ARE ALL UNACCREDITED SCHOOLS DIPLOMA MILLS?
Secular accreditation has become nothing more than educational idolatry (Ex. 20:3). Today this intimidation is so polarizing, even Christians are afraid to attend a fundamentally sound Bible school the government hasn’t endorsed. Please consider this question my friend: Is “Caesar’s” sanction the criteria necessary for God to tell us well done thou good and faithful servant Matt. 25:21), or is there something else?
Accreditation was an issue in Christ’s day, and His ministry was never fully legitimized because He refused to submit Himself to those in charge of granting it: When (Christ) was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority (Matthew 21:23)? What these self proclaimed authorities were saying is this: “Look here Jesus. Since you didn’t receive your training from a school we endorse, your education and your credentials are worthless.”
Promise Ministries International and The PMI Center for Biblical Studies have been involved in distance Bible and Ministry training to prisoners since 1981; Calvary Christian College and Seminary was formed the following year. From the outset, our desire has been to provide the highest quality theological training possible by alternative distance educational means. Sadly, when phantom accusations are aimed at reputable schools, a response is often necessary. One catchphrase often used to marginalize and stigmatize the integrity of the off campus model of theological education is to arbitrarily label the school a diploma mill.
Diploma mills originated with magazine ads offering degrees in a variety of subjects for a specific amount of money. Pay the money, receive the degree irrespective of work or merit. Today a variety of these degrees are available online in about twenty-four hours or so. That is not what is happening in most off campus Bible training programs I'm aware of and those who accuse these fine schools of being diploma mills either don't know what the term means or are simply operating from an agenda that allows them to misrepresent the term in order to accomplish their objectives.
The fact is, Christian education by correspondence isn't new. It was actually one of the favored methods the Apostle Paul employed for equipping the saints with the vital doctrines and duties accompanying the Christian faith during the first century.
I am happy to report the Pauline off-campus model reappeared several years ago in response to growing numbers of men and women desiring an education but unable to relocate to classroom settings. Sadly, instead of applauding the "university without walls" in its effort to provide alternative educational opportunities for the disadvantaged and disenfranchised, the movement has been met with unkind and unwarranted criticism* from institutional protectionists angered with these schools for refusing their unbiblical man-made accreditation.
Today while the future of "traditional" college is being debated, distance learning has proven to be a viable means of education through the following triad of evidences: The first can be clearly seen in the development of the self-study process. Quantum advances in technology and information storage and delivery systems now offer students- around the clock and around the world- quality scholarship and study opportunities via the computer and the internet in the comfort of their own home.
The second evidence comes from its growing- and may I say prominent- list of proponents. A quick Google search reveals Government agencies, small and large businesses, home-schoolers, the military, secular universities, and Christian colleges and seminaries are all scrambling to incorporate distance study alternatives into their overall mission strategies. When reporting on this trend, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "All across the country, going to college is acquiring a whole new meaning as higher education undergoes a virtual transformation, one that some predict will make traditional campuses the dinosaurs of the digital age." Interestingly, that excerpt appeared in an article from their July 20, 1998 edition.
Finally, and perhaps most compelling, are the products of these distance education programs: the graduates. Nowhere has this been more of a blessing than in the Christian community. Thanks to the visionary efforts of many conservative off-campus Bible schools like the PMI Center for Biblical Studies and Calvary Christian College and Seminary, hundreds of thousands of evangelists, pastors and Bible teachers who probably would not have been trained- have been armed for battle in a field glutted by agnostics, skeptics and liberals (who incidentally all graduated with impressive degrees from "accredited" schools) and now are fully equipped to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3).
Now in all honesty, who would benefit most by accusing, opposing, and ultimately eliminating these schools, my friend (Rev. 12:9-10)?
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