BREAKING: MBI President & COO Resign; Provost Retires

The Moody Bible Institute today announced the resignations of President Paul Nyquist and Chief Operating Officer Steve Mogck, and the retirement of Provost Junias Venugopal. As I first reported Friday, the administration was facing serious allegations including allowing professors who deny the inerrancy of Scripture to teach at the institute and write curriculum; permitting a top education official to violate the institute’s bylaws repeatedly; fostering an atmosphere of fear and intimidation; and refusing to allow shared governance with faculty as stipulated by the Higher Learning Commission

I am heartened the board took this action, though as I reported yesterday,the problems at Moody extend to the board and some board members need to own their complicity and responsibilty and resign too.  Here’s the letter Moody sent today to employees:

Dear Moody Family,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, let me thank you for your service to Christ, your dedication to Moody Bible Institute, and commitment to be in prayer for the ministry at this time. We often refer to the Moody family, which is how we see all of you. We apologize for coming to you so late in the day, but given the nature of the news we are sharing, we felt it best to communicate with you as soon as possible. As you know, the Board of Trustees has been discussing issues related to widespread concerns over the direction of Moody. Today, we accepted the resignations of President, Dr. Paul Nyquist; Chief Operating Officer, Steve Mogck; and the retirement of Provost, Dr. Junias Venugopal. Let there be no mistake that the Board of Trustees holds these three men in high regard for their ethical, moral, and spiritual leadership. They are godly, honorable men to whom we entrust to the Lord and offer our deep gratitude for their years of faithful service to Christ and to Moody. However, we are unanimous in our decision that it is time for a new season of leadership. I ask that you be in prayer for them and their families. While we begin to develop plans for a nationwide search and prayerfully seek the Lord’s direction for these important positions, we are encouraged that the Lord has provided a strong leadership team to step into these roles in the interim. Greg Thornton, Senior Vice President of Media, will serve as Interim President during our search. Mark Wagner, a member of our Board, who is former president of, and now a consultant to, Walgreen’s, will serve as Interim Chief Operating Officer. In addition, Dr. John Jelinek, Vice President and Dean of Moody Theological Seminary, will serve as Interim Provost. Understandably, there are many questions at this time. Please know that we are working diligently through everything, and will stay in regular contact with you first, our Moody family, and with our many partners and friends as well. I ask for your prayers for the Board, our interim leadership team, and the entire Moody community during this next season. God has been faithful to Moody since 1886, and we continue to seek His favor as we move forward.

Randy Fairfax Chair, Board of Trustees

A previous version of this post said that Dr. Venugopal had resigned instead of retired.  Sorry for the confusion.

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63 thoughts on “BREAKING: MBI President & COO Resign; Provost Retires

  1. Jim

    I just got this same letter via email, and I’m a student in the seminary – Maui have gone out to the entire student body as well as employees.

    • Jim

      *must….auto-correct

  2. Michael Shell

    Which professors deny inerrancy? You have failed to add any detail or evidence to this salacious allegation.

    • Bob

      Good question. Two examples were given to support the idea that liberalism is significantly impacting Moody from within: professors who deny inerrency and one professor who supports planned parenthood and liberation theology. It’s unclear how many professors deny inerrency (no example was given) to know whether it is a very few isolated cases or widespread as it seems to be implied.

      • Scott

        My daughter, a current student, identified are least 2 while she was home for Christmas.

        But if you have even one it’s enough to start the rot of liberalism. How many toes have to be infected with gangrene before you start loping of pieces of foot?

        • Gloria Austin

          Absolutely correct Scott. A Professor at WHEATON College (who is aligned with Islam) was a “revered” Teacher at the school .
          1. How was she accepted by Wheaton as a professor?
          2. How was she allowed to hold a news conference-standing with Wheaton students, other “Christian”Professors, and “Christian” politicians, and proclaim “We all worship the same god.”
          I watched as all nodded and smiled in agreement.
          3.Why was she allowed to wear Muslim headdress on campus to promote solidarity with Islam?

          It only takes ONE enemy in the camp. SCRIPTURE clearly teachers not to align HIS TRUTH with darkness. This is not politically correct “Islamaphobia.” THIS IS TRUTH.

      • Cheryl

        “A few isolated cases” denying foundational truth would be a pretty big deal in a small college. I too am interested in hearing names, but I would be more interested in knowing if they have cleaned house. Even when I was a student (early 90s) the occasional professor teaching contrary to stated doctrine was tolerated if popular enough and if willing to hold a certain level of discretion.

