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European Theological Seminary

The European Theological Seminary

"SITUATED AT THE VERY HEART OF CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICALISM."

"The Founders of the Seminary have spread their teaching far and wide though years of both preaching and teaching in many and varied church services, meetings, conferences, and through the Christian press. The fruitfulness of their work, and their fellowship with an enormously wide range of believers, including those who have just come to the faith, as well as professors and presidents of other seminaries, reveal that their position is unquestionably within the heart of faithful conservative evangelicalism, rejecting utterly any hint of evolutionary teaching or Modernism and Liberalism. This is self-evident from the Doctrinal Statement contained within this Prospectus, and to which the Seminary is irrevocably bound by its Constitution." - from the prospectus of the European Theological Seminary

The following also states that it is exceedingly rigid and appears to confirm that all associated with it are young earth creationists:

"The Founders of The European Theological Seminary And College Of The Bible International will only invite onto the Academic and Adjunct Faculties, believers who have demonstrated their unqualified allegiance to the Foundational beliefs outlined above. No deviation from this will be permitted; full adherence to the Foundation as defined above is required of all who serve this Seminary. Those who deviate from this Foundation, disqualify themselves from serving the Seminary in any capacity." - from the prospectus of the European Theological Seminary

This is a report on the Belfast-based European Theological Seminary, a fundamentalist organisation pushing young earth creationism. To say we find it controversial would be an understatement.

We have a further section here on the seminary.

See http://www.europeantheologicalacademie.co.uk – it’s the organisation’s web site. The ETS should not be confused with the European Theological Seminary in Germany. They are two completely separate organisations.

One of the features of the US fundamentalist scene that we have not seen to much of in the UK, so far, is the large number of pastors and ministers with “degrees” from diploma mills and obscure third rate unaccredited colleges. Amongst the notable examples we have seen is that of “Dr” John Blanchard of Truth in Science and “Dr” Ian Paisley. For the most part theological colleges in the UK turn out decent qualifications.

A Vote of No Confidence in the Evangelical Theological College of Wales

The European Theological Seminary does think much of any degree or qualification awarded by educational institutions whose qualifications are recognised by the Department for Education and Skills. That includes the fundamentalist Evangelical Theological College of Wales.

It's prospectus says: The state system also provides some theological training at a higher-educational level. It is the unanimous opinion of the members of the Academic Faculty of the European Theological Seminary And College Of The Bible International however, that this training is fundamentally unbiblical, and is therefore, unsuited to the requirements of this Seminary.

Typically it is Modernist in tendency, is influenced by the claims of the so-called Higher Critics and normally rejects outright the concepts of the Absolute Creation of the universe, the real existence of Adam, the terrible event and consequence of his Fall, the Global Flood, and the repopulation of the world only from the family of Noah, and the absolute inerrancy of the Scriptures. In order to offer students, higher education that is truly Christian, inasmuch as it is utterly Biblical, being based solely upon a literal understanding of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments it is necessary to separate ourselves from the world and its ways. The education we offer cannot be found within any worldly systems, for it is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the world and the natural state of the men and women who control its ways.

Paisley comes from Northern Ireland and our initial research suggests that the use of bogus degree titles there amongst non-conformist clergy in minor denominations is relatively extensive, as we shall see from our notes below.

It’s emerging that the European Theology Seminary (aka the European Theological Academie) is a source of what many would consider as diploma mill degrees.

However, it isn’t quite clear who is behind the organisation. The seminary appears to have been established in 1993 by the self-styled Professor Dr Gordon Beck. He has a PhD from Trinity College and Theological Seminary, based in Newburgh, Indiana. This organisation offers correspondence courses and is the same institution where Pastor Richard Turner received his master's degree from - click onto Turner's name to find out more about the institution.

