Canonical List of Pastors & Teachers With Fake Doctorates


I previously created a short-list of televangelists who had fake degrees and at the time of creation I assumed that the televangelists were some of the few pastors who had fake degrees. Since then I’ve learned that the problem of fake doctorates is not a small phenomenon in the Christian world. In fact, I have been alerted now to probably 100 or more such pastors and teachers. Below will be an on-going, exhaustive, list of pastors and teachers of the Christian faith who have either fake degrees or try to pass off honorary degrees as earned degrees. If you find that someone is missing from the list, please send me their name and information and I will make sure they get added to the list.

Additionally, if I have added someone to the list in error, please let me know so it can be corrected.

  1. Dr. Patti Amsden
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Doctorate from Beacon University, Columbus, Georgia. Not a real university and it no longer exists. Now called Light University.
      1. Light University specializes in junk certificate programs that are unaccredited but transfer to Liberty University ….. Because why not. Liberty has already established that they don’t take academics serious.
      2. Light University also boasts curriculum designed by giants of theology such as Beth Moore. Wait, that must be a typo. No. Sadly it’s not. The classes are taught by televangelists who didn’t even bother to get a fake doctorate from BJU or ORU.
  2. (late) Dr. Richard E. Anderson
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D (FICU)
    4. He also handed out “degrees” from the fake seminary that he founded in 1975.
  3. Dr. David Barton
    1. Barton is an influencer in the GOP, as well as many other televangelists. Sadly, his only real education is from Oral Roberts University, about 40 years before they were accredited and they were just another diploma mill for hire.
    2. Barton is also a degree of some nature from Life Christian University (LCU)
    3. Honorary Doctorate from Ecclesia College and Pensacola Bible Institute
  4. Dr. Billye Brim
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. D.Th Life Christian University (LCU)
  5. Dr. Adonica Howard-Browne
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. LCU
  6. Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne
    1. People who have deceptive degrees tend to have Bio’s that use deceptive descriptions. On Rodney’s web page it says “Rodney taught classes in a leading Bible School for another two years“. Which leading schools? What classes? Why wouldn’t they list any details?
    2. B.A. Unknown
    3. M.A. Unknown
    4. D.Min, The School of Bible Theology in San Jacinto, California (another church school, not a real school)
    5. D.Th from Life Christian University (LCU)
  7. Dr. Dennis Burke
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D, Theology, Life Christian University(LCU)
  8. Dr. Juanita Bynum
    1. B.A./B.S. “earned” double major in Ministry and Business Administration, Institution Unknown
    2. M.A./M.S. “earned” double major in Ministry and Business Administration, Institution Unknown
    3. Ph.D, Theology, Institution Unknown
    4. Ph.D, Theology, Canadian Christian Theological Seminary, Alberta
      1. This school is clearly a diploma mill
      2. They don’t offer classes in theology much less Ph.D level courses.
  9. Dr. Mickey Carter
    1. Mr. Carter runs a basement school in his church called Landmark Christian School. They are part of Landmark Baptist Church. However, they also seem to have a “college” in the basement named Landmark Baptist College. I assume that is where he acquired his doctorate. The website for Landmark Baptist School lists a number of degrees held by other staff members but oddly enough not a single one for “Dr.” Carter. I would love to be proven wrong and see evidence of his education.
    2. B.A. Unknown
    3. M.A. Unknown
    4. Ph.D Unknown
  10. Dr. Holly Carter
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.B.A. USC Marshall School of Business
      1. This is a real accredited school.
    3. Ph.D. Ministry, from Southern California School of Ministry (SCSM)
      1. It should be noted that SCSM does not grant doctorate degrees and is not accredited.
      2. Not sure why someone with an MBA from USC Marshall would get a bogus doctorate.
  11. Dr. Dennis Clark
    1. B.S. Psychology at Florida State University
    2. M.S. Psychology at Georgia Southern University
    3. Ph.D. Theology at Christian International
      1. As far as I can tell, this is not a school. Christian International has a website (maybe) that is unrealted to education. Their facebook page has no links whatsoever. I am assuming it’s just a ministry. I know of no reputable schools that would grant a Ph.D. to a candidate who had no master’s work in their given field of study.
    4. Ph.D. College of Theology at MorningStar University (Not the real MSU)
      1. MSU is “accredited” by the Association of Independent Christian Colleges and Seminaries (AICCS) which is not recognized by a single state in the USA.
        1. “Due to our belief in separation of Church and State, we have chosen to not pursue such recognition”
        2. This lack of recognition is obviously because they have no desire to be a real institution of education but rather a vein of legalism for their particular sect of Christianity.
      2. MSU teaching staff is virtually all from online diploma mills such as the Phoenix University of Theology.
      3. Other people listed are hard to believe such as a real scholar, Dr. Michael L Brown. However, the “instructor” directory is also listed as “speakers” so I assume at some point he was paid to give a talk there and now they just list him as faculty. From what I can tell they do not have any real full time faculty with credentials.
    5. Dennis also has a bio on his ministry about page but is purposefully vague.
  12. Dr. Jennifer Clark
    1. The wife of the aforementioned Dennis Clark and partner in ministry. I assume they met in college because they have similar degree tracks. However, Jennifer has not listed the institutions she attended….for a reason that I am sure is not humility.
    2. B.S. Psychology from unknown school
    3. M.S. Psychology from unknown school
    4. Th.D. Theology from unknown school
  13. Dr. Hakeem Collins
    1. B.S. Sports Management, Marshall University
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Doctorate, Unknown
  14. Dr. Steve Collins (Other Bio)
    1. It hurts me to put someone on this list that has contributed so much to the field of biblical research. Collins has been published by a number of Biblical and Archaeological journals. As an independent researcher he was relatively respected. He has also done quite a bit of field work in the world of archaeology. Why he chose to give himself two fake Ph.D.s, I will never know. Maybe he doesn’t know that it makes him look slimy, not educated.
    2. B.S. Anthropology, New Mexico University
    3. M.Div. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
    4. D.Min. Luther Rice Seminary (Keep in mind that a D.Min. is not the same as a Ph.D., which is how Collins was able to complete it in just 2 years.)
    5. Ph.D. Biblical History & Religion, Trinity Theological Seminary
      1. This is where the list gets weird. Collins has real earned degrees already from good accredited schools. He even holds a real D.Min from a respected school. I have no idea why he took a left turn and ended up doing a junk Ph.D. from
      2. He also did not title this school properly. It is called Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary.
    6. Ph.D. Archaeology and biblical History, Trinity Southwest University
      1. This is not only an unaccredited school but it’s a school he started. He basically handed himself a Ph.D. Who taught the classes I wonder? I assume its an honorary degree. He also teaches at another junk school, Veritas International, which was started by Dr. Norman L. Geisler and Dr. Joseph M. Holden. To be fair though, the school looks like it want’s to turn into a real school one day. At least it’s trying. They have TRACS accreditation at this point.
  15. Dr. Gloria Copeland
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. D.Min, Life Christian University (LCU)
  16. Dr. Kenneth Copeland
    1. B.A. Uknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Theology, from Life Christian University (LCU)
    4. Honorary Doctorate, Oral Roberts University (ORU)
    5. Honorary Doctorate, Grand Canyon University (GCU)
  17. Dr. Creflo Dollar
    1. B.A. Education, Unknown school
    2. M.A. Counseling, Unknown school
    3. Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, Oral Roberts University
  18. Dr. Terry Donohue
    1. The case of Terry Donohue appears to be one in which both he and his wife (Linda) are referred to as Dr. but do not have a single educational institution listed in any of their bios. By all accounts they look like very nice people and have spent their lives serving the church and doing missions. However, they are connected with what appears to be a church with one of those basement schools full of “teachers” who call themselves Dr., despite having no actual doctorate. The church/school in question is Landmark Baptist of Haines City, Florida.
    2. The mission base they operate (New Life Orphanages International) is also based on Haines City.
    3. How and why do I suspect Mr. Donohue lacks an education? Because on one of the websites for Landmark Christian School, some of the teachers have actual degrees and they were listed. Mr. Donohue has none listed. Also, not a single bio exists for him where an education is listed and I know at least one thing about people with educations…they understand the importance of credentials. However, I am more than willing to be corrected if he does, in fact, hold a doctorate in anything.
    4. B.A. Unknown
    5. M.A. Unknown
    6. Ph.D. Unknown
  19. Dr. Jesse Duplantis
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Honorary Doctorate from Oral Roberts University (ORU)
  20. Dr. Tim Early
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Unknown degree from Rhema University
  21. Dr. Theresa Early
    1. Rhema University listed, degrees unknown
    2. B.A. Unknown
    3. M.A. Unknown
    4. Ph.D Unknown
  22. Dr. Lios Evans
    1. B.A. Business Administration, Dallas Baptist University
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Honorary Doctorate, Eastern College
  23. Dr. Mike Francen
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)
    4. Doctorate of Missiology, (LCU)
  24. Dr. DeeDee Freeman
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Human Services, Liberty University (LU)
    3. Doctorate Unknown but I assume it’s from her husband’s fake school, Spirit of Faith Bible Institute (SOFBI)
  25. Dr. Michael Freeman
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D (FICU)
  26. Dr. Sam Gipp
    1. Bachelor of Divinity, Pensacola Bible Institute (PBI)
    2. Master of Theology, Clarksville School of Theology, Clarksville, TN
      1. Clarksville was shut down by the state in 1992 because it was a diploma mill (Source)
    3. Doctor of Theology, Clarksville School of Thology, Clarksville, TN
    4. Ph.D, Pensacola Bible Institute (PBI)
  27. Dr. Pastor Grady Gregory
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Unknown
  28. Dr. John Hagee
    1. B.S. Education and History, Trinity University. (Real school, with accreditation)
    2. M.A. Education Administration, University of North Texas. (Real school, with accreditation)
    3. Unknown Diploma of theology from Assemblies of God University
      1. Then called Southern Bible Institute (operating in conjunction with the Richey Evangelistic Temple).
    4. Honorary Doctorate, Oral Roberts University (ORU)
    5. Honorary Doctorate, Netanya Academic College
    6. Honorary Doctorate, Canada Christian College
  29. Dr. Chris Haizlip
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Unknown
    4. As far as I can tell, Dr. Christ and a few other men call themselves Dr. because they teach at a make-believe schools called Fundamental Baptist Bible College, which is based out of the basement of their church. I am not sure they understand how titles work. You don’t get to call yourself doctor because you teach a class.
  30. Dr. Sammy Halloway
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. No degree listed (FICU)
  31. Dr. Bob Harrison
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)
  32. Dr. Ira V. Hilliard
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Doctorate, Unknown, Friends International Christian University (FICU)
    4. The sister of Ira Hilliard, Bridget Hilliard. She also has a fake degree from FICU but does not call herself doctor. Her materials always refer to her as Pastor, which is perfectly acceptable.
  33. Dr. Benny Hinn
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Theology, from Life Christian University (LCU).
  34. Dr. Al Hollingsworth
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. No degree listed (FICU)
  35. Dr. Hattie Hollingsworth
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. No degree listed (FICU)
  36. Dr. Kent Hovind
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D,  Patriot Bible University (PBU)
    4. Kent was a high school science teacher so he has some degree that is real. However, PBU is a single building diploma mill in Colorado.
    5. His dissertation from the school has been available online for a number of years. It has no scholarly research in it, no real sources, poor grammar, and refers to itself as a book in a number of places. It can be accessed at the following link : Kent Hovind’s Terrible Dissertation.
  37. Dr. Jack Van Impe
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D, Pacific International University in an unknown field. (PIU)
      1. According to a few sources, Jack received an B.A. from Detroit Bible Institute, which then turned in to William Tyndale College, and more recently is no longer an active school. They closed their doors in 2005. (Source)
  38. Dr. T. D. Jakes
    1. B.A. Biblical Studies, Friends International Christian University (FICU)
    2. M.A. Biblical Studies, Friends International Christian University (FICU)
    3. D.Min. from Friends International Christian University(FICU).
      1. FICU is not only unaccredited but somehow Jakes did 12 years worth of higher education in less then 5 years there.
      2. Since the publication of my first article detailing the Jake’s fake degrees, his website has changed the degree dates to make it look more realistic.
  39. Dr. David Jeremiah
    1. B.A. Unknown, Cedarville University
    2. M.A. Unknown (probably M.Div) Dallas Theological Seminary
    3. Honorary Doctorate, Cedarville University
  40. Dr. Bernard E. Jordan
