Is Accreditation Unbiblical?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by ktn4eg, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
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    While searching through the catalogs of several Baptist bible colleges, I came across one (which shall be unnamed) that had the following statements underneath the heading of "Accreditation":

    "It is not the intent of XX College to seek secular or 'Christian' accreditation for its programs of study. We choose not to submit our college to the standards of men who are not of like faith and practice.

    "Parents and students need to be aware that federally sanctioned acceditation (offering financial aid) invokes vigorous regulations upon institutions through government appointed agencies.

    "Accreditation is not a guarantee of quality. A Bible college must only be defined and directed by God's Word (I Cor. 10:31; Job 13,11). Its administration, faculty, and student body must always endeavor to walk by faith, trusting God's provision and direction (Heb. 11:6).

    "Accreditation is in direct violation of Biblical separation (II Cor. 6:14). It has no Biblical basis whatsoever."

    I'd appreciate reading the comments of my BB friends regarding the above statements about accreditation for Bible colleges.
     
  2. Ed Edwards

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    It is a very poor substitute for accreditation.

    I earned over $1,000,000 from 1976-2000 because
    my degree was from an accredited college.
    Needless to say, 55 years as a Christian (next week)
    I gave over $100,000 of it to my local church.

    The rest I spent to house, feed, and better my
    family (One child is a graduate of an accredited
    college, the other is working on it).

    This type blarney is no substitute for an
    accredited college.
     
  3. Rufus_1611

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    Moral of the story...if it provides great monetary profit then it is good and if it does not, it is blarney.

    I agree with the quotes from the OP. Sounds like a college I might like to attend.
     
  4. TomVols

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    The OP sets up a false dichotomy. Why are Biblical fidelity and accreditation mutually exclusive? The Word of God doesn't speak for or against accreditation. To play fast and loose with God's Word by suggesting otherwise is seriously flawed.

    Accreditation is by no means a guarantee of quality. Certainly, the Word of God is to be the standard. However, misusing the Word of God to take a swipe at accreditation is indeed very troubling.
     
  5. Paul1611

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    I have a number of Bible College/Seminary catalogs on my desk right now that have the same philosophy concerning accreditation. Just like the OP they give a number of Scripture verses to prove their point. Accreditation is something that I have struggled with personally, because of all the different opinions people have concerning it. For instance, I have spoken to a number of good, Bible preaching/teaching, soul winning, pastors in my area who I look up to,admire, and respect who strongly discouraged me from attending an accreditated school, for the same reason the OP gave. They believed it was unbiblical. My current pastor who is in his early 30's recommended that I go with an accredited school, but at the same time he will admit the reason he is in so much financial debt right now is because of how expensive the accredited school was. He has been out of college for over 8 years and he says he is still paying on debts that he got into when he was in college. I have noticed that more IFB pastors that I spoken with are against accreditation, than the SBC pastors that I have spoken with. Although I have spoken to a few SBC pastors who were also against it because they thought it to be compromising.. Just wanted to reply since I havent been around in a while.
     
  6. TCGreek

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    TomVols, I have to agree with you 110%. Those who use Scripture to justify unaccreditation should use the same Scriptures to live in an isolated community, where they are surrounded by only those of like faith and practice. That seems to be consistent with their line of reasoning. But they will object, and there we go with qualification of an idle statement, trying to find biblical justification.

    I respect those who sought to remain UA, but please don't use the Scriptures conveniently.

    I wish seminary education was more affordable, but that is one of the disadvantages of being accredited, my opinion. And those of us who are schooled in accreditation issues know why. Remember, God has a way of using even the secular to advance His causes; maybe RA fits that concept, and there is always TRACS.
     
  7. rlvaughn

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    I have a little different take from what has been previously posted.

    This first paragraph sets forth in a straightforward manner their view of accreditation. Whether or not one agrees, can we not appreciate that they have a position, stand on it, and lay it out for all to see? How much better than the multitudinous unaccredited schools that try to make folks think they have real accreditation, or where they bury the info where you can't find it.


    It is true that in so doing there will be submission to some regulations not encountered by an unaccredited school. This may imply that they think the accrediting agency will in some way interfere with their teaching of their beliefs, which, as far as I can tell, is not correct.


    True. Accreditation is not a guarantee of quality. Neither is the lack of accreditation. The individual must determine whether a particular program/school meets his/her needs. No one will be fooled into going to this school thinking they receive an accredited degree.


