Doctor of Divinity Degree

November 1, 2007 Posted by novelistcd

NOTE – ADDED 3/11/2009.
Before commenting about this post, I’d like to point out that you need to respectfully read it word for word, carefully. I’ve noticed that people skim this post, and make assumptions and then comment on those assumptions.

In this post, I, in no way, state that you need a doctorate to lead people to Christ. Although I mention that the pastor of my old church home has an academically-earned doctorate, I, in no way, state or imply that you need a doctorate to lead a church. I, in no way, state that people with doctorate degrees are “better than/holier than/smarter than” non-doctorate degree holders.

All I’m saying is that when you use the Dr. title, people are automatically going to assume that you studied at an accredited university to obtain your degree. If you haven’t obtained your doctorate in this fashion, then you need to let people know this when you use the title because you don’t want to mislead people.

After carefully reading this post, in its’ entirety, feel free to comment, and if you want to know more about me or my novels, visit my website and look at other entries on this blog!

I’m Cecelia Dowdy, a Christian fiction author.

My Christian romance novels, John’s Quest, Milk Money, Bittersweet Memories, and First Mates are now available on Kindle and other e-readers!

My Christian novel, First Mates, is now available on Kindle as well as other e-readers.

 

Okay, now onto the Doctor of Divinity post:

I’m going to go off the beaten path and not talk about books, recipes, or writing today. I’d said earlier that I’d be posting about Divinity school. Something strange happened a few years back. A person who I knew slightly had a self-published book released. When I saw the cover, it stated this person’s name as: Dr. (Person’s name) D.D.

Number one, I was shocked, because this person had only been out of high school for a few years and wasn’t old enough to have a doctorate degree, and number two, this person had mentioned to me that they’d quit undergrad temporarily after only one semester. This person was currently working at a clerical job and wasn’t leading a church or anything.

I didn’t understand. How could this person call him/herself Dr., but then not have ever graduated from college, not even as an undergrad?

My sister’s roommate is a graduate of Oral Roberts University, so she knew a little about educational levels within the religious community. So I asked her how someone could have a Doctor of Divinity degree without ever graduating from college. She explained that a Doctor of Divinity degree is not always an earned degree, it’s honorary. People sometimes pay a few dollars to an institution and they can automatically use the title, even though they don’t have a degree. She said it’s a sore spot within the religious community with some people because there are others out there, who have rightfully earned their doctorate, and they don’t like the fact that others can use the title just because they want to, and have never earned a degree. I still didn’t get it. I said, “Do you mean to say that it’s a common practice?”

She said it’s fairly common. I guess it upset me so much because I don’t think a lot of people are aware this is the case! For example, when I showed the book mentioned in the first paragraph to a friend of mine, he looked at the cover and said, “Oh, he has his PhD? That’s impressive!” I laughed, and he said, “Why are you laughing?” That’s when I told him that the author had never earned a doctorate, masters or bachelors. He said, “Well, why does he have this on the cover of his book if he hasn’t earned the degree?” That’s when I explained that a Doctor of Divinity degree is not always earned the traditional way.

When I asked my best friend’s husband about it, he pointed out that not all doctorate degrees are earned. He said, for example, that Oprah and Bill Cosby had honorary degrees. He went on to say that if somebody says they have their doctorate, you need to ask them where they went to school and check out their credentials. That’s all true…however, I was always under the impression that when an honorary degree is bestowed upon someone, that person has done something truly phenomenal, and it’s only given by an accredited university and it’s done on rare occasions. However, my impressions might be totally inaccurate. Now, I have heard that some Doctor of Divinity degrees are given to those who have done some phenomenal works within the church. However, I don’t have any specific examples about the works that would be involved within a church to earn a degree in this fashion. If anybody has any comments about how this is done, I’d be interested in hearing what they had to say.

I asked some other people about the Dr. of Divinity issue, and they said they assumed if somebody called themselves Dr. or Reverend Dr. in the religious field, they thought that person had their doctorate degree. Like, they earned it at a university or religious school and studied approximately eight years, give or take! One woman asked me, “When someone calls himself Reverend Dr., I always thought they had their degree! Do you mean they don’t have their degree?”

I patiently pointed out that some do and some don’t. I know at my old church home, the pastor was known as Reverend Dr., and on the church’s website, it stated where he went to school to get is undergrad, masters and doctorate. Here’s a link from the webpage of my old home church. The reverend’s credentials are listed on the seventh paragraph from the bottom.

http://www.reidtemple.org/pastor.asp

I just don’t think it’s right for somebody to use the title who hasn’t rightfully earned the degree. I feel to use the title, one should have been in school for several years, right? I’m not saying it’s wrong for un-doctored (if that’s really a word!) ones to have leadership roles within the church, or to give sermons and such, but I just don’t feel it’s right for them to use that title! I feel it’s not fair to those who study for their degree and earn it the ‘traditional’ way.

I did an internet search and found a few places where one can get their doctor of divinity degree fairly easily. Check out these links!

This one can get you a doctor of divinity degree for only $40!
http://ficotw.org/drdivinityprogram.html

http://victorynetwork.org/DD.html

This link offers the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for only $10.00!
http://home.wi.rr.com/pcdr/credentials.html

This one is for $20.00, however, you have to be ordained to apply!
https://host228.ipowerweb.com/~ulchqcom/osCommerce/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=32

They charge $50.00 for their Doctor of Divinity Degree!
http://www.amfellow.org/id5.htm

Those are just a few links. There are others. Just Google Doctor of Divinity honorary and see what comes up.

Also, check out this Wikipedia reference, too. (I know, Wikipedia is not the most reliable source, but I still look there occasionally for information.) If you look at the bottom of the entry it states: In the United States the D.D. is usually awarded as an honorary degree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Divinity

Does anybody have any thoughts about this? Am I over-reacting? Has my head been in the sand and this whole Doctor of Divinity issue is just plain common knowledge? Inquiring minds want to know! Also, if you disagree with this post, feel free to comment since I’d like to hear from all about this subject!

Also, if you have an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, and you use the title Dr. regularly, I’d like to know if you let people know from the start that your degree is honorary and not earned the traditional way? If you were to speak or give a sermon, or are a guest someplace, do you let the audience know, somehow, that your degree is honorary? Or do you assume they already know this? I’m thinking they probably don’t know, unless they know you personally. What if you are on a panel with those that have earned their degree, and you’re introduced to the audience as Reverend Dr. XYZ. I’d think most in the audience would assume you’d earned your degree like the rest of the participants in the panel.

If you’d like to read more blog posts about religious and Biblical matters, then read my Sunday Brunch articles. LEAVE A COMMENT on my Sunday Brunch blog posts!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

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104 Responses to Doctor of Divinity Degree

  1. Timothy Fish says:

    I have thought about creating a University in my own home and granting myself a doctorate. The problem with that is that people pay attention to whether a school is accredited or not. The Timothy Fish University is obviously not. I will say that I used to have a dog that was ordained to preach. It was free, so I couldn’t pass up the chance. No one thinks much of a degree that you can purchase for pocket change.

    I think an honorary degree from an accredited university is worth mentioning. Even though the person has not put in the class time, the person has done something worth recognition, such as becoming President of the United States. It is a true honor to receive such a degree.

  2. Robin Bayne says:

    I did not know all that Cecelia! I have to agree with you, a person should earn their degree or have done something remarkable to deserve the “honor.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello,

    Atis International Bible College gives Honoray Doctor OF Divinity for FREE,but you must to work hard to earn it.(belive me is not easy as you will see.they don’t ask not even donation.
    http://www.freewebs.com/romaniacolegiulbiblic/

    (Honorary)DD,With this certificate you can obtain respect,and olso religios university and churches can gives this certificatesbut who earnd his/her a H.D.D. Should writte in this way.(Honorar)DD

  4. Anonymous says:

    Many know, that some people work most of their lives transforming the lives of others. I agree to a certain point that maybe some people do not deserve to hold such a degree, but, on the other hand, I feel that others do deserve it. I know several devote Christian leaders that earned their Doctor’s of Divinity. The services they rendered to churches, communities, and families abroad transformed lives, empowered communities and blessed souls completely. These people deserved the degree bestowed upon them which truly acknowledged tem for their dutifulness to the community at large.
    Beside, Christian Degree’s are based primarily on service and the level of knowledge one has to serve. Jesus, in fact was the Christ, and because of his works, he was esteemed as Lord over the church world. We also have to look at things from a spiritual prospective as well, because many will be surprise how who earned what on judgement day. (All I have to say about people with degrees, is that the fruits of that degree will be made known.)
    And I have a bachelor’s, Master’s and will soon pursue my Doctorate-all course required degrees of course.
    Some workhard for their DDD and some don’t, but the fruits of any degree will show.

    God Bless you,

  5. Anonymous says:

    I AM ALWAYS AMAZED AT HOW PEOPLE FIND WAYS TO ATTACK THOSE ‘WHO PREACH THE GOSPEL’

    IN THE ‘AFTERLIFE’ MAYBE YOU SHOULD ASK THE GREAT PHYSICIAN ‘ST. LUKE’ IF HE ATTENDED AN ACCREDITED COLLEGE.

  6. Anonymous says:

    maybe that’s why your book is not a
    ‘new york times best seller’

    God does not bless those who attack his ‘PREACHERS’ is specifically stated in the Bible

  7. Anonymous, I’m not attacking those preaching the gospel. If you read my post, I’m merely stating that it’s misleading to use the title doctor when you’ve never been to an accredited school. Preach the gospel widely, but, when you use the title Dr., most assume you’ve earned an advanced degree. If you haven’t, then it’s up to you not to mislead people. Doesn’t God want us to tell the truth? Don’t use the title if you haven’t rightfully earned it. It’s not fair to those who HAVE ATTENDED COLLEGE! Why should some pay $40.00and use the title while others study several years and use the same title?? Does the Lord want us to mislead people this way?

  8. Again, anonymous, you are entitled to your opinion, but, again, I’m not attacking preachers. I’m questioning those specifically using the title Doctor. Several people on this earth will assume people using this title have earned an advanced degree. Read the ending of my post…if you were on a panel and you haven’t earned the title Dr., and you paid $40.00 for this degree, and then you have somebody else who’s studied several years for this degree, do those in the audience know that one of you paid $40.00 and the other studied for several years for the title? Will the person who has an honorary degree stand up and state that they have not studied for their degree at an accredited university, like the other person on the panel? Are you going to let the audience “assume” that you studied for this degree like the other party?? If you were in this position, what would you do? Call yourself a preacher, but don’t call yourself a doctor!

    • Linda R. says:

      Cecelia,
      I agree with you. I have studied for a Ph.D.. at an accredited university and earned an Ed.D. from another accredited university. It took me a number of years and lots of dollars to get to where I am now. I believe that those who have simply paid a few dollars to purchase a degree (doctorate) should NOT call themselves Dr., unless they make it plain where the degree came from and how they got it!!!

      As for Dr. Bill Cosby, he earned a Ed.D. from an accredited university–this information can be easily verified. His wife, Camille, earned a doctorate from an accredited university, too.

      I have been wanting to have a conversation on this topic for a long time. Thank you for the dialogue.

      • Hi, Linda

        Yes, several have pointed out that Bill Cosby earned his degree. However, he does have some honorary degrees, too. I can’t even recall why I mentioned Bill Cosby and Oprah on my blog post. Oh, yeah, just read it. A friend of mine mentioned this fact to me when I was asking him if he’d heard of the Doctor of Divinity. Glad to share some dialog. I wrote this blog post seven years ago! It still has regular traffic! If only the rest of my blog post would receive this much attention!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I stumbled upon your blog, as I am searching for alternative licensing and degrees. I have a mixture of what is called “accredited” and “life experience” education and gifts. I attended Purdue. I had been out of school for 8 years, so I was placed in “prep classes.” I tested out of them all. The English Comp prof took me in the hallway and asked why I was in her class. I explained that is where I was placed. She complimented me on my abilities, told me that I passed all college level English (as far as she was concerned) and to pursue a career in journalism. Psychology, sociology, and theosophy only upset me. I could not understand why at the time, but I chose travel for entrepreneurship possibilities over continuing on that course. Subsequently, I suffered from cancer, had a child, and got cancer again. I never returned to school, with the exception of an Info Tech associates at a business college.