    1. Bernard is the father of the now popular scam-artist, Manasseh Jordan. He’s the guy that has been calling people claiming to be “St. Mary’s Prayer Center Ministry”. He robo-calls millions of people trying to scam people into donating. He’s been fined by the FCC a dozen times or so now.
    2. His son, Manasseh is so bad that now even Bernard’s website has a disclaimer stating that it’s not affiliated for Manasseh’s ministry. But Bernard is just another faker. He calls himself “Master Prophet Archbishop Jordan”. Yea, like that’s a real thing.
    3. He is basically a prophet for hire. He also holds amazing fancy dinners to celebrate his fake awards. Some costing hundreds of dollars. Here is one such advertisement for when he “ascended” to archbishop. Last I recall, most archbishops don’t put out a press release for a paid luncheon in their honor.
    4. Unknown educations from Tabernacle Bible Institute and Manhattan Bible Institute
      1. Neither schools are real and neither still exist today. But they do at least have a facebook page that was created and never used.
    5. B.A. Unknown, from Astrology from Kepler College
    6. M.Div. Virginia Union University (VUU) (class of 2019 and is a real school)
      1. I am honestly bewildered how he was accepted to this school. It’s not a highly ranked school but it’s still a fine school with actual ATS accreditation and a few professors with excellent resumes. However, they have a high number of professors with Master/Doctorate degrees from that same school which is usually frowned upon because it contributes to a lack of diversity in the education.
    7. Ph.D. Friends International Christian University (FICU)
      1. Obviously he did not obtain a real Ph.D before completing an accredited M.Div.
  41. Dr. Henry R. Jones
    1. B.A. Biblical Studies, Moody Bible Institute (MBI)
    2. M.Div, Logos Graduate School
      1. Online ONLY diploma mill
      2. Most of the instructors have degrees only from Logos
      3. Not a single real Ph.D in any biblical field exists among the faculty. The ones with real degrees are in secular educations like “Marriage and Family Therapy”.
      4.  The course catalog does make it appear as though they are teaching real classes. For example, they offer both Greek and Hebrew, however, it’s unclear who on the staff actually has any expertise in these areas of study.
        1. This topic is still a bit complicated because it looks like the aim of the language courses is pretty basic. The course catalog information for Hebrew I lists the following goals: “introduction to the alphabet, vowels, and pronunciation”. For reference, when I took Hebrew in undergrad, we had to be able to know and say the Hebrew alphabet by the end of week 1. Most students learned the alphabet in the weeks before the class started. In seminary, both Greek and Hebrew classes required the students to know the alphabet BEFORE the class even began. There is no need to pay a Ph.D holding professor to teach a person the Hebrew or Greek alphabet.
        2. In addition to requirements, my language professors had Ph.Ds in the field of study for that language. My Hebrew professor in seminary had a Ph.D in Hebrew and Semitic languages. That is very different than a guy like me deciding I’m going to teach an online Hebrew class to a small class for an unaccredited degree… and I had 4 years of Hebrew.
    3. Ph.D, Unknown, Central Christian University
      1. Not a degree or Ph.D granting institution
  42. Dr. Rick Joyner
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D (North Carolina College of Theology)
  43. Dr. Ron Kenoly 
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. D.Min (FICU)
  44. Dr. Gene Kim
    1. B.S. Sociology, UC Berkley, 2007?
    2. M.A. Unknown (probably none)
    3. His youtube description says “Dr. Gene Kim has earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate Degrees from the Pensacola Bible Institute and the University of California at Berkeley”
      1. He deceptively describes his education to sound really educated, hoping that people will believe he has a Ph.D from Berkley, however, he never lists what his degree was at each school.
    4. Ph.D Unknown, Pensacola Bible Institute (PBI)
      1. PBI is a diploma mill that is based out of a Peter Ruckmanite church.
  45. Dr. Billy Kryger,
    1. Affiliated with Smoky Hill Baptist Church, Ellsworth, Kansas
      1. A KJVO church?
    2. Also affiliated with Berean Baptist Church, Council Grove, Kansas
    3. Kyger seems to have a full monty of fake degrees.
      1. Diploma. in Unknown from Word of Life Bible Institute
      2. B.A. (Unfinished?) in “Church Ministry” from Trinity Baptist College
      3. B.A. in “Bible” from Temple Baptist College
      4. M.A. Unknown from Salt Lake Baptist College
      5. D.min. AND Th.D. in Unknown from Salt Lake Baptist College
  46. Dr. Terry Law
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. (LCU)
  47. Dr. Tony V Lewis
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Lewis’ degrees are listed in his various bios but nowhere is a single institution listed.
    4. Lewis has founded a number of online diploma mills and his own accrediting agency (Linkedin)
      1. Accrediting Comission for Biblical Higher Education
      2. Christian Bible Institute & Seminary
      3. Hope Christian Academy
      4. Trinity Theological Seminary
      5. Global Christian Schools Network
  48. Dr. Carla D Lewis
    1. B.A. Unknown, but Facebook lists “Studied” at Lone Star College
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Doctorate Unknown, but probably from the fake school she is the Vice President of.
  49. Dr. Jeremy Lopez
    1. Lopez runs a host of online ministry efforts and also sells books, sermons, prophetic services, and runs conferences. He appears to be part of two different networks, both founded by himself: Identity Network and Now is your Moment.
    2. B.A. Unknown
    3. M.A. Unknown
    4. Ph.D Unknown
  50. Dr. John MacArthur
    1. B.A. Unknown, Los Angeles Pacific College
    2. M.Div Biola
    3. Honorary Doctorate, Grace Graduate School
    4. Honorary Doctorate, Talbot Theological Seminary.
    5. His honorary degrees are not an issue except that he calls himself Dr. John MacArthur, as if he earned the degrees but he did not.
  51. Dr. James David Manning
    1. B.A. Unknown from The College of New Rochelle
    2. M.Div. Atlah Theological Seminary
      1. Atlah Theological Seminary is a school that he founded and has no accreditation and no listed faculty.
      2. Atlah appears to just be a church. It’s own description is as follows.
        1. Atlah Worldwide Missionary Church is a Christian church and ministry located in Harlem, New York, USA. The church is led by James David Manning who is the chief pastor. The church campus is the site of the ATLAH Theological Seminary, where classes are offered on preaching and prophecy. The church is also the home of the Manning Report.
    3. Ph.d.  Atlah Theological Seminary
      1. Refer to previous comment.
  52. Dr. Bishop Clarence E. McClendon
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. No degree listed (FICU)
  53. Dr. Joyce Meyer
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Theology, from Life Christian University, (LCU)
    4. Honorary doctorate in divinity from Oral Roberts University.
    5. Honorary doctorate in sacred theology from Grand Canyon University.
  54. Dr. Grady McMurtry
    1. B S, University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture – 1968
    2. MS, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science
    3. DD, School of Theology, Columbus, Georgia
    4. D Litt, Mid-Continent University, Kentucky
  55. Dr. Kevin McNulty
    1. B.S. Michigan State University
    2. M.A. in Missiology Life Christian University (LCU)
    3. Doctorate in Missiology Life Christian University (LCU)
  56. Dr. Leslie McNulty
    1. B.S. in Finance, Stetson University
    2. B.A. Church Administration, Life Christian University (LCU)
    3. M.A. in Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)
    4. Doctorate of unknown field, from LCU.
  57. Dr. Dick Mills
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)
  58. Dr. Myles Munroe
    1. Upon adding Munroe to the list I learned that he recently passed in 2014 in a tragic plane accident. It pains me to add him to this list but the ministry he founded is still selling his stuff under the false title he claimed while alive. So here we are.
    2. B.A. Theology, from Oral Roberts University (ORU) [1]
      1. While ORU is semi-legit today, in 1978 (when Munroe graduated) it was a 10 year old junk degree televangelist school.
      2. ORU did not receive any decent accreditation until 1980 which was when they were accepted into ATS.
      3. Nevertheless, he did at least complete his degree at a real school even if it was a junk school at the time.
    3. M.A. in Administration, from University of Tulsa
      1. Again, this is a real degree and he should be commended for going to a real school to get it. However, it’s not relevant to teaching the Bible.
    4. Honorary Doctorate from Oral Roberts (ORU)
      1. From what I can tell, ORU nominated him for an honorary after he became famous.
      2. They also continued the tradition of misusing the Dr. title by referring to him as Dr., knowing full well he only had an honorary one.
  59. Dr. Keith Moore
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Doctorate in Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)
  60. Dr. Stanely Moore
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)
  61. Dr. Mike Murdock
    1. Three semesters at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (accredited).
    2. B.A. Unfinished
    3. M.A. Unknown (assumed also non-existent)
    4. Honorary Doctorate degree from International Seminary
  62. Dr. James LaVirt Netters, Sr. (VINDICATED WITH UPDATED BIO)
    1. Dr. James LaVirt Netters Sr. is in fact the owner of an EARNED DOCRTORATE. This list was initially compiled before the spring of 2019 which is when his bio was added to the Mount Vernon Westwood website. Anyone questioning his qualifications can be referred to this webpage which has been updated. If there was an alternative source of information for his education prior to 2019 and we overlooked it DOTB issues it’s sincerest apologies.
    2. B.A. Sociology from Lemoyne Owen College
    3. M.Div. Memphis Theological Seminary
      1. Memphis Theological Seminary is accredited by ATS since 1973.
    4. D.Min. Memphis Theological Seminary
      1. Memphis Theological Seminary is accredited by ATS since 1973.
    5. Honorary Doctorate (ORU)
  63. Dr. Larry Ollison
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)
    3. Ph.D Theology, (LCU)
  64. Dr. Loretta Ollison
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)
  65. Dr. Bob Ossewaarde
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Education, “From a major Christian college” according to his bio. Not sure why he didn’t just list which one.
    3. D.Min also “From a major Christian college” (I assume it’s a diploma mill, just like the school he teaches at)
  66. Dr. Denis Otero
    1. Diploma, Biblical Studies, Hal Lindsay’s Light and Powerhouse Training Center, Southern California
      1. This defunct institution is not a real school or a real degree granting establishment
    2. B.A. Theology from the University of Albuquerque, New Mexico
      1. No reference is made as to what the degree was in but the U of A has been closed for a very long time. (Source)
      2. It was a Catholic university that closed in 1986 and somehow this training provided Denis with the background to become a “priest” which he also claims to be.
      3. Though, it seems strange since his facebook claims that he was ordained a Catholic Priest by the Episcopal church.
    3. M.Div, Trinity Theological Seminary (TTS), Newburg, Indiana
      1. TTS is actually better known as “Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary” and they are a distance learning school.
      2. TTS is NOT a school based out of Liverpool England. That is a confusing note from Denis’ bio. TTS is a diploma mill based out of Newburg, Indiana and once had some distance learning classes in Liverpool. (Source)
      3. TTS applied for multiple accreditation and they were all denied. They still remain unaccredited by any recognized institution.
    4. Ph.D candidate, Religious Studies, Trinity Southwest University (TSU) (Source)
      1. TSU us is another non-accredited school yet is tries to sound accredited. They are accredited only as a provider of continuing educational units (CEU). They are NOT accredited for actual degrees.
      2. They list later on that “TSU has chosen to remain non-aligned with respect to accreditation.”(Source)
    5. D.Min, Southwest University, Albuquerque, New Mexico
      1. Interestingly, TSU and SW are the same school. The website lists them deceptively. The only schools in Albuquerque are TSU and a visual arts school. So it’s gotta be TSU.
  67. Jorge Parrott
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D (North Carolina College of Theology)
  68. Dr. Rod Parsley
    1. B.A. Ministry, Circleville Bible College
      1. Now called Ohio Christian University, which is an actual school.
    2. Honorary Doctorate, Indiana Christian University
    3. Honorary Doctorate, Liberty University
  69. Dr. Charles E. Perry, Jr.
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D (Union Bible Theological Seminary)
      1. UBTS is a diploma mill in a strip mall.
  70. Dr. Michael Petro
    1. B.A. Heaven
    2. M.A. Heaven
    3. Ph.D. Heaven
    4. “Apostle/Prophet” calls himself Doctor without any evidence of even a Bachelor’s degree. Rather, his Linkedin page lists “heaven” under education.
  71. Dr. Phil Pitts
    1. As with a few others on this list, Mr. Pitts is affiliated with what appears to be a church basement “college” named Landmark Baptist College. He’s also listed as staff for Landmark Christian School. I am assuming he is without a doctorate because others on the staff website have their educations listed, yet all those being called Dr. have no education listed. Probably not a coincidence but I would love to be proven wrong.
    2. It appears that he calls himself Dr. as he appears to be called such by his students. On the Alumni page for the school a student refers to him as Dr. Pitts. As usual, I would love to be proven wrong but I suspect I am not. If Mr. Pitts has a degree please send me the information so he can be vindicated.
    3. B.A. Unknown
    4. M.A. Unknown
    5. Ph.D. Unknown
  72. Dr. Courtney Pope
    1. Certificate from Back To The Bible Correspondence School
    2. B.A. Communications, Temple University
    3. M.A. Unknown
    4. Doctorate, International Christian University
      1. His bio lists a real doctorate but the school listed is in Japan and they do not grant doctorates of divinity. ICU is also a respected school who would not accept a doctoral candidate without an actual master’s degree, of which Pope does not have.
