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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

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Independent Baptist Online College

"Teaching the Fight, the Faith and the Finish"

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

THE "god" OF ACCREDITATION

Why Is Accreditation So Important?

One of the questions most often asked about Independent Baptist Online College deals with the subject of accreditation? I marvel at that because it reveals a misunderstanding about the very nature of education. People who are enamored by accreditation put a great deal of emphasis on the value of a degree. Accreditation apparently validates a degree. However, a degree is not an education. A degree is a byproduct of an education. You can fail easier with a degree and an inferior education then you will with a good education and an inferior degree.

I have heard it said that a degree from Hyles-Anderson College is “not worth the paper it is printed on.” Dr. Hyles never intended for the degree to be of value. His goal was to provide an education training preachers to build great churches not to present validated degrees. The error is in the priority. The purpose of going to college should be to get an education not to get a degree. Getting a degree should merely be the byproduct of getting an education.

Education is what brings success 

I did not say a college education. I did not even say a high school education. I said education. Education comes in many forms. Some are educated by experience. Some are educated by afflictions. Some are educated sitting at the feet of wise individuals outside of an educational facility. Some are educated by studying on their own. There was a time in America when getting an education was more important than getting a degree.

Another person commented that their degree from a certain Christian college prohibited them from getting a masters or a doctorate from another college. Once again we are talking about degrees. We are failing to consider education. Do not misunderstand me. A degree is a wonderful thing as long as it represents an education as a priority. When they hand you that piece of paper you are not going to be successful because of that piece of paper. It does not matter where it's from. It does not matter who accredited it. It does not matter what degree is listed on it. What matters is the education that it represents.

Some of the best pastors I have known had no degree, but they were educated 

Some of the best missionaries had no degree but they were educated. Some of the best writers had no degree but they were educated. Some of the most successful businessmen have no degree but they are educated. You see we have placed so much emphasis on the byproduct that we have lost sight of the end which is to get an education. Because we have made degrees the end we have negated other means to the true end of being educated. Let me give you an example.

Consider for example a young man who has decided that he wants to be a general contractor in the construction industry. Rather than going off to college to get a degree in construction he begins to work for an experienced carpenter and successful general contractor. He starts at the bottom and works every job, mastering each one. Several years later he starts the process of becoming a general contractor, using the skills and knowledge he has learned. After several more years he is a successful general contractor. Is he any less educated because he has no degree? In fact he is probably more successful because he received an education not merely a degree.

This can be applied to almost any field of endeavor

There was a time in America when we placed a greater emphasis on the education than we did on the degree. That was when accreditation had very little influence. When we became enamored by degrees we had to put some kind of credibility behind that degree so we started accreditation. That's a sorry substitute for an education. Christians have become totally haywire in this matter, more concerned about what people think of their degree than the education needed to do what they are going to do. Who cares what people think? The purpose of education is to pursue that which you feel God has led you to do. Why do you need a sanctioned degree if you have a good education? You don't.

Founding father, Alexander Hamilton did not finish college. In 1773, at the age of sixteen he enrolled in King's College, now known as Columbia University, however, he left school after one year to begin his political career. Benjamin Franklin did not attend college and in fact had no formal higher education. Likewise George Washington never attended college. Twenty-seven of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence had no college degree. These were educated men yet they had no degree.

America was much better off when we understood the importance of education over degrees 

We were also better off when we respected education for what it was. It is not to get a degree but to prepare for a work. Some of the most educated people I have ever met had no degrees. Some of the most ignorant people I have ever met had multiple degrees. It is not about the degree. It is about the knowledge and education. Many famous people in all walks of life have become successful sans a college degree.

God's people must forsake the foolish teachings of this world in which we live. We must return to realizing that accreditation is merely allowing someone to place a value on your degrees at the expense of giving the education you feel is necessary for what you want to accomplish in the lives of others.

Let me close by sharing this. In 1972 Dr. Jack, Hyles founded Hyles-Anderson College. The purpose was not to give degrees. The purpose was to train preachers, Christian school teachers and full-time workers. Degrees were given as a byproduct of the training given. As long as Hyles Anderson College knew its purpose there was no need for accreditation. It was not about the degree to Dr. Hyles. It was about the education.

In 1982 God led me to found Texas Baptist College with the purpose of training God's people for full time service as servants as well as leaders in service. We graduated preachers, Christian school teachers, Administrators, missionaries. secretaries, music coordinators, etc. We knew our purpose and those who subscribed to that purpose had absolutely no need for accreditation by those who have no idea of the requirements by God of those who were called of God.

