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“Where the Remnant Comes to Train”
The writing of this article is a little out of my comfort zone. Those associated with Biblical Life (our students, the organizations that I work with worldwide, and the thousands that I have ministered to over the years) know that I prefer to avoid being distracted by the Devil’s barking dogs. There is too much to do in the Kingdom of God. Every day I hear from believers around the world that are struggling and needing answers. Frankly, my time is best spent in prayer, research, writing, and teaching the Word of God. When an anti-creationist’s blog post referencing BLCS began ranking high within Google search (for some unknown reason this older blog post comes up when you search for Biblical Life in Google, while it can hardly be found in other search engines), I felt that I needed to investigate. I was shocked at the anti-biblical agenda, half-truths, and suppositions that were presented as facts in this blog.
What Precipitated This Blog Posting?
One of our graduates, Graham Lovelady, M.Div., wrote an article to the editor in favor of the biblical account for creation entitled, “Creationists Doubt Changes Lead to New Features.” Apparently, this article fell within the radar of Dr. Gary Hurd. Dr. Hurd, in his response against Graham, did not address one single issue regarding his article. Instead, he created systematic attacks on anything relating to Graham. Believers, we need to realize that this is a current tactic of the ultra-liberal, Bible-hating, God-hating left. These tactics are outlined in the now infamous book, “A Handbook of Radicals,” by Saul Alenski. This book encourages readers to scream, call names, present half-truths (as long we they do not deal with the real issue at hand), and utilize whatever tactics are necessary to shut the opponent up or to provide the correct sound bites to change the mind of those that will not really search out the issues for themselves. By the way, Mr. Alenski dedicated his book to Lucifer. This should raise the red flag of caution for believers.
I do not feel a need to address the topics that Graham discussed in his article to the editor, since Dr. Hurd fails to address them as well.
I will point out several inaccuracies and/or failures to fully investigate the facts in his blog post. Before I proceed, I feel a need to stand up for Graham and clear the air about several things:
1. Anyone who has ever studied with Biblical Life (or those that have examined just one of our modules) knows that BLCS is not a diploma mill. Over the years, we have had students drop out to attend traditional regionally accredited schools, because they were less demanding. Our academic standards and the process used to calculate the conversion of a traditional classroom semester credit hour into one administered through distance learning are equal to that of traditional and even secular postsecondary schools. This information is clearly posted on our website and in our catalog.
2. Dr. Hurd forgets to mention that Graham also possesses a regionally accredited Bachelor of Science Degree. (I only mention this because Dr. Hurd, like so many, is programmed to think that governmental recognition is the only legitimate litmus test for education.)
3. The very definition of a diploma mill is that you send in your money and a degree is mailed back to you within a few days. Sometimes a small amount of written material is required. Graham spent seventeen years completing the assignments in the program. The work he submitted over those seventeen years would equal a six-foot stack of written reports and tests, if not more. Any Master of Divinity graduate of BLCS would testify of how demanding our programs are.
4. The level of scholarship developed by Graham over those seventeen years was exceptional. This may be one of the reasons Dr. Hurd did not address the article directly. Perhaps the logic, research, and expressed scholarship would have been too much work to refute.
With that said, let’s review some of the specific allegations that Dr. Hurd makes in his post.
1. Personal concerns about a statement he writes regarding himself (this is a direct clip and paste from his site).
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.
This is a brief statement concerning the academic pedigree of Dr. Hurd (again, a direct clip and paste from his site):
I received a doctorate in Social Science (emphasis in Anthropology) from the University of California, Irvine in 1976. For the next 10 years I was a medical researcher and professor of psychiatry leaving the Medical College of Georgia in 1985. I held numerous adjunct appointments and returned full-time to archaeology, my first interest. I have received honors for teaching and research and involved dozens of undergraduate students in published research.
I am concerned that someone with his background in the field of psychiatry would not know how to spell counselor; he uses “councilors” (which means a member of a council). I would have considered this a typographical error, if it hadn’t appeared twice in the text. He also assumes that the education for a pastoral or biblical counselor needs to be corrected by someone that has no respect for God, no respect for the Bible, and no training within the field. He fails to recognize the truth that biblical counseling is a separate field of study from secular counseling/psychology. In fact, in many areas, their basic philosophies are diametrically opposed to each other. There is currently an ideological war underway between secular psychology and true biblical counseling, so his critique of biblical counseling is comparable to the Russians attempting to correct the policies of the United States.