Moreover, the European Theological Seminary claims to have a spacious multi-purpose complex in Highgate in Birmingham. This is used for the degree awarding ceremonies of the seminary. They almost certainly account for it being described as the “European Theological Seminary, Birmingham”. However, it is not based there but in Northern Ireland.

The facilities in Birmigham appear to be owned by the New Testament Church of God.

Certainly the seminary itself appears to be deeply fundamentalist, pushing dispensationalism and declare themselves to be "premillenial”. It is not clear to us how far they are pushing creationism. The seminary is wholly unconnected to Ian Paisley’s Presbyterian Church (Paisley is a young earth creationist). Beck is a member of the Brethren (commonly referred to as the Plymouth Brethren).

We also have to point out that the New Testament Church of God has not featured (as far as we know) on the creationist speaking circuits of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Science Movement, Genesis Agendum, Creation Research or the Biblical Creation Society. In fact, we have found no evidence at all that the denomination is creationist. It’s a well established denomination dating back to the 1950s and was founded by immigrants from the West Indies.

We also have to point out that few of the people listed on the seminar’s web site (there are loads) appear to have any connection with the New Testament Church of God.

Why there is a connection with Northern Ireland is beyond us. When black people started to emigrate to the UK in the late 1940s and 1950s they went where the work was and it wasn’t in that backward province. By the late 1960s the province was moving towards its long and bitter civil war, making it even more unattractive. Our guess is there has never been much of a constituency for a black Pentecostal church or movement on the province.

(Strangely, though, some 10% of the Orange Order in Liverpool are reputedly black.)

There is no doubt, though, that the seminary is creationist. Robin Greer, recently recruited by of Answers in Genesis UK has been awarded two doctorates by the seminary and it has awarded Monty White an honorary D.Litt. We speculate that the two events may be closely related and point out that belief in creationism is now rampant amongst non-conformist denominations in Northern Ireland. Organisations such as Answers in Genesis and the Biblical Creation Society have been and are exceedingly active there. The Vardy schools have specifically been recruiting teachers there because the incidence of belief in creationism is so high.

What is the European Theological Seminary?

It is a distance learning organisation run out of Greenisland, an outer suburb of Belfast. It was founded by Gordon Beck in 1993 and describes itself as a “non-denominational, Bible-based, evangelical College”. It is openly Protestant. However, has also claimed to be Birmingham-based on the grounds that its degree ceremonies are held there. (They also appear to be held in London as well.)

It does not award external degrees; nor does it have a royal charter to award its own degrees. It offers a variety of courses ranging from those leading to certificates in bible studies, diplomas, first degrees and masters degrees to PhDs.

The internal standards it sets itself for academic rigour are risible. From what we have established about its tuition fee rates, we suspect that they are very basic indeed. Moreover, our research into who is involved shows a large number of people with strings of initials after their names but no indication whatsoever where they obtain the qualifications from.

We suspect that a lot of them have honorary degrees awarded by the seminary itself.

The home page of the web site of the seminary states that “The European Theological Seminary is an evangelical Bible training institution, based in the UK, that provides self-directed theological learning programmes.” We have never seen the term “self-directed” used by an accredited institution or even an unaccredited one with standards!

Our notes (see below) also point to the courses being at rock bottom prices, indicating how limited the seminary’s resources are and how low its status is.

How much for a degree from the European Theological Seminary?

The web site of the organisation does not say so we only have indirect evidence. This is through the Emmanuel Baptist Bible School at Ballyclare in Northern Ireland which appears to be re-selling the courses of the seminary. (see http://www.ifmfocus.com/graphics/prospectus.pdf. The courses are spectacularly cheap according to its prospectus.

It appears that a 1st degree can be obtained from around £550. This is far, far, below any recognised university in the United Kingdom Even the lowliest of recognised degree courses from organisations with royal charters, at cost, are unlikely to be less than £7,500 (and, in many cases, £7,500 a year!). It is also clear that the prices being charged by the Emmanuel Bible College are for full time study at Ballyclare. The minimum charged by any university is £1,000 a year and that is usually highly subsidised and a fraction of the real cost of many degrees.

