Many of you are already aware of our accreditation visit to South Carolina last October. Kyle Kearbey, Rex Semrad, and I had a safe and successful trip. We were moved from applicant status to candidate status by the Commissioners of the Association or Reformed Theological Seminaries (ARTS). The next step in this process will be the site-visit by a Committee of the Commissioners of ARTS which will take place next June. If we pass this inspection and review, we will become full members of ARTS next October. This will mean that we are fully accredited by ARTS. During this visit I was reminded of how kind God has been to CBTS in this process so far. I remember the unusual providence which has enabled Kyle Kearbey to invest, at just the right time, as much as 1,000 hours of his time in the preparation of the self-study and the review of our practices, and the strength he has given to Rex and me to invest several hundred more hours in this process.
Recently, however, someone asked me about why all this labor for accreditation is necessary for CBTS. It occurred to me that it might be helpful for the readers of this blog to have an explanation of why we think all this effort, time, and money is a good investment for us. I thought that the question was both legitimate and important, so I want to answer it by communicating “what the reasons are not” and “what the reasons are.”
What the Reasons Are Not: We are not pursuing accreditation because it is absolutely necessary according to the Bible. Nor do we regard such accreditation as strictly necessary for the church. The Bible does not require theological degrees at all and certainly not accredited theological degrees for office and ministry in the church. Of course, the Bible does require scriptural and theological knowledge for the ministry (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9). It does require the church to provide the education that will provide such knowledge for its future ministry (2 Timothy 2:1-2). There needs to be some reasonable, respectable, thorough, and presentable method of providing such education. It is at this point and because of this that I want to argue that there are important practical reasons for CBTS to pursue accreditation…
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.