    This I would say is more of a matter of how they interpret separation rather than them just playing fast and loose with the Word of God. It might also include some misunderstanding of what accreditation entails. In some way they feel entering into an "alliance" for accreditation violates their view of Biblical separation, at least part of which seems to include submitting to the "oversight" of men not of like faith and practice (see the first paragraph).
     
  8. Martin

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    ==Well I would say that, in first place, 2Cor 6:14 does not apply to the accreditation issue since there are government approved Christian accrediting bodies (ATS, TRACS, etc). Second I would say that the argument that Scripture contains no basis for accreditation is just silly since Scripture does not deal with these issues. The author of the website you are linking to is simply making excuses as to why his/her school is not accredited. Instead of making excuses they should either seek accreditation or just say that they do not wish to do so (either would be fine).

    Edit to add:

    As for the statement that:

    "federally sanctioned acceditation (offering financial aid) invokes vigorous regulations upon institutions through government appointed agencies"

    Well, that my friends, is simply hogwash. There are many very fine Bible based colleges, seminaries, and universities that hold offical "secular" accreditation and "Christian" accreditation that have not compromised their Biblical teachings/standards due to any government regulation. The fact is that a school does not have to compromise Biblical teaching to hold offical accreditation. Want evidence? Ok, the following schools are offically accredited and are sound in their doctrine**:

    Liberty University
    Dallas Theological Seminary
    Regent University
    Campbell University
    Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
    Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
    New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
    Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary
    Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
    MidWestern Baptist Theological Seminary
    Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
    Moody Bible Institute
    Luther Rice University
    Southern Evangelical Seminary
    Reformed Theological Seminary
    Knox Theological Seminary
    Heritage Bible College
    Temple Baptist Seminary
    Wheaton College
    Denver Seminary
    Piedmont Baptist College

    Do I need to go on?

    I think the point is made.

    _______________________

    **by this I mean they have not compromised their Biblical standards.
     
    #8 Martin, Mar 28, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2007
  9. TomVols

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    I don't think accreditation has all that much to do with the costs of a school, hence it would not by itself increase a student's debt load.
    I'll agree with that to an extent. However, attacking accreditation by using faulty eisegesis is as bad of a sin as the sin of claiming bogus accreditation, IMHO.
    Faulty application is playing fast and loose with the Word, just as faulty interpretation does. If a school chooses to be unaccredited, that's fine, but it need not invent a bogus reason.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    Quote:

    TomVols answered:
    And here's an example: I am a trustee at Mid-Continent University (A Baptist school) in Mayfield, Kentucky. The tuition at MCU is the second lowest of all the independent colleges and universities in Kentucky. MCU is accredited.

    rlvaugn also answered:
    You are correct. It is not correct.
     
  11. TCGreek

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  12. jshurley04

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    Accreditation

    Those that choose not to be accredited are simply trying to hide something. I was at school that was going through the accreditation process and learned a little about it.

    1. It is not a government agency that does the accreditation. It is a private organization that does the inspection specifically to ensure that the colleges that it reccommends are not degree mills that simply take a persons money and give them a degree for very little real education.

    2. Accreditation is simply a process whereby an outside group of eyes and ears comes on to your campus and takes your handbook and begins to investigate to see if you are doing what you say that you are doing. Many times it takes an outside set of eyes and ears to find areas that you miss. They do not report to the government nor does the government get any say in what you do, teach or believe.

    3. Yes, a financial review is done, however, its purpose is to make sure the college is solvent and to make sure the funds are accounted for and used properly.

    If you fear accreditation then you fear being found out in some area that you are sinning in already.
     
  13. mnw

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    Wow, thats a pretty bold and broad statement.

    So, you've visited and analysed every non-accredited body and determined they are all frauds?

    That must have taken a long time to get round all those schools, all over the world. Did you have a team of people working with you on this or did you do it alone?

    I would just like to know your criteria for writing off every non-accredited school.
     
  14. swaimj

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    If they do not want to be subject to the standards of men, why do they have a college at all? Jesus did not attend college, neither did he train his followers in a college. To have a college is to adopt an academic model for training that is not New Testament, but is an invention of western culture.

    Don't get me wrong, I went to college and I'm glad I did. I recommend it. However, those who claim that accreditation is wrong are trying to trim the branches of the tree. They should rid themselves of the entire tree and do away with their colleges altogether. Then they would be consistent with their own arguments.
     