    • MBI Family

      I believe the details will be forthcoming at some point. The faculty have raised these issues and have typically been rebuffed. As the saying goes, privacy is still the order of the day until it’s right to shed light on the details. The facts are pretty well known within the well connected MBI family, so no, they are not salacious allegations. They are pretty serious and substantiated – just not to the general public. Sorry, that’s all you’ll get for now.

    • Michael. At this point it is more than an allegation. I also think you should look up salacious in a dictionary.

    • John

      Clive Craigen is at least one of the professors that they claims are leveled against. I am a graduate and had Craigen as a professor. Cant think of a professor thats more worthy of being let go.

      • Bob

        He’s the only faculty member that has been identified as an issue for those arguing liberalism making its way into Moody. If there are others, why are they not being identified? Do they really exist?

  3. J

    Dear Julie,

    Thank you for your coverage of the happenings at Moody–I do want to say that I applaud the board’s decision and am sorry for the loss of your position….but, it seems that the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater on some of these issues. Since all of this publicity has come out Moody has, I’m sure, lost donors and future students. There was wrongdoing at Moody–that is for sure–but there is also a highly skilled faculty that continues to teach (and hold to) orthodox evangelical doctrine. The entire Bible-Theo department is incredibly strong–and that hasn’t really been noted anywhere–not to mention the professors in other departments at Moody that continue to teach students truth and the reality of Christ crucified without a “liberal” theology or secularization of doctrine.

    I am glad that the board recognized that Nyquist, etc. had to go in order to rebuild, but I also hope that your readers recognize Moody is not a liberal institution–in terms of 99% of it’s professors and students that bear the Moody name or dream of going there, should be proud of their school and its Gospel preaching faculty.

    • Bob

      Based on this website and the broken twig website it would seem to the public that moody profs are now predominately liberal, whether that is really the case or not, that’s what is clearly implied and the average person who does not attend wouldn’t know if this was not the case.

  4. KR Emery

    An encouraging beginning. Hopefully it will be followed up by a transparent vetting of ALL the current issues raised here, and a rollback of the damage done at the Institute itself.

    As an alumnus, I find it disheartening that when staff position cuts across the board averaged 10%, those of faculty were practically one-third! (Which if my math is right, means those across the rest of the global enterprise were well BELOW the 10%.., so more like 5% vs 30%?? That is a drastic lopsidedness.) This looks to go well beyond trimming fat into cutting muscle. Tied with the concerns that many of those let go were the most vocal on issues of core Biblical integrity like inerrancy, I am hoping to see either some very deliberate reversals of these dismissals, or a clear & convincing accountability that assures us the Institute is not drifting the way so many other schools & denominations have.

    At this point, it will take concrete actions NOT well-spun PR & spiritualized maneuvering like ‘calls for unity’ before I am comfortable recommending young folks to apply to MBI again.

  5. KR Emery

    PS. For the record, I have no personal ax to grind here. Though my wife & I enjoyed a few hours visit for a day about 5 years ago, we have been just cheering on the MBI sidelines from either East or West Coast for many decades now. I believe the last time we were employees (food-service & typing pool) was way back in 1976!

  6. Chong Shimray

    Was this line in the letter even necessary “Let there be no mistake that the Board of Trustees holds these three men in high regard for their ethical, moral, and spiritual leadership.”? Their resignation shouldn’t have been accepted then. To show diplomacy is fine but it’s incorrect to say what is not. Anyway, at least things are happening!

    • P Wyman

      I agree. They should not insult anyone’s intelligence.

  7. Eric Bartl

    From many of the things that have been documented it appears there needs to be a repentance or a replacement of some on the Executive Board as well for there to be true restoration of trust and for their to be a clear sign that MBI seeks restoration as a place where honoring Christ and biblical correctness comes first. I also don’t see how they will restore trust as long as Julie remains fired and as long as the professors/staff who support gay marriage and abortion remain unfired. If there are professors with bad theology of course that needs to be dealt with as well. And they should really review their faculty lay-off decision. One MBI graduate (more recent than I) said, “Considering they fired every one of the best professors I had is not encouraging.”

  8. Bob

    They may have added that to avoid a law suit from those that resigned, or because of the view that those who resigned did so not because they or the board thought they actually did something wrong, but to restore public trust and institutional reputation

  9. PTL I have been praying specifically Moody’s revival and for Dr. Nyquist that he be convicted of the truth. This is an answer to prayer. May the healing begin.

