In an article on Nomad by Brandan Robertson, the issue of Larycia Hawkins at Wheaton College is discussed. Hawkins was suspended for stating that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Robertson’s analysis, in my experience, is right on target. He suggests that when he was a student at Moody Bible Institute he was told that the school was a “discipleship institution” rather than an academic one. This leads Robertson to conclude that the school practices indoctrination rather than education. Although I’ve been saying similar things for years, there is a particular point that stands out here. Institutions like Wheaton and Moody, and others I could easily name, receive the benefits of academic accreditation for non-academic programs. These schools do educate; however, the education is not an academic one. Any faith group that has already declared that it has the final answers has no motivation to promote free inquiry. New information is dangerous, and indeed, is often treated as heretical. Accrediting bodies shrug their shoulders and say, “whatever.”
The purpose of academic accreditation is to ensure that a degree is worth the paper it is (computer) printed on. I could establish myself as an institution of higher education but the reason no one would take me seriously is that I’m not accredited as one. At the same time, schools like Bob Jones and Oral Roberts universities are given the seal of approval while teaching that the standards of higher education as recognized by any non-biased board are wrong. Revelation, not research, has already revealed the truth. And these schools grant degrees that have accreditor’s approval. Some of it is doubtlessly political. Other aspects are more difficult to fathom.
I’ve known accrediting bodies to visit a campus where faculty and students give intentional and obvious warning signs that the school is not offering what it claims because of some point of doctrine. I have yet to see even a notation to come on a record because of this. And they call it education. Open minds, willing to accept what the evidence indicates, are classified together with those closed to new ideas. Just learn by rote what our favorite spokespersons have said and you’ll get your degree. The nation’s accrediting bodies won’t interfere. If I could only get them to visit my house, I’d start handing out degrees as well. Only to those who pay four year’s tuition, of course.