An Inquiry to Dr. John C. Fyffe...

General discussions concerning institutions and degree programs.

An Inquiry to Dr. John C. Fyffe...

Postby Poimen » Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:22 pm

First, Dr. Fyffe, I notice you have registered on DegreeDiscussion as of April 24, 2006. Welcome to DegreeDiscussion, sir.

Certain posters have long had an interest in Trinity College of the Bible and Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana. It was posted on this forum that you are no longer serving with Trinity, following a 26-page document, titled 24 Significant Problems in the Operation of Trinity. As with any web forum, posts may sometimes be misconstrued, misrepresented or blatantly fabricated. Because of the myriad points of interest and given your several year tenure with Trinity, your comments and participation are certainly welcome.
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Postby John C. Fyffe » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:19 am

Poimen,

Thank you for the welcome. I would certainly be honored to contribute to all God honoring discussions regarding Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. A little personal history might prove helpful. My experience with Trinity began in 1993. I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a B.S. in 1993 and later that year enrolled with Trinity in the M.A. in Biblical Counseling. I completed the M.A. program in 1996 and was hired by Trinity in 1997. I worked for about one year in the Finance Department before being transferred to the Technetronics Department where I worked directly for Dr. Dennis Frey as an enrollment counselor. I enrolled in the Ph.D. in Administration program with Trinity in 1997 and graduated in 2002. I continued to serve as an enrollment counselor through December 31, 2001. I began employment with Master's Divinity School (MDS) on January 1, 2002, working for MDS President Dr. Dennis Frey as Vice President for Admissions. I continued as V.P for MDS through mid September 2004. At that time, Dr. Hogg, Trinity's President, re-hired me at Trinity. I began working as an enrollment counselor and in March 0f 2005, Dr. Hogg promoted me to Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Services. In my capacity as V.P. for Trinity, I was primarily responsible for all Marketing and Enrollment Services functions. Dr. Hogg's employment with Trinity was terminated in August/2005 by Trinity's Board of Regents. Dr. Harold Hunter (Board of Regent's Chaplain and believing that it was in the best interest of the public and Trinity's students.Evangelist for Trinity Crusades) was officially appointed president for Trinity in a November 6, 2005 ceremony. Dr. Hunter continued my responsibilities as V.P. for Marketing and Enrollment Services and added Liaison to the President. As Liaison to the President, I was responsible for monitoring all institutional functions and reporting any irregularities to the President. Furthermore, I was to serve as President in Dr. Hunter's absence. On February 9, 2006, Dr. Hunter terminated my employment.

With regards to your post, it is true that I am no longer working with Trinity. The "26-page document, titled 24 Significant Problems in the Operation of Trinity" you refer to was compiled and filed by me with official sources following my termination of employment, not before. Immediately prior to the termination of my employment and in my capacity as V.P. and Liaison to the President, I attempted to address extremely significant and urgent institutional matters with President Hunter. However, Dr. Hunter refused to hear me out and instead fired me, stating that things were much worse institutionally than I could imagine and that he no longer needed me.

Believing that it was in the best interest of the public and Trinity's students, I filed the report with official sources on March 15, 2006. The "26 pages" report contains descriptive information and statistical data relevant to what I believe are several major improprieties within Trinity. Additionally, I attached a copy of a Civil Complaint filed in federal court (I believe in March/2006) by an attorney representing Dr. George Stiles against Trinity and its Board of Regents. It is my understanding that Dr. Stiles served Trinity for over twenty years and was serving as Vice President when his employment was terminated by Dr. Hunter in late 2005 or early 2006.

On April 3, 2006, I received what I interpreted as a threatening letter from an attorney representing Trinity. In brief, and in my opinion, the letter directed me to retract the report or Trinity would proceed to file a complaint against me for slander. Since the contents of the report are absolutely truthful to the extent of my knowledge, and I believe the report is in the best interest of the public and students, I retained an attorney to represent me. My attorney subsequently filed a response on April 20 to the Trinity attorney's letter wherein it is indicated that Trinity has no legal grounds for filing a complaint against me for slander or libel, that I will not retract the report, and that I will "vigorously" defend my actions should Trinity choose to proceede with filing a complaint.

As initially mentioned, I am willing to contribute to all God honoring discussions regarding Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. I do respectfully request that all discussions and expectations for my responses be tempered with an understanding of my present situation regarding Trinity as outlined above.

Respectfully,

John C. Fyffe
John C. Fyffe

Former V.P. for Marketing and Enrollment Services & Liaison to the President
for Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary

All content of my messages represent my personal opinion.
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Postby Rich Douglas » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:51 am

"God-honoring" is hyphenated. :lol:

Seriously, good luck on your quest. Litigation can be painful, even for those in the right.
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Trinity

Postby TheoloM » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:51 am

Dr. Fyffe,

Thank you for an open response to the post of Poimen. Currently, I am a doctoral student at Trinity and the alleged
violations concern me greatly. Not because you pointed them out to the NCA, but that they exist period. I only hope
that they will be resolved in the future and the Trinity will continue to be a viable training place for those of us who
are engaged in ministry. Honestly, at this point, I'm not certain that I will continue in the program. You are welcome
to this post, if you would like.

