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The Ongoing War Against Christian Education
By Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.
In a recent article, Michael Zigarelli (of the Christian Post) sounded an alarm that was heard around the Christian world. The headline read, “The End of Christian Education.” In this article, Michael shared:
President Obama recently signed an executive order making it illegal for federal contractors to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. Sounds innocuous enough, but an unintended consequence may be the closing of Christian colleges and schools.
The order doesn’t directly affect private education, but its unprecedented refusal to exempt religious organizations surely will. Without this exemption the President has signaled to regulators that it’s open season on faith-based institutions.
Here’s one possible future: The order says if you want federal money you must hire gays. The US Department of Education decides that this applies to federal financial aid as well. Students are then prohibited from using their aid at colleges that do not hire gays. Christian colleges go out of business.
Here’s another future: With the exemption gone, accrediting bodies take the cue and insist that all colleges include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their non-discrimination policies, revoking accreditation for those faith-based schools that won’t genuflect. Students are prohibited from using their aid at non-accredited colleges. Christian colleges go out of business. [i]
What Mr. Zigarelli may not realize is that his revelation identifies one facet of the Elite’s stratagem to end most Christian education in this nation. The tacit war of the Elite has been going on since the 1940’s.
My Own Background and Perspective on This Tacit War
Early on in my ministerial preparation, I was fortunate to have a mentor named, Dr. Thomas McLachlan (or Dr. Mac, as we all affectionately called him). Dr. Mac had completed both his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, and he was a retired U.S. Navy Chaplain. During his long career, he had served on a committee with a regional accrediting association. Those days on the committee were eye-opening for him. He discovered that there were many anti-Christian agendas at play within the government and the regional accrediting association system.
Dr. Mac saw the gifting of God on my life for education. While others were being trained for the pastorate in seminary, I was being trained to become an educator. It was during our many discussions that he revealed to me that Department of Education approved accreditation and the Guaranteed Student Loan Program would eventually become instruments in the hands of the ungodly to first contaminate Christian education, and then to eventually close it down.
His influence on my life and the concepts he taught me about Christian education would forever alter how I developed the educational ministry that God was placing in my heart. I created an educational system that was not embedded in the Elite’s system of educational control – no governmental accreditation and no participation in the Guaranteed Student Loan Program. With the choke hold that the Elite maintain on education in America, it seemed like an impossible vision. Yet, I was determined not to compromise in the vision and its execution for the Kingdom of God.
The Accreditation Pitfalls
Accreditation in America was originally nongovernmental by design. Educational expert, Dr. H.R. Kells (from Rutgers University) wrote in his book, Self-Study Processes: A Guide for Postsecondary and Similar Service-Oriented Institutions and Programs, a definition of accreditation:
Accreditation is a voluntary process conducted by peers via nongovernmental agencies to accomplish at least two things – to attempt on a periodic basis to hold one another accountable to achieve stated, appropriate institutional or program goals; and to access the extent to which the institution or program meets established standards.[ii]
At one time, Dr. Kells’ book was required for any postsecondary school seeking accreditation. It is unfortunate that the American Council on Education did not continue his work after the 3rd edition.
Originally, the institutions themselves established accrediting associations and sought to keep the long arm of the government out of the process. Political agendas spread like the tentacles of a cancer into anything that is connected to government. The Department of Education (USDOE) was established in1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. [iii] By 1958, its role had dramatically changed. After World War II, the USDOE began overseeing the GI Bill. Then came Title IV funding or the Guaranteed Student Loan Program. With the millions of dollars that came with these programs, the influence of the USDOE and its approved accrediting system (regional accreditation) began to hold a powerful sway over all educational institutions in the United States. A system that was perfect for the Elite to begin controlling and using for their own agenda.
Dr. Kells warns about the misuse of accreditation:
Some of the uses of accreditation at times may not correspond well with the basic nature of the process. An example, as explained earlier, is its use to transfer credit. Some uses have made the realization of accreditation’s basic purposes more difficult. Some people believe that the requirement that institutions be accredited in order to apply for federal funds, and furthermore the use of accrediting to enforce social policy, are examples of this misuse. At times the uses may be expressions of raw political leverage unrelated to program quality or reasonable needs in light of circumstances. That is, accreditation can be erroneously cited to promote or discourage change in a given setting. [iv]
This governmental or political leverage is a reality in many postsecondary Christian institutions today. Many of our leading Christian universities, Bible colleges and seminaries have annual budgets that range from five to one hundred million dollars or more a year. Meeting those budgets is dependent upon governmental accreditation and the Guaranteed Student Loan Program. Compromise with the ever-increasing, anti-Christian agenda has become a game of survival for most Christian schools of higher learning.
Over the years, I have received reports from both educators at regionally accredited Christian schools and their students. Here is a brief list of some of the complaints I have received:
- Schools under constant pressure to modify their curriculum or statement of faith from the Word of God to a more politically correct position.
- Schools pressured to hire professors solely based on their academic pedigree, rather than biblical orthodoxy.
- Students having their theses or dissertations rejected because the Bible was referenced too many times, and there were not enough secular citations.
- Tenured professors slowly began to leave orthodox theologies and began teaching subjects more within the secularization movement within Christianity.