    The last bout of cancer lasted for years. I went through chemo along with external and internal radiation bombardment. I then suffered from radiation necrosis, an incurable condition-dead tissue. All of the PhD’s were telling me that I was going to die with chronic pain. I knew I would not. They pumped me full of pain meds and told my husband to make me comfortable during my last time. I lay in the bed for the better part two years, choosing to turn my studies of the Scriptures into my daily activity. I was nearly dead. I could see the gray in my eyes. Then, someone I hardly knew came to my home and told me that God was going to heal me and I would help many people. Within a week, I was seeing a healer in Chicago. He practices bioenergy-Ireneusz Stobiecki from Poland. I saw him three times in one month, and the necrosis poison drained from my body. Something ‘incurable’ was healed. I had to go back to my doctor, as I was medically reliant on the heavy doses of pain medicine. I told the area’s best oncologist, Dr. Michael Method of South Bend Memorial (IN), that I was healed, and he did not believe me until he examined me. He marveled.

    Once all of the medication was out of my system, which was an illness all it’s own; I had revelation upon revelation. The oxycontin is synthetic heroin, which attacks the central nervous system. It interrupts the electrical impulses of the brain. All of that studying began to connect into a very educated level of the Wisdom of the Living God. Mr 13:23 ‘But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.’ Where were we told all things? Answer: In the Word. Now, my level of study is one of analytical research. I have the works of scholars to teach me, such as Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. I take it back to the original meaning according to ancient texts through that one world-renowned scholar. Just one example of how I study. Bottom line is that I have studied the Wisdom in the True Word of God, because all wisdom comes from Him.

    Switching gears to the ‘accredited’ educators you feel should be preferred; they are the ones teaching the PhD’s. The same ones who told me that I had no chance to live; yet here I sit healed. PhD’s, educated by traditions of men, were the equivalency of the legalistic Pharisee’s and Scripture lawyers who tempted Christ with His own Word, and you can find many references to His response to them in His ministry period of the New Testament. It is a great study. Along the way, you will discover they are the ones who conspired to kill Him because He was teaching contrary to their teachings. He was a threat to their money and power.

    Christians founded this country. History PhD’s have taken that out of our institutions. Check out wallbuilders.com. Author and Historian David Barton can tell you all you need to know about that. Anyway, the right to freedom of religion is a constitutional right of all Americans. Propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at the top of the list as to why this country was founded. I do not want to learn the traditions of men. I tried that. I now know why I was upset at Purdue. There is no honor in teaching anything at all contrary to Wisdom. There is, however, much money and power in it. It attracts the immoral. I see how sick our society is with the absence of Biblical principles in leaders who get the grade, not that all are that way, but there sure is an overabundance of them.

    Finally, you can receive a doctorate from an ‘accredited’ university for business, education and more; just Google ‘AFFORDABLE DEGREES’. You will see what I mean. It is not just in the theological field. People can easily portray themselves as just about anything they want if they are willing to spend their money and do a little research. My educated opinion is that evil swallows itself, and some ‘accredited’ PhD’s have taken God out of nearly everything, but Praise be to God that our religious freedoms allow us to let the Holy Spirit move freely in this country. Perhaps, this is God’s way of taking back some of the lost. You see, Christ had no education at a college, and neither did Paul or Matthew or Peter as far as we know. It was the moving of the Holy Spirit that was so effective, and God will use whomsoever He may choose, and there is nothing new under the sun. Ec 1:9

    You are a Christian. Have ye not read? Have you allowed the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct your path? Matthew chapter 7 is a good read. It will tell you the same things I have outlined in this response. Bless your heart, read the rules in all of your studies. You will only add maturity to your PhD and your Christian walk by becoming a disciple of divinity from the best Teacher of all.

    Reference: Mt 5:19, Mt 7:24, Mt 10:14

    A doctor is a healer. DD is simply a title. It gives one credentials, which are required to practice. My true credentials come from the Lord Himself, and I am fortunate to live in this great Christian nation. If I can be of assistance in the healing of spirits through what I have learned, should I need approval from a man? I think not, and there are obviously laws on the books that protect my right to freely pursue that happiness. I have worked just as hard as PhD’s, and smarter in my opinion, to know what I know. A word to the wise is sufficient.

  10. Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks so much for your frank and honest entry to my Doctor of Divinity degree post. However, like others who have read this, I believe you misunderstood my meaning. I, in no way, said that I prefer a person to have a Doctor Of Divinity Degree. I do understand that some are gifted to heal without ever going to medical school. I don’t think you need a doctorate to bring people to Christ. You certainly don’t need a doctorate to lead a church.

    My whole point of this post is to make it known that when people use the title Doctor, in the United States, a greater majority of the population assumes that this person has been to school a number of years, working hard toward a degree.

    If said person has NOT been to school a number of years, rightfully earning their degree, AND THEN THEY USE THE DOCTOR TITLE, IT IS HIGHLY MISLEADING TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. I feel they are grossly misrepresenting themselves to the general public if they don’t make it known that they’ve earned their “degree” by paying forty dollars, ten dollars, or whatever amount, and simply wrote a few pages, or a few paragraphs worth of testimony.

    Doctors certainly don’t have all the answers. Only God does.

    Also, my post was only addressing the Doctor of Divinity degree.

    I’m not addressing the issue of people earning their PHD in medicine or any other field.

    I’m only focusing on the Doctor of Divinity degree. The reason I was focusing on the DD is because I was told that it’s a practice that is somewhat common in religious fields: people using the Doctorate title within their realm of religious work and they haven’t rightfully earned said degree.

    If you haven’t earned your degree, then you shouldn’t be using the doctor title. That’s the point I was trying to make.

    However, you can still lead a church, serve the Lord and minister without the doctorate…hence, my point is not to use the title…

    Instead of using Doctor, you can use Pastor or something else.

    If you glance through the links I’ve provided (if they still work), you’ll see that people spend a few dollars, write their testimony, then call themselves a doctor.

    Have a good day.

  11. Anonymous says:

    There are others who use that title. I know a woman who went online and purchased all kinds of degrees for the practice of homeopathic remedies. She opened an office and mixes herbs into capsule form right there on her property. God knows what that kwak is putting in those pills, but there is no one, to my knowledge, who is regulating the stuff she is selling others to put into their bodies. She uses the title of Doctor.

    Unfortunately, this country today has lowered the standards of just about everything. The only thing we can do is stand by our own works and beliefs. I understand your position, but I stated in my first response that I believe a lot of the damage in our society is due to the absence of God, and the ‘DD’s’ of the theological leadership have had a lot to do with that through the generations.

    You may not be able to digest the fact that people are using that title legally, but they are. The Scriptures will teach you about how you are to deal with unfair practices. I don’t know that I will be using the title of DD, but society is certainly more drawn to that title more than just ‘Pastor’, so I can see why some choose to use it. In the ministry, it is a filteration process, as it is with sales. You could say the same thing about salesmen who mislead, but no one has really tried to stop them either. There is too much money to be had. It always comes down to the money and prestige for the majority. It does not change the fact that it won’t matter how much money they have once the Lord comes back.

    I am of the minority. I don’t pass a plate or hat around when I do what I do. The Lord does take care of His own.

    This world is temporal, and we can’t start demanding that the rights of others be taken away in this country cuz there is enough of that going on anyway. There is much to tolerate, but we are supposed to do it with confidence. We will get there if we just keep our hearts in the right way.

    God Bless you in your endeavors.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is very interesting because I was recently contacted by a college to inform me that I had been nominated for an Honorary Divinity Degree. However, they put me through a vetting process. I was required to give my background, submit letters of recommendation, list my earned degrees (I have 2, and have studied at Harvard Divinity School.) etc. I have been in ministry 31 years, planted 2 churches and written one book. I don’t know whether that qualifies me for an Honorary Doctorate but it is very different than buying a “Degree” on line. Any Christian who does that should be ashamed of themselves. Accredited schools have been giving honrary degrees to accomplished people for a long time. Nothing wrong with that practice, but I’m sure you can’t go out a “buy” a medical degree and hold yourself out as a M.D. without spending time in jail for it. Anonymous

  13. Anonymous, thanks for commenting. The DD that you’ve been elected to receive, and the qualifications you stated, is along the lines of what I envision an honorary degree encompasses.

    This Doctor of Divinity post gets a lot of traffic…over 200 hits a month to my blog are specifically for this post. Even though I posted this over a year ago, people still access it daily. I plan on doing a part II on this post soon, addressing the comments made to this blog entry.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I understand what you are saying. I feel your question about the validity of the DD is asking a bit much. Was John the Baptist asked to show his degree in divinity or theology when he was baptising and preaching the word of God? Did anybody question him? You are given the gift of the Holy Spirit to discern things about God’s word. The Holy Spirit will also show who is real, and who is not real when it comes to Gods chosen teachers, preachers, evangelist, etc, of His word. The world is stuck on “Titles, labels, name brand material things” in life instead of the truth. I buy a tie and handkerchief set, silk, for $4, the same one in a men’s store for $50-$60, and you would never know the difference. What matters to some is that it came from a well known mens haberdashery instead of the wholesale store that I get mine at. Do I walk in and tell people, “My tie is wholesale”?
    No, I do not. I just take any compliments that may be given, smile, say thank you, and go about my business. If you are given the true, living word of God by Sam Sausagehead, via sermon, bible study, or group study, and you know it is true, do you question him about having a license to preach/teach the gospel? No…you take the word to heart and become a “Doer” of the word. I heard a preacher the other day say he was looking at a book titled, “Deliver Us From Meville”. It hit the nail on the head, squarely on the head. We are stuck on “ME” instead of seeing things for what they are worth. I am saying this to say, I have an honorary DD and use the title along with the one I already have been licensed and ordained legally, Reverand. And I have done a lot of things, some more, and some less than others. I got mine for my continued contribution to my Lord and Savior, then mankind as I am so called to do, and will do until the day I die. It’s not about the title Rev Dr, or Rev John Doe, DD, I have been called worst before. And I probably will be called other names later. It’s only what I do for Christ that will last. I am a called disciple of Jesus
    Christ, as we all are. Some live it. Others don’t. So don’t be bothered by titles, etc. Be concerned that the word being taught to you is the true living word of God. God bless you. And just ask God for understanding. He will bless you with it. I love you in the name of Jesus Cecelia.

    P.S.
    Your Shepard is an anointed man of God any way. He has been all this time, and will continue to be. One of my close friends comes here to preach at Reid Temple AME. Even if your pastor only had his license and ordination papers, he brings the “True Living Word” each and everytime he is called to do so.

  15. Anonymous, thanks for commenting. However, as some others have done, you merely misread or skimmed my post. I’m not implying that you need a doctorate to preach the gospel or lead a church, BUT, it is misleading to use the title Dr. without earning a degree. I don’t have a problem with people calling themselves Pastor, Reverend, etc. However, most people are going to assume you studied several years to get a degree if you use the title Doctor.
    I’ve been involved with a few strong, great churches and the lead pastor DID NOT have a doctorate, and that was fine with me. However, this pastor DID NOT use the Doctor title. We called him Pastor. Understand?
    If titles REALLY DON’T MATTER, THEN WE SHOULD GET RID OF THE Doctor of Divinity title when it’s not earned through an accredited university. Why do we need it? My question to you is, why do you feel you need a Dr. title if you think people get hung up on titles too much? If titles really don’t matter, then why do you use one? Also, do you let people know that your degree is honorary? Just wondering…

  16. The Honorary Doctorate of Divinity is mearly a cirtificate of appreciation and nothing more. It may be awarded by any person for any reason, but it is usually to honor service. For example, your grandchildren can make one on construction paper with crayons and it would be just as legal as one presented by Harvard University, and you could use the title Dr. There are no academic rules, or statutes governing the presenting or use of this award. The use of the title Dr. at this point becomes a personal matter for the awardee. It would seem prudent to use the title with the designation (h.c.). For example XYZ, D.D.(h.c.) which would immediatly indicate that it was not acedemic. It is also mot in the best interest of anyone to mislead people, but we all know the true nature of people, what price vanity. When observing the use of this title, criticism becomes of little value and only causes consternation and stress. Let it go, they were awarded it, they use it, and my question is So What? It is not my problem, they will have to deal with it some day, not me. I am free from that bondage. Dr. Thomas Todd D.D.(h.c.(

  17. Jamie says:

    If you want a real Dr degree in today’s world look for the letters Th.D. ( Doctor of Theology )The Th.D. has replaced the D.D. in most of the USA and the rest of the world. The reason way the D.D has been replaced is because it has became a ” handout. ” Hopefully the Th.D. will not have the same fate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Theology

    I’m working on my Th.D.right now. That being said I know many good men of God who have ever been to college one day.

