Bible College Name Changes that Delete Bible
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I wrote about my Alma mater, Philadelphia College of Bible (PCB). I graduated from PCB in 1979 and was the last class to attend the Center City (Philadelphia) campus before it relocated to its current location of Langhorne Manor, PA. Not long after it relocated to that area, it changed names again, this time to Philadelphia Biblical University. That was fine as the name still connected to its roots and since it had become a full-fledged university offering more programs than simply degrees in Bible, it seemed to make sense.
However, in 2012, the name once again changed and it cut all ties with its connections to the past. Now, Cairn University exists and any connection to Philadelphia Bible Institute and C. I. Scofield is gone.
I did speak to several staff members about the change and not one of them brought up the reason regarding the potential for persecution that missionary students would experience ostensibly because the word “Bible” was on their graduation forms and degree certificates. That particular reason came from students and others later. If that had really been part of the reasoning to change the name, why hadn’t the current president – Dr. Todd Williams – mentioned anything about it in any of his writings from that time? The alumni newsletter/magazine that was sent out to trumpet the name change didn’t mention it either. In effect then, it was not part of the official reason for changing the name that I could determine.
I recently received a letter from a woman who also expressed her concern regarding Bible colleges that change their names, ultimately eliminating any reference to the word “Bible” or even “Christian.” She shared some of her own history with me and it is unfortunately, a sad one, as it relates to her alma mater.
“I am a Bible translator and have been serving in the Philippines for 30 years. I came home for furlough in August and learned about the name change of PCB. I am a native of Philadelphia and completed my Freshman year at PCB in 1979 before transferring to Fort Wayne Bible College (Missionary Church) in Indiana where I graduated in 1983. I attended PCB the first year of their move to Langhorne Manor. However, the Missions faculty members under whom I had expected to study, did not move with the school and transferred out to other Christian institutions. This was the reason I too transferred out.”
She has a direct connection to Philadelphia College of Bible (PCB) and, as she notes, certain faculty members did not make the move to Langhorne Manor. She transferred to Fort Wayne Bible College. What follows though is how she recounted the demise of Fort Wayne Bible College. If you have never heard of that school, it’s probably because it does not exist today. Here is her timeline provided to me.
- Ft Wayne Bible Institute (Missionary Church)
- Ft Wayne Bible College 1950 (w/accreditation)
- Summit Christian College 1989 (name change)
- SCC 1989 (Activities Center built)
- Taylor University Fort Wayne 1992 (merger/acquisition)
- TUFW 1993 (added Criminal Justice & Public Relations)
- TUFW 1997 Offers scholarships for the underprivileged
- TUFW 2001 Student Commons built.
- TUFW 2003 New Library built
- TUFW 2004 Home purchased for new women’s dorm
- TUFW 2005 Men’s dorm burns to the ground
- TUFW 2006 New Men’s dorm for 52 men in 12 suites
- TUFW 2008 Undergraduate program discontinued
- TUFW 2009 Final Commencement with 92 students.
- My alma mater, Fort Wayne Bible College is no more.
Notice that Fort Wayne Bible Institute became Fort Wayne Bible College in 1950. The same thing occurred with PCB, going from merely an educational institution to a fully accredited college. That’s reasonable.
Forty years later, the name was changed to remove the word “Bible,” replacing it with the word “Christian.” That’s questionable. But note a mere three years later, that name is deleted due to a merger to become Taylor University Fort Wayne.
Notice also the new university began adding more secular programs and I can only surmise that the “Bible” or “Christian” programs were de-emphasized. As we continue through that timeline, by 2008, at least one undergraduate program was discontinued. One year later, in 2009, the final graduating class of what had been Fort Wayne Bible Institute graduated with a total number of students graduating at 92.
The woman who wrote to me no longer has an existing Alma mater. It’s gone. Is it a coincidence that this educational institution/college/university is no more due to the name change? Only the Lord truly knows. The same woman also noted the following, regarding the potential reason for the name change as having anything to do with “persecution” of foreign missionaries.
