Text Box: Publish Monthly by 
Pilgrim’s Bible Church
Timothy Fellows Pastor
VOL. XV No. 4
JUNE, 1988


Featured Articles

  Accreditation: The Standard of Excellence?

The Bird Cage

Office of a Deacon-- part 2: Its Nature











        The Following is written by Dr. Kenneth Talbot, President of Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida


Accreditation: The Standard of Excellence?

by Kenneth Talbot

One of the most serious of the “decalvinising" influences abroad in our seminaries is "accreditation." These These agencies’ latest hobbyhorse rises from the feminists’ agenda. They want our Calvinistic schools to permit women to matriculate in the M. Div. programs (i.e. the professional ministry course), and to hire women professors. As we understand it, Westminster Seminary has already caved in to this pressure. Similarly, Covenant Seminary in St. Louis is currently considering such measures. Such measures in insidious, from above—even to the from above—even to the selection of library books! Because of this, we are glad to invite Kenneth Talbot to reflect on this problem.

Modern educational institutions are often judged by whether or not they hold accreditation status from government approved agencies. This is not only true of state funded academic institutions, but the same standards are also used for measuring the credibility of theological schools.
The standard of excellence is accreditation. It is of no concern to these agencies whether or not these religious institutions provide a theologically sound education! For accreditation is not recognition of the truth, but conformity to the standards of the agency. This may be evidenced by the variety of theological schools (with their contradictory theologies) who hold membership in these various agencies.
State approval is the thrust of the programs of accreditation. If one does not possess a degree from an accredited school, it is assumed that his education lacks the marks of academic excellence, and he simply does not possess the qualities necessary to perform theologically. This is an illogical position.

The Example of Jesus
Dr. William Hendricksen in his commentary on the Gospel of John made this observation concerning the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He was being questioned by the temple leaders of his day:
“Presently some of the hostile leaders joined the audience. They listened for a while. Then, startled by the character and contents of the words, which they heard, these men who were never ready to admit any true greatness on the part of the Lord, were able to contain themselves no longer.
“The Jews therefore were amazed,’ about his audacity. Their anger exploded in a vituperative exclamation concerning Jesus. They said to the crowd, ‘How can this fellow know letters without an education?"
Jesus had never received instruction in any of the rabbinical schools. In present-day language, one might say that he had failed to receive his degree at an accredited institution. Therefore, whatever he said must be wrong.” (John, vol. II p.9)

Our All-consuming Concern
Doesn’t this sound contemporary? Our major concern today is whether or not one’s degree is accredited. But with the church especially, would her first concern not be the candidate’s faith-system, and the fidelity of his teachers?
Some might quickly reply: “Yes, but we must not compromise academics!” But to this we must respond, “Can there be true academics where there is no truth?”
Are we to assume that the man who has been trained in liberal theology is more qualified to minister to others because he holds an accredited degree? Should the man who knows the truth and can expound sound doctrine be disqualified because he does not possess an accredited degree? Apparently for some, accreditation is more important than the truth! Indeed, in that sense, has it not become a kind of “god” itself?
I ask, “When are we going to forsake the ways of the unregenerate and walk not in the counsel of the ungodly?” (Psalm 1:1) Our Lord did not go to the Jewish Seminaries to choose his disciples, but rather it was the lowly fishermen and tax collectors who were to minister his gospel.

Men sent from God
In light of this we can well understand the Apostle Paul when he wrote: “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? ...(B)ut God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (I Cor. 1:19, 20,26)
One wonders if the Lord was choosing apostles today, would He go to the accredited seminaries to pick them? One thing is certain. Neither Jesus, Peter, James nor John could teach in our accredited schools; for they did not possess a recognized (accredited) degree!

The Cost of Incidental Benefits
But to say that there are not benefits if one holds membership in an accrediting agency would be untrue. To be sure, if one’s school is accredited, the liberals and the unregenerate will be respectful.
But why should we want the recognition of these? Our Lord told us that the world would hate us because it hated Him. And yet we seek to bring the authority for ministerial training under the approval of those who hate Him!
Perhaps a good question which to be asked is: “ How does the unregenerate evaluate a theological school as to whether it is properly training men for the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ?” And we might also ask, “When has accreditation ever insured that the best ministers were those who attended approved schools? Does accreditation mean every student will possess a quality education and the truth of the Holy Scriptures? The answer to these questions is plainly, “No!”

