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Encyclopedia > Columbia International University
Columbia International University

Motto: To know Him and to make Him known.
Established: 1923
Type: Private
Religious affiliation: Inter-Denominational
President: Dr. William Jones
Students: 1328
Undergraduates: 594
Postgraduates: 422
Location: Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Campus: Suburban, 400 acres (1.6 km²)
Colors: Blue and Gold
Website: www.ciu.edu

Columbia International University is a Christian institution of higher education located in Columbia, South Carolina. The university is recognized for its emphasis upon spiritual formation, biblical authority and world evangelization. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... For other uses, see Motto (disambiguation). ... The date of establishment or date of founding of an institution is the date on which that institution chooses to claim as its starting point. ... Year 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual... A non-denominational church (usually Christian) is a religious organization which does not necessarily align its mission and teachings to an established denomination. ... University President is the title of the highest ranking officer within a university, within university systems that prefer that appellation over other variations such as Chancellor or rector. ... For other uses, see Student (disambiguation). ... In some educational systems, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a Bachelors degree. ... Degree ceremony at Cambridge. ... Official language(s) English Capital Columbia Largest city Columbia Largest metro area Columbia Area  Ranked 40th  - Total 34,726 sq mi (82,965 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 260 miles (420 km)  - % water 6  - Latitude 32° 2′ N to 35° 13′ N  - Longitude 78° 32′ W to 83... “Suburbia” redirects here. ... School colors are the colors chosen by a school to represent it on uniforms and other items of identification. ... A website (alternatively, Web site or web site) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that is hosted on one or several Web server(s), usually accessible via the Internet, cell phone or a LAN. A Web page is a document, typically written in HTML... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Columbia (disambiguation). ...



CIU began from modest beginnings in 1923 when it was founded as Columbia Bible School. The original purpose was to provide a two year course of study in biblical studies for local mill workers. By 1927, the decision was made to convert the school into a college and begin offering bachelor’s degrees in Bible. A location in downtown Columbia was established and the first dean (later president) of the college was chosen. The school continued to grow and eventually required a new campus. The college was relocated in 1960 to its present facility on Monticello Road. It was during the 1960’s that the institution’s longest serving president, Robertson McQuilkin, son of the first dean of Columbia Bible College, was inaugurated. During this period, the institution also changed its name to Columbia Bible College and Seminary. The name was changed yet again in 1994 to Columbia International University to highlight the growing educational mission as well as to demonstrate a commitment to preparing students from all parts of the world for global Christian service.


  • Rev. Robert McQuilkin, 1927 – 1952
  • Rev. G. Allen Fleece, 1952 – 1966
  • Rev. Robertson C. McQuilkin, 1968 – 1990
  • Dr. Terry C. Hulbert (Interim), 1990 – 1991
  • Dr. Johnny V. Miller, 1991 – 1999
  • Dr. George W. Murray, 2000 - June 30, 2007
  • Dr. William Jones, July 1, 2007-Present


CIU Seal
CIU Seal

CIU has three constituent divisions: the Bible College, the Graduate School, and the Seminary. Because of the closely knit nature of the institution and the emphasis on Christian education and biblical studies regardless of major, many of the divisions share faculty members. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...


The undergraduate division of CIU (formerly known as the Bible College) is the oldest constituent division of the university. The college is headed by a Dean and possesses faculty from a variety of academic competencies, including English, humanities, music, foreign and ancient languages, philosophy, psychology, communications, and various others. While it offers majors in various disciplines, all students must take several core competency courses in biblical studies as a part of general education requirements. In some educational systems, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a Bachelors degree. ...

Graduate School

The Graduate School primarily exists as a complement to the undergraduate programs available. At this time, the main focus of the school is offering courses leading to degrees in education, though there is a small postgraduate counseling program. The Graduate School also offers a doctoral degree in education.


