An M.Div. Program for a Baptist Student

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by MicahJF612, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. MicahJF612

    MicahJF612
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    Hello friends,

    I am currently investigating seminaries due to a call to ministry. I have, for a long time, resisted such a call, because my father is a pastor, and I have seen what terrible churches can do to a family. After much prayer and petition, though, I am finally submitting to the call.

    I attend Baylor University, and study philosophy, political science, and religion. I hope to one day attain a Ph.D. in the philosophy of religion or perhaps simply one of the two more broadly, but I also want my M.Div. to be concerned with teaching me practical pastoral skills. Essentially, it needs to be rigorous both academically and practically.

    Theologically, I am moderately liberal (women should be pastors, God can be thought of in the feminine pronoun, hell is probably not what we think it is), but very committed to the core orthodoxy of the faith (the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, the necessity of salvation). I am looking for a seminary where I will be a moderate, and people will be on both sides of me. I am willing to change my mind on most things if I feel the Spirit lead me there, but I am more comfortable in an environment where I can learn simultaneously from both sides. I am a Cooperative or American Baptist, depending on where in the country I am at the time, and I will work this summer for an Alliance of Baptists church.

    I have gathered the following list from a few trusted friends of mine, but I know of their biases, and would like a fresh perspective. In your reply, please let me know of your background (conference affiliation, , and then your opinion of each or as many schools as you would like to discuss.

    Duke Divinity
    Mercer Seminary at Macafee
    Princeton Seminary
    Fuller Theological Seminary at
    Greater Theological Union in San Francisco
    Candler Seminary at Emory
     
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  2. Deacon

    Deacon
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    Princeton's got a long history.
    Do they allow Baptist's in Princeton's cemetery?

    Rob
     
  3. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    Micah, welcome. Let me begin by apologizing for the slings and arrows you'll be receiving by some of the statements you made as earnest points of qualification. You've done nothing wrong, but some around here will not be kind. I'm sorry for that. That said...

    I hope that you are encouraged in your pursuit. What a wonderful thing to be considering seminary. If you're specifically looking for a Baptist background school, two I would recommend, given your theological perspectives, would be Truett (which is right there at Baylor) or Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. Both have reputable faculties and are fine schools. Diversity in education is a good thing so maybe Truett isn't the best fit.

    I would also recommend Gordon-Conwell Seminary or, if you're really into travel, Regent Seminary in Vancouver. Obviously you'll want to stay away from the 6 SBC seminaries, and I would also say to stay away from Dallas Theological Seminary since it isn't as charitable as you're hoping for in this search.

    A few thoughts on the seminaries you've listed:
    Duke Divinity - A fine school, though Presbyterian (I think...or Episcopal.) If you can get in, and desire to do a PhD somewhere reputable, Duke is an outstanding addition to your CV. Perhaps doing an MDiv and ThM there would be most helpful. It is not high on Baptist distinctives though, so that might be an issue.

    Mercer Seminary at Macafee - I don't know much about Mercer, but I do know if you're looking for a moderate Baptist seminary this one fits the bill. Between it and Beeson, though, I would choose Beeson.

    Princeton Seminary - A solid, historic seminary with the most rigorous program of the bunch. It is Presbyterian (the Log College and all) but very charitable. If you could get in here, and do a quick ThM at Duke after the MDIv, you'd have an outstanding background to begin PhD work.

    Fuller Theological Seminary - (I don't know if you meant to keep this together with the one below) Fuller is transitioning from a good seminary to a marginal one imho. I don't recommend it for many because of the increasingly hard left positions of their faculty and leadership. Fuller used to be a great seminary, but it is sliding. Maybe someone else can say a good word about Fuller, but I cannot do it anymore.

    Greater Theological Union in San Francisco - I'm unaware of this seminary and cannot offer any good insight.

    Candler Seminary at Emory - Candler is a good place, though Methodist, but it is almost too far left to be of any help for a seminarian like yourself. Nice campus and a wonderful theological library, but the program has never impressed me much. The faculty seem too interested in scholarship to the lack of investment in future ministers.


    Well I hope that helps. As a note on my background, I am a pastor at a church and have been in vocational ministry for some time now. I have an MDiv from a SBC seminary and a PhD from an Ivy League divinity school. While I don't consider myself theologically moderate (and reject the moniker of liberal that some give me around here...lol) I am charitable towards those who find space to disagree over certain theological issues while enjoying agreement on the essentials.
     
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  4. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Duke is Methodist.
     
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  5. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    That's right, good catch. Thanks!
     
  6. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW
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    Wake Forrest and Vanderbilt come to mind.
     
  7. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    From the list of schools, as a Historic Northern Baptist Smile, I'm going to sit this one out. Whistling
     
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  8. Dr. Bob

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    Agree with squire. Not one of those choices would be acceptable to me or ever recommended. As reformed and historic fundamental Baptist, they would not hold to basic theological agreement in faith or practice.
     
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  9. MicahJF612

    MicahJF612
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    Thank you all for your thoughts, particularly from the "Historic Northern Baptists," who have proved that this list is exactly where it needs to be.

    Beyond one's possible theological differences, would these schools provide a solid foundation for practical ministry, or are some of them too focused on the academic side of the equation?
     

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