Doctors of the Air

We met at a Saturday afternoon fund-raising and promotional rally sponsored by a para-church organization. His calling card introduced him impressively. He was the pastor of an independent church congregation not aligned with any denomination, and a radio preacher. They called him "Doctor". And why not? After the good reverend's name, his calling card displayed the symbol D.D. for his honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

He was at least fifteen years my senior. For reasons I cannot explain, we became friends. I learned he never attended college or seminary. One day I dared to ask about his degrees. With what I hoped was jest, he quoted part of the thirteenth verse from the third chapter of the apostle Paul's first letter to the young pastor Timothy, which says that a minister "doth purchase to himself a good degree." So I was not surprised to learn later that his honorary degree was from a diploma mill--the same school from which ultimately earned his doctor of theology (Th.D) degree.

Radio and TV preachers, who are typically within the charismatic, evangelical, fundamentalist fold, are not known for having much formal education or having credible academic credentials. Some religious media ministry celebrities are college or even high school dropouts. One college drop-out who conducted a religious radio broadcast for decades told inquirers that he took a few correspondence courses from a Bible Institute but received most of his training from the Holy Spirit. Still he introduced himself as "Dr," and used an N.D. (Doctor of Nutripathy) degree to promote himself as "Dr." in media ministry and as a nutritional therapist.

What is nutripathy? Gary A. Martin, D.N., Ph.D., Th.D., D.Sc., who originated the system in the late 1970s, allegedly thanks to divine influence, taught that "nutripathy is a religious science of experiencing mental, financial, physical, social and spiritual health using specific universal laws."

While no other media minister I know holds the highly suspect Doctor of Nutripathy degree, other radio and TV preachers rely on honorary degrees as the base for their "Dr." title. I doubt that the use of the honorary doctorate and the abuse of the "Dr." title it conveys has been more popular than among ministers, including media ministers. While the honorary doctorate has no academic standing, because of the "Dr" title, it is a popular degree among those in some ministry settings who have little or limited formal education.

When a featured speaker is introduced as "Dr," people who listen to religious radio and view religious TV programs have reason to ask, what kind of "Dr" the title means: Is the reference to a D.D., (honorary doctorate with no academic value), the Th.D. (doctor of theology), a research degree strictly in theology, a D.Min. (doctor of ministry) a degree based on the practice of ministry, or a Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy), a research degree that adds knowledge to the field in which the degree is pursued?

With the information in hand that the answer to the degree question asks, the next would be: What school awarded the degree? Just as it is no surprise that so many ministers, including those in media, seek honorary doctoral degrees, it should surprise no one that some Doctors of the Air are created by doctorates granted that are diploma mill degrees.

Dr A H Barbee is a minister and educator. He has served as church pastor, conference speaker, consultant to nonprofit organizations, businesses, Fortune 500 corporations, and professor offering courses in the humanities, management and organizational studies with five colleges and universities. He holds the Ph.D. in Human Resource Development.

[email protected]

In The News:

The Political Hijacking of Religious Principles  The National Interest Online

An Encouraging Moment / Pomes for the Heart

Here are a few pomes, that I hope, may encourage... Read More

Harry Potter To Christians: Its Not Good To Hear Voices

That is the popular and, thank God (if you'll pardon... Read More

The 1000 Year Millennium Kingdom

After the last bowl judgment is thrown by God the... Read More

Not Just Hearing the Word

Welcome to the website: All about Jesus, I hope you... Read More

Unholy Shadows: Gnosticism

One cannot begin to appreciate the early struggles of Christianity... Read More

Public Spectacle

Do you sometimes wonder how did Jesus make a Public... Read More

The Power Source

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized ?in the name of... Read More

The Blessings Of God

As discussed in the "The Gospel of Convenience", and "Investing... Read More

Muslims Are Losing Ground

Salmon Rushdie may have been the first to flee the... Read More

Are You Doing the Good Part?

Just compare yourself to these two sisters.Even though they were... Read More

What If We Are Getting Paid For Prayer (Salat)...

What will be the effect on general public if the... Read More

Sexual Deviants and the Catholic Church

It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church seems to continue... Read More

Connect These Dots: Unilateral Withdrawal, Egypt, Collapse of the South Wall, Raised Taxes and the..

There is a prophetic mosaic that few have attempted to... Read More

Dante and Hell

DANTE: - Dante Alighieri is the tour guide of Hell.... Read More

The Emmaus Journal ~ The Standards Of This World Are Not Our Standards

The Emmaus Journal The Standards Of This World Are Not... Read More

The Women Issue

The following message entitled THE WOMAN ISSUE is a study... Read More

Christian Book Stores are a Great Indicator of the Popularity of the Religion in Demography

Have you ever wondered how exactly would someone find out... Read More

Great Seats

And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit... Read More

In Divers Places

Isaiah 65:17-65:25In Divers Places. A Look at prophecy and today's... Read More

The New Urban Christian

Who are these new Urban Christians? What's up with the... Read More

The Big Bang Theory - Evidence Start of Cosmos and Human Evolution

What is The Big Bang Theory! What do we mean... Read More

A Common Sense Approach to Religious Freedom

Down through the centuries and all over the world, the... Read More

The Fruit, the Whole Fruit, and Nothing but the Fruit

Once we become a new creature in Christ, we are... Read More

Why The Devil Is He Out To Get You?

The devil's agenda for tricking Adam and Eve into eating... Read More

How To Avoid Deception!