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Philadelphia Biblical University is the result of the merger of two Bible schools: the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia School of the Bible.
On July 8, 1913, W. W. Rugh founded the National Bible Institute of Philadelphia. After teaching public school in his earlier days, Rugh spent several years walking a circuit to teach Bible classes throughout eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This led him to establish an institution where the Scriptures could be taught at one location on a daily basis. Originally an extension of the National Bible Institute of New York, the Philadelphia branch became independent of the New York school on October 8, 1921, and changed its name to Bible Institute of Pennsylvania.
Over a year later, Dr. C. I. Scofield and Dr. William L. Pettingill co-founded Philadelphia School of the Bible on October 1, 1914. Both men were leading Bible teachers of their day. Dr. Scofield was known internationally for his Bible teaching and his work on the Scofield Reference Bible.
For several years Dr. Scofield had wanted to start a Bible school on the eastern seaboard. The impetus to begin PSOB, however, did not come until November 1913. That fall Dr. Scofield and Dr. Pettingill held a large Bible conference in the metropolitan Philadelphia area. Following the conference these men received numerous requests to establish a Bible school to continue the conference teaching. Almost a year later, Dr. Scofield became the first president and Dr. Pettingill, the first dean, of Philadelphia School of the Bible.
Although the two Philadelphia schools had similar goals, they remained separate for nearly 37 years. Finally, in 1951, the schools merged to become Philadelphia Bible Institute, offering a three-year Bible diploma. At the time of the merger, Dr. William A. Mierop was appointed president and Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr., academic dean.
In 1958, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted the Institute approval to offer a four-year program leading to the bachelor of science in Bible degree. The Institute then changed its name to Philadelphia College of Bible.
In 2000, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted the College approval to become a university. The institution then changed its name to Philadelphia Biblical University.
Since the merger the University has had four presidents: Dr. William A. Mierop, 1951 to 1956; Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, 1958 to 1962; Dr. Douglas B. MacCorkle, 1963 to 1977; and Dr. W. Sherrill Babb, 1979 to the present.
Dr. Babb’s appointment coincided with the move from Center City Philadelphia to the new campus in Langhorne Manor. Under his leadership the University continues to expand its ministry. Degrees offered have increased from three to eleven; six graduate programs have been implemented; six extension campuses have been established; and student enrollment, faculty, and facility space have more than doubled.
This history is evidence of the stability of Philadelphia Biblical University as an institution of higher learning. Increasingly, the University is recognized as a model for biblical higher education.
The doctrinal position of PBU is historically that of conservative, evangelical Christianity. PBU rests firmly upon the integrity and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures and, therefore, wholeheartedly accepts the great basic doctrines of the historic Protestant Christian faith. PBU has also been in the forefront of the noncharismatic, dispensational, premillennial movement. Traditionally, PBU graduates stand for these great truths, and it is the desire of the University to continue to provide personnel for service in these ranks. The Doctrinal Statement, which every board, administration, staff, and faculty member must sign, is as follows:
- We believe in the divine inspiration and authority of the Scriptures. By this is meant a miraculous guidance of the Holy Spirit in their original writing, extending to all parts of the Scriptures equally, applying even to the choice of words, so that the result is the very Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. Moreover, it is our conviction that God has exercised such singular care and providence through the ages in preserving the written Word that the Scriptures as we now have them are in every essential particular as originally given and contain all things necessary to salvation.
- We believe in the one God revealed as eternally existing in three equal persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the Holy Spirit as a divine Person, a personality distinct from the Father and the Son.
- We believe that God created an innumerable host of angels, some of whom followed the lead of Lucifer, now called Satan, in rebelling against God, thereby bringing sin into the universe. We believe in Satan’s complete defeat by the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We believe that man was created in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also that spiritual death which is separation from God; and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature and, in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, become sinners in thought, word and deed. And with such a nature, they are incapable of producing anything acceptable to God.
- We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and is true God and true man. We believe that He died for the sins of men as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, and that His death was a sufficient expiation for the guilt of all men. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into heaven and in His present life there for us as High Priest and Advocate.