Best Wishes
Theolo M
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Postby Poimen » Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:47 am

John C. Fyffe wrote:Poimen, Thank you for the welcome. I would certainly be honored to contribute to all God honoring discussions regarding Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary.


Thank you, Dr. Fyffe, for your response and participation on this forum. I regret the sequence of events that led to your termination at Trinity. Hopefully, if you haven't already done so, you will soon secure a position within another school of religion.

Would you allow me to ask a few questions?

1. Could you elaborate on the "major improprieties within Trinity" of which you alluded?
2. Given the nature of the improprieties, in your opinion, will this negate Trinity's effort to achieve NCA accreditation?
3. Since you worked for both institutions, what is the relationship between Trinity & Master's Divinity School? I have seen the Technetronics link on both websites.
4. In terms of course work and degree programs, how does MDS compare with Trinity?
5. Does Newburgh Theological Seminary have any relationship to either Trinity or MDS?

Thank you for your response!
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Postby John C. Fyffe » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:17 am

TheoloM,

Didn't I read in another post that you're enrolled in a Doctor of Religious Studies (DRS) program with Trinity? Assuming this to be the case, I am available to dialogue with you regarding your program. I will follow your lead as to what advice I might offer that would be of some benefit.

While with Trinity, I did my very best to honor students' investment of time, money and energy in degree programs by providing personal assistance when requested. As odd as it may sound and to my knowledge, I was the only Trinity employee to have completed a Ph.D., and this experience uniquely equipped me to help students of all degree levels. My desire to help students hasn't decreased even though I am no longer employed with Trinity. I will gladly help you.

You mention that you are not certain that you will continue your degree program. It would help me to help you if I understood the factors influencing this consideration and ultimate decision. In general, what is causing you to consider not continuing?

Respectfully,
John C. Fyffe

Former V.P. for Marketing and Enrollment Services & Liaison to the President
for Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary

All content of my messages represent my personal opinion.
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Doctoral Program- Trinity

Postby TheoloM » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:40 am

Dr. Fyffe,

First, let me thank you for replying to my post. You asked about reasons for wanting to drop from the DRS program at
Trinity. Well, let me share them with you. For some time now I have felt that things were awry at Trinity. It seems that
each time I contact the school, there are changes being made in personel. That automatically throws up a red flag for
me. I'm thinking that the reason for this is that the school may not be stable enough to continue. A second reason for
wanting to drop out of the program is that if the ethical violations are true, then I certainly don't want to continue at a
school that has ethical questions. After all, what kind of credibility would a school have if ethical problems were hanging
over it? I would not want a degree that is tarnished in that manner. For you, these may not seem to be legitimate reasons,
but they are important to me personally.

Additionally, thank you for offering to help me at this point in my educational pursuit of a doctoral degree. What would
you recommend that I do?

In His Service,
TheoloM
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Postby John C. Fyffe » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:28 am

Poimen,

1. For the moment, I will briefly discuss two incidents. First, Dr. George Stiles filed a Civil Action complaint in federal court via his attorney which should be publicly accessible. It is my opinion that this Civil Action complaint alledges fidelity pension fund fraud invloving a high level Trinity officer closing the fund, removing one million dollars for himself and shifting another $600,000.00 of the fund to a Trinity account. It is my understanding that Dr. Stiles was one of five individuals participating in the fund. I was present at Trinity when Dr. Hunter fired Dr. Stiles. Furthermore, I was present during confidential discussions between two higher level Trinity officers than myself when it was decided that Dr. Stiles would receive no pension after more than twenty years of service. Additionally, the Civil complaint alledges age discrimination.