    Soon to be Dr. Jamie, Th.D.

  18. Dan says:

    I am an ordained minister of sorts. It spawned from a discussion I got in with some friends. She stated that her husband was ordained and that he did it online. I argued that this could not be legal. A bet was made that I had to research it and verify that it was legal, and if it was I had to get ordained. As it turns out, the federal courts have determined that a church may ordain ministers in any way that it sees fit, whether in person, throug the mail, or online. So, in keeping up my end of the bargain, I became ordained. My ordained friend actually performed my wedding for me, and I have performed a couple for some friends myself, and it is all legal per Alabama law.

    Anyway, I am a geek and love certificates to hang on my wall. Through the church that ordained me, there was an option to make a “donation” and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity. I thought to myself how great this would look on my wall, so I ordered it. Now the federal courts have also ruled that Churchs may grant Honorary degrees without issue. The issue here of course is the use of the term Doctor.

    As this is an honorary degree, I do not apply it to resumes or job applications. For me my honorary doctorate is nothing more than a cool looking certificate that hangs on the wall. I use the term “Dr” jokingly around friends and family, but never in a professional manner. I believe that using doctor before your name if you only have an honrary degree is insulting to those that have earned their degrees through years of hard work.

    Earlier someone alluded to Bill Cosby’s doctoral degree. While Mr. Cosby has several honorary doctorates, he has an earned one as well. He earned his Ed.D in 1976 from the UMass and wrote his dissertation on something relating to the Cosby Kids and their use as a teaching tool. So Bill Cosby is a real Doctor of Education, not an honrary one.

    Bottom line, I think its fine if you have an honorary degree, but don’t use the term Dr. unless you have earned it.

    Dan from Alabama

  19. T. Wheeler says:

    Your initial post and comments (excluding the really rude ones) are all insightful. I would add that honorary degrees are often considered not to be of the same standing as substantive degrees, except where the recipient has demonstrated an appropriate level of academic scholarship that would ordinarily qualify them for the award of a substantive degree.

    Many states will not permit someone to preside over a marriage, baptism or funeral without being licensed as an ordained minister in that state. To register and be licensed, one must belong to an order or congregation, serve in the capacity of a minister or pastor, hold a letter of good standing and (in some states) also hold a D.D. (h.c.), Th.D or some other degree related to their field. (The h.c. stands for honoris causa.)

    Many people who obtain “ordination” from groups such as Universal Life Church do so in order to serve in the capacity of “minister” with regard to marriage. This began in the 1960’s and 1970’s with interracial couples wanting to have their marriage conducted by a minister when most churches frowned upon them. It continues into our modern times with gays and lesbians wanting to have their marriage conducted by a minister in those states that allow for same-sex marriage.

    Other people are of faiths not recognized by universities: Wiccan, Pagan, Natural Law, Hinduism et cetera. These people would not be able to function as a licensed minister without ordination through an interfaith or universal faith group.

    Perhaps 15% of the people who obtain a D.D. (or even a simple “Ordination”) go through the motions in order to tend to those who the Christian world would not or cannot tend to. I am proud of the fact that I am in this category. I do not have theological training from a university and my BS is in geology, of all things. My Christian knowledge has come from years of research and at least three years of auditing Franciscan University classes in order to further my knowledge for the joy of learning. The only time you will see D.D. (h.c.) after my name is when I must sign an official state document. I am registered in my state and licensed to serve as an ordained minister with my order (those who granted my ordination.)

    My “degree” permits me to visit hospices in the capacity of a minister so that I may pray with those who are dying from AIDS or cancer. My “degree” permits me to give a simple baptism to a baby before she or he dies. I work in tandem with our local priests, rabbis and church pastors, not as an equal in education, but as a right hand to assist them. I might notice Mrs. Jones in the bed next to Mrs. Smith, and as this is a small town, I’ll know that Mrs. Jones belongs to Fr. John’s parish – I’ll place a call to Fr. John and give him a heads-up about one of his flock. I also am the eyes and ears for our social workers (county mental health) and when people seek mental health guidance, I will point them to those professionals that I know and trust. I volunteer my time; I am not paid.

    It sounds cheesy: getting something for doing nothing. It does not detract from those who do hold doctorates.

    The correct method of denoting these honorary titles is: Rev. Dr. John Q. Public or Rev. John Q. Public, D.D. (h.c.). However, recipients of an honorary doctorate do not normally adopt the title of “doctor.” It is not usual for an honorary doctor to use the formal title of “doctor,” regardless of the background circumstances for the award. Notable exceptions to the commonly-accepted usage include:
    · Benjamin Franklin, who received an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in 1759 and the University of Oxford in 1762 for his scientific accomplishments. He thereafter referred to himself as “Doctor Franklin”;
    · Billy Graham is regularly addressed as Dr. Graham, though his highest earned degree is a BA in anthropology from Wheaton College.[3]. He holds 20 honorary doctorates and has turned down nearly twice as many.[citation needed]
    · Maya Angelou who calls herself and is referred to by many as Dr. Angelou despite holding no undergraduate or advanced (non-honorary) degree.[4]
    · Durham University awarded an honorary doctorate in 2004 to the writer Bill Bryson. When it subsequently made Bryson its Chancellor, it began referring to him as Dr Bryson.
    · The University of Exeter has awarded honorary D.Litt degrees and subsequently referred to the recipients as Doctor. [5]
    · Terry Wogan has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Limerick, and refers to himself as “Doctor” on air.
    · Judy MacArthur Clark received an honorary doctorate of veterinary medicine and surgery (DVMS) from the University of Glasgow[6], and refers to herself professionally as “Doctor”[7]
    · Ralph Stanley, the bluegrass artist, is referred to by many people[citation needed] and refers to himself as “Doctor” after being awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, in 1976.
    · Hunter S. Thompson, journalist and creator of Gonzo Journalism, received an honorary doctorate from the Universal Life Church in the late 1960s.[8] Thompson often insisted on the title, as did his alter ego Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas who claimed to be a “Doctor of Journalism”.
    · Stephen Colbert received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Knox College in 2006. Since then, the credits of The Colbert Report jokingly refer to him as “Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A.” (which uses both the title “Dr.” and a postnominal, which is improper)
    · Mirza Ahmad received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Small Heath Poly in 2007. Since then, the credits of every document produced by Birmingham City Council refer to him as “Dr. Mirza Ahmad LLD (hon), MBA., LL.M, Barrister,”

    Thank you for your time. I hope that this comment isn’t too long.

    ~ just T. Wheeler

  20. Emer Emmons says:

    discussing honorary doctorates, it is necessary to weed out historical doctorate holders like Franklin. The PhD was not an earned degree as such but rather bestowed as a reward for cumlative work over time. Thus, Franklin’s doctorate would grant him the rights of holding such a title. Modern doctorates are earned (unless honorary),meaning there is a perscribed curriculum and requirements.
    Dr Emmons (earned Phd)

  21. Anonymous says:

    Again man has found another way to make money and again man desire power and glory.Yet still some men just want to do the will of God. We honor men with degrees.I ask who
    is the greatest in God’s sight, the physical doctor who saves a man from a gunshot wound and the man lives to be 100 or a man of God
    who helps to save the same mans soul and he lives forever. I would rather a Doctor of Divinity lead me to Christ and I live forever that a physical doctor save my physical life and I live to be 100.
    Gifts of the Spirit are Gods not degrees

  22. Anonymous says:

    The main problem we have here is that we are trying to bring the natural world to the spiritual world. If we are called by God, we then are ordained by God, man can not ordain another man only God can. God does not care about a title or letters only about the number of souls we lead to Him.Jesus did not have a PHD, DD,
    or any other title, but maybe a minister does become a doctor in Gods eyes by the number of souls he wins for Christ, but after all is said and done, will those titles
    matter on the other side be it a physical doctor or a doctor of divinity. I think not and only what
    we do for Christ will be counted. God wants us to be humble yet most of us walk with our chests stuck out as to say I am a doctor so I am
    more and better than you when in Gods eyes we are the same.(IF saved
    and walking in the Spirit)

  23. Tim B says:

    Dr. should be something that is earned through educational means, not a handout. I agree with you 100%, I have spent 6 years working towards this opportunity.

  24. Max says:

    I was about to comment on Cosby’s doctorate when I noticed Dan had mentioned it. He’s right — Cosby has a legitimate (earned) doctorate from UMass in addition to the honorary stuff.

    Honorary doctorates or bogus ordinations have their uses. My parents, not being religious, wanted a friend to marry them instead of a minister. So their friend got a Universal Life Church ordination and performed the ceremony. I’ve known other friends who have done the same.

    Of course, the trouble starts when the holder of such a doctorate starts to see it as something other than a piece of paper. In the case of an honorary doctorate from an accredited university, it should be seen as just that — an honor, nothing else. In the case of an “ordination mill,” it should only be used to get around laws that say you can’t just let any old bum perform a marriage.

    It annoys me to see “Dr.” Billy Graham and “Dr.” Maya Angelou when the recipients of such degrees are clearly not meant to use those titles. Graham has a B.A. from Wheaton; Angelou has no degrees whatsoever. It’s even worse when people buy these degrees online or order them from a catalog.

    They might say that they’re not trying to fool anyone, but if they didn’t want people to think they had the credentials, why would they use the title? How is it impressive to have a degree you didn’t earn?

  25. I wanna be a doctor.
    I’m excited to know it can happen…today!!!!!!!!!!

    I read somewhere that if you get an honorary doctorate good manners allow you to call yourself Doctor for that day only, after that, it’s pretensious.

    Great discussion, Cecilia.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I am an ordained minister, called by The Lord Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel and to feed the Lord’s sheep. I was raised in a Baptist church under the ministry of a man who had been an inspiration to me for all of my formative years, and in whose footsteps I always dreamed of following. He was truly an example of the spirit and work ethic portrayed by our Lord. His title was Reverend. Period. Many of his congregation members addressed him as Pastor, but I, being very close to him on a personal level (he took me into his home after my parents divorced when I was 17) always addressed him as Brother, followed by his last name. After I left his home to join the service, he attended a private bible college and was given credit for his 43 years in the ministry, and after passing a battery of bible knowledge tests and writing a lengthy thesis about his experiences in the ministry, was awarded an honorary DD. Now there are those who might say that he did nothing extraordinary during his tenure in the ministry, but I would have to disagree with them. I am certainly one life that was changed because of his loving spirit and Christlike example, as were countless others who were ministered to by the Lord through him over the decades. I have sat under the teachings of many men over the years, and have taught many over the years as well. Yet to this day, I have found none who better exemplified the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or possessed the wisdom of this man. A man may be educated in many fields, but only the Holy Spirit can educate a man to be like Christ. Therefore, in honor of the good race he has run, and the superior spiritual stature of the man, I find it only fitting that he should bear the title which separates him from the rest of the field (just as an MD or DDS or PhD does in secular fields) by recognizing the QUALIFICATIONS of the man, instead of just the number of hours spent in the classroom. I myself have spent years in the study of the scriptures, as well as in the work of ministry, but I do not consider myself half the minister he is, and still consult him on matters in which I find I need a little extra wisdom. Despite his lack of formal education, I find him to be far more qualified in his field than most of the classically educated men that I have met in my lifetime. So, regardless of the title of the man, it rests in the eye of the beholder to determine the qualifications of the man, and to value the title accordingly. I suppose that it would be safe to say that my opinion on this matter can be summed up in one simple question and answer. What do you call the person who graduates at the bottom of his medical school class? Doctor. God bless you, and continue steadfastly in the faith.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Well, I must say that this discussion is riveting. However, I mut agree with a previous poster insofar as that you are ignoring the religious practictioners of other than dominate faiths who have spent years dedicated to their studies, yet have no curriculums offered here to attain the coveted title without committing spiritual perjury. Am I to understand that only one faith has validity,and that only through a mortar and brick facade can higher learning be transmitted and discipline practiced? For shame, good folks. Is it not true that the assumption in the original posting is that if one does not study thier decades in the generally accepted Chrisitan dominated institutions that the option of civil recognition is somehow a venue of lesser peoples? Let us, for a moment, assume that people study and pass on teaching traditions other that your own, and that they have not yet chosen to merge and form their own selfperpetuating institutions. Let us also assume, that some of them are actually native to this land and geography and had spiritual systems and learning levels of their own in harmony with the one you have mentioned. Does this invalidate their right to use the title because they refuse to go through double the years by taking the same materials a second time and paying a college accepted by your constituents? Take care in how you generalize the motivations and propriety of the usage of such titles and examine the person’s credentials in relation to their field of learning, lest you be seen as racist, elitist,and more than a little arrogant. Ten years studying with a Medicine Lodge, every day, is no less valid than ten years at Byrn Mawr, Madame.
    Consider this well.

