Bible Colleges a Relic of the Past?

18311 reads

There are 84 Comments

Jim's picture

  • Faith (Ankeny) will survive because it knows who it is and sticks to its guns. MBBC too. Ankeny is a great location in the upper midwest. MBBC has a very attractive campus and will benefit from the NIU controversy and gain market share in Wisconsin. 
  • BJU will survive but will have to make adjustments to achieve regional accreditation. Stephen Jones will come into his own when his Dad retires 
  • Cedarville and Cornerstone will thrive. 
  • PCC will do fine because A Beka Book is profitable and helps subsidize the school. PCC is probably the best value in CC education. The lowest tuition and great location
  • The hard-core fundy schools associated with Fundy mega-churches will be fine because they have a following: HAC / Crown etc
  • Clearwater Christian has a great location and offers an excellent education
  • NIU ... may become simply a great family camp unless .... 
Andrew K.'s picture

Jim wrote:

  • Faith (Ankeny) will survive because it knows who it is and sticks to its guns. MBBC too. Ankeny is a great location in the upper midwest. MBBC has a very attractive campus and will benefit from the NIU controversy and gain market share in Wisconsin. 
  • BJU will survive but will have to make adjustments to achieve regional accreditation. Stephen Jones will come into his own when his Dad retires 
  • Cedarville and Cornerstone will thrive. 
  • PCC will do fine because A Beka Book is profitable and helps subsidize the school. PCC is probably the best value in CC education. The lowest tuition and great location
  • The hard-core fundy schools associated with Fundy mega-churches will be fine because they have a following: HAC / Crown etc
  • Clearwater Christian has a great location and offers an excellent education
  • NIU ... may become simply a great family camp unless .... 

Did you note this clarification though, Jim?

"I am not talking about Christian Colleges that offer regular career paths other than Christian ministry. I'm talking about the undergrad college offering a four year degree in Biblical studies."

My hunch is that he's right. Looking at my fellow alumni I can't help but notice that even though many graduated with Missions and Biblical Studies majors, surprisingly few actually entered full time ministry. Many are working IT, landscaping, teaching, construction, etc.

神是爱

TylerR's picture

Editor

Somebody who is actually working in Christian education will be better informed than me, but here are my thoughts from the cheap seats . . .

1. I believe there is great pressure on Christian colleges to recruit students. I suspect enrollment is going down in fundamentalist institutions, but somebody in the know can correct me 

2. This drop in attendance will lead some schools to broaden their base, and others to stay the course and possibly lose students unless they have online options.

3. Perhaps the ministry degrees can be just as well earned from unaccredited institutions. Tyndale, for one, seems to be a good, solid school with good instructors. It seems to be a sort of Dallas-lite. Perhaps this is a model for fundamentalists to follow. There seems to be significant cost savings associated with forgoing accreditation, or at least this is what some unaccredited schools claim. There will be a great need for common-sense discernment here. There is a great difference, for example, between Tyndale and this silly "institution."

4. We may have to differentiate whether we're going to Christian college for (1) ministry or (2) skill training in the secular workforce. If it is ministry training, see #3. 

5. Online education is the wave of the future. Maranatha, for one, is charging forward with this at hyper-speed. Their MDiv can be done online now. Online education means an institution doesn't necessarily have to build more dorms, a bigger library or generally have the physical infrastructure to support their student body. Liberty, for example, has about 4x the number of online students that they have on campus.  

I may post more when I think of some. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

paynen's picture

He may be right in what unfortunately may happen, but incorrect in the value of a Bible College. The church has all but failed in educating anyone beyond the absolute basics of Christianity. There are exceptions, but they are rare. If the Bible College becomes a thing of the past more then likely theology and doctrine will go by the wayside as well. Our culture does not really allow for a church to support full time educators, nor does it allow for people with full time jobs to become educators on a level to sustain a high quality of education. Such is the value of a Bible College. 

 

The unfortunate thing is, is that colleges are struggling. One key reason of this is the contemporary view of culture. When churches are giving their people a secular life with a Christian twist, why would anyone want to dedicate their lives to the studying of God's word? or two missions or ministry? If I am encouraged to be a Christian in the depths of my culture, which glorifies high paying jobs in the areas of Computer Science, sports, and other areas. Why should I go to FBBC&TS to learn theology when I can go to Liberty or even Bob Jones or even a secular college and and learn to do whatever I want?