  10. Eric Bartl

    From many of the things that have been documented it appears there needs to be a repentance or a replacement of some on the Executive Board as well for there to be true restoration of trust and for there to be a clear sign that MBI seeks restoration as a place where honoring Christ and biblical correctness are the focus. I also don’t see how they will restore trust as long as Julie Roys remains fired and as long as the professors/staff who support gay marriage and abortion remain unfired. If there are professors with bad theology of course that needs to be dealt with as well. And they should really review their faculty lay-off decision. One MBI graduate (more recent than I) said, “Considering they fired every one of the best professors I had is not encouraging.”

  11. Cynthia

    Julie, you took a stand for truth. Thank you. I prayed that those involved would repent and resign for the glory of God and that the witness and reputation of Christ be restored to Moody Bible Institute. 🕊️✝️🕊️

  12. Mark

    If they are men “held in high regard for their ethical, moral and spiritual leadership”, then why have they been excused from their positions of leadership? This is a very sad situation. Our great God forgives sin, but they must go.

  13. Todd and Andria

    100% agreed, KR Emery! The cuts seem to be agenda driven and need to be suspended until a thorough investigation can be made.

  14. Brian

    Julie, do you have an association with the Broken Twig blog/group? I’m only recently aware of them through reading their comments left on your past few stories covering MBI. At first I thought they might be moderators for you with how they were engaging in the comments, but their responses sometimes have outright attacked commenters (including Jerry Jenkins) instead of addressing the content. For example…

    “Can you really not see what’s going on here? How are you even attempting to defend Nyquist and his indefensible record? Are you that blind?” January 10, 2018 at 9:30 am from the ‘A Luxury Suite…’ story.

    I am sorry to hear of the loss of your job through this. I respect you from the times we’ve crossed paths at Moody and how I have seen you handling things here. I am praying for you and your family, and for Moody. God bless.

  15. Great job bringing down this reign of terror.

    Julie I think you really pulled something off here. You remind me of something I heard once (see below) and you were the one person to step up and make something happen! Good for you!

    There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word ‘council’ must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man

    • ME

      I work at Moody. I would hardly call this a reign of terror. If you haven’t been at Moody you have no right to try and characterize it.

      • Great job bringing down this reign of terror. REPLYING TO “ME”

        I think you should do a google search of the second paragraph in my post “ME” it might reveal some meaning to help you understand my comment better! If you do please reply here so I’ll know you did.

  16. Pam Bever

    Julie, I am hoping that in light of today’s developments(resigning of 2, retirement of 1) that Greg Thornton will do the right thing and offer you your job back. Why? Because cleaning the sin out of the camp is to be rewarded, not shamed or pushed out. As the saying goes “All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men/women to do nothing.” For this you have my respect. I truly believe that you acted for the right reasons. Thank You!

    • Ken

      Please, somebody, enlighten me. What role did Julie Royce play in all this?

  17. Truth Teller

    D. L. Moody and R. A. Torrey would not have stood for the direction Nyquist and the others have taken the school. I am VERY glad Nyquist especially is gone. Now Moody needs to get a theologically sound, morally sound, and Godly man into the helm. They also need to completely disassociate from Jerry “Deep Pockets” Jenkins and not see money as the premier qualifier for leadership – because it is NOT. Thank God that time and truth go hand in hand.

  18. Gloria Austin

    Julie Roys chose not to remain silent. May Christians be empowered not to be “casual observers” in the midst of wrongdoing- in any capacity

    • Jennifer

      Agreed. We need a hashtag movement in evangelicalism to expose wrongdoing of all kinds. Christians are bullied into not speaking out when they should, behind the shield of misapplied Scripture. SPEAK UP and SPEAK OUT, church!

  19. Jennifer

    Glad to hear that the Board had the courage to do the right thing–in the end. Hoping & praying that this will spur the Elders of certain Chicago-area megachurch with ties to Moody and Moody Radio to do the same with the Senior Pastor.

    • Amen Jennifer. Cleaning house has JUST begun….

    • Tomas

      It is strange that the mega-church pastor you speak of, keeps getting invited to speak at Moody. As to whether the elders at his church will do anything right is doubtful, since the XLT (executive leadership team) really calls the shots. If he leaves the mega-church, it collapses. Discernment today seems to be is short supply.

      Julie Roys was scapegoated and should seek decent legal counsel. I am sick of hearing: “the senior pastor has decided to go in a new direction” to get rid of an employee. In the Moody case, the really lame pronouncements was really an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) or a “hush-hush” maneuver. We shall all see how this “plays out” but right now Moody is in “damage control” mode, especially with the large donors.