In 2015 God led me to found Independent Baptist Online College (ibaptistcollege.org) for those who could not pack up and move for their education. This was done to supplement not substitute. Our first year God gave us 750 students. To God be the glory.

I brought on board men and women with no less than 20 years of experience in the ministry. Men of God like Dr. Tom Wallace, Dr. Wendell Evans, Dr. Les Hobbins, Dr. Tom Vogel, etc. Ladies with no less than 20 years of ministry experience have come on board. The objective is to educate. The degree has no more value than the education does and no non-Christian can properly evaluate the academia from a Fundamentalist perspective.

Some graduates left Hyles-Anderson College and wandered away from their original purpose of being in ministry. Rather than accepting responsibility for their own choices they criticized Hyles-Anderson College for their “inferior” degree. That is like saying I went to college and got a degree in medicine and it's the school's fault but I can't be an attorney. You knew what was there when you went and it was your choice. If the degree does not suit what you now want to do then bite the bullet and go get a different degree. Do not blame the college for giving you the education that they intended to give you. That's what their purpose was. To criticize the institution for your decision is lunacy.

Here is the sad part 

Schools like Hyles-Anderson College listen and respond to what these people say, and that is what makes them change. They begin putting a higher credibility on their degrees because they have forgotten the purpose of their education. When you place a higher value on the degree you need accreditation to validate it even more. Men like Bob Jones Sr. did not start Bob Jones College which later became Bob Jones University merely to hand out degrees. He started it to train preachers. Men like Dr. Lee Roberson, Dr. Tom Malone, Dr. Jack Hyles did not start their colleges to hand out degrees. They started them to train preachers. Every time they awarded a degree it represented an education with a purpose. Over time others took over, responded to the critics and the purpose changed. Getting an education became secondary to getting a degree.


I am in no way suggesting that no one should attend an accredited college. There are situations where a person must take that into consideration. My argument is this. Why do we need accreditation if our purpose is different from theirs? Don't be critical of those of us who says that our purpose is more important than submitting to the world's standards for accreditation. It's not necessary. Why does a pastor need an accredited degree? Why does a church music director need an accredited degree? Stop making accreditation the litmus test for every college. Stop considering unaccredited colleges as being inferior. Afterall it is the product that matters most.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

FAKE NEWS

Managing Mainstream Media


Gallup polls reveal that a large percentage of the American public believe that fast food is unhealthy. Likewise Gallup polls reveal that most Americans believe that the mainstream media cannot be trusted. Yet, most Americans still eat fast food on a regular basis and most Americans consume news from the mainstream media on a regular basis. 

The issue is not trust

We do not trust the healthiness of the golden arches and its fellow fast food establishments yet we frequent them. We do not trust the mainstream media yet we still watch and listen to them. It is apparent that trust is not nearly as important as we might think when it comes to deciding what we consume both in the way of food and news.
Perhaps nothing has influenced the thinking of America as much as the mainstream media. Most Americans are influenced in their opinions by what the media says. The liberal media has influenced Christians far more than we realize or will admit. There are reasons why Americans are so prone to violate what they know is good for them and consume what they know is bad for them. 

The East Coast and West Coast media headquarters are NOT mainstream. Far from it! They have absolutely no connection with fly over America. They are affluent, arrogant, self-absorbed, and believe they are the smartest people in the room. They have no understanding of the plight of the average American. Their incomes certainly are not the norm. They live extravagant lifestyles and believe they are the intellectually superior to the rest of the nation's citizens. They know best-they think!


OBSERVATIONS

We are creatures of habit. Most people do not do what they know is right or best but rather what has become a habit to them. Habits control our lives. We get into habits of eating certain foods and it's difficult to break that habit. The same is true about feeding our minds with bad news. We know they are liberals. We know they are anti-Bible and anti-Christian, yet we consume what they feed us, because it has become a habit for us.
It is convenient. For the same reason we go through a drive-through for fast food we watch and listen to news from the mainstream media. It's there and easy to get to. Much of the time we do so without thinking. Just as we go to the cabinet and grab a bag of chips we know we shouldn't eat, we turn on the news and watch news presented by liberals.
It is infiltrating. Almost everywhere you turn you find the influence of the mainstream media. News is everywhere and most of it is not good. Even sportscasting has been infiltrated by the mainstream media's liberal bias. ESPN has become one of the most liberal members of the media, spewing hatred towards a Christian Tim Tebow while defending an anti-American Colin Kaepernick. Almost everywhere you turn you see or hear the news.
It is entertaining. They know how to get our attention. They get us interested in a consumer news report and while we are waiting for that report we are being fed their liberal and biased stories. It is like going to McDonalds for a salad and smelling the fries while we are there. They know how to get our attention and they know how to keep it. The mainstream media are masters at marketing and at mesmerizing our attentions.
They are authoritative. The news is packaged in such a way as to make us believe that these people are authorities. They might be sitting behind a desk with jeans and flip-flops but we see the shirt and tie and the suit coat on camera. They are attractive and well presented. They are packaged in settings which have been tested for their appeal. They deliver the news in a way that best appeals to our senses. People who present the news are well-versed at making a good impression which causes us to believe them even while we claim not to trust them.
So why are we so willing to allow something into our lives that we know is bad? Perhaps the biggest reason is because Americans have forgotten how to think. In the 1920s our educational system changed from teaching children how to think to teaching them what to think. Children are not taught to logic they are taught to memorize. Rather than learning how to calculate they are taught what they should think. 