I feel the coming marginalization of Christians may help Bible Colleges, if they are allowed to exist. When culture becomes so tainted that it is basically impossible to mix true Christianity and Culture, contemporary ideology will die out and Bible Colleges may get a bit of a boost.

Bill Roach's picture

"They will be better overseen by their own elders who can better assess their qualification for ministry.  Their real qualification, calling and character, will be better tested in the environment of their own churches than in an academic atmosphere where anyone who has the academic abilities and money can attend"

The relationship is primary and drives the effectiveness of the discipleship.

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Bill:

Good thoughts. School is a place to get tools. Actual church discipleship and ministry experience is where you learn how to use them effectively. This is a paradigm I hope people appreciate. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

paynen's picture

Which is why places like Faith emphasize the local church. Students are required to attend one of the many local churches and are required to get involved at some level, and encouraged to get involved on a deep level and have one on one's with their pastors.

Jeff Straub's picture

Bill Roach wrote:

"They will be better overseen by their own elders who can better assess their qualification for ministry.  Their real qualification, calling and character, will be better tested in the environment of their own churches than in an academic atmosphere where anyone who has the academic abilities and money can attend"

The relationship is primary and drives the effectiveness of the discipleship.

This is only true if the elders are themselves well-trained. Lay elders with no particular Word training skills are hardly in a position to mentor future preachers of the Word. This a a fundamental flaw to the elder approach in the minds of many - plurality of elders assumes a de facto equality of elders. All elders are not equal in training even if they are equal in standing within the assembly (unless the church insists on only ministerially trained elders). Of course elders could train "on the job" but few learn Greek or Hebrew in this way (though some perhaps do). There will always be a need for some form of formal training . . . whether or not that is a brick and mortar place remains to be seen. Much is lost in mentoring men for ministry via the video display. Some things may be gained but much is lost. Ministerial training is more than simply learning a series of facts and correctly ordering them. The Church for 400 years has recognized that some elders are better suited to train elders than others and send their "elders in training" to places where "expert elder trainers" abide. Calvin did it in Geneva. Caleb Evan in Bristol, Spurgeon in London, Boyce in Louisville, ad infinitum.

JS

Jeff Straub

TylerR's picture

Editor

Good points. There are certainly limits to conversations you can have via email. I have only met one of my Professors. The rest are names on an email. I've had great conversations by email, but it would be profitable to have a cup of coffee with some of my Professors once and a while!  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jeff Straub's picture

There is a bit of an assumption in this thread that more students equals more money for schools . . . Schools need money, therefore schools need students. To get more money, one needs simply to get more students. To get more students, schools simply lesson what it requires to be a student. Clearly this happens, but this is not all that it appears to be. Here is why.

No student EVER, EVER, E V E R pays for his/her own education. Not in kindergarten not in grade school, high school, college, university or graduate school. Few families are capable of paying the actual costs for education at any level. (Let's forget a conversation about home schooling for the moment.) This is why governments subsidize through tax dollars the public education system and why churches do the same with Christian schools. When a student gets to the upper levels of education, the schools have to raise massive amounts of money and raise it all the time to fund the computers, libraries, internet, desks, electricity, professors, parking lots, buildings, etc. 

Edward Terrill left 1000 ST to help start Bristol Baptist Academy in the 17th century;  John Harvard gave books to help his name sake, Nicolas Brown gave $5000 to Brown, Samuel Colgate sold soap and gave the some of the proceeds to Colgate and Matthew Vassar (a Baptist) brewed beer. This is a very short list.

Schools need donors with lots of money. I once had a school man tell me he doesn't like to "pick rich men's pockets" which I found odd since I know that one guy who supports his school would be considered by many to be rich and he is generous with the school. It is no dishonor to seek donors and the work won't get done without them. Never has, never will. Whether the donations are solicited en mass through a church offering or privately through a direct appeal, schools need money to operate. More than students can provide.

So . . . simply getting more students won't keep schools alive and healthy. Getting more and bigger donors will. One justification to donors to give, however, is students. If a school can say to its donor base "See we are growing" they justify the request for more money. If the picture they paint is one of decay, donors may be reluctant to pour money down the drain, so to speak.

