At church yesterday a friend told me that The Master’s University and Seminary (= TMUS) has been put on academic probation by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (=WASC), TMUS’ regional accrediting agency. Then when I opened my email this morning, a friend sent me a link to a ninety minute video blog by Dr. Andy Woods in which he discusses the academic probation of TMUS. You can see that video blog here. See also this article at Christianpost.com. And this article by a fan of TMUS who is concerned. Also you can see here the four-page letter from the WASC President to Dr. John MacArthur, President of TMUS, notifying TMUS of being put on probation.
Outside of their position on salvation, I’ve long had a very high regard for TMUS. Of course, I strongly disagree with John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation position and I realize that many or most of the faculty at TMUS hold to Lordship Salvation. However, I have always appreciated the conservative positions that MacArthur and TMUS have taken on issues like inerrancy, marriage, expository preaching, young earth creation, and so forth.
I still have a high regard for TMUS. But in light of what I’m seeing in the report (available here) of the accrediting agency, I’m concerned.
Here are some of the issues that led to the school being put on probation:
- Significant numbers of faculty and staff were observed and reported to be living under “a climate of fear, intimidation, bullying, and uncertainty”.
- There has been high turnover of staff, executive management and faculty in the past few years.
- Regular reviews of staff and faculty have not been done in many cases.
- Faculty and staff have been terminated for vague reasons.
- There is an appearance of a conflict of interest with MacArthur’s son-in-law supervising a contract with TMUS from which he benefits. Over the course of nine years, MacArthur’s Grace to You ministry has paid a business headed by MacArthur’s son-in-law about $6.7 million dollars. While there may be no nepotism going on here, it certainly gives the appearance of questionable activity.
- In some cases degrees were granted under problematic circumstances.
Another Christian friend suggested to me that it is possible that the strong legalistic teachings of Lordship Salvation caused some of the problems at TMUS which have surfaced (Gal 5:13-26). In other words, certain issues at TMUS that led to this probation may be in part a result of the strong Lordship Salvation emphasis on legalism, guilt, fear, uncertainty, and condemnation.
I pray regularly for John MacArthur and TMUS. I pray that he and TMUS would abandon Lordship Salvation, would remain conservative, and would begin teaching Free Grace Theology. I now ask the Lord to do what He wishes with this probation matter. I urge all readers to pray for the TMUS faculty and students. This is surely a trying time for them all. It appears that TMUS needs to make a number of major changes or it will lose its accreditation.
Hopefully the probation will result in positive changes at TMUS. Possibly this could even be used by the Lord to bring the school over to the Free Grace position.