A STATEMENT ON THE ISSUE OF INTEGRITY OF THE ADVANCED ACADEMIC DEGREES (Master’s and Doctorate) CONFERRED BY QUESTIONABLE INSTITUTIONS THAT PROVIDE DEFICIENT AND UNACCREDITED TRAINING OR EDUCATION
[This is the official statement of the Philippines General Council of the Assemblies of God as adopted by the Executive Officers during their meeting on November 14, 2019.]
The Philippines General Council of the Assemblies of God, Inc. (PGCAG) strongly believes in education. We do not only encourage the proper training of ministers through appropriate Biblical-Theological Education but we also provide the necessary platform for its realization. Historically, the pioneers of the Assemblies of God in the Philippines demonstrated this early in the life of the movement by establishing Bible Schools in the key areas of the country and a Seminary with high academic standards. Foremost in their agenda, along with evangelizing the lost and planting churches, was the development of converts who showed evidence of their call to the ministry into qualified and competent workers who will serve in the newly established congregations. Theological education of ministers is one of the strong pillars that supported the steady growth of the PGCAG that we see today.
Although formal theological education is not required by the General Council as a prerequisite for licensing and/or ordination, ministers are encouraged to pursue continuing education whenever possible because more often than not, it directly impacts the way ministers do their job. In many ways, training, whether formal or non-formal helped the movement stay relevant and be at the cutting edge of contemporary Christian ministry.
Without doubt, obtaining advanced academic degree(s) is a highly desirable achievement for pastors. Aside from the previously mentioned benefits it also bestows status to its holder. On some occasions, it gives eligibility to a person to hold certain position or job that require such educational qualification. For this reason, the integrity of the institution from which ministers receive their degrees becomes a crucial issue.
Due of the rise of many questionable institutions offering unaccredited or deficient training and education, the PGCAG strongly encourages ministers to meet their continuing education needs either through endorsed Assemblies of God institutions or through other reputable institutions (Colleges, Universities and Seminaries) having accreditation status at least equivalent to that held by our own accredited schools, such as APTS. The PGCAG admonishes every minister who wants to obtain graduate and post-graduate (i.e., Master’s and Doctorate) Biblical-Theological degrees, to be very cautious of those institutions that are offering “fast-tracked” programs. Such institutions lure prospective students by offering the short and easy way to earn Master’s and/or Doctorate degrees. These levels of educational attainments CANNOT be “fast-tracked,” they are earned following certain time-honored academic standards and processes, validated and endorsed by accrediting organizations or agencies. In the Philippines, we are being served by accrediting organizations such as Asia Theological Association (ATA), Association for Theological Education in Southeast Asia (ATESEA), Asia Pacific Theological Association (APTA) and/or by the government through the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Academic credentials (degrees, diplomas) issued by institutions offering deficient and unaccredited education and training is considered inauthentic and, therefore, without value. The PGCAG maintains that the validity and authenticity of an advanced academic title hangs on and is intrinsically bound to the credibility of its granting institution in the academic community.
Since the PGCAG, through the Education Department is committed to achieving and maintaining the highest standards in ministerial education, ministers are advised to consult the General Council office or the PGCAG Education Department if they have questions in these matters.