FWIW

JS

Jeff Straub

TylerR's picture

Editor

No student EVER, EVER, E V E R pays for his/her own education.

In my case, this is literally true. I got my AA before I graduated high school, paid for by the school district through a program sponsored by them. I got my BA while in the service - the Navy paid for all of it. I got my MA with the GI Bill, will get my MDiv with the GI Bill and perhaps a good portion of my ThM with the GI Bill. 

I have not paid $1 of my own to school. The GI Bill is, in fact, so good that I sometimes feel that 10 years in the military wasn't enough to earn the benefits of the GI Bill . . . !

So . . . simply getting more students won't keep schools alive and healthy. Getting more and bigger donors will. One justification to donors to give, however, is students. If a school can say to its donor base "See we are growing" they justify the request for more money. If the picture they paint is one of decay, donors may be reluctant to pour money down the drain, so to speak.

Didn't know that at all. Appreciate it. I assumed student enrollment = money. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Todd Himes's picture

These are good thoughts. Tyler, you're making me question my decision at 18 to choose college over the Navy.   : )

Dr. Straub has an excellent point about the financial structures of colleges & seminaries. NIU wouldn't be NIU without the Patz family; similarly, no PCC without ABeka. It goes on, whether Maranatha, ABC, or seminaries such as DBTS, CBTS, etc. Whether large funding sources (Patz, ABeka), or many small funding sources, very few institutions can survive on tuition & fees alone. They HAVE to raise funds. Witness the many institutions that have a full-time staff member whose sole role is to raise funds. In that sense, it DOES take a community to educate.

All that being said, back to the theme of the thread, I'm a prime example of many students who are intentionally shying away from residency education, and flooding toward online education. I entered MBBC at age 18, with no financial assistance beyond a minimal scholarship I received. I HAD to work full-time in order to fund my education. There were no funds forthcoming from my church, or home. Additionally, financial aid in the form of grants wasn't an option either, because my parents [at the time] made too much for me to qualify for anything other than student loans. I washed out after three semesters at MBBC, worn out from working & studying full-time while dealing with family issues happening 1500 miles away.

That was 20 years ago. I JUST finished my bachelors last year, in an online environment, through an evangelical school that has been at the forefront of online education, and is doing an excellent job of building an online community that understands the pressures of being an adult learner. I'm continuing with my MA through the same school, and will probably have that completed by the end of this year, with an eye toward moving on to a MDiv or ThM, also in an online or blended environment. I have a family, with four kids age seven & under; it would have been impossible for me to finish my degree and start my grad education if the online environment did not exist. For those that would argue otherwise - that a man can raise a family while attending school in a campus environment regularly, and working regularly - I've seen what's happened to their families, and heard the testimony of the struggles they've had. I talked to a number of them before going back to school. It's hard enough to raise a family when I'm home studying, let alone the pressures that would come with working FT and attending classes almost FT. Obviously, a few have been able to do it, successfully. Some of them have been able to avoid destroying [or neglecting] their family relationships in the process. Great for them. I'm not interested in sacrificing my family on the altar of furthering my education. No man should be. And I'm not alone.

I am encouraged by what I see from MBBC in what they're doing with online education, as well as other schools. However, there are a number of schools [undergrad & grad] that really need to get with it on online education, or they're going to wither. That, to me at least, is sad. I can see a number of very good institutions withering away because they had no vision for online education.

*end rant*

Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes.

Matthew J's picture

This may be a rabbit trail, but the author said this in his piece. He said that most pastors will need to be bi-vocational in the future. Just wondering why this is true. Could not a church comprised of ten families take 10 percent of their income (or food and clothing and pigs and horses) and provide for their pastor so that he could not leave the word of God and prayer? I have heard several people say without proof lately that bi-vocational is the future of pastors. But this statement is often made without an argument, where is the argument--I may agree, but I want someone to show my why I should agree. Maybe pastors will need to live more frugally than ever before. Maybe congregations will need to give pastors goods rather than money. Maybe we will need to stop building buildings and having dozens of missionaries to support. Maybe we will need to stop running programs in the church. But it seems to me that God's design from the OT temple on and the many times it is mentioned in NT is that one who lives for the Word ought to be able to live of the Word. This bothers me because I think that this "pastors will need to be bi-vocational" thinking (which I don't disagree with in some instances, especially small towns and church planting) is pragmatic rather than Biblically based. I thought that we were to provide double honor to those who labor in the Word and doctrine, but then the text doesn't say, "only if it is convenient. 

