Vision Christian Bible College & Seminary is a member of International Association of Bible Colleges and Seminaries [IABCS] for accountability and accreditation. IABCS is a Non-Governmental Accreditation Institution (NGAI) setting standards for Bible Colleges and Seminaries that do not want to come under secular government control and at the same time maintain a genuine degree program for higher education. IABCS It is the oldest NGAI in the USA, established in 1954.
A Word Concerning Accreditation
We believe that the federal government or any secular institutions are not qualified to dictate the qualifications for instructors or the programs for a spirit-filled ministerial degree. As a Christian University, Vision Christian Bible College & Seminary offers academic programs that are specifically designed to equip students who feel the call of God on their lives and wish to build a ministerial career or to further their Christian education.
Accreditation in the U.S. is a voluntary, non-governmental process that is undertaken by private agencies. Some, but not all, of those agencies have applied for and received approval from the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which maintains criteria for such approval. Those agencies that are so approved enable their members to qualify for several billion dollars annually of federal student funds. This creates a “gatekeeper” role for such agencies and a direct relationship between them and federal government. The main reason why many institutions in the U.S. seek accreditation is in order to gain access to federal student funds, which are not available to schools that do not hold accreditation.
“It should be noted that some institutions have chosen not to participate in the federal student aid program and therefore do not have to be approved by an accrediting agency recognized by the Department. While these institutions do not appear on the Department’s list they may be legitimate schools.” - United State Department of Education
The vast majority of Bible Colleges and Seminaries choose not to be governed by the USDE and do not seek regional accreditation.
Once the decision is made to become accredited through a Department of Education recognized agency, reversing that choice is not a simple process. The decision to reject government sanctioned accreditation would have an immediate and profound effect on all alumni holding degrees. For the accredited college, the approval of an accrediting agency becomes its ‘life’s blood.’ The college is left to choose between compromising core biblical beliefs to conform to the requirements of the government or face the possibly substantial loss of funds and angry alumni.
Although religious schools may opt to seek accreditation, many regard the separation of church and state as a reason either to remain unaccredited or to seek accreditation from a specifically religious agency with no ties to government.
We believe training men and women for ministry is best done under the authority of a local church and independent of the constraints of a liberal arts program. Another concern we have held regarding accreditation relates to government intervention. To accept Title IV or other government funding could obligate us to government oversight and vetting of our curriculum, staffing, and even beliefs. We recognize that we live in a pluralistic society and with a government which is increasingly antagonistic toward Christian beliefs. There is no doubt in our minds that, were the government given oversight of our operations, their secular humanistic paradigm would see our curriculum as unsatisfactory to the pluralistic philosophies of today.
In addition, there is the concern that accreditation could put the college in a position where a faculty degree would usurp a ministry-focused hiring process of evaluating a candidate’s personal ministry and ability to transfer truth as a facilitator of 2 Timothy 2:2. We have seen where accreditation has pressured institutions to hire a required number of professors with particular degrees, rather than hiring them based on a philosophy of local church ministry with a commitment to doctrine and soul winning.
The legal right to grant degrees is independent from the issue of accreditation.
Vision Christian Bible College & Seminary was authorized to operate and to grant degrees by the Florida State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities under section 246.084(1), State of Florida Statues.
In 1999, VCBCS became a member of the American Federation of College and Seminaries (AmFed) that was approved by the Florida State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities (SBICU) to grant degrees. The Federation established a quality educational standard in post-secondary education for evangelical colleges and seminaries that do not seek secular accreditation.
In addition, VCBCS is a member in good standing of the International Association of Bible Colleges and Seminaries (registered as Southern Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges). IABCS purpose is to furnish, recognize and verify certain standardized requirements in various fields in which the representative institutions operate in keeping with, and acceptable to, other accredited institutions of higher education.
We are committed to education that is legitimately post-secondary and academically rigorous, challenging students to develop critical thinking skills and leading them in the formation of a biblical grounded Christian worldview.
Vision Christian Bible College & Seminary is an institution of higher education in which the Bible is central and the development of Christian life and ministry is essential. We engage the student intentionally in…
1. Biblical higher education – education that involves extensive and serious study of the text of God’s eternal Word, not in a posture of detachment and skepticism, but in a posture of discipleship and submission, seeking to understand the will of God so that we may conform to it, and the plan of God so that we may join Him in bringing about its fulfillment. This engagement with Scripture ensures that the formation of a Christian worldview issues not only from sincere devotion to Christ, but also from a comprehensive grasp of biblical teaching and a well-honed and growing ability to bring sound theological thinking to bear upon their engagement with a broad spectrum of humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral science and natural/information science disciplines.
2. Transformational higher education – education that calls us to explore the moral and ethical implications of what we are studying. In so doing we: apply what we are learning from God’s Word; appropriate and collaborate with the work of God’s Holy Spirit in the process of developing personal values and virtues worthy of His adopted children; and are formed through deep engagement with a community of fellow Christ-followers. Such transformational higher education is validated not by a life orientation toward self-actualization or self-fulfillment, but rather by a posture of submission and self-denial, living out Kingdom values and Gospel priorities before a watching world.
3. Experiential higher education – facilitating hands-on ministry, service-learning and intercultural study opportunities. Such experiences help us to discover and develop our own distinctive God-given gifts, passions and sense of calling as well as to exercise and grow the life, ministry and leadership skills required for passionate and proficient service.
4. Missional higher education. We maintain that an authentically biblical worldview compels all believers – regardless of present or future occupation – to understand their personal vocation within the context of history’s destiny: the day when the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. Recognizing that in the 21st century Christianity may not enjoy cultural hegemony neither in North America nor abroad, does our education involve acquiring and exercising tools for cultural exegesis and engagement in addition to the tools of biblical exegesis. We seek to encourage and equip graduates to take part according to their unique gifts, passions and callings in the global cause of proclaiming through word and deed the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.
In the United State of America, most of our nation’s first colleges and universities, such as: Harvard and Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Rutgers, Vassar, Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke etc. began as Christian colleges and universities offering Christian education. Harvard began in 1636 and was founded for training in the Gospel ministry. Harvard’s charter stated that the university was established for the purposes of educating the English and Indian youth in knowledge and Godliness. Harvard’s motto was “Christo et Ecclesiae” (For Christ and Church)