Bethany Divinity College and Seminary

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Sportster, Jul 30, 2007.

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  1. Sportster

    Sportster
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    Greetings to All:

    Does anyone have any experience with Bethany Divinity College and Seminary in Dothan, AL? I am considering applying for a distance learning program through them, but I want to make a prayerful and informed decision.

    I have looked at several others (Moody, Liberty, etc.), but found their tuition way outside my means. Andersonville looks okay if I only want to serve my home church, but they do not offer the well-rounded education I am seeking. I would not consider them a diploma mill, as I have been tied up with enough of those over the years. Just ask and I’ll give names and experiences.

    The reasons I’m looking at Bethany is because they’re close to home (under 300 miles), are affordable, offer the programs I’m interested in, and the education appears to be quite comprehensive compared to other distance learning programs. Also, they have an actual campus and not just an office or store-front.

    Anyway, any input (good and bad) from students, graduates, or whoever will be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks and blessings,

    Robert
     
  2. TomVols

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    The only info I have is second hand. I have known people who have taken the courses and done degrees. They do not speak positively nor reflect positively.
     
  3. Paul1611

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    I have heard a few positive things and a few negative things about Bethany, I guess it is what you are looking for. I have heard some people call it a degree mill, and I know of others who said it is enough to prepare one for the ministry. Not to get off the subject but have you checked out Louisiana Baptist University, I noticed you mentioned tuition cost playing a factor in your decision. LBU has a payment plan of 100.00 per month and I have heard a number of positive things about them, some of my favorite preachers have graduated from LBU. I am currently in the application process right now. I would like to hear about your experiences with some of the degree mills you have been a part of.
     
  4. UZThD

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    I realize that the degree sought is unstated, but in my opinion the quality of a school may be relected in its higher graduate programs.

    These facts speak for themselves:

    Bethany offers as evidence of its credibilty being listed in "Walston's Guide," but that is meaningless as anything can be listed there. Walston, himself, has a Bethany PhD which the last time I looked he did not list. Why not? Why did he feel the need to get a South African PhD to list?

    Bethany offers a PhD with a concentration in Bible with no language requirement, NO accredited school offers a doc in Bible w-out languages. NO NOT ONE!

    In its PhD Bethany teaches such basic Bible courses as Intro to OT and Intro to NT , why would a doctoral student in Bible be taking introductory courses in Bible?

    No one on the Bethany faculty has an accredited PhD/ThD in Bible or Theology. Why would it be thought that a faculty which has not itself completed rigorous doctoral programs could teach a rigorous doctoral program?

    The required length of the Bethany PhD dissertation is 20,000 words. While length is not the only criterion of quality in such writing, the Bethany requisite is far less than that expected in accredited schools. Doing a dissertation in my experience is a three year painful struggle which results in a product of around 75,000 words. The writing should be carefully evaluated by a group of tenured professors who themselves have undergone the trying dissertational process in accredited schools. It is highly unlikely that a doctoral dissertation in Bible could be of a good quality without using the Biblical languages.

    One could always argue that despite these observations, "a student gets out of a program what he or she puts into it."

    That may be partially true, but here we should not be asking what rigor does Bethany allow, but what rigor does Bethany require?

    Must a school be accredited to be good? NO! But, The PhD or ThD is the highest academic degree. Therefore, that PhD/ThD program of learning should exhibit the qualities of the highest academic rigor.

    Bethany does not!!

    Bill G
     
    #4 UZThD, Jul 31, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2007
  5. Plain Old Bill

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    You might want to think about Columbia Evangelical Seminary. I don't think the rigor or the credentials of the faculty are in question. In addition you are provided with mentors along the way. They are very reasonably priced and affordable. You can also with thier assistance custom build a degree program, something very unique espescially if you want to really develop serious expertise in a given area of study.:godisgood:
     
  6. Broadus

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    This made me wonder how many words my SBTS PhD dissertation has for comparison. I ran a statistics check and found it has 89,237 words in the body and 64,773 words in the footnotes. Brevity is not my strong suit! :type: As Bill G. aptly stated, the number of words is not the only criterion. Indeed, long dissertations may be quite poor. Mine had three SBTS faculty members read it as well as an outside reader from the faculty of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Bill
     
    #6 Broadus, Jul 31, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2007
  7. Sportster

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    Thanks for your input, Tom! I'm filing everything I get (opinions, etc.) in my mind so I can make an intelligent decision. I believe that one of the processes to go through when seeking God's will is to seek Godly counsel. By consulting informed folks on this site, and consulting my pastor and church family, I'll be better equipped to discern His will.

