Bryan E. Lewis
Gallatin, Tn 37066
Trinity School of Apologetics and Theology really excels in the ‘internet correspondence’ model of education. Allowing students to remain at home, so that they may study at their own pace, while also getting ‘hands on’ training in their local church; I am convinced, this is the wave of the future. This has certainly worked well for me.
Trinity is a non-traditional school. It operates in the “Distant Online Education”, method, as a computer enhanced program, where you work with an individual mentor in achieving your goals. Therefore, Trinity’s mentors and professors are always a phone call or e-mail away.
Today, many young pastors return from seminary with a incredible amount of DEBT; all the while lacking any real life ministry experience. This is an on going problem that Trinity certainly attempts to correct. Therefore, Trinity does not have all the trappings and costs, as might, a more traditional program, hence, the tuition is ‘free’ (i.e. Ph D’s & D Lit’s are not free), but there is a required registration fee which varies depending on the degree you are seeking; certainly Trinity is affordable to those who otherwise might not be able to attend. If you were too add up the total tuition costs in completing a B.A., M.A., and PhD., whether through your local college or conservative seminary, it would cost $80,000 to $95,000 or more. Trinity has certainly received a lot of heat, in the past, for their decision, to make their cost ‘near free’, but I think Trinity deserves a ‘pat on the back’ for making education affordable; not wishing to deny quality education to anyone. Certainly, I would not have been able to attend if it wasn’t for this decision.
Trinity curriculum focuses on scripture as interpreted from a historic reformed orthodox perspective. I have been encouraged by the textbooks chosen by Trinity, many of which are more notable works such as Loraine Boettner and Vincent Cheung. Trinity’s approach is a combination of text, audio Mp3, and video; all materials are sent to you on Cd’s. Summaries and Essay’s must be written, along with practical work (i.e. this involves developing one or more correspondence courses), and a minimum of a 150–200 page thesis (or doctrinal dissertation depending on your degree).
I have learned an enormous amount of information that I have used to prepare class lectures and sermons for our own church Bible class. Trinity has helped me to stay in my local church, work to support my family, as well as work on other degrees, simultaneous, at other more traditional US institutions.
A word on ‘accreditation’: This is important to me since Trinity has received so much heat on this subject. I would like to say, Trinity, is accredited by Iccats, which is short for “International Council for Accrediting Alternate and Theological Studies”. The International Council For Accrediting Alternate and Theological Studies has been involved as an NGO in informal encouragement of theological studies in India since 1954. In 2003, their Government approved it to function as an accrediting agency for Theological Studies, in India; so it is legitimate. It is not a diploma mill as some of those who have not done their research; have asserted. However, such an accrediting agency is ‘not yet’ recognized in the United States. Though this does not mean that US schools will not accept transferred credits from Trinity, one must be responsible to check each schools requirements..
I personally feel being recognized by the United States does not determine your legitimacy or quality of education. Accreditation alone or lack of it does not determine the legitimacy or credibility of any school. Furthermore, it is also interesting that those accrediting agencies that try to give validity to a Seminaries quality; have no knowledge of scripture themselves (i.e. in other words, what is the standard they judge it by?). So what is important?
What is important is that an individual receive solid Biblical and Theological Training. Whether, he does that by an US accredited school, India accredited school, or unaccredited school; does not matter.
It all depends on ones educational and occupational goals, which it is obviously, not necessary for everyone to have a degree from only an accredited school recognized by the United States.
When I first began my distance education, I did not realize how much self-discipline and effort it was going to take. I have spent the last two years in this educational setting, and I must say that I believe that Trinity is one of the most solid distance learning programs in the world. I would like to thank Trinity for having the vision and the desire to develop such a program and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my professors and mentors for their guidance.
In conclusion, honestly, I almost made the biggest mistake of my educational career. I nearly dropped out of Trinity, but it was the advice of a notable American scholar who kept me going. Coming from a traditional educational background, I knew nothing about Distance Learning and was unsure of what kind of education I would receive and initially because of the lies, about Trinity, on the internet, I had my doubts, but, in the end, my education and interaction that I have received at Trinity has actually exceeded my previous educational experiences at more traditional, on-campus colleges.
In conclusion, there is no ‘just getting by’ with Trinity, and as a result, I would be willing to show the work that I have submitted to Trinity, proving it is comparable to any ‘Online’ degree, of its kind, anywhere in the world. I recommend Trinity to any student seeking to receive a quality education through distance learning.
Bryan Lewis, Student
Master of Biblical Studies
Gallatin, Tn; Usa