    Sincerely,

    Ms. Davis,
    B.A. (earned in your colleges)
    Reverend (elsewhere)

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hello from Germany !
    The titles from the “Title Mills” are worthless. In Germany its illegal to use them. In the US should be the same…
    But I also dont believe in years of studies to receive such a title. But at least there should be a “screening” of the life of the applicant.A known criminal should not be able to have such title. And there is need for some kind of “Thesis” what shows that the applicant is able to do a “scientific” way of research etc. Also a 18 year old cant qualify…Has no life experience etc. to base such honor on normally.
    But this has nothing to do with the kingdom of God. There are other qualifications necessary as quoted in the ACTS etc… Be the servant of all. No need for titles etc.
    Greetings

  29. Anonymous says:

    Honestly the titles, certifications, degrees what have you are only for show for some people but for holistic workers it is some what of a protection…. BTW, Degrees and years of STUDY don’t mean they really know what they are doing. (They could have just barely passed college and is now your new Pediatrician). I turned to Holistic health (which actually worked) because the MDs, PhDs that I assumed were good…couldn’t help, misdiagnosed, prescribed drugs but did not CURE anything. I don’t see anything wrong with someone calling themselves Rev. Dr. D.D. whatever….those are the people most times have a vast life experience… For example, in my religion you grow up learning about God and going to Theocratic Ministery “school” (for free!) as common practice…this is normal and everyone in the congregation (all ages) learns how to minister to people, etc. If I want to be a Rev. Dr. I think I should freely be able to because technically I have more training and experience than those 6 year college graduates(who again don’t have experience and no guarantee they didn’t just pass by the skin of their teeth)…I have 25 years of experience and training behind me and I am only 30 years old. (So the fact that Im very young shouldn’t immediately discredit me either…) So… I don’t “need” to sit in a university per se to take classes on subjects that I have already been learning, practicing AND teaching all my life to be considered a Rev. Dr. Whomever…. Degree are issued based on your understanding of the required subjects,etc. whether you are in a class room or not. The honorary degrees and other accelerated programs for degrees, while not all credible, the ones I have looked in to want a full thesis on your understanding and is examined and graded…some even have extensive programs where all you do is take strenuos competency tests on the subjects…if your grade falls below a certain percentage you are required to take the class and re-test. It’s not as easy as many may think… I can understand how some would be upset that they spent loads of $$ and a hand full of years of school beyong high school to achieve a piece of paper basically proving that they did just that in order to hold a title….where others (who have a lifetime of knowledge and experience) only pay a fee to hold the same title. People, whether they went to a university or not, are responsible for having the appropriate knowledge and legal abilities to perform certain jobs and services….to each is own. If they screw up they WILL be held accountable just like the University graduates. Just like applying for other positions, you see degree or equivalent years of experience….You get paid well for what you know not for the title or certificates or papers I obtained. Sure it “helps” you move up the secular ladder faster because of the paper but that is pretty much all it’s good for.

  30. Michelle says:

    Your observation is a valid one. As someone who has an honorary DD from an accredited university, I wish there was another title for an honorary degree. A group of friends got together and presented my name and a bio asking that I be recognized. They had always joked that I was the go to gal when someone was troubled because I had a Phd in L.I.F.E well they saw to it that I got an ‘actual’one. I don’t use the title becasue of exactly the confusion you describe. It’s not that I’m not honored as they intended or proud to carry the title it’s just that there are so many bought degrees with the same name and others who have spent classroom time studying for theirs. I don’t want to be confused with them. I earnd mine in the trenches. Please don’t misunderstand, it’s not a situation of better or worse, just different. If I ever write a book, I’ll probably use the letters Phd.hon after my name adn leave off the DR. what do you think?

  31. Michelle, I think that’s a great idea…an idea that other honorary DD holders should use! It would help cut down on the confusion…from my research – just from talking to other people about this – the honorary DD degree is NOT common knowledge. When people see others using that title, they assume that person has studied at an accredited university for several years to obtain that degree, which is usually an incorrect assumption!

  32. Anonymous says:

    THATS THE PROBLEM WITH AMERICA. STOP POITING THE FINGER, STOP JUDGING OTHER FOLKS. WHO CARES IF THE DEGREE IS ACADEMIC. IF THEY ARE LEADING SOULS TO THE LORD THATS ALL THAT MATTERS. AT LEAST HES NOT OUT THERE ROBBING AND STEALING CAUSE YOU WOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THAT.

  33. Anonymous says:

    FYI, the various Jewish denominational seminaries typically honor their alums with an honorary D.D. after 25 years of service as a rabbi. Serves much the same purpose as reunion, apparently. A handful of recipients use the title, the vast majority enjoy the visit and then ignore it.

    My concern about any honorary degree is whether or not the recipient uses it to deceive.

  34. Anonymous says:

    It is rather interesting for me to read that post. Thank author for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with your assumptions and premise. Everyone I know that Doctor of Divinity is an honorary degree as it is not an offered degree in America – In fact it is only offered, as far as I know in England – and rarely bestowed. Anyone who does not know this does not know ALOT OF THINGS and would need SO MANY THINGS EXPLAINED TO THEM it would not be worth the time. Secondly, it is common sense in even the lowly educated world to ask where one went to school after someone introduces themselves with letters to ascertain the quality of that education. Every minister I have met who used the Doctor of Divinity – upon asking where they went to school has replied that is was an honorary degree.

    Furthermore, you could make your asinine argument about your lack of education and culture, on a great many subjects that someone such as yourself, apparently, makes or does not make proper assumptions about.

    Letters after ones name only hold up until the one who made the display opens their mouth – and after that it is up to the audience to decide. In my opinion a full, massive, percentage of medical doctors should not be practicing as it is detrimental to the health of patients ..particularly from certain Universities.

    In fact, it is my studied opinion that no Doctor from Tulane University should be allowed to treat patients unless they have attended an equal length of education at a school that imparts a better education.

    Sounds like sour grapes to me – I would not want someone stuck on this at a dinner party – it’s hardly worth discussing.

    It only shows you aren’t very ..educated

    I would get rid of it – it’s rather vindictive, mean, sour grapes, blah blah, imbecilic, LOL seriously – it makes you sound a bit ‘dull’ or ‘simple’ –

    M.M. (I didn’t’ use a spell checker and I’m not going to proof read this – I’ll let you guess how many letters I have and from how many schools) – in the end.. I get paid to win cases. PS. It was an honor to read the reply of the person above who had the time with cancer and studies through it all. Grace, class, and wisdom – money can’t buy. I wish you and your sour grapes well. Unbelievably immature. LOL I’m aghast LOL
    – it’s 4am in cali

  36. Anonymous says:

    Wow. I found your post when searching for information about the D.D. The postings of some of the contributors just show how fragile their egos are… that they would be so angry at your sincere post.

    Most of the educated world uses D.D. (hon). I would suggest that your friend do the same. Christianity is already (unfortunately) filled with people who claim doctorates from the “Church of God with Jesus and the Saints Holy Sanctified Apostolic …. Seminary.”

  37. AslansLady says:

    As someone who will soon (March 20) graduate with a Master’s degree from an accredited university, I found this article while searching for online universities granting doctoral degrees. Six years ago, I only had a high school diploma and I have worked hard to earn my AAS, BA, and now my MS. I am 60 years old and have earned it in spite of chronic pain due to rheumatoid arthritis and weakness due to being on chemotherapy. If I can keep up the good work for 3 more weeks, I will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average. That said, I do resent those who do absolutely no work, pay a small fee, and feel they have the right to put the initials after their name. As one commenter said, of course their lack of education will show once they begin to speak…so true. I am definitely not against honorary degrees being bestowed on those who have achieved in their fields and have earned the honorary degrees in an alternative fashion; however, for those who want to go through diploma mills, they are the kind of people who want to slide through life with absolutely no self-discipline. This lack of hard work will eventually catch up with them no matter what initials they put after their names. Thank you for a well-thought-out and sensitive article. It was a pleasure reading it and I commend you for addressing the problem with dignity and kindness.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you. I know of a Pastor who had an honorary doctrate of divinity degree bestowed on him for a particular service. The honorary degree is to highlight a particular function or service being rendered at the time. It is not a blanket title to be used forever by the person. This Pastor is now releasing books and publicizing himself as a Doctor. i feel this is misleading and dangerous. Degrees are earned…not merely thrown around.

  39. Pam says:

    Did anyone know the The Doctorate of Divinity was considered the highest degree a person could have. Even above that of a J.D. and M.D. It only became one of lesser degrees when the secular decided so. I want to share a list of people who have D.D. behind their names and run Mega Mega Churches in the U.S. Making Millions of dollars weekly. http://www.ministers-best-friend.com/Doctor-of-Divinity-Famous-Ministers-with-our-Doctor-of-Divinity-Title-Premise-by-NewtonStein.html I personally think, because most people don’t have the $100.000.00 or the time it takes to complete a traditional doctrate degree in any field, if you are a preacher, minister, Rev. and this helps you in anyway do a better job. Go for it. Why do some of these people and others need this D.D.? IT SHAVES THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FROM THEIR EVERYDAY LIV ?ING IN TAX BREAKS. Bias opinion

  40. AslansLady says:

    Why in the world would someone admit to a “biased opinion”? In an accredited university, one is taught to use critical thinking skills in order to eliminate as much bias as possible. As far as most people not having time to go to school, I attended an accredited online university with other students who worked full time, came home to care for elderly parents and/or children, some of whom (like me) had medical challenges, and who still found the time to get their homework done. One will always make the time for that which one finds important. Thousands of dollars being paid to those with degrees is most likely not the norm without also having worked and proven one’s self in one’s field of expertise. I am very thankful to God for making it possible for me to go to an accredited university and giving me the opportunity to earn a real degree. Now I will hopefully be able to use that degree to serve Him by teaching or counseling others.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Please get over yourselves. A doctor who has an honorary / university or religious can use the title.

    The church was the first one that created the Doctorate. Not the medical profession.

    How much amount of pray and theological study can you do? University doctorates are drawn with crayons also. You are just born to believe that because you spend alot of money and sit in a room with someone that you earned it. What a joke. Can you not see you are just paying thousands of dollars for a useless piece of paper.

    You have the right. Use it or do not. But do not sit back and whinge… what makes Harvard better than a public college for example. Yes you guessed it… advertising that they are the best. What a load of garbage… degrees etc within the industry of education are known as currency… Put two and two together.

    An honorary doctor should have all the rights of a dumb ass doctor that paid 100,000 for harvard next to it… who is more intelligent the doctor that pays $100,000 for his degree or the guy that gets one for free in recognition of his intelligence.

    Dumb asses pay thousands and thousands… yet they are smarter? hahahahaha.. wake up people please… capitalism at its best… you are told what they tell you and you pay for it and believe it. Plain and simple.

    What is a GP but a self gloried idiot that hands out permissions slips on behalf of a pharmaceutical company… which can contain any concoction of crap which is taken in faith… a placebo… lol.

  42. AslansLady says:

    I’m not exactly sure why someone would be so hateful towards people who have worked hard to earn their degrees, unless there is some envy involved. I went back to school 6 years ago to earn my degree because I truly believed that the Lord had called me to do so.

