Picked up a copy of the "Toronto Easter Bible conference" flyer at Bridlegrove today and noticed the speaker for the March 25 & 26th conference was none other than J.B. (Jabe) Nicholson. I always enjoy listening to Jabe, and I hear lately that he is planning to cut back on his preaching schedule so he can dedicate more time to evangelism and spreading the gospel! Good for him! Seems he is tired of the status quo of full-time workers just doing the preaching circuit, filling the pulpit sunday after sunday, and that is good to hear from someone who has a measure of "sway" with folks in conservative assemblies.
There has been, however, some controversy on the discussion forum about Jabe's stance on Calvinism and the sense of "hero worship" that follows him in our circles. In the Easter conference flyer it describes him as being "held in high regard as a Bible teacher", and rightly so. I don't think we put guys like him on a pedastal for no reason. The guy knows his Bible and it is nice to listen to him. Some, however, have issues with, what they call, his "cult/vatican" in grand rapids.
Now myself personally I have not waded into the whole calvanism debate, but from my experience with some assemblies it is true they have made it a bigger issue than it needs to be. As for the "cult" idea, I think the issue there is that Jabe knows the scripture better than most of us, and, just like in any profession, you look to those more knowledgeable than yourself. I don't think Jabe is the "cult leader", but rather, over the years folks have looked to him as some spiritual overseer. People in the conservative assemblies have put him on that pedistal, not himself.
can you comment further on your comment; "I can say I get upset with the hardcore antagonism of the Grand Rapids cult (i.e. Nicholsonism)" !?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Yes. What I mean by, "hardcore antagonism", is that Jabe Nicholson has been steadily cramming his lower leg further and further down his throat on the issue of Calvinism every time he speaks on it, following in the dog crap-laden footprints of Dave Hunt on this issue, I suppose. I think he's just nearing his knee by now. He wants to make it an issue of contention, rather than build consensus...
As for the Cult itself, I'm sorry, the Nicholson "name brand" carries a value far outstripping its worth, I'm afraid. And I have heard many stories (which were communicated to me in confidence, I'm afraid), of the promotion done by that group of Nicholson-worshippers. They've created a minivatican in Grand Rapids for themselves, and I'm altogether underwhelmed by the quality of work they put out. I myself have been in a conference where it was like there should be some sort of hushed awe (like Mr. Burns got when he announced the worker of the week awards...lol) when he takes the stage. And then I listened to what he said, and while it wasn't horrible, it wasn't anything that I felt immediately compelled to jump up and call everybody I've ever known about.
I remember talking to Jabe's dad, Boyd Sr., when he was speaking in PEI at a conference on the high-priest's garments. He had this huge picture of the high-priest with all the urrim & thummin and stuff. Boyd Sr. told me how he had been able to learn the Bible so well. From his youth, an older man had taken Boyd Sr. under his wing. Every Sunday this older man would have him over for lunch and "disciple" him. Hours and hours of Bible teaching. The man would challenge and test, give Boyd homework. "Granted" he said "most of it went over my head, but alot of it stuck". So Nicholson Sr. was discipled something that is terribly lacking in our assemblies today.
The other thing that helped Boyd Sr. to become such a good Bible teacher was that he became the editor of some christian publication back way before uplook (can't remember), and he was required to write in this publication daily comments on every verse in the entire Bible. So he learned a systematic, complete overview of scripture, something which also is lacking in our assemblies. No wonder people flocked to him with googley eyes as he expounded the scripture better than anyone else out there.
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