- Bible college
A Bible college is an institution of
higher educationthat specializes in Biblical studies. This curriculum differs from the focus on academic programs of Christian liberal arts collegesor research universities, which may include, but are not limited to, Biblical studies. Unlike seminaries, Bible colleges are primarily undergraduateinstitutions, and some Bible Colleges exclude the study of liberal arts disciplines, such as philosophy, or the study of formal systematic theology, usually with a strong focus on lay education. Bible colleges are associated primarily with evangelical Protestantdenominations [The Canadian Encyclopedia lists the largest affiliated denominations as Mennonites, Pentecostals, Holiness movementchurches, Baptists, The Church of Christ, Church of God, the Missionary Church, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance. See [http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1SEC816864 Bible Schools] , in The Canadian Encyclopedia (3rd page in online version of article)] . Their primary purpose is to prepare people for roles in Christian ministry. [http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0000721 Bible Schools] , in The Canadian Encyclopedia (1st page in online version of article)] The Bible-centered curriculum is typically supplemented by structured programs of Christian service. [http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1SEC816864 Bible Schools] , in The Canadian Encyclopedia (3rd page in online version of article)]
The origins of the Bible college movement are in the late 19th century Bible institute movement. [http://www.abhe.org/default.aspx?pid=14 History: Biblical Higher Education] , American Association of Bible Colleges website (accessed November 19, 2007)] The first Bible schools in
North Americawere founded by A.B. Simpson( Nyack Collegein 1882) of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and D.L. Moody( Moody Bible Institutein 1887). Many were established as a conservative reaction against "liberal" established theological colleges and seminaries.
Bible colleges generally confer certificates,
associate's degrees, or bachelor's degrees, most often in Biblical studiesand Christian ministry. Some Bible colleges offer supplementary training or degree programs in ministry-related areas that also have secular application, such as Christian education, and Church music. Others have established their own seminariesand graduate divisions.
Many Bible colleges in the United States and Canada that offer intercollegiate athletic programs are members of the
National Christian College Athletic Associationor the Association of Christian College Athletics.
Increasingly, colleges also offer distance learning modules online. However, few yet offer modules about actual Web ministry. [ [http://ied.gospelcom.net/bible-college.php Open Letter to Colleges proposing web evangelism course modules] ]
Association for Biblical Higher Education(ABHE) accredits many bible colleges. Bible colleges may also be accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, by regional accreditors, or by international counterparts.
Some Bible colleges and institutes operate without conventional educational accreditation or government licensing. These institutions typically claim exemption due to the religious nature of their programs, that involving an outside agency in this capacity would compromise their missions. Dr. Paul Chappell, founder and president of
West Coast Baptist Collegeexplained the basis for his refusal to seek accreditation for that school, writing: "The local church should have no approving agency over its ministry. I believe this position to be consistent with the Scriptures and with our Baptist distinctives... A study of history would reveal that educational institutions begin to waver when they become more interested in what the world thinks of them than what God insists upon. ...For the accredited college, the approval of an accrediting agency becomes its 'life’s blood.' ...It is my firm conviction that the 'life blood' of a Christian college should be nothing other than the living Word of God itself." [ [http://www.wcbc.edu/featured.accreditation.asp WCBC website page on Accreditation: Liberal Arts Studies and the Local Church Bible College] ]
Association for Biblical Higher Educationclaims that "there are more than 1,200 Bible schools and colleges in the United States and Canada," and that Bible colleges produce "a large percentage of North American evangelical missionaries and serve as a primary training center for local church leadership." Another source claims that "More than fifty per cent of all Protestant missionaries in the world today are graduates of the Bible Colleges." [ [http://www.spabc.com.au/history.htm SPABC History] ]
Association for Biblical Higher Education
South Pacific Association of Bible Colleges
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
Notes and references
* [http://www.aaccs.info/ American Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries]
* [http://www.abhe.org/ Association for Biblical Higher Education]
* [http://www.spabc.com.au/ South Pacific Association of Bible Colleges]
* [http://www.ukbiblecolleges.com/ Association of UK Bible Colleges]
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