    I attended a local community college for my AAS, an online Baptist college (excellent education there) for my BA, and a secular university online for my MS. I fought through pain and discouragement, especially in the last class I took, in order to earn my degree…and I earned every line of ink written on it. I worked as hard towards excellence as I have worked at any profession. I worked through pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis and the sickness caused by chemotherapy for treating it. There are times when I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord “wrote” my assignments through me. Will I ever get to use it now that I’m so ill? Only the Lord knows that; I did, however, inspire friends and family with my self-discipline, work ethic, and perseverance.

    I do not believe that I’m better than anyone else because of that education. I do believe that having that piece of paper may well help me to support my husband who is in his mid-60′s and has heart disease, diabetes, and needs knee replacements. With that legitimate piece of paper, I am more likely to get a job than without it.

    Whether one wants to get a degree from an accredited university is a personal choice. Degrees from accredited universities are more credible than “buying” one online only because the person who has it had to jump through the hoops the university requires in order to get it. This shows prospective employers that one can follow orders, can complete assignments in a timely manner,can interact cooperatively with peers and authority figures, and can set goals and complete them.

    I am sorry you feel the need to degrade other people’s accomplishments. I’m not sure what your purpose was in doing so. I am proud of my achievements, my family is proud that Mom stuck with it, and I believe that the Lord is proud of me too, knowing what a malingerer and non-finisher I used to be.

    I hope at some point in time you will learn how to “rejoice with those who rejoice”. Sour grapes sets everybody’s teeth on edge; better is the wine of achievement with grace.

  43. Hi, Aslan’s Lady. I’m assuming when you talk about sour grapes and degrading other people’s accomplishments, you are talking to Anonymous, who posted Saturday, June 5?

    In the post, I don’t degrade the accomplishments of others, I’m talking about those who pay a few dollars, don’t take ANY CLASSES, and then get a degree and use the Doctor title, misleading those who’ve studied for several years at a university.

    Online degrees are legitimate if they’re earned, though. Like, I know tons of people who’ve TAKEN CLASSES online, the same amount of classes that you take at a university, and get their degrees, which is cool.

    the online degree that I’m referring to, you don’t have to study for it, you just pay, and then you get your “degree” and that’s about it.

    Anonymous June 5, you rambled about people going to high-profile universities and about how they’re not smarter than those who don’t attend high-profile universities…I never stated this in my post. Read my post word for word to see what I’m talking about.

    Also, the people that I’ve encountered, when they see that Dr. title, they’ll automatically assume you studied for your degree at SOME SORT OF UNIVERSITY, but, if you haven’t, then you need to let people know. In the example that I used in the post, when my friend saw the book and saw the doctor title, he said, “She has her PHd? That’s impressive!” But she doesn’t have her PHd, so she shouldn’t use the title and mislead others! I don’t think the Lord wants us to mislead others by sprouting about accomplishments that we haven’t rightfully earned, do you?

  44. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately the church I attend now is going thru this very problem. The church is trying to dismiss him now because he lied about his credentials. The search committee for a pastor failed to do an investigation before he was voted in and now the church is split because some wants to keep him. An investigation has been done three years later after much confusion concerning some of his decisions. The investigation showed he lied about being a Doctor and about the College and the fact he founded and pastor a specific church. Unfortunately our church is divided. He refuses to leave.

  45. Anonymous – June 23, 2010 – your pastor should have made it clear that is doctorate was honorary. I’m assuming that’s the case here. When clergymen use this title, most congregants are going to assume their pastor has gone to a college, accredited university or accredited religious school, but that’s not always the case. From the LIMITED research I’ve done, most people aren’t aware that Doctor of Divinity is not always an earned degree.

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  47. Anonymous says:

    I just wanted to add my two cents worth here. I am totally against those D.D. degrees that you can send $40 and your a Dr. So and So. But I must say that there are those that have worked in ministry for many years and are given honorary D.D. degrees and I feel they have every right to use the title of Dr. They have earned it by working in ministry and learning by the school of the Holy Spirit and hard knocks. They may have not gone seminary but they have through life experience.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I don’t see reason not to give Doctor of Divinity, by it nature, it is honorary. In every church or univesity, this title is not link to study. If people do take it for a PhD, it is there problem.

    I have a B.A. from the University of Montreal. It is not the same and it will never be.

  49. Anonymous, thanks for commenting. This blog post continuously gets hits DAILY even though the post is now three years old. Even though Doctor of Divinity is honorary by nature and is not linked to a field of study in any university, it’s NOT COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT THIS IS SO!! I only found out on my own, through research, when I saw a self-pubbed author that I was acquainted with, a very young girl, not old enough to have a PHD, which made me question what she was doing. AFter some digging and talking to people, I found out the information on the blog post. I know I’ve spoken with others, and most were in agreement with me, they DIDN’T REALIZE IT EITHER. It might be common knowledge among some, don’t know, but the people that I spoke with said that they’d assumed the person would have a PHD if they used that title.
    Okay, off my soapbox for the time being! :-)

  50. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting post. I will say one thing. Check the number of accredited school that offer religious based doctorate degree vs the total number of colleges or seminaries that offer religious doctorate degrees. You will find that many schools that require years of class work and expensive tuition fees are not accredited. There are lots of religious schools that choose to not become accredited sue to the fact that they feel they are teaching Gods work a certain way and do not wish to be imposed upon. I have spent the better part of the last 25 years of my life as a minister in religious works. I have 2 Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degrees, I also have a BS is Electrical Engineering and I am enrolled in the Masters of Biblical Studies program at Regent University and plan to complete the Doctorate program after I obtain my Masters. Since I don’t claim the Christian Faith, to even enroll in the programs that I am interested in at Regents, I had to get letters of recommendations from Christian Ministers as to my moral background and purpose for wanting to learn Christian Theology or Biblical Studies. Lucky for me, and not for many others like me, I am in the Military and the Military Chaplains know me quite well and were willing to write my letters of recommendation. Others of the Pagan or other Non Christian faiths aren’t so lucky. And must use other means to be legally recognized. There is a School, that is soon to be accredited that will offer a Masters course in the study in Wicca. And I believe they are working on creating coursework for other areas of non-christian religious fields as well. Any Doctorate in a theological field is based on interpretation. So if an Honorary Degree candidate is properly reviewed and is recognized for Life Work accomplished and proven…I don’t see much of a difference when it comes to religious degrees. So far the classes that I am taking and have taken have all been review of things I already knew or know. So I am paying for the paper given from an Accredited School. I have yet, to date, learned anything that I didn’t previously already know.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Hi Cecelia,

    I am one of those persons with an Honorable Degree as a Divinities Doctor. I did pay a certain amount to a corporation, as opposed to a church organization, to obtain that degree. That organization also will ordain you as a minister or one of several other titles as you wish. As it turns out corporations *may* issue documents of title in conjunction with completetion of their own education requirements, or with no requirement at all. Most of these documents are to establish the ability to officiate at weddings, such as in my state of California, or to operate non-profits that could be called churches. I am a Reform Jew with considerable lay education in the worlds religions, but I do not consider myself such an expert that I would ordain myself as Rabbi. The Divinities Doctor degree for me only establishes that I have for the bulk of my 51 years been a student of religion and will, G-d willing, for another 51 years. However while I am registered as an officiator in my state and I have performed legal weddings as such, I will not perform Baptism’s, Funerals or other more solemn where a true communion with G-d would be required. With that said, I can also assuredly say that I have known many in the field of religion who are Rightfully and Divinely Ordained that should not ever have been allowed to preach to a congregation. It is not so much as what is on a piece of paper as what is in your heart, and if you have a heart that is not filled with G-d’s Spirit then all of the paper in the world is useless on your wall.

    Shalom,
    David Cohen

  52. Deborah says:

    Cecelia, I agree with you 100%. Don’t mind the haters, they probably have something to hide.
    I guess the bottom line is, caveat emptor, which I’m sure all our online doctors of divinity will have no problems understanding since Latin and Greek are an essential part of any real in-depth study of the Bible.

  53. Thanks for commenting, Deborah. I appreciate your thoughts and I appreciate the fact that you agree with me. It’s still surprising that I get daily hits to this old blog post – it’s been about 3 years since I posted this! :-)

  54. SamSung says:

    Those who Canonized the Christian Bible had no degrees, they excluded books and rewrote portions of the books that were eventually Canonized. It’s hypocritical for anyone who believes in Christian Doctrine to be critical of a hypothetical D.D. whether honorary or not. Christianity rose because those who were in power outlawed all other religions under penalty of death, and to say this country was formed on Christian Values is also false. Nowhere in our Constitution is Christ mentioned, the only references are to G-d, meaning the G-d of creation, the G-d of Abraham, not a prophet. Two thirds of those who wrote the documents forming this country were Unitarians, not strictly Christians. Get over the fact someone paid for a degree without the study, those who are serious about having that documentation are probably better “Christains” than most of those who attend church services.

  55. Unknown says:

    Those who Canonized the Christian Bible had no degrees, they excluded books and rewrote portions of the books that were eventually Canonized. It’s hypocritical for anyone who believes in Christian Doctrine to be critical of a hypothetical D.D. weither honorary or not.

  56. Sam Sung – thanks for commenting, but, like a lot of other negative comment-makers on this blog post, I don’t think you read my blog post word for word. You need to go back and read my blog post, nowhere do I state anything about the Early/Biblical Christians having or needing degrees.

    My whole point is, the Lord wants us to tell the truth, right? If you have an honorary degree (I spoke with a lot of people and they were unaware that a DD degree was “earned by paying money, but no studying involved”) then be truthful and honest about it. When you use that title, let others know that it is an honorary degree – be truthful, that’s all I’m saying.

    If you use that title, and are not truthful about how you received that “honor”, others MAY mistakenly think you studied at university for several years to earn that degree – which is wrong in God’s eyes.

    Christianity is not based upon degrees, it’s based upon opening your heart to Jesus.

    However, it’s not Christian to mislead people. That’s my whole point. I stated that clearly in my blog post. You need to go back and read it carefully, word for word, without skimming it (I assumed you skimmed without reading carefully.)

  57. Thomas E Walsh says:

    I recently looked at some of the requirements for a Doctorate of Divinity at an accredited well known University.4yrs.B.S.,3 more for the Masters and another 2 if your lucky to aquire your Doctorate. That is if you are a left wing liberal and laugh with the Prof. at his political jokes. The school will be more than happy to take a hundred thousand or more of your money in exchange for their egocentric Divine order of who shall be titled a Doctor of Divinity. Most of the coarses are nothing you will ever encounter in the real world. Whose to say of any one individual that the sum total of their lifes religous experience, doesn’t qualify them to the level of Doctor of Divinity. I am 68 years old. I’m not a D.D. but I believe I qualify and would put myself as would many others gladly in a debate on religous issues, dogma, cannon, bible history, old and new, etc., etc., etc., up against most so called University D.D.’s and Phd’s.

  58. Thomas, thanks for commenting. You could use that logic with ANY TYPE OF EARNED DEGREE – NOT JUST D.D. Your comment about laughing with the professor – is this something that somebody told you? I doubt they put that on the website?

    People can work in a certain field and never get a bachelors in said field, for example, accounting. But, if they’ve been working in that field for ten years, they can say they have the accounting knowledge the same as those with a bachelor’s.

    If you look at the examples that I gave, people are paying a few dollars, writing one paper and calling themselves a doctor and people are misled into thinking that this person studied for eight+ years to get this degree – which is deceptive to me and others I’ve spoken with.

    Another commentor pointed out that it’s common knowledge that a D.D. is honorary – I guess myself and my circle of friends and co-workers are outside of the realm of common-knowledge folks and simply had no knowledge of this?

    However, as I stated in my article, a DD is usually honorary here in the U.S. – I’m not sure which country you are from.

    Usually, for an earned religious degree, we would get a doctor of theology or something similiar? It used to be stated in this Wikipedia article.
    , but, it appears that the article is now shortened. I know Wikipedia is not the best source for information, but, I do use it occasionally.

  59. hisrev@msn.com says:

    I am a Rev. and have witnessed many of my peers with the title DD behind their name, as I knw most of them I was very much aware that the manifestation of their training and knowwledge certainly did not rise to the level which would have been required to obtain a doctorate degree. It does bother me because I feel there is a deliberate attempt to fleece the sheep by silently announcing unearned praise for educational prowess, I feel that if the people who use these “honorary” title search their hearts check out their motive and if they find that pride is the reason then they should add honoris causa behind the title and then clarity will be obtained and not even the appearance of evil will be evidenced

  60. hisrev@msn.com – Thanks for commenting on this blog post. I agree with you.

