Joyce Meyer Ministries: Life Christian University’s Description of Earned Doctorate Does Not "Accurately Reflect the Information Correctly"


On October 7, I reported that evangelist Joyce Meyer claimed to have an earned PhD in theology from Life Christian University. She claimed to be a graduate on a promotional video still housed on the LCU website (this video has been removedMeyer’s picture remains) and said the degree was earned on her website. On October 11, I filed a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s office in keeping with MO law which forbids the use of false and misleading degrees in connection with one’s business or profession.

Sometime after the initial post and the AG complaint was filed, Joyce Meyer Ministries changed the designation of the LCU degree from “earned” to “honorary.” I know the change happened after the complaint was filed because the degree was described as “earned” on October 15, 2016 (from the Wayback Machine on Oct. 15). I discovered the change in November.

Until recently, I did not know why Joyce Meyer Ministries changed the designation from “earned” to the more accurate “honorary.” A few days ago, I received an email from the MO AG office indicating that action had been taken on my complaint. Attached to email was a March 29, 2017 letter from an attorney for Joyce Meyer Ministries to the MO AG’s office indicating that the designation had been changed on the website because the description was inaccurate. About LCU’s description of an earned degree, the spokesman for Joyce Meyer Ministry wrote:

While we are aware that this is the verbiage that Life Christian University uses on their own website and literature, we simply felt it did not accurately reflect the information correctly. Because of this we took the initiative to change the wording on our website and literature from “earned” to “honorary” before this complaint was filed.

While it is a small point, the initial post was public and the complaint was filed before the change was made. Nevertheless, I commend Joyce Meyer Ministries for this change and for acknowledging the truth about the situation. This is much more than David Barton or other so-called “earned degree” holders have done. I now call on her to remove her endorsement of LCU which she has acknowledged incorrectly reflects information about the degrees given to LCU’s “distinguished degree holders.”

Missouri’s law is one of the toughest in the nation on false and misleading degrees. Other LCU “distinguished degree holders” from MO include Billye Brim and Larry Ollison.

7 thoughts on “Joyce Meyer Ministries: Life Christian University’s Description of Earned Doctorate Does Not "Accurately Reflect the Information Correctly"”

  1. If I were Joyce Meyer, and if Life Christian University (LCU) did in fact acknowledge it as an earned degree, and they either accepted life experience in lieu of classroom experience (in which Mrs. Meyer did pay for remaining courses and did do the work the remaining classes required), or LCU granted the degree based upon a contribution to the field (with documentation of work, procedure consistent with accreditation, and no money was exchanged), and it did fit within the state law for the university (in this case Florida where LCU is granted degree granting status, and particularly if the state law requires an accreditation agency – that LCU followed the accreditation agency), then Joyce Meyer did not use the degree in a deceptive manner.

    Specifically the Missouri law is attempting to stop someone from stating they have a degree when they do not, or using a degree that is designated as purely honorary as if it were not (and degrees granted based upon life experience, or contribution to a field, and particularly where the university itself recognizes it as not explicitly honorary, are not necessarily purely honorary as a degree like humane letters would be). You can read the Missouri state law here: revisor [dot] mo [dot] gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=173.754

    If however, Missouri was to read the law to apply to Mrs. Meyer – from a legal standpoint they may find it difficult to establish standing in the case. LCU is in Florida – that makes this interstate commerce. I would think that if Mrs. Meyer had challenged the law, that the state of Missouri would have had a hard time finding standing in this case, since: Mrs. Meyer holds a legitimate degree which Florida law allowed for; regardless of how the Missouri state law was written, it is attempting to define when the public acts of other states regarding legitimate granted degrees under their state law would be acceptable regarding a person who gained a right to a degree under another state’s laws. On this last point, this full-faith-and-credit power (the determination of how one state will recognize the public acts and records of another state in regards to the rights of citizens of one state in another state) is a federal responsibility under the U.S. Constitution granted to congress. Congress to my knowledge (and I could be wrong here, since this is not an area of law that I have dealt extensively with) has not passed legislation that would prohibit or explicitly allow states to exercise their own laws in regards to full-faith-and-credit regarding degree’s granted in other states. Where congress has not done this, then “Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” (U.S. Constitution Art 4 Sec 1). If Missouri state law were read to apply to Mrs. Meyer, it would particularly disparage a right that is legitimate under the laws of Florida, which full-faith-and-credit would require Missouri to recognize.