Indeed, the cost per term for study at Ballyclare is £50 (normally we have three terms a year in the UK) or, by correspondence, £75 a term. After two years the students can upgrade to the full LTS degree course for an extra year of study and a fee of £250.

(see http://www.ifmfocus.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=73&Itemid=48)

With prices like that, we can only conclude that the European theological College is a diploma mill.

The person offering the repackage European Theological Seminary qualifications is none-other than Dr Stephen Boreland who is part of the “Adjunct Faculty” of the seminary.

Who recognises its degrees?

According to a letter written by the Rev Brian Kennaway of Crumlin, Northern Ireland (Belfast Telegraph 18th January 2005), “The European Theological Seminary, Birmingham, is not listed by the Department for Education and Skills as a recognised body, having degree awarding powers.

In which case it probably falls into the same category as the outlawed American Pioneer Theological Seminary, from which Ian Paisley received his "doctorate" in 1954.”

He adds “On their website, the Department for Education and Skills warn about bogus degrees and state: "It is an offence in the UK for any organisation to offer a degree qualification which could be taken to be that of a recognised UK institution. The relevant legislation in this area is the Education Reform Act 1988.""

(Kennaway is once of the most senior members of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland - Deputy Grand Chaplain Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.)

The European Theological Seminary claims to be accredited by the following organisations:

Accrediting Commission International, Beebe, USA (not recognised – see http://www.aju.edu/usdoe_faqs.htm)

Association of European Correspondence Schools (became the European Association for Distance learning in 1999. The European Theological Seminary is not listed as a member – see http://www.eadl.org) The claim appears to be dishonest.

European Distance Education Network (European Theological Seminary not listed as a member, the claim appears to be dishonest).

European Evangelical Accreditation Association (status unknown).

International Council for Open and Distance Education (not recognised, see http://www.credentialwatch.org/non/agencies.shtml)

Who’s Who in the European Theological Seminary

The board of governors and trustees are listed on its web site as:

  • Honorary President: Professor Dr G. S. Beck
  • Executive Vice President/Academic Dean: Rev Professor Dr C.L. Ryan
  • Chancellor/Chief Examiner: Professor Dr R. Gasson
  • Academic Administrator: Rev Professor Dr R.H. Creane
  • Secretary: Dr Rita A. Wichelow BD MA PhD DD FETS

Every one of these people uses the title “Dr” but we are wholly unable to trace where they got the qualification from and what the subject area is. We are unable to trace any information at all on RH Creane or Rita Wichelow.

Dr R Gasson is Raphael Gasson who is 86 years old (in 2006) and lives on the Isle of Wight. He’s a former medium and spiritualist (see http://www.reachouttrust.org/articles/occult/ghosts.htm). He was awarded an MBE in 2003 for services to disabled people. However, we are unable to identify who awarded his PhDs.

The web site of the seminary gives a lot of details about him:

“It was no mere coincidence but in the Lord’s ordering that I was introduced to Professor Dr R.Gasson, theologian, teacher, author, calligrapher, musician, philosopher, Fellow of the College of Preceptors and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.”

[He] was born in 1920 into an orthodox Jewish environment and studied to the highest possible attainments in Hebrew, Talmudic Exegesis, Scribal Arts, Liturgical Music, etc. He followed a strict rabbinical training regime, and developed his musical talent with studies at the Guildhall School and at the London College of Music. He is an acclaimed master and professional in conducting, composition and general musician-ship, becoming a talented performer of many musical instruments.”

“Just after completing his rabbinical studies in 1947, he came into a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and experienced a complete transition from traditional Jewish orthodoxy to Christian ministry, evangelism and reclamation work in prisons, among drug addicts and alcoholics in all classes of society, high and low, rich and poor.”

