History of Chesapeake Bible College
The Chesapeake Bible College under the leadership of Pastor William M. Comfort traces its beginning to 1977. It was known as the New Life Bible Institute which met in the New Life Christian Center, (now known as the New Covenant Church at Arnold) 804 Windsor Road, Arnold MD. There were thirteen churches which cooperated to sponsor the New Life Bible Institute.
In time, hundreds of students had taken courses at the New Life Bible Institute. Some were pastors, elders, deacons and members of churches. Although the New Life Bible Institute was a training center for many yet it lacked the ability to grant degrees. Over the course of time the leadership of the Bible Institute felt a great need to upgrade the overall quality of its ministry.
In 1984, the presbytery of the New Covenant Churches set Pastor Comfort aside to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree. It was felt that this would put him in a better position to impart the desired quality needed by the Institute. In 1986, Pastor Comfort earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford Graduate School in Dayton, Tennessee.
Simultaneously, Senator Walter Baker and Delegate Ronald Guns, both from Cecil County, Maryland, introduced legislation in the Maryland General Assembly which would exempt churches from state restrictions and authorize them to establish degree-granting Bible colleges. In 1986, the Governor of Maryland signed into law this new academic freedom for churches.
In 1989, Pastors Jack Cox and Chris Peeler encouraged Dr. Comfort to apply to the Maryland Higher Education Commission for the authority of New Life Bible Institute to grant degrees. Severn Covenant Church, New Covenant Church (Arnold), and New Covenant Church (Eastern Shore) pooled their abilities and assets to satisfy all the criteria of Maryland’s Education Article 11-202, which gives churches the legal right to grant degrees.
In that same year of 1989, to coincide with the development of a new academic program, the name of the Institute was changed to New Covenant Christian College. On December 4, 1989, the Maryland Higher Education Commission sent a letter of recognition exempting the College from state regulation and legally recognizing its right to grant degrees of a religious nature.
New Covenant Christian College began classes in September, 1990, at three learning centers at the three organizing churches in Maryland, with a total enrollment of 46 students. By the Fall Quarter of 1993, the student body at the three learning centers had grown to more than 125 students, and thirty students received degrees in June of 1994.
In 1994, New Covenant Christian College added its first division, namely Chesapeake Bible College and Seminary in Maryland, and began setting up Schools of Ministry nationally and internationally. Evangelical churches from different denominations opened their doors for Schools of Ministry to be set up in their church. In 1995 Mrs. E. Shirley Comfort started the Department of External Studies thus enabling students to earn degrees though correspondence work.
In April 23, 1996 Dr. John Scheel, President of the Accrediting Commission International, visited the Queenstown learning center main office for an on site evaluation of the entire program of the College. The results of the inspection were favorable and the Accrediting Commission International granted accreditation to the Chesapeake Bible College & Seminary. The College from that time on was fully known by Chesapeake Bible College & Seminary. The ACI address is Postal Drawer 1021, Beebe, AR 72012 USA, phone 501-882-3361, fax 501-882-5257.
In 1997 Chesapeake Bible College began networking with the School of Biblical Studies and the Ministerial Training Institute, 100 Wilton Blvd, New Castle, DE 19720. This allowed the two and three year graduates to transfer units of study into credits towards a degree with the Chesapeake Bible College. Also in May 29, 1997 the National Christian Counselors Association, 3650 17th Street, Sarasota, FL 34235 approved Chesapeake Bible College as a full service affiliate College. Chesapeake Bible College opened up its School of Christian Counseling in the fall of 1997 under the leadership of Dean Ronald J. Carter. A student may now earn a Master of Christian/Pastoral Counseling degree and a Doctor of Christian/Pastoral Counseling degree.
The College continues to upgrade its curriculum each year. Dr. Johnnie David Taylor, Jr. developed the Doctor of Religious Education degree in 1999. The Worship Ministry Program was developed by Dr. William R. Rea in 2003. In the year 2004, the College staff developed the Theology Degree Program in the Classics. The College has now grown to an international Christian Educational Ministry with graduates from Jamaica, Canada, England, Ghana, Trinidad, Bahamas, Kenya, Germany, Nigeria and the U.S.A. New Schools of Ministry continue to be established and new affiliations are established with existing Bible Schools through networking.
September 1, 2008 the Oxford Educational Network Wolsey Hall School of Theology 1649, received Chesapeake Bible College & Seminary as a fully Accredited and Affiliated University. Archbishop John Parnell, Ph.D., D.D., Colonel, writing from his Fort Worth, Texas office welcomed Chesapeake Bible College & Seminary into the Oxford Educational Network.