      2. It’s more likely that the school in question is International Christian College & Seminary, which is a diploma mill and does grant doctorates of divinity.
  73. Dr. Frederick K.C. Price
    1. B.A. Unknown Friends International Christian University (FICU)
    2. M.Div, Unknown, (FICU)
    3. Ph.D, Unknown, (FICU)
  74. Dr. Betty Price
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree (No school named)
  75. Dr. Orrin Pullings
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Doctorate Unknown, Friends International Christian University (FICU)
  76. Dr. Medina Pullings (Facebook About Page)
    1. B.A. Christian Education, John Jay College
    2. M.A. Biblical Counseling, Bethel Bible Institute
    3. D.D. & D.Min, Friends International Christian University (FICU)
  77. Dr. Kenny Russell
    1. “Studied” at Tabernacle Bible College and Seminary
    2. B.A. Unknown
    3. M.A. Unknown
    4. Ph.D Unknown
  78. Dr. Larry Reid
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Christian Counseling, Apex College of Theology
      1. Apex is a church basement school that outgrew it’s basement. It’s by no means a notable Bible college but it does appear to be trying. It is a very young school and I suspect that it will eventually seek accreditation and real professional professors. However, at this time the school is still very much just a few partially educated people trying to educate someone even less educated.
      2. Apex is accredited by TRACS which has a very shady background. Their sole reason to exist is to get college federal grant money for schools teaching the creation model. The schools listed as accredited by TRACS are often church basement types or
    3. Ph.D Zion School of Ministry
      1. Zion is now known as Summit International School of Ministry
      2. Zion (like Apex) looks like a church basement college that has outgrown the church basement. It does not appear to be a diploma mill, just a young school that has yet to develop a professional staff or proper accreditation. As such, their classes only include basics, like Church History, Systematic Theology, OT Survey, NT Survey, Preaching, etc. These are classes that the common person can learn on their own, in the comfort of their own couch. They offer no high level courses, no Greek, no Hebrew, no ANE studies, no exegesis classes, and certainly no dissertation prep which would be required for “Dr.” Reid to get a Ph.D.
    4. Also currently taking classes at Hosanna Bible College
      1. Hosanna is accredited by a trifecta of bad accreditation agencies. They are accredited by TRACS, ACE, CHEA, and it appears also by INQAAHE. INQAAHE, however, is not part of the trifecta. They aspire to be better than the others.
      2. Like Reid’s other educational choices, Hosanna is another school that is hoping to be a real school one day. It seems clear that their staff is cut from the same cloth and are a collection of teachers with equally dubious degrees.
      3. The student handbook and the classes offered are quite refreshing. They even offer “elements” of biblical Greek and Hebrew classes. These classes usually require the student to learn the alphabets and get used to using a lexicon and Strongs Concordance. It’s not quite the same as actually learning the language but it’s a start.
      4. I suspect that 20 years from now Hosanna will be a real school seeking accreditation from ATS. This is the first school attended by Reid that can actually be called a college.
      5. Currently the school looks to be meeting in a church annex building.
  79. Dr. Gail Riplinger
    1. B.A. Interior Design
    2. M.A. Home Economics
    3. M.F.A.
    4. Honorary Doctorate from Hyles-Anderson College, actually just a First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. The “school” obviously is not accredited nor does it have a doctoral program.
      1. In her book, In Awe of Thy Word, Gails credentials are described thusly: “honored with a doctorate from the world’s largest church of it’s kind”
      2. Sometimes the truth is so stretched that silence is the better option.
  80. Dr. Peter Ruckman
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D, Bob Jones University
      1. It should be noted that at the time he attended BJU, it was still just a diploma mill. Since about 2007 BJU has made a HUGE move towards being a real educational institute, including removing many prominent televangelists from the board of directors. They received regional accreditation in 2014 (finally).
    4. His degrees are dubious, at best, and his founding of Pensacola Bible Institute is the best indication of his lack of real education.
  81. Dr. John Scheel
    1. B.A. Unknown, Central Baptist College (No field listed, but CBC is a real college)
    2. Master of Divinity from Luther Rice Seminary (A legit seminary and well respected)
    3. Ph.D., Toledo Bible College and Seminary (No field listed, the school was a fraud. Now goes by the name of Trinity College of Bible and Theological Seminary)
    4. Doctor of Religious Education from Moody Theological Seminary (Moody does not offer any Doctoral programs)
    5. Doctor of Human Letters from Washington Saturday College (This is an honorary degree and isn’t a real college)
    6. [WIP] Doctor of Philosophy at Oxford Graduate School (Fraud “house” college in Tennessee. It’s not Oxford, UK.)
  82. Dr. Keith Spanberger
    1. B.S. Unknown (assumed non-existent)
    2. M.A./M.Div.  Unknown (assumed non-existent)
    3. Honorary Doctorate from Kingsway University and Theological Seminary
      1. This school is in Norwalk, Iowa and is accredited only by the International Association of Bible Colleges and Seminaries(IABCS). IABCS is not recognized by any state or governing body. Their last application to the state of Georgia was rejected.
        1. “In 2006, IABCS applied for a name change with the State of Georgia Corporations Division and was informed that, due to USDE regulations, the request could not be approved due to the use of the term “college” in the new name. Even though the registered name is acceptable because of its longevity, a new name utilizing the word “college” could not be done. So IABCS remains actively registered and recognized as the SAABC, the Southern Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges, but will be doing business as IABCS and is currently applying for that status.” (From the website)
  83. Dr. Michael Stoddard
    1. B.S. Theology, Bible Baptist College, 1983
      1. The only school by this name I cold find was in Missouri but it’s hard to tell if it’s the same school.
    2. B.A. Biblical Studies, Southwest Institute
      1. I think this school might actually be called “Southwest School of Bible Studies” and it’s not a school. It’s a church in Austin, Texas.
    3. M.A. “Arts”, Louisiana Baptist University (LBU), 1994
      1. I assume a masters degree in “arts” was a typo.
      2. LBU is a conservative diploma mill filled with teachers who obtained their degrees from other fake schools or from LBU. A few faculty members seemed to have slices of real education here and there.
    4. Honorary Doctorate from Texas Baptist College, 1995
      1. As far as I can tell this school doesn’t exist and it’s website has been hacked and replaced with a tire company’s portal.
  84. Dr. Phil Stringer
    1. B.S.  Bible, Indiana Baptist College, 1975
      1. (not a real school)
    2. M.A. Christian Education, Freedom University (FU/FBCS),1980
      1. Also not a real school and looks like
    3. Ph.D English Bible, Landmark Baptist College (LBC), 1997
      1. Also not a real school and no biblical scholar gets a degree in the “English Bible”. Most reputable seminaries wont let you escape without at least a year of Greek and Hebrew language and exegesis training. A Ph.D in English Bible is a joke.
    4. Ph.D Religious Education, American Bible College (ABC), 2004
      1. Again, not a real college, although I like that they bought an old hotel to use as classrooms. It’s actually a cool idea.
      2. Course materials are literally just badly written commentaries on sections of the Bible, much like Sunday School. (Sample)
  85. Dr. Hope Taylor
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Doctorate Unknown
  86. Dr. John Tisdale
    1. John Tisdale is the president of the Anchor Theological Seminary, in Pharr, Texas.
      1. As usual, it’s a church school with no actual professors or accreditation.
      2. The current seminary website returns a 404 error and the facebook page has not posted since February 2021. It shows no signs of being a real school.
      3. As such, it stands to reason that if John is the president of this fake school that his title is also fake. Of course, I have no way to verify his educational information as it’s not published. His LinkedIn page also contains no education.
      4. I would love to be proven wrong and someone write in with his educational information but for now I have no choice but to list him as uneducated. I assume the other doctorate teachers listed on the church website are also uneducated.
      5. Ironically, the school schedule lists classes on cults AND survey of the KJV. A bit on the nose there.
    2. B.A. Unknown
    3. M.A. Unknown
    4. 3. Doctorate Unknown
  87. Dr. James Verceles
    1. B.A. Business Administration (UoF)
      1. James’ undergraduate degree appears to be legitimate.
    2. M.A. Pastoral Education from Landmark Baptist College (LBC).
      1. LBC is not a real schools. It’s a church based education center lead by KJVO pastor “Dr.” Mickey Carter (also not a real doctor).
      2. The LCB faculty is mostly lay church leaders and 2 other guys from the church with fake doctorates.
      3. School is naturally not accredited and the course catalog page returns 404.
      4. They do have another page with courses listed and it appears that all the classes are basically just bad Bible studies.
        1. Clicking on the courses does not load any course information or syllabus.
      5. The “Campus Life” section of the website is perhaps the most depressing part of the whole order. Those blessed enough to go to LBC will gain the following amenities.
        1. many opportunities to serve within the comforts of a local church
        2. the privilege to sit under the great preaching of Dr. Mickey Carter
        3. Each student will have his heart challenged and life changed in preparation to serve the Lord in future ministries
        4. able to participate in various ministries such as Thursday night soul winning
        5. college choir
        6. prison ministry
        7. other various landmark church outreaches
        8. students may participate while being trained alongside some of the Lord’s most faithful servants
        9. College-wide trips to
          1. Orlando, Camp Glory (Landmark’s own campground),
          2. the bowling alley,
          3. the putt-putt course,
          4. and other fun places
    3.  Doctorate of Ministries (SIC)  from Landmark Baptist College.
      1. Refer to notes above.
  88. Dr. Lance Wallnau
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Source)
    3. Research Doctorate, Leadership in Organizational and Cultural Transformation, Phoenix University of Theology
      1. PUT is not a real theology school 
  89. Dr. Margaret Wanjiru
    1. Unknown degree Valor Christian College
      1. Valor is a diploma mill ran by Rod Parsley.
    2. Vineyard Harvester Bible College on July 13, 2003.
    3. B.A. Christian Leadership, United Graduate College and Seminary International, (UGCSI) October 26, 2010
      1. UGCSI is a fake school also.
  90. Apostle Dr. Faith Walter
    1. A.S. General Business & Administration from Mercy College
      1. Mercy is a fine and accredited institution.
    2. B.Ed. (Bachelors of Education) from City University of New York City College
      1. From what I can find on their website, this school is possibly accredited. Website indicate accreditation from MSCHE.
    3. M.Ed. (Masters of Education) from City University of New York City College
      1. Refer to previous note.
    4. M.Th. “Theology n Divinity” (SIC) degree from the School of Theology New Mexico.
      1. This school appears to either not exist or now operates by another name. Possibly now called Trinity Southwest University (TSU) which is a known diploma mill.
    5. M.A. “Marriage n Family Therapy” (SIC) from Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary.
      1. NYACK is affiliated with the Christian & Missionary Alliance and has been accredited by MSCHE and CHEA for some time.
    6. Ph.D. No information can be found at this time as to her doctorate work but her undergraduate work is above board, minus her theological education. It pains me to see someone on this list with a number of true earned degrees but until further information is available this is where she is.
  91. Dr. Barbara Wentroble
    1. B.A. Christian Life School of Theology (CLSTG)
      1. CLSTG is an online diploma mill which is “accredited” by the International Association of Bible Colleges and Seminaries (IABCS). IABCS is not recognized by any governing body in any US state. They exist only to act as a cover for fake schools. (List of Unrecognized Higher Education Accreditation Organizations)
    2. M.A. Unknown/None listed
    3. Doctorate in Practical Ministry from Wagner Leadership Institute.
      1. The WLI is not formally known as Wagner University but is not, in fact, an accredited university.
        1. “At present, Wagner University is not accredited by a Department of Education approved accrediting agency. Wagner University is authorized to offer religious degrees by the state of Colorado, and California” (Website)
      2. The only D.Min course currently offered by WU is in “Apostolic Leadership” so that pretty much give the gig away.
      3. Prior to being an unaccredited university, Wagner was essentially a training school for people already in ministry. The school was started by Dr. C. Peter Wagner, who failed to list his doctorate in his own classroom power point bio from when he was teaching at Fuller Theological Seminary (a real school). The faculty is full of uneducated teachers and some with spurious training or with Ph.Ds from that same junk school they are now teaching at.
  92. Dr. Stephen Wiley
    1. B.A. Broadcast Journalism (University of Oklahoma)
    2. M.A., (FICU)
    3. Ph.D (FICU, Linkedin)
  93. Dr. Randy White
    1. B.A. Unknown
      1. Some credits were done at Lee University but no degree earned
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D, Life Christian University (LCU)
  94. Dr. Paula White
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Ph.D, Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)
  95. Andrew Wommack
    1. B.A. Unknown
    2. M.A. Unknown
    3. Doctorate in Theology, Life Christian University (LCU)

