What ordination is to a minister, accreditation is to a school. Therefore, most faculty and degree students feel that accreditation is very important, although it is not legally required!
Accreditation is a voluntary process. For instance, for many years the RHEMA BIBLE TRAINING CENTER was not accredited and offered no academic degrees.
On the other hand, there are some who discount a Christian school and reject their Accrediting Association too, unless it is linked up with the U.S.A. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, launching a campaign to impose their opinion upon the rest of the academic world. But common understanding and every day usage determine the definition of any word. Thus, to be accredited still means that an impartial group of professional scholars have investigated an institution and has approved the standards of curriculum and operation of that institution.
There is no such thing as Federal or State accreditation of a Bible school, for civil government has no authority to regulate religious training or what certificates we issue for it. This is an issue of separation of church and state, as Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God's”. Mark 12:17.
Civil authorities must never officially endorse or disapprove directly or indirectly the beliefs and practices of churches or their Bible Schools. A casual survey of Church history shows that such linkage with Caesar eventually leads to infringement upon conscience, bondage, and corruption. Therefore, to be accredited by any agency, which in turn is supervised by the U.S.A. Department of H.E.W., would to some degree be a compromise of the separation principle and constitute "friendship with the world” condemned as "adultery” by James 4:4.
In a Spiritual sense, the highest accreditation any school would be the blessings of Divine Providence. Our best accreditation is the successful lives and ministries of our satisfied students. Isn't graduate performance what it's really all about?
Most simply, accreditation is a process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented.
Organizations that issue credentials or certify third parties against official standards are themselves formally accredited by accreditation bodies (such as United Kingdom Accreditation Service); hence they are sometimes known as "accredited certification bodies". The accreditation process ensures that their certification practices are acceptable, typically meaning that they are competent to test and certify third parties, behave ethically, and employ suitable quality assurance.
It surprises many people to learn that schools are not legally required to become accredited! However, on the school's part it is a very desirable standing. Accredited status means a school has voluntarily undergone a comprehensive examination to determine that it operates at a worthy level of performance.
Not all accreditation is performed by the Department of Education, and in many cases the government's Department of Education is not qualified to accredit a private school, such as a Bible School, because the Department of Education is secular and a Bible or Christian School is spiritual!
Why then do a number of well known “Bible Colleges” attain accreditation from agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and State Boards of Higher Education? Because while they may claim the title of being a “Bible College”, they have in fact become Colleges of Liberal Arts or Sciences that continue to offer religious degrees along with the secular degrees! In order for their students to be able to obtain student loans and grants, these “Bible” colleges must become accredited by D.O.E. recognized agencies!
But genuine Bible Colleges, Schools and Seminaries that choose to remain strictly Christian are exempted from accreditation requirements because of the U.S. Constitution! According to the First Amendment of the Constitution the government cannot determine the curriculum of any religious school that is strictly religious as this would be the equivalent of “establishing a religion”! Our founding fathers recognized that the secular government is not qualified to determine or direct appropriate spiritual/religious teaching!
As we find in 1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Therefore a state agency is not able to determine if a spiritually directed learning institution is meeting the mandates of the Bible!
This being the case, we prayerfully determined to voluntarily submit T.H.B.I. to the standards of a Christian, Full Gospel oriented accreditation agency.