    Missouri may have a better chance, in regards to standing in a case like this, at suing LCU or the state of Florida, if they believed that either LCU was not following accreditation, or that Florida was not upholding its own laws (which then in turn hampered the intent behind upholding Missouri state law for their own citizens protection), but I would not think they would have had much of a case against Mrs. Meyer (and as a result section 173.754 of the Title XI – Education and Libraries law of Missouri would end up being clarified by the court as not being able to disparage a right that a citizen legitimately obtained in another state, and again for that reason Missouri would lack standing to even bring the case against Mrs. Meyer and it would most likely have been dismissed in the original case, or on appeal).

    But, Mrs. Meyer’s ministry, as you pointed out, felt that since some people did not feel that earned was appropriate, and as her ministry reflected on it, that felt that earned did not reflect the information accurately (despite how LCU classified the degree), that they would voluntarily change the designation on their own to honorary.

    1. “If ….”

      “If ….”

      “If .,..”

      a lot of supposition on your part, but few actual facts. here is the fact you seem to want to gloss over. When Meyers was confronted about whether she was being deceptive about her educational background (which would be a violation of MO law), she changed her claims about having an earned degree.

  2. I just want to say that I agree that if a doctorate is not earned and is honorary it should be made clear. However on the other side of that coin. I think it is terrible that Life Christian University gets made out to be some basement diploma mill. I have been a student of LCU since 2018. I am a Church Planter and Pastor. I as well serve as a regional director for a ministry organization. I always had a desire to earn a ministry degree, but could never afford it. LCU made it possible for me to still be able to do everything I do plus be able to afford and EARN a degree in ministry. The courses have been outstanding and there is work that must be done and you must meet all the requirements to earn a degree. They are not just mailing out degrees for a small fee. I have had to earn my degree. I have paid the tuition. I have spent the countless hours listening to course lectures and reading the required text book, and all the other studying and requirements, as well as taking the exams. I don’t think Christian Education needs to be accredited by the government to be legitimate. After all our federal government now for the most part is antichrist, antibible, & antichurch. The federal government wouldn’t even know where to begin in training people for the ministry. I have not earned my degree so that I can say oh look at me I have a degree in ministry. I have worked hard to earn my degree to be a better Pastor to have the knowledge that is needed to help people! I could careless if the government approves of it or not. ACI has accredited LCU. I would rather it be approved by transworld. Now that I have said that someone will say well those are not government approved accrediting agency. I’m so glad they’re not or I would have probably not chosen LCU. Everyone has a right to their opinion and that’s mine. I am a proud Life Christian University graduate and I am thankful for God blessing me to be able to pay the cash to go through bible college. Thank you Life Christian University for providing me with a quality Christian Education.
    ~ Pastor Justin McCulley

    1. Pastor McCulley – You seem like an honest fellow so I would like to honestly consider the following information about LCU – /2016/09/13/floridas-commission-for-independent-education-should-reconsider-life-christian-universitys-exemption-from-licensure/

      LCU’s degrees are not comparable in length to an accredited degree or degrees required by the state of FL. Using their own documents it appears that a BS degree is about one year of a BS at an accredited school. I have no trouble with LCU or any entity offering certificates or some other credential showing a person has taken a course but they are engaging in deception to say that what the program of studies leads to a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate as understood by those terms. This is what makes LCU deceptive. It isn’t about the federal govt being antichrist; it is about LCU being deceptive which should never be true of any Christian institution. It would be an easy fix if the leadership of the school wanted to present themselves accurately.

      PS – Doesn’t it bother you even a little bit that LCU’s leaders say the honorary doctorates are “earned.” This is a clear deception and should disqualify them on that basis alone.

      1. All of your articles about them go far beyond what you just said. You make them out to be wolves in sheeps clothing. It takes 4 years to get to the BS unless you have credits from another christian school that you can transfer in. Now I am a Pastor in the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and I have taken classes through the School of Ministry which is college level courses and are transferable into Lee College which is nationally recognized and I can tell you that the course work and requirements are equal to the work I have done at LCU. If it was not for this type of program I would not have been able to attend bible college. One other thing when I finally do make it to the Bachelor in Theology Degree that will be my degree that I have earned by paying my tuition with my hard earned money and meeting all requirements and passing all exams. I will refer it it as a degree. When you add in the hours that are required for the ministry practicum they meet the requirements. LCU has met the requirements of the State of Florida to offer religious degrees.


        Pastor Justin Wayne McCulley

          1. Your a Christian and you’re using bs in a post. Wow!

            By the way thanks for the free publicity! People that know me know who I am and they know the life I live for the Lord. Mans approval is not needed! I am not trying to be ugly in any way! However this is still the USA and I am entitled to my opinion just as much as you are!

            ~ Blessings!

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