Names soon to come. Need some time to research these guys and some others already on the list.

Dr. Arthur Houk, Pastor, Arden Faith Baptist Church, Colville, WA
Dr. Bob Gray, Evangelist, Solve Church Problems Ministry
Dr. Bruce Engelman, Baptist Temple, Fort Worth, TX
Dr. Clarence Sexton, Temple Baptist Church, Powell, TN
Dr. Chuck Peters, Pastor, Smith Grove Baptist Church, Colfax, NC
Dr. Daniel Haifley, Maranatha Baptist Church, Mattone, IL
Dr. David Perdue, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Milford, DE
Dr. David N. Smeltz, Amazing Grace Missionaries
Dr. Earl R. Shawley, Pastor, Messiah Baptist Church, Kylertown, PA
Dr. Farrell Shepherd, Pastor, Island Ford Baptist Church, Madisonville, KY
Dr. George Alquist, Jr., Grace of Calvary Baptist Church, Erie, PA
Dr. Jack K. Mayes, Crossroads Baptist Church, Huntington, WV
Dr. Joel M. Ward, Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Butler, PA
Dr. Larry Pierce, Missionary, AFBM, Grace & Truth Baptist Church, Moss Point, MI
Dr. Leon Foote, Evangelist, Canaan Baptist Church, Covington, GA
Dr. Ray Love, Tri-State Baptist Church, Charlestown, WV
Dr. Rodger Howard, Binghamtown Baptist Church, Middlesboro, KY
Dr. Roger Milot, Pastor, Harvest Baptist Church, Hudson, FL
Dr. Steve Harness, Pastor, Wilton Baptist Church, Wilton, NY
Dr. Ted Camp, Silent Word Ministries, Trenton, GA
Dr. Terry L. Dietz, Pastor, Temple Baptist Church, Kannapolis, NC
Dr. Thomas Clement, Liberty Baptist Church, Stafford, VA
Dr. Tom Wallace, Pastor Emeritus, Franklin Road Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, TN
Dr. Tommy C. Turner, Pastor, Bible Baptist Church, Landrum, SC
Dr. Walter Smith, Heritage Baptist Church, Ocala, FL
Dr. William McSpadden, Immanuel Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL
Dr. William Rosinsky, Mission Baptist Church, Thailand
Dr. Elwood Seamster
Dr. Ronnie Simpson
Dr. David Johnston
Dr. Tommy Turner
Dr. Tommy Wensil
Dr. James Keever
Dr. James A Lince
Dr. Randy C. Barton
Dr. Darrin Waldroup
Dr. Lewis O. Bartlett
Dr. Brian Simmons (Wagner Institute)
Dr. Bryan Loritts
Dr. Marshall Warneke (SLBC/FBCO)
Dr. T.E. VanBuskirk (SLBC/FBCO)


If I have missed any one, feel free to add them in the comments and we can keep the list current and growing.




160 thoughts on “Canonical List of Pastors & Teachers With Fake Doctorates”

  1. My mother has been buying a lot of books from Dr. Francis Myles, whose website claims he got his doctorate in theology from Primus University of Theology in Phoenix, AZ. The staff bios on the website are also very sparse with information regarding their credentials and it seems like most got their “doctorates” from Primus as well.

  2. Perhaps I should not feel this way, but I am annoyed with the “so-called” title of “Doctor” to every Tom, Dick and Harry that uses the term. My feeling are based on what I see in my own family: My son is a doctor who earned the degree at an accredited school and paid for the education earning the right to the title, but does not choose to use the term. My granddaughter more recently completed her doctorate at an accredited school. She’s yet paying for her education although she did work for the school which partially paid the bill. It will take her some time to get it fully paid. We will always call her, “Shannon,” and she would never ask anyone to use the “doctor” title although she has the right to do so. I observed the hard work, time, and expense that it cost them for their educations. That is why it is annoying to me to hear the term used so loosely, and they will never realize the real cost of this education. A lady minister on TV calls herself “Dr……” I pity her need to do so!

    • I think your feelings are justified. It’s an epidemic right now. As someone who earned his master’s degree, even I get annoyed at these fake doctors knowing they don’t actually have enough education to hold an associates degree.

  3. Re: Kent Hovind, I wouldn’t be too sure about whether he has any degree at all. He does refer to himself as a “high school science teacher” but taught at a Christian school, which wouldn’t necessarily have required a degree of any kind.

    • Billy has a rather suspect education with an earned BA in Bible and and earned MS in Anthropology. But he has more education than most on this list and he went to actual schools. Wheaton is not a fluke school but his degree was in anthropology, not biblical studies.

    • Martin Luther King has better creds than Billy: B.D. from Crozer, and Ph.D. from Boston college. However, his dissertation from Boston was highly suspect and many have accused him of plagiarism. But it seems like he was more or less just a bit sloppy in his citation process. Modern standards are pretty rigid in the citation process. But he was able to defend his dissertation in front of the academics at Boston College, so he had a handle on the subject matter.

  4. Please, a question concerning some churches diplomas which are not recognized by any state. What is the right of the states to accept or not a kind of diploma; what ability can have a state for accepting of refusing some kinds of religious teachings!? I think that churches accept and recognize diplomas when they are only according with their own theology! State is governed by bodies or trustees whose members are lawers or political people! In such conditions, why a state cen take the right to get off some categories of religious teachings!

    • The states do not enforce the contents of the teaching. They enforce guidelines for teaching standards. For example, the education level of the professors and how many of them are allowed to be graduates of the same institution that they are currently employed by. They also set requirement for course work. For example, the seminary that I attended required a certain number of pages of reading for every class that I took. State accreditation agencies do not enforce curriculum.

  5. Looks like you you can add Blac Chyna (!) aka Angela White to the list; she is now claiming a doctorate from Sacramento Bible College & Theological Seminary, which is unaccredited and appears to be a diploma mill.

    • *sighs* Thanks for this….

      Of course you cannot “earn” a doctorate without an undergraduate or graduate degree, and do it in 2 years. A doctorate in any theological discipline is 5 years minimum and nearly ALL programs require you to already know Hebrew and Greek and to learn a 3rd language for research, such as German.

    • But Jesus never lied about his education or claimed to have a degree that he did not. A degree is not required to preach the gospel. But lying about your education to trick people is terrible.

  6. While researching Peter Ruckman, I recall reading that his Bachelor’s degree was from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) and his Master’s received from Bob Jones. I do not find that I kept the source of this (or even mentioned it in what I wrote), but you could probably find it. Thought I would mention it.

  7. Great list. Some additions:

    (1) James R. White of Alpha & Omega ministries should definitely be on this list. He has a legitimate MA from Fuller (can’t remember where he did his BA) but his ThM, DMin, and ThD are all from the unaccredited Columbia Evangelical Seminary. His “dissertation” was published as *The Forgotten Trinity* and I highly doubt it would be accepted as a dissertation at a legitimate doctoral program anywhere. Look up “Does James White Have a Genuine Doctorate?” by Gary Novak. (I understand White is now working on an accredited doctorate in text criticism out of a South African school, and I wish him the best in completing his program, but that will not make up for a quarter century of claiming a degree he doesn’t actually hold.)

    (2) The late Ravi Zacharias. Same as MacArthur; began calling himself “Dr.” after receiving an honorary doctorate. I believe he has a legitimate MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I realize that, given the posthumous revelations about Zacharias, his inflation of his academic credentials may be the least objectionable thing about him, but he probably belongs on this list.