  15. GLL

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    Accreditation

    1. All schools of religion are exempt from accreditation. Some schools will cite this exemption rule on their websites. The exemption is provided for by the rule of separation of church and state in the constitution. Some schools are unaccredited but are approved by the Dept. of Education. One reason they might seek DOE approval is so anyone in the military seeking an education from that school can use their GI benefits.

    2. Whether you believe it or not accreditation by any secular agency or organization compromises that schools integrity. The schools are forced to include courses they might not otherwise feel appropriate.

    3.One good example of the corruption from outside agencies would be George Bushs' "Faith Based Initiative". This program eliminated the governments role in providing social programs for the poor and placed the burden squarely on the shoulders of religious organizations with tax dollars from the government. This program added millions of dollars to the coffers of people like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Bob Jones. Whats wrong with this you say? Bob Jones university reported that all their programs were operated by christian employees, That is until a non christian applied for a job and was turned down because of being a non believer. So this person reports them and the government tells Bob Jones University that since they are getting government assistance they "can not descriminate on the grounds of religious beliefs". As I said before anyone who doesn't believe that worldly inclusion into any christian program (whether it is accreditation or helping the poor or anything else) won't lead to compromising, or corrupting, or perverting it just isn't thinking it through or just doesn't care.

    4. Any one who says the matter of school accreditation isn't found in the bible is fooling themselves. Of course the matter isn't dealt with specifically but in a matter like this one has to ask "What would Jesus Do". We know that Jesus didn't get his education from an accredited college. Nor did the Apostles or any of the desciples. We also know that the most notorious enemies of Jesus were the priest who did have secular educations. Also Paul warns against the study of philosophy and the ologys. I would suggest having a firm belief in God before exploring these subjects unless you want to liberate your mind.

    5. Finally you have to ask your self what do you want to do with your education. If your deciding on a vocation you might want to consider going to an accredited college because most employers will only accept degrees or diplomas from them. Most graduate schools also will only accept them. Lets invoke the "WWJD" again. It seems Jesus learned his vocation as a carpenter from a mentor but for his education on his ministry he left purely in the hands of God. I know there are some individuals who care about things like accreditation because they think this will give them the respect of their peers but the Lord asks us what good will it do you to gain the whole world only to lose your own soul. There are many famous individuals who do not have any college education at all and went on to be the greatest ministers and witnesses on all the earth. They did however spend time as students of the Bible.

    I'd also like to add that I assumed you were addressing the question of accreditation for your biblical education and not a vocational education. I caution you not to confuse the two. A call to serve in His name is NOT a vocation. It is a ministry to witness for the Lord. The first comment on this topic was advice to put money before God. This is blasphemous. If you want a vocation and a ministry I encourage you to keep them separate and in proper perspective. As always when seeking any kind of education you should use the cautionary rule of "BUYER BEWARE".
     
  16. Jack Matthews

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    I'm not aware of any regulations that accreditation would impose upon Bible colleges that would cause them to compromise in any way their reliance upon the scripture as the guide to their instruction. It doesn't violate II Corinthians 6:14 since it is not any kind of equitable partnership that would meet the definition or context of being some kind of union. Accreditation agencies are not government appointed, they are appointed and operated from within the agency's membership. The standards that are applied relate to the school's own purposes, and its own governance. It protects students from fraud, and potential employers and the government from "diploma mills" which offer no real education and are set up mainly to collect money. More than anything, it is a tool for the use of the school to say that a student transcript that is received from them is legitimate, and that the course content represented in the school's catalog was actually taught in the courses that are shown on the transcript.

    I served on the parent-teacher committee at the Christian school where my boys go when it was preparing for an accrediting team visit. Just as an example, one of the standards was that the library had to contain at least ten volumes of research and reference material for each student enrolled in the grade levels that used the library. The school had 520 students in 6th-12th grade which used the secondary school library. They had to have at least 5,200 volumes in their collection related to research and reference, with at least 1,850 of them on the 6th-8th grade reading level because 185 junior high students also used the library. They do not dictate the content of those "volumes." Nor did they dictate the content of courses. There were minimum standards in math, science and language courses, and objectives related to writing and reading comprehension in all subject areas, but no dictated content requirements. I specifically asked if objectives related to evolution were required in science courses and the response was "That's up to your curriculum director."