    Frankly, I think it’s pride that causes most to use this title. It’s my gut telling me this, but, I have not statistics to back up my feelings or my claim.

  61. Anonymous says:

    I have just completed a doctoral dissertation and am awaiting a defense date. It took me a few years to complete on top of the BA and MDiv totaling 10 years of accredited higher education. Once the defense is complete (assuming positive outcome) I will be allowed the privilege of the title “the Rev’d Dr…” if I chose to use it. On the other hand, within my denomination the DD is frequently bestowed upon a person who has achieved a position of significant leadership responsibility resulting from decades or more of service to the Church. I believe they have equally “earned” the title of Dr. I am particularly troubled by those who buy a certificate online and go around demanding to be called Dr. They know it is not true, therefore a lie, and we all know where lies come from.

  62. Anonymous – I appreciate your stopping by Cecelia’s Christian Fiction Blog and leaving a comment. A few things:

    #1. Congrats on your academic accomplishments! You’ve worked mighty hard for your degrees and you’ll deserve to be called Dr. at the appropritate time.

    #2. Your point about those doing great things to get an honorary Dr. title was also mentioned in my blog post. If somebody does something astounding, then, rightfully so, they’ve earned the Dr. title, although it may have not been in a classroom setting.

    #3. Yes, I, too, am troubled by people spending a few dollars, getting a certificate and then calling themselves Dr. – especially within the religious community. We’re Jesus’s representatives, and, rightfully so, should tell the truth. I find when people use that title, people automatically assume said person has earned their degree when, a greater majority of the time, they haven’t within the DD field.

    I hope you have a blessed day.

  63. Anonymous says:

    I agree that people should earn their degrees the old fashioned way unless they do something so spectacular that it stops traffic. However, saying that, my husband is almost 60 years old. He did not go to college until late in life for various reasons. But God opened a door for him to go and he got his B.A. in 1999, followed by Master of Theology in 2007. Do the math to figure his age. He wants so badly to get his Doctor of Divinity, however to get it he is going to have to get another Master’s first. While he was going to school, he was teaching, coaching, directing summer camp and after school programs full time while driving 50 miles round trip. He is now working as a Children’ Pastor-yes at his age, and the kids love him, in a church that is very rigid about these things. He has looked at some of the Honorary Doctorates but is not sure if that is the way he should go. If he were 30, 40, or even early 50′s, it would not be so difficult, but money is tight, we owe more on student loans than our house is worth, so what is the right thing for someone like him? He has done a lot of things that I think have earned him the honorary degree. I won’t go into specifics, but at his age, he doesn’t have 8 years to spend on classes. So I ask the community. He baptized 6 children in one service, just to mention one thing. He got a concussion because he pulled a child out of the way of a jungle gym on the playground who wasn’t looking, and hit his own head saving the child. Just one more. Going on Father/son camping trips with kids from single parent homes. That doesn’t begin to cover some of what he has done and continues to do. Maybe he isn’t stopping traffic, or becoming POTUS, but he is making a difference in the lives of children. Who measures what is worthy of an honorary degree? Who makes that call? What makes it important enough to earn one?
    Thank you for allowing me to share.

    CalabZ

  64. Thomas Werner says:

    I believe the problem is in the word “Divinity”. The definition (Wikipedia) states that Divinity and divine (sometimes “the Divinity” or “the Divine” ) are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in the world. Therefore it is my belief a D.D. could apply to any religion or mean just about anything. We in the U.S. have unfortunately taken it to mean a Christian based belief, but in actuality it may not. As such, when someone takes it upon themselves to use those credentials (“earned”, which by definition is extremely vague in this case) then it is our (the followers) responsibility to determine what its use actually means.

    Now a “Doctorate Of Theology” is an academic degree and can only be earned. If we truly want to feel that an individual is basing his teachings on a solid religious base then the “Theology” is what one should look for. “Divinity” can mean whatever it user feels is applicable.

  65. Starla Lowqry says:

    I have been told that Billy Graham has an honorary doctor’s degree, altough he attended college for awhile. By using it, he got an audience with government leaders, spiritual leaders, etc. Without it, it is believed that he would not be as prominent.

    I am a Christian fiction writer, too. My first book has been published and I need to find some way to promote it. The publisher is anxious to publish my second, third, and fourth book. They are all ready except for editing. My current book is “Adventures of Lizzie Jane”. The genre changes throughout the book, so it is difficult to classify. The second book will be easier since it is a love story. It is a sequel to the first. My book is available through Amazon and all internet suppliers. Wish me luck — or may God’s goodness shine down upon me.

    • novelistcd says:

      Starla, wishing you the best on your book release. I didn’t realize that about Billy Graham. I guess you learn something new everyday!!

  66. TheCovetedDrTitle says:

    Wow. I remember finding this blog post several years ago. It is hard to believe that the last reply was less than a month ago.

    Ahh, the coveted “Dr.” title. Different people go through different means of achieving this depending on their motives. I’m not sure how old that girl–the one who had a D.D. on her book–was, but it sounds like she was obviously not old enough to have the Dr. title, whether earned or honorary for doing something that would require time to be recognized.

    I am barely 32 years old, but I have earned a BS in Computer Science with two minors (6 years), an MBA (2 years), and a Doctor of Management in Information Systems and Technology (5 & 1/2 years). The doctorate required a full-fledged dissertation with the standard scientific-method, five-chapters like the Ph.D and is considered equal to a Ph.D.

    I have to admit that half of my motivation for earning the doctorate was to get the Dr. title, but I have never used the title since I finished the doctorate. I kept my doctoral journey a secret in the Christian college IT department in which I work until I had finished.

    The Monday after I had finished, all I did was e-mail the IT manager, informing him that I had finished my doctorate and whispered it to the two people who work next to me. Although I have my title in the employee database changed from “Mr.” to “Dr.,” most people do not know and still call me “Mr.” I have never corrected them or even told them that I have a doctorate.

    Even though it is policy in our college environment to address everyone by their title, the people who do know of my doctorate still want to call me “Mr.” probably because I’m the only “doctor” who is not faculty, administration, or recognized in some way other than just one of the programmers. Within the past few days, some of those people started to call me “Dr.,” but I have no idea why. Maybe someone else told them to. I have never one time called myself such and have nothing in my e-mail signature to designate that.

    Seeing how I have been taking classes straight from 6-years old to 32 without any break to earn a doctorate, I do have some bias toward honorary doctorates is some perspective. I do have respect for those who truly earned their honorary doctorate by doing something amazing that is not common. However, I get biased when I see guest preachers who are referred to as “Dr.” so-and-so say that they “ain’t never been good at no English grammar” or that they’re an uneducated county bumpkin. When I hear them say such in their sermon, I realize that their doctorate is honorary and they probably did not even go to college (or barely passed English class a long time ago). Prior to that, I assumed that they had earned their doctorate through a university. Regardless of the academic subject of an earned doctorate, one must master the grammar and writing of the required language.

    Having read through many different blogs about use of the “Dr.” title I have found that most people say something like “the more one feels that one has earned the title, the less one feels the need to claim it.” I believe that I have worked hard for the title, but I still have yet to ever one time call myself “Dr.” or advertise to people that I have a doctorate. Yet, as Cecelia Dowdy pointed out and as I have observed, may people who have honorary doctorates call themselves “Dr.” and want others to call them such as well.

    Do we want to be called “Dr.” because we think we are better than everyone else?

    (Luke 14:11) For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

    • novelistcd says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog and for leaving that insightful comment. Yes, I do feel that a MAJORITY of those who have an honorary doctorate, like a DD, want others to call them Dr. because it makes them feel better about themselves. It makes them feel more respectful, especially when they’re “speaking” to a religious crowd. The sad part is, from the research that I’ve done, most of that crowd in the audience will have NO IDEA that the speaker has an honorary doctorate. The audience will have NO IDEA that this “Dr.” may have done nothing more than pay $10-$100, wrote their testimony and them BAM, they’re a doctor. People with a DD don’t always advertise this fact about their title because, they don’t want people to know, IMHO.

      As I said, there are some who have done something truly extraordinary and they deserve to be called Dr. For example, let’s say someone is illiterate, can’t read at all. Yet, they find a cure for AIDS, they find a cure for cancer, or some other disease. Let’s say this person makes it so that cancer is a thing of the past (like polio). If said illiterate person did this, then, yes, this person is a Dr. I’d place such person on the same level, if not higher, than those with earned doctorates because of what he/she has achieved for mankind…

  67. suzette says:

    Bill Cosby earned his doctorate in education, EdD.

  68. Anonymous says:

    I have read a whole lot of stuff on these post. There are a whole lot of vague comments and preferences behind what is really being said. When it comes to Honorary Doctorate Degree’s we must first of all figure what does standard mean. In a time where there are so many denominations, so many new churches popping up and many pastors that are very knowledgeable in the field. Lets be realistic here.. If a PAstor has a small church and is out winning souls to build his church. Then not to include they have to have a 9 to 5 to make sure home is taking care of. I think to me that is noble enough for an honorary doctorate degree. They are taking on a task to help change people lives but, for many people in the age we live in have standards for pastors that they don’t have for themselves.. I think it is a travesty that people would differentiate a person that teaches two and three times a week. Has to minister at different revivals, be there for people at every beacon and call… Have to pray for you even when you don’t do your part.. I am just saying that your point is legit as it relates to traditional schools and accredidation. However, it may not be accurate as it relates to how are laws in America runs and operates… There is seperation between church and state. Churches can have their own schools without the approval of the government. Therefore, the government created a department that they will financially support based upon certain merits and the need for education.. Tell me what does algebra have to do with ministering unless I am a mathmetician. Science to an extent has nothing to do with preaching. So therefore why…

    • TheCovetedDrTitle says:

      Agreed. But, where does one draw the line and what does the “Dr.” title mean? What do people assume that the “Dr.” title means?

      In Cecelia Dowdy’s article, she did include some conversations she had where people assumed that the author of the book had earned a doctorate degree through a University, not knowing that the author had dropped out of college and wasn’t old enough to have earned a doctorate degree. Besides, don’t most people who receive an honorary doctorate have significant years of experience, which would make them at least old enough if not much older than someone who earned a doctorate degree.

      Because honorary doctorates don’t have a standard on which to be judged they can be shrouded in politics. If pastor so-and-so received a Doctor of Divinity for his service in his church, why does he deserve to be called “Dr.” and Charles Spurgeon does not? Maybe some of it has to do with the luck one happens to have with happening to know certain people who grant honorary doctorates and meeting the requirements that those people expect to grant it.

      No matter how one views honorary doctorates, one has to admit that they are shrouded in politics. They are based on the subjectivity of those who grant the degree. People will argue with each other over who “deserves” the honor and who “does not deserve” the honor.

      Who are we to determine who’s work for Jesus “deserves” a title placed on it and who’s work for Jesus does not? Would that not provoke some to jealousy or cause some to burn themselves out hoping to get noticed, but just are not lucky enough to catch the eyes of certain people who grant these honorary degrees?

      Now, consider the assumption that the “Dr.” title is for someone who earned it at a university. If one person is referred to as “Dr.” and another one is not, one would just assume that the first one voluntarily chose to go to a university, chose a doctorate to peruse, and committed to the path for it and the other person simply did not do that. It doesn’t mean the first person is smarter or “more deserving of a title” than the other person. It is just the assumption that most people will have when they see “Dr.” in front of a person’s name.


      Bill Gates received an honorary knighthood
      from the Queen of England back in 2005. Does that mean he is allowed to call himself “Sir. Gates” and let people assume that he is a Knight of the British Empire? According to the article “As an American citizen he cannot use the title “Sir” but will be entitled to put the letters KBE after his name.” In this case, the title “Sir” is reserved for those who earned their Knighthood and is distinguished from those with with honorary knighthoods by using a prefix in writing.

      An honorary doctorate, like an honorary knighthood, is exactly what it is worded as. An honorary doctorate. It is an honorary representation of an earned doctorate. But, if people assume that the “Dr.” title represents someone who earned a doctorate, one should make sure not to deceive people. Even though I earned a doctorate in IT Management, I do not use the “Dr.” title, and would especially not use it in a hospital where people would assume that I were an MD.