The CIU seminary (known as Columbia International University Seminary and School of Missions) exists for the purpose of training students who desire to pursue a vocation in full or part-time Christian ministry either in a congregational setting, in parachurch organizations or as a missionary. Students at the seminary are not required to hold a particular denominational affiliation to attend, though they must meet all the other requirements for attendance at CIU. Students must affirm CIU's doctrinal standard to be admitted and graduate from the school. In addition to the two residential and part-time master’s degree programs, the seminary also offers a part-time doctoral degree and a certificate of graduate study. For other uses, see Missionary (disambiguation). ...


As an institution of higher education, CIU’s primary emphasis is on its academic programs. Like most other Bible colleges, the traditional academic emphasis has been placed on the humanities and liberal arts rather than natural sciences, in addition to strong emphasis on ministerial and biblical studies, even at the undergraduate level. This is evidenced by the fact that there are four undergraduate majors relating directly to ministerial skills but no programs in the sciences, with the exception of a certificate in nursing, though a portion of the coursework is completed off campus at Midlands Technical College. The present-day Midlands Technical College is the product of a rich and unique history. ...

Degrees Offered

Undergraduate Certificates in:

  • Nursing

Undergraduate Minors in:

  • Deaf Ministry
  • Outdoor Leadership
  • Radio Broadcasting
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • Video Production

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with majors in: B.S. redirects here. ... A B.A. issued from the University of Tennessee. ...

  • Applied English
  • Bible Teaching
  • Biblical Languages
  • Business and Organizational Leadership
  • Communication
  • Family and Church Education
  • General Studies
  • Humanities
  • Intercultural Studies
  • Music
  • Pastoral Ministries
  • Psychology
  • Teacher Education
  • Youth Ministries

Graduate Certificate in Biblical Ministries

Master of Arts (M.A.) with majors in: A Master of Arts is a postgraduate academic masters degree awarded by universities in North America and the United Kingdom (excluding the ancient universities of Scotland and Oxbridge. ...

  • Bible Exposition
  • Bible Teaching
  • Counseling
  • Educational Ministries
  • Intercultural Studies
  • Leadership in Evangelism and Mobilization
  • Ministry Leadership
  • Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Formation
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Administration and Curriculum The Master of Education (M.Ed or M.A.E.) is a degree conferred by American institutions for educators moving on in their field. ...

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T) The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree usually requires a minimum of 30 semester hours beyond the Bachelors degree. ...

Master of Divinity (M.Div.) ‹ The template below is being considered for deletion. ...

Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) The Doctor of Ministry degree is a professional doctorate in some area of applied theology, such as missions, evangelism, church growth, homiletics, or spiritual formation. ...

Doctor of Education (D.Ed.) The Doctor of Education degree (Ed. ...


CIU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for its undergraduate and graduate programs and is listed as a Level V school, meaning that it offers three or fewer doctoral degrees. The Association for Biblical Higher Education has also granted accreditation to CIU for all of its undergraduate degree programs. The seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada to award the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts and the Doctor of Ministry. The Graduate School is also accredited by the SC Department of Education to offer graduate degrees in early childhood and elementary education leading to certification as a teacher in State of South Carolina. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is a regional accreditor for over 13,000 public and private educational institutions ranging from preschool to college level in the Southern United States. ... The Association for Biblical Higher Education or ABHE (formerly the The Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges or AABC) is a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education. ... The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) is an organization of seminaries and other graduate schools of theology. ...

Distance Education

CIU is also one of the few accredited institutions which offer university degrees where students may obtain degrees using a majority of distance education credits. The Advancement in Ministry track allows students seeking a M.Div. at the seminary to take courses via correspondence or the internet for up to two-thirds of the degree program, or approximately 75 credit hours. The remaining 25 credit hours are taken on campus during one week intensive courses offered throughout the year. The structure of this program has the clear advantage of permitting the student to obtain a degree but without relocating closer to the seminary campus or leaving full-time employment. One obvious disadvantage would be that the student only has limited interaction with other seminary students and the faculty. The Advancement in Ministry track is also available for students who wish to pursue certain M.A. degrees, but is not available in a formal way outside the Seminary.