Our educational system has indoctrinated our minds to accept what we are told as truth. As a result we have inadvertently allowed the mainstream media to tell us what to think. Most Americans know how to listen, but not to logic. That has led to a nation easily influenced by the “truth” presented by the mainstream media.
Why should Christians not allow themselves to be influenced by the mainstream media? If we are aware that they are saying is wrong, why is it such a danger? Knowing something is wrong does not excuse you to allow it into your mind. If you applied the same logic to pornography then you could say it is okay to watch pornography as long as you know it's wrong. What you allow into your mind is having an influence on your thinking. Knowing that it is humanistic and anti-Christian is not enough. 
Even though Christ warned the apostle Peter of Satan's desire to have him Peter was unable to overcome the temptation to deny Christ when confronted three separate times. Satan desires to have each one of us so that he can sift us like wheat and shake our faith. This is often done through the mainstream media. Christians would be wise to guard their minds from the propaganda being spewed by them.
What about alternative media that calls itself conservative? While I am not against some of the conservative media sources I am still leery of the fact that most of these do not come from a Christian or biblical perspective. While their logic is superior to the mainstream media most of them are influenced by some humanistic ideas. A Christian should be careful how much they listen to these alternative sources.
What should a Christian do to stay informed? 

First of all, most news is unnecessary information. We live in an information overload. Our minds are so filled with “news” stories that we have little time to think about the most important things. Let me share with you a couple of simple ways that a Christian can stay informed without being overtly influenced by the news world.
Read the news. When you watch news you are being influenced by visual things over which you have no control. When you read you have more control of the information that is coming to you. I read a few blogs and online newspapers to get most of my news. I am able to decide what I want to read and what is unnecessary. Learn to read the facts and block out the fluff. Get the information you need without being influenced by others opinions. Read the newspaper such as the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps you could read an online paper. Decide what articles to read based upon the subject matter. Do not read opinion articles unless it is someone who has a Christian perspective.
Don't become a news junkie. When you read a story do not overload your mind with useless information. The mainstream media loves to take a story and turn it into a saga. Be careful to avoid the over-consumption of information regarding a particular news event. If we are not careful we will go from being informed to being inundated.
Be prayerful regarding your intake of the news. Christians ought to always pray about anything we do. That would include the news that we allow into our minds. Ask God to give you wisdom before you watch and understanding to know how to respond to that information after you have received it.
Compare news to scripture. When you receive information always put it into the perspective of the Scriptures. Our response to news should always be based upon scriptural principles not our human responses.
Think on these things. Every Christian should consider Philippians 4:8 when they are consuming any kind of news. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” If the news you are consuming does not  match up to these requirements, then it's time to stop. Guard your mind lest you become a casualty.
Replace the bad with the good. If you decide not to eat junk food you need to replace that junk food with good food. Instead of eating chips you could eat fruit. The same is true regarding news. When you have been accustomed to filling your mind with the junk of the mainstream media replace that with something which is good.
There is no question that the mainstream media has influenced the direction of our nation. God's people must not allow ourselves to be cast under their spell. We must guard our minds and separate ourselves from their anti-Christian and humanistic teachings. We may not be able to defeat them but we certainly don't have to give them our time or attention.

Friday, December 9, 2016

IS IT A DISAGREEMENT THAT SEPARATES OR SOMETHING ELSE...

Respecting Our Disagreement

There is a man who I love as dearly as any man in this world. I admire him. I respect him. I love him. Unfortunately, a sharp disagreement has come between us. While it is not a doctrinal disagreement, it is one about which we both strongly believe. He would like nothing more than for me to see it his way so that our relationship can be healed. I would like nothing more than for him to respectfully accept our disagreement so that our relationship can be healed. There is a difference!