“Entering the education service, his background afforded many opportunities and openings into schools, colleges and churches, including lecturing and examining at several universities. He directed his attention to the teaching of Religious Education and Pastoral Care, to which he added Music and Calligraphy. He has distinguished himself by attaining several doctorates including Letters, Philosophy, Theology, Ministry, Religious Education, Music and Law. He is also the holder of a number of Fellowships, among them being the Philosophical Society, the College of Preceptors and the Royal Society of Arts.”

“Serious illness in 1980 left him permanently disabled and unable to get out and about without assistance, but his new situation served as a challenge with new and strange horizons, leading to a new sphere of service. He encourages others to think in terms of ‘ability’ rather than ‘disability’ in his pastoral and academic ministry, by persuading them to pursue those things they can do with all their might. He thus maintains a high quality of life and independence, even though his lifestyle may be quite different.”

“A large measure of the way his philosophy works out in practice is shown in his present involvement, as the Vice-President and Chairman of the Federation of the Island Societies and the Welfare and Benefits Consultant for the Advocacy Consortium, as well as being the President and Chairman of the International Disabled Motorists’ Caring Association which has its headquarters based on the Isle of Wight. His reputation in pastoral care and academic research are well-known world-wide.”

Like others involved in the European Theological Seminary, Gasson has a long list of initials after his name and also a grand title– “Dr R. Gasson BA MEd DD LLD DLitt DMin DMus DREd DTh FETS FRSA, Professor of Hebrew, Old Testament, Ministry & Music.” This seems to indicate that he holds a 1st degree, a masters degree and five PhDs. Well, if they represent formal study in recognised universities, we estimate that he would have taken 20 years of full time study to achieve them.

Gordon Beck: Beck simply does not have any recognised theological qualifications. He appears never to have been through any recognised university and has no experience at all of teaching in any of them. Whilst Beck has authored or co-authored a number of religious books, we have very little information at all on his background.

However, the list of initials after his name, as show on the seminary’s web site, would have most mainstream senior academics put to shame – “Dr G.S. Beck BTh MTh PhD DLitt DTh FICM, Professor of New Testament and Expository Preaching”. If these had been taken as full time qualifications, they would have taken 14 years to complete (excluding FICM – we don’t know what that means).

Beck is on record as having defended Ian Paisley’s “academic record” in a letter to the Belfast Telegraph.

Belfast Telegraph, Tuesday, June 13, 2006

“I was very surprised by the remarks of Dr Margaret Shiels (Writeback, January 4) who suggested that people such as the Rev. Dr Ian Paisley who have received honorary doctorates, should, in spite of the conventional and established practice, not be referred to by the title of doctor.”

“She regards this practice as in some way devaluing the work of people who have achieved a doctorate through becoming a student at a recognised seat of learning, where professors, lecturers, visiting experts, field-trips, libraries and a whole host of other resources are readily available to help students progress in their work.”

“Following Dr Shiels' logic, those who have not received these benefits and yet have nonetheless achieved the same level of proficiency in their chosen subject, must be denied recognition, just as they were denied the help given to students in formal education referred to above.”

“What benefit to society is to be gained by refusing to acknowledge worthy work produced without the helps enjoyed by formal students? Surely where privilege is denied, genuine achievement should receive more particular recognition.”

“The doctorate awarded to Dr Paisley was indeed conferred on him by Bob Jones University, which has also honoured Dr Billy Graham in a similar manner.”

“I am well acquainted with the writings of Dr Paisley, which span nearly 60 years of his stalwart ministry of commentating on, and defending, the Holy Bible.”

“He is well-known around the world for his expertise and depth and breadth of biblical scholarship. To suggest that in some way Dr Paisley has achieved his doctorate in a manner that has avoided any true scholarly work, is to seriously to misunderstand the situation. “

“He has written extensively over the entire period of his ministry.”

“New publications continue to appear even now, in spite of his advancing years, declining health and many other responsibilities.”