He then brings up a side issue of Pacific International University, because of its alleged connection to other ministers that support the concept of biblical creation. Personally, I know nothing about PIU, and none of our professors (to my knowledge) are remotely connected to it. I am not sure if PIU was ever accredited with the American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions. I have not seen the school listed in any of the publications from AAATI over the years. Dr. Cecil Johnson (now retired) did tell me that he had to bring legal action against several schools over the years that fraudulently listed AAATI as their accrediting body. Part of the application process with AAATI is to provide documentation that the school is operating legally within their state and is associated with a legitimate religious organization. If AAATI did accredit them, then PIU was operating legally at the time accreditation was granted. To be honest, if PIU was endorsing what the Bible actually said regarding creation, that seems to be in their favor as far as I am concerned.
Accusation: (clipped and pasted from Dr. Hurd’s blog)
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.”
Association of Biblical Life Educators
He insinuates that our establishment of the Association of Biblical Life Educators was somehow a negative action. Who else would have established it? Anything associated with the concept of Biblical Life started in our office in prayer. ABLE was founded to provide certification and to establish ethical standards within a field of biblical counseling which we developed called, “Biblical Life Education.”
National Chaplains Association
Dr. Hurd claims that we established the National Chaplains Association. The NCA was founded around 1890, and BLCS was founded in 1983. You do the math. I joined the NCA in 1984 and became friends with Chaplain Doyle E. Varvel, D.Min. Anyone who has ever met Doyle knows his love for God, God’s people, and His Word. Out of that friendship, I developed the National Chaplains Institute to provide some basic education for the NCA members. That’s what men in ministry do for each other. Out of friendship and a similar vision, it was logical for me to use my resources in education to develop such a program. In contrast, the NCA went from 1890 to 1992 without a school or certification program.
Accusation: (clipped and pasted from Dr. Hurd’s blog)
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 NCA does not sell military rank. Although from what I understand, the NCA was given permission to award rank by Congress back in the 1950’s. 1 Such rank, if awarded, was based on achievements in ministry (i.e., feeding the poor and caring for the sick). I am not personally aware of anyone receiving any type of rank over the past twenty years. Personally, I would prefer that the system of issuing rank be discontinued. It was something that was appropriate in the 1950’s; but in my opinion, it no longer fits within today’s culture.
There is a psychology term called “transference.” Transference refers to the tendency to project one’s own issues or even values onto others. While “cold cash” may motivate Dr. Hurd, it does not motivate Dr. Doyle Varvel; anyone that knows him is aware of his personal sacrifice in his service to God. The love of mammon is actually frowned upon in the circles of faithful believers.
I will officially go on record to state that I do actually “own” the NCA website. Dr. Varvel, as well as many other ministers, does not have the training to create a website. I tend to be the techno-centric point man for the NCA, as well as many other Christian groups that I work with. We have a package deal with our host provider that allows me to set up five websites for a relatively small fee. Since I had an extra package I was not using, I set up the website to help a servant of God that would prefer to spend his time being a chaplain rather than learning to write HTML code.
Christian Missionary Alliance
Dr. Hurd also states that the Christian Missionary Alliance was a creation of BLCS. I wish! The Christian Missionary Alliance was established in 1897, has 500,000 members in the U.S. alone, as well as 2,000 churches. The CMA has produced such great men of faith as A.B. Simpson and A.W. Tozer. CMA also has several regionally accredited, residential colleges, universities, and seminaries in the US and abroad. 2
The CMA oversight shows me just how much Dr. Hurd wishes to twist facts to make a point that does not exist. Would any real researcher miss something as big as this? Or was he in a hurry just to come up with something to disqualify the article that Graham wrote and did little real investigation?