Many educators do not share the severity of this situation in public, because of fear of retaliation from the accrediting associations. In the early 90’s, I was attending a conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors in Dallas, Texas. During those days at the conference, I was in a meeting for Christian educators and was seated next to the Vice Chancellor of one of the largest Baptist universities in our nation. While we sat together, we discussed issues facing Christian institutions. This man of God looked me straight in the eyes and said, “One day our university will need to relinquish our regional accreditation to maintain our biblical stance.” His face was set like flint, and his eyes were like fire as he said those words to me. Our open discussion left me with the impression that he was under a constant battle to maintain orthodoxy at his university.
If we could have an open and honest discussion with educators across this nation, in which they had no fear of retaliation from their accreditors, their stories would convey just how powerful this tacit war against Christian education has been for decades. Our prayers and appreciation go out to all the Christian educators that have refused to compromise!
The War May Be Coming to a Close
As Christian schools continue to fight for their biblical soundness, the Elite are preparing the possible last two salvos to destroy traditional Christian education as we know it:
1. The Guaranteed Student Loan Program (Title IV Funds) is Now Implemented Through the Federal Government.
When the Federal Government took over the lending of the funds for the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, it was presented as a good thing for education. There are a few points of interest that most people do not know about the program:
- The program perpetuates the continual increase of tuition at most universities. The degrees in certain fields now cost more than a lifetime of work in the field can pay back. The average student debt from an undergraduate degree at a state university is now over $30,000. [v] The average tuition at an Ivy League school is between $38,000 to $50,000 per year (as of 2012). [vi]
- You cannot claim bankruptcy on your educational debt. It is with you for life and can be taken out of your social security during retirement.
- The minimum payments on the Guaranteed Student Loan Program usually do not even cover the interest on the loan. You could literally be paying on it after retirement. There is a loan forgiveness program in place that requires 120 timely payments in a row, plus a number of years in public service (i.e., indoctrination into political correctness).
As the federal budget becomes more restrictive, I believe we will see a day in which only government approved programs at secular institutions will be eligible for participation in the Guaranteed Student Loan Program. Christian institutions that refuse to succumb to the political agendas will lose their Title IV status. This will bankrupt traditional Christian institutions overnight.
- The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Agenda Threat
As Michael Zigarelli has already shared, Christian institutions refusing to include classes promoting alternate sexual lifestyles and/or refusing to hire LGBT professors will lose either their accreditation or ability to receive Title IV funds. Again, this would bankrupt traditional Christian institutions overnight.
Could this happen in America? Michael tells us later on in his article:
Absurd? Alarmist? It’s already happening to Gordon College in Massachusetts. Gordon’s president merely co-signed a letter requesting that this executive order exempt religious institutions. Enter the Secret Police. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges is now reconsidering Gordon’s accreditation. As their decision goes, so goes Gordon. And as Gordon goes, so may go Christian higher Ed. [vii]
The Solution – Leave Babylon
When we developed Biblical Life College and Seminary back in 1982, the vision was simple: provide the same level of excellence in Christian education that is offered in traditional Christian institutions of higher learning, offer it nontraditionally (through home study), make it affordable, and keep it away from the influence of the Elite. Those have been our guiding principles over the years, and we have refused to compromise, even at our own expense.
Over the past three decades, we have been training aspirants of the Gospel ministry through biblically and academically sound curriculum. Our professors are involved in full-time ministry within the fields they teach – this keeps our tuition low and our curriculum practical. We offer affordable monthly payment plans on tuition – when our students graduate, they are debt-free (and not burdened down with student loans). Today, we have thousands of graduates that are accomplished pastors, bishops, heads of international ministries, and published authors.
Every semester, we hear from new students coming out of the “traditional system” that are relieved to be free of the secular influence. Through their studies at Biblical Life, they see the Word of God and their Christian faith come alive with untold clarity. We have received many testimonies that one module will get them deeper into the Word and Christian living than an entire semester in their former schools.
Eventually, we may have to reexamine degrees in the Body of Christ. The option to issue any degree may eventually be taken away from us altogether. Years ago, God was leading us to make many changes to our ministry; God spoke these words to my wife, “One day, a diploma from Biblical Life will have more weight in the Body of Christ than a degree from traditional schools.” I have pondered those words in my heart for years. It was not until recently, as I examined the proverbial handwriting on the wall, that her prophetic word became clear. There is a paradigm shift coming to education in the Body of Christ, as the Elite labor to disarm Christian education in America. It will become paramount for those preparing for ministry to seek out a school that has not entangled itself in the Elite’s stronghold on education and has remained true to the Word and Kingdom of God.
About the Author
Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.
Dr. Michael Lake is the Chancellor and Founder of Biblical Life College and Seminary. He has served as an educational consultant for many Christian organizations worldwide. Dr. Lake has authored many seminary courses and served as a mentor for thousands of students throughout the world. Dr. Lake is a contributing author for the best-selling book, “Blood on the Altar: The Coming Christian vs. Christian War.”
[i] Zigarelli, Michael. The End of Christian Education. The Christian Post. http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-end-of-christian-education-124351/
[ii] Kells, H.R. Self-Study Processes – Third Edition: A Guide for Postsecondary and Similar Service-Oriented Institutions and Programs. American Council on Education, MacMillan Series on Higher Education, New York. Copyright 1988. Page 9.
[iii] The Federal Role in Education. http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html
[iv] Ibid. Page 12.