The CLC Story
As he surveyed the landscape of the Oneness Pentecostal movement in the 1940s, Rev. Clyde J. Haney became aware of the need to train laborers to work in God’s harvest. This training would have the two-fold purpose of providing men and women a foundation of sound Apostolic doctrine and would also prepare them to answer their God-given callings as they endeavored to proclaim the gospel to a world in need. In 1949, in the basement of the First United Pentecostal Church of Stockton, CA, he opened the first of several short-term Bible institutes. The students in this initial class, affectionally known as the 49ers, included Clarence Riddlesberger, Jerry Renison, Jack Renison, Ollie Faye Renison, Elva Sanders, Dwight Gritts, and Ralph Santos.
On October 5, 1953, Clyde Haney officially founded Western Apostolic Bible College in order to expand his vision of providing Apostolic ministerial training. One year later, in the summer of 1954, Western Apostolic Bible College was officially recognized by the United Pentecostal Church International as a ministry training school and was endorsed by its Division of Education. Both the acceptance and endorsement were later ratified by the 1954 UPCI General Conference in Columbus, Ohio. On behalf of the entire movement, General Superintendent A.T. Morgan dedicated WABC to God’s continual service.
Throughout its first decade of existence, the college experienced rapid numerical growth and adapted to meet the needs of the movement. The Cherokee Road campus housed a vibrant community of spiritually-minded students, many of whom began to impact the Oneness Pentecostal movement as they stepped into ministry upon completing their studies at WABC. In 1964, the college enacted a major change which is still in effect today when it expanded its curriculum to begin offering a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Theology.
While there is much to be celebrated from these early years, on October 15, 1971, the college’s story took a tragic turn. On this day, Founder and President Clyde Haney was killed in an automobile accident while on a hunting trip. The influence that this great man had on the operation and mission of the college cannot be overstated; the school was thrust into a time of deep loss and sorrow. Into this void of pain and confusion stepped Vice President Paul Price, who with wisdom and grace assumed leadership of the college until a permanent successor could be found.
After several months of consideration, Rev. Kenneth F. Haney left his position as International Pentecostal Conquerors President of the UPCI to become the Senior Pastor of Stockton’s First United Pentecostal Church and the President of WABC. As the son of the late Clyde Haney, he continued the original mission of the college and infused it with a grand vision to bring Pentecostal revival to the entire world. Under his guidance, the college’s global missions program was expanded as graduates were commissioned to labor in the harvest around the world.
Under Kenneth Haney’s leadership, the church in Stockton experienced great revival and growth. As a result, more of his time was devoted to meeting the needs of the rapidly growing congregation. To help facilitate the expansion that was taking place in both the church and school, several men stepped forward to oversee the day-to-day operations of the college: Philip Dugas (1975), J.T. Pugh (1978-1979), and Dan Rigdon (1980-1981). These Presidents were highly qualified and influential leaders who worked closely with Kenneth Haney to keep the mission and vision of the college on track.
In 1980, the name of the college was changed to its current designation, Christian Life College. In 1983, the curriculum was again expanded to also include an Associate of Arts degree, which provided students a clear pathway for academic achievement on their way to earning their bachelor’s degrees. Due to changes in the California code regulating higher education, in 1994 the college applied for state approval to operate as a degree-granting institution. After a thorough screening process, this approval was granted by California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPE). At first, only two programs were recognized – Bible and Theology and Christian Music. In 2000, BPPE granted approval for CLC to offer a third degree program, Biblical Studies, which eventually grew into the present day General Ministry program.
In September of 2001, Kenneth Haney was elected as the General Superintendent of the UPCI, necessitating his stepping away from being the Senior Pastor of Christian Life Center and the President of Christian Life College. Following this decision, Rev. Nathaniel K. Haney was elected as the new Senior Pastor of the church while Dr. Daniel L. Segraves was chosen to lead the College as its next President.
In the summer of 2004, Nathaniel Haney was also elected to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chancellor of the College. Working together to move the college forward, Rev. Haney and Dr. Segraves instituted several steps to realign CLC’s culture with the two-fold purpose established many years prior by Clyde Haney. As the grandson of the founder, Nathaniel Haney provided a direct link to the long-standing heritage of spiritual formation, holiness, and apostolic doctrine espoused since the college’s inception. As the son of the longest serving President, he also reiterated the college’s mission for worldwide evangelism and harvest. In May of 2007, feeling a call to advance Oneness Pentecostal theology through the ministry of writing, Daniel Segraves transitioned his ministry to the St. Louis area. As a result, Nathaniel Haney was tasked with filling both the offices of President of the College and Chairman of the Board. Under his leadership, the college continued on the path of spiritual renewal and also experienced a steady increase in enrollment.
In 2015, Christian Life College underwent several significant changes in its leadership structure and operations. This was due to the Board of Directors’ unanimous decision to seek regional accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior University Commission (WSCUC). In January of that year, Rev. Eli M. Lopez was chosen to lead the day-to-day operations as the President of the College while Nathaniel Haney maintained his position as Chairman of the Board. In December of the same year, after a review of the College’s history and standing, CLC was granted Eligibility status with WSCUC.
The past few years have been filled with much activity and progress. In 2016, the Business Administration and Leadership program was launched, with the purpose of providing business training in the context of the Christian worldview. Additionally, the college continued to move forward in the process of becoming accredited. Spearheaded by CLC’s Accreditation Committee, a rigorous institutional report was crafted to demonstrate the CLC’s readiness for inclusion in the higher education community. In November of 2017, a WSCUC Site Team visited the campus to investigate the claims of the report. As a result of the review of the report combined with the on-site analysis, WSCUC’s Commissioners officially granted Candidacy status to CLC in March of 2018; the college is now one step away from achieving regional accreditation.
From its inception in 1949 until today, Christian Life College has endeavored to fulfill its two-fold purpose: the propagation of sound doctrine and the training of workers to gather in a great harvest of souls for God’s kingdom. Throughout its storied history, CLC has established a legacy of producing world changers – men and women who have honorably served and led the church with excellence and anointing. Perhaps most exciting of all is the knowledge that the best days for this college are yet to come.
To those who are seeking to find a high-quality education within the Oneness Pentecostal worldview, CLC stands ready to offer this instruction and training. To every prospective student, we invite you to make the CLC story part of your story.