Biblical Norms & Cooperation

There is nothing wrong with schools establishing a set of biblical standards by which they insure that their students are trained properly to meet the educational qualifications and needs of a minister (as given by the Apostle Paul in Timothy and Titus), or to promote mutual exchange between such institutions of education.
But to seek approval by government-approved agencies is a compromise of our Lord’s authority. This is bowing before Caesar and giving Caesar the position of authority which rightfully belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. Seminaries should seek to meet the needs of God’s church by properly training individual seeking to enter the gospel ministry, rather than to burn their incense to Caesar!

     The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Gary Talbot is the President of Whitefield Theological Seminary. Whitefield is one of a growing number of seminary efforts which have been commenced because of the perceived problems with many of the better known institutions. One may write them for information at P.O. Box 6321, Lakeland Fl. 33803.

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A Bird Cage

Some time ago, a Baptist pastor told me he prized The Angelus. He said, “It just fits the bottom of my bird cage.”
Through the years we have studied how to make The Angelus useful to all, especially to them who are of the household of faith. If it is not worth your time, please let us know. The recent postal increase has raised our mailing costs 20 percent. We are currently paying $300 to print and mail each issue.
Since we do not charge a subscription rate, we ask if you are not interested in receiving our publication to please let us know—on the other hand, if you know someone who would appreciate it, send us their names and addresses.

Part two: The Nature of the Office


It is common knowledge that the meaning of the word “deacon” is “servant,” however, in order to understand the nature of the office of deacon, it is necessary to understand the meaning of each of the 5 Greek words which are translated “servant.”

The most familiar of the Greek words is “doulos”. Paul preached, “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters”, or “despots.” (Titus 2:9) Since the “doulos” is one whose servitude was permanent, the word carries the connotation of a “slave.” This is the context in I Corinthians 2:13 where we read of the “bond” and the “free.”
The word is used in connection with “kurios” or “lord” in Luke 12:46; and when Apostle Paul would describe himself as a voluntary servant or slave of Jesus Christ, he used the word “doulos.” His will was swallowed up in the will of Christ. (Romans 1:1)
The second word, not as well known, is “Oi ket ace”. It is used 4 times I the New Testament, and speaks of a household servant. (See: Acts 10:7)
Peter exhorted, “Servants, be obedient to your masters with all fear: not only to the good and gently, but also to the froward.” (I Peter 2:18) And, Jesus counseled, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:13
We are told in Romans 14:4 not to judge another man’s “oiketes.”
Third, the word “ther a pone” is found in Hebrews 3:5 -–the only place in the New Testament. Since the Greek root means a servant “bound by duty”, our word “therapeutic” has come to signify a doctor’s watchful care of the ill.
The writer of Hebrews tells us “Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after.”
While “doulos” may be a voluntary servant, yet he is a slavish, servile servant. The “therapon” is a voluntary servant who is nevertheless in a freer, nobler, tenderer state.
Fourth, the word “hu per et ace” signifies a “rower” as opposed to a soldier on a galley. The “huperetes” is therefore a servant who performs strong labor. In this regard, the “huperetes” is closely allied to the “diakonos”, or “deacon.”
The “huperetes” is therefore a subordinate who waited upon the will of a superior. In Acts 13:5, Mark was the “huperetes” of Paul and Barnabas. So, our Lord, when He entered the synagogue in Nazareth, was
Delivered the book of Isaiah. Following His reading, our Lord closed the book and gave it to the “huperetes.” (Luke 4:14-20)
In Acts 5:22, the officers who were sent y the Council and bu the Senate to bring the apostles out of the prison were called “huperetai.” And, John calls the officers sent by the chief priests “huperetas” (John 7:32) and “huperetai” (John 18:18)
The word “diakonos” “deacon” comes from the Greek verb “dioko” meaning “to pursue, to hasten,” and speaks of the activity which the work requires.
Paul wrote in Colossians 1:23 that he was made a “minister”, that is a “deacon”, of the Gospel. He thereby counseled Colossian believers to “continue in the faith, grounded and settled” and “be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel which (they) have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under Heaven.” Again, in Ephesians 3:7, he says he was “made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given unto (him) by the effectual working of His power.”
In II Corinthians 3:6, Paul declared the apostles had been “made...able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”
Mathew gives us the parable of the Marriage Supper (22:2-14). In it our Lord Jesus speaks of servants who went out into the highways to gather all they found to furnish the wedding with guests. These servants are called “douloi.”
In the parable, the king who when he spied a guest having on no wedding garment, he told his servants – his “diakonoi”, to “bind him hand and foot, to take him away, and to cast him into out darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The office of deacon was instituted by the apostles to provide helpmeets for them and for pastors after them. A “deacon” is therefore a servant who hastens to fulfill his Master’s will by serving as a “handmaid” of the pastor. He willingly labors as his helper. He is the pastor’s friend in the Gospel.

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