    (3) Walter Martin, author of *Kingdom of the Cults* and the original Bible Answer Man. His bachelor’s degree was from an unaccredited school (can’t remember where) and his PhD was from California Western University (now California Coast University), which was, in the 70s, an unaccredited correspondence school. Bizarrely, his MA from New York University was accredited (they accepted his unaccredited bachelor’s degree), but he lied about his credentials in other ways, claiming he wrote a master’s thesis when he did not and claiming he wrote a doctoral dissertation for CWU when none could be found. Ironic that another fake “Dr.”—Zacharias—would edit and promote an updated edition of Kingdom of the Cults. He died in 1989; not sure how recent these need to be.

  8. To The Body of Christ Worldwide
    The Five Office Callings of God: Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist, and Pastor are given by God Himself!

    Only those God has called to His Five Office Callings – that He gave and gives to “The Church” – would and should be called by The Names of those Offices that God Called them to be: … As it is Written!
    i.e., Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist, and Pastor. To add or subtract from them – would be a serious “Scriptural Offence” Like it would to any other part of His Word – to do so with another title definitely would not be by God and God wouldn’t recognize them Himself if some one changed them! Man’s Title as in “Dr.” for a Doctorate in education typically says who he is and where and how he got his education and that being from man and not from God Himself!
    Those whom God calls – to His Five Office Callings and by their names also tells you their education is by The Holy Spirit who is The Spirit of Truth and assures us of His True Doctrine! Those that bare the Office Calling Name would then tell you who they are and where they get or should have received their education from – The Ministry Office Title then tells you that – it should be by The Person of God The Holy Spirit Himself who gave them to The Apostle Paul for the Church in both;
    1 Corinthians 12: and Ephesians 4: and not just from man!
    Disrespecting God’s Office Calling Titles like this is quite disrespectful to God The Holy Spirit – to say the least! And also tells you those that have done this don’t understand the true significance of the Calling or the significance that goes with the Title!

    The Apostle Paul here; sums it up here, quite clearly!

    1 Corinthians 2:16. For who knows the mind of the Lord that he may teach it? But we have the mind of Christ.

    If you had the Mind of Christ you would have or should have known enough not to change it – if in fact He did call you!

    Just so you may know and be aware of it – on 11/11/91 The Holy Spirit revealed to me Himself that I was in fact called by God as an Apostle, Prophet and Teacher and I do highly honour and respect both The Office Callings and their Titles as God gave them! The Office Callings have come from The Person of God The Holy Spirit, Himself and for God’s Purposes and Plans for The Whole Body of Christ as it will be The Same Holy Spirit fulfilling them in His Full Demonstration of The Spirit and in Full Demonstration of Power in This Last Move Coming for all Five Offices and for matured Sons and Daughters of God!

    And To God Alone will be all Power, Glory and Honor both now and Forevermore!

    Grace and Truth Ministries Int’l. RVB

    • “God”? Why throw God into this mud slinging mess? These “councils” and “Bishops” and seld-dwsignated “Apostles” run a “divine gifts and offices” mill and award whoever the hell they wish. Don’t get God involved in what is what is sole human exploitative abuse of power and political manipulation of ecclesial business.

  9. Thank you for publishing this. As founder of the United Church of Bacon I found this so interesting that we also started a diploma mill for a degree in “The Sacred Theology of Baconism”.
    We have no problem with religion if it makes you a better person. But this is wrong as people donate money to these con artists based on the respect of the degree.
    That is why we issue free “doctor” degrees, and we require a grade of 110% on our final ( and only ) exam.
    You can apply at
    Good luck, and again thank you for exposing these fake degrees.

    • I’ve always dreamed of having my doctorate in something that actually matters! However, the Ph.D. quiz appears to be be defective?

      Failed quiz

      • You have done nothing close to any of these people. You don’t know the difference between Honorary Dr and a PHD degree. A farmer who never been in school may receive an Honorary Dr degree and may not have a BS or MS. So what is the big deal? Who said a graduate program takes 12 years? I got my PhD in 3.5 years from LSU. Contribute something to others, instead of spending your time to compile accusations

        • I think you are confused about how higher education works. You have to build upon previous education. For example, you cannot earn a Ph.d in Biblical Studies unless you have an M.Div or similar degree. This is because you need to know the original Biblical languages with fluency in order or do the research. An adequate masters degree in Biblical studies will supply this foundation.

          The same for my career as an electrical engineer. You can’t get your masters in engineering if you didn’t get your B.S. in engineering because there are pre-reqs required from your undergraduate degree that you need to complete your graduate degree.

          So why does it take 12 years for a Ph. D in Biblical studies?

          4 years for undergrad
          2-3 years for a masters (3 years for M.Div)
          5-6 years for doctoral

          That means it’s 11-13 years to complete if you go to a real school and not a junk school. It also depends on your field of study. Some masters degrees are only 1 year now, such as an MBA. Some Ph.D programs are also shortened, such as Pharmacy. However, Theology and Biblical studies have always been extended Ph.D programs with very extensive research requirements.

        • “These people” are fakes. Thank God someone is exposing their charlatan titles that authentic PhDs have to actually enroll Ina recognized and integral program with authentic faculty with authentic degrees, and scholarly standing. These imposters use the title without paying the price of real academic work. Pathetic carpetbaggers.

    • After doing some digging it appears Dr. Al Reichman might not be purposefully deceiving people but is just another victim of getting garbage degrees from schools pretending to be real educational institutions. He did, in fact, earn his degrees it appears. They are just from junk schools. In this case, the schools at least appear to be trying to be legit. But they are clearly not anywhere close to being real academic institutions.

      Now I am torn. He doesn’t have a “fake” degree like the televangelist types. He’s just got very junky degrees. I will spend some more time checking him out and see what I can find.

    • Bethany Divinity College & Seminary, 1785 E Main St, Dothan, AL 36301 appears to be the alma mater. I wasn’t sure. There is a legit school with a very similar sounding name. However, google maps does not do this one any justice. Thank you, again! Opinion always valued.

  10. Perchance something is indeed rotten within the state of Denmark. What can be noted and said of the Solid Rock Theological Seminary in India? Anyone?? anyone at all?

    • Solid Rock Theological Seminary might have good intentions but they should not be treated as an educational institution of any type of academic standard. At best it’s a mission training institute. They are accredited by Transworld Accrediting Commission International which is a widely known agency that mainly deals with diploma mills.

      • Thank you, sir! Dr. Jim Scudder Jr. serves as the Senior Pastor of Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church in Lake Zurich, Illinois. What thinkest thou? Make the list?

        • Dr. Jim Scudder Jr. does not have a published education but his father does have a junk undergrad degree and then started a seminary with said education. I have too assume that this school is where he and his son acquired their “doctorate” degrees. Their course catalog includes 1 unit of Intro to Hebrew and another for Intro to Greek but no serious biblical languages department. Their list of professors have mostly junk educations with the rare exception of some connections to Bob Jones…. which at least in the last 10 years has attempted to maintain some form of academic quality. I assume he’s the one teaching intro languages.

          Based on the information that is available, I HIGHLY doubt Dr. Jim Scudder or Dr. Jim Scudder Jr. have anything resembling a legitimate degree past an undergraduate and that fact that their “seminary” is proudly unaccredited as well as staffed with diploma mill graduates tells the rest of the story. Some of their staff also have unlisted “doctorates” as well. At least 3 of them have degrees only from the very same school that they are currently teaching at (which we already established is a junk school).

          I am 99% sure the Scudders are lying about their education. I would love to be proven wrong.

  11. Wowzer!! So much disdain and animosity among the brethren. While I clearly agree with the spirit of true academic scholarship, I get the sense that love is completely absent from most of these postings. Knowledge, and the importance thereof, is essentially a manmade, social construct. While many of these people are propounding PhDs, all that is really getting the goats of many is that the real PhDs have slaved away and spent years and fortunes getting them. The main issue here is PRIDE. While knowledge is essential, let us use it for God. I personally know a fellow on this list. While not Yale Divinity educated, he has furthered the kingdom. Unless there is true deceit and illegalities going on, be careful treading on those who have the hand of God upon them.

      • Noted. I admire your diligence in so doing. However, I suggest you season your ire and duty with humility and wisdom. For example, many of the descriptions denoting above individuals are a tad caustic. In fact, some may even border on liable. On some occasions, folks are lambasted only to be apologized to later after getting facts straight. What people read have obvious impacts on reputations and legacies. Further, you might enlist the help of a good lawyer to preview your writing prior to posting it. Our rather litigious society loves to prey on people who post too soon. “Be that as it may, that cat shall mew and the dog shall have his day”. – Shakespeare
        Good work, yet be careful!

  12. #89 Stephen Whiley- is his name spelled incorrectly? If it is Stephen Wiley- in addition to his education, he (truthfully) is commended for the for the first full-length Christian rap album in the mid 80s.

  13. One other comment. Some of these people are deceivers. Unfortunately, some are not. Some are just so ignorant they don’t realize that their degree is not worth anything. The most important thing I got from a university education was an awareness of how much I don’t know.

  14. Love the fake diploma. Printed a copy to hang on my wall. Why is it when someone is bragging on some preacher and telling me I need to listen to them, and then I tell them they have a fake degree, they get mad at me?

    • Sadly, I think people feel proud of themselves for picking good leaders so when we spill the beans they naturally go into face saving mode. I’ve seen it a lot. I knew a couple once who wanted to fly to Asia to see Joseph Prince and the guy nearly went apoplectic when I told him that Joseph Prince didn’t actually know Hebrew and that there are no secret messages hidden in the ancient proto-Hebrew symbols.

      Just keep holding the truth out there.

  15. I just stumbled onto this website. So why is Life Christian University considered a fake accreditation? Why are we picking on Florida? Did you make up this so-called fake Doctorate above?

    • James,

      All reasonable questions. I will address in order.

      1. So why is Life Christian University considered a fake accreditation?

      The reason why their accreditation is fake because they only recently chose to be accredited after being unaccredited for a very long time. The agency wiling to give them accredtiation is a garbage institution that exists only to make money and provide an accreditation stamp for garbage schools. This was proven in 1988 when the Missouri attorney general setup a clearly fake and fraudulent school and then applied for accreditation through ACI to see if they would get rejected and ACI accepted them. The fake school had only enough course work for one week. ACI was renamed to ACI and then moved to Arkansas…..for obvious reasons.

      So just having an accreditation stamp is meaningless and often a sham.

      2. Why are we picking on Florida?

      I am not picking on Florida. The reason they appear on the list so often is because the state has virtually no regulations on church or schools. So naturally, fake schools and scam churches flock to the state. This is also problematic in other primarily red states such as Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and others.

      3. Did you make up this so-called fake Doctorate above?

      Yes, I did make the fake degree in the article make image. It was meant to be comical.

  16. In regards to Henry Jones’s MDiv from Logos, you said that Logos is a “diploma mill” this is not true. They are a member of ACSI wich is a totally legit accreditation. Just because an institution is not regionally accredited does not make them a ” diploma mill” there are plenty of good Christian colleges that do not have a national or regional accreditation.

        • I disagree. ACSI primarily accredits High School and below. The few colleges that are listed members are less than reputable…with a few exceptions. Descriptions of what each institution is accredited to offer is also not listed. I highly suggest you don’t plan on using this school as a stepping stone to get into a more reputable institution in the future.

      • Also, I am taking Greek 1 right now at Baptist College of Florida a regionally accredited college and I most certainly did NOT have to know the Greek alphabet before class began.

          • BCF is a ver well respected school. Most SBC preachers in Florida have attended it for their undergrads. You obviously don’t know what you are talking about.

          • I would differentiate between “well respected” and “well respected in your specific circle”. SBC preachers from Florida isn’t exactly a large sample size. Nearly every state has a Baptist college that is “respected” in certain Baptist circles but outside that bubble they are relatively low rated.

