Accreditation: Is it that Important ???

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Jabbezz, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. Jabbezz

    Jabbezz
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    Is secular accreditation really that important for religious bible colleges/seminaries?

    As long as the degree program is solid, does it really matter that it isn't accredited?

    Look at guys like Charles Stanley and Spiros Zodhiates, who both earned Luther Rice doctorates BEFORE Luther Rice was TRACS accredited.

    [ September 16, 2002, 10:09 AM: Message edited by: Jabbezz ]
     
  2. Rev. Joshua

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    I couldn't think of a better argument for accredidation. In my experience, unaccredited seminaries are truly indoctrination centers. Fundamentalism alone doesn't prevent accredidation for seminaries (look at the six SBC seminaries), so a school has to take several leaps beyond biblical literalism to fall below the relatively low bar set by ATS. Consequently, I think accredidation really is a good barometer for educational quality.

    Anyone who wishes to be taken seriously in the larger Christian, professional, or academic realms needs to have studied at an ATS-accredited school. In addition, anyone interested in professional (particularly military or prison) chaplaincy needs an ATS-accredited M.Div. or equivalent. Likewise for the ordination processes in every mainline denomination in the U.S.

    Joshua
     
  3. TomVols

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    99.9 % of churches couldn't care less who accredits your school or if its accredited at all. That's roughly similar to the secular employment world also. It just isn't an issue. It never comes up, either place. The only place I'd agree with Joshua is where you'd look for ordination by a mainline denom. They want things a little more formalized. However, I was approached by two mainline denoms, wanting to ordain me to serve their churches. They never asked about my degree accreditation. They didn't care.

    Now if you want to do something specialized, say chaplaincy, teaching or administration in higher education, then accreditation is a must. (One caveat- I've been an administrator in secular universities and with state schools - they never asked about my accreditation either). I can only think of a few good non-accredited schools. Some schools are not accredited because of their approach. Coulmbia Evangelical in Washington will probably never be accredited and won't even try because they use the European system of mentor-based program design. Yet it's a very tough program of study.

    Beware of schools that are accredited by someone that isn't USDE recognized (Trinity in Evansville, IN is an exception, but they're even seeking accreditation by a recognized agency).

    [ September 16, 2002, 10:55 AM: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  4. Rev. Joshua

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    Tom,

    This may be another indicator of the different circles in which we travel. Our church would not ordain or hire someone who did not graduate from an ATS-accredited school (I think that's in our by-laws in fact). In addition, I just noticed an ad in Baptists Today that went so far as to include "graduated from an ATS-accredited seminary" in their job ad. Every Alliance church I've been in has had seminary-trained folk in the congregation, none of whom would have allowed a non-accredited grad. to be hired.

    As for ordination in the mainline denominations, all of the literature I've seen from Methodist, Presbyterian, and UCC committees has said "ATS-accredited." Generally when they validate your transcripts they check the accredidation of the schools. I assume this is also the case for the Episcopal church.

    Joshua
     
  5. Jabbezz

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    What about scenarios where a guy has earned a regionally accredited Bachelor's degree, then a regionally accredited and ATS Masters and Doctor of Ministry. He then earns a Ph.D. from a school that is neither regionally or ATS accredited.

    How would this type of scenario be viewed?
     
  6. Johnv

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    Is secular accreditation really that important for religious bible colleges/seminaries?

    Yes. I'd liken non-accreditation to non-denominationalism. T's important to know the school isn't teaching whatever it feel like, that it's being held responsible for its teaching policies.
     
  7. FearNot

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    Rev. Joshua, I am honored to tell you that your church can have a pastor from Southeastern Seminary. They have been accredited by SACS since 1978 and ATS since 1958. If y'all need a new pastor just send the information to the school.

    Accredidation groups often cause Christian schools real hassles, that is why some schools won't even seek to be accredited. They don't want to be forced to teach what the boards want them to teach, they want to teach what the school feels their students need to know. When I seek out schools, I go for what I will learn, not what independant group approves.
     
  8. Rev. Joshua

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    FearNot, if you'll re-read my original post you'll see that I'm aware that the six SBC seminaries are fully accredited. In fact, I used that as an example that fundamentalism doesn't exclude one from accredidation.