    Thanks again,

    Robert
     
  8. TomVols

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    Well said and worth saying.
     
  9. Sportster

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    Thanks a bunch, Paul! I've downloaded their (LBU) catalog and will peruse it throughout the week. From what I've seen, they offer everything I'm looking for in the way of an affordable Bible education.

    As for the degree mills, in my quest for a Bible education, I have encountered several thinking the degrees were worthwhile. Suffice it to say that I've gotten an education on what NOT to pursue even though I have a lot of "pretty paper" to hang on my wall . . . and very, very little Bible education.

    The first one I got tied up with was International Bible College and Seminary. I'm not even sure if they're still in business. When I tried to call them once, the "Director" was rather short and informed me they were being audited by the I.R.S. Nevertheless, I did earn some credits that were accepted by another diploma mill, Trinity Evangelical Seminary of Florida. If memory serves right, I saw their ad in Christianity Today magazine. I filled out the forms, forwarded copies of transcripts form IBCS and legitimate community colleges, and wrote a paper on “Ministering to Alzheimer’s Patients.” Poof, instant Bachelor of Ministry in Pastoral Ministry.

    So, since I had “a degree,” I opted to go for a Masters. Let me say I was quite gullible then. I applied for the program, “Master of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling” and wrote a 97-page paper on Counseling Adult Sex Offenders. It impressed the head of the school, Dr. Jerry Forrester, so much that he called me on the phone. It took about a year to gather the material and put it into a reasonable format. It goes without saying, but I earned a Masters degree.

    About a year after that, I received a letter informing me that TESF had joined with the Westminster Theological something or another, and they were moving to Grand Rapids. The last I heard, the school was defunct. You can still find a site with their name that looks official, but it’s nothing. I don’t even tell people I have those degrees.

    The final one is Almeda College and University (in Florida). They are another notorious diploma mill. They evaluated my experiences, looked at all my credits, and awarded me a Bachelor of Science in Facilities Management degree. The paper it’s printed on has more value than the degree itself.

    So, I have a lot of useless degrees, but I want one “legitimate.” In other words, one that carries some weight (compared to what I have), and one that I actually have to use some serious brain power to earn.

    Besides the financial considerations, the other reason I’m choosing distance learning through “lesser schools” is because of my past. Twenty years ago I made a poor judgment and ended up with a felony record. Since then I have found it impossible to gain entrance to “better schools.” In fact, Pensacola Christian College returned my admission fee check uncashed! Still, I believe the Lord would have me better prepared to do His work, so I will follow His lead on this.

    Thanks again,

    Robert
     
  10. Sportster

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    Your input is greatly appreciated, UZ! If you look at my reply to Paul1611, you'll gain a little more insight as to the what's and why's of what I'm doing. My goal is a "simple 4-year degree" that will better equip me to serve the Lord . . . in my home church or wherever. A Doctorate, though nice, is not what I feel led to pursue. I believe the Lord wants me to be better equipped for something He has in mind. Nothing happens by chance, which is why I believe he led me to this site to learn what I can about the various options available to me.

    Thanks again and blessings,

    Robert
     
  11. Sportster

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    Thanks a bunch, Bill! I'll check them out after I finish responding to all of this great input.

    Blessings,

    Robert
     
  12. Broadus

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    Robert,

    Thanks for sharing a story that will hopefully warn others. Bogus institutions are a plague, and many ministers have "earned" meaningless degrees.