  17. Names to be added to your list: Apostle Dr. Faith Walter’s, TH.D, Women & Men Of Excellence Outreach Ministries, Mt. Vernon, NY, Tel. # church – 914-699-2482, . Rev. Kevin Wade, NYC.
    I found your list to be extremely informative as I have been dismayed by the number of people passing off the honorary doctorates as earned degrees.

    • Thanks for reading and I will be adding “apostle Dr.” Faith Walters to the list. I appreciate the heads up. The list never stops growing.

      • Thank you for compiling this list. I have always resented people who add educational titles without using the word honorary. I worked hard for my degree and I am still paying off my school loan at 70 years old. I have followed many of these ministries off & on for decades and still do not give respect to their fake degrees since they don’t put honorary before their title.

    • To retain organization I will address your two questions separately.

      #1 Honorary notation means you use the format of Dr.h.c.” or “Dr.(h.c.)”. You also add this to your headers and titles, not buried paragraphs deep in a bio where you already titled yourself as an earned Dr. You don’t get credit for using the Dr. prefix incorrectly but noting it’s honorary in another location. That is deceptive and honestly it’s the only reason why they listed her as a Dr. anyways…. to make people think she’s more qualified than she really is.

      #2 She was alive at the time this article was written and published. Being as everyone on this list will eventually die… I see no need to remove people as they pass on.

  18. I find your description of Virginia Union University lacking any merit. I highly doubt that you have ever set foot on the campus to make such an assessment.

    • I would defer you to the updated comment on Virginia Union. My previous comment was not clear and made in haste. It was not a thorough assessment of the institution nor did I attempt to give one.

  19. Your list and your assessment of Virginia Union shows your racist attitudes toward Black institutions. Thus this list is a total piece of crap. And frankly you are probably not much better than those you critique.

    • Kevin, I was not very clear in my comment on Virginia Union. I was not implying that it was a bad school. It’s a perfectly fine school. I’ve updated my comment to better reflect why I previously said it was “not a great school”. To be sure it is at least a “good” school with some of their faculty being highly qualified.

  20. What does exposing their fake educating do for you? Most of these persons have very successful ministries. Last I checked you didn’t need a degree to preach the gospel. Am I wrong sir?

    • I would suggest any time a pastor lies to the public it’s a sign that something is wrong. Moreover, having a real education ensures that they don’t become cults which is much more likely in churches that lack leaders with formal educations. I make these lists not to benefit me but to warn others. If your pastor cannot be truthful about their education then they cannot be trusted.

      • Thank you.
        I am sure there are exceptions as in most anything however, it is usually the less educated that attacks people who are educated who know & look for the difference in an educated person. Educated people often don’t have a constant need to flaunt degrees after their name. I have a real degree and don’t put it on anyting unless it is needed for a resume requesting a position that requires it a degree.

        • That’s right Janis! Most of the people I know with an earned Ph.D. only use the title in formal use situations. I actually had professors ask student to call them Professor and not Dr. because they don’t want people to feel intimidated.

          The people that give me the most laughs are the ones with titles like : “Rev. Dr. Apostle Bishop So-n-So”

          It would be funnier if these leaders weren’t so dangerous to well-meaning Christians.

    • Mark, you are right that you don’t need to have a degree to preach the gospel. But you should have a degree if you claim to have a degree, and you should have a degree of integrity if you profess a call to preach the gospel, and if you profess a call to preach the gospel you should actually preach the gospel. The question is not what does the compiler of the list gain by exposing the truth, but what are those on the list trying to gain by their deception.

    • Some of my family members are off track due to these fakes having a “successful” ministry. They may make a lot of money or have a great following, but as Jesus said, “If you are faithful in a little thing, you will be faithful in much.” If they fake a degree or deceive in any way, they are off track. Some are very charismatic – hence, the following of deceived folks.

    • Successful ministries doesn’t mean that these people are sincere in what they are preaching to millions of people. They are taking advantage of people’s ignorance. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. It is a sin to teach false doctrine. And by the way, I DO have a degree.

  21. I think the list is a good exercise in listing facts. The implicit and explicit commentary might be more problematic.

    One person’s system of earned diplomas is another person’s irrational, immoral, elitist, exercise of power to control access. If you obtain “Dr” in front of your name in order to specify that I am not “Dr” and to then dole out various forms of status, power, prestige, reward and access…..Don’t be surprised if your language gets flipped on you and I become “the right Rev Dr. Dogood.” It does not help much at that point for you to complain that you spent a half million dollars “buying and earning” that diploma. Should, for instance, access to being on the Federal Bench run through only one or two law schools?

    And this does not even get at the decisions to professionalize the clergy and make a graduate academic degree the gatekeeper. That entire system of accreditation, development of ‘highly qualified’ (ie Academic PhD’s from ‘leading’ institutions) produced a seminary world that basically led American Christianity over a cliff. The reaction against that might not be better–but it is understandable.

    • “That entire system of accreditation, development of ‘highly qualified’ (ie Academic PhD’s from ‘leading’ institutions) produced a seminary world that basically led American Christianity over a cliff. ”

      I disagree whole-heartedly. Most anti-Christian movements are usually born out of a reaction to fundamentalist teaching and the like.

  22. I’m guessing you’re aware of James Manning of Atlah World Ministries. He has a legitimate degree from Union Theological Seminary which they are openly embarrassed about and a PhD he gave himself.

  23. Dr. James LaVirt Netters should not be in this list at all. Someone did not do an ounce of research regarding him. Looks like you saw that he got a honorary degree from Oral Roberts and put him on this list. His BA, MDiv, and Dmin are all from accredited institutions. How many others are on this list and should not be.

    Please remove Dr. James L Netters from this list immediately.

    • Dr. Netters received his Bachelors in Sociology from Lemoyne Owen College
      MDiv and Dmin- Memphis Theological Seminary.

      Remove him from this list asap and provide a formal apology to his family and followers.

    • The entry for Dr. Netters is corrected with his updated bio information which was not available when the list originated. If this information was public before 2019 then it is my error and you have my most sincere apology.

        • If it was publicly available I would have found it. I checked all the websites with his information that are currently available and none of them originated before 2019. Unless there is one 20 pages deep on google then it did not exist.

          Moreover, I already corrected the information regarding his education. While it is unfortunate that Dr. Netter ended up on this list, it’s certainly not a case of defamation. Also keep in mind, Pastor Watkins, that all your comments on here are public and while you might think you’re defending Dr. Netters with some well deserved righteous anger, what you’re really doing is attempting to bully a blogger rather than have a mature discussion. This isn’t the best look for your “money changers” in the temple moment. You usually want to reserve that anger for the types of charlatans on this list who con poor people out of their hard earned money in the name of God.

      • Your research is horrible and your excuse for adding Dr. James L Netters name is not acceptable. You saw an honorary doctorate fro
        ORU and ran with a false narrative. His name should not be on this list at all. You apparently never read his bio. Remove him from this list asap!

      • Dr. Netters served as pastor of Mt Vernon Baptist Church for 62 years. The website has been up for many years. In addition, his information is available in plethora of spaces.

        The notion that Dr. James L. Netters bio was added in 2019 after you complied your list is utterly ridiculous. You should be as ashamed as the schools or individuals who you are aiming to expose. Remove Dr. James L. Netters from this list. He should not be associated with this at all.

        • You should check the page origination date on the website were his bio exists. It was created in 2019. Most of his biographical information was added to the internet when he passed away. As such, I already told you that I’ve updated his information to reflect the available information.

      • The Rev. James L. Netters, Sr. has had the earned Doctor of Ministry Degree since 1994. The honorary degree from ORU is absolutely irrelevant to your claim labeling him and his works as fraudulent. I respectfully demand that you formally apologize to his family, to the congregation he served for 60 years and remove his name from this list. Reading is fundamental. Study is required. Context matters. In all your getting, get understanding. Just go to Google and put his name in. You will be amazed.

        • Nearly 100% of the information online about Dr. Netters was posted after his passing. I updated his information to reflect newly available information. This list was assembled at the start of 2019 and published later that year. Had his information been available at the time he was added to the list I would not have added him. I am well aware how to use Google.

  24. Maria and Tony Costadini Nashville, TN
    Both attended Rhema bible college for fake bachelors and they both hold “Masters” in Theology from Life Christian University. Maria uses her credentials to become the president of Harpeth Montessori in Franklin, TN and has been masquerading herself as an educator.

  25. Add “Prof. (Dr.)” Marc van Rossem to this list. One of Mr. Joyner’s North Carolina alumni, excommunicated from the RC Church in 2014, van Rossem escaped to China where he has careered from one university to the next under the pretences of his fake doctorate. There aught to be a picture of this individual included next to the word “charlatan” in the dictionary.

      • Ahhh Well then Dr. Raul Vidal from CMC / Crown Bible Academy has been falsely stating that he has credentials to be teaching & distributing degrees for Associates & Bachelors in Biblical Studies. There Accreditation states :

        Crown Bible Academy is partnered with Rhema University and is a member of the Florida Council of Private Colleges, Inc., (FCPC) which represents its member independent colleges and universities before any government and/or educational agency.

        The FCPC is an educational association that provides experienced educational quality peer review and on-site visits of the following: faculty, operations, catalogs, brochures, advertisements, application forms, financial information, and student records and transcripts, to FCPC standards which exceed the minimum standards of the State of Florida. For verification of all FCPC standards.
        However, together with Rhema University, Crown is now in the process of attaining it’s National Accreditations.

        But Rhema only has a campus in Florida and Africa….Plus is the FCPC even a real Accreditation if Crown Bible is located In California? Crown did not open until Raul joined his Parents Church CMC in which he used Rhema’s Ambassador Program to get help on how to Market on the Business of having a church provide schooling for profit gaining.

        • As a general rule, Florida has zero regulations for these diploma mills which is why so many are there. The same is true for 3rd world countries. If you see an unaccredited school in Florida and Zimbabwe then something fishy is going on. Also, reputable schools list their professors AND where they obtained their degrees. I always lookup the faculty lists and if it’s full of people who graduated from the same school they teach at or from other junk schools then it’s definitely a scam. If they don’t list their faculty then it’s 100% a scam.

  26. You forgot “Dr.” James R. White of Alpha Omega Ministries who bought his doctorate from the degree mill Columbia Evangelical Seminary. Even one his own publishers wont use the title. He also has a long history of fudging his teaching claims. It took Mormons to expose him:
    Peter Lumpkins exposed his teaching claims:

    The perfect way to evaluate his book The King James Only Controversy is to read it side by side with Richard Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics Volume 2. The latter is an actual scholar.

    • You know what, I think I added him to a previous list but I missed him on this list. Thanks for catching the error. At least he’s currently getting an accredited PhD but I’m not overly impressed with most correspondence doctorate programs. Did he ever mention what his doctorate degree was in? Someone like him should continue along the path of Greek/NT studies. A guy like him would become an atheist if he did something like NECL/OT… At least in my opinion.

      • His current “PhD” work is at another degree mill on textual criticism. The school has no program related to the subject nor does it have any faculty who work in the area.

        • I did check out their website and sure enough they do not offer any Phd studies in theology so I am not sure what he is trying to do. The theology department seems to have their own website that does suggest they have doctoral programs which include areas such as the biblical languages. As far as I can tell the school is somewhat weak-sauce but no diploma mill. They are a full accredited institution with over 45k students.

          That being said, one has to wonder how many schools rejected him before he decided he should try getting a distance degree from South Africa….. seems off to me.

