are going to be in trouble.

    A PCC rep. told me that the next two projects at the school are a 9-story boys dorm and a 9-story girls dorm, each being able to hold up to 1,000 students.

    Reply
  4. Fred

    Dan, I’m originally from Springfield, MO, and can give you an example of what’s happening with BBC. In 1969, they launched their radio station, KWFC, which is a 100,000-watt southern gospel station. Not only that, but several time, the Singing News has named KWFC as southern gospel station of the year. But in spite of that, due to BBC’s financial problems, they had been looking to sell KWFC for several years before the owners of a contemporary Christian station in Springfield decided to also buy KWFC about a year or so ago. I learned all of this from a personal friend of mine last fall when I was down in Springfield for a reunion at (S)MSU, which is where I went to college, and he and I were both huge fans of KWFC. While I personally never went to BBC, I’m sorry to hear that it’s gotten so bad that they could cease operation in the next few years. :-(

    Reply

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