Teleios Therapy Program
Teleios Therapy was a concept that Dr. Gary Jung developed while conducting his studies at BLCS. Dr. Hurd leaves out the fact that the psychological community does not own the term “therapy.” The term “therapy” is used by many professions. It refers to a systematic approach to something that has therapeutic properties (i.e., properties that bring some type of healing). Teleios is one of the Greek words used in the New Testament that is translated “mature or whole.” The premise of Teleios Therapy is to provide a therapeutic biblical approach to harmonize the lifestyle of the believer with Scripture. The process basically involves identifying areas in the life of the believer (whether beliefs or actions) that do not line up with Scripture and assist them in their journey to wholeness and biblicity. The assessment tools are not psychometric instruments in nature. They are temperament (i.e., learning how God made you) and belief-system assessment tools. Dr. Hurd has absolutely no expertise in this area. I am sure he is adept with the use of Meyers-Briggs, Taylor-Johnson, and the many other outstanding psychological testing instruments out there. In fact, in the past, we utilized certification programs for these instruments within our counseling degrees. Over time, we opted out of the use of such programs and went with a more biblical approach.
Accusation: (clipped and pasted from Dr. Hurd’s blog)
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.
Note that he confuses Teleios with some type of psychometric testing. As I have already explained, it is a temperament and belief-system assessment program. He makes the assumption that Dr. Jung is somehow in it for the money, even though the prices are extremely affordable. 3 After spending years researching and developing Teleios Therapy, Dr. Jung gave the rights to all of the materials to BLCS. Beyond the comprehension of his secular mind, this generous action by Dr. Jung proves that it is not about the money; it is about serving our wonderful Creator (another message Dr. Hurd most likely hates). The fact is, we charge enough to keep that aspect of the ministry going and the vision God has given us alive.
Final Note: Of course, no insurance company would pay for the use of Teleios Therapy or for Biblical Counseling. Insurance pays for medical treatment and psychological therapy, which is extremely expensive. Most ministers donate their time or ask that their expenses be covered. All of the tests included in the Teleios Therapy take several hours to grade by hand and develop a ministry model specifically designed for the one being ministered to. A compensation for this much time and effort is fair.
Accusation: (clipped and pasted from Dr. Hurd’s blog)
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.
I personally was involved in both mailing transcripts to the former San Jose Christian College and filled out an evaluation for Dr. Jung when he was offered a position as an instructor. I also had interaction with him at the university. When he first went to work there, the name was San Jose Christian College. During his tenure, there was a name change to William Jessup University. We only update our catalog every four or five years, and the website is updated at the same time. University websites usually do not list every instructor or professor. I am sure that Dr. Hurd did not dig much deeper than that. If he had, he would have realized that the university was owned by the Christian Missionary Alliance – an organization he claims was created and owned by Biblical Life College and Seminary.
Dr. Hurd’s Problems with Rabbi Bruce Booker, Ph.D.
For some reason, in Dr. Hurd’s attempt to disqualify Graham, he brings Dr. Bruce Booker into his crosshairs. He skillfully dissects the truth and refuses to address many issues that would refute his position (again, another tactic of an Alenski-ite).
Accusation: (clipped and pasted from Dr. Hurd’s blog)
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.
The truth is that he left out a lot of history and facts in his presentation. Dr. Booker reviewed his accusations, did some research, and provided findings from other legitimate websites. With 29 pages of documentation in Dr. Booker’s rebuttal, here is Dr. Hurd’s response:
So, a few days ago I received an email from Rabbi(?) Booker. It seems he had been trying to get in contact to let me know he was unhappy with my two paragraph review of his education, and that he had composed a stunning (29 page) refutation, "Bruce R. Booker's Degrees and Affiliations." Most of it is a cut-n-paste job, and I cannot help but wonder if this follows a pattern of Booker's early scholarship. I have no idea. If one of my students passed this in for credit, I would have flunked them.
Notice that he refuses to address any of the information that Dr. Booker provided in his refutation. Of course he was clipping and pasting in his rebuttal; it was published information from legitimate sites that were refuting the statements made by Dr. Hurd. Now I am going to “clip and paste” from information available on the Internet regarding Columbia Pacific University as well. (By the way, when one “clips and pastes” from other sources, it is called a “citation” and results in a footnote. As an educator, when I grade papers that lack proper citations and footnoting, that represents a complete lack of research on the student’s part. That, my friend, is how you get an “F” at Biblical Life.)
Although I never was associated with CPU, as a researcher, I prefer to keep an open mind and not be swayed by an agenda.
Let’s start with Dr. Bear. For many years, Dr. Bear’s Guides were the de facto reference guides for nontraditional schooling.
