If You Had to Recommend an Unaccredited Seminary with Distance Learning

Discussion in 'Seminary, theology, and religion-related degrees' started by Garp, Jun 23, 2023.

  1. Thorne

    Thorne Active Member

    Speaking as an Eastern Orthodox Christian with plenty of Eastern Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Oriental Orthodox friends - even some who are clergy - YEC is not the typical viewpoint, the majority viewpoint, the material viewpoint, or the formal viewpoint in Christendom. The same goes for my Protestant friends, the only ones I know who insist on YEC universally and uncompromisingly are Baptists. That's all anecdotal, but the surveys and statistics show that YEC is only greater than a fringe view in the US, everywhere else in the world YEC is summarily rejected by at least 70% of all Christians across all denominations.

    If we're talking about the Fathers, we must realize that most of the Fathers held to an understanding of sexual biology that we now know to be completely false and no modern Christians hold to in any denomination. The Church Fathers also held to many views that are rejected by plenty of Christians, like the Real Presence, the idea of confessing with the witness of a Priest, or even the existence of a sacramental Priesthood.

    Others can debate the science itself, my chief concern is correcting the misconception about how widespread YEC is. The only way to claim otherwise is if you unilaterally decide by fiat that the 70% of Christians globally who don't believe in a young earth are simply not Christians.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Yeah...the Earth isn't 6,000 years old. At all.
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  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    We've been here before. Some years ago, An institute in Texas wanted to teach a Master's in Creation Science. They were refused State permission. Reason in a nutshell - (my take) authorities felt it wasn't science.

    Thread here: https://www.degreeinfo.com/index.php?threads/masters-in-creationism.29232/
    Wiki here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_for_Creation_Research

    Surely something that (we're told) 70% of Christians believe in (???) could get approved for teaching, no? :) Apparently not.

    Note: I believe TRACS once accredited this school, and they later revoked that accreditation. No matter. At the time of accreditation, TRACS was not yet recognized as a National Accreditor. These days, it IS, of course, and if your school wants TRACS accreditation, a belief statement still has to be signed, indicating belief (among others) in the literal, Biblical account of Creation. No statement - no accreditation.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2023
    Dustin likes this.
  4. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    TRACS's faith statement asserts six literal day Biblical creation, and TRACS requires every school to have a faith statement within parameters defined by TRACS. But those parameters allow some liberty in non-essentials. It doesn't look from the current TRACS Accreditation Manual like every TRACS school is required to assert literal Biblical creation in its faith statement:

    RoscoeB likes this.
  5. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Not my area but I believe you have two main types of credible Christian Creationists.

    Young Earth - Represented by people like Astrophysicist Jason Lisle, PhD.

    Old Earth Creationists - Represented by people like Astrophysicist Hugh Ross, PhD and Francis Collins, MD.
    Michael Burgos likes this.
  6. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    And then there are Ancient Astronaut Theorists who have absolutely ruined the History Channel.
    Dustin and Messdiener like this.
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    That's the beauty of science. It does not require one's belief. It just is.
    Johann likes this.
  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    @Jonathan Whatley Hmm. I wonder, Jonathan, if there's as much wiggle-room here as needed to get around this. The Belief Statement has to "conform to the historic creeds and statements of Christianity." Doesn't that, in the case of TRACS, include a belief in the literal Biblical account of Creation? I believe TRACS was originally founded for the purpose of endorsing and supporting Creationism in schools. To accept a belief statement that omitted, or in any way negated that, would seem to be contrary to their established aim.

    I think if a school submitted a Belief Statement that "accurately stated the current position" as (in any way) "other" than the traditional Biblical one on Creation as held by TRACS -- they could likely whistle for their Accreditation -- for at least 6,000 years.

    As I said, TRACS was founded on Creationism. I don't think they're going to back down even an inch on their core belief now - or ever. But, as an Atheist - what do I know.... ?
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2023
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  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    If so, it's hard to take it seriously as a judge of quality in higher education.

    Creationism is contrary to the scientific method. It is an unfounded theory in search of support. Theory is supposed to explain a phenomenon using evidence, not the other way around. And if you want to take that approach--a radically deductive one--the idea fails. In the deductive process, the hypotheses formed in one's theory must be tested or tossed. It is unsupportable in its current form; is it necessary to hold it open in case something emerges to support it?
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

  11. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I'm sure TRACS takes TRACS seriously - and I don't want to wind up in a war with them - so I'll neither argue with nor endorse that statement. It's all yours, Rich.

    One thing I DO like about TRACS. They have a proven history of restoring valid National Accreditation to HBCUs - mostly those which have lost their former accreditation through inability to meet accreditors' financial requirements. For example, Morris Brown College, Atlanta GA, a 140-year-old HBCU which had no accreditation for about 20 years, prior to TRACS.

    One more thing about TRACS. They must be doing something right. Their status as an accreditor was renewed for another full five year term, recently. That says something, to me.
  12. Asymptote

    Asymptote Active Member

    How does Log College & Seminary (previously known as: The North American Reformed Seminary) go for the Reformed?