“I wanted to address some comments you made about the name change of PCB. One comment has already been made concerning sensitivity issues for foreign students. I have served on the faculty of a seminary in the Philippines teaching linguistics to mother tongue translators. Quite a few of the students are from Myanmar. They would face extreme persecution if their credentials had _______ Biblical Seminary on them. So the name was changed to _______ Graduate School. What better time to call God’s people together en masse to pray against those evil powers in foreign governments instead of giving in to them as if the school is doing something wrong.”
I’ve emphasized her last statement because I fully agree with her reasoning. If God’s people – true believers, aka Christians – are going to prepare to work in the mission field and deliberately choose to attend a college that has the word “Bible” in its name, should they actually be concerned about the potential for persecution because of that fact? If those students are that concerned about it, should they not possibly choose another college that does not include the word “Bible” or “Christian” in the name? Instead, we’re supposed to believe that God directed them to attend Philadelphia Biblical University, as a for instance, but that He preferred the removal of the word “Biblical” so that those students would not come under persecution in the mission field? That makes absolutely no sense.
Christians today – the world over – are being persecuted solely because they are Christians working in areas of the world where the gospel itself is seen as an enemy. Yet we are to believe that Christians from America (or being educated here as foreign students), should be concerned about the word “Bible” on their degree certificate? Wouldn’t the fact that they are working in those areas of the world as “workers” (missionaries) and ostensibly teaching the Bible, Bible studies, and building home churches (one would assume), also put them in danger? In fact, who would actually know what their degree certificate says except for those officials who dealt with their VISAs or permits allowing them to be in those countries in the first place?
So now Christians are supposed to “shrink” from such things as having the word “Bible” on their degree certificates to avoid persecution? Please, tell me that there is not a worldwide apostasy occurring right now.
I keep my eye on what used to be Philadelphia College of Bible. The seeming downward spiral of what once was an educational institution wholly dedicated to training people in rightly dividing the Word of God now appears far more worldly and secular. God certainly cannot be pleased with that and it would not surprise me to hear about the school’s complete demise one day. Either that or every program related to the Bible will be eliminated or become so liberalized that it would be better for the school not to present any program connected to Scripture. After all, how many truly conservative Bible colleges are still conservative if they exist at all?
Years ago, I thought seriously about attending another Bible institution for a master’s degree. It was then called Baptist Bible College & Seminary, in Clarks Summit, PA. I looked them up this morning and learned that this past April, 2015, they obtained university status. The new name? Summit University. No “Baptist.” No “Bible.” All gone. Now, it’s “Summit.”
God forbid I’m accused of impugning the character of those involved, but something tells me that the only real reason that these name-changes occur is due to a broadening of scope in order to attract more students. More students means more money. More money means greater expansion and the ability to hire more professors and pay them competitive salaries. Of course, having university status often means having to kowtow to regents and accreditation boards as well. This is the big reason that Tyndale Biblical Institute, for instance, has never gone that route. These type of places are few and far between though.
When I did talk with people at what used to be PCB, I was told that the surviving family and/or children of some of the teachers I learned under while attending PCB, were fully in favor of the most recent name change. So? I’m not interested in what they think. I’m only interested in what God thinks. People – even in churches or para-church organizations – too often tend to go along with the majority and blame it on God. “See? We’re unanimous, so it must be God.” They appear to be reading a different Bible because unanimity is not a hard and fast rule for determining God’s will. In fact, it seems that God’s will is often found in the minority opinion.
To me, all of this is reminiscent of Gramsci’s “Long March through the Institutions,” where Marxism or at least liberalism infects the thinking of those at the core of a school’s system. These “organic” (think progressive, as opposed to “traditional”) intellectuals have a simple job. It is to undermine the hegemony of the traditionalists so that the educational institution will become the opposite of traditional and conservative. It happens in stages and it’s why Gramsci said it could take a hundred years.
In a world of apostasy as we approach the start of the Tribulation, it makes sense that all of these conservative biblical models of education must be broken. What better way to accomplish that than by eliminating in the name of the school itself, any possible link with Christianity, the Bible, or truth?
My alma mater – Philadelphia College of Bible – was actually founded in 1913. It’s now 2015, over 100 years. Just about right.
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, Life in America, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: baptist bible college & seminary, fort wayne bible college, fort wayne bible institute, pcb, philadelphia biblical university, philadelphia college of bible, summit university, taylor university fort wayne.