“He is particularly regarded for a most excellent commentary written shortly before he received his doctorate, on The Epistle to the Romans, which is rightly regarded as outstanding and which was produced in spite of the most meagre of available resources.”

“He is particularly notable for his original research, his vast acumen of biblical knowledge, his profundity of scholarship, and his ability to tackle complex exegetics.”

“His very many books range from deeply devotional works to biblical commentaries and helps to Bible students. He is a true scholar working to high academic standards that have been recognised for many years in many lands.”

“He is still able to give valuable help to theological students enrolled in recognised educational establishments, working on established degree courses.”

“I am sorry to say that I regard Dr Shiels' attitude as ungenerous, ill-founded and narrow-minded and call upon her to think again.”

GORDON S. BECK (Prof.), European Theological Seminary.

(http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/imported/article954893.ece)

The irony of this is that Ian Paisley is widely regarded as a narrow-minded, intolerant sectarian who has spent a lifetime wrecking Northern Ireland and has never (util recently) held executive power. His religious extremism makes most people in the UK and Ireland despair at the province. Beck also failed to mention that Paisley wrote his book whilst in prison – hence the scarcity of resources he mentions.

Indeed, Paisley’s track record in education is exceedingly modest. Our understand is that he failed his 11+ and attended a technical school rather than a grammar school. He left that when he was 16 to undertake religious studies in Barry in South Wales and, later, Belfast.

The final irony is that Paisley’s Free Presbyterian Church is wholly opposed to the Pentecostal movement of which the New Testament Church of God is a part.

J Berreby is also listed on the web site as “Dr J.R.M. Berreby ThD (USA) DTh (GB) PhD EdD DD, Professor of Systematic Theology”. Professor Berreby spoke to us at some length after we posted the main body of this page. He is now chairman of the International Bible College in Geneva and is also involved in the Reformation International Theological Seminary (http://www.reformation.edu). He has taught at the Sorbonne in Paris.

We have some information on CL Ryan who is also listed as the “Rev Dr C.L. Ryan, BD (Hons) MTh LLD PhD DD DTh, Professor of Homiletics and Philosophy, Pastoral Care.” He is a minister in the New Testament Church of God (see http://www.ntcg.org.uk/nec/nec.html). Again, we’ve no idea where the vast number of qualifications he claims come from. Our quick ready-reckoner indicates that he would have had to have spent at least 15 years in full time education (or the equivalent) to have achieved them by normal means.

Let’s now have a look at people who comprised the academic faculty of the European Theological Seminary (excluding those detailed above) at various points in time.

Rev Dr R.H. Creane, BA (Hons) MA PhD DMin DD FETS, Professor of Biblical Exegesis, Church History and Pastoral Theology. Well, um, we don’t know what FETS means but three PhDs, a masters and a 1st degree are claimed. Our ready-reckoner suggests that these would have required full time study over fourteen years in a normal university.

Again we can find no trace whatsoever of a Rev R Creane (although there are a couple of ministers with the same surname in Paisley’s Free Presbyterian Church.)

Rev Dr Robinson A. Milwood DipTh BA MA DMin PhD, Professor of Biblical Hermeneutics – This link http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/library.asp?i=1866 suggest Millwood has been accused of being a bigamist. His qualifications are a bit more modest that others in the seminary – only 2 PhDs plus a masters plus a first degree. The equivalent of eleven years of full time study. He is minister of a Methodist Church in Stoke Newington in London (see http://www.ukchurches.co.uk/churchprofile.asp?ChurchID=653).

Dr William Thomson BSc MA (Hons) PhD CEng CertEd MIM FIQA, Professor of Anthropology, Ethics and Social Theology. The initials after his name suggest that Thomson is an engineer by background. That’s about all we know.

Reading between the lines it looks as if the operation centres on Gordon Beck, the founder, presumably operating out of his home in Greenisland. There is no evidence to suggest that any teaching or degree ceremonies take place there. Other faculty members look to be located in England. Indeed, it looks as if Beck is the only full-timer at the EUropean Theological Seminary.