- We believe that men are justified by grace through faith, on the ground of the shed blood of Christ, and that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God.
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting conscious blessedness of the saved and the everlasting conscious punishment of the lost.
- We believe that it is the supreme responsibility of believers to testify to the saving power of Christ’s gospel, both personally and by proxy, at home and to the uttermost part of the earth.
- We believe that it is the duty of each believer to live a holy life unto God, keeping himself unspotted from the world, and that it is God’s intention that this shall be accomplished in the believer’s life by his constant dependence on the divine enablement of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We believe that this experience of deliverance from sin and empowerment for service is designated in the Scriptures as the filling with the Spirit rather than His baptism. Thus the baptism with the Spirit is not an experience to be sought subsequent to regeneration, but is already an accomplished fact.
- We believe that God in the Scriptures has progressively revealed Himself through successive ages, during each of which man has been tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God; and we believe further that this dispensational viewpoint provides the key to correct interpretation of the plan and purpose of God in the world, past, present and future, as it relates to the Church, to Israel and to the nations. We believe in the actual offering of a kingdom to Israel by Christ at His first coming and His postponement thereof as a result of their rejection. We believe that Israel, as well as the Church and nations, is included in the future aspects of God’s program.
- We believe that the Church of Jesus Christ had its historical beginning at Pentecost; is composed solely of believers; is the Body and Bride of our Lord; is distinct from Israel; and that it will be completed as believers fulfill their duty by making Christ known.
- We believe that at any moment the Rapture of the saved may occur, when “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven” to catch up His people to meet Him “in the air” and deliver them from the period of judgment on earth designated in Scripture as the 70th Week of Daniel.
- We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ after the 70th Week of Daniel. He will then set up His kingdom upon the earth for His thousand-year reign, after which He will deliver the kingdom to the Father, that the Godhead may be all in all.
The local church is God’s primary agency in this present age, and the University exists to serve the local church. For over 90 years, evangelical Christians of many denominations have looked to Philadelphia Biblical University for educational leadership. The constituency that the University serves has a philosophy based on a conservative interpretation of the Bible. The University, however, is denominationally unaffiliated. Students represent many denominations, large and small, as well as independent churches. Likewise, board members, faculty, and staff represent different ecclesiastical groups.
The University assumes students are baptized members of a home church and encourages them to continue their relationship with this church during their University experience. When the student’s home church is not near PBU, the University expects the student to participate actively in an area church. The University requires students to attend worship services regularly and full-time undergraduate students to participate in a ministry weekly. It is recommended that students choose a church early in their first year and establish an association with that church that will continue throughout their college experience. The Greater Philadelphia area offers many evangelical churches with which the University enjoys a good working relationship.
Philadelphia Biblical University exists to educate students to serve Christ in the church, society, and the world as biblically minded, well-educated, and professionally competent men and women of character.
In the fulfillment of its mission, PBU endeavors to accomplish three institutional objectives.
1. As an academic institution committed to intellectual development, the idea that all truth is God’s truth, and the biblical truth that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the University purposes to impart to its students a knowledge of God, themselves and the world in which they live.
2. As an academic institution committed to spiritual maturation, the University purposes to develop the character of its students according to the teaching and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, as set forth in Holy Scripture.
3. As an academic institution committed to Christian ministry, the University purposes to prepare students to the highest degree of professional competency and to instill in them a commitment to an intentional and obedient life of service to Christ in the church, society, and the world.
Because Philadelphia Biblical University is a biblical university, every student majors in biblical studies and thus receives a thorough grounding in Bible and doctrine. In addition, the student chooses one of many professional specializations that prepare for a variety of careers. Regardless of the student’s professional goals, a PBU education prepares graduates to be leaders in the local church. The quality of academic expectation is in keeping with this high purpose. Every student is required to have a field experience in Christian ministry each semester. The practices and policies of the University are designed to prepare students to meet the standards that will be expected of them as Christian leaders dedicated to a life of service for Christ.
