Masters University and Seminary

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Kizmet, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  2. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Many years ago, I served as an elder in a church headed by a pastor who was a TMS grad and who had actually served on the staff of the mothership church headed by John MacArthur. The place did a serious number on the guy (along with other bad influences on him) and he was one of the most abusive pastors I've known (and I've known a few). His church completely imploded and was no longer a going concern within a few years--the reasons former members expressed were the same things I'd encountered: abusiveness, dishonesty, back-stabbing. MacArthur and his proteges apparently taught him well. The word has been out for years among christians that John MacArthur's empire was quite possibly built on abuse and tyrannical control. Having first become acquainted with the man's teachings over 30 years ago, I first thought "This is an intellectually dishonest human being, a fraud." Nothing over the last three decades has convinced me otherwise. This latest news surprises me not at all.
  3. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Babylonbee did a satirical article on him in which he wakes up in a cold sweat because he was unable to recall the answer to a grammatical question related to Koine Greek. He wife soothes him by telling him it is only a dream. The implication is that he confidently has answers to everything including grammatical minutia.

    MacArthur is brilliant, confident and amazingly smooth in his delivery of rebukes to critics on CNN and elsewhere. His confidence can come across as intellectual arrogance when he deals with those he disagrees with (ranging from Charismatics to those advocating for Psychology). He backs up what he says with facts but it is with an attitude of the case being closed once he has spoken.

    It is sad to see these issues occurring at the institution but you can kind of see where the authoritarism could come in. The issue with the son in law is troublesome.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
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  4. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    The problem is, in so many ways, MacArthur is utterly wrong. His facts don't add up. I loathe the way he uses the Bible. He is all about John MacArthur and promoting that brand; in my opinion, he's a blind, arrogant man, not quite smart enough to realize he's just not smart--the very opposite of Christ's humility and kindness.

    But then again, he's not all that unusual for Christian celebs. I believe many of those who go after the religious spotlight in this era where it can make you rich and comfortable and provide ready access to narcissistic supply--rather than back in the First Century, where it was like signing your own death warrant (ask any of Jesus' disciples)--is ipso facto suspect. I just thank God for the truth, that it's getting out about a lot of abusive so-called Christians.
  5. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    I am not affiliated in any way with Master’s University or Seminary, nor an adherent of the dispensationalist theology they teach. However, in the interest of fair play, here’s another link detailing their side of the story.
    FTFaculty likes this.
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I don't know about the accreditation issues, I trust the accreditors to do their jobs. But the guy sounds like an a-hole. Regardless of how "brilliant" he might be. Just another hypocriticalmanofgod.
    FTFaculty likes this.
  7. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    I read the report, basically no direct comment on the issues of abuse involved, or the family inurement. Just a load of pablum, carefully vetted by attorneys. The lawyer in me notices that this has all the earmarks of something written to minimize and say essentially nothing about anything.

    In all honesty, I've been watching the way this guy rolls for over 30 years, long before he ever got involved in this latest controversy. Having formerly been on paid staff in a religious institution and having served as an elder beside a Master's Sem grad, this latest news of alleged corruption, sweetheart family deals at the expense of donors, and abuse is completely and utterly unsurprising, as is the vaguely-worded whitewash attempt at damage control by MacArthur/MacArthur's attorneys. Obviously, this is a major sore spot for me, it shows in the raw emotion of my posts on the subject, but I've been on the inside and seen the sausage made, and it drove me completely away from the organized church (but NOT away from Jesus).
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  8. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Kizmet, there are probably some who would describe him that way. He was cuttingly funny when talking about Joel Osteen.

    The whole sense of intellectual superiority is not uncommon among Reformed Theologians. In fact, there is a meme that says something like. "Can't afford a seminary education? Not a problem. Pick an argument with a Reformed churchman.....and get a whole seminary lecture".

    Reformed Theology is tightly reasoned and supported but can come across harsh and void of grace. I recall James White (who can be cocky) telling his listners that is was common to become cocky when filled with his logical/biblical argumentation (paraphrasing).