Student Life

Like most evangelical schools and many seminaries, CIU does have doctrinal affirmations and lifestyle standards which all students (regardless of degree sought) are expected to affirm as a part of admission.

Doctrinal Standards

There are seven doctrinal points which students must assent to as a part of their admission to and candidacy for a degree from CIU. These are Biblical inspiration, natural separation of humanity from God, salvation by grace through faith in Christ, the historical doctrine of the Trinity, the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer, and the evangelical mandate to witness to the Gospel of Christ. Additionally, the doctrine of Premillennialism is officially held by the school, but students are not required to adhere to this doctrine. Students who do not agree with these doctrines may petition to receive a waiver prior to admission. Biblical inspiration is the doctrine in Christian theology concerned with the divine origin of the Bible and what the Bible teaches about itself. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      This article is about Premillennialism in Christian...

The seminary also requires student affirmation of CIU’s doctrinal standards, excepting premillennialism, prior to graduation, even if the student received a waiver prior to admission. CIU does require faculty in Biblical studies to affirm premillenialism.

Lifestyle Standards

CIU holds to a goal of spiritual formation in preparation for life after college. Students are required to sign a covenant form agreeing to keep various lifestyle standards established by the university. Some of the standards include forbidding students from viewing R-rated movies and prohibition from alcohol and tobacco. During a semester all students are required to fill out “accountability forms” and report to Student Life.Though not required during summer and winter breaks, students are expected to maintain CIU lifestyle standards.

The standards have been a point of contention for many years; while many students express frustration, the administration defends the standards and cites that those who fail to keep their word regarding standards lack integrity. While not actively publicized, a complete handbook is available for viewing at [1].

In the spring semester of 2007, one of the most contentious standards, the "physical expression of affection" standard (dating couples may not hold hands or kiss, but may only hug briefly) was revised to allow for more freedom of physical expressions (couples dating seriously are now allowed to hold hands and kiss briefly).

Student Organizations

  • Student Senate
  • Student Union
  • Residence Life Council
  • Graduate Life Council
  • The Finial: yearbook
  • Credo: theological/philosophical magazine with articles written by its staff members and students
  • The Pilgrim's Protest: student newspaper that accepts submissions from the student body
  • Mu Kappa: an organization for Missionary and Third Culture Students
  • African American Fellowship Ministries
  • Student Missions Connection: student group which prays for current missionary activities and helps members seek their role in global missions.
  • Refocus: Campus video news program

Denominational Relationships

CIU prides itself on being an interdenominational institution. It is not directly affiliated or sponsored by any single denomination though welcomes all students from any number of evangelical Christian denominations and somewhat more loosely, any Protestant denomination. To preserve its evangelical character, CIU permits only Protestant Evangelical organizations to advertise on their affiliated radio stations. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Relation to other religions Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Christianity Portal This box:      Evangelicalism is a theological perspective in Protestant Christianity which identifies with the gospel. ... Protestantism encompasses the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated with the doctrines of the Reformation. ...

While CIU does have enrolled students who are members of Christian communities which would not typically be identified as evangelical Protestant, it does require that all faculty and staff belong to a local Protestant church. This policy was enforced when one faculty member, Dr. Edward Rommen, was removed from his seminary teaching post upon his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy and reception into the Orthodox Church in America. Prior to his removal from the faculty, Dr. Rommen was a prominent member of the Evangelical Free Church of America. The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church in North America. ... The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) is an association of autonomous evangelical Christian congregations. ...

While the school does admit students from many backgrounds, the most commonly represented groups, as of 2004, are Baptist (25%), Independent (23%), and Presbyterian (11%), and are generally drawn from churches which could be termed conservative, evangelical, or fundamentalist. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Baptist is... Look up fundamentalism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


CIU has been the center of some notable theological, political and philosophical controversies.

