Why Attend and Support Bible Schools?

About Bible school gives you a quick look at why these institutions are important and how to support them.

We as churches and individuals need to support strong Bible colleges and seminaries that are sound in the fundamentals of the faith, and producing students who have a vital walk with the Lord. Your church needs to carefully identify schools like that and support them with your prayers and regular financial gifts. Why? Because otherwise the day may come when Bible-believing churches and mission agencies will have great difficulty finding a man or woman to serve who is not a theological liberal and an evolutionist or something else that is unorthodox and unacceptable! That may sound like an overstatement, but it is not.

The evangelical schools of our day face tremendous stresses and economic pressures. It used to be, 50 years ago, that attending Bible school for a year would cost you a few hundred dollars. A young fellow could find himself a summer job, easily earning enough money in two or three months, to attend the coming semesters. That is no longer true. Expenses in our academic institutions have skyrocketed. Now, it costs not hundreds, but thousands of dollars to attend a school like that.

Few young men or women can find summer jobs paying enough money to cover the costs. Those who do attend frequently end up with huge debts from student loans. They graduate with that obligation hanging over them. In the case of Bible college students, those who move on to some form of Christian ministry likely will not receive enough financial support to pay off their debts--not for years.

Considering that scenario, some come to the conclusion it is just not worth it. “Why get yourself into that situation? Who needs Bible school, anyway?” (Let me go on record here on that score. I believe that each Christian young person should seriously consider the possibility of a Bible college education. But I certainly have sympathy for the problems faced.)

What are the alternatives? The individual may opt for some kind of full-time employment after high school, forgetting about further education. (Perhaps he dreams of enrolling at some future time, but this rarely happens. Life’s decisions have a way of locking us in to a particular course.) Or, he (or she) may go to a secular university, instead, with a view to moving into a much higher paying career. This may divert the individual from preparation for some significant Christian service. It also puts a further strain on the Bible schools.

Whereas young people flocked to them in record numbers after the Second War, it is now becoming increasingly difficult to recruit students. As a result, there is incredible pressure on schools to compromise their standards. It is difficult to convey to you just how strong that pressure is, but I know. I have seen it first hand in two different institutions. The bottom line becomes getting warm bodies to fill desks. Because if the school does not do so, they are convinced they will not survive. The governing question is: “We need this number of students to pay the bills, so how are we going to get them in here?”

How is that accomplished? Many times it prompts a lowering of previously held standards. For example, the school might lower the requirements for those accepted as students. Or lower the requirements for graduation. Or lower the standards for conduct permitted on campus. Or expand programming and courses offered into questionable–but popular–areas. Some sad compromises are being made in these things by previously reputable schools. For the sake of brevity, I shall comment on one area only.

There is great pressure on the evangelical schools of today to compete with secular universities. They are both after the same pool of young people. They want them--they need them--as students. A Bible college may say to a prospective student, “Why don’t you come to Bible college instead? Or why not come here first, and then transfer to university to get training for your career later on?” But that presents a major problem. Many universities look down their noses at Christian schools. They think a Bible college education is academically inferior. (It may not be true. But that is what they think.) The outlook of our major universities is often elitist and exclusive. They may refuse to recognize work done at a Christian institution.

So, in order to play with the “big boys,” Bible colleges are under pressure to get what is called “accreditation”--meaning official recognition that they are on the same academic level as a university. Accreditation involves a long and complicated process. Thousands more books need to be added to the library--of the “right” kind. Courses need to be upgraded in the “right” way. And what about the teachers? One of the things the Bible college seeking accreditation needs to do is get people with doctoral degrees to teach at their school. After all, the universities have Dr. So-and-so, and Dr. Such-and-such. You cannot be their equal unless you keep pace. So, consider what happens when it comes time to hire a new teacher.

Let us suppose the Bible school has two possible candidates. Candidate A is a fine man, a former missionary, with many years of experience serving the Lord. He knows the Scriptures. And he is a godly man with high spiritual values. But, he does not have the necessary degrees after his name. Candidate B does not seem to have the spiritual depth of the other, and it is a bit worrisome that he has been divorced and remarried. He is not quite as confident about the authority of Scripture, but he has a PhD--a doctorate, and an impressive academic background.

Which one would you accept? Too often the answer is B. “Because we need another doctorate on the faculty.” That is how the argument goes. And it is one way in which good, sound Bible schools gradually begin to drift. It has happened in the past; it is happening still today.

The sad fact is the faculties of some evangelical schools are being more and more diluted with worldly men and women who do not have a firm hold on the great truths of God’s Word. They may know philosophy, and sociology, and psychology, and a number of other “ologies.” They may even have an intellectual knowledge of the Bible. But it is not for them the Spirit-inspired, infallible Word of the living God. Sadly, many lack a vital, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ask yourself: What kind of students will such schools turn out? In too many cases graduates will simply mimic the values of their professors, and parrot the liberal views they have been taught. Then many will move out into churches and eventually produce a flock in their own likeness. This may seem a pessimistic view. Perhaps it is, but it is also realistic. The Bible says that “in the latter times some will depart from the faith” (I Tim. 4:1). We need to pray for and support those schools that still stand firm upon the fundamentals of the faith. They need our help as never before. Furthermore, we need to encourage the young people among our families and friends, and in our churches, to attend good schools that will equip them to stand for Christ and serve Him.

ANOTHER LINK TO CHECK! Millar College of the Bible offers solid training in the Word of God in a small college with a family atmosphere. A conservative school, sound in the fundamentals of the faith, whose three-fold goal for students is: character, competence and commitment. Strong on discipling students to be disciples of others. They say, "Our vision is to develop passionate, relevant servants of Jesus Christ who are shaped by the entire Scriptures." Millar has students from many different denominations, and from different countries around the world. Recommended!