Our Philosophy of Education
Over the past twenty-five years Biblical Life College & Seminary have been developing a philosophy of education that is designed to produce in you several things:
A solid understanding of Scripture.
Mastery of the art of ministry within your calling.
The ability to understand and apply biblical concepts that will transform lives.
Research skills that will produce proven scholarship within you.
The ability to clearly interpret scripture and hear from God.
The ability to walk in Kingdom principles that will change you, your family, your community and the world.
This high calling of ours is accomplished through developing a biblical model for education of those called to ministry. This model includes three elements that are essential in the development of a minister of the Gospel.
Element 1 – Content
The element of content in our educational model deals with all the knowledge that you will gather while you are a student at Biblical Life. It is comprised of what you will gain through class lectures, assignments, textbooks and research. We take great care in choosing our textbooks and research projects. Each one builds on another to ensure you become proficient in your chosen field of ministry. We also take great care to ensure you receive teachings on the “present day” truths that are essential for you and your ministry.
Most educational systems stop right here in their model of education. They believe it is enough for you to be presented with all of the facts and that knowledge is power. To be honest, it is not. You can know all the techniques to swim properly, but unless you apply those principles and learn from them you will drown in a sea of conflicting theories and doctrines. More is required in the educational model for it to produce spiritual results.
Element 2 – Application:
Deuteronomy 5:27 (KJV)
27 Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.
A wonderful concept for growing spiritually that we find in the Torah is: (1) God will speak to us [through His Word and by His Spirit], (2) we will hear it [we must choose to receive what He tells us], and (3) we must do it. This same concept was echoed by the Apostle James:
James 1:22 (KJV)
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
In other words, hearing without doing equals self deception.
What is interesting is that all throughout Scripture this theme is carried. In my research I found one reference from the Torah that, in the Hebrew, was given backwards. It says “We will do and we will hear” (referring to God’s instruction). This sparked my interest, and I dug a little deeper. I have come to the conclusion that there are many things in God’s Word that we will never understand until we “do” them. Only in the “doing” can understanding come (thus the hearing).
I have personally found over the years that many concepts taught from the pulpit prove themselves to be unbiblical, not in the argument but in the doing. It may look good on paper and sound great from the pulpit, but it either cannot be done or the Holy Spirit will not empower its implementation. This can be proof it was based on man’s wisdom and not God’s.
This second element of application is essential to your education. If you will not put to practice what you are learning and gain understanding from it, how will you ever expect those you help to put anything to practice in their lives?
You will find modules for supervisor, practicum and field projects. We also encourage our students to find local mentors that can assist in putting to practice some of the things they are learning (Much of ministry is more “caught” than “taught.”) You will find another element in our BBL modules. These modules include “where the theological rubber meets the road of personal application” factor. The truths presented in these modules are transformational in nature. They require you to do more than just “know” those truths. They require you to “become” those truths in motion. Thus the educational process at Biblical Life is as much about “becoming” as it is about “acquiring” biblical truth.
Element 3 – Prayer & Reflection
One of the greatest hindrances to education and ministry is that we do not stop to pray and reflect about what we have learned as we should. Through prayer and journaling about our studies, inspirations of the Holy Spirit and lessons learned while doing the Word can deepen insights and revelation in our lives. Some individuals never develop true depth within themselves: emotionally, intellectually or spiritually. In many cases we will find the cause is not a lack of academic training. Only when we become still before the Lord in prayer and reflection can the Holy Spirit take us deeper in understanding ourselves and the Kingdom of God.
Then you find that you have come full circle. You desire greater knowledge to increase your effectiveness as a minister. In our Greco-Roman mindsets, we believe once we have become a doctor in any area that we have arrived. With eternity in view, this is quite short sided. I like the Hebraic term “Sage” much better. Sage means a master learner. When most feel like they have “arrived” and can now sit on their laurels, the Sage has finally come to the place where real learning can take place. That is what I want for every Biblical Life graduate – to become a master learner in the Holy Spirit’s School of Life.
As you research the various schools out there, you will find that they fall into one of three categories. Let’s take an honest, hard look at each of them.
Correspondence Education: Correspondence education by basic definition is a program of study that you take at home. There are no residence requirements. You will find that such schools will use textbooks, audio and video tape lectures and even some computerized Bible programs. This level of education is watered down to the Institute level (between High School and College) by the following:
Reduced Academic Requirements: They make you read enough to make you feel like you have done something, but not enough to bring it to a real undergraduate or graduate level of study.