The logo of Philadelphia Biblical University reflects the educational commitment of the institution. It consists of two symbols merged to convey two important concepts. The first symbol is that of the shield, which has historically represented university education. The second symbol represents the triune God who has revealed Himself in the Bible. Merged together, they symbolize the University’s commitment to ensure that God and His truth remain inextricably linked to all University programs.
- Philadelphia Biblical University is regionally accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (1967) (Commission on Higher Education, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; Telephone: 267-284-5000; Web Site: http://www.msche.org).
- On the national level, the University receives its professional recognition as an accredited member with the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (1950) (Association for Biblical Higher Education, 5575 S. Semoran Blvd. Suite 26, Orlando, FL 32822-1781; Telephone: 407-207-0808; Web Site: http://www.abhe.org).
- Philadelphia Biblical University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (1979) (National Association of Schools of Music, 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21, Reston, VA 20190; Telephone: 703-437-0700; Web Site: http://nasm.arts-accredit.org).
- The University’s Bachelor of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (1974) (Council on Social Work Education, 1725 Duke Street, Suite 500, Alexandria, VA 22314-3457; Telephone: 703-683-8080; Web Site: http://www.cswe.org).
- The University’s teacher education programs are accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (1981) (Association of Christian Schools International, P.O. Box 65130, Colorado Springs, CO 80962-5130; Telephone: 719-528-6906; Web Site: http://www.acsi.org).
- Its business programs are accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (2000) (International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, P. O. Box 25217, Overland Park, KS 66225; Telephone: 913-631-3009; Web Site: http://www.iacbe.org).
- On the state level, the University was approved in 1958 by the State Council on Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to confer the degree of bachelor of science in Bible (B.S. in Bible) and by the Department of Education to confer the bachelor of music degree (B.Mus.) (1972), bachelor of social work degree (B.S.W.) (1974), bachelor of science in education degree (B.S. Ed.) (1987), bachelor of science in business administration (B.S.B.A.) (1999), master of science in Bible (M.S. in Bible) (1992), master of science in Christian counseling (M.S. in Christian Counseling) (1992), master of science in teacher education (M.S. Ed.) (1992), master of science in organizational leadership (M.S. in Organizational Leadership) (1996), master of science in educational leadership and administration (M.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration) (1999), master of divinity (M.Div.) (2002), and to offer both public and private school teacher certification programs.
All documents describing the institution’s accreditation approval or licensing may be reviewed in the University Provost’s office.
The University is recognized officially by all appropriate federal agencies and listed in publications of the United States Office of Education, the Office of Chief of Chaplains; and the Justice Department (by which it is approved for attendance of nonimmigrant alien students under the Immigration and Nationality Act), and is approved for veterans’ education.
Graduates of Philadelphia Biblical University are accepted by seminaries and graduate schools on the basis of their PBU degree and personal qualifications, and research indicates that they perform academically above average. Approximately 50 percent of PBU alumni enroll in graduate school.
The University maintains appropriate relationships with the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP), Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Commission for Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
The main campus of PBU is ideally located in Langhorne Manor, a suburban community in Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Just four miles from the northeast boundary of Philadelphia, PBU is also just a short drive from some of America’s prime farm, forest, and resort areas.
PBU is strategically located in the center of the world’s largest and most densely populated urban strip that stretches from Boston to Richmond. From the campus, ministries can easily be launched south into Philadelphia, east into Trenton, north into New York, and west into other populous suburbs.
PBU is at a center of transportation. U.S. Highway 1 and Interstate 95 intersect near the campus. There is easy access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Pennsylvania Routes 13, 213, 413, and 513. Center City Philadelphia is 30 minutes away by car. The Langhorne station of the railroad line between West Trenton and Philadelphia is within two blocks of the campus. Bus transportation to Philadelphia and neighboring communities is also available.
PBU is in a center of industry, commerce, and business. Nearby Bristol, Pennsylvania, is part of the Greater Philadelphia area port facility, the nation’s largest industrial port. Large shopping centers, numerous factories and many businesses, including restaurants, stores, and banks, provide employment and shopping opportunities.
PBU is located in a center of Christian activity. Numerous evangelical churches in the area provide worship and Christian service opportunities. Christian radio stations, missionary agencies, and other parachurch organizations are located in Greater Philadelphia and provide additional service opportunities.
