Working to become an accredited college, members of Winfield Bible Church are expanding their adult education program this fall into the Winfield Bible Institute.
The institute -- which begins classes Sept. 5 -- will offer 15-week courses in second-and third-year Greek, first-year Hebrew, teacher's training, major doctrines and the biblical book of Romans.
Language classes will be 2 1/2 hours per session, while the others will meet for 2 hours a week, said Winfield's pastor, the Rev. Albert Knoblock.
"The language classes will be the equivalent of what the student would get in a bible college, if not a little more," he said. "The content of the (other classes) will be about the same as a normal, two credit-hour bible college class."
Class offerings havebeen expanded from four to six and are $10 each, excluding textbooks. Previously, classes were extension
courses of the Washington Bible College in Lanham, Prince George's County.
Fees are to supplement paper and copying costs to the church, and staff members will not receive a salary for teaching.
Knoblock -- who will be teaching the language and Romans classes -- is a graduate of the Washington Bible College and also received a master's degree from the school.
He has earned two doctorates -- one in theological teaching and one in administration -- and is working on a third in counseling from TrinityTheological Seminary in Washington.
Knoblock is joined by CharlesE. Main -- a doctoral candidate at Trinity -- who will teach the remaining classes. The Rev. John Lee will join the school, teaching philosophy courses in the spring.
Although the church has offered classes in the past, they were primarily for church members, Knoblock said.
"We've had several pastors come to take classes, and bible college students from other institutions," he said. "Their comments on the classes themselves led us to expand the program.
"This has been an evolution in our thinking process. We want to share this with the world as much as possible. It's a growing outreach that started for our church and grew to other churches and other ministries."
The trio hopes eventually to establish an accredited college by having the school recognized by the state.
Classes would then have to be rated by the Mid-Atlantic Accrediting Association, which would check the college's library, the academic standards of the courses and the quality of the professors, Knoblock said.
"We plan on eventually offering two classes minimum each night, and in about four years beginninga college," he said. "It's an awful lot of work to do, but that's the goal we have."
Classes are non-denominational, and students of all faiths are welcome, Knoblock said. The teachers were trained at independent colleges, and thus have no specific denominational perspective, he said.
"We feel our doctrinal teaching is correct, but we are not so narrow-minded to say that you must believe the way we do totake classes or graduate from the institute," said Knoblock.
"Hopefully, with the language background, the students will come to the same conclusions we do, but its not required that they subscribe to our doctrine."
The instructors view the institute as a ministry and a way to spread the Gospel.
"This is not simply for the sake of making money," Knoblock said. "Our genuine intention is to share the faith. The Lord has given the three of us the opportunity to get an education and an ability to get into the word in its original language.
"All three of us are doing this from a love of the Lord and to share the word."
For information and a catalog from the institute, call 795-4125 or 795-4719.