Non-accredited seminaries

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by informer, Apr 26, 2001.

  1. informer

    informer
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    A U.S. District judge in Austin, Texas, has upheld a state-ordered ban against the issuing of theology degrees by a seminary school the state says is not properly accredited.

    Judge Jamie Nowlin issued a preliminary injunction against the Institute for Teaching God's Word Seminary, based in Rockdale, upholding an earlier ruling that bans the school from issuing theology degrees to its students.

    The seminary could be held in contempt of court if it continues to issue the degrees, according to a statement on the case released yesterday by the Liberty Legal Institute, a Plano-based legal-aid organization representing the school.

    The group filed suit against the state in federal court last month after a Texas court ordered the Tyndale Theological Seminary in Fort Worth -- one of at least three non-accredited seminaries involved in the suit -- to pay $170,000 in fines for issuing 34 degrees as a non-state accredited school.

    Tyndale officials and officials from two other schools that joined in the suit have said if left to stand, the ruling could eventually cost them students because they won't be able to issue degrees in theology.

    Wednesday's ruling supported the state's contention that no school for higher education can issue degrees unless it is accredited and approved by state education officials. Because the Institute for Teaching God's Word Seminary does not offer courses in math, science or English, it has not been accredited by the state.

    The American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions, however, has given the school an accreditation, but it is not binding and does not qualify under Texas education standards, Liberty Legal officials said.

    The legal group expressed outrage and disappointment over the federal court's decision.

    "The state does not have the right to begin telling us which seminaries are legitimate and which are not," said Daniel R. Castro, a Liberty Legal Institute affiliate attorney representing God's Word Seminary. Also, he said the state didn't "have the right to take over some of the words of the English language and punish those who speak them," in a reference to the religious materials taught by the seminary.

    "The state couldn't even teach these subjects because of federal separation of church and state provisions," Kelly Shackleford, the legal group's chief counsel, said. "If religious training for all theological degrees has to first be approved by the government, then religious freedom is dead."

    Tom Kelley, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general's office, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in March that the state law in the case is religion-neutral.

    "Under state law, an institution of higher learning cannot confer a degree unless they've been accredited ... or obtained a certificate of authority through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board," Kelley said.

    "We believe God will prevail in this matter. But if left up to the state of Texas, all people of faith will have to worry," said a statement released by the God's Word Seminary following the decision.

    Liberty Legal officials did not say whether they would appeal yesterday's ruling.

    Source: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=22576
     
  2. Rob't K. Fall

    Rob't K. Fall
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    My question is: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>What are/were they calling their degrees?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  3. Blade

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    What are the laws in Texas concerning degree-granting? Is this something unique to seminaries/theology degrees or does it apply to any non-accredited institution granting degrees of any kind/subject?
     
  4. Truthserum

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    Concerning this subject let me share my insight on the subject after some pretty intense research on the subject of accreditation. First, State accreditation isn't anything like regional accreditation. For a school to receive State accreditation, it must only meet some basic requirements for the approval from the State to issue degrees. In other words, state accreditation is simply approval from the state to issue degrees instead of certificates. There is no doubt in my mind that Tyndale would receive approval from the state to issue degrees if it chose to apply for such approval. The issue here is not whether the school could get the approval, but that the school does not believe it should be required to seek the state's approval. Don't get state and regional accreditation confused.
     

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