 

matt

Jeff Straub's picture

FWIW, I did a 40K PhD without government assistance. When I left Windsor, McCune asked "How you gonna pay for this?" Maybe its just glandular pietism, but I believed then and still do that God pays for what He ordains. This does not preclude hard work and sacrifice. Some in a rush to get into ministry leave school too early, get married have kids and then years later wish they could go back and have to settle to something less . . . 

I wonder when the training for Navy Seals with start offering online modules? There are just some things that require a classroom setting to learn or field work. In the early days of online, I took part of the training to becoming an Emergency Medical Technician via a computer online (before the internet, circa 1986/7). I still had to go to class days for hand's on teaching. Try to learn CPR via the internet.

Online = good for some things. Impractical for others, IMO. 

JS

Jeff Straub

Dan Burrell's picture

Nearly 10 years ago, I wrote a series of Blog articles  about the issues in Fundamental Bible Colleges and what needed to be done in order to secure the viability in the future.  Much of what I predicted has played out and some of it is still playing out.  Because I've served on the Board of Directors, Accreditation teams and adjunct faculties of several Fundamental (formerly and/or currently) I've some vested interest in them.

Sadly, many Bible colleges have waited too long to address the changing landscape of higher education in general and across Fundamental and Evangelical Christianity.  Some could pull it out still, but it's going to be close in my opinion.

I see these schools on the endangered species list with a real probability of collapsing altogether in the next 5-10 years as a brick-and-mortar school: Baptist Bible College/Springfield - probably the unhealthiest of them all; Tennessee Temple, Boston Baptist, Piedmont Baptist. Davis College (formerly Practical Bible College). Heartland Baptist, Southern Evangelical (Charlotte),

Schools that could go either way, but are definitely in the "yellow zone" of caution lights and signals would include Northland, Clearwater, Crown, Hyles, Maranatha, Baptist Bible/Clark Summit.  Northland has been discussed so much, but I concur that the big question is whether or not a more moderate Fundamental/CE college can survive where it is located (Put me in the category that I hope they do.); Clearwater and Maranatha have to either focus more intensely on being a regional school that may be a bit broader than they've previous been or perhaps form some sort of satellite/consortium with BJU.  both Clearwater and MBBC had a chance to be viewed as more "independent" of BJU and to forge a new, broader direction and constituency and clearly chose not to do so in recent years -- particularly, Clearwater.   Crown will have to have some sort of plan for a Sexton retirement or they'll hit a rapid decline. Right now, they represent the East Coast place-to-go for the old TTU and Sword of the Lord/Southwide Constituency, but both those groups are shriveling up.  BBCS has been in difficulty for a few years and is faced with being so close to Liberty U that they can't be effective regionally and with the issues in the GARBC, if churches are going to support a school and their students go to a GARB school, it is far more likely going to be Faith BBC/Ankeny than BBCS.  Finally there's Hyles -- and in my humble opinion, the sooner they close the better it will be for the cause of Christ.  The only reason I didn't put them on the "endangered" list is because of the fanatical loyalty of their core constituency.

Schools that could see a decline (continued) without closing, but having to "remake" themselves to level off at a viable enrollment level would be Bob Jones and Pensacola.  They are really late to the Accreditation game for such large schools and their compromise choice of national accreditation rather than regional was not a particularly smart move, but may have been the best that they could do with their current faculties and philosophy and the demands/expectations of their core constituencies.  If it weren't for Beka Book, PCC would be in HUGE trouble, but because of Beka Book, they'll continue to have large freshman classes at least.  Shumate has an opportunity to make some key changes, but whether he will or not remains to be seen.  Bob Jones is SO controlled by their constituency, I don't think that even Stephen Jones will be able to find a fix to their decline, plus they simply have a HUGE "brand" problem and across the country -- outside of their small-growing-smaller constituency -- there are many secular businesses AND churches who won't touch someone with a BJU degree.  I see it all the time in their back yard where I live.  It's not fair and not accurate, but perception is very powerful.

