- Tyndale Theological Seminary
:"Not to be confused with
Tyndale University College & Seminaryin Toronto, Ontario Canada."
Tyndale Theological Seminary is a private, conservative
Christian seminaryand Bible institute, with locations in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Fort Worth, Texas. The institution also provides online instruction. It was founded by Mal Couch. The second and current president is Chris Cone. It is a dispensational seminaryoperated by H-E-B Ministries. As of 2007, it has approximately 300 to 350 students with less than 25 percent attending classes on campus. Tyndale is registered with the Louisiana Board of Regentsto grant undergraduate, graduate, and seminary degrees in religious and theological education, and is exempt from licensure through R.S. 17:1808.
Tyndale Theological Seminary is not accredited by any recognized religious or secular accreditation agency and is not required to be. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that state higher education officials have no authority over seminaries in Texas, ending several years of litigation over state efforts to restrict the operations of three seminaries in Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio.
The high court said the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board violated the constitutional rights of the institutions by preventing them from issuing degrees in theology and calling themselves seminaries. The government has no jurisdiction to enforce nor require accreditation from any religious seminary. As such, its degrees and credits are ministerial credits and use of degree is accepted by many churches and Christian organizations. Tyndale directors have stated that the school does not want, nor will it seek, accreditation due to long held philosophical and doctrinal reasons. The Department of Education has stated that unaccredited institutions are not of poor quality, and offer ministerial degrees versus academic degrees.
In 2005, Tyndale's webpage indicated that the
Association of Christian Colleges and Theological Schools(ACCTS) is an agency that "accredits" Tyndale. [cite news | url=http://web.archive.org/web/20050125091801/http://www.tyndale.edu/modules.php?op=modload&name=Web_Links&file=index&req=MostPopular | title=Tyndale Theological Seminary Accreditation| publisher=Tyndale Theological Seminary (archived) | date=08-Jun-2004 | first= | last= | accessdate =2007-03-07] ACCTS was founded for member schools that choose not to affiliate with a "regional or other professional accrediting agency because they feel that the qualifications and standards of such accrediting agencies may run counter to the convictions and purposes of Christian schools." [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20040615134832/www.accts.cc Association of Christian Colleges and Theological Schools] website, archived June 14, 2004] As of 2007, its catalog states: "Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute is not accredited, and will not pursue any type of accreditation whatsoever." [ [http://www.tyndale.edu/files/pdf/2007catalog.pdf Tyndale Theological Seminary catalog] ]
The Society of Dispensational Theology (formerly Conservative Theological Society) is an extension of Tyndale Theological Seminary in
Ft. Worth, Texas. It is a group of pastors, seminary and Bible institute professors, teachers and students, Sunday school teachers, and other Christians who share the aim of biblical conservative, evangelical, dispensational theology. The fellowship promotes these values by providing theological publications, theological and pastoral conferences, and by the internet.
Criticism and controversy
In 1998, Tyndale Theological Seminary was fined $173,000 for issuing degrees as a seminary without a license. [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/religion/stories/090107dntexseminaries.2f1ab91.html] The judge did eradicate the infringing Texas law requiring schools to seek state approval before using the term seminary.
Christianity Today" explained that Kenneth Hemphillof Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminaryshowed no sympathy for Tyndale explaining "We are a conservative, confessional institution, and we have not found that our accreditation has caused us to compromise our biblical convictions." Furthermore, "We have found accreditation valuable in that it provides accountability for the institution and credibility for those looking for graduate theological work. It is important to have standards of quality." [http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/129/51.0.html Texas Court Reinstates $173,000 Fine Against 'Seminary'] , "Christianity Today", July 2003] The article concluded, "Don't expect many Christian higher education institutions, or even Christian civil rights organizations, to jump to Tyndale's defense." However, President Christy Smalley, from Tucson Theological Seminary [http:americanbiblicalstudies.com] states, "We do support Tyndale Theological Seminary in their defense to operate their seminary as they feel directed. Many smaller legitimate seminaries are being discredited by powerful government accreditation organizations because they do not have the tens of thousands of dollars to pay them nor wish to wait 7 year waiting period to become accredited before they can operate."Texas Supreme Court states, [http://www.citizenlink.org/content/A000005398.cfm] “The fact that subchapter G [the relevant part of the Education Code] burdens all private postsecondary institutions does not lessen its significant, peculiar impact on religious institutions offering religious courses of study,” the court ruled. “Subchapter G requires a clear, public, instantly identifiable differentiation between a religious education that meets the Coordinating Board’s standards and one that does not: only an institution that meets those standards may call itself a seminary and its graduates associates, bachelors, masters, doctors, and the like. But setting standards for a religious education is a religious exercise for which the state lacks not only authority but competence, and those deficits are not erased simply because the state concurrently undertakes to do what it is able to do — set standards for secular educational programs. The state cannot avoid the constitutional impediments to setting substantive standards for religious education by making the standards applicable to all educational institutions, secular and religious.”The decision also cited several specific parts of the code that the court found to be unconstitutional attempts to tell a religious college how to operate. For example, the court said that the references to academic freedom were inappropriate because they were “inconsistent with a doctrinal statement like Tyndale’s that is at the core of its mission.”
* [http://www.tyndale.edu Tyndale Theological Seminary]
* [http://www.chea.org Council on Higher Education Accreditation] -The US Department of Education's database of accreditation
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