Joyce Meyer No Longer Calls Her Life Christian University PhD an Earned Degree

After I pointed out that it is illegal in Missouri to claim an earned PhD when you don’t have one, mega evangelist Joyce Meyer has changed the description of her Life Christian University doctorate. Here is what she used to claim:
Joyce Meyer ministry PhD
She claimed that she had “an earned PhD in theology from Life Christian University…”
Now she accurately refers to the degree as honorary.
Joyce Meyer ministry PhD honorary
David Barton referred to his Life Christian University degree as earned but where it is illegal to do so, Joyce Meyer changed the description.

Update on a Spurious Bonhoeffer Quote: Not to Speak is to Speak, Not to Act is to Act

Silence hands version
In late August, I published an examination of a popular quote commonly but incorrectly attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

The quote cannot be found in Bonhoeffer’s writings and no other primary source has been found.  The first appearance of the entire quote I can find is in a 1998 American Interfaith Institute newsletter. The newsletter reported on a museum exhibit featuring Bonhoeffer. The quote was placed on the Bonhoeffer exhibit with quotation marks as if Bonhoeffer said it but without any citation. The quote has been popularized by Eric Metaxas who still attributes the quote to Bonhoeffer even though he has refused to provide a primary source for it.

Today, I want to present a source for part of the quote which is earlier than 1998. In Robert K. Hudnut’s 1971 book, A Sensitive Man and the Christ, he makes a case that even a sensitive man must act when the need arises.

Hudnut speak act 1971
There are two aspects of this passage which may link it to the eventual misattribution to Bonhoeffer. One is Hudnut’s challenge for the church not to be silent in the face of social evils. The second is the reference to Niemoller and resistance to the Nazis. Through the frailty of memory and lack of citation, someone could have reworked this into a quote about the church not being silent and attributed it to Niemoller’s colleague, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

For “Not to act is to act” by itself, one can go back to 1945 when Francis McPeek said church inaction was a form of political action in an essay titled, “Not to Act is to Act.”

For “God will not hold us guiltless,” one can find many references to that sentence by going to Google books and entering the sentence in quotes. The links returned go back to 1681.

The Hudnut quote was pointed out to me by a Twitter user. I would like to thank him but I can’t find the tweet. If my helper is reading, please identify yourself in the comments.

UPDATE: Found! See below:

Michele Bachmann and David Barton: God Rigged the Election

Those are my words, but that’s about what she is saying. Yesterday, Michele Bachmann and David Barton produced a chart showing Trump’s chances of election were increasing as Clinton’s chances were decreasing. The lines crossed at about 8:30pm eastern time and Barton and Bachmann credited the Daystar prayer requests for the victory. Watch:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzlebECUOIg[/youtube]
Many polls were closed at that time. Perhaps God engaged in vote tampering.
Although it is true that many polls were open, millions of votes had already been cast before the broadcast.
I think it is sadly true that evangelical Christians are partly responsible for electing a man that most of them wouldn’t have supported for school board. However, I don’t believe Bachmann’s evidence of divine election rigging holds up.

Election Day 2016 Live Blogging and Open Forum

Fellow Grove City College professor Michael Coulter (Political Science) and I will be blogging through the day and evening regarding the election. Feel free to comment via the Live Blog feature and/or here on this post. In the comments section, please include links, news, etc, which interest you about the most bizarre election season in my lifetime.
Live Blog
 

John MacArthur Isn't and Is Voting for Donald Trump

I have been told The Master’s College president John MacArthur announced from the pulpit this morning that he will vote for Donald Trump.
In this The Master’s College video (see also a description of the entire panel discussion), MacArthur says, “I am not voting for Donald Trump, I am voting for a worldview.”
I don’t think “worldview” will be on the ballot. We don’t enhance the influence of Christianity in the culture by voting for a presidential candidate. It is deeply troubling to hear so many Christian leaders look to an election result to prop up Christianity. Watch:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN0IGHg0rms[/youtube]
Evangelicals for Trump have taken on this tortured reasoning. Eric Metaxas was among early endorsers of this approach.

But please consider this: A vote for Donald Trump is not necessarily a vote for Donald Trump himself. It is a vote for those who will be affected by the results of this election. Not to vote is to vote. God will not hold us guiltless.

The evasion of responsibility is highly disturbing. If you are going to vote for Trump, own it.
Earlier this year, John MacArthur blasted fellow evangelicals for supporting Trump. At that time, he said Trump was “a model of everything , everything that is destructive in morality in our culture.”
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpogWiu8snQ[/youtube]
Let’s remember another people (from a Lutheran newspaper in the early 1930s) who voted for a worldview:
German Lutheran Nazi
The point is not that Trump is Hitler (although I think he could be the vanguard of a distinctly American fascism), it is that the reasoning for supporting the worldview is alarming. All along the way, evangelicals have had the option of getting behind a conservative independent candidate. Many of us have called for it and the times were ripe for it and yet evangelicals have gone along like sheep and justified every new scandal. This is not a movement that deserves widespread support nor has much hope of attracting the faithless. This problem is much bigger than this election.

Live Blogging Election 2016

Bookmark this page and come back for election night when we’ll be live!
Join Grove City College professors Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter for observations and discussion of election night 2016.
As of Monday morning (11/7/16), Nate Silver’s group has Clinton with a strong probability to win.