Second, Trinity's highest level officers have developed and are operating another distance education school that is in my opinion academically inferior and in direct violation to NCA standards and requirements. For purposes of this discussion, Trinity U.S. refers to Trinity Newburgh and Trinity U.K. refers to the inferior school operated from Trinity Technetronics under the guise of being operated from the United Kingdom. The web site for the school is www.trinityseminary.org.uk. Development of the school began in late 2005 (following Dr. Hogg's termination and Dr. Hunter's appointment). In december/2005, I was directed to recruit Trinity "teach-out" students into Trinity U.K's Ph.D. program. It is my understanding that NCA informed Trinity U.S. at the beginning of the NCA process that Trinity U.S. could not be associated with MDS and that Trinity U.S. would have to discontinue its Ph.D. program. These were two specific NCA requirements. Trinity U.S. did discontinue its Ph.D. program and experienced substantial enrollment revenue decline. Trinity U.S. did not immediately discontinue its association with MDS. Instead, personnel in the Technetronics building continued to produce MDS materials in the office next to mine. I personally witnessed a Trinity employee conceal the room wherein the MDS materials were being produced by stacking boxes from floor to ceiling. After NCA conducted its on-site visit, the boxes were removed and production continued. To make a very long story short, I questioned the development of Trinity U.K. from the beginning. When I ask whether the development and operation of Trinity U.K. would be outlined within the NCA Self-Study (which requires full disclosure), I was advised that it would not be mentioned in the Self-Study. I suggested that it was risking NCA accreditation to omit the development and operation of Trinity U.K. from the Self-Study. I was advised that
Trinity U.S. was "near bankruptcy" and that the Trinity U.K. project was Trinity U.S.'s only source of survival. It was suggested to me that Trinity U.K. would produce somewhere between .5 and 1.5 million dollars per month.

In my report to NCA, I advised that it was my opinion that those responsible for developing and operating Trinity U.K. had not only jeapordized NCA accreditation but had also exposed Trinity U.S. to class action litigation by the Trinity U.S. student body. I explained that most Trinity U.S. students had been advised prior to enrollment of the NCA process and of Trinity U.S.'s absolute commitment to complying with all NCA standards and requirements. I further suggested that it was my opinion that actions related to the Trinity U.K. project breached that commitment.

I'm going to stop here for now. There is much more detailed information related to the Trinity U.K. project that would simply take hours to convey. I hope you can sense the complexity of just these two "improprieties." My report documents 24.

2. In my opinion, given the nature of the improprieties outlined in my report, my understanding of NCA's standards and requirements, and NCA's accountability to the U.S. Department of Education, NCA must treat my report seriously. It is my opinion that all of the improprieties outlined in the report warrant NCA's careful consideration and investigation. It is also my opinion that my report and Dr. George Stiles' Civil Action contributed to NCA delaying its on-site visit scheduled for early May. It is my understanding from a source inside Trinity that Dr. Hunter held a special employees' meeting early last week to announce the delay, that my report and the Civil Action were the causes for the delay, and that Trinity had to respond to NCA in regards to both actions. I cannot speak with any certainty as to whether either of these actions will "negate Trinity's effort to acheive NCA accreditation."

3. To my knowledge, the only relationship that presently exist between Trinity and MDS is that both institutions are open to evaluating course work and/or degrees completed from the other school toward a degree program with that school. It is my understanding that while Technetronics was originally developed by Dr. Dennis Frey when Dr. Frey was employed by Trinity, it is owned and operated today by Trinity.

If memory serves me correctly, I was in my first year of employment with Trinity when "The Trinity Institute of Practical Ministry" was created by upper management and operated from Trinity's campus. This would have been 1997 or 1998. At some point, maybe around 1999?, the name was changed to Master's Divinity School and the operation was moved off campus. MDS course materials such as audio cassettes continued to be produced in Trinity's Technetronic's building (in a room just outside my office). I believe it was around mid 2001 that Dr. Frey announced he was taking over MDS as President. It was about that time that he ask me to consider moving to MDS as V.P. for Admissions. For the next several months Dr. Frey balanced working for both MDS and Trinity.

4. I can only speak of my knowledge at the time I left MDS in September/2004. I never enrolled in an MDS degree program but was quite familiar with course requirements. My experience with Trinity's Master and Doctoral programs was that both programs were academically rigorous. I am a fairly disciplined student and the M.A. took me 2.5 years and the Ph.D. a little more than four years. While I was with MDS, the primary focus was on practical ministry education/training. In my opinion, MDS's courses were academically inferior to Trinity's courses. One factor that I believed contributed to this difference was that Trinity consistently employed more academically qualified faculty who possessed degrees from recognized institutions than MDS. In my opinion, a well disciplined student could have completed an MDS degree program in less than one year. I believe that at that time, most of the degree programs required completion of only 6+ courses.

5. To my knowledge, Newburgh Theological Seminary (NTS) is not officially associated with either Trinity or MDS. NTS's president, Dr. Glenn Mollette did work for Trinity and MDS at different times before NTS was started. I worked with Dr. Mollette at both places for a very short time.