Bear’s Guide highly recommended CPU with the following words:
Columbia Pacific is the largest university in the United States and one of the largest
in the world offering non-resident Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorates. Despite the size, students report an extremely high level of personal attention from the faculty and staff. The faculty numbers more than 400, nearly all with traditional Doctorates. Two former presidents of major accredited universities serve as two of the deans of Columbia Pacific, and their president, Richard Crews, is a prominent psychiatrist with his medical degree from Harvard.... Degrees are offered in dozens of subject areas, including business, administration and management, engineering, psychology, education, holistic health, health sciences administration, architecture, and nutrition. Special programs are created for students wishing to work in specialized areas... The University has two campuses: a million-dollar university-owned urban campus in downtown San Rafael (just north of San Francisco) and a 13-acre North Campus in northern Marin County, with library, student housing and other facilities. There is an office in England, where a special program in travel and tourism is offered jointly with British Air, and where former Prime Minister Harold Wilson is one of many prominent people serving as honorary fellows of the university (Bear, 1985, p. 96).
Bear concluded his detailed review of CPU with the following recommendation:
No other non-resident doctorate-granting institution has a staff with the credentials, reputation, and experience of Columbia Pacific. Many major universities, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton have expressed a willingness to accept C.P.U. degrees. Hundreds of C.P.U. alumni have written me (more than from any other school) to praise the very personal approach, the valuable learning experience, and the usefulness of their degrees (1985, p. 96).
Dr. Hurd completely forgets to mention all of these facts.
Here are some other facts:
C.P.U. was the first California approved institution to gain full Institutional Approval in 1986. It now has over 7,500 alumni in 60 countries. When operating, it was the largest distance learning institution in America. Bear adds that no other alternative non-residential Doctorate-granting institution has officers who approach the reputation, prestige, and experience of those of C.P.U. I have had more positive, enthusiastic feedback from students and alumni of C.P.U. than from any other school, accredited or not. These people praise the very personal approach, the valuable learning experience, the comparatively low cost, and the value of the degree to them. C.P.U. operates from a large leased building just north of San Francisco and from a 13-acre residential retreat center (with library, student housing, etc.) in Northern Marin County. There is also a residential psychology program in Santa Cruz, and offices in
C.P.U. was rated by the California State Department of Education as “consistent in quality” with regionally accredited institutions. All new schools are unaccredited, and when C.P.U. was operating, it could not become regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) because WASC at that time did not accredit any nonresidential “distance learning” (now called on-line educational programs) institutions. Of course, this has now changed, in part due to the pioneering work of C.P.U.. In 1995, C.P.U. had begun to develop the residence requirement to earn full regional accreditation, and was then preparing to apply for regional accreditation.
Note: All of this information was extracted from a report completed by a CPU graduate that had done his homework. Unlike Dr. Hurd’s review, this graduate’s 40 page report included dozens of citations to prove his conclusions and provided an impressive list of highly successful graduates within their chosen fields. (You can download his report using this link.) I found his report honest and well written. You will have to make up your own mind.
At one time, CPU was a shining example of nontraditional education set on the hillside for all to see. Maybe they endeavored to reach too high too quickly. I do not know what caused this fall from grace at CPU. When you start making inroads into secular education, you are affecting an industry that involves millions of dollars in tuition every year. (Today, it would be billions.) Some of the problems at CPU are seen in many regionally accredited schools but do not result in such fallout. Was it corruption in the school or was it the result of political fallout? The Internet is filled with speculation from both sides of the CPU argument.
The fact remains that (at the time Dr. Booker studied at CPU) it was highly respected, and the State of California considered it equal to any regionally accredited school in the State. Over the years, there have been regionally accredited schools that either lost their accreditation or were shut down because of academic or financial problems. The degrees of those graduates were not put into question, especially if they graduated before the problems caused the downfall of the school. Why is that same courtesy not extended to Dr. Booker?
Dr. Hurd also seems to question that Bruce is actually a Rabbi, although the last time I checked, he held credentials with two recognized Messianic groups. He has served as a Rabbi/Pastor to several Messianic congregations over the years. Dr. Hurd failed to mention that Dr. Booker has written over a dozen books within the field of Messianic studies that are used by believers worldwide. (He seems to miss a lot of information in the development of his diatribes.)