Eric Metaxas Continues to Misattribute Quote to Bonhoeffer

A casualty of this election season is Eric Metaxas’ reputation as a scholar. He acknowledges this in an interview published yesterday on NPR. In addition to his political statements, Metaxas again hurt himself by continuing to misattribute a quote to Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the service of support for Donald Trump.

Metaxas said he has been misunderstood and that he was only quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer. As we now know, Metaxas wasn’t quoting Bonhoeffer but using a quote he has misattributed to Bonhoeffer.

To his dismay, Metaxas’ suggestion that Christians who do not support Trump will have to answer to God for their vote quickly got him in trouble with other Christian leaders.
“I have been horribly misunderstood, and it’s really damaged my reputation,” Metaxas told NPR. “When I put that out there, I didn’t realize most people aren’t going to get the joke, so to speak.”
Metaxas explained that when he said “God will not hold us guiltless,” he was simply quoting the German theologian and anti-Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the subject of one of Metaxas’ numerous books. Bonhoeffer famously said God would not hold Germans guiltless for appeasing Hitler, because “silence in the face of evil is itself evil.”
“The point of the quote,” Metaxas said, “Is that you can’t say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to vote.’ You have to make a sober, difficult choice, because people are depending on you.”

I don’t understand what keeps Metaxas and his publisher Thomas Nelson from issuing a correction. His continued misuse of quote now seems to be willful and fraudulent. Ethical scholars make mistakes but they don’t keep on making them when evidence is presented. I have reached out to him and his publisher. I know he has received messages from mutual friends and his twitter followers. He has offered no source for the quote nor an explanation for why he keeps using it. Even a cursory review of academic ethics demonstrates that he should correct and is damaging his reputation by not doing so. For instance, read what Des Moines University says about proper citation:

Locating scholarly resources and then citing these references accurately should be the foundation of your own academic and professional writing.
Why is this an ethical issue? Correct documentation

  1. Provides attribution or credit to the original author or creator.
  2. Allows someone to find the documents you cited on their own.
  3. Enables the reader to follow the continuum of research. What important contributions were made before your work and where does your body of research contribute to or add to current knowledge?
  4. Enables others to verify the accuracy and completeness your work. A thorough reference list demonstrates that you are knowledgeable about your field of inquiry.
  5. Communicates transparency, trust and integrity and helps you to avoid plagiarism.

Incorrect Documentation
Ethical research and writing means giving proper attribution and credit to the work of others. In the academic community the ideas, words, and formal or informal publications of others is considered intellectual property. Failing to provide the correct citation may not always be plagiarism. However, if another scholar cannot easily find the research you claim to have consulted, one may reasonably conclude that you either “raided” the reference list of someone else, or that you made up the reference(s) on your own. In either case, you did not actually do the work of reading and analyzing the source material yourself. Citing sources without reading them is considered fraudulent because you are lying about the work you have done.  Finally, you should not blindly trust the conclusions of others.  Always track down and read the original research yourself to make sure that the data is accurate.
Finally, sometimes the expression of someone’s creative work is copyrighted. You may see official copyright or creative commons licensing information on a website or publication indicating that the work is protected. Regardless of whether or not you see an official notice, you should always consider any written, visual, multimedia, or auditory work as protected under copyright law whether or not you see an official trademark or warning.

I have repeatedly asked Metaxas for a source for the quote. He has not answered. A review of ethics standards for scholars is clear that being able to provide sources for one’s work is foundational.

His Eminence The Most Reverend Dr. K.P. Yohannan Welcomes New Medical School Class

K.P. Yohannan once rejected materialism and ministry that wasn’t Gospel focused. Now he is “His Eminence The Most Reverend” benefactor of a first rate medical college and hospital partly built with the donations of American donors who thought they were helping poor people in India.
On October 5, Believers’ Church Medical College held a ceremony commemorating the first class to attend the college (“Pioneer Batch”).
BCMS First Class 1
H.E. The Most Reverend Dr. is another Christian luminary who uses an honorary doctorate as if it had been earned. Note that the ceremony took place “in the presence of” His Eminence.
BCMC HE Yohannan
You can see more pictures here.  Yohannan is listed as the patron of the project.
For more on GFA, click here.
 

Gospel for Asia School of Discipleship Alum Reflects on Carrying Cash to India

Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship has decreased over the past two years of scandal involving GFA’s financial dealings. One alum recently addressed issues involving illegal cash carrying to India at the Donor Be Wise blog. In it, we learn that GFA encouraged students to keep the cash from customs agents and that GFA appears to be under federal investigation.

Q: When you got ready for your trip to India, did you know you were going to be taking cash?
A: Not at all. They didn’t tell us that we would be carrying cash until a day or two before we left. I do remember a student from the class before me mentioning something about cash that I didn’t understand at the time, and it was only after I was asked to carry the cash that I remembered that previous conversation.
Q: At what point during the trip to India did you receive the envelope of cash?
A: We were given our envelopes less than 30 minutes before getting on the bus to the airport.
Q: Were you told how much was in it?
A: We were told that there was $4500 in it.
Q: Who gave you the envelope of cash?
A: Left blank intentionally due to investigation.

This is consistent with information that I am hearing from my sources that GFA is under an investigation by multiple federal agencies.
Go read the entire interview. Initially, GFA claimed the cash carrying to India was legal and then later claimed ignorance of the law, saying their auditors had advised them to get cash to India by sending it in the backpacks of their School of Discipleship students.
Gospel for Asia was removed from membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability in October 2015 due to multiple violations of ECFA’s financial principles.