Question of credibility

Last week I wrote about the doctorate which some American bible group had awarded to Andre Roebert, the East London (in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa) televangelist and hotelier (if one adds his worldly interests). I received a very stern rebuke from a Dr Anderson, which you could read as one of the comments on this blog. I published it in full but told Anderson that I would deal with it in my weekly Daily Dispatch column, which I did today. It reads:

I never thought the simple and innocent question I asked about the doctorate of East London’s River Ministries’ André Roebert would cause such a stir. I was severely rebuked by Dr Steve Anderson, president of Transworld Accrediting Commission International (TACI), who said my column was “not factual and replete with misinformation and … reckless with regard to the truth”.

Anderson feels that on-line organisations such as Wikipedia and, which runs a sub-section, Unrecognised and Fake Agencies for Online College Accreditation, are sources “highly adverse to our non-traditional and non-governmental institutions, that are highly regarded by the consuming public more and more in spite of cowardly and scurrilous attacks such as yours”.

It seems Anderson has no high regard for Wikipedia et al. He says “Dr André Roebert’s Honorary Doctor of Divinity was NOT, as you claim, issued by TACI … we do NOT issue any degrees … The degree was issued by River Bible Institute of Tampa, Florida.”

It’s good that the good Dr Anderson enlightened me and others about where Roebert’s new title comes from. Even the pastor himself seems to be in the dark about the honorary degree’s origin. It was André and Jenny Roebert’s personal assistant, Dianne Brauns, who categorically told me that “it is a (sic) honorary doctorate certificate. It is from the Transworld Accreditation Commission International in Riverside, California.” Poor Ms Brauns. Did she make this up?

So I checked Wikipedia’s list of colleges and universities in the US state of Florida. Listed by the free encyclopaedia are the names of public colleges and universities, private colleges and universities, trade and technical institutions, other private institutions, and … religiously and affiliated institutions. River Bible Institute of Tampa, Florida does not feature among these institutions.

But then, as Anderson admits, no college in America is accredited or federally recognised for religious teachings. It is barred by the US Constitution, he says. TACI is one among many such institutions. But because I quoted Wikipedia, which states that many, but not all, of the entities in its list “are considered to be fraudulent accreditation mills”, Anderson wrongly feels I tainted his organisation with the same brush. I can assure him that was never my intention.

I also did not infer that Roebert’s doctorate (honorary) is a sham as Anderson feels I did. Personally however I attach no importance to such a piece of paper.

Anderson and I agree on one point. He says an honorary doctor of divinity degree “is on its face ‘honorary’, not earned”. Exactly my point too, Dr Anderson.

Finally Anderson says I need to apologise for my “cruel attack on this credible man of God, Dr Roebert”. Well, Dr Anderson, perhaps you can explain to me why a “credible man of God” would refuse to repay a poor black man from Mdantsane (a township outside East London), who has been certified mentally ill by real doctors (university-educated specialist psychiatrists), his pension money that he donated to Roebert’s Trinity Broadcasting Network while mentally ill?

I know Roebert would tell you there was nothing wrong with the gentleman when he made the donation. But that is the view of a televangelist with an honorary doctorate, who rejects the medical diagnosis of real qualified academics.

Has your credible Dr Roebert explained to you why he has – despite the millions he has invested in hotels – rejected numerous pleas to return the sick man’s money to him and his poverty-stricken family?

May I humbly add that my coverage of this shameful action by Roebert earned me a fellowship from President Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter’s Centre for Mental Health Journalism in Atlanta. I can send you the news clippings, which appeared in this newspaper. That is if Dr Roebert has not done so already, which I doubt.

I forgot to mention that Roebert’s benefactor, the River Bible Institute, is listed on the Internet as a spiritual healing school, in the same vein as televangelist Benny Hinn’s Ministries School of Signs and Wonders.

16 Responses to “Question of credibility”

  • Bob:

    Excellent reply Eddie

    • daniel Dambuza:

      I watch with disbelieve as people came to give testimony on how god multiply their money after giving offerings to Andre.One went on to say that in 2012 he donated R85 000 to the ministry and the following day there was R1 000 000 in his account.I really feel sorry for believers.When you question these things they tell you ‘You don’t pray correctly and god has his own way of answering prayers.God usually say yes,wait and no’.

  • Maretha:

    “Dr” Roebert, are you not in your honor bound to do the honorly thing and pay that poor man his money back. He worked very hard for that money, honestly. I don’t think that is how our Good Lord wants him to spend his last few years-in poverty- so you can lead a so called honest life. Give and you shall receive. Now it is your turn to give with interest back to him. Honestly

  • SMG:

    Nicely said Maretha. As a church-going, saved christian for as long as I can remember, it is inconceivable to me that this man will simply not do the honarable thing and return the money. I am so glad that I belong to a church family that runs on biblical principals with honorable intentions. I can tell you right now, this would not have happened in our church.

  • Mudshark:

    Of course this is a sham degree. In any event, it is also an unwritten rule that people with an honorary doctorate do not use the title Dr.
    How envious he must be of people with real Doctorates! It appears that his ego is dominant and it is quite obvious that the use of the title is intended to garner respect (and therefore more money) from a largely unknowing target market.

