Could it Be? Jim West Has No Credible Doctorate? And Yet He Rails Against Homeschooling?

Then he is perpetrating a sham, trying to push himself and his work off as a credible scholar from a recognized institution. A comment from Dr. Hector Avalos alerted me to this. Sounds like Jim "protests too much" doesn't it? Here is what I found:
If you don’t already know this, Jim’s posts on homeschooling are uniformly negative. Jim is an ardent opponent of homeschooling, and has been especially vocal in speaking out against pro-homeschooling voices within the Southern Baptist Convention.

According to his curriculum vitae, Jim currently holds the position of Adjunct Professor of Bible at Quartz Hill School of Theology (an institution that somehow cleverly managed to snag the domain name “”). According to its web site,
Quartz Hill School of Theology offers a free and open educational resource for self-learners everywhere. Our mission is to advance knowledge and education, and serve the world in the 21st century. Our courses cover a wide range of subjects. We offer the classes as shareware, which means that you don’t have to pay unless you want to. As with other shareware, there are some advantages to paying. For instance, you’ll get academic credit for your work. Check out a course, try it on for size, see if it fits.
Note that Quartz Hill School of Theology markets itself to “self-learners everywhere.” Its “courses” are “shareware”—which means that they aren’t necessarily real-time “courses” with an instructor-student relationship at all. Instead, the courses merely consist of a schedule of readings and assignments (which are, of course, irrelevent if you’re accessing the course through the “shareware” model). The entire course “B100 Bible Summary”—which Quartz Hill offers for three credits or five continuing education units—consists of reading, over the course of ten weeks, Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Zondervan, 2003) (a good book); the biblical books of Genesis, Deuteronomy, 1-2 Chronicles, Luke, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Revelation, and Proverbs; and a series of four web pages. There is no classroom instruction or class interaction involved; indeed, there is not even a “class” to speak of. The course consists of an isolated individual sitting at his or her computer following a reading list, and perhaps interacting with an instructor (Quartz Hill employs two) via instant messenger or e-mail. The written assignment for B100—relevant only if you are paying $50.00 to take the course for credit—is “Please write a two paragraph (maximum) summary of each of the sixty-six books of the Bible.”

Quartz Hill School of Theology bills itself as a ministry of Quartz Hill Community Church, which is located in Quartz Hill, California (in the Antelope Valley, in the western side of the Mojave Desert). Jim West lives in Petros, Tennessee. Quartz Hill School of Theology apparently does conduct some face-to-face studies, but as far as I know Jim does not regularly fly out to the Antelope Valley to conduct these studies.

Quartz Hill School of Theology does not offer degrees, but if you pay for your courses, you can get a certificate of some kind.

In sum, Quartz Hill School of Theology provides an online curriculum, controlled by QHST itself and apparently without any additional editorial review, which interested parties use to teach themselves...I presume he gets paid for his troubles. He certainly includes his association with this institution on his curriculum vitae, and seems to consider it part of his credentials as a professional biblical scholar. Yet, somehow, for parents who—-for a wide variety of reasons—-decide to purchase a primary or secondary school curriculum to use at home with their children-—exactly the same thing that Jim’s “shareware” students do-, but at a lower level where parents are more likely to have some basic competencies.

So, Jim, here is the challenge. Can you explain to me, and to everybody else in the blogging and homeschooling communities, how your association with Quartz Hill School of Theology (never mind the great store you place by your doctorate from an online seminary), which provides home-based education for “self-learners,” is at all consistent with your vitriol against parents who decide that home education is the best educational choice for their children? If Joe Self-Learner (who married the former Jill Self) has sufficient mental capacity and competency to choose the self-directed, home-education model of Quartz Hill School of Theology for his theological training over, say, Pepperdine, Hope, Biola, or Loyola (to cite but four traditional Christian universities in southern California, not terribly far from the town of Quartz Hill), and to carry it out effectively and with adequate results, then why does Joe Self-Learner not have sufficient mental capacity and capability to make a similar choice for his grade-school or secondary-school children, and to carry it out effectively and with adequate results? I daresay, Jim, that if you cannot provide a persuasive and convincing answer to this question, then I can hardly consider anything else you have to say about homeschooling to have even a shred of credibility.



isom kuade said...

seems like a fair question.

Unknown said...

Jim West has a "Ph.T." from Andersonville Theological Seminary -

ATS does not subject itself to the worldy standards of secular government bodies, except when it comes to tax exemption.

Dr. Hector Avalos said...

These are instructive questions and answers from Andersonville Theological Seminary:

Q. Does ATS have a campus?
A. We do not have a campus where students come to take classes—we have an office complex including our chapel. However, students are more than welcome to come by the school at anytime to see our institution and look around.

Q. Are the courses at ATS online?
A. The courses at ATS are distance learning, but they are not online. We have book courses and courses that are on MP3 CD’s.

Q. Which Bible does ATS use?
A. We use the King James Version because we believe that this version is the inspired Word of God.

Q. Is ATS accredited?
A. We are privately accredited through Transworld Accrediting Commission out of Riverside,CA.

Q. Do you plan to seek regional (governmental) accreditation?
A. We have considered this many times, but we have always opted to remain privately accredited because of the governmental red tape and rules involved in governmental accreditation.

RBH said...

Q. Is ATS accredited?
A. We are privately accredited through Transworld Accrediting Commission out of Riverside,CA.

IOW, a diploma mill vouched for by an accreditation mill.