“God’s Bible School”
Before, during, and after your decision to attend (or not to attend) New Testament Christian Seminary, you will be exposed to an array of important information concerning the quality, policies, curriculum, and staff of what the organization likes to think of as God’s Bible School.
You might safely file much of the information made available to you under the designation of “propaganda“. This is attributable to a variety of factors. NTCC is deeply invested in its own assumption of uniqueness and superiority. The opinions of its leaders being the pinnacle of truth, the School that they administer must be, by nature, the very jewel of all Christendom and the apple of God’s own eye. Many local pastors enjoy entertaining their charges with stories of Bible College days, making the whole affair sound extremely difficult and challenging, and exhorting them with the reminder that “Only the very best make the grade.” This usually accomplishes its purpose, which is to excite the admiration of his hearers toward himself.
You will be told that the “soul-winning program” in Graham, Washington, is the epicenter of spiritual outreach and activity for our times, that “the way the program is run there” represents the collective wisdom of many great men of God. Ignored will be the fact that this vaunted program has resulted in a good many worn-out shoes, but very little growth. You will not be told that the current size of the church in Graham is a direct result of the consolidation of several local satellite churches, or that the rate of growth has been otherwise flat for many years.
You will be led (very skillfully) to believe that God has chosen NTCC “for such a time as this” (a time of runaway trousers-wearing and hair-trimming among the women of this sinful generation), so that only this training center can fulfill God’s expectations, all others being “compromised”, which means; that in order to meet God’s demands upon your life, you must attend the NTCC Seminary, which means; that anything standing in the way of your journey to WA and subsequent attendance at NTCS is a distraction of the devil, which means; you cannot be right with God anywhere else.
Some of the information you will receive can best be described as non-information, and comes under the category: Evasion. For instance, you are likely to be curious about the rate of tuition. You will ask your pastor about this, and he will probably reply, “Don’t worry, brother–it’s very affordable.” Even though all legitimate schools publish their prices, NTCC preachers have been told not to speak of such things to the church members. Knowing that you get what you pay for, the word “affordable” may cause you some concern. You may ask whether, if you were to part company with the organization at some future time, your education would qualify you to take your credentials elsewhere. The answer would be NO, but your pastor will probably avoid saying so directly, simply asking, “Why would you want to leave?” You might be wondering whether your GI Bill education benefit will cover your tuition. Your pastor will probably tell you that it will not, explaining that the school does not want to be tied to government finances which would threaten to compromise its teachings and its message. The real reason is the school’s lack of credentials and accreditation, which disqualifies NTCC students from receiving the financial assistance for which they have already paid, and the use of which they had been counting on for years. Yet in spite of this bald fact, you are supposed to think that, far from an inferior education that is recognized by no one, you will receive top-notch teaching at a school that is too good and too pure to accept tainted government handouts.
Other important facts fall under the burgeoning category of “Omission“. These are those items concerning which you may find yourself in later years thinking, “I wish someone had told me…” For example, you will wish someone had told you about “the rules” which govern so much of your life in Graham. You will wish someone had told you that no degrees are granted by NTCS so that, in spite of three-plus years of expense, tedium and labor, all you have to show for it is the empty title of “Reverend”, and then only when standing within the four walls of NTCC. You are not technically qualified to represent yourself as an educated person. As long as you derive your living from the NTCC offering plate, you are within your boundaries, but you are not practically qualified to do anything else. You should also know that your personal loyalty to the leaders of the group will be required, to the extant that, should they find your fidelity lacking or wavering, your spouse will have been programmed to see this as grounds for divorce. The leaders of NTCC identify their personal goals as “The Program of God”, in which you must participate, and your husband or wife will be trained to view any refusal on your part as “desertion for the gospel’s sake.” At some time in the future, you might think to yourself, “I wish someone had told me this.” Consider yourself told.
As a result of the propaganda, evasions and omissions, you are being groomed for an excursion that carries eternal consequences, thinking all the while that nothing in the world is more important than getting into “God’s Bible College”. You will be encouraged to think that the school is exclusive, that “only the BEST” are accepted, and that you must be willing to do anything asked of you in order to obtain the necessary clearance to attend. You will be led to believe that, in spite of your shortcomings, your lack of leadership ability, your many flaws and rough edges, you might, if you are faithful, obtain leniency and be granted acceptance. It is as if God is unable to use you as you are, so He must mold you into the image of NTCC; and even though you are hardly worth the enormous effort required, perhaps out of mercy an exception can be made. You will gladly put in a year or more proving your faithfulness, paying tithe without fail, attending all church functions without fail, soul-winning without fail, just for the privilege of being accepted. Like many who came before, you have been swindled.
This is a part of the series of articles entitled ‘What Can I Expect From New Testament Christian Seminary?‘.