Cedarville and Liberty are going to be just fine.  They are both "tuition-driven" schools and have found a way to deliver a credible, accredited product with a constituency willing to pay for it.  LU has a danger in damaging it's brand because of the huge on-line enrollment and an amazingly low entrance standard for online courses -- but you don't have to be a mathematician to know that the on-line program is the financial goose that lays golden eggs.  However, when the coming student loan program bubble bursts -- and it IS going to burst, folks -- it will be interesting to see how this impacts schools like LU.  I also suspect that we are less than a decade away from issues on church/state/government-backed loans/EEOC hiring practices, etc... that are going to be a very interesting point of conflict.

Finally, there's West Coast Baptist -- the darling of the Hyles/Sword fundamentalists on the West Coast.  Chappel is an effective leader, but again -- personality-driven ministries always have to think about succession and while Chappel is young, he's no Bob Jones in terms of obvious succession strategies.  But for now, they are growing and gaining momentum -- the only Fundamentalist college that I know of who can claim that.

I realize that these opinions are very subjective and some of what I stated here is built on information that is not necessarily available to everyone.  But I'd be interested in seeing what others think.

Some have thought that "on-line" programs would be the wave of the future for enrollment and income for small Bible colleges.  I don't think so.  LU has cornered the market on that and I can't envision another one becoming viable.  They poured millions and millions into it and will now reap billions and billions.  They suck the life out of other possibilities by their shear size.

I think schools like MBBC, NIU, CCC, Crown, etc... and possibly even BJU and PCC are going to have to think more "regionally".  The days of nationalized Christian/Bible colleges are over for the most part.

Colleges are going to have to find a way to "self-fund" that does not depend on contributions from churches (unless they are an actual denomination like the SBC.)  We are too factionalized for that to work.  Tuition-based budgets and major benefactors are going to drive the economics. 

Accreditation is going to be a non-negotiable.  That debate is truly over.

Brick and Mortar schools for under-graduate programs are not going away soon if ever.  Graduate schools are going to go on-line with just a very few exceptions like DTS, Southern, Southwestern, Southeastern, etc...

More Conservative SBC college alternatives are going to further challenge enrollments for Fundamentalist schools.  Boyce College, Southwestern's, etc... are filling a significant void credibly.

Using church-based apprentice programs instead of college is ideologically nice, but absolutely is not going to replace the current model of higher education from a recognized institution.  It will work for tiny churches and small towns, but not the rest of the country.

Just my random thoughts.  Feel free to challenge and pick them apart.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

Jonathan Charles's picture

I don't like the idea of church-trained pastors since most churches cannot offer a pastor-to-be all that he would need: Church History, Greek, Hebrew, Systematic Theology, Exegesis, Homiletics. etc.  What average church could ever give a young man instruction in all that?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Dr. Straub:

You must love the Navy SEALs! Why not give Marine Force Recon or Army DELTA some love too? As for the Air Force, well . . .

 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Sean Fericks's picture

Tech stocks became the en vogue money maker.  They became over-valued, and then the bubble burst.  The housing market became the en vogue money maker, and the federal government (believing everybody should have a really big one) subsidized the market.  Homes became way over-valued, and then the bubble burst.  The federal government subsidizes health care, and the market is growing (artificially) beyond belief.  Eventually, we must bow to market forces, and that bubble will burst. 

Apparently, society at large believes that everybody should seek a brick and mortar college degree.  Federal and State governments are pumping away to inflate the bubble.  The system is completely unsustainable as it is.  Eventually, the bubble must burst.  It is bursting even as we speak. http://www.cnbc.com/id/100598257

We used to go to the university because it had books, professors, computers, and lectures that we could not access without being physically present.  Now, we have the Kindle, Amazon, Google, YouTube, The Great Courses, iPhone lexicons, and a hundred versions of the Holy Bible for free on a dozen different websites.  We have GoToMeeting, Sharper Iron, and all of the professional publications (archaeology, history, literature, etc.) are a click away.