Apart from our obvious doubts about academic qualifications, the best we can conclude from what we know about the faculty is that, Beck apart, there is no evidence that any of them are full time with the organisation. Indeed, the evidence suggests that most are certainly not.

However, there are another batch of names listed on the web site as part of the “Adjunct Faculty”. What they actually do is totally unclear to us but they are a mixed bag.

The Very Rev Dr D.H. Allen MA BD DD (Northern Ireland). He appears to be former moderator of the general assembly the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland –i.e. pretty senior amongst clergymen there (a big fish in a small pond). Beck though has publically stated that he lives in Scotland.

Bishop Selwyn Arnold BSc(Hons) MA DMin DD JP (USA). He is a bishop in the New Testament Church of God (see http://www.ntcglee.org.uk/default.htm)

Bishop Fedlyn A. Beeson BTh PhD DD JP (Jamaica) – unable to find out further details.

Dr Stephen Boreland MA PhD (Northern Ireland). He appears to be involved in Prophetic Witness Movement International which appears to be a Baptist organisation. However, his involvement may be very limited. He is pastor of Ballyclare Baptist Church (http://www.ballyclarebaptist.co.uk) in Northern Ireland. He appears to have been on the council of reference for Cecil AndrewsTake Heed Ministries (see http://www.takeheed.net/news2.htm). Andrews is a young earth creationist.

He is also president of In Focus Ministries (http://www.ifmfocus.com) and Emmanuel Baptist Bible School which offers the courses (up to the Bachelor of Theology degree) of the European Theological Seminary either at the Ballyclare Baptist Church or in Dublin or Bournemouth or/and by correspondence. The school openly admits it is fundamentalist.

Like the European Theological Seminary, it appears to have had a lot of “PhDs” involved in it including Boreland, Dr David Moore and Dr Rob Congdon. It is very anti-European Union, a common position amongst fundamentalists in the USA. Indeed, the web site quoted appears to be to promote the rapture stuff of Tim Lahaye) and a Dr. Graham Anderson (no trace). Nowhere does it state where these people got their PhDs from.

Pastor Dr Jack Hughes BA MA DipTh PhD FETS (Northern Ireland) – unable to find any trace of this person.

Rev Dr Issachar Lewinson BSc MTh DTh ACMA (Jamaica). Believed to now be pastor for a New Testament Church of God church in Willesden in London. (see http://www.ukchurches.co.uk/churchprofile.asp?ChurchID=840)

Mr S.J. McCammick MBE JP BA MBA (Northern Ireland). He’s a local politician (Ulster Unionist Party) in the province and a school governor (Bleary Primary School in Lurgan) http://www.selb.org/pupilparent/documents/2006/primary/craigPrimarySchools.pdf. He was a non-executive director of the Police Authority of Northern Ireland.

Dr Donald J. Hender MA DLitt FETS (unable to trace).

Rev Dr W.J. (Bill) Malcolmson BD MMin MTh DLitt FETS (Northern Ireland). He is the pastor for the Congregational Reformed at Brookborough Hall, Sandown Road, Belfast.

Dr Victor Maxwell MA(Hons) PhD (Brazil) (unable to trace)

Dr Robert Millar BD MA PhD DTh (Northern Ireland) unable to trace.

Dr R.S. Miller CEng PhD DTh FCMI FCMC FETS (England) – unable to trace any details of this person.

Rev Dr R.H. Parkinson DipTh MMin PhD (London). He appears to be a member of the New Testament Church of God.

Dr Alec R Passmore DLitt (Director of Ministries PWMI). He’s also on the council of reference of Logos Ministries (http://www.logosministries.org.uk/who.html).

Dr Joseph Roberts PhD (England). Again, this person appears to be a minister in the black Pentecostal church, the New Testament Church of God. He is based in Sheffield.