Theological Controversies

Founding President Robert C. McQuilkin temporarily lost his membership in the American Keswick Society (headed by the Rev. W. Griffith Thomas) in the early part of the 20th century, due to theological conflicts over differing views of human nature and remaining sin in the Christian person. Griffith-Thomas and the American Keswick group were convinced that McQuilkin adopted a sinless perfection theology, which they opposed. During the last part of the twentieth century, Dr. Miller, as president, refrained from using the classic Keswick phrase "Victorious Christian Life", and substituted "Authentic Christian Life." This substitution never caught on, however.

Princeton theologian Benjamin B. Warfield wrote a scathing theological attack on the Keswick movement, which continues to be read in Reformed circles today. See The Princeton Theological Review, Vol. XVII, no.2, c. 1919.

Political Controversies

Robertson McQuilkin insisted on the racial integration of the school before he would consider accepting the board's offer of the presidency in the late 1960's. This occasioned great controversy within the institution, and some turn-over on the Board of Trustees.

President Johnny Miller's public call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina state house dome occasioned great controversy in the Carolinas, and lost the school some supporters.

Academic/Philosophical Controversies

In the 1990s, Dr. Ed Rommen was removed from his faculty position in the seminary due to his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy. Dr. Rommen claimed that he could still subscribe to the school's statement of faith. However, since CIU was founded by evangelical Protestants, and is a longtime member of the AABC (American Association of Bible Colleges), the administration took the position that the school's statement of faith was a Protestant symbol despite the absence of explicit anti-Catholic/Orthodox language.

On May 7, 2007, Keith Marion and board chairman Harold Weaver announced that George Murray was being transitioned to the new position of Chancellor, and Dr. Bill Jones, who had briefly occupied the position of Provost, would become the school's next president on July 1, 2007. Jones has publicly stated that his presidency will focus on changing some fundamental elements which, in some cases, negatively stigmatize CIU and its graduates.

Additional Programs

While the primary mission of CIU is to provide an evangelical higher education to its students, the corporate entity also encompasses two other major educational and evangelistic entities.

Ben Lippen School

Ben Lippen is a private, interdenominational Christian school located on the CIU campus. It was originally founded as a boarding school in Asheville, North Carolina in the 1940’s, but was moved to its current location in 1988, offering middle and high school programs. An elementary school away from the main CIU campus was begun in 1989, and in 2006 a main elementary school campus was completed on CIU grounds and classes began there in august. The schools are co-education and feature a mix of commuting and resident students. The curriculum mirrors most public institutions with the exception of teaching subject from an evangelical Christian worldview and the inclusion of Bible classes and chapel for students, faculty, and staff. Not to be confused with Ashville. ...

Christian Radio Stations

Two commercial-free, listener supported radio stations playing Contemporary Christian Music are supported by CIU. The first, 89.7 WMHK-FM, is located on the CIU campus and broadcasts in the Columbia metro area. It received the Station of the Year Award in 1996 from the National Association of Broadcasters for religious/gospel programming, and is ranked #2 nationally for religiously oriented radio stations. A sister station in Charlotte, North Carolina, 91.9 WRCM-FM, has recently begun broadcasting as well. Both stations feature a mix of music and preaching and sponsor concerts in their listening areas by CCM artists. Both stations are targeted to reach women between the ages of 25 and 45. Category: ... WMHK-FM 89. ... The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is a US trade association that advocates on behalf of over 8,300 radio and television stations and networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and various judicial bodies. ... Charlotte redirects here. ... WRCM-FM is New Life 91. ...

See also

Joy Ridderhof (March 30, 1903 - December 19, 1984) was the youngest daughter of the six children of Nickolas and Anna Ridderhof. ... Chet Bitterman was an American linguist and missionary who was kidnapped and killed by revolutionaries of the 19th of April Movement (M-19) in Colombia in 1981. ... Philip Yancey (born 1949) is an American Christian author. ... The Higher Life movement was a movement devoted to Christian holiness in England and throughout the British Isles. ...

External links



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