The Reason Behind the Establishment of BLCS
First of all, let me state that it was not for the money. There are so many things that I could do in life that would easily produce a better income for my family, without all of the hassles of ministry.
It was not my first choice. I had plans and dreams of my own, but when I answered the call to ministry, God changed everything. This may be something beyond the ken of Dr. Hurd. When God places a vision in your heart to do something in His Kingdom, everything else takes a back seat.
I developed the educational ministry of Biblical Life College and Seminary out of a vision that God gave to me while I was still in the military in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. I saw many individuals answer the call to ministry, but they could not find or afford the proper education to prepare them for service in the Kingdom of God. I gathered some newly called ministers around me and began teaching them the proper principles of biblical interpretation, how to study the Bible, etc. Out of that environment, God gave me a vision for an educational system that utilities “out of the box” thinking. It has never been about money, large buildings, or fame. It has always been about helping aspirants prepare for a ministry that would honor God and serve His people.
The first seven years were the hardest. Those years I worked several secular jobs and served as pastor of a small community church, while developing the school when I had the time. In all those years, I did not take one penny of salary from the school. I knew that God would bless and take care of both myself and my family. I stayed faithful to the vision.
Today, a forty-hour-week ministry would seem like a vacation. Between Biblical Life College and Seminary, writing books, filming for Biblical Life TV, and recording for the Biblical Life Deep Water Podcasts, I am either working or thinking about what needs to be done all the time. This year during my vacation time, I turned it into a “staycation” to work on a new book that the publisher wants finished by the end of July. The purpose of the book is to prepare the Body of Christ for the days ahead. Assailants of the Body of Christ are multiplying exponentially these days.
After working through my yearly vacation, I returned to work to be confronted by half-truths that were written to further the cause of an anti-biblical, anti-Christian agenda (how strategic of the enemy, especially in view of what I am writing). I cannot describe the personal accostment that I felt when viewing over thirty years of prayer, sweat, and blood dismissed in a few lines of supposition and twisted facts. In fact, I pray that you never have to experience this. Today, instead of working to meet our students’ needs, praying for Christians that are suffering, or continuing the writing project that so desperately needs completing, I had to stop all of that and spend an entire day in research and in development of a proper response (as well as get my flesh under control) - what a waste of Kingdom time!
If you are looking at BLCS and wondering why we use some professors that were formally students (although we have professors from traditional schools as well – another fact Dr. Hurd forgets to mention) is because they get it! They understand the mission of BLCS and want to work with me to see the vision fulfilled. They receive no salaries from the school. Many donate their work to assist in the training of ministers. Others will receive a small stipend from book or lecture sales. The only professor that charges an additional grading fee is Dr. Coke (graduate of the California Graduate School of Theology – Fuller Theological Seminary) because grading Greek and Hebrew is extremely time consuming. (If I were Dr. Coke, I would double the fee. Yes, it’s that labor-intensive! Just don’t tell him I said so.) We struggle to keep the tuition affordable in order to keep our students out of the Guaranteed Student Loan Program (which has become a nightmare for so many). Our quest is to protect their minds from contamination by the anti-biblical agenda that is sweeping through academia today (to include many Christian universities and seminaries).
If you are a student or graduate, you know that Dr. Hurd’s comments are absolutely false. Our course work is tough; it is challenging; and it is life-changing! Don’t let someone else’s agenda distract you from making progress in your studies or advancing in ministry. Jesus warned us:
Matthew 5:11-12 (KJV)
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Biblical Life College and Seminary has been falsely judged for not plugging into the educational matrix and becoming part of the Babylonian System. I have no desire to be a part of that system or to allow it to control what my students can or cannot learn. I love them too much. I want them to succeed in ministry and honor God by staying true to His Word – in and out of the pulpit.
In regards to Dr. Hurd, we need to pray for his salvation. If he received his doctorate back in the 1970’s, he is closer to meeting his Maker than most of us. I pray that he discovers the truth about Creation and the Bible before he leaves this life!
1. This is something I read in an NCA newsletter written by the previous National Commander of the NCA prior to Dr. Varvel taking that position in 1983.
3. If we were in it for the money, we would be charging thousands of dollars, plus additional fees whenever the profile tools are used.