  27. The minister of the Gospel is called to be above reproach, which means portraying him/herself in an accurate and honest manner. The HD is problematic because of the proclivity of some to portray themselves (either by doing so themselves or by allowing others to do so) in an inaccurate and sometimes dishonest manner. Only 2-3% of the populace hold an earned doctorate. As such, many do not understand the difference between an earned or HD, either by degree nomenclature or requirements. Consequently, if a minister is referenced as “Dr,” many (if not most) parishioners do not know whether it was earned through years of dedicated study and research or whether the title is simply honorary and not validated by academic experience. There is a reason for investing time/finances, often to the point of assuming substantial indebtedness, to acquire legitimate academic credentials. An academic degree is designed for utility. While the degree itself does not guarantee success, the knowledge and experience obtained in a specific degree program provide the tools necessary to function within a given context.

    There are no doubt very capable ministers who have been awarded the HD. However, to use the title “Dr.” based on the HD alone is misleading because it portrays an inaccurate picture of one’s academic qualifications. Men/women of God should certainly be honored for their service, no one is suggesting otherwise. However, there are myriad ways in which to bestow honor upon a man/woman of God, none of which involve academic nomenclature. Is it not ironic that of all HD recipients (politicians, sports figures, philanthropists, musicians, etc.) only certain members of the clergy use the title “Dr.” in their professional life?

    Let’s talk about four specific aspects of the HD:

    What an HD is not.
    • The HD is not an academic degree.
    • The HD was/is not intended to allow the recipient to use the title “Dr.”
    • The HD is not an earned credential.
    • The HD is not an alternate or nontraditional path to a doctoral degree.
    What an HD is.
    • The HD is an award, an honor, a certificate of appreciation, similar in kind to the award of “Person of the Year,” “Key to the City,” or “Honorary Member of the Police Department.”
    What are the criteria for awarding an HD?
    • According to Education Insider at, “While they’re a nice recognition and probably look good hanging on the wall, honorary degrees are not ‘real’ degrees; in other words, being awarded an honorary degree is not the same as earning an actual doctorate.” Julia Pomerenk, registrar at Washington State University, writes that the HD “doesn’t let [the recipient] do anything, other than have this formal recognition of a high honor.” The HD is an honor bestowed upon the recipient for any number of reasons, including but not limited to the following:
    o Various life accomplishments
    o Stellar performance in a specific area, such as politics, sports, music, etc.
    o Large financial contribution(s) to the awarding institution
    o Name recognition in which the institution seeks to gain credibility by awarding the HD to a well-known person
    o For institutions connected to an organization, the HD is often awarded to administrators in the organization
    How should the HD be understood?
    • Life experiences, accomplishments and contributions are commendable in and of themselves. They stand on their own merit and are worthy of commendation, but they are not an alternate path to a doctoral degree.
    • When used as envisioned the HD does have value, not as an academic credential, but as an award or honor. As such the HD should be listed under Awards/Honors in one’s bio/resume/vita. To list it under Education and use the title Doctor based on the HD alone gives the implication (whether intentionally or not) that it is an earned academic degree. To avoid the possibility of the latter some institutions of higher learning (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, University of Virginia, et al), as a matter of policy, do not award the HD.

    If accomplishments, achievements or contributions to the ministry warrant an HD, there are myriad faithful men/women of God who deserve one. Not only those with name recognition (recognition via a very visible ministry, election/appointment to an administrative position, pastoring a large church, etc.), but every servant of God who has labored faithfully in obscurity for years. Many who have labored faithfully in obscurity, whose names most of us will never know, may indeed receive greater rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ than their well-known counterparts. Persons such as my grandmother who recently passed at age 97, a woman more faithful to God than some ministers I have known.

    A final thought:

    A doctoral degree is not a prerequisite to effectiveness in ministry. Successful ministry is not determined by one’s title. “Thou good and faithful servant” will be the greatest title one could ever obtain. For those who believe God is calling them to graduate school followed by doctoral studies, they should pursue this call with all their might. For those who have never had the opportunity to pursue higher education, and feel no specific call to do so, they should commit to a life of discipline and self-study to be the best they can be for God. Honor, commend and recognize those with stellar service, but do so in a way that doesn’t have academic overtones or nomenclature.

    • Truthful, anointed, and courageous. As a spirit-filled believer with several earned degrees, including the doctorate, I have wrestled with this matter. Some on this list serve the kingdom profoundly and some, incredulously, have no idea there is a distinction between earned academic credentials and honorary degrees or diplima mills.

        • Yes. However, often, in a genuine attempt to “honor” individuals for their ministry gifts, we utilize an academic designation. Therein lies the tension. Institutions such as Jacksonville Theological Seminary plainly state in their student handbook that their curriculum and doctoral degrees are granted to qualify individuals for work in the ministry, not secular academic institutions. Yet, there are recipients of these degrees who do not comprehend the distinction, and how could they if they’ve never enrolled in a secular doctoral program?

          • Yes many institutions don’t do a good job at differentiating. In fact, many don’t do that on purpose. They want to grant honorary degrees to well known individuals so they will have their names connected to that school somehow. It’s like free advertising.

            I’m aware that some institutions actually hand out honorary degrees in good faith but they usually make it known that’s it’s an act of recognition and not equivalent to an earned PhD.

            In summary, any pastor who has an honorary degree should know better and not try to appear more educated than they actually are.

    • Considering their webpage is a collection of badly photoshoped images and broken PHP I am assuming it’s not exactly ran by professionals. The school itself, does not offering anything close to an accredited degree which is why they are based in Kentucky and the faculty are nearly all non-degree holding teachers. Two of the faculty members seem to have some training in Episcopal studies but their bio’s don’t show any formal education or training. Furthermore, the denominational affiliations they are claiming are not recognized by the heads of the denomination. For example, the “Apostolic Communion of Anglican Churches” is not actually in communion of Anglican churches. They are an “independent” branch similar to the Fundamentalist Independent Baptists.

      This school appears to be granting junk degrees for a cheap price. Clearly it’s a diploma mill. I would run far away from this “University”. Nothing you get from this school will transfer to a reputable school and any pastor graduating from this school will not gain employment outside of their isolated independent communion. It will be time and money wasted. You can probably learn more by watching seminary class room teaching on Apple University or Youtube. Most of the major seminaries now have the 100 and some 200 level classes online for people to watch and it’s free.

      You can also visit seminary websites and download the syllabuses to see what reading material is being assigned. This is not as good as taking classes but once again, it’s free and you’ll learn more than going to a diploma mill. I would also recommend learning Hebrew and Greek. Both can be learned from home these days.

  28. I don’t know how you could have missed Charles Stanley. He has real degrees from the University of Richmond and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, but his “doctorate” is from Luther Rice.

    • That’s a good one. Luther rice is a much better school than most unaccredited institutions, however, for a great number of years, especially early in, they were the definition of a diploma mill. Certainly the years that Charles was there, it was still a mill.

  29. I came back for another visit because something just occurred to me. Author and readers alike readily denounce the doctoral deception as a ideological and intellectual fraud upon the unsuspecting, but it now occurs to me that perhaps there is an actual fraud angle.

    How exactly do these DINO (Doctors In Name Only) pay their “tuition”? Whether itemized per semester, per course, or per credit, it’s a purchase price, plain and simple, and it would seem that there is little actual study required. It might also be the case that whatever academic credit requirements exist might well be awarded for vocational experience. It is also very possible and plausible that the DINO pay ghostwriters to transcribe piles of sermon tapes for compilation as “independent study” term papers and theses.

    But my de novo analysis goes like this: who pays the tuition and is it paid as if for a personal pursuit or for ministry marketing? If the degree is a purely personal vanity, but the ministry pays the tuition, then that compensation must be reported in the DINO’s individual income taxes. On the other hand, if the degree is merely marketing moxy, then the DINO must not gain from it personally. I see this no differently than, say, a company vehicle provided to an executive. A vehicle is an asset owned by the company which permits the executive to drive it in lieu of compensating said executive for business use of a personal vehicle. The executive cannot double dip by deducting mileage and enjoying a company vehicle. The executive also cannot (lawfully) use that company vehicle in a side hustle (rental, rideshare, etc). The company also cannot purchase a vehicle and then transfer title to the executive nor sell it to the executive for a nominal amount that is not the actual value. To do so would constitute tax evasion on the part of the company or the executive or both. Another thing that a business cannot do is engage in transfer payments through purchases of non-existent assets or grossly inflated raw materials (particularly where the transfer payment is for an illegal purpose or where the transfer payment directly benefits person who authorizes the payment). So I return to the First-Amendment ambivalence which I previously asserted. I suppose a DINO could call him/herself “doctor” just as legitimately as s/he could pronounce her/himself “bishop” and it’s First-Amendment speech and religion. But if the ministry spent money for an asset that does not actually exist or if the ministry paid “tuition” for an employee which is not then reported as income, then how is that not tax evasion (a.k.a. tax fraud) on the part of either or both? And if invoices or payments for a fictitious asset were sent by mail, that’s mail fraud. By fax across state lines? That’s wire fraud. Someone should notify Dateline or 20/20.

    • There are a lot of ways to look at this issue. I think the one that compelled me to get active was that these people are essentially purchasing doctorates for the sole purpose of appearing educated. It’s a power play. Surely “Doctor” pastor will be much more educated and wise than the average pastor, right???
      If the average church goer actually knew what was involved in going to a real seminary and then a real Ph.D program, they would be shocked that any of these televangelists could fake such a thing. The average Ph.D pastor has had 9 years of education AFTER completing their bachelor’s degree. 3 years of seminary and then 5-7 years for a Ph.D. D.Min only 3 years but still can be rigorous.
      But for 2500 dollars you can buy a Doctorate from LCU and skip the pesky studying and research of the process and just have the paper.

  30. Concerning the use of “Dr.” as a title in various professions should be limited to those who have received such from a school recognized by the US Department of Education or a similar foreign educational body, in my opinion. How “doctor” was used previously is irrelevant. It would be helpful to have your list alphabetized also. Most people in the pew have no idea what a bona fide doctorate requires and just assume that those who use the title actually did the required academic work to receive it. If a person will lie about their education, they will lie about anything. Amazingly, some of these ministers actually believe their “degrees* are valid.

    • You make a good point about the pew-sitters not readily comprehending the pretentious title–and that’s the real issue: pretense. For that reason I find myself with some ambivalence as to whether the conduct truly rises to the level of actual lying or whether it properly stands as egregious deception. A more doctrinally disturbing issue is the underlying legalism….that mentality which says “I didn’t lie, I tweaked the language” is the same that says “I didn’t steal, I indulged the discretionary funds.”

  31. Bio –

    Shealds University – can’t find it, no where
    Trinity College and Theological Seminary – several names – can’t find it by this name…one of the Trinity Bible College in San Antonio closed…but there is another one in North Dakota called Trinity Bible College and Graduate School and it does offer a PhD in Practical Theology
    International Bible College and Seminary – only found addresses in Missouri and Florida
    Barrington University – now known as University of Atlanta – it’s a scam college – diploma mill.
    Bastyr University – accredited (recognized by US Dept. of Ed) – offers no doctorate in Health Science but does offer a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. But only 20 states recognize this degree and practice. Here is an article about:

    President of his two Christian colleges associated with his church Temple of the Radiant Light (TRL): Christian Bible Center Institute & Seminary and Christian Bible Mobile University. Here is the website: You have to contact the church for courses. His website says its accredited, but can’t find on US Dept. of Ed website.

