Claiming degrees from unaccredited institutions is ethically and morally wrong for the reasons listed in this article:
For the sake of this article, accreditation is defined as the following:
By the standards of this article, a school is “not accredited” if it:
is located in the USA and
not listed in the above directory, or is
not accredited by one of the following associations not in the above directory listed below:
Before we move forward, we would also like to clarify that nothing in this article should be considered in evaluating schools in other countries around the World (especially those in 3rd World and impoverished Countries, many of which can not drink water from the spigots of their homes). We take no position about those schools. But it should be said, any person in the USA, Canada, England, etc. has no business studying from such schools to gain academic achievements. To do so is to bypass the expected standards of education in the places where they live. Thereby; demonstrating their willingness to be perceived as having the same academic achievements which meet the standards expected of the society around them. That is deceit.
Secondly, it should be noted that it is not the role of the church to issue academic degrees. There is no biblical example or mandate for the teaching, academic assessment, or the authority to issue academic degrees. While the church historically played a significant role educating people and establishing education throughout the World, it is not charged nor commissioned by the authority of Jesus Christ to issue or grant degrees.
Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
Misrepresentation: Ministers and public figures are often held to high standards of honesty and integrity. Claiming degrees from institutions that lack proper accreditation can be seen as a form of misrepresentation or deception. It implies a level of educational attainment and quality which may not exist.
Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (2Ti 2:15)
Devaluation of Accredited Degrees: By claiming degrees from unaccredited or non-regionally accredited institutions, ministers can inadvertently devalue the worth of legitimate degrees earned through accredited programs. This can harm the reputation and credibility of properly accredited educational institutions.
Ethical Responsibility to the Public: Public officials, including ministers, have an ethical responsibility to provide accurate and truthful information to the public. Misrepresenting one’s qualifications can undermine public trust and confidence in the individual and the office they hold.
Ethical Use of Titles: Using academic titles (e.g., “Dr.”) that have been acquired through non-accredited means can mislead the public and create confusion about a person’s qualifications and expertise. Ethical conduct demands transparency in the use of such titles.
Support for Quality Education: Ethical behavior includes supporting and promoting quality education. By claiming degrees from unaccredited or non-regionally accredited institutions, ministers may inadvertently undermine the importance of rigorous educational standards and quality assurance processes.
Promotion of Accountability: Accrediting bodies like the Higher Learning Commission exist to ensure that educational institutions meet certain standards of quality and accountability. By not adhering to these standards, ministers may send the message that accountability and quality are not important in education.
“I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Acts 24:16).
Setting an Unethical Example: Public figures serve as role models, and their actions can set examples for others. Claiming unaccredited degrees can set an unethical example, encouraging others to engage in similar misrepresentations.
Loss of Credibility: If it becomes known that a minister has claimed degrees from unaccredited institutions, it can lead to a loss of credibility and public trust. This loss of credibility can have significant consequences for their ability to lead and serve effectively.
In summary, claiming degrees from non-regionally accredited institutions (or schools not recognized by the Higher Learning Commission, or at the very least do not qualify from the US Dept. of Education for student loans) are considered unethical and the expressed intent to deceive. This is because such degrees do not undergo the academic scrutiny, nor the lengthy commitment to the length of study required by accredited courses of study. Further, it is considered ethically wrong because it involves misrepresentation, devalues accredited degrees, undermines public trust, and sets a poor ethical example. Ethical conduct, particularly for public officials, demands transparency and honesty in matters related to qualifications and education.