I know a lot of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers who love being called Doctor. They expect church members to call them Doctor and their undoctored colleagues bow in reverence to them. In the IFB church movement, to have a doctorate means you have arrived, that your dick is bigger than your fellow pastors. Having a doctorate gives one an air of importance and respectability. Go to any of the big IFB conferences and you’ll find the scheduled speakers list littered with the names of men who have a doctorate. But, here’s the thing, the majority of preachers sporting a doctorate didn’t earn it. Most likely, one of their preacher buddies, who just so happens to run an unaccredited college, gave them their doctorate. Or, they did minimal coursework at one of many IFB diploma mills. Either way, their doctorate is nothing more than the plume of a peacock. Look, look, look at me, I am special, I am important, I am a Doctor.
Even at the IFB college, university, and seminary level, many of the professors have doctorates that were granted to them by the institution they are teaching at or some other unaccredited college. I spent 25 years in the ministry and I came in contact with a lot of Doctors. In every case but one, the doctorate was either honorary or “earned” through minimal work done at a diploma mill. The only person I knew that had an earned doctorate was Tom Malone. Dr. Malone had a PhD in education from Wayne State University.
Christian Bible College is a good example of an IFB diploma mill:
Andersonville Theological Seminary is another good example of a diploma mill:
I know several IFB preachers who advertise that they have a doctorate in counseling. Andersonville offers a doctorate in counseling, complete with licensure from the National Christian Counselors Association. (NCCA) Here’s what Andersonville has to say about their counseling doctorate and NCCA licensure:
This has all the making of a Holiday Inn commercial: I’m not be a licensed, qualified counselor but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night.
I suspect that most IFB church members don’t have a clue about how their pastor got his doctorate. They naïvely assume their pastor is just like their medical doctor or a professor at the local college. They likely think their pastor went through the rigors of a PhD program and is eminently qualified to teach them the Bible. Little do they know that their pastor’s doctorate is nothing more than a high-five from a friend who operates a college or a piece of paper given to him after paying a fee and doing minimal course work.
On one level, who cares? But, many of these “Doctors” are counseling people with serious mental health problems. A troubled church members goes to their pastor thinking he is qualified to help them. After all, they have a doctorate in counseling, right? They are just as qualified as the psychologist at the local clinic, right? Unbeknownst to the church member is that their pastor’s doctorate is little more than words scrawled on used toilet paper.
As Paul Harvey used to say, now you know the rest of the story.
Doctorate sporting IFB preachers are like Diotrephes in III John: they love to have the preeminence. Go to an IFB church or conference and watch how Dr. Bob or Dr. Jack or Dr. Paul are fawned over and treated like gods. I wonder when these Doctors last preached on James 2:
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?