An Old Controversy
Revisited- From the Editors [of Pulpit Helps]
We opened "a can of worms" a few months ago when we printed
an article on accreditation and followed it the next month with an
editorial on distance learning.
genuine man of God called to preach wants a certificate from a diploma
mill. Diploma mills sell pretty pieces of paper, not education. Pulpit
Helps does not want to accept advertising from diploma mills.
Now, please reason
with us a bit: How do you distinguish a diploma mill from a legitimate
institution of higher learning?
Are all distance
learning centers diploma mills? Perhaps some of you who went off to
college several years might think so, but this is hardly fair. There
is no intrinsic reason why a good education cannot be obtained in
the comfort of your own study. Furthermore, a number of distance learning
centers (DLCs) come well-reputed and highly recommended. So we do
not believe mere distance is a good ground for deciding.
How about accreditation
as a standard? As Dr. Chand's article noted, anybody- literally anybody-
can set up an accreditation agency. And the individual/group/agency
which sets up the accreditation agency sets up its rules and standards.
recognition of the accrediting agency guarantee you a good education?
Well, not really. Government approved agencies do not have to meet
some tough standards, such as adequate libraries and faculty degree
status. However, no school on earth can guarantee that a student will
get better instruction from a professor with an earned doctorate than
from a divinely-gifted teacher with a lesser degree- or even no degree.
very good schools believe it is wrong to submit to the control of
any outside accrediting agency. (Bob Jones University comes to mind.)
If you can't trust
accreditation, what can you trust? Try common sense, for a starter.
If something seems too good to be true, it very likely is. There are
some elementary checks you can apply yourself: Send for a catalog.
Read what the school says about itself. Is it accredited, and if so
by whom? Look closely at the course offerings. How large is the faculty?
What is required for the degrees offered (besides money?) Speaking
of money, what does the school's literature tell you about costs?
(While significant savings can be achieved by eliminating a campus
and traditional trappings of higher education, too cheap is still
too cheap.) Most importantly, check out their references. Ask them
who in your area graduated from their school. Then talk to those individuals.
We would love
to have a sure-fire yardstick to sort the "diploma mills"-
where you basically buy a piece of paper- from the legitimate schools.
We don't have one that is fair to everybody. What's more, we are not
a detective agency. Therefore let every potential student be wary,
be careful and (most of all) be prayerful.
-From the editors
of Pulpit Helps
for Bible Colleges and Seminaries
by Harley Howard
The entire issue
of accredited vs. non-accredited schools will be discussed until Jesus
comes, with both sides giving many legitimate pros and cons on the
Many people assume
wrongfully that an accredited school is superior to those which are
not accredited and vice versa. That is simply not the case at all,
when many schools on both sides are compared to each other. For example,
I attended a well-known Baptist college in Virginia in the late 70s,
and I can assure you that I would not recommend a single soul enroll
in that university today. They have lowered their so-called biblical
and Christians standards to the degree that accreditation means nothing.
I can make that case for many well-known Christian schools today.
On the other hand,
there are many people who simply do not want to have secular minds
deciding their Christian education, which makes all the sense in the
world to me since the carnal mind knows nothing about the things of
the Spirit anyway. Why should Christian educators allow the lost world
to determine what is acceptable to the saint?
are many shams in education, as Bob Dasal rightfully pointed out when
personal concern about diploma mill schools is that churches may
call a pastor they've been lead to believe has an earned degree,
but does not. In my editorial I defined a 'mill school' as one that
provides a piece of paper but not an education."
The entire accreditation
process is itself a topic that can also be debated. One of the best-known
critics of non-accredited schools is an avowed homosexual and atheist
and, sad to say, has a so-called "Christian" educator in
full support of his so-called expertise. (Who accredits the one doing
the accreditation, my friends?)
is that the issue is not whether an accredited school is better than
one that is not. The issue is which school offers you the best education
in God's Word- if that is what you define a Christian education to
be, as I do.
With this thought
in mind I must mention that it seems to me that many people are not
using the brains that God gave them when it comes to considering a
Christian college or seminary. Prospective students should investigate
everything there is to know about whatever school(s) they are interested
in and ask themselves
the purpose of my education? Do I want a Bible education alone?
Do I want to know more about science, biology or other liberal arts?"
Yes, you can get
a piece of paper from any college or seminary and you may think that
you are getting your money's worth and transferable credits, when
in fact all you are getting is ripped-off. You need to be discerning
about where you are going and what you want and what you are getting
yourself into. You need to investigate, pray, pray some more and pray
even more. Seek the Lord's will above all in this matter.
Many fine schools,
both accredited and non-accredited, offer distance education. Many
will not have the funds or the time to uproot their lives to go to
a college or seminary (nor should they unless led of the Lord to do
so). In such a case, distance education is the way to go. But investigate.
If accreditation is not a concern, then at least go to the best quality
school you can find that will teach you God's Word.
In closing: Bob
Dasal has no ax to grind with any school nor malice in his heart.
He did not write this article with any anger or as an attempt to start
some heated controversy. His heart is concerned for the quality of
the education of the saints and as an educator myself, I am thankful
for him and to him. Instead of criticism he should be praised and
supported. He certainly has both from me.
of Truth Bible Church