    So how do you have 5 doctorates, but no mention of bachelor’s and master’s degree? On his Facebook it says he attended the University of Free State in South Africa:

    Also, I emailed Westminster Abbey, they said is election and elevation to Sacred Order Of Bishopa is untrue.

  32. I have three people to add to this: 1. Dr. Larry Reid (BA (2009), Doctorate from Zion School of Ministry, a church school that no longer exists (2011), and MA (2012) from Apex College of Theology who are about to lose its accreditation. He is currently attending Hosanna Bible College (pre-accredited). 2. Dr. Bernard E. Jordan, PhD (1990-1998 at Friends International Christian University), BA (2006 at Astrology from Kepler College only accredited in Washington State), MDiv (Virginia Union University which is accredited), and Dr. Holly Carter (MBA in marketing and entertainment from USC Marshall School of Business according to her LinkedIn and Wikipedia page) but USC Marshall says its actually just a graduate certificate. She has a Phd from Southern California School of Ministry associated with First Church of God now known as Center of Hope)…but this it is confusing because there is an accredited Southern California School to Ministry bit it doesn’t give doctorates.)

  33. The biggest scam of all scams is when institutions grant an honorary doctorate when they don’t even have an earned doctorate program in that field XD

    Any school that endorses a televangelist is nearly always a junk school handing out junk degrees.

  34. Here are a few that you missed: Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Samuel Johnson… Just look up Honorary Doctorate on Wikipedia, there are plenty of famous people who went by the title “Doctor” but who actually have an honorary doctorate. BTW, not too many years ago only MDs and DDs could be publicly called “Doctor” everyone else, even PhDs, did not have that honor. I’m really interested in hearing your motivation for drawing this line in the sand. Do you think anything will change, in terms of public opinion?

    • I’ll have to check them out. I don’t have a problem with honorary degrees…. Although they are usually for publicity and not real academic accomplishments. What I have a problem with is pastors calling themselves doctor to appear educated when they, in fact, are not. It’s deceptive. When a pastor is introduced as Dr., it’s assumed that it’s an earned doctorate degree.

      A number of televangelists have been called out publicly for being in my previous list and have changed their website descriptions. All I want is for people to be honest to the audience that they are addressing.

    • Much of your asserted position is not factually correct. Academic doctorates (Ph.D. / D.Phil, Psy.D., etc, etc) have always enjoyed the privilege of the honorific. “Doctor” itself derives from the Latin “doctus” meaning “learned” or “wise.” In fact, academic doctorates far predated professional practitioners (that is to say, medieval practitioners of medicine were hardly more than biologists; the modern physician is a relatively recent construct but whose practitioners are unquestionably “learned;” however, since I have long held “doctor” to be an adjective rather than a noun, I personally say things like “my physician….” rather than “my doctor….” whenever possible).

      Given the etymological meaning of the honorific, recipients of honorary doctorates have every *technical* right to use the honorific which is not reserved solely to medicine. Traditionally speaking, though, honorary doctorates were only conferred by doctoral-level institutions of higher learning and as a consequence those institutions appreciated the austerity of the degree and did not hand out honorary degrees (doctorate or otherwise) to those who did not really merit it since to do otherwise would sully the reputation of the institution. Also generally speaking, those institutions took (and still take) creative license with the honorary degree (as is the case with the Doctor of Humane Lettres/Letters) so that honorary degrees would not be confused with earned degrees. Then too, there is the issue of self-respect. Traditionally speaking (again), recipients of honorary doctorates invoked their honorifics with discretion and typically only in relevant or ceremonial situations. In my estimation, those recipients understood the symbolic gesture and did not wish to profane it with casual usage (i.e. casting peals to swine). Similarly, it might be inferred that since even earned degrees can be rescinded if found to be obtained through fraud, dishonesty, or deceit, why would the same not be true of honorary degrees as well? Thus, the recipient (again, in my personal estimation) had every reason to treat the honorific with dignity and respect. That said, the distinction raised by DOTB is that certain evangelists lay illegitimate claim to the honorific–illegitimate by bogus conferral, illegitimate as a purchased commodity, or illegitimate as a misrepresentation of academic study/merit.

      But returning to your original statement of position, I think perhaps you are conflating the use of honorifics in professional versus academic settings. In many parts of the world, professional practitioners are not referred to as “doctor”. The most common example is the Juris Doctor. In the nineteenth century European lawyers (and some American lawyers) did refer to themselves and to others as “doctor.” This, however, has indeed long fallen out of practice. In the UK, practicing physicians typically refer to themselves and to each other as “Mr./Ms.” in clinical settings (where the white lab coat reinforces the obvious). Until the last 20 years or so, professional pharmacists/chemists were R.Ph. (Registered Pharmacist which required board examination then as it still does today), while research pharmacists might have a Ph.D. Now, however, all pharmacy graduates are Pharm.D. but do not use the honorific outside of academic contexts.

      I’m not sure from which part of the world you hail, but you might have caught wind of the controversy surrounding US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Without in any way speaking to the issues, there was some critique about the media’s fickle usage of the honorific in referring to Christine Blasey-Ford. She has an earned doctorate and is a tenured professor. Some congresspeople and some reporters referred to her as “Dr. Blasey-Ford” and others as “Dr. Ford” (completely incorrect for several reasons) while still others chose “Ms. Blasey-Ford” and “Ms. Ford” (also incorrect as that is not her legal name). In response to criticism, NPR stated that its organizationally-selected journalistic style guidelines specified that only medical practitioners be consistently associated or identified with the honorific so as to avoid _confusing_ the public. It indeed seemed rather sexist and political as applied to that factual scenario since, whether Christine Blasey-Ford were confused with a physician or dentist would be immaterial to the substance and credibility of her testimony.

      Tragically (still in my opinion), the honorific has been horribly diluted by chiropractors (D.C.), optometrists (O.D. but not to be confused with ophthalmologists who have an actual M.D.), audiologists (Au.D.), nursing practitioners (D.N.P.), and certain podiatrists (D.P.M. — some of which barely more than a nurse practitioners crossed with a physical therapist while others do surgical residencies and perform traumatic reconstructions and even implant prosthetic ankles). Personally, I have no issues with dentists (D.M.D./D.D.S. — whether or not a surgical residency is completed to become, say, a maxillofacial surgeon) and veterinarians (D.V.M.) using the honorific in professional practice as they too, are “learned” in the sciences. (And I’m not that clear what you meant by “DDs”).

      All this said, I also have no problem attaching the honorific to Billy Graham. One the one hand, I think EVERYONE knew it was honorary. On the other hand, Billy Graham’s lifetime service and devotion evangelization certainly satisfies one or more of the classic criteria for an honorary doctorate. But should Bob Jones or Liberty be handing out honorary doctorates? Hardly! Those institutions have not the first clue what actual research and scholarship look like. Then there are cases like Carl Baugh whose “doctorate” is in higher education (an Ed.D. perhaps? AFAIK, what he states as “doctor of philosophy in education” does not exist; incidentally, his dissertation is titled “Academic Justification for Voluntary Inclusion of Scientific Creation in Public Classroom Curricula, Supported by Evidence that Man and [D]inosaurs [W]ere Contemporary”). Hmmmmm…..I don’t think so. It’s debatable whether he merits the honorific even in academic settings, but regardless of the setting, an education doctorate in absolutely no way qualifies him as a physical anthropologist (a.k.a. archaeologist) nor as a paleontologist. It also does not qualify him to be a museum curator. The degree-granting institution is sketchy in its own right, and his dissertation premise is flatly bogus (humans and dinosaurs never coexisted). His is a classic self-deception that science and reason must be made to bend and conform to fit the literal Bible text. It is classic hubris to think that inferior mortals can adduce the fullness of truth known only to the superior deity.

      • Oh, one other thing that I forgot to mention, is that just because someone is listed on wikipedia as a recipient of an honorary doctorate does not axiomatically mean that the listed recipient does not also possess an earned doctorate, either from another institution, in another field of study, or both. Sometimes honorary doctorates are awarded to esteemed persons delivery a commencement address. Whether quid-pro-quo or not, it enables the institution to indelibly associate itself with that person and vice-versa.

      • John, honorary degrees are not the same as an earned degree and most reputable schools now ask that when listed as Dr., the recipient will indicate it’s an honorary title. Additionally, an honorary degree can easily be rescinded by a vote from the governing body from that school. This happened to both Trump and to Cosby. That is because they are not earned…. they are merely an honor. An earned degree cannot so easily be rescinded. A person must be found guilty of cheating or some other educational foul first. An earned degree cannot be rescinded just because the degree holder is unpopular or it’s discovered they are a criminal.

        I do agree that some honorary degrees can actually be of value and I think Billy Graham is a good example. While he could never go toe-to-toe with a real theology doctorate in a modern seminary, there is no doubt that his contribution to the field of Ministry is invaluable and unique. But there are very few Billy Grahams. For every Bill Graham honorary doctorate there are 100,000 more honorary doctorates from shady institutions being given to even shadier people.

        There are very few occasions today where an earned Ph.D is going to be viewed in the same light as an honorary one, which is why most decent people expect honorary degree holders to be forthcoming about their earned education or lack of.

        • Are you aware that there is good evidence that “Dr.” Billy Graham was a 33 degree freemason? Since the late 1950s he preached ecumenicalism. Pastor Dave Hunt, now deceased, tried to warn him many times. Check out “Billy Graham and His Friends” Dr. Cathy Burns

      • A adage from one of my undergraduate professors, who insisted on being addressed as “Mr. Holmes”, though he had a Ph.D.: “The propensity of a person’s insistence on being called ‘Doctor’ is inversely proportional to the amount of effort expended on the degree and the value of it”
        (his principal targets were the football coach other coaches who had Ed.D.’s)

        I studied law at the University of Chicago (and by the way, the J.D. as the standard degree for lawyers did not become universal until about 1970, with Harvard and Yale being among the last holdouts, though Chicago was one of the originators of the trend). The university has a strict policy that only M.D.’s are addressed as Doctor.

  35. Goodness! This is insanity, but I find myself struggling with Constitutional free speech issues. On the one hand, the First Amendment does authorize a citizen (or resident) to declare him/herself “Supreme Ruler, Resplendant Pontiff, and Eternal King of Atlantis” if so desired. It’s laughable but still a protected exercise of free speech under the First Amendment. And it is also the First Amendment that enshrines freedom of religion under which televangelists market miracle water from Chernobyl, Ukraine (USSR at time of nuclear meltdown). But the day we abide censorship of *any* religious practice is the day we trod the path to a open-world religion. So purely on Constitutional grounds I begrudgingly have to defend their rights to declare themselves “doctor” if they wish, but as an academic with an actually earned Ph.D., it turns my stomach (perhaos even more so than chiropractors who are skilled practitioners, but hardly “doctors”). And as a Christian, I find an inherent prohibition on deceit and falsehood (not the same things) that is highly evocative of Ananias and Sapphira. With the caveat that honorary doctorates from *accredited* universities with accredited *doctoral* programs do technically entitle the recipient to use the honorific (though 99% of recipients will not), the appearant evangelistic trend is one of pride and vanity where the misstating of education is outright falsehood and the purchasing of meaningless credentials is deceit (if not also pharisaical, vainglorious, self-righteous, and hypocritical). By way of comparison, I believe that Mark Chironna’s doctorate is authentic, but he does not flaunt it for the purpose of asserting his credibility. Christ (paraphrasing) admonished to simply say “yes” and “no” without oaths. In other words, let the authority of one’s speech stand on it’s own merits; there is no need to bolster truth.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.