    How does Pontifex University go for the Catholics?

    Are there other religions that have unaccredited schools affiliated with their creeds?
  13. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    I know a few Log grads. They're both well-trained and skilled in ministry. However, I have heard that it is difficult to acquire a mentor for the duration of a program.

    $10k for a grad program seems rather high for this institution.
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  14. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    All I can say is that faculty at Saint Leo University are aware of its existence, and the fact that they offer the only Catholic fully online ThD, other than the new program from St. Leo. Of course, St. Leo is accredited.
    Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and its St. Sophia Seminary. They offer an online MA. Surprisingly for this tiny school, they seem to be working towards ATS accreditation.
    I believe St. Josapgat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary is unaccredited. I don't believe they have online programs.
  15. Asymptote

    Asymptote Active Member

    Re: Log College & Seminary

    I think the old TNARS used to offer a Doctor of Divinity in Puritan Studies. The current school offers a Th.D. in Puritan Studies. That sounds like a cool program for someone interested in the history and theology of Puritanism, especially given the important role the Puritans played in the early history of the U.S.A. However, I cannot tell if anyone outside the Reformed Church would be allowed to enroll?

    The Log College also offers interesting programs in “nouthetic counseling.” This, also, sounds like a fascinating course of studies. However, it is unclear whether a non-Reformed bloke would be allowed to enroll.

  16. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    Here is what I know: Local church membership is mandatory to get in and all mentors have to subscribe to the Westminster standards or its sister confessions (e.g., 1689LBC). My guess is that by "local church" they mean one that affirms to historic Protestant orthodoxy. As for nouthetic counseling, which is now called "biblical counseling" by most in the movement, I agree-- excellent course of study. I'm presently completing a DMin at SBTS in the same discipline.
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  17. Pugbelly2

    Pugbelly2 Member

    I was going to sit on the sidelines and watch this one play out, but I'm bored so I might as well offer my two cents which in this economy is likely worth even less than that! First, on Old Earth vs Young Earth. Biblically speaking, God revealed himself to man through two means: divine revelation (The Bible) and general revelation (nature, the physical creation). We also know that God does not lie and is not deceptive, so the notion that His creation was intentionally authored to look old is simply unacceptable. Either the Bible is wrong, modern science is wrong, or the way we interpret one or the other (or both) is wrong. On this topic I suggest the reading of Hugh Ross.

    Regarding a recommendation to an unaccredited seminary, that's tough. I am not of the mindset that one needs to agree with the theological position of a given seminary in order to attend and learn. In my secular studies I regularly disagreed with the position(s) of the school or the authors of a given text. Disagreement and alternative positions should be a good thing if it's done with some humility. It evokes discussion, thought, and hopefully greater understanding of any topic by all involved. I especially feel this way about seminaries, accredited or unaccredited, if the lines of disagreement with an institution do not pertain to an issue of salvation.

    All of that having been said, the recommendation for an unaccredited seminary would be based on what the student was trying to achieve with the degree. If the goal was to experience academic rigor, that might be one recommendation. If the goal was to gain acceptance with a particular theological community, that might be a different recommendation. Much has been written on the board about Louisiana Baptist University for example, mostly unfavorable, but it is part of the BBFI which has 1.2 million American members and 4,000 churches. Other denominations have similar networks.
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  18. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    It is rather obvious that, using a standard historico-grammatical hermeneutic, there is no legitimate way to arrive at the conclusion Moses believed in OEC. That is exceptionally clear in the relevant account given the use of the cardinal numeral for the first day (אֶחָֽד) and the modifiers "evening" and "morning." Moreover, the authoritative commentary on the creation account confirms such a reading (e.g., the Decalogue: "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day," Exod. 20:11).
  19. Pugbelly2

    Pugbelly2 Member

    There is need to force a literal 24 hour interpretation of the word yom (the Hebrew word interpreted in Genesis as day) as it appears in Genesis. There is also no need to force anything other than a 24 hour period interpretation. The word yom appears a myriad of times throughout the OT. Sometimes it is interpreted as a 24 hour period. Others times it's interpreted as just the period of daylight with a 24 hour day. Many other times it's interpreted to be a long period of time with a beginning and an end (perhaps an era). I think there is plenty of room on both sides to approach the topic with humility, active-listening, and mutual respect. Personally, I believe the scriptures to be quite clear on the nature of God. That nature does not allow for an intentionally deceitful picture of creation. Our understanding, no matter the side you fall on, has to remain open to further understanding. It's also important to remember that the authors of the various books of the Bible did not write about science. They wrote about creation and salvation. While their writings do reference historical and scientific phenomena, we have to remember the context within which it appears. For example, the creation story in Genesis does not attempt to provide a scientific account of those events. It illustrates the events from man's perspective. Further example, when God separated night from day, viewpoint of the event is that of one standing on the earth's surface.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    If one was interested in getting a degree in B.S., I don't see a reason not to do it at a B.S. school.

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