Everyone makes a big deal about "state" accreditations for theological degrees. But some argue "the state does not accredit degrees. There are independent accreditation associations." But that is wrong. The state tells seminaries which associations they will accept or not, thus, it is the state that has the final word. In other words, the government approves of theological degrees since they have the last say!
Over the past four decades evangelicals have become enamored over state accrediting. If a school is not state approved we are told the seminary is less in quality. This is the world, like the camel, getting its nose in the tent! And once that happens it is hard to get the camel out! The state should have nothing to do with spiritual things.
To know how far we have fallen one must look at the past. Up until about eighty years ago, or more, there was generally speaking, no doctoral degrees given in theology. This was not so in Europe. In the big university seminaries overseas they gave "liberal" Ph.D. degrees but not so in American seminaries. Look at some of the older theology textbooks published in the U.S. The authors only had a DD or a Doctorate of Divinity, or, they had an M.A., a masters of arts degree. The DD could be earned but often it was honorary. This was acceptable because it was given to a pastor, or writer, someone who had accomplished something in theology.
Then the Th.D. came along. This was a Doctorate of Theology. It was perfectly acceptable. But many evangelicals wanted to be like the world, and began to offer a Ph.D., a Doctorate of Philosophy. With this, the schools started playing with the world and forcing the students to take reading German or French to show how academic the students were.
In other words, we wanted to look like the world. Everyone was happy with the old system until they started looking over the fence to see what the world was doing, and then, folks wanted to be like the culture. Coming with this trend has been pure, warmed over liberalism. While such a degree does not have to be liberal, unfortunately it too often is!
As the world goes so goes evangelicals!
--Dr. Mal Couch (7-10)