Monday, October 17, 2011

Mail order theology degrees

I was a professor of psychiatry (1976-1985), and psychotherapy attracts a great number of frauds. I helped found a Seminar on Religion and Psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia in 1983. One of our goals was to try and repair the educational deficiencies of poorly trained “pastoral councilors.” Since I have seen firsthand the sort of damage so-called pastoral councilors can cause due to inadequate, or incompetent training, I have learned to read the backgrounds of these people very carefully. A recent newspaper Letter to the Editors, "Creationists doubt changes lead to new features", was written by creationist Graham Lovelady, of Ogden Utah. I was curious about who this person might be, particularly how they had learned so much science that they could dismiss hundreds of thousands of scientists. Among Mr. Lovelady's achievements were degrees for something called the "Biblical Life College and Seminary, where he studied something called "Teleios Therapy, and received a Masters in Theology. Since this "Teleios Therapy" was a) new to me, and b) associated with "pastoral counseling," I decided to look into it, and "Biblical Life College."

Biblical Life College and Seminary

The Biblical Life College and Seminary is accredited by the “American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions.” The “American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions” is entirely composed of “faith based” correspondence schools, and is not recognized by any other group. In addition to the “Biblical Life College” they also ‘accredited the notorious “Pacific International University” This “University” had no full-time faculty, or other accreditation, and offered doctorates for a lump sum payment. The fees ranged up to 2,500-3,000 USD for a Doctor of Theological Studies degree. Perhaps the best known alumnus of Pacific International University was Carl Baugh, who also held the title of “university president.” Carl Baugh is best known for attesting to numerous fraudulent “Flood Evidences” housed in his “Creation Evidences Museum” in Glenn Rose Tx. His most recent acquisition is the faked human and dinosaur foot prints he calls the “Alvis Delk Footprints.” I have detailed how we can be certain this is a fraud here at Collecting Carl Baugh.

So, an 'accreditation' from the “American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions” isn't worth the postage.

I think we ought to also consider the faculty at “Biblical Life College.” A good example is “Dr.” Gary A. Jung, “Professor of Biblical Counseling.” B.B.S. - Biblical Life College & Seminary | M.A. - Southwest Bible College and Seminary | Ph.D. - Southwest Bible College and Seminary | Ph.D. - Biblical Life College & Seminary

Dr. Jung is the creator of Teleios Therapy (more on that later) and serves on the Board of the Association of Biblical Life Educators. He is listed on the Biblical Life website as being the Senior Pastor of Hillside Alliance Church, an ordained ministry with the Christian Missionary Alliance, and as a professor at San Jose Christian College (accessed Friday, Oct. 14, 2011).

I easily learned that San Jose Christian College changed its name in 2003 to “William Jessup University.” They have no record of “Gary A. Jung” on their faculty.

The “Association of Biblical Life Educators” is a creation of the “Biblical Life College.” The “Christian Missionary Alliance” is a creation of the “Biblical Life College.”

Also on the Biblical Life College faculty is Dr. Bruce R. Booker, Associate Professor of Hebraic Heritage Studies (B.B.S. - Biblical Life College & Seminary, M.A. - Columbia Pacific University, Ph.D. - Columbia Pacific University, Th.D. - Biblical Life College & Seminary).

Colombia Pacific University (CPU) was closed by court order in 2000, but the court did not review degrees awarded between 1978 and mid-1997. The first implementation of the 1989 Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Reform Act was in 1991. Columbia Pacific University was given a provisional "grandfather" status its degree programs, and faculty qualifications were reviewed. When this was done in 1996, this so-called school was found to fail minimal standards for a degree-granting institution.

So, “Doctor” Booker has quite a distinguished academic pedigree, one degree from an unaccredited correspondence school, two more from another unaccredited correspondence school that was ordered to cease and desist by the State of California for unethical, and unprofessional practices (i.e. awarding fake degrees), then back to the first correspondence “college” for another ‘doctorate,’ and then joining the faculty of his unaccredited alma mater.

We also find a “Dr.” Doyle E. Varvel on the Biblical Life College faculty, listed as “Professor of Chaplaincy Studies.” This individual’s training is entirely from a single institution, the “Evangelical Theological Seminary.” (Th.B. – Evangelical Theological Seminary | Th.M. – Evangelical Theological Seminary | D.Min. – Evangelical Theological Seminary).

We have no idea where this “Seminary” might be, or if it is affiliated with any recognizable religious institution, or church. There are several “Evangelical Theological Seminaries” that are known as diploma mills. I have noticed that the graduates of the two legitimate schools are very careful to identify them by their location, and/or church affiliation. Dr. Varvel has been the National Commander of the National Chaplains Association since 1985.

I don’t know why Mr. Lovelady didn’t pay full price and pick up a doctorate from the “Biblical Life College.” Perhaps he is modest. His bio for the St. Anne’s Center (an apparently excellent organization) did mention that Lovelady was also “a member of the National Chaplains Association.”

The National Chaplains Association is the wholly (and not Holy) owned franchise of the “Biblical Life College&Seminary.” The association awards military ranks to members based on their academic qualifications, and “service” to the association. Since they accept unaccredited degrees from correspondence schools, the only real criteria must be “service.” And I'll bet “service” can be measured in cold cash. The certification program includes instruction in something called the “Teleios Therapy Program — 3 SCHS.” Their description follows, “The Teleios Therapy Program provides a study of temperament, personality, character and spirituality and shows the student how to bridge the gap from where he is to where God wants him to be. This course provides Biblical psychometric testing instruments that can be used without royalties in ministry.”

This really translates to $180 for the credits, plus $225.00 for the “biblical psychometric testing materials.” But, there is an even better discount price if you buy through “God's Business Incorporated,” (A most appropriate, and shockingly honest name). They can get your credits for just $165, but “Dr.” Jung still wants full ticket for his “Teleios Therapy” paperwork.

The “Teleios Therapy Program,” turns out to be the invention of Biblical Life College faculty member, Gary A. Jung, menitoned above. We should review “professor” Jung’s qualifications again; B.B.S. - Biblical Life College & Seminary | M.A. - Southwest Bible College and Seminary | Ph.D. - Southwest Bible College and Seminary | Ph.D. - Biblical Life College & Seminary. So, unaccredited correspondence schools for two, count em’ folks TWO, unaccredited doctorates. I find it remarkable that when "Southwest Bible College&Seminary" moved from Jennings, Louisiana to Gainesville, Ga, they didn't need to do much more than change the post office box, and bank account. None of those nasty difficulties like packing books. "Southwest Bible College" is also accredited by the useless “American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions,” and lists Gary Jung as an adjunct faculty member. Plus, Gary Jung is the inventor of a classic example of an untested, unreviewed, and unlicensed “therapy.”

Insurance companies, and Federal programs such as Social Security, and Medicare take very dim views at anyone stupid enough to bill for such “therapies.” You would be probably safer billing for “lifestyle coaching services," Mr. Lovelady. I am not sure which is worse.

So, Mr. Lovelady has received a M Th. from a correspondence school staffed by people trained by correspondence schools. All and all, an incestuous academic house of cards. A well informed person would never claim such an affiliation.

3 comments:

RBH said...

It's like there's a parallel universe in which it's the title that counts, regardless of its provenance. Pure Kent Hovindry. Hey--"Hovindry" as a term for it. That's more succinct than my previous term, inflationary credentialism.

Gary S. Hurd said...

"Hovindry?"

I like it!

Gary S. Hurd said...

I was poking into dark corners of the interwebs today and found a recent reply to this ~3 year old item.

http://blcs.wordpress.com/tag/gary-s-hurd/

I might reply one day.