  • A well considered reply Eddie! Dr Anderson is clearly hyper defensive as shown in his personal attack on you when you made it absolutely clear that you were merely quoting sources!?

    It seems you have encountered the same avoidance and denial as we have regarding TBN Africa’s support for Miki Hardy of CTMI. This televangelist features every Sunday evening – usually with his wife Audrey. Three years of research has revealed CTMI as involved in highly questionable activities. This has been verified by accredited Dr’s of theology as well as lawyers and award winning journalists and Christian families from all over the world who have been adversely affected. This information was furnished in detail to Andre Roebert and his Managing Director repeatedly for months without reply.

    Eventually there was a one liner writing off the careful research and evidence. Much like the verifiable evidence Eddie provided was written off.

    As mentioned by SMG it is deeply grieving when so called men of God blatantly ignore the integrity required by the Word of God.

  • I have come across a number of preachers over the years who have paid the mandatory US$ to the many organisations such as “Dr” Anderson’s for the right to put the “Dr” in front of their names and a few things come to mind – ego, pride, self importance and a strong ambition and desire for recognition, preeminence and (unmerited?) respect. I mean what sort of “man of God” would want to be called “Dr” without actually studying and earning it at a reputable university? What appened to “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord…”?

    I have also seen the many advertisements in Christian magazines that offer these doctorates ad nauseum, for a fee or donation. I even googled and found many such ads that put it in plain English – “Now you can apply online for a Doctor Honoris Causa degree. We accept credit cards online and PayPal payments through our authorised online retailer.”

    That aside, another “title” that has been implied, stated, then denied, hidden behind and used to authenticate divine revelation is the one “Apostle” used by CTMI to validate and endorse “Apostle” Miki Hardy. Hardy’s dubious doctrines, constant attacks on the church at large, including prosperity preachers (such as “Dr” Roebert, strangley enough on Roebert’s own TBN), arranged marriages, estrangement of families, very dubious financial activities and numerous other anomalies have been presented to TBN and “Dr” Roebert in an endeavour to protect the gullible public from being exposed to this dangerous religious group.

    Yet TBN continues to air the Hardy’s show each week. I guess money speaks louder than truth and the Bible, to some. But what can you expect from someone who lives in opulent luxury while refusing to pay back the “donation” to that poor man and his family.

  • Gert:

    It’s all about money. Getting sick from the “sow a seed” gospel. I sometimes watched the clowns on tbn, just for the comical value thereof.

  • richard:

    another fals prophet and his wife join the satanic TBN transmission,remember 2 Tess.2;9 the comming of the lawless one is according to the working of satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,thats way all these fals prophets do so wel, by satans help.

  • Wilna:

    I learned today that my brothers son is being taught at this church to become a pastor. We watched the broadcast tonight and after only 10 minutes decided that it was not a ministry lead by the Holy Spirit, but by the Kundalini spirit, which is also the spirit that Benny Hinn preaches by. I can just cry before the Lord to keep him from adopting this false gospel. Please pray with us for Andre du Preez.

    • Erna:

      Wilma, if Andre and Elaine du Preez are the ones you are praying for, we are praying with you and we have spoken to them. Have not seen them in the last year. We live in Riversdale.

  • anne:

    hi Wilna

    Please can you get in contact with me as my daughter is determined to study there too and i am so worried and dont have a good feeling about this. my email is

    thank you

  • Bob Ron II:

    Dear Dr.I am among student who are registrered in the seminary accredited by TACI. Can you explain about TACI and its legitimacy in term of accreditatio?

  • Brenton Loubser:

    Ahem.. The good doctor from the states doth seriously misrepresent the fact. Exemption from religious accreditation only applies to 21 states, Florida one of them. Most other states do not allow the use of unaccredited Doctorates on letterheads, legal documents etc. Religious colleges in these states are

  • Brenton Loubser:

    Ahem.. The good doctor from the states doth seriously misrepresent the facts. Exemption from religious accreditation only applies to 21 states, Florida one of them. Most other states do not allow the use of unaccredited Doctorates on letterheads, legal documents etc. Religious colleges in these states are not required to seek secular accreditation to grant degrees, but the proper ones do, like Southwest Baptist Seminary. See the full law here There are at least 4 recognized accreditation organizations! Thus: back to point one: Roebert is no more a Doctor than I a Neurosurgeon! Oh, and by the way, Doctorates from TACI accredited bible schools are blooming everywhere: Dr Theo and Beverly Wolmarans, Dr Allan Bagg ETC ETC…

  • Joe:

    There ministry is called the Andre & Jenny SHOW, take note SHOW. A while ago he literally flew around in his church in a superman outfit on a wire. I wish you could find that hilarious, disgraceful video and post it on YouTube so that everybody can laugh themselves to a standstill! A great deal of TBN has become an apostate channel, especially with their fundraising weeks, fleecing the ignorant flock! His doctorate may be legitimate, but it is useless and unrecognized in theological circles. Most of these televangelists get their doctorates out of a lucky-packet!

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When you’re that forthcoming and honest you are bound to face that sort of criticism. I’ve been that honest. It’s not surprising. — SA cricketer Herschelle Gibbs at launch of his autobiography, “To The Point”

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