Yes, it is true that there is a wonderful opportunity to make life-long friends (perhaps a spouse), discuss ideas over coffee, and be immersed in a godly environment when a young person is willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars each year to attend bible college.  But in exchange, we go into debt in our early years.  We lose the benefit of starting a nest egg before getting married.  We leave our pastor and our local church.  We leave our parents, deacons, elders, and those who know our strengths and weaknesses.  Again, this used to be necessary in order to have access to information and learned men.  It is still necessary for certain professions (physicians, engineers, etc.).  But the costs are high, and perhaps it is time to invent new models of training for those seeking to enter full-time Christian service.

Bill Roach's picture

Jonathan Charles wrote:

I don't like the idea of church-trained pastors since most churches cannot offer a pastor-to-be all that he would need: Church History, Greek, Hebrew, Systematic Theology, Exegesis, Homiletics. etc.  What average church could ever give a young man instruction in all that?

Jonathan,

I agree with you that most are unprepared to do it.  Who knows maybe it's because they were trained within the current system!

Smile

By the grace of God, I was just ordained in my church(Orthodox Presbyterian) as a Ruling elder on Easter Sunday.   It came after 52 weeks of weekly classes on all of the subjects you mention above.  I must admit that my Hebrew leaves much to be desired...but it certainly left me with more compassion for Moses when he said he needed someone to help him talk! 

I am thankful that the Session in my church(and the Book of Church Order) thought enough of the position to charge the pastor with the task of training the 3 of us.  The other two guys became deacons and are on a continuing path to become elders. 

Granted, to become a Teaching Elder(3 office system) in our denomination, I believe requires an M-Div degree.  The current Teaching Elder and the one studying to be have never stepped in a Theology school.  Most in the denomination, however, do.   The two men studied online and take as many classes as possible with local Teaching Elders in the denomination.  Men we have friendships with and know.  Thus the accountability is tighter.

This has worked fairly well and still has to grow, but I think it has a better chance of surviving and thriving than anything I have seen so far. 

 

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

I am going to disagree with this article.  Bible colleges as we have known them are quickly becoming relics of the past but not Bible college in an off themselves.

   - Potential students, looking for training, are more attracted to schools that are more interested in building God's kingdom than a fiefdom.

   - Distance learning is more appealing because it can be done at a much better cost and it allows a person to be on a field of service while experiencing training for service.

   - Accreditation will be the standard.  It is not perfect.  It has challenges. But, it is a system that raises the standard of training and businesses don't want people with unaccredited degrees and many churches, after being burned by bozo after bozo in the pulpit, are starting to look for more academic credentials among those they are choosing to be their next spiritual leaders.

WilliamD's picture

Jeff Straub wrote:

I wonder when the training for Navy Seals with start offering online modules? There are just some things that require a classroom setting to learn or field work. 

 

I think this is the professionalization of the ministry that Piper and Tripp warn about in their books "Brothers we are not Professionals" and "Dangerous Calling."  

In another comment, you mentioned how plurality of elders often assumes equality of training. I understand that is a problem that needs to be overcome as churches seek to have a more faithful church government, yet it should be our high goal to have elders trained well enough that they can pass on a seminary education to the their 2 Tim. 2:2 men in their own churches without having to ship them off to a college somewhere. 

I know of a church that is doing exactly that in our area. One of their men comes to our church and teaches us NT Greek every other Monday: Sovereign Grace Baptist Church of Morgan Hill, CA

It's all local church operated by the elders of this church. Classroom settings come from the Greek schools, but Jesus taught his disciples differently. It was holistic and it involved more than the mind, it involved the whole person. This is the way we must start training ministers. 

 

Bill Roach's picture

Theological training("able to teach, refute those who contradict") seems to represent less than 15% of the qualifications of being an elder/overseer.  Albeit, a very important 15%, but one of many qualifications, none the less. 

Sometimes I wonder if we are so weak, in part, because we spend 85% of our time, energy, and resources on 15% of the qualifications, and 15% of it on the other 85%.

Just maybe. 

Jay's picture

but may have been the best that they could do with their current faculties and philosophy and the demands/expectations of their core constituencies.

Ding ding ding ding ding!

