Update: BJU has now posted Mazak’s sermon, “Worship: Casual or Reverent?” here.
Northland International University, a long-time “sister institution” of BJU, is making some waves this year by openly condoning a cardinal sin of fundamentalism: Christian rock. While we won’t detail every change and decision that’s led them to this point, suffice to say NIU is endorsing a praise and worship band, Redeemed, via its website. It’s creating quite a stir among BJU-affiliated folks (who are often Northland-affiliated as well). While even a quick scan of the Twitter or Facebook pages of BJU students would tell you that they’re not strangers to Hillsong, Chris Tomlin and the like, BJU itself is still very much entrenched in “the worship wars” and thus can’t be seen as agreeing with what Northland considers “appropriate change” in this area.
Sharper Iron has had several long-running forum posts with all sides chiming in on the issue. Many BJU-affiliated figures took to SI to fret about the “change” and “compromise” taking place in this area, including Aniol, Mike Harding (who posted this lengthy and characteristic comment), and others. Many of the SI commenters seem especially preoccupied with the evil affects of “urban culture” and how to keep it out of their churches.
BJU had so far refrained from officially commenting on the issue. It appears that yesterday, however, the school began a kind of campaign to re-assert their conservative views on music in light of Northland’s compromise. According to a source at the University, Greg Mazak, Psychology Division Chairman at BJU, preached a message in Chapel yesterday on “appropriate worship”, specifically focusing on dress. Mazak argued for the necessity of “suits, ties and dresses” when attending church. Although it has not been posted to Sermon Audio (as is becoming the norm with controversial messages), we feel sure from our source that this message is part of a broader initiative from BJU to distance itself from Northland and any ministry that tries to evolve on the music issue. More info as it becomes available.