Here I've cut out four degrees (one BA and three Master's degrees), because they're not relevant to our discussion.
QUESTION: WHAT DEGREES DO YOU HAVE, AND FROM WHERE?
Another favorite question! Since my life is education, I love getting these, especially from young people who are wondering whether they should continue on in their education. PLEASE DO! I went to college basically out of curiosity. Since I was not raised in church, I wanted to study the Bible. So, I went to a college to do so. Every degree I have gotten since, I earned out of sheer curiosity. Do it. You will never regret it. So, here you go- the long form:
Folks, this just makes me livid to read. Not because the Th.D isn't a serious degree (it is) and not because the University of South Africa isn't a serious university (it is, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are both graduates) but because of this red herring:
DOCTOR OF THEOLOGY
From: University of South Africa
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Thesis: Bellum Justum vs. Bellum Sacrum. I examined the apolgetics of the “Holy War” and “Just War positions in Church History, and the ethical considerations.
NOTES: I get asked often about UNISA (the abbreviation for University of South Africa), because it is a British-system University. The Th.D. at UNISA is the equivalent to the Ph.D., according to the World Education Service (WES). The requirements are the same. Many people attend this school by distance, but I chose to travel there for a series of intensives. Frankly, I loved my experience at UNISA. It was inexpensive, and my promoter (like a mentor) was a great man. I lived in a region called Brooklyn, and truly loved their culture. The university is massive, and the library is amazing. The Pauw Building houses all the Theology faculty, for both the Ph.D. and the Th.D. programs. The British system of post-graduate work is focused on the dissertation, and is called a “thesis.” Quite a few professors in the United States have been graduated from UNISA, and around the world.
The Th.D. at UNISA is the equivalent to the Ph.D., according to the World Education Service (WES). The requirements are the same.What Ergun doesn't tell you is that World Education Service is "a not-for-profit organization specializing in foreign credential evaluation." This is done for the benefit of American universities and employers who want to know what if a degree from UNISA is of the same equivalency as one from, say, the University of Texas at Arlington. It DOES NOT mean that you can swap your Th.D credential from UNISA into an American Ph.D credential. That's not what it's supposed to be used for, but Ergun doesn't tell you that.
Additionally, this line of discussion is totally bogus because UNISA also grants the Ph.D. If Ergun had wanted a Ph.D from UNISA, he could have gotten one in the appropriate department. Then he could have WES evaluate it to get its equivalency to an American Ph.D. But, again, he can't swap out his UNISA Th.D for an American Ph.D based on the WES evaluation. In fact, if you look at the portions of university catalogues that list faculty and their credentials, you'll see all sorts of different degrees from universities all over the place, such as in this graduate school catalogue from University of Texas at Arlington. (I'm picking on UTA because Emir Caner got his Ph.D from there.)
In addition, none of this excuses the fact that up until the issue of his degrees was brought to his attention last month, Ergun spread around that he had a Ph.D, not a Th.D. You can still see traces of it on the Internet, even if not on his website. If Ergun was so incredibly sure that he could swap out his Unisa Th.D for an American Ph.D (keeping in mind that Unisa also awards the Ph.D), he would have stuck to it. But instead he changed his website (as noted here).
Ergun is exhibiting a palpable lack of honesty here.
I find all this rather mindboggling, considering that Ergun is supposed to be the head of a graduate school and theological seminary. How is he supposed to evaluate the degrees of applicants if he can't even be honest about the degrees he has? Maybe that's why he got caught up on the periphery of the Steven Flockhart scandal back in 2006.
This is yet another example of what is turning into a whole net of Ergun's red herrings. Here Ergun would have you to believe that the D.Min that I've talked about previously is an honorary degree.
In the world of evangelical ministry, honorary degrees abound. The founder of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell, received a number of them. In fact most public speakers get them. I have two- a Doctor of Ministry from one school, and a Doctor of Sacred Theology I received last year.
After receiving a B.A. from Cumberland College, Caner received the M.A. from The Criswell College, M.Div. and Th.M. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and completed a D.Min. at Emmanuel Baptist University and a D. Theol. at the University of South Africa.
Here's the pertinent page from the Baptist Press website.
News reports usually don't mention honorary degrees. Especially combined with the word "completed." Usually what you see is something like, "President Obama was not awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Arizona State University because the university believed he had not done enough to earn it." (I can pick on ASU, as I live on the same street as them and I pay taxes that fund ASU.) If Ergun's D.Min from Emmanuel Baptist University had been an honorary degree, it either would not have been mentioned (more likely), or mentioned as an honorary degree. It would not have been mentioned as "completed a D.Min at Emmanuel Baptist University."
This is rather odd. He first says that his D.Min is honorary, and then he puts this up. So which is it, Ergun?
In the evangelical academic world, you will have to ask yourself two questions, as it pertains to teaching and preaching:
- What do I want to do? and
- In what field?
The DOCTOR OF MINISTRY (DMIN) is usually a 30-36 hour degree, with a project that you must present and defend. This project is usually very practical in nature, and is designed to offer solutions in ministry to a specific need or question.
The DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY OR THEOLOGY (PHD or THD) is a two-three year program, or more, with a dissertation that must be written, approved and defended. This is a research driven degree.
If you get the DMIN degree, and you want to teach in a college, university or seminary, you can only teach in the PASTORAL field, because it is the terminal degree in that area.
If you get the PHD or THD, you can teach in the area of your major field. Since my area was Historical Theology and Apologetics, that is my field. I never wanted to teach in the “Pastoral” field, so my DMIN degrees do not count academically. They DO matter, however, to the schools that offer them, and to their alumni and friends! Sometimes when someone introduces me before I speak at a church, they mention them, and other times they do not. I am not embarrassed by them, in fact I consider it an honor that I received them!
ONE FINAL NOTE: Regardless of your field of study, or what you eventually want to do, remember that if you want to teach anywhere, the institution from which you graduated must be accredited. Accreditation is a controversial subject, because there are many agencies, but not all are academically recognized. All of the institutions I attended were accredited, and UNISA is internationally recognized, much like the Free University of Amsterdam, University of South Wales, etc. LIBERTY UNIVERSITY is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). There are regional equivalents in the US. Another accrediting agency is called TRACS.
He's absolutely correct on this, but again, he's got his red herrings out and he's frantically throwing them around to distract his readers. The only reason he's mentioning this is because of that pesky D.Min degree from Emmanuel Baptist University. Ergun's trying desperately to distance himself from this degree, saying it's "honorary," but as I've shown, he has had no problem claiming it as an earned degree in the not-too-distant past. It wasn't until Emmanuel Baptist University was shown to be, uh, less than accredited that he started saying the D.Min was honorary.
Let's remind everyone of the accreditations that Emanuel claims:
"Claiming recognition by the American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions and the American Accrediting Educational Association of Christian Schools, neither of which are legitimate agencies, the University of Biblical Studies (UBS) was originally founded in 1955 as "Modular Education." Their 22-page catalog states, "Participating colleges award Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctor of Ministry Degrees," but they do not name the participating colleges."