Evangelical Seminary in Minnesota Squashes BBB's Attempt to Restrict its Religious Freedom
America's first Better Business Bureau, Better Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, found guilty of defamation and publishing false statement with malice
Contact: Rev. Philip Jegede, North Central Theological Seminary
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn., Dec. 22, 2016 /Christian Newswire
/ -- North Central Theological Seminary (NCTS), an online evangelical seminary in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, chalked up one for American evangelicals by securing a jury verdict at the Dakota County Courthouse in Hastings, Minnesota, case #19HA-CV-16-1718 against the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Minnesota and North Dakota, America's first BBB, led by CEO and President Dana Badgerow.
NCTS now seeks help in the form of tax-deductible donations from brothers and sisters in Christ this Christmas season to enable it to survive the financial strain from the lawsuit and to assist the seminary in preparing to appeal for punitive damages against the BBB. Such legal motions are necessary to clearly signal to BBB affiliates nationwide not to start forming the habit of accusing pastors of disparaging other professionals should pastors preach from their pulpits what the better business bureau may not like, said Rev. Philip Jegede, President of North Central Theological Seminary.
Among several documents requested by the BBB from NCTS was a request that NCTS furnish a third party to prove the validity of its religious belief that counseling in the name of God, as implied on NCTS's website, is superior than counseling provided by secular physiologists and that NCTS must modify its religious belief, should it fail to provide third-party validity of such claim, said Rev. Jegede.
In a forceful letter in response to the BBB's request, NCTS told the BBB that it was out of line in demanding that an evangelical seminary modify its religious beliefs and that not even the U.S. government, under the Constitution, has the audacity to tell a religious organization to modify its religious beliefs. According to Jegede, the NCTS would rather double down on its religious belief that Christian counseling by pastors with the resources and training to transform the soul according to scripture is superior than secular counseling.
Upon receiving NCTS's response on April 21, 2016, the BBB immediately changed NCTS's A-plus rating to an F, claiming that NCTS never responded to its request, despite the fact that NCTS did respond. Due to the F rating and other statements that the BBB posted on its website to the effect that NCTS was being sued, not that NCTS was suing the BBB, and due to BBB's defamation and false statements, enrollment in NCTS in the United States has plummeted to nearly zero, said Jegede.
After spending several thousands of dollars in legal fees to save NCTS from destruction by the BBB's malicious actions and with plummeting US enrollment, which financially supports the subsidized scholarship program enabling aspiring indigent African pastors to attend NCTS nearly free of charge, NCTS faces a dire financial situation. Without donations from evangelical brothers and sisters in Christ across the United States or other caring parties, NCTS may not survive, despite its legal victory against the BBB on December 21, 2016, said Jegede.
Jegede, a naturalized US citizen of African descent and trained accountant-turned-evangelist, was commanded by his Dad before his death to become the next Billy Graham. Realizing that he personally did not have what it takes to become the next Graham, Jegede founded NCTS to train thousands of pastors around the world in the hope that from among its students, the next Graham would one day arise. Jegede now fights for the survival of the seminary he founded.
When every lawyer in Minnesota whom NCTS contacted for representation declined to represent the seminary, citing the near impossibility of winning defamatory cases against the BBB anywhere in the United States, Craig Greenberg and the main attorney in the case, James T. Smith of Huffman, Usem, Crawford, & Greenberg of Minneapolis, Minnesota, took the case out of compassion for the seminary's survival. Jegede quoted a statement from James T. Smith to him as NCTS president, "BBB treated the seminary extremely unfairly; I will fight your fight."
North Central Theological Seminary
4111 Central Avenue NE North Building Suite 203
Columbia Heights, MN 55421
James T. Smith
Hoffman, Usem, Crawford, & Greenberg
5101 Olson Memorial Highway Ste 1000
Minneapolis, MN 55422