Louisiana Baptist University
|Louisiana Baptist University|
|Type||Private / religious exempt|
|Religious affiliation||Baptist Bible Fellowship International|
|Academic staff||44|
|Students||650 (in 2010[dead link])|
|Location||Shreveport, Louisiana, USA|
Louisiana Baptist University (LBU, originally called Baptist Christian University) is an unaccredited theologically conservative Christian university, founded in 1973, located at 6301 Westport Avenue in Shreveport, Louisiana.
LBU has both an on-campus program and a distance education program which primarily teaches subjects pertaining to the Bible and Baptist theology. Classes are grouped in five areas: School of Biblical Studies, School of Communications (Music, Creative writing), School of Counseling, School of Christian Education, and Theological Seminary. Distance education courses are offered by mail and via web-based delivery.
In 1973, Baptist Christian University was founded as part of the Baptist Tabernacle, offering distance education for full-time ministers to complete degrees without leaving their pastorates. The founding minister was Jimmy G. Tharpe (1930–2008), who states in his self-published autobiography that he established seventy-five Independent Baptist churches in Louisiana and Texas, Baptist Christian College and the secondary school, Baptist Christian Academy. In October, 1992 Neal Weaver was elected President of the University. The trustees restructured the LBU charter in February 1993 and changed the name to Louisiana Baptist University. This was done to avoid confusing the university with Baptist Christian College, which was a separately chartered school with a similar name.  Louisiana Baptist University states that on February 1, 1994 it became the first non-traditional postsecondary institution in the state of Louisiana to receive full licensure by the Louisiana Board of Regents.
The school [Baptist Christian College] was investigated by a grand jury about course work done by two corrections department employees and the son of a warden. The investigation stemmed from the three using degrees earned from the school for higher pay, but "Louisiana's civil service doesn't recognize the degrees from Baptist Christian College as fulfilling education requirements for state positions." Marilyn Otstott, the school's registrar and English teacher, was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of perjury. Otstott was found guilty of perjury when she told a grand jury that she graded course work for three people when she did not. As a result of her convictions, the judge gave her probation on the condition that she end her relationship with the school and pay court costs. After she was found guilty, university president Tharpe "denied the college abused Otstott" during the investigation.
Baptist Christian College also gained attention for offering divinity degrees by mail to people in prison. The university was not part of the investigation and was not cited for any violations 
LBU was previously housed in the Centrum Building on Hollywood Avenue. It relocated to a 12,500-square-foot (1,160 m2) facility off Interstate 20 at 6301 Westport Avenue in the center of West Shreveport.
In 1998 Louisiana Baptist University announced "plans to offer a business administration degree. The university doesn't think Regents approval is necessary." This caused controversy over schools awarding degrees with substandard instruction. As a result, on December 10, 1998, the Board of Regents unanimously voted to deny the University an operating license for its business education programs, required it to cease admitting students, and cease advertising. Students matriculated at the time were allowed until December 31, 1999 to finish their degrees. Then, reversing its prior decision, on April 22, 1999, the Board voted to accept the recommendation of the Planning, Research and Performance Committee to exempt Louisiana Baptist University under the religious institution exemption provided for by Act 129 of 1991, allowing it to operate as a religious institution.
Kathleen Blanco, then governor of Louisiana, declared the month of April 2005 as "Louisiana Baptist University Month".[dead link] In May 2013 the university completed a new conference center. The center is equipped with the latest audio/video equipment which enables the university to host webinars.
Numerous LBU faculty and administrators procured degrees from LBU, a practice questioned by the accrediting bodies. Rick Walston, who compiled Walston's Guide to Christian Distance Learning said that LBU has not sought accreditation from either a secular board or a Christian agency.
LBU is not accredited by any accreditation organization recognized by the US Department of Education or Council on Higher Education Accreditation. The university has declared itself to be "a primarily religious institution" that "has not sought either regional or national accreditation by a secular accrediting agency."
The University is approved by the Baptist Bible Fellowship International, a missionary organization. According to the LBU website, "LBU holds full institutional approval from the Association of Christian Colleges and Theological Schools.", but ACCTS has no status with any educational governing body and could be obtained in six weeks for $200. In 2010, the university had "affiliate" status with The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), but is not candidate for accreditation nor is it accredited ABHE. According to ABHE, "ABHE Affiliate status is available to credible institutions of biblical higher education seeking to benefit from ready access to ABHE services and networking but presently lacking either readiness or inclination to seek ABHE accreditation. An affiliate institution must not portray itself, verbally or in print, as an accredited member of ABHE."
Academics and staff
The school employs some fifty people as faculty and staff. The majority of the faculty list degrees from LBU, including its previous names, Baptist Christian University and Baptist Christian College. The majority of the faculty hold degrees from LBU, which the institution claims reflects the school's "strong stance on inspiration of the scriptures, doctrinal purity and pre-millennialism."
