Free from State Oversight Texas Supreme Court says state has no business regulating Christian schools.
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Free from State Oversight Texas Supreme Court says state has no business regulating Christian schools. Lisa Parro | posted 10/19/2007 08:29AM
A Texas Supreme Court decision is being hailed as a victory for religious schools' academic freedom. The court ruled August 31 that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board cannot require religious schools to receive a "certificate of authority" or to submit to accreditation.
Liberty Legal Institute filed suit on behalf of Tyndale Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1999, after the higher education board fined the school $173,000 for issuing degrees and calling itself a seminary. Two years earlier, a new state law combating so-called diploma mills had mandated that law schools, medical schools, technical schools, and seminaries meet 21 standards to operate legally.
But applying the same standards to law schools and religious institutions doesn't work, argued Kelly Shackelford, Liberty Legal Institute's chief counsel. "For example, the (Texas) requirement that you have to have a master's degree to teach at a post-secondary school," he said. "That means Billy Graham couldn't teach evangelism in a Texas seminary."
The Association of Theological Schools (ATS), one of only two religious accrediting agencies recognized by the Texas education board, said accreditation provides quality assurance and public accountability.
But administrators at Tyndale Theological Seminary believe accreditation weakens a school's doctrinal autonomy. It also costs thousands of dollars each year to maintain, a cost the small seminary would have been forced to pass along to students, said Tyndale president Christopher Cone. The seminary enrolls about 300 students annually.
According to ATS spokesperson Nancy Merrill, the organization respects member schools' doctrinal statements and only "asks schools to hold themselves accountable to their own theological mission."
Two other schools, the Hispanic Bible Institute in San Antonio and the Southern Bible Institute in Dallas, a historically black seminary, joined Tyndale in the suit. The Supreme Court's opinion stated that Texas's education standards violated the free-speech, establishment, and free-exercise clauses of the First Amendment.
"By restricting the terminology a religious institution can use, the state signals its approval or disapproval of the institution's operation and curriculum as vividly as if it hung the state seal on the institution's front door," Justice Nathan Hecht wrote. "We think it beyond serious dispute that the statute clearly and excessively entangles the government in matters of religious instruction."
The Texas education board issued a statement saying the decision "could have far-reaching implications" and that "it would be premature to speculate on [its] impact."
"I think other courts will cite it," said Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, calling the decision "symbolically important." "It sends a strong message—that government should not interfere with religious teaching."
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call." (Joel 2:32)
: "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21).
"For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:12-13). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, on the very last page of Scripture, says: "whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).
BCU student: David W. Mountcastle Sr. , Tucson Arizona; The God Of Second Chances – The Case For Grace.
BCU student: Vijay Kumar, Kakinada, Andhra pradesh, India; I am vijay from india,can i get admission in Christian University
Greetings Dr, I'm HUMPHREY STUDENT NO:042019, I send you my warmest Christian greetings through the mighty name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the soon coming king. May the good Lord continue to bless you for the wonderful work that you are doing, without doubt God will reward you for your faithfulness and kindness. I want to say thank you again for the opportunity to study Masters of Christian Evangelism. You are a good father, I'm really transformed by the powerful courses on Evangelism. My life and ministry is no longer the same. For sure, soul winning is the heartbeat of God, and that is my passion also. God bless you and I'll keep on learning with BCU, and recruiting more men and women of God who have got the passion for soul winning. Kindly see my final assignment No:6 Hell and Heaven Scriptures in the New Testament. God bless you.Pastor HUMPHREY MALIPINI
Articles are FREE! CONTACT THE AUTHOR FOR A COPY Dr. Manuel Boluwatise To:Dr. Ludwig Otto, Nov 9 at 12:37 PM ,
Dear Dr Ludwig Otto,, I am writing this letter to show my heartfelt appreciation for your contribution to my life.All the times spent as a student of Bold Christian University and United States Christian University - from Bachelor to Master to Doctor of Christian Evangelism to PhD in Christian Evangelism Education, and now, Doctor of Ministry - helped set a clear direction for me to follow. There is nothing I can do to repay you adequately for your contribution to my life and others. I promise to always cherish the lesson learned, and hopefully to be as inspirational to others as you were to me. Thank you very much.