      Deceit is not supposed to be Christian. If one calls oneself “Dr.” knowing that the majority of the audience will assume it was earned academically when it was honorary, that is obvious deceit as evidenced by the conversations mentioned in Cecelia Dowdy’s article. Just tell them straight out that the doctorate is honorary and get on with life with a clear conscience, Mention how the honor was bestowed and let the audience evaluate the merits in their own minds. Would not mentioning how one received the honor be wort it?

  69. Terrell says:

    I think that everything posted made a ton of sense.
    However, think on this, suppose you were to write a killer post title?
    I am not suggesting your content is not good, however suppose you
    added something to maybe grab people’s attention? I mean

  70. Wow. Very interesting conversation has be going on over the past few years. I agree with all points of views and opinions presented. When it comes to Religion their are always may different points of views, it depends on what you believe. Some people in the Church believe that a Reverend Doctor of divinity is an tradition academic degree, when it is Religious profession of the faith. There are many stereotypes when it comes to Religious beliefs. Religious freedom allow us to believe what we want, it would matter to me if what the person paid the government or corporation for a man made title, rather it was $10 or $100,000. I bear witness to the fruit that comes forth for the tree, not the sign on the tree, did doesn’t matter who approved it if it wasn’t God!

  71. Rev. Will Hensley says:

    I think in all of this we are missing the point. Doctor of Divinity is to teach religion . it should never be involved with a university for church and state should remain apart . Also a person is called to GOD . A university is not GOD .

    • Rev. Will Hensley, why would one need a degree to teach religion? When Doctor of Divinity is used, MOST people assume the “Doctor” has attended an accredited university – why use the title in the first place? Why allow people to misunderstand the meaning of the title? Wouldn’t God want people to know the truth? Frankly, I think all this confusion could be cleared up if the title didn’t exist. As you saw in my post, in a lot of cases, all one needs to do is pay some money to get the DD title – that’s it…

      • Rev. Will Hensley says:

        A Divinity title is for the most part AWARDED to the recipient through the church for outstanding works . That is why I stated it should be the church not a university . I do understand that Dr. And D.D. can cause confusion . Yet that is not the fault of the degree holder or of the church . That is the fault of the perceiver for not questioning to seek understanding .

  72. seo says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
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    get several emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove
    me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  73. Rev. T.J.Spencer DD, D.Litt says:

    Lord! It’s almost dawn and you peopel have kept me up far too long. Look, who’s misleading whom? Originaly the “doctor” titile was meant as teacher from the orignial greek or latin or some shit. It was also equivaletn to masters for a while. Divninity has several denotations, one of which is an academic disciplien covering religious study (and not the same as the discipline of theology). Based on traditional terminology, all it means is a title recognizing you as a teacher of pupuils. Who’s to say many of these folkds aren’t teaching. THe idea that someone has gone to school is a modern one and a social construct. I could, and I guess am, arguing that it isyou and most people who are deceived by M.D.’s and D.O.’s and Ph.D’s. A PHD really. a Doctor of Philosophy….. they have those for everything. that means you can teach philosophy about insect mating habits. Christ people. It’s not deceptive unless they’re lying to themselves for pride, which is a sin. I didn’t earn either of those two Doctorates at the end of my name through a proper univeristy. They are the Divinity type in question and the other is Litterarum Doctor, or Doctor of Literature or Doctor of Letters. Yes, another title you can bestow upon yourself if uyou don’t have the patience to let some stuffy gray hairs say hey, you’ve done a lot with literature or you’ve done a lot in written comm, here’s a degree? DAnny Glover has a D.Litt. Which is also primarily honorary. and if you’re mad about paying 40 bucks for a paper and a title. then why aren’t you man about college. I’ve known people that have blown through thousands, donen little but drink and fornicate and be merry, slide by until graduation and viola… a title, largley meaningless. his was just more expensive and longer. We need to be educated about what “Dr.” actually means. You can’t blame massive ignorance on the actions of a few who’s intentions aren’t always bad. I got mine for, well, fun and spirit. I was toying with a non church generated fake DD or Doctor of metaphysics because of the good dr. Thompson. BUt this was during a “weird” time and I have been feeling a calling lately. Somewhere in there the spirit pushed me towards the DD instead of the DsM. ANd I believe in it. I know it’s honorary, but If I wish to use it I have the right. It’s not deceptive, It’s legal, it’s valid so far as I have a Doctorate, it’s just not the kind of doctor we normally think of. I admitt I don’t use totally proper nomenclature with teh H.C. but I find little point in a degree that’s almost exclusively honorary at this point to defile the initials with qualifiying initials. And writing H.C. after it wouldn’t convince the lay man if he read it on paper any way. the more letters after a title the fancier it must be… right? ANd no, I’m not making a point of informing everyone I converse with when I use my title of it’s origin. It’s like if a woman kept her name after a divorce, introduced herself as such adn then had to immediately explain that her maiden name is “x” and the name she gave is a misnomer. And don’t tell me that legally changing her name gives her the right because honorary doctroates also give you the right… it’s just not customary unless you’re famous and popular. Dr. Franklin’s legit. not by your argument. Dr. Angelou, why not. Got a good ring. ARe we also saying that kentuckians should stop using Colonel in case of confusion with the military or that Fr. is a misnomer because of celibacy and a lack of offspring and Br. or Sister may be deceptive too as they may be only children. Same with “mother” how many (religious of course) titles to I have to pick apart because of semantics. I hear a guy named Father doug and he doesn’t have any kids, he’s lying to me. He’s spiritual leader doug. Also, cardinals (catholic) aren’t birds. And it was midealval times when bachelors masters and doctorates came about because monks where the scholars because monasterires had books, there’s some biblical base for doctor but very little. It was a name from an era that we’ve kept and used as a title of respect and status, which is vain and deceitful no matter how, because a “legit” recipient of an honorary doctorate is still not a doctor, medical or academic, and maybe not even teacher. Also, remove all “worlds greatest dad” mugs. Liers. HOw dare he or his family spend 5 dollars to give him an honorary title that is not proven, tested or earned. Were there dad olypics? I am a Doctor of Divinitiy, and of Letters as I am a writer. I may have had to exchange money to get the thing shipped to me, but churches nab money from folks all the time as “donations” so what if this “donation” convinced them to award me a legally upstanding degree which confers a title of which I can use as I wish because of….. FREEEDOM OF SPEACH AND RELIGION! Dumb-ass.

    Rev. Dr. Spencer, DD, D.Litt

    P.S. I too got my credentials through the ULC, a legally recognized churh on the same rightful level as the one I hope you attend and it’s larger structure, whith it’s own sovereignty to ordain, train, educate and award as their own beliefs and practices and devotion dictates. You can’t say it’s not god’s will without being a blasphemer or heretic for how can you know what god wants and means. He works in mysterious ways.Also Judge not and such. be more like christ and forgive and love and forget. Howmany gospels involve Christ talking shit for years about some stranger’s mannerism that pissed him off because it offended those who worked for sinful pride, which we don’t know because I never heard anything about gettting the other side of teh story. He without sin…??
    Next time someone annoys you, maybe try remembering that it isn’t your concern, you don’t know what’s in their heart and you should take the personal offense and turn the other cheek.

    Godspeed!

    “Forgive them Father, For they Know Not What They Do”

    PPS, I deem you Honorary Deaconess of Egocentrism.

  74. Just Because says:

    I know everyone has their own opinion on the subject (just read all the comments), but I agree with Cecelia. I know a person personally who never even graduated from high school, who had on their Facebook page that they went to the school of hard knocks. Now they have decided to send their life in a different direction, they have a Doctor of Divinity Degree and are a certified life coach (you check the sight they list and it takes all of three days to get certified). So this is for pride and personal gain. Which person would you chose for a life coach who do you want to pay to help you, a high school drop-out from the school of hard knocks, or a Doctor of Divinity, certified life coach? The person hiring them as a “coach” will assume they have a lot more training and knowledge than they do. That is cheating and wrong.

  75. TheCovetedDrTitle says:

    To: Rev. T.J.Spencer DD, D.Litt …

    I hope you are joking with us if you are taking about a ULC degree seriously.
    ULC = Universal Life Church? Correct me if that is incorrect.

    I’m looking at their Degrees and Courses “store” and notice a lot of weird stuff:

    Doctor of Philosophy in Religion – $100.00
    Masters Degree in Religion – $69.95
    S.O.U.L. Clinic Course – $100.00
    Doctor of Biblical Studies – $59.95
    Doctor of Religious Humanities – $59.95
    Doctor of Religious Science – $49.95
    Doctor of Divinity – $29.95
    Doctor of Metaphysics – $29.95
    Doctor of Motivation – $29.95
    Doctor of Universal Life – $29.95
    Doctor of the Universe – $29.95
    Doctor of Immortality – $29.95

    I think the ULC is overcharging for its Ph.D. in religious studies. If one can be a “doctor of the universe” (He-Man is just a master of the universe) or a “doctor of immortality” for $29.95, why would anyone want to spend $100 on a mere “Ph.D. in religious studies” or $69.95 on a mere “Masters degree in religion”?

    If you seriously consider merit in a ULC degree, would you consider it legit for me to purchase the $100 Ph.D. and “pass its test” (75% of its questions correct) even though I have no pastoral experience? If not, who are you to judge me if the ULC granted me the Ph.D.?

    If the “ULC” you had mentioned stands for something else besides “Universal Life Church,” correct my mistake. If not… oh the humiliation of any future comments others may make about your ULC credentials. However, If you are trolling, then high five buddy. :)

  76. Anonymous says:

    I believe that it is between God and yourself how you obtain your doctorate degree, because at the end of the day God knows your circumstance.

    You have a bless day and stop trying to discourage people.

  77. Just Because says:

    I guess I don’t get why people act like we are attacking someone because we think they should be upfront about “how” they received their “doctorate.” I’m guessing that most of the people claiming to have their doctor of divinity degree are Christians, so I guess I don’t understand why a Christian would feel the need to mislead people, and in some cases flat out lie, about their background. When you are telling someone, “you need to pay me so I can tell you how to live your life because I have accomplished all this in my life so I’m an expert,” that is wrong. A Christian should be better than that. And no, I don’t expect Christians to be perfect, because we are all human and make mistakes. But I don’t expect them to be liars and cheats either.

  78. BumbleBee says:

    I see that this topic is very hot since it has a five year thread. I do find it quite interesting indeed. I recently obtain an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Certificate. In my early twenties, I attended four years in theology school; unaccredited and they kept changing their graduation criteria so it was hard for students to complete the degrees. Later, I attended school for natural health sciences. I currently provide consultations in nutrition, lifestyle, and fitness. More than often, I find myself praying with and ministering to individuals about spirituality and their relationship with Christ to find complete wholeness (no you do need a degree/certificate to do either). I do not mislead anyone by saying my certificate or degree is “earned” from a university. But when asked I am honest to say, I have an honorary DD for the use of ministry and God’s work. I do not ask for money when individuals come to me specifically for pastoral or spiritual counseling. The ministry in which I obtain this certificate from specifically states, there should be no fee for pastoral counseling. I do use the title Dr. with DD behind my name to not lead people to think I am a medical doctor. I am no longer in my twenties of course; have served many years in the Christian community with my husband and have many life experiences I share. I am proud of my Honorary Doctor of Divinity and use it for the sake of ministry, not to mislead individuals or ask for money. I am hoping to perform my first wedding ceremony soon.

  79. Earned mine says:

    I just thought I’d mention that the title D.D. is not always an honorary degree. I have a B.A. in Biblical Studies and I jumped straight from that (With a 35 year gap) to a D.D. studies program. It took me a couple years of mixed studies. Some of my courses were in classrooms but most were distance learning. The B.A. does not expire with time and it was possible to test out of some of the per-requisite courses. I suppose that my studies at the Hebrew University probably counted too. (13 Master’s level seminars.) I’m backing up and working on a Master’s degree now but please don’t throw out my D.D. I worked hard for it.

    • Hi, Tom

      So glad you stopped by my blog and left a comment. I’m curious about your DD degree – is it a bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate? Did you earn it at the Hebrew University or elsewhere? I wrote this blog post back in 2007 – six years ago – and I realize things could change in the religious education field. Some of the information in this blog post could be out-dated. Since your degree is earned, I think it’s a shame that others are using the DD title, claiming “doctor-ship” when the degree is unearned, for the most part.