    I considered several factors in choosing a seminary, but one of them was certainly that I wanted the school to meet the minimum standards set by the larger academic and theological communities. Mercer was not yet ATS accredited when I started - but only because I was in the first class. I was consequently able to be part of the accredidation process - which Mercer completed in record time.

    At the time I came to Mercer I was working in undergraduate admissions, so I took accredidation very seriously. I would never have gone if everything wasn't already in place for the accredidation process.

    Joshua
     
  9. FearNot

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    Joshua, sorry, I forgot to add "hahaha" after what I said, it was meant as a joke.

    [​IMG]

    Ironically, When I was looking for a college, many moons ago, one of the last things I wanted to do was attend a religious school, but I did infact end up attending one. The funiest thing was I grew more for Christ by the friends I kept, and personal study, than the school had anything to do with. My teachers or the school actually frustrated me at times.
     
  10. Jim1999

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    When I was ordained in 1948, I had a diploma in architecture and two years bible college under the British Baptist Union. Accreditation??

    I have since had more schooling....two were not accredited, the last was.

    Important? I don't think so, from a personal standpoint, but essential if one is moving on in the educational field and mainline denominations.

    The Anglican Church still grants an LTh to senior persons who enter ministry. In most Baptist churches in Canada, the local church does the calling and ordination, so it depends on what that church wants in a minister. The fellowship just supports the local church in the ordination process.

    Methinks sometimes we put too much emphasis on degrees, as the little ditty says:

    There was a laddie at college named Breeze,
    Weighed down with BA's and BD's
    Said the doctor, "It's plain....
    You are killing yourself by degrees."

    Please, I am not minimizing the importance of education. I do think it needs to be put into perspective.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. Circuitrider

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    Accreditation and even degrees themselves are like the curl in the pig's tail. They don't add anything to the finished product, but they make a nice ending for the pig. :D :D
     
  12. Johnv

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    As long as the "pig" is education.

    I'm surprised at how many people don't think that education is important at all, whether it's in the ministry or elsewhere.

    I dunno 'bout you, but if I take my car to a mechanic, I want him to be trained.

    If I see a dentist, I want him to be trained.

    Why would I expect any less from them talking head at the pulpit?

    Nothing will get a person to the pulipit faster than a gifted soul. Nothing will get a person away from the pulipt than an untrained tongue.
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    Personally think accreditation for undergrad only makes sense, since so much of the world seeks to be sure you got a REAL education.

    Not that "accredited" = "real". Most university grads are about as uneducated and sorry a lot . . oh, did I mention I TEACH at an accredited college?

    As for seminary - go to one respected in your denomination. Mail order/$50 ordination type are popping up all over. Had an evangelist in our church once who spoke of the "hard work" of his doctorate. Wrote 8 papers on marriage/family and now was selling them as a little booklet.

    That was it. Not much value in that kind of education. BTW, I did that for just one CLASS in my grad work.

    As Sam Jones used to say
    [ October 09, 2002, 03:16 AM: Message edited by: Dr. Bob Griffin ]
     
  14. Daniel Dunivan

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    It is a poor commentary on ministers when statistics can be given that show that most ministers who have a Dr. in front of their name have not done the real work to earn it.

    It is quite upsetting to those of us who acctually think that education is important, and who are working to earn a real doctorate.
     
  15. Mrs KJV

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    My husband of right now is in college in a accredited school, but he was ordained into the ministry with no degree at all. He was trained in our local church and sent out. This is the new testament pattern. I know lots of pastors who started this way. Jesus didn't have a college give out credits. Did he? [​IMG]
     
  16. Daniel Dunivan

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    Mrs KJV,

    No, Jesus didn't have a college to give him credits. They didn't exist; however, since he was raised in a good Jewish family, he would no doubt have had a good religious education (which is much more than can be said for many ministers who only have a sunday school education).
     
  17. Circuitrider

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    While academic excellence is very important the matter of accreditation only becomes a factor if your church requires it (no church I would consider does ;) ), or if you want to go on to some area of professional training and wish to transfer your credits. In the ministry, I know men with advanced degrees from accedited schools and I know men with mentor training from a godly pastor. Many of both catagories are successful and some are complete failures, accreditation not withstanding. [​IMG]
     

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