    The mentally or spiritually abusive behavior (FTF mentions) does happen in Reformed circles. Not sure more than others. As an example Sproul, Jr and Mark (? mega church pastor who stepped down) were both accused of this.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  9. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Trivial point (assuming it's the same James White): White "earned" his doctorate at Columbia Evangelical Seminary, then Faraston Theological Seminary, which I have classified as a degree mill. The school was, at the time, located in a 3-room office in Washington state, and was founded by Rick Walston, who co-wrote a book with John Bear several years ago. Various cults have had a blast trashing White's credentials.

    Another point of trivia: One thing that many of the Reformed theologians have in common is that they studied with, or learned from, John Warwick Montgomery, the Missouri Synod Lutheran apologist who taught at TEDS, founded the Simon Greenleaf School of Law, and was the "distinguished" something-or-other at Faith Seminary (a degree mill) in Washington state, then becoming the European dean of Trinity/Newburgh (another degree mill). Montgomery eventually realized his faux pas and taught for a while at Patrick Henry College in Virginia, again as "distinguished" something-or-other. It's funny how so many theologically inclined academicians want to have "distinguished" in their faculty titles. He ultimately exiled himself to England and France, where he is less likely to get into academic hot water. Here's the best critique I ever heard of JWM, from one of my own doctoral professors: "Montgomery's problem is that he is as brilliant as he thinks he is. And he is."

    (Disclosure: JWM was one of my professors in the semester I spent at Simon Greenleaf back in the late '80s. On the faculty, there were a few other Reformed guys who were prominent in California at the time, including Rod Rosenbladt and Kim Riddlebarger, who are still both active out there.)

    I used to love it when people tried to pin down my theology. I would tell them that on sin I'm with Calvin, on salvation I'm with Wesley, and on grace I'm with Luther. (On the other hand, my major books were published by dispensational publishers, Moody Press and Baker Book House.) But being born and raised Jewish, my idea of Sunday morning worship is lox (nova, of course), bagels, and the New York Times. When I got tired of teaching/writing and moved into trucking, I set a simple standard for myself: never, ever to discuss five areas with anyone - politics, race, religion, sex, and sports. It never failed me.

    Back in those days, John MacArthur had a clean reputation within evangelical circles, and was as good an author, so to speak, as he must have thought he was. On the other hand, I never had anything to do with MacArthur or his, um, disciples (although, teaching law, we regularly covered the Grace Community Church lawsuit's impact on confidentiality, privileged communication, suicidality, and related issues).
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  10. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Mark Driscoll is the one you're referring to there. At one time had the largest church in the country (at least that was the claim) up in Seattle, but got involved in all manner of shenanigans, including multiple accusations of plagiarism in his books, faking up a NYT "bestseller" with phony book sales, setting up fake global charity fund and running, allegedly, one of the most abusive places in christendom. They say he referred to himself as "The Brand" in church meetings. As the allegations piled up, the mega church he'd built eventually imploded and broke up into much-diminished parts, which may or may not still be going concerns. The Christian community has largely moved on from Driscoll. He fled Seattle and laid low for a while. He's now in Phoenix pastoring on a much smaller scale. I walked by an airport bookstore recently and saw that Driscoll name again on a book, "Spirit-Filled Jesus", which seems like an odd concept (of course He is, no kidding), but whatever. I guess he has enough residual pull with at least one publisher left to take another run at making some bucks.
  11. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    He always had a clean reputation back in the day. But he also had a reputation, at least among those who weren't fanboys, of being proud, arrogant and smug. And those qualities are anti-Jesus. They're the qualities that drove me far away from the neo-reformed types. Some allowances must be made for new believers, especially young men (who can be astonishingly stupid, I should know, I used to be one). When one is newly-minted in their faith, they can become a zealot and full of themselves (e.g., Peter trying to chop heads off when the guards came to arrest Jesus), but as they grow and learn and start to understand more what they are and what Jesus is and start to see the difference, they settle down and become more humble and tolerable. But when I see one who through the years becomes more hardened and more proud, I tend to think that is a person who wouldn't know Jesus from a stranger on the street. That's what I think of JMac at GCC. Just one guy's opinion, but God knows the truth, not me.
  12. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    In California, with its cult-busters culture, we used to say about new believers: Yesterday they were heretics, today they're born again, and tomorrow they're calling themselves apologists, evangelists, and theologians. And yes, we were talking about three literal days. :D
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  13. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, I've noticed those three days. For some (such as a number whom I used to be at the reformed church with), there's the fourth day: burnt out, skeptic, shrieking atheist. The back-biting, tyranny and cold hatefulness of that crowd will turn curious, would-be Christians into cynical unbelievers.