  80. Earned mine says:

    It’s a Doctorate in the proper sense. I was once offered a streamlined TH.D from Oxford after I took the Chancellor on a tour. (I am an Israeli tour guide). I turned it down for lack of time for proper studies at that time. I don’t have any complaints. I just thought I’d point out that not all D. Div. degrees are honorary.

  81. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think receiving Honorary Doctorate is bad.And what is the use of receiving it if you cant use it.You can blame the bodies that give it out cheap.I know of a bible school at http://www.honourarydoctorate.com that will screen you exhaustively before granting you Doctor of Divinity i think!Though they also collect a donation…i dont think the whole concept is wrong.

    I hope you know that almost all universities(the set of bodies that should be complaining!) grant honorary doctorate to politicians,muscicians etc every year!

    • TheCovetedDrTitle says:

      Wow! This backroad thread is still going. I checked out http://www.honourarydoctorate.com and saw that it is just another one of those diploma mills. How to differentiate between a real university and a diploma mill:

      1. A real university advertises what you can learn. A diploma mill advertises how quickly and easily you can get a degree.

      2. A real university advertises the challenges and pride in accomplishing an area of study. A diploma mill advertises the pride in having a degree listed after one’s name.

      3. A real university advertises how one may gain or advance in a career through acquired knowledge. A diploma mill advertises how one may gain or advance in a career by listing the degree on a resume.

      Seriously folks? How many real universities say something like “Go ahead and start inserting the prestigious “Dr” before your name!” on their home page? A real university isn’t even going to advertise the idea of putting “Dr” before your name.

      An honorary doctorate, if done on occasion for notable achievements, is supposed to represent an earned doctorate. Honorary doctorates lose their value if they are more common than the earned doctorates they represent. How to differentiate between a genuine honorary doctorate and a diploma mill honorary doctorate:

      1. A genuine honorary doctorate is given solely based on the givers’ desire to honor someone. A diploma mill honorary doctorate is given to one after that person applies for it first.

      2. A genuine honorary doctorate is given for free (I mean completely free). A diploma mill honorary doctorate requires or “asks” for some amount of money for the exchange.

      3. A genuine honorary doctorate is given by universities that also grant standard earned doctorates. A diploma mill honorary doctorate is given from an organization that may not even offer standard earned degrees.

      There is nothing wrong with acquiring an honorary doctorate from one of these mills, but realize that you are risking your testimony (possibly for life) if someone finds out that you are flaunting credentials based solely on a piece of paper that you purchased.

      • Thecoveteddrtitle,

        Thanks much for giving us a thorough comparison between a real university and a diploma mill. Yes, this discussion thread is still going. Today is the six-year anniversary of my Doctor of Divnity blog post.

        I first posted this on November 1, 2007. I added a disclaimer two years later because I’d received several angry comments from people who were misreading/misunderstanding/skimming the blog post. They’d mistakenly assumed that I’d said that you needed a doctorate to lead a church and to preach/tell the gospel to others. I never said that in my original blog post – people were just assuming that. Actually if they’d read the original post, word for word, they’d notice that I said the OPPOSITE of that.

        After I added my disclaimer, the negative comments stopped, for the most part. This blog post has been getting the most traffic on my blog over the last six years. People visit it daily and I just wish that I could get that kind of traffic on my other religious/Biblical blog posts.

        If you enjoyed this blog post, then visit and comment on my other Biblical blog posts: http://ceceliadowdy.com/blog/category/sunday-brunch

  82. We offer only International Diploma Courses and Religious Honorary Doctorate Certificates.

    You will legally be entitled to use the title Dr. in front of your name or D.Div.,Th.D.,DCC.DBS., after your name. All Dr. titles, regardless of where they came from, are considered honorary .

    To earn your International Diploma or Ph.D Certificate(Honorary) you have to complete courses and to go to apply page to writte your Resume and make your Donation

    • ATIS, you said:
      >>>All Dr. titles, regardless of where they came from, are considered honorary .

      No, they are not. That statement is incorrect. If you’ve attended an accredited university and earned a doctorate, in any field, it’s not considered HONORARY – in that case, it’s an earned degree.

  83. James V says:

    You can’t mix Christian life and the states way of doing things together.
    It’s like comparing a voodoo priest to the US president.
    Who has more respect in their on environment?
    Religious law and gov law are not connected. So your college credit means little to a Christian, and a vice versa.
    Also practicing physician and doctor aren’t the same.
    I’ll close in saying I have more respect for someone with life experience who has been winning souls for 30 yrs, than a college kid who lives in the books and hasn’t got their hands dirty.

    • TheCovetedDrTitle says:

      James V,

      That is exactly the point of Cecelia Dowdy’s article. You don’t need a doctorate to be a good preacher. There are preachers without doctorates that are better than ones that do.

      The point Cecelia was making was simply the idea of putting “Dr.” before one’s name or putting “, Ph.D.” after one’s name if one did not earn a doctorate. That is solely the issue discussed. Stop trying to turn it into an argument against people’s spirituality.

      The title “Dr.” is a secular title that has nothing to do with spirituality. All it means is that someone earned a doctorate degree. It doesn’t mean that such a person is better than someone who did not earn a doctorate.

      No one is arguing that people are trying to combine church and state. I spent five and a half years earning a regionally-accredited doctorate degree in information technology management that required a rigorous dissertation that actually will get published soon with a UMI and be put in libraries and be freely available in ProQuest to anyone who can find it with an Internet search. That is what a real doctorate is all about. The whole point of writing a dissertation is so that it can be published to add to the body of knowledge. A doctor is a scholar who is considered an authority on a subject because that person’s original work is available for others to read and explore. That is what distinguishes an academic doctorate degree from a master’s, bachelor’s, and associate’s degree.

      I will still address friends as “Dr. So-and-so” even though they earned a non-accredited doctorate where their dissertation just sits in the same university’s library to collect dust. Why? Because they had to go through rigorous coursework, write a dissertation, and defend it just like I did. They did not just purchase a piece of paper from an website.

      The “Dr.” title is a secular title earned by someone who had gone through an expected amount of time and rigor through an academic process and had to write and defend a dissertation. It has nothing to do with how many souls a person wins, how spiritual/intelligent a person is.

      If you want to argue about the separation of church and state, great! I love that. I am a born again christian who does not want secularism rammed down my throat. But, at the same time, I do not want to try to gain respect in the secular world by using their title dishonestly. The “Dr.” title is a secular title. People assume that someone with “Dr.” in front of their name earned a doctorate degree. If a pastor wants people to call him “Dr. So-and-so” when he did not earn a doctorate degree and does not clarify that his degree was honorary or purchased from a diploma mill, then he is deceiving people whether dishonestly or simply out of ignorance.

      If one wants to use a secular title than one should earn it using the same rigorous process respected by secular society even if it is not accredited. The issue is about lying. Going to a website, filling out a testimony, and purchasing a diploma is not the same thing as earning a doctorate. Then, afterward, publishing one’s name as “Dr. So-and-so” hoping to bask in the glory of sheeple’s assuming that one had just gone to a university and spent years earning a doctorate degree is lying, plain and simple.

      The issue being discussed is about LYING and only about lying!

  84. Anonymous says:

    I agree that an honorary doctorate should have an abbreviation to let people know it is honorary (or purchased) and not earned in the traditional manner. I do want to comment, a medical doctor is a MD and a PhD has a doctorate in almost any other discipline.

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  86. Anonymous says:

    I have never really managed to settle in any established Church for long. I was baptized as a child into the Church of England, legal though that ceremony may be, I don’t consider it spiritually valid, which is why I was eventually baptized by full immersion at a Baptist Church. I had fallen out with the Quakers because they didn’t appear to do much in terms of worship. Suffice it to say I have drifted from my adopted Church, though I expect they would welcome me back anytime, I don’t feel as comfortable there as I used to since they had a change of Minister and I feel I would differ with many Church members on points of doctrine.

    Suffice it to say I am studying for a doctorate, been doing that for 6 long years at a proper British University having paid thousands in fees. I am very unusual because I don’t have a first degree and I don’t have a masters. I started as an undergrad, applied to do a post grad in the first term by convincing them that to all intents and purposes I could have earned a degree (my highest qualification prior to that being equivalent to two years of a standard University degree) I transferred to a PhD program because I proved myself academically, all within the Universities regulations and all above board.

    I have in the time that I have been studying for my doctorate been less than impressed by what passes for doctoral studies elsewhere in the legitimate academic system, and not everyone inside it is any more worthy than anyone outside, there being many folk I guess who if you were examined properly by a respected expert on a particular topic they have made there lifes work, they could indeed qualify for a doctorate in it.

  87. Jack says:

    I have an earned BA and MA. I have a DREd and an honorary Litt. D., and was working on my Phy in Sociology and Anthropology in a foreign country but had to leave the country because of health reasons. I lacked my Dissertation. Does that qualify me to use the title of PHDabd after my name or not. I’ve seen others do this. It certainly not deceitful since it does use the suffix “abd” (all but dissertation)../

  88. James Kithcart says:

    Greetings and salutations, I was informed by my Bishop that. I selected to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity in June, 2014, I first qiestioned how could this be bestowed upon me with no accredited degree. My Bishop went on to explain two (2) facts:
    1. I have had my hand to the play for 17 years nonstop traveling around the world preaching the gospel, holding Evangelism and Propbetic worshops. I cover two (2) local ministires, thre (3) in Africa and one (1) in the Philippines.
    2. The Holy Spirit instructed him to give me this Honorary Doctorate due to being ordained an Elder in two (2) seperate ministries over a 19 year period and being officially ordained as a Prophet on April 9, 2009.

    I think the fact that I have had my hand to the plow without looking for accolades confirms that at the appropriate time the gift will be confirmed by the Holy Spirit and as stated in a previous comment “the fruit of your labor will speak for itself. ” I will use the Honorary Doctor” as a sign that hard work in the kingdom will be acknowledged by God vice working hard for a title just to be seen.JHK

  89. Robert says:

    I have a friend that identifies himself as “President of US Steel” on his Facebook page. Either he is doing it to be outrageous or he thinks that he’s earned it. Perhaps he feels that he has worked hard his entire life–maybe even as hard as the real head of US Steel. Unless I ask him, I will never know. But for now I will make a wild assumption and refrain from calling him “President” so-and-so, and chuckle to myself and go on my way.

    I get that same feeling in my gut when I see D.D. and people calling themselves Dr., especially if I know it was purchased. I just wish that they had my friend’s sense of humor. Unfortunately it seems that they don’t, and I find their self-aggrandizement pitiful, if not a bit frightening.

    It doesn’t matter how many time you break par at the local putt-putt, or how much your kids adore you, or how many $10 bills you have, you aren’t gonna make the PGA tour unless you go through the grueling qualifying process.

    Sorry folks, you just don’t get to buy something which society has defined as that which must be earned and how.

    Plus, you “ain’t” John the Baptist”, Billy Graham, nor Ben Franklin. Sorry!

    Now, go to your room–and take that silly stuff off your wall!!

  90. Elvin J. Parker III says:

    CORRECTION: Dr. William “Bill” Cosby has an EARNED Doctorate Degree. He holds a Doctor of Education Degree (Ed.D.) from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His doctoral dissertation was based on research done with children an the impact of The Fat Albert Show, a cartoon show he created in the late 1970′s.

  91. TheCovetedDrTitle says:

    Heh. Good job pointing that out, Elvin. I have a copy of Dr. Bill Cosby’s dissertation. I get a little annoyed we people throw his name in with a bunch of other celebrities who have just honorary doctorates. It is probably out of ignorance carried from hearing from others, though.

  92. James Slyk says:

    I recently applied and received (still waiting for it to arrive) my D.D. through the mail. I also have my Bachelor’s of Physical Education degree and have self-published a Christian book. I put no letters beside my name on the cover but will likely put D.D.;B.P.E. on it. I have no plans to use the titles of doctor or reverend on it as I have no intentions of misleading anyone. I look at the D.D. as a”lifetime achievement award” from the Lord for the 25 odd years it took for me to learn, strive and achieve the knowledge, wisdom and skill needed (my B.P.E. played a huge role in this)for me to be able to write the book, His hand leading me all the way.

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