  20. Phil Hoover

    Everything hidden will be exposed. Seems like I read that somewhere.

  21. You are being hailed as a champion for truth, justice, and the evangelical way. My husband and I see it differently. We have been in the pastorate for 40 years, and have seen what public accusations and insinuations can do both to the leadership of the church, and the church itself. It may feel good to be called brave. But at what cost? Could this not have been addressed privately following the biblical guidelines? Doubt has been cast on an institution that has probably reached more souls for Christ than you and I will ever know. Even after these issues are resolved, and they will be, the name of Moody has been degraded and diminished. What irreparable harm. Next time, deal with it within the family. Do not hold it up to the ridicule of the world.

    • ME

      Amen, Caroline.

    • Jennifer

      It seems that Ms Roys DID try to handle it privately–and that others did as well–but was rebuffed, at least to some extent. We can’t know if Moody was “already” dealing with the situation, or if it was Ms Roys articles that compelled them to act.

      MBI is a private Christian college, not a church. But, as the past decade in particular have shown, blogs have become a way for Christians who have followed Matthew 18 to “tell the whole church,” when private efforts have failed.

      No Christian organization is above reproach. Keeping wrongdoing “in the church” and away from the world’s eyes at all cost for the “sake of Christ” is not Biblical. One could argue that that was the Catholic churches approach for decades with regard to sexual abuse. Keeping issues under wraps and away from the broader public often “feeds” the decisions of Boards of corporations, public and secular colleges, and government.

      Tell me: As Christian Americans, do we think it’s a sin when someone exposes wrongdoing in an organization to the public, provided the accusations are true? No, we applaud the truth coming to light.

      What is the Biblical basis for feeling differently if the organization is Christian? Or if it’s one that we are affiliated with or have respected or donated money to?

      Ms Roys didn’t do irreparable harm to Moody. Moody leadership harmed Moody–but not irreparably. As an institution, they can emerge from this season stronger and wiser. In the end, the Moody name may be even more highly respected because of how this was handled (and what may have been prevented).

      • Check the timeline

        If you read the timeline Julie herself posted, after Julie expressed concerns to two trustees in December, they said they would investigate and get on it. After investigating, they called a meeting of the whole Board for January 10 to address their findings and recommendations. Therefore, Julie had to hurry up and take the”courageous” step of going public before finding out how the whole Board would act. Otherwise, how would she get credit for her courage? Note that she didn’t get terminated for “blowing the whistle” and going to the board – they might have even commended her. She got terminated after she went public on private board deliberations days before the board was scheduled to act. That’s not courage – that’s self-promotion. Shame.

    • Dave

      Have you even bothered to read the articles? Julie CLEARLY followed the biblical guidelines from Matthew 18, meeting (or attempting to meet) individually with those involved, and then taking another with her to meet with the two trustees in Michigan.

  22. Lisa

    Are we positive that the interim people are any better than the 3 that were fired and have no involvement in the corruption at Moody?

  23. Lisa – I personally know Greg Thornton, and a better, kinder, more Christ-centered man you will not meet.

    • Dave

      That may be, but I’m certainly not impressed that he dismissed Julie.

      • kezeveras

        He was most likely told to dismiss her. Dismissal does not come from one person.

  24. Greg

    Julie:

    I am sorry for the loss of your job, but applaud your courage to attempt speaking with Moody leadership about your concerns. My wife and I have been concerned about a number of leadership decisions and Moody direction in recent years, and am glad to see some changes. Hopefully, true change and improvement will occur within Moody, but it would take resignation of some board members as well.

  25. Lisa

    Here’s the thing. As a parent of a current Moody Student, they are worried about what their degree will look like to the world. It used to mean something huge. When they go into the job markets, will the degree from there be frowned upon? I told my child that the jobs that mattered will not look down at them for a degree at Moody.

    Because of lack of OWNERSHIP, SELF PRESERVATION, AND PRIDE, the student are facing real dangers. Lack of funding, lack of staff and professors, lack of respect, cynicalness of “the church”, lack of trust, and anger are what most are experiencing right now. Yes, the administrations “problems” are affecting much more than just themselves. But thank goodness, the trustees found no fault in the three that were fired!!! Whew, tell that to the students that may have cancelations in events because of it! Tell that to the students who may not be able to afford their rise in housing, etc, because their was no fault found with the trustees or the three that were fired. All is good because their is no fault and everyone comes out smelling like roses for the leadership.

    Okay, yes, this is snarky.

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