The Seminary Accreditation

"With a view to affording Bible teachers an opportunity for advanced Bible study and research, in order that they might be better qualified to carry on their work, the plan of the Advanced Bible School was voted by the Autumn Council of 1933."

"With a view to affording Bible teachers an opportunity for advanced Bible study and research, in order that they might be better qualified to carry on their work, the plan of the Advanced Bible School was voted by the Autumn Council of 1933."

The bulletin continues: "It is sincerely believed that this plan meets the approval of the Bible teachers and that it merits our wholehearted and loyal support." And further, on page 7: "that a matriculation and library fee of $5.00 be charged each student. That the rate of tuition be $3.00 for each semester hour of credit, and that tuition be free to those sent by organizations." Room rent per week was $2.00, and the estimated board per week was $4.50.

The first degree conferred was a Master of Arts in Religion in 1942 and the first Bachelor of Divinity in 1950. The school still continued to specialize in an academic research type of education rather than a professional training, which is evidenced by one graduate from the B.D. course in 1952, while in that same year nineteen obtained the M.A. degree.

In 1954 a major change was made in the curriculum. The following five departments of study were organized: Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology and Christian Philosophy, Church History, and Practical Theology.

The 1956 Autumn Council stated that, "the educational requirement for entrance into the ministry in the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church . . . shall be the completion of the five-year Ministerial Training Course, four years of which shall be taken in a Seventh-day Adventist senior college and the fifth year in the Theological Seminary."

In 1964, the General Conference voted that the Bachelor of Divinity degree should become standard for the training of the Adventist ministry; it recognized that ministers who are to preach the gospel to all the world must indeed be prepared to speak to that world. The significance of the 1964 action is readily seen in the following comparative figures:

With the adaptation of the B.D. as the standard program for ministerial training, we entered into negotiations with the American Association of Theological Schools to receive full accreditation. This association makes it clear that they do not in any way interfere with a seminary's objectives or theological tenets. What they do is check to see if the seminary is meeting its own standards and objectives. It is always helpful for us to take an inventory of our accomplishments from time to time and also to have someone check them for us. One of the principles of academic freedom set forth by the association reads thus, "An institution which had a confessional or doctrinal standard may expect that its faculty subscribe to that standard, and the requirement for such subscription should be mutually understood at the time of their affiliation with the institution." And further, "So long as the teacher remains within the accepted constitutional and confessional basis of his school, he should be free to teach," et cetera.

After a preliminary inspection by the executive secretary of this association, approval was given in 1968 for the necessary schedules to be sent to us. These had to be completed by December of 1969. These schedules asked for detailed information concerning the objectives of the Seminary, the qualifications and publications of the faculty, the present work and past achievements of the alumni, the composition and profession of the members of the board of trustees, the competence of the registrar in keeping careful records, the adequacy of the theological library, the soundness of the financial policies of the school, the function of the various seminary committees and how they are chosen, et cetera.

The answers to these forty-nine schedules took 315 typewritten pages to complete. After the answers had been investigated and approved by the officers of the association, an inspection team was sent to examine the Seminary from March 8 to 10, 1970. The report of this visitation team -was sent to us in April.

Some excerpts from this report might be of interest:

"Especially worthy of commendation is the stress on Biblical languages and field education."

"One has only to consult the list of courses required in church and ministry . . .to have a good sense of the relation established in this school between field education and instruction."

"Only a few of the faculty do not hold doctorates, but their appointment is in keeping with the clear requirements of the school and the doctorates of the vast majority of the faculty are from impressive schools of the United States and Europe."

Commenting on the financial provision made by Andrews University for the teachers to do writing and research, the report continues, "All this has borne fruit in the faculty's impressive record of scholarly and popular publications."

Speaking on teacher salaries they state: "Faculty salaries for 1968-1969 are appreciably lower than the median salaries paid in A.A.T.S. associate member schools in 1967, but they correspond exactly to salaries paid to church workers of equivalent rank in the Seventh-day Adventist Church."

"The denomination, through its conferences, makes excellent provision for scholarship support."

"The international character of the community broadens the perspectives of all participants, even as it serves to counteract the limitations imposed by the denominational orientation of faculty and student body." "Campus life appears to be characterized by cordiality and openness. The constructive elements of pietism, as nurtured by the sponsoring denomination, are recognizable in the life style of students and faculty. The homogeneity in no way appears to hinder a healthy interest in contemporary educational trends or in concern for present human needs."

"Both students and alumni speak with appreciation of the 'spiritual tone' expressed on campus."

The report of the team was presented to the Commission on Accreditation at the biennial meeting of the American Association of Theological Schools at Claremont, California, on June 16; and this commission recommended that our Seminary be granted full accreditation. The association in plenary session acted favorably on the report of the commission on June 17. The vote to give full accreditation was unanimous.

The only notation received was that faculty salaries were inadequate. We consider this a mark of distinction that our teachers are willing and happy to give their talents in unstinted service to help train young men for the ministry. Ellen White's statement is in point here: "If your highest motive is to labor for wages, you will never, in any position, be qualified to carry high responsibilities, never be fit to teach."—The SDA Bible Commentary, Ellen G. White Comments, on Prov. 22:29, p. 1162.

We feel sure our ministers and laity will rejoice with us on this achievement. This accreditation has been accomplished with out our compromising in any way the distinctive doctrines of our faith or without lessening our zeal for the truth we hold so dear. We believe that more important than meeting any educational standard, how ever laudable this may be, is the meeting of God's standard of spiritual development in Christ. We are happy to know that these two standards are not mutually exclusive, that they need not be contradictory, but rather they can complement each other as they did in the lives of Moses, Daniel, and Paul. Because of this recognition, we hope to extend our influence and deepen our commitment. Our Seminary in the seven ties is dedicated to greater service to our church. We accept our motto with renewed emphasis, "From all the world to all the world." The mission of the church is to all the world. Our vision must be worldwide.

Our aim is to help young men to catch this vision and accept the call to service in every land. Our school song echoes our motto, "For service grand in every land." In our overseas Extension Schools, thou sands of our national ministers have been inspired by our Seminary instructors.

Since we started our Summer Field Schools of Evangelism, just ten years ago, 725 of our students have participated in seventy-eight major evangelistic campaigns. Under the blessing of God these efforts have resulted in almost 4,500 persons being baptized into the church.

Each summer the Seminary conducts from ten to twelve Field Schools of Evangelism. Every student is expected to take part in at least one of these schools during his Seminary training. One of the high lights of the school year is the meeting when the young men bring to us, direct from the field, the thrilling reports of soul-winning.

The students and teachers of the Theological Seminary at Andrews University join with the ministry and the laity in dedicating their lives to the speedy finishing of the task committed to this church.


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November 1970

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