Story time, kiddies. When I was in college I tried to get a scholarship for preaching students being awarded by a old school church planting organization from southeastern Ohio. I heard about this group because they were popular in the Maysville, Kentucky area where my grandparents resided. In order to interview for this $1000 scholarship I had to drive to Portsmouth, Ohio to interview for it. It was a five hour round trip, coupled with an hour interview about my theology and career aspirations. Low and behold, I didn't get the scholarship. It's a Saturday from my life that I'm still bitter about losing.
The head of this group had an interesting name: Hoyt Allen Jr. I only met him that one time, but I had difficulty forgetting that name, perhaps because I forever linked him to that scholarship snub. While online today, reading a news blurb about my grandparent's church, I saw that they invited good ole' Hoyt to come speak to their gathering. I normally would've passed on this article but noticed that it referred to him as DOCTOR Hoyt. I don't mean to be judgmental, but I couldn't buy that this guy had earned a doctorate; I'm certain that the closest he got to legitimately claiming this title was by downing a Dr Pepper [sorry, I felt that lame joke was necessary].
The article said that Hoyt earned his Master of Divinity and Doctorate at a Lake Charles Bible College in Louisiana. Having never heard of Lake Charles I looked up their website where I perused their intensive academic offering. You can check it all out here, but I would like to cite their rigorous requirements for attaining a doctorate at their prestigious institution.
DOCTOR OF MINISTRIES This course consists of four sections, all comprehensive and discussion questions. You will use your own library for research. The total course cost is $500, payable in four equal installments.
This, my friends, in case you were wondering, is not a fully accredited academic institution. I have to include this advertising gem from their MDiv description:
MASTER OF DIVINITY Our Master Of Divinity is a comprehensive program that requires one textbook, The textbook consists of four sections, all discussion questions. In other words, there are no completely wrong answers.
How refreshing! For somebody. I have no idea how someone could drop $1000 for these two pieces of paper and then, with a straight face, have someone address them as Doctor.
Unfortunately, the background of our movement of churches is extremely anti-intellectual. This sentiment developed as a stand against the highly-intellectual liberalism that rampaged Protestant churches in the early twentieth century. As a result, we've not been able to overcome this past and embrace the idea that we can be both intelligent and Biblically conservative. Hence, you get a degree mill like the Lake Charles Bible College where there are no wrong answers.
We still need some work if we're going to become the movement we need to be.
Honestly, I'd like to get a PhD someday . . . especially if I could get someone else to pay for it. Not that I want people to call me Doctor, but that I could specialize in a subject and become an authority. But if it never happens, I'll be OK. I'd rather it not happen than me to get a cereal-box-top degree not worth the paper it's written on.