Friday, August 3, 2012

Confirmation that Kevin Dyson ran a diploma mill, New Covenant International University, in Auckland, New Zealand

This post is an update on my previous post (here) on Kevin Dyson, the boss of the diploma mill, New Covenant International University (NCIU), that awarded doctorates to Kong Hee and Phil Pringle.

The following excerpt from General Trends in New Zealand society: Protest and Polarisation, Chapter 8 of the doctoral dissertation, "New Life Churches(2003) , of Dr Brett Knowles (a historian of Christianity at University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand), confirms that Kevin Dyson "granted degrees to pastors on the basis of the pastor's own studies and sermon materials." "Although the standards have since risen somewhat, it was possible to gain a doctorate from this (Kevin Dyson's) institution after seven years of pastoral experience, as evidenced by the pastor's collected sermon materials, and the submission of a 3000-word essay."

This is the strongest evidence yet that NCIU is indeed a diploma mill.


General Trends in New Zealand Society: Protest and Polarization

Brett Knowles, History of the New Life Churches in New Zealand, Otago PhD.

Chapter 8. © 2003 - Brett Knowles (source)


 A fourth consequence of the rapid growth of the New Life Churches (ed. Pentecostal denomination in New Zealand) was a changing perception of the role of the pastor.[32] Several factors combined to produce this change. These churches were initially the product of charismatic revivalism, in which the role of the revivalist/pastor as the "anointed" leader through whom the Spirit was mediated was counter-balanced by the authority of the Spirit in and through the congregational members, any of whom might be a vehicle for the Spirit. This opportunity to minister was not restricted to the operation of the gifts of the Spirit, such as prophecy or tongues. A feature of the movement in the 1960s was the practice known as "Body Ministry,"[33] when any member of the congregation was free, as the Spirit moved them, to share a scripture or to preach a short, usually extempore, message around the communion table on Sunday morning. This practice was most effective in small groups, where each person was known and where trust could be maintained. However, it fell into general desuetude as the movement grew and the local assemblies became larger. The result was that the charismatic authority of the Spirit increasingly became channelled and moderated by the pastor and the right to speak was restricted to those who were "recognised" by the leadership as "having a ministry." While the gifts of the Spirit continued to feature in the worship of the New Life Churches, the effect of this regulatory function was to replace the charismatic freedom of the Spirit with an "official" mode of leadership and to make the pastor, as the God-appointed leader of the congregation, the source of authority within the local assembly.

      Secondly, the numerical growth of the movement was paralleled by an upward social mobility. This was reflected in the higher socio-economic status of the congregation, members of which in the 1970s and 1980s often included professional and semi-professional people, as well as university graduates. This had a "spin-off" effect on the status of the pastoral ministry. The higher socio-economic and educational levels of the congregation, from which trainee pastors were recruited, meant a gradual rise in the social status of the pastorate as these new pastors entered the ministry. This upward mobility was also reflected in the increasing number of New Life pastors with professional qualifications or university degrees in the secular field (including, in some cases, doctorates).[34] The perception that these pastors possessed a certain standing vis-à-vis the secular world which their less qualified brethren did not have was one of the reasons for the attempts of a 
number of pastors in the movement to gain "qualifications" from an American organisation [ed. variously named New Covenant International Bible College, New Covenant International Theological Seminary, New Covenant International University], represented [ed. actually founded] in New Zealand by Pastor Kevin Dyson, which granted degrees to pastors on the basis of the pastor's own studies and sermon materials.[35] Various pastors, particularly in the Auckland area, took advantage of this offer, and the result was a growing number of pastors with "paper" qualifications. However this practice attracted some severe criticism from other pastors in the movement,[36] and the trend has now shifted towards the obtaining of a more genuine qualification.[37]

[34]     An example of the latter was Mike Fitzpatrick, youth pastor of the Dunedin Word of Life Tabernacle until mid-1992, who held a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Otago. However, degrees or academic qualifications in theological subjects were conspicuous by their absence in the movement. This reflected the general Pentecostal scepticism towards theological education, particularly in those institutions which were seen as "modernist."
[35]     Although the standards have since risen somewhat, it was possible to gain a doctorate from this institution after seven years of pastoral experience, as evidenced by the pastor's collected sermon materials, and the submission of a 3000-word essay.
[36]     This criticism was directed at the falsity of these "qualifications," rather than at the narrowness of the "education" which such a process produced.
[37]     As an example of this, the International School of Ministry [ISOM] may be cited. This Bible School was set up by the Christchurch New Life Centre in 1971 and offers a full-time two-year course of ministry training, which may count for up to two years' credit towards a four-year B.A. degree from the International Correspondence Institute (formerly based in Belgium and now conducted under the auspices of the Assemblies of God in the United States). ISOM is now formally registered with the New Zealand Qualifications authority.

Brett Knowles
From July 2006, Dr Knowles is Director (Academic Resources) in the Sydney College of Divinity, Macquarie Park, NSW, Australia. 

He was previously Academic Support Administrator in the School of Liberal Arts, University of Otago, and Teaching Fellow in Church History in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

He has taught in a number of educational institutions in New Zealand and Indonesia, and has published several books and a number of articles. 

His research interests include Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, New Zealand Christianity and Culture, Cross-Cultural Aspects of Christianity in the Asian Region (especially prior to 1500CE), and the Early Church.  (source)

Brett Knowles (source)
  • University of Otago: B.A. in Biblical Studies (2005)
  • University of Otago: Ph.D. in Church History (1994)
  • University of Otago: Bachelor of Theology with first class honours in Christian Thought and History (1988)


1 comment:

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