Philosophy, "why we do what we do" that is what this page is about.
Our philosophy is to provide authentic, legitimate Bible College material to the Church at large in ways that are as easy to access as possible. To this end we provide:
- Bible College material for individual Students by distance education through email or regular mail services
- Materials for local church-based Resource Centres enabling local churches to set up their own Bible College with direct links to our network and offer our Accredited or Recognized courses from certificate to diploma.
- To date, we have over 4,000 satellites in over 120 countries worldwide.
- We specialise in providing both Accredited and Recognized Distance Education courses in Christian Ministry and Theology
- Our awards range from Certificate through to Degree levels of study through the Internet Bible College in both Accredited and recognised studies.
Not everyone can go to college
We recognise that not everyone who desires to attend a Bible College is able to do so. There are many legitimate reasons such as geographical location, family commitments, church or business responsibilities, financial constraint or even the entry requirements of certain colleges. Now with the Internet Bible College, those issues are dealt with a single solution.
Our role at Vision is to bring the Bible College to those students unable to attend college.
While we admire and endorse the efforts of traditional Bible Colleges, we at the Internet Bible College are deeply committed to the concept of training people within the walls of their own local church, and environment, to the provision of excellent teaching material and study options for Christians everywhere.
Where better to equip people than in the very place where they serve Christ?
Who better to train them than the successful pastors who are daily engaged in fulfilling the principles of the gospel?
Indeed, we treat the entire local church environment as part of our campus activity: its worship; its witness; its fellowship; its teaching; its ministry - are all reckoned to be part of the training process of equipping men and women to serve Christ.
Our function is simply to add a theological, academic, component that few churches can provide by themselves and now access to this component is made easier through the medium of the Internet, while the practical component of training up a ministry can be left in the hands of the local pastor and the ministry team.
The strength of a traditional college - the sequestering of people from ordinary life, so that they can focus entirely upon their studies - is also its greatest weakness.
Students must spend three or four years within a social and cultural milieu that differs markedly from their local church. Often they emerge from such colleges richly taught in doctrine, yet ill-equipped to step back into normal ministry.
The maelstrom of urban life and spiritual warfare is far removed from the cloistered halls of the college. Some fine Bible Colleges, of course, is closely attached to a large local church. Yet even there the environment, in relation to an average, is removed a long way from what most students will experience when they go out into Christian service or ministry.
On the other hand, our seeming weakness - the lack of a full-time facility, and the part-time nature of our program - is also our greatest strength.
Our students do not have to leave their homes or their employment; they remain in their churches; they train “on the job” they are taught by instructors, their own pastors, who are fully active in ministry; they are immediately able to relate what they learn to the spiritual battles that surge around them every day; they can immediately apply the healing balm of Christ to the hurting people they meet.
Who better to train God's troops for war than those who are his chosen commanders on the field of battle?
“How then do you maintain academic quality?” someone may ask. Simply by the provision of very high-quality textbooks, carefully structured lecture notes, and appropriate assignments. This combination enables us to control the theological and scholarly excellence of our syllabus, while local pastors and teachers keep the program spiritually alive, dynamic, and relevant to the needs of the local church.
So our structure may be different - that is, non-traditional - but the curriculum is first-class.
Students who complete the full undergraduate program will have studied at least 40 fine text-books, and completed at least 40 assignments, in the process of which they will acquire a fine reference library which will assist their ministry into the future. And of course, throughout that period, the students will have been active participants in the life and ministry of their churches.
Underlying the way in which we present our materials, and the kinds of assessment we employ, there is an educational philosophy based upon the following principles
- Christian education must stand upon a strong theological foundation (cp. the injunctions and warnings about sound doctrine in 1 Timothy 1:10; 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Jeremiah 6:16; 1 Corinthians 3:10-13; etc.)
- Students must be brought to know God, not just to learn about him, and the curriculum must be consciously structured to achieve that excellent end.
- The goal must be not just to impart knowledge, but rather to teach principles of sound interpretation, showing people how to do their own research, how to apply truth to life, how to use the resource materials that are available. The entire curriculum, not just a course on hermeneutics, should reflect those principles of learning. The Bible is a self-revelation of God, who discloses himself and his glory in scripture. We accept the divine inspiration of the Bible and its infallibility and authority in all that it actually affirms concerning God and our relationship with him.
We are therefore confident that sincere teaching of God's Word, mixed with faith on the part of the hearers (Hebrews 4:2), is more than adequate to effect a life-change in those hearers, and is strong enough to countermand all secular influences and an ungodly environment.
Since the glory of God is mirrored in scripture, that same glory must be reflected in all our printed materials and spoken lectures. We believe that God particularly reveals himself through the teaching and/or preaching of his word, especially in a Pentecostal/charismatic context (1 Corinthians 2:9-13); and note also the attitude of the apostles:
- they saw that salvation could be gained only by believing the scriptures (Ephesians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13)
- they recognised that the scriptures could be understood fully only by revelation (Luke 24:45; Ephesians 1:15 ff.)
- they believed that knowledge of God is the same as meeting God (Romans 1:19-21)
- their attitude is summed up in 2 Timothy 3:15-16.
All teaching must aim for an intelligent, believing response to the word of God, leading to a life of obedience to the will of God, and of conformity to the character of Christ.
We practice “open-book” assessments, and mostly multiple-choice exams, not primarily as a matter of practical necessity, but because of their connection with the philosophy outlined above. The combination of “open-book” with multiple choice achieves the double aim of obliging students to work through their textbooks several times, and of learning to think analytically and discern shades of doctrinal meaning. We are concerned with the student's comprehension of the material, not their memory or capacity to prepare for an assignment.
We depend upon the local church to provide “field” experience, through the students' active participation in the worship, work, and witness of the church. No other place is closer to the “front-line” of spiritual warfare than where the local church, in its proclamation of the evangel, is intermingled with society and combats the world's rebellion against God.
Our theme could be summarised as:
- the Word of Christ preached;
- the Name of Christ believed;
- the Power of Christ experienced;
- the Love of Christ shared;
- the Coming of Christ expected;
- the Splendour of Christ exalted.
Our view of the Christian life is that it should be loving, joyful, affirmative, fruitful, and diverse. Our curriculum reflects that positive outlook, set within a framework of good scholarship, which avoids both stifling legalism and excessive dogmatism.