Dr Jeffrey F.D. Shove BTh MA DLitt PhD FRSA (Isle of Wight) unable to trace

Rt Rev Dr J. Barry Shucksmith BD MA PhD DMin DLitt FRSA RN (Portsmouth). He is believed to be Bishop Barry Shucksmith of the tiny Free Church of England He was an ordained minister of the main Church of England in the 1980s. It is not believed at that time he had even a first degree. The initials after his name indicate he now has three PhDs, a masters and a first degree. Our ready-reckoner indicates that he would have had to have spent 14 years in full time education to have achieved them. Unless, of course, someone has been handing out honorary degrees or diploma mill degrees to him.

Professor Oscar Tichy BTh MTh PhD (USA) – unable to trace further details.

The Very Rev Dr Joel Thomas DTh (England) – He is believed to be senior pastor at the Deliverance Centre in Reading. As far as I can make out this is a black Pentecostal church.

Dr Robert Urquhart MA DLitt PhD FColP (Isle of Wight) – unable to trace.

Dr Richard D. Voorhar PhD DLitt (Netherlands/Germany) – unable to trace further details.

Rev Dr Austin D. Watt MA PhD (USA) – unable to trace further details.


Update

According to BBC Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme (27th May 2007), a few hundred people have taken the courses of the ETS. The programme suggested that ETS is very popular amongst conservative and fundamentalist believers in Northern Ireland. It also required students only to use the King James Bible. In an interview on Sunday Sequence, the self styled Professor Dr Gordon Beck, head of the organisation, also admitted that his Seminary was creationist and was founded as a reaction against “modernism”. Beck was very evasive when questioned about the number of students the seminary had but suggested it was “probably” currently around 150 and that 200-300 had taken degrees with it.

From what Beck stated, it is not at all clear that the number of students were those taking courses directly through ETS or through “re-sellers” such as the Emmanuel Baptist Bible College. The courses appear to have been resold on the mainland of the UK and in Australia. The mainstream Presbyterian Church in Ireland had totally disassociated itself from ETS after the Seminary claimed it had been approved by the church. The church does not recognise its qualifications.

Whilst the web site of the European Theological Seminary closed down immediately after the Sunday Sequence programme, it is not clear if the organisation has closed down.

The standard of qualification offered by ETS is illustrated by the testimony of one of its PhD graduates on Sunday Sequence. He took six weeks to complete his PhD thesis (compared with three years minimum at a recognised university). He had no supervision whatsoever nor was he asked to make any changes to the thesis. His oral examination took 20 minutes and the thesis had not been read by ETS before hand. The total cost was £500 and a Doctorate of Theology was also thrown in as well. The entire course lasted from May 2001 when the student was enrolled to September 2001 when he was awarded his PhD and DTH.

To give some idea of the scale to which the province appears to be awash with pastors holding ETS qualifications of some sort, the only Roman Catholic Seminary on the island of Ireland, Maynooth, is ordaining less than 10 priests a year - 9 in 2003, 8 in 2004, 7 in 2005 and 8 in 2006. Their training takes seven years.

Furthermore, the BCSE received an e-mail from Dr William Thompson to the effect he has distanced himself from the Seminary: "I do not wish to have any further published linkage with Gordon Beck, or the ETS. I might add that I have found repectable "homes" for students who were left high and dry by the default of the ETS leaders -OF WHOM, IN SPITE OF THE PROSPECTUS IMPLICATIONS, I WAS NOT ONE! My name was evidently used to bring some credibility."


Footnotes:

Wikipedia says: "Recipients of an honorary doctorate do not normally adopt the title of "doctor", though it may be appropriate to use the title provided it was conferred based on some tangible and relevant achievement. In many countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, it is not considered correct for an honorary doctor to use the formal title of "doctor", regardless of the background circumstances for the award." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorary_doctorate#Practical_use


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