Investigations by several newspapers have resulted in charges that a tiny, unaccredited Canadian Bible college is merely a degree mill for doctorate-hungry students. The New York Times discovered several degree-holders from Philathea College in London, Ontario, holding high academic positions and teaching emotionally disturbed persons in New York City.

The college, already under investigation by the Ontario Department of University Affairs for overstepping its charter, grants doctorates in philosophy. Under the Ontario charter it is allowed to grant only licentiates in theology. College president Benjamin Eckardt, self-styled “bishop” of Ontario under the Free Protestant Episcopal Church, calls the charges, first raised by articles in the London Free Press, “a bunch of nonsense.” Nevertheless, he admits, the furor has forced him to drop the doctoral program, which he claims leads to a doctorate in religious education and is within the scope of his charter.

The Times quotes New York State Psychological Association director Morton Schillinger as calling the Philathea degrees a “serious professional and ethical hazard.” One degree-holder was the founder of a Long Island school for gifted children while another was director of a city-financed drug program.

Eckardt claims the association should have checked out the degrees. If it had, he says, it would have found out that the doctorate was theological in nature and not psychological. If former students are using the degrees to qualify for positions in non-religious areas, they are doing so without college authority, he said in an interview.

Eckardt claims he is a Church of Christ minister as well as a Free Protestant Episcopal Church bishop. The latter group is not listed in the ...

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