Unfortunately these types of disagreements often separate dear friends and brothers in Christ. In our desire to be right we fail to understand that it is possible for two people to sharply disagree, but to respectfully accept their differences.

Back in the 1970's a group of men as diverse as could possibly be decided to join together to conduct a national conference on soul winning and revival. Their planning stage for the meeting was to take place in Los Angeles. Sadly what was intended to be a conference on soul winning and revival led to the separating of friends. 

When the men came together their differences became more obvious. Rather than focusing on the cause for which they had united, they focused on those differences. When the conference had ended, so had some of their friendships. Men who once preached together, separated from one another because they wanted the other to submit to what they believed. They went to their graves without healing what had once been strong friendships.

Most of these men were heroes of Dr. Hyles. He already knew their differences. Long ago he had determined not to allow these differences to put a wedge between himself and the opportunity to be influenced by them. He did not separate from them, but they separated from each other and him.

I decided to write this article hoping that my friend would read it and that it would begin the healing between us. However, I am also writing it in hopes that others could be helped. I have had men cancel meetings with me because they disagreed with something about which I feel strongly and yet we still agree on the things that brought us together in the past. 

That saddens me. If I had strayed from my position on the King James Bible, Bible separation, soul winning, or doctrine it would be different. So what should we do when we disagree with a brother in order not to destroy a friendship?


1. Don't be careless with friendships. I saw men separate from Dr. Hyles over a disagreement. He never stopped loving them. He grieved deeply. He valued the friendship and never wanted to sacrifice it at the altar of a disagreement. He remained a friend to many men who walked away from their friendship over a difference.

2. Don't sacrifice what you could gain over disagreement. Dr. Hyles would have loved for RG Lee to leave the Southern Baptist Convention, but think of what he would have lost had he allowed that to separate their friendship. Dr. Hyles' life was much richer because he refused to let that disagreement separate them. 

Dr. Hyles would have loved for Dr. Rice to agree with him on storehouse tithing. But, he was not willing to sacrifice all the good that he could gain from Dr. Rice's wisdom and influence over that one disagreement. I could go on and speak of Lester Roloff, Bob Jones Sr. and many others with whom he strongly disagreed on an issue, but refused to allow that disagreement to destroy what he considered to be an important friendship.

3. Value people over your own authority. Not everyone has to submit to you, my brother. Not everyone has to do what you say and believe what you believe. When you make being the authority more important than the friendship you are not showing your strength; you are showing weakness. Mrs. Gray and I have strongly disagreed over some things. Rather than letting those things come between us, we chose to respect the disagreement. That is how you spare marriages and friendships.

4. Don't rally people to your side. If you are right, then be right, but you don't need others to validate that. Or do you? Do you really need them to slander that person to make you feel more right? Do you really need to hurt another's ministry to feel more right? Do you really need others to question the other’s spirituality to make you feel more right? 

If Mrs. Gray and I disagree strongly over something you better not take my side against her because my loyalty to Mrs. Gray is more important than your agreement with me. My friend that is deep! Think about what I just said. 

My loyalty to Mrs. Gray is more important than you validating our disagreement on my behalf at her expense. 

If you attack my friend with whom I disagree in an effort to defend me you have not defended me; you have attacked me. I learned that the hard way from Dr. Hyles.

5. I Hope that you never discover all the disagreements you have with all your friends or you will have no more friends. It's interesting how inconsistent we really are. The individual who has allowed our disagreement to harm our relationship remains friends with others with whom I know he has disagreements. However, the closer you are to someone the more obvious a disagreement becomes. 

I know far more things about which Mrs. Gray and I disagree than I do with anyone else in the world because I know Mrs. Gray better. There are preachers who because of their closeness separate over a disagreement, but who at a distance remain friends with others with whom they would also disagree. That is one reason why Dr. Hyles said, “Don't get too close to people you admire. The closer you get, the more likely you will discover your disagreements.” That my friend is deep but important.

6. Don't look for other faults to validate your disagreement. The man who disagrees with me has scrutinized me in other areas and found “fault.” Somehow that validates his side of our disagreement. Really? Sadly he has let others criticize me for other things in defense of his position on our disagreement. That is so unwise. It is also very unChristlike.

7. Learn to separate relationships. Follow me very closely here. This could save friendships. Here are two brothers. Both are strong independent fundamental Baptists. One brother decides that he is going to leave his Independent Baptist Church and join a non-denominational church that does not use the King James Bible. They now have a disagreement. The danger is to confuse the relationship of brother to brother with the relationship of fellow church member to fellow church member. 