Respectfully,
John C. Fyffe

Former V.P. for Marketing and Enrollment Services & Liaison to the President
for Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary

All content of my messages represent my personal opinion.
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Postby John C. Fyffe » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:19 am

TheoloM,

The two reasons you provide seem quite legitimate and important. Allow me to address each reason separately. First, that things seem awry. The NCA process itself required significant organizational and academic changes in order to comply with NCA standards and requirements. This was a process that Dr. Hogg, as President, was fully committed to. In my opinion, Dr. Hogg succeeded in moving Trinity to a position well on its way to successfully receiving NCA accreditation at the time his employment was terminated. Following his termination, Dr. Myron Kauk (Vice President for Academics) was fired. Dr. Kauk was a very honorable and highly academically qualified man who in my opinioon was fully committed to the NCA process. There were many others that were fired as well. The bottom line is that in my opinion, Dr. Hogg was positioning Trinity favorably with NCA without firing anyone. Since replacing Dr. Hogg, Dr. Hunter has fired several high ranking individuals who were fully committed and critical to the NCA process. Please see my reponse to Poimen outling five points for my reference to Trinity U.K. and the risk involved therein.

Second, ethical concerns. Are you referring to the issues I am raising in my report to NCA? If so, I can assure you that the totality of my report is absolutely true to the extent of my knowledge. I agree with you about not wanting a degree that is tarnished by the questionable ethics of an institution. In my case, I am making every effort to encourage those who can officially influence major change in the operations of Trinity to do so.

With regards to my recommendation for what you should do, it may sound like a cop-out but I would take the matter to God in earnest prayer. You don't know me from Adam, and theoretically I could be deceiving you. It has been my experience that God provides clear discernment through the power of His Holy Spirit. I believe that God will reveal the path you should take. As for me, I generally pray about such matters and expect the Holy Spirit's guidance through God's Word. Specifically in cases like this, I consider and pray about what God's Word teaches relative to stewardship of time, energy and money. I know you've made significant investment of all these. If it is God's will for you to continue your program with Trinity despite the "ethical questions" then that is what you should do, and I will assist you in any way I can to successfully complete it. If it is God's will for you to cut your losses, withdraw from the program and not be associated with the ethical questions", then you should be obedeient. In either case, if you want, I'll gladly pray for you and remain available for further communication.

Respectfully,

John C. Fyffe
John C. Fyffe

Former V.P. for Marketing and Enrollment Services & Liaison to the President
for Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary

All content of my messages represent my personal opinion.
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Postby mhanrahan » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:39 am

To John Fyffe,

In reading your posts, I noticed from where you said you received your BS.

It is nice to see there are some alumni out there - Go Panthers

Mike Hanrahan '78
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Trinity Report

Postby TheoloM » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:09 am

Dr. Fyffe,

Thank you again for replying to my post about concerns for continuing my studies at Trinity. In your reply to Poimen's
post, you outline some very serious issues. Again, the ethics of the entire situation for me is of grave concern. I in no
way am referring to you as being unethical, but the practices at Trinity that you have outlined. As for continuation in the
program, I will make it a matter of prayer. I believe that God will give me wisdom in choosing the right direction. Thanks
for the encouragement as well. Education is very important to me and I want to be and do the very best with it.

TheoloM
B.A. East Coast Bible College
M.A. Church of God Theological Seminary
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Postby Poimen » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:14 pm

John C. Fyffe wrote:Poimen, For the moment, I will briefly discuss two incidents.


Dr. Fyffe,

Thank you very much for responding to my questions.
Poimen
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Postby Carl_Reginstein » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:03 pm

This all sounds like a most unholy pissin' match to me.... How's that for a "God-honoring" contribution?

Seriously.... I, for the life of me, cannot understand why religious students keep experimenting around with these marginal institutions that, to make matters worse, apparently have serious ethical issues as well. Hardly a place where I'd want my doctor of divinity or DMin from, or whatever....! And, why is it that the Pentacostals seem to have more of these ethical issues than any other branch of Christianity - not counting the Pope, Opus Dei, and priestly man-boy-love arrangements of course.....?

My advice - go to a Lutheran Seminary - we don't have these issues..... ;)
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Pentecostals

Postby TheoloM » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:06 pm

Carl,

With all do respect to your most recent post, let me correct you that we Pentecostals don't any more ethical questions
than does other church organizations. This post is not to start a fight with you. Yes, Trinity does have some serious
issues at this time and hopefully they will be resolved. If not, the school will have to shut down. You suggested in your
previous post about Lutheran Seminaries. Could you recommend a good for me. I may be interested in looking into it
for doctoral studies. Thanks for your help.

TheoloM
B.A. East Coast Bible College
M.A. Church of God Theological Seminary
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Postby PatsFan » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:35 pm

Carl_Reginstein wrote:This all sounds like a most unholy pissin' match to me.... How's that for a "God-honoring" And, why is it that the Pentacostals seem to have more of these ethical issues than any other branch of Christianity - not counting the Pope, Opus Dei, and priestly man-boy-love arrangements of course.....?;)


Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary is far from Pentecostal. I believe it's a little closer to Baptist theologically.
BA, Nyack College
MAR, Eastern Nazarene College
MSW, University of Connecticut
D.Min, Ashland Theological Seminary
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