Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You got that degree where?

You may recall that I joined a small chorus asking where Charles McVety picked up his doctorate and whether it is from an accredited institution. What that led to was even more questions about other Christian dominionists behaving as lobbyists and attempting to foist their agenda on the Canadian public.

Bene Diction has a highly informative post about diploma mills and their resultant damage all round, not the least of which is dilution of the status of degrees awarded from properly accredited and well-established institutions.

As you reach the bottom of that post you'll notice that, aside from the McVety question, there have also been questions about the individual who seems to accompany McVety as he gads through the halls of power, Brian Rushfeldt.

He is often referred to as Dr. although on the Canada Family Action Coalition website no title is conferred nor offered. Still, any attempt to communicate the question of degree/no degree is met with continued silence.

What is noticeable is that Rushfeldt's bio contains information that he was a Bible college dean. That put a few of us to looking deeper and it was discovered that Rushfeldt had been dean of Victory Bible College.

Of course it does. Create another question, that is.

What is Victory Bible College? Well this is Victory Bible College.

Scouring that site for information led to something interesting. As noted by Bill Kinnon in update 3 to this post, the current dean of Victory Bible Colleges International seems to have a small discrepancy of his own. From VBCI's website: (Bold mine)

VBCI Dean: Dr. George Madden, D.PC

Dr. George Madden and his wife Sandy have been actively involved in ministry for the last 24 years, ministering the gospel in over 25 nations. Dr. Madden operates strongly in an apostolic ministry that thrives on raising up and releasing leaders into their God-given destiny. Dr. Madden is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Centre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He holds a Bachelor of Theology from Canada Christian College, and a Master of Divinity from Victory Bible Colleges International, and a Doctorate Degree from the E.O.C.P.C.

What is E.O.C.P.C.? Well, this is EOCPC, and as you can see, they don't grant degrees. EOCPC has established itself as a regulatory board for Biblical-based counselling and psychotherapy. They're also a lobby group.

What is interesting however is that under the certificates they issue (not degrees) is this important note: (Bold mine)
The educational qualifications required to successfully apply these designations are offered by accredited secular and faith-based educational institutions located throughout Canada and the United States. Credits and qualifications submitted by applicants are subject to approval by the EOCPCA Membership Review Board. Recognition of credits and qualifications is at the sole discretion of the EOCPCA.
In short, if you already have a degree, you can apply for designation. Now the other shoe drops: (Bold mine again)
Credits issued by the following educational institutions are pre-approved and will be accepted without review.
Would you like the list of those educational institutions? Sure. It's not very long.
Victory Bible Colleges International in Canada (where all these deans come from); and,
California State Christian University in the US (where Charles McVety claims to have received his degree and which is thoroughly reviewed here.)

That's it. No other institution awards degrees which are accepted by this "certifying body" without review. None of the esteemed institutions on this list seem to meet the EOCPCA standard despite the fact that The Association of Theological Schools is the leading association providing degree granting accreditation to major theological graduate schools in the US and Canada.

What becomes even more interesting is the absence of certain institutions on the ATS list. No, no, don't guess. Let me name a few:

Victory Bible Colleges International; California State Christian University; Canada Christian College (Charles McVety, president).

Here's another bit of information to chew on. VBCI is a registered charity with Canada Revenue Agency as is Canada Christian College. Problem? You bet.

The leaders of these institutions are involved lobbyists and public figures attempting to shape government policy, not the least of which was Bill C-10 where they were attempting to restrict the ability of the Canadian entertainment film industry to use an established system of tax credits. This same cadre of individuals display the trappings of academic achievement which raise questions as to the quality of degrees and the institutions from which they were awarded.

All the while, these same individuals expect a level of tax exemption, under CRA charity designation, for their institutions and cry foul if anyone questions that status.

If the Evangelical Order of Certified Pastoral Counsellors of America (based in Burlington Ontario) is a lobby group, as stated on their website, they are nowhere to be found in the Canadian Public Registry of Lobbyists.

In at least one case there is a circular contradiction where the dean of a college advertises a degree from an organization that states individuals need a degree from the institution at which the dean holds a seat.

The whole thing is either a quagmire from which the answers to questions need to be placed on display or it is a blatant smokescreen to hide an ugly truth.

1 comment:

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