These brothers should not allow the relationship as brothers to be damaged by the disagreement over churches. “But how do you avoid it?” you ask. You avoid it. If you value your relationship as brothers enough then you agree to respect the disagreement. Don’t pick at that scab. That is important.

8. Don’t seek concession seek reconciliation. Why is it so important for them to admit they are wrong of for you to admit you are wrong. Why don’t you both admit you disagree and move on? Oh, I know why...PRIDE! Stop it. Let me share something that is quite remarkable. 

The apostle Peter and the Lord Jesus Christ had just had a disagreement. Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times and he knew he would. Peter had just vehemently disagree because he believed he would not. Jesus knew He was right yet never insisted on Peter agreeing with Him. Just a little later, when Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane guess who Jesus took with him. Yes, Peter. 

There is something amazing and sweet about that. Knowing they did not agree, Jesus still valued his relationship with Peter. Even though Peter did not admit that Christ was right our Lord invited Peter to that very important place and hour.

I do not anticipate that this article will mend the rift between the one I love and myself. In fact I fear it may make it worse. However, what I have just shared is so needed. There are lessons here that need to be taught and learned. May God help us to accept disagreement more respectfully and refuse to allow it to ruin friendships.



Thursday, December 8, 2016

TAKING CHURCH OUT OF CHRISTMAS

Taking Church Out of Christmas



If you do not believe in the importance of the New Testament local church then you need not waste your time reading this article. However, for those of us who believe that God ordained local bodies of believers called the church to carry out his mission in this world there is something I want to say to you. This is not a rant, nor is it an attack against any of my brethren. However it is something that needs to be said. So, here goes.

Pastor, please reconsider taking church out of Christmas this year. How is that different from taking Christ out of Christmas. Christ gave his life for the church. Pastors across America are canceling Sunday morning activities at church because it's Christmas. What kind of signal are we sending when we do this? Let me suggest a few that I think we are sending?

1. It is sending a signal that Christmas is more about family than it is about Christ. I love Christmas. Christmas was always special in our family. But there was never a time where family defined Christmas. Christmas was always defined by Christ. All the sentimental Christmas songs that talk about family are sweet, but do not believe the notion that Christmas is more about family than Christ.

2. It is sending a signal to the world that church is not that important. When people drive by your church on Christmas night and see the parking lot full of cars it is a testimony to putting Christ first in your church. It also reminds them that the people who attend your church are different. Not only should we have our normal schedule on Christmas we should advertise the fact that we do. There are others who attend churches that will cancel services and perhaps this would be an opportunity for them to come to your church.

3. It is sending a signal that church is an inconvenience. To cancel Sunday night church on Christmas Day is to say that church is getting in the way of something more important. Nothing is more important. Church is not an inconvenience. Church is a vital part of life and should never be treated any less than such. What's next? Will you canceled church on Super Bowl Sunday night? How about Easter? That's what churches across America have done. How sad that we would consider our church services as being inconvenient to our celebration.

4. It is sending a signal that you are changing. Men like Dr. Roberson, Dr. Malone, Dr. yiles Dr. Hutson and I could go on and on took a strong position when it comes to maintaining consistency when it comes to church services. Those who have made services less important are those who are not like us in many other ways. Why do we want to be like them? Why are we copying what they do? Really there is no legitimate reason other than either you don't want to have church or you are succumbing to what people are saying.

5. It is sending a signal that people don't want to go to church. I don't buy this. There are people look forward to every service even if it's on Christmas Sunday. Look if they don't want to come on Christmas that's their choice. However give them the choice. Have the service and show them that it's important. Whether they show up is up to them but don't enable them. Have your regular services and let them make their choice.

6. It is sending a signal that church is arbitrary. When the pastor says we are not having certain services he is saying it's not important. Don't you think that's going to make it easier for people to say it's not important to go to church when they are on vacation? Never minimize the importance of church. Satan wants nothing more than to convince people that church is not always important. Cancelling services just plays into his hands.

Pastor it's not too late to reconsider

You don't have to cancel or change your service times. I know Dr. Hyles was old-fashioned. I also know that church was more important to him than Christmas because church was a regular part of Christian life for him. Christmas was a celebration of a day we should celebrate all the time. He never canceled a single thing on Christmas Sunday. The buses ran, Sunday school classes met, the preaching took place at their regularly scheduled times and the doors were open on Sunday night for church.

Pastor, you are not wicked because you canceled your Sunday night service, but I think you are sending some bad signals. Get up in front of your people and admit you were wrong. They may respect you more. It may even give you a chance to make it a teaching moment for your people.