LBU accepts a limited amount of three types of non-traditional credit, which is calls: "experiential learning credits", "military experience credits", and credit by examination. Also by purchasing and reading a book by Chuck Missler and writing a short paper, one can receive credit from Louisiana Baptist University. Assist News quoted Missler as explaining that LBU "has offered course credits for those that do a 'reflective paper' on what they got out of it". In addition to the three semester hours credit, people "also get a certificate for it." According to Missler's website, the university allows students to transfer "credits" from Missler's Koinonia Institute for "up to half of the credit hour requirements for a graduate degree" at Louisiana Baptist University.
- Rick Scarborough - author, activist, and founder of Vision America.
- Neal Weaver - current Louisiana Baptist University president
- Roland S. Martin - American journalist, syndicated columnist, and author.
- Bob Cornuke - author and director of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute (BASE).
- Bill Gothard - director of the Institute in Basic Life Principles
- Grant Jeffrey - author and teacher
- Chuck Missler - author and founder/operator of Koinonia Institute in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
- Robert Morey - author, founder and sole faculty member of the unaccredited California Biblical University and Seminary.
- List of unaccredited institutions of higher learning
- Higher education accreditation in the United States
- "Louisiana Baptist University". Association for Biblical Higher Education. 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
- Jimmy G. Tharpe, Mr. Baptist, Springfield, Missouri: 21st Century Press, 2003, pp. 29-32
- "Welcome to LBU!". Louisiana Baptist University (Archived). April 1999. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- "La. Bible college registrar charged with lying to grand jury". The Advocate. February 10, 1996. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- "State jury convicts woman of perjury on college degrees". The Advocate. July 12, 1996. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- "CRIMINAL COURT". The Advocate. November 13, 1996. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- "Seminary helps inmates earn divinity degrees, study Bible". The Advocate. October 18, 1997. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- Tharpe, Mr. Baptist, pp. 135-137
- "Unlicensed "colleges" worry state officials: Legislation being prepared to tighten rules for nonprofit schools". The Advocate. November 22, 1998. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- "Minutes of Board of Regents December 10, 1998". Louisiana Board of Regents. December 10, 1998. Retrieved 2007-03-13. Orders LBU to stop admitting students.
- "Minutes of Board of Regents April 22, 1999". Louisiana Board of Regents. April 22, 1999. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
- United States of America, State of Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Proclamation Signed March 29, 2005.
- Walston's Guide to Christian Distance Learning. Google Books. Retrieved December 24, 2008.
- "Academics and Vision". Louisiana Baptist University. 2007. Archived from the original on 2006-11-17. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- "Institutional Accreditation System". Louisiana Baptist University. 2003. Archived from the original on 2003-08-12. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
- "Institutional Accreditation System". United States Department of Education. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
- "Directory". Association for Biblical Higher Education. 2011. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
- Louisiana Baptist University faculty and staff page, accessed February 18, 2008
- Learn the Bible in 24 hours by Chuck Missler
- Dan Wooding. Learn the Bible in 24 Hours: Chuck Missler releases an extraordinary teaching tool ASSIST News Service. Garden Grove, CA April 3, 2001
- Koinonia Institute degrees
- LBU faculty and staff page
- Tobia, P.J. "Reading, Writing and Jesus: What nearby schools don’t know about the Bible class they soon may be teaching", Nashville Scene, October 19, 2006. Accessed December 19, 2007. "While there are a few reputable legal and theological minds from solid universities associated with the group, they are far outnumbered by the likes of Carl Baugh, who holds a Ph.D. in theology from Louisiana Baptist University."
- Perkes, Kim Sue Lia. "Fort Worth school sues to call itself "seminary'", Austin American-Statesman, April 15, 1999. "Tyndale has about 350 seminary students, about two-thirds of them taking courses by correspondence, said Mal Couch, the school's president and founder. He said he holds five degrees, including a doctorate of theology from Louisiana Baptist Seminary..."
- Murray, Shailagh. "Filibuster Fray Lifts Profile of Minister: Scarborough Has Network and Allies", The Washington Post, May 8, 2005. Accessed December 19, 2007. "After receiving a master's of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and a doctorate in ministry from Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary, Scarborough hit the national revival and crusade circuit for 14 years."
- Rick Scarborough Vision America
- Wilson, Jennifer. "Is Noah's Ark on mount in Iran? Man scours the world looking for religious artifacts", Deseret Morning News, August 11, 2006. Accessed December 19, 2007. "Bob Cornuke doesn't have a degree in archaeology; he holds a doctorate in Bible and theology from Louisiana Baptist University."
- Arellano. "Dr. Jihad", OC Weekly, March 2, 2006. Accessed December 19, 2007. "Morey also claims to have received a doctorate from Louisiana Baptist University. Two problems: LBU is unaccredited by the United States government, which means no serious academy would recognize it. Then there’s this: LBU doesn’t offer a Ph.D. in Islamic studies."
- Louisiana Baptist University – Official website
- Library of Congress Doctoral Information – Information on PhD dissertations