    And yes, the literal days thing. I've found myself having these comical conversations with the uber-literalists where basically, I swear, if you tell them that perhaps the universe may have been created in 143 or 145 hours (much less that it just might be billions of years old) rather than precisely 144 hours to the millisecond, they'll tell you when you die you're going to blow hell wide open. It's funny, because the ultra-millisecondists and one million point Calvinists and other sundry ultra fundamentalists, like the average Independent Fundamentalist Baptist, seem invariably to be absolutely zero, zilch, nothing like Jesus, are the last person you'd ever want to have a beer with or trust your adolescent child in the same room with. Just sayin.
  14. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Today I re-read the first chapter of my book Christian Counseling and the Law (Moody Press, 1991). In that chapter, I wrote pretty extensively about the Grace counseling lawsuit. The church ultimately won the case, which centered on the suicide of a young member who had converted from Catholicism and, as I recall, who had spent some time living with MacArthur and his family after one of his hospital discharges. MacArthur had direct involvement with young Ken Nally, and the case made major headlines back in the late 1980's. The last opinion came from the California Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a further appeal, allowing the California opinion to stand.

    Here's the case reference: Nally v. Grace Community Church, 763 P.2d 948 (Cal. 1988). You can find the full opinion at

    Fascinating case, and interesting to read the opinion in light of current events involving MacArthur.
  15. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    As I was parsing through some old threads, I found this gem. The good Dr. Levicoff exemplified unflappability, a hysterical bent towards repugnance, and an inclination to ignore nuance. I've tried and failed to obtain copies of his books on diploma mills and TRACS. If anyone has one or both and wants to part with them, please let me know.

    One item that I have been considering over the course of years (and have written on here) is the case for unrecognized accreditation for institutions that 1.) have an aversion to any involvement with the state, 2.) have no interest in federal or state money, 3.) are either small non-profits or overseen by a local congregation, a community of congregations, or denomination, and(or) 4.) desire a form of accreditation which emphasizes theological orthodoxy, appropriate faculty, legality, and rigor. I have seen organizations, let's call them a "theological accreditors," who might serve such an institution along those metrics. Sure, they're neither recognized nor conventional. Is there not a place for such institutions among the aforementioned demographic?
  16. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I will wade in. Levicoff's books are more than 30 years old and hopelessly out of date in terms of analysis. I think that is why he didn't share them anymore. I think what he called a degree mill in Washington (Faith) is actually accredited. But then he sometimes flung that term and "Mickey Mouse" around with wild abandon.

    As to whether there is a place for unrecognized accreditors, I would think possibly just as there was for these California Approved and Authorized schools. There would be limitations and those degrees might have utility only in restricted contexts. But an outside accreditor (a real one) doing a credible job of third party evaluation would probably be beneficial. I believe there is some Reformed entity doing that and seeking recognition.

    Unfortunately, it seems that some Christian schools without accreditation seek out unrecognized accreditors who are not substantive because the schools themselves are woefully inadequate. There are a very small number of unaccredited Christian schools who were credible. And two of them became accredited in the last several years.

  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I consider the term "unrecognized accreditation" as somewhat of an oxymoron. The two main purposes of accreditation are to apply standards and recognize schools/programs. Unrecognized accreditation cannot do the latter and cannot provide any real assurance of the former. This is why we have CHEA.

    Accreditation statements by schools claiming unrecognized accreditation are often misleading, even if they're technically true. They use terms like "voluntary" to imply "not necessary," when nothing could be further from the truth. Then there are the ones who claim fake accreditation without any disclaimer. Then there are the schools who claim other forms of recognition--real or ersatz--that imply some form of recognition but actually do not.
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