No Closed Book Examinations: This may sound good to someone in a hurry to get a degree, but it lacks real examination methodologies. You could not graduate High School without closed book examinations. How do you expect to graduate college or seminary without them?
No Thesis or Dissertation Requirements: Again this may sound good to those that do not understand the educational process, but there should be no such thing as graduating from a Masters level program without completing a thesis or graduating a Doctoral program without completing a dissertation. In fact, the first thing I usually want to do when someone tells me they have completed a doctoral program is to look over his dissertation. This requirement is the standard! Go around it at the cost of your reputation.
Traditional Education: This is the standard on-campus educational program found today. You will need textbooks, classroom lectures, libraries, audio and video tapes to complete your classes. You will also find closed book exams, theses and dissertations as standard requirements. Unless you are becoming a doctor or lawyer, no internships are required. This means no practical hands on experience. While the concept “experience can be gained after the education” can work in many fields, it does not work well when you are called to the life of biblical ministry. It is separating you from the very church atmosphere you will be working in the rest of your life.
Directed Study: Directed study is the educational method used by BLCS. We take the same demanding educational standards of the traditional schools and bring them to you. You stay in the local church while you are doing your studies. If you are new to ministry, you need a Mentor. Your Mentor should be your local pastor, bishop, etc. We bring the academics and cutting edge teachings to you, and your local Mentor teaches you the art of ministry through “doing ministry.” In some parts of the world (and some church groups for that matter), it is not just where you went to school, but who your Mentor was that is important.
If you are already experienced in ministry, the BLCS faculty will become a sounding board for you as you launch out with new ideas in your ministry. A seasoned minister does not need a lot of “hand holding,” but does need a peer that he can brain storm with. This is especially true when going through an educational program such as those available at BLCS. We will be introducing you to many new concepts. We want to stretch you spiritually, emotionally and intellectually as you go through your program. Having access to our professors and staff can be a powerful aid in this process. Many of the faculty working with BLCS are apostles (or bishops, for some traditions). We have an anointing to help ministers go to the next level. Consultations are all a part of our service to you as a student. In fact, I still consult with many graduates long after they have completed their degree with us.
Our Directed Study model of education does several things for you:
1. It returns you to a biblical model of learning: I will hear. I will do. Then I will understand.
2. All of our professors are successfully doing what they are teaching you. This means their primary source of income is not your tuition: $65.00 per semester credit hour is so much more affordable than the $360.00 or more per semester credit hour being charged by traditional Christian colleges and seminaries. The average seminary professor at traditional seminaries can make over $100,000.00 a year. Our professors invest in your future by reducing their fees to royalties made on book, tape, CD or DVD sales.
3. We balance academic/research requirements with cutting edge “present day” truths that God is speaking to His Church. It is not the ministry of the past that will make a difference today. It is the ministry of the present as empowered by the Holy Spirit.
4. Unlike those using the guaranteed student loan program, you pay as you go and graduate debt-free. You do not know where God is going to take you in the next level of ministry. Will it be pioneering a new work here at home or the mission field? How can you go if you are tens of thousands of dollars in debt for your education?
Finally, look at the school’s distinctives. I am not talking about the cost. What I am talking about is what they are really teaching. BLCS offers the most balanced approach to understanding our Hebraic heritage while teaching you how to walk in a powerful Spirit-Filled ministry.
If you are opposed to the moving of the Holy Spirit or the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, then BLCS is not for you. You need to find a good Baptist, Nazarene, etc., college or seminary.
If you think that only the United States government can approve a legitimate school for training ministers for biblical ministry, you need to find a regionally accredited school.
If you have a liberal theology and believe most of the Word is legends and fairy tales and that you can live any way you want and still make it to Heaven, then BLCS is not for you. You need to find a compromising, watered down, most likely regionally accredited, New Age school somewhere.
Finally, if you are unsure if BLCS is right for you, take a test drive. We have packages available from our biblical edge series (usually BBL courses) that include the tuition and all materials in the cost. Take the one class. If it speaks to your heart and God uses it to change your life, then BLCS is the school you should attend. You can then go ahead and enroll in the program that will best meet your needs.
A Comparative Study Completed by the U.S. Department of Education
When Directed Study is administered correctly (to include proper testing), the results are amazing. The U.S. Department of Education conducted a study a few years back among those that had completed degree programs both through traditional (on-campus) education and directed study. Of those surveyed, 57% felt that the overall performance of the directed study was superior to traditional education. The chart below illustrates their findings.
U.S. Department of EducationSurvey on Non-Traditional EducationComparing Non-Traditional to Traditional Education