I’m wondering if unaccredited degrees are worth the time and money spent to get them. I don’t doubt that the knowledge obtained in the course of study toward earning these degrees is most helpful, but it seems to me that such credentials could tarnish a reputation more than polish it.
I have in mind specifically James R. White and Robert Morey. Now let it be said from the onset that I respect both of these men and I respect what they do (although I am at odds with them theologically in many areas), but I must confess to never having been blown away by any of the books of theirs that I have read (e.g. Morey’s The Trinity: Evidence & Issues and White’s The Forgotten Trinity). Having said that I’m just wondering if having ‘doctorates’ from unaccredited institutions has hurt them more than helped them in terms of credibility.
Both men have Master’s degrees from accredited schools. White has an M.A. from Fuller Theological Seminary and Morey has a M.Div. and a D.Min. from Westminster Theological Seminary. These are both fine schools that are very reputable. I think if these men had stopped with these degrees then they would have been better off (in terms of their academic reputations).
But White has Th.M., Th.D., and M.Div. from the unaccredited Columbia Evangelical Seminary and Morey has Ph.D. from the unaccredited Louisiana Baptist University. I don’t believe that accreditation or unaccreditation has anything to do with the caliber of work that one produces, but these lackluster credentials have certainly been ammunition for those who have engaged these men in debate. Morey catches flack from Muslim apologists while White catches it from Mormon apologists. Again, had they stopped at the Master’s degree then this problem could have been alleviated.
I’ve also heard Walter Martin’s reliability called into question because of his allegedly suspect credentials (I don’t know enough about it to really say anything), so it would seem that having these unaccredited degrees causes more harm than good. At least from where I’m sitting…
What do you guys think?
P.S. — Remember, I’m not saying that these aren’t sharp guys and I’m not saying that they don’t engage in serious scholarship (although I question how serious it is at times) — my question is concerned primarily with what unaccredited degrees do to a person’s reputation.