    Don't give up on earning an accredited degree. Check out Luther Rice University. Call and talk to an admissions counselor and let him or her know about your prior conviction. See if there is any scholarship assistance available. I think you'll receive better treatment than PCC provided.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  13. Sportster

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    Hi Bill:

    It is amazing how many bogus schools there are. A friend of mine earned a degree from Jacksonville Theological Seminary, which has been labeled a diploma mill. He actually had to submit work, but it wasn’t much. Much to my surprise, he was given a nice little church. However, he did nothing except preach a Sunday morning message. In the end, the Lord took the church away from him. The last I heard a farmer bought the building and is storing equipment in it.

    Thanks for the advice and words of encouragement. Believe it or not, I have a Luther Rice catalog in front of me as I type this. Their tuition is a bit high (especially for distance learning), but it’s not as bad as Moody, Liberty, or a few other “big name schools.” However, I have not completely discounted Luther Rice. As it is, I’m looking at Bethany, Louisiana Baptist University, and Luther Rice. Andersonville is completely out of the picture.

    If I had the money I’d attend Bob Jones since my very close friends are on the board, plus all are graduates. Also, Bob Jones asks NOTHING about criminal background on the application form. Unfortunately, I do not feel the Lord would have me leave a good paying job, move to South Carolina, and go into debt (massive debt) at this time. It costs about $15,000 a year to attend Bob Jones. So, I will look at other possibilities . . . unless the Lord drops a substantial sum in my lap.:godisgood:

    As for my past, I wish I could leave it there. What took place 20 years ago has been confessed, paid for at Calvary, and washed away. I’ve paid my debt, etc., etc., so I should NOT have to keep rehashing the issue. What do you think? I fail to see the reason why Christian schools of higher learning want to know if a person has a criminal record. Frankly, I doubt that an individual that is an active criminal would be interested in a Bible education so he can be better used of the Lord. It makes no sense to me, especially (like I said) after 20 years.

    Anyway, I must get to work. Thanks again for the input and words of encouragement.

    Have a blessed day,

    Robert
     
  14. Broadus

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    Robert,

    I would not encourage you to attend Bethany. I've heard good things about Louisiana Baptist. Luther Rice, on the other hand, is accredited and widely accepted. If it costs a little more, go a little slower! Don't add any more regrets to you educational experience.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  15. exscentric

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    Can't say I'd recommend Bethany, but do know they allow past/present felons to attend. I correspond with a prisoner that is doing work there. I have encouraged him toward other schools, but due to cost etc. he has chosen to remain with Bethany. (He is also limited to the hand written format since they are not allowed internet access.)

    As to the past being held around, that happens to other non-prison related bad/poor decisions as well. Just know it is done with God and let him deal with those that cause you headaches - He is much better able to deal with them than you anyway :thumbs:
     
  16. Plain Old Bill

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    Sportster,
    You might want to think of your rejection by Pensecola as Divine intervention. I think that is the home of the infamous Dr. Ruckman.:godisgood:
     
  17. Broadus

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    Different Pennsacola

    Actually, POB, I think you're referring to Pensacola Bible Institute. PCC has nothing to do with Ruckman, unless I'm mistaken. Regardless, there are schools I prefer to PCC.

    Bill
     
  18. Plain Old Bill

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    Thanks Brodus, I stand corrected.

    If I remember correctly Bethany applied to TRACS for accreditation a few years back and it was found that Bethany was approved through thier Mastrers level but rejected on the Doctoral level due to a lack of languages in thier training.Rather then drop thier doctoral students or program or fix it so it would meet standards they dropped the request for accreditation.This tells me a couple of things, first don't plan on enrolling in thier doctoral programs, second ,although they are not as good as they could be, they on the other hand are not as bad as some make them out to be. I would,nt rate them as one of the better schools but they are better then Andersonville,Newburgh,Slidell, and a host of others.:godisgood:
     
  19. UZThD

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    ===

    TRACS I think would not have approved Bethany's grad program as TRACs wants profs of grad courses to have accredited academic docs in area of instruction and this B. lacks.. See TRACS benchmarks on line.

    POB, if I'm wrong, I'll fess up.

    Bill G
     
  20. Plain Old Bill

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    UZ, good to see you! I'm basing my remarks on a thread that was posted here a couple of years ago. Don't get me wrong I'm not endorsing this school , just recalling what the subject matter was and the information as it came out on the thread, so the fact is I could be wrong also.:godisgood:
     
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