    The other interesting aspect of this particular accreditation visit from a regional accrediting agency was that all of the team members who came to our school worked at other Christian schools.

    I would think that a Bible college operating under Biblical principles would not only have nothing to fear from an accreditation process, but would desire, as Christians following Christian principles, not to appear as if they had anything to hide.
     
  17. Jack Matthews

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    [quote="GLL']3.One good example of the corruption from outside agencies would be George Bushs' "Faith Based Initiative". This program eliminated the governments role in providing social programs for the poor and placed the burden squarely on the shoulders of religious organizations with tax dollars from the government. This program added millions of dollars to the coffers of people like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Bob Jones. Whats wrong with this you say? Bob Jones university reported that all their programs were operated by christian employees, That is until a non christian applied for a job and was turned down because of being a non believer. So this person reports them and the government tells Bob Jones University that since they are getting government assistance they "can not descriminate on the grounds of religious beliefs". As I said before anyone who doesn't believe that worldly inclusion into any christian program (whether it is accreditation or helping the poor or anything else) won't lead to compromising, or corrupting, or perverting it just isn't thinking it through or just doesn't care.[/quote]

    This isn't a legitimate comparison. When this program was initiated, and the groups who wanted to be involved in it signed on, they knew what the rules were. The Faith Based Initiatives program isn't related to school accreditation in any way shape or form. It is a different program. [SNIP- Off Topic]

    Christian organizations and institutions with specific purposes related to advancing their faith are exempt from government regulations regarding the non-discrimination clause related to religious beliefs. The Supreme Court has ruled that it isn't reasonable to expect a religious institution with the objective of advancing their beliefs to be required to hire people who aren't sympathetic to that belief or cause. The Faith Based Initiatives program, where government dollars go directly to fund social programs and relief agencies that are operated by faith-based organizations, doesn't qualify on that basis. But involvement in a faith-based initiative doesn't require the institutions to abide by the non-discrimination clause in all of their jobs, just those directly receiving federal funding. Those programs and agencies, constitutionally, cannot use federal dollars to advance their beliefs. They can provide relief, assistance, whatever they need to provide, but they can't use those specific agencies to advance their faith, because they are directly funded by tax dollars. In the case of a Bible college that accepts students with federal grants, the grant money goes to the student and the student can use it to go where he chooses. The school isn't directly receiving federal money, it records that check specifically to the credit of the student's expenses. It is receiving it from the student, not the government.
     
    #17 Jack Matthews, Mar 31, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2007
  18. Broadus

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    In the U.S., most of the schools of which I'm aware that are set against accreditation could not be accredited if they wanted to be. A look at their catalogs reveals faculty who are not well trained, having earned terminal degrees from the same or similar institutions with low requirements for entrance and graduation, such as the lack of biblical language prerequisites to get into their grad schools.

    As far as piling up debt to go to an accredited seminary, my family (including 3 teenage girls) left an 8-year pastorate in Georgia to finish an M.Div. and do a Ph.D. at SBTS. My wife home-schooled our girls and two of them would enter college before we left the Louisville area debt free. I worked in addition to leading a small pastorate and got little sleep and we lived quite frugally, but God was gracious. To imply that accreditation equals debt is a mistake.

    Accreditation does not guarantee quality instruction, and non-accreditation does not guarantee poor instruction. From what I see of Whitefield Theological Seminary or Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, both unaccredited yet high quality, there are exceptions to the rule. Usually, though, accredited schools have quality instruction and non-accredited schools (I am speaking of the U.S.) do not. BTW, I have a degree from a non-accredited school (Hyles-Anderson), and after I did work at accredited institutions I realized how poor HAC was.

    Concerning the question in the OP, I find nothing unbiblical in the American system of accreditation as it now stands.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  19. larryjf

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    Accreditation can have a bad impact on a biblical school.
    Westminster Theological Seminary had a problem with keeping their accreditation a while ago. They were told that unless they had women on their Board they would lose their accreditation. This school had a Board comprised of Elders as it is their belief that elders are to lead the teaching of the church. They also believe that Elders have to be men. Because they prized their accreditation they now allow women on the Board.
     
  20. TomVols

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    I'd have to see proof of this. There are no women on the board at my alma mater. I can think of four or five schools without really trying that are similar, and they are all RA.
     

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