Will the core constituencies that supported BJU, NIU, Maranatha, etc even be around in 20 years?  Will they tolerate any deviation from the party line of cultural fundamentalism?  It didn't seem like they took the changes at NIU (even before the professor/DS and music changes stuff this year) really well.  I remember seeing someone label NIU as 'apostate' or the somesuch because they got rid of the demerit system and loosened the dress standards for non-classroom hours.

So far, I'm not optimistic with what I see.  Of course, I'm thinking that we might not enjoy the liberties of having 'Bible Colleges' in twenty years with the way society is going.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

Editor

There are about four separate threads going about NIU. I was looking forward to not mentioning NIU in this one. I beg of you, Jay - can we please not talk about NIU in this thread . . .?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jeff Straub's picture

WilliamD wrote:

I think this is the professionalization of the ministry that Piper and Tripp warn about in their books "Brothers we are not Professionals" and "Dangerous Calling."  

Would this be the same John Piper who has an MDiv from Fuller, a doctorate from Germany and started his own seminary in Minneapolis? 

JPS

Jeff Straub

Jay's picture

TylerR wrote:

There are about four separate threads going about NIU. I was looking forward to not mentioning NIU in this one. I beg of you, Jay - can we please not talk about NIU in this thread . . .?

So noted.

Moderators, please remove "The School That Must Not Be Named" from my earlier post. Wink

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

Editor

You are a great American. I reward you with a cookie . . .

 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Todd Himes's picture

Jeff Straub wrote:

FWIW, I did a 40K PhD without government assistance. When I left Windsor, McCune asked "How you gonna pay for this?" Maybe its just glandular pietism, but I believed then and still do that God pays for what He ordains. This does not preclude hard work and sacrifice. Some in a rush to get into ministry leave school too early, get married have kids and then years later wish they could go back and have to settle to something less . . .

I don't begrudge anybody who can do it. And maybe my experience is more solitary than I think. But my experience, in a mainstream church, and recognizable "circle", has been that if you're unable to cut it due to finances, you're labled as "not trusting God". And, if you're unwilling to drag your family off to seminary and let them stew for hours per day while you take class and work a FT job, you're "not willing to sacrifice". [Sacrifice what? Them?] There are exceptions to the rule, but my experience seems to be more the norm then the exception...

It is my opinion that both responses are unproductive and haughty in nature, don't reflect reality, and if we are going to continue to raise up the next generation of church leaders in a realistic and timely manner, BOTH attitudes need to be gone, and FAST.

Jeff Straub wrote:

I wonder when the training for Navy Seals with start offering online modules? There are just some things that require a classroom setting to learn or field work. In the early days of online, I took part of the training to becoming an Emergency Medical Technician via a computer online (before the internet, circa 1986/7). I still had to go to class days for hand's on teaching. Try to learn CPR via the internet.

Online = good for some things. Impractical for others, IMO. 

JS

I will agree on a classroom environment being best for some things, however. Some things ARE better suited for a classroom environment, in block format perhaps. Languages come readily to mind.

Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes.

Barry L.'s picture

I agree with Dan's statement in general; however, I disagree in two specific areas. First, I work in the same Charlotte area as he and find that there, currently, is not a problem with BJU grads being hired. Uptown Charlotte is littered with BJU finance professionals and I know of three seniors from the school who will start work uptown this fall. Now, accreditation for BJU will be an issue going forward, and I am not optimistic about them getting it. I am also not optimistic, and this is the second thing I disagree with Dan, about any fundamental or conservative evangelical Christian college obtaining or keeping their accreditation in the future, unless they are willing to compromise. There is a commitment clause to "social diversity" in accreditation and I am guessing that it will include sexual preferences here in the near future.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Here is a worthy addition to this discussion, particularly Barry's last point. 

 

In the meanwhile, Christians need to begin thinking about other models of teaching and learning. Up to now, we have adopted a model borrowed from the medieval universities. We have coupled our educational process with the granting of degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s levels. That is just what we may not be able to do in the future.

 

If that happens, we may need to rethink the process of ministry preparation. Future pastors and missionaries do need to be taught, but they do not really need degrees. We might well ask, What will ministry preparation look like in a world in which we are no longer permitted to operate colleges and seminaries? Unless something can be done to reverse the federal juggernaut, that day is almost certain to come.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Pages