PBU is accessible to major educational centers. Numerous public and private libraries, research facilities, colleges, and universities are found in the Greater Philadelphia area.
PBU is located in an historical center. Bucks County has a rich heritage dating back to pre-Revolutionary times when William Penn made his home at Pennsbury. During the American Revolution both Langhorne and Newtown served as centers of operation for the American Army. Also in Bucks County is the site where George Washington crossed the Delaware to win the Battle of Trenton. In nearby Philadelphia, the Continental Congress first met; the Declaration of Independence was written and signed; the first flag was made; and the Constitution was adopted.
PBU is in an unusually rich cultural center. Lower Bucks County abounds with cultural sites and museums that graphically depict peoples and events of the past and present. Cultural institutions second to none in the country are found in Philadelphia. Included among these are the Kimmel Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Franklin Institute, and numerous other museums representing many areas of interest.
PBU is in a major sports center. From the University there is easy access to the sports center in Philadelphia, where major league baseball, football, ice hockey, basketball, and soccer are played. In the Lower Bucks area, there are abundant opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, jogging, hiking, bicycling, bowling, horseback riding, tennis, and racquetball.
The University’s main campus is located on a 120-acre wooded campus. The educational buildings are clustered on a hill, which overlooks a two-acre pond. The University’s main entrance ties together many of these buildings and houses the Stearns Missions Center. The Center displays the names of PBU alumni in missions and the countries in which they serve. A large oil painting depicting the peoples of the world and a sculpted globe, both commissioned works of art, can be seen in the Stearns Missions Center.
The presidential, academic, admissions, and business services offices occupy the two-storied administration building.
A Biblical Learning Center houses 19 classrooms with computer network access for faculty and students. Special display areas and a museum are also included to enhance the student’s educational experience.
The Music Building houses two classrooms along with a special keyboard instruction room, and an electronic music lab. Additionally, faculty studios and student practice rooms occupy portions of the two-story building.
The education building contains faculty offices and the Office of Student Life. An adjoining building houses the University post office and student lounge on the first floor, and additional faculty offices, and a large recital/lecture hall on the second floor.
The hexagonal chapel building has a dual function. It is used for chapel services and also for music activities such as organ lessons, instrumental group rehearsals, recitals, and concerts.
The Masland Learning Resource Center was dedicated in 1992. This 32,000-square-foot facility houses a 163,000-volume collection, curriculum lab, media services center, two computer labs, conference/teaching rooms, and an archival collection.
The Mason Activity Center houses a gymnasium that features two basketball courts and fitness, treatment, game, and instruction rooms. Also located in the Center are the Furman Dining Commons, Eagle’s Nest Grille and Café, bookstore, and student center. A variety of outdoor athletic facilities are located on the campus, including volleyball and tennis courts, and numerous playing fields.
The University’s residential facilities can be described in three distinct groupings. Centrally located on the campus are five dormitories, each designed to accommodate 40 students. Students live in two-bedroom suites that share a bathroom. These dormitories are occupied primarily by entering students. The newest facility, Heritage Hall, features eight residential wings that have double and single rooms, most of which have private baths. The University’s 66-unit apartment complex is located approximately one quarter mile from the main campus. Most of the apartments are two-bedroom units. Some buildings are used as single-student residences, but the remaining apartments are available for rental by older or married students.
Based on the Student Right-to-Know Act formula, the University has determined that the completion rate for students who entered in the fall of 2000 as first-time, full-time students was 59.3 percent. Further information is available upon request.
Equal Opportunity Admissions Policy
The University admits students of any race, gender, color, age, handicap, and national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, color, age, handicap, or national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
Equal Opportunity Employer
PBU is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any person because of race, gender, age, ethnic origin, or physical handicap except as such conditions may constitute a bona fide occupational qualification or assignment limitation.
Philadelphia Biblical University is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973). The facilities of Philadelphia Biblical University conform to current regulations for existing buildings for the disabled. Additionally, resources are available for visual and hearing impaired students.