Andersonville Theological Seminary

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Jabbezzz, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. Jabbezzz

    Jabbezzz
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    Formerly known as Andersonville Baptist Seminary, ATS offers numerous degrees via distance learning. Anyone had experience with ATS?
     
  2. IanM

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    I am a student at Andersonville and have found it to be a good program. It is distance learning and takes committment. The quality of the recorded instruction is good. I spent a lot of time looking at different programs and praying for GOD to lead me to the right one. I am positive I am where GOD has for me to be.
     
  3. Jabbezzz

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    Thank you, Ian. What kind of feedback do you get from the professors in terms of critique of assignments, quick turn-around, etc.?
     
  4. Martin

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    I took two classes from Andersonville a few years ago just to test the distance learning waters (ie...to see if it was for me). I had heard alot of good things about the program and decided that it would be a good test drive for me. I knew they were not accredited, and I knew that I would only do one or two classes just to see if I liked distance education. How did I like it? Well I enrolled in Liberty's MAR (distance) program.

    Andersonville has a good program and their classes are solid. Most of the teachers, at least at that time, were Andersonville graduates (which is not a good thing) however they were real good teachers and had a solid grasp on the material. The professor I talked to via email, Dr Howard, was very helpful and eager to see students learn. Every now and then I get a new catalog from Andersonville just to keep up with them (I get catalogs from alot of seminaries). I noticed that they have added classes from the Institue of Theological Studies to their programs. ITS has classes by scholars like Darrell Bock. I think Dallas Seminary (DTS) used ITS at one time (not sure if they still do). So they have a solid program. Andersonville is NOT a degree mill (accreditation or no accreditation) and is a good school. They claim to hold accreditation however their accreditation is not official (so they really have no accreditation). That is a weakness they should explain better.

    Who should consider Andersonville? NOT EVERYBODY!

    Andersonville is good for several types of people.

    1. People who just want to attend, through distance learning, a Bible College/Seminary for personal growth. They don't wish to change careers or have an "offical" ministry position (preacher, etc). They just wish to study. For these people accreditation is not a issue.

    2. Sunday school teachers who wish to improve their knowledge of Scripture.

    3. Pastors of small churches.

    However one must always consider the church/school (etc) one wishes to be employeed by before signing up a Andersonville (or anywhere else). Some denominations require certain degrees, some even require degrees from schools that hold accreditation. If one wishes to teach (at any level) Andersonville will not work. To teach a person must hold a degree from a school that has official accreditation. This all may seem unfair but it is the real world.

    This is all just my opinion and I am no expert. But I hope this helps in some way.

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  5. UZThD

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    IMO Andersonville should require more for a ThD than eight months of study.
     
  6. Martin

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    I think Andersonville serves the purpose for which it was intended. It is not a Southeastern, Dallas, or Liberty. It is a small distance learning school meant mainly for the people I mentioned. For that purpose it is good. I don't know anyone who earned a degree from ATS in minus eight months. Maybe someone can, I don't know how though (and have a job, and life at the same time).
     
  7. UZThD

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    I can see who might benefit from that level of study. What I don't see is why a Doctor of Theology degree should be awarded for that level of study or why SS teachers etc need to be called "Dr" at all.
     
  8. Martin

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    I see your point. However I doubt any good Sunday School teacher would walk around boasting of their "Dr" degree.

    Honestly though, their Doctor of Theology degree does not (to me anyway) look all that simple. I am sure that it is not on the level of a PhD from Southwestern (or some place like that) but it maybe on the level of a good DMin. I mean, there looks to be alot of research and writing. It does not look easy, nor have I heard anyone say it was. I am looking at their '03 catalog and the ThD progam (pg33). Their MA (Christian Eduction), MA (Religious Education), and ThM degrees are the same way. I am, btw, going by their catalog and what others have said.

    Now, I must admit, they have other Doctor programs that are below that level. Their DMin, DPastCouns., DBibSt, DPastTheo have no research projects. So I would agree those are not "real" doctors programs.

    Again, for the purposes it serves it does a good job.
     
  9. UZThD

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    I appreciate your opinion and in return offer mine. I limit my remarks to doctoral education in Biblical studies, not praxes, and I qualify it also by saying that I am NOT suggesting that ATS staff or students are insincere!


    1) PREREQUISITES FOR DOCTORAL STUDY IN BIBLE

    If one looks at the prerequisites for doctoral studies in accredited schools, one may be overwhelmed with what is required. When I was in the EdD program at Oregon State (which I did not finish) the Dean of my Dept, for whom I was a grad teaching assistant at the University, confided that the other Oregon State Dept heads of doctoral programs deemed the doc in Education to be "Mickey Mouse" because so little was required to enter it and finish it.

    But the same criticism certainly cannot be made of accredited doc programs in Bible. Consider, eg, the Master's ThD prereqs: accredited ThM, high marks in ThM and in thesis, pass FIVE four hour exams in Old Testament Hebrew and Lit, NT Greek and Lit, Church Hist, Bible knowl, and church hist. All of this just to ENTER doc studies!

    Now, what is the advantage in having the entry bar high? It simply is, that if the prereqs are not demanding, then what assurances can be given that the applicant could in fact do genuine doc work?

    If a school's prereqs for doc study are not rigorous , then why should it be thought that the doc program of that school could be rigorous?

    I can imagine someone saying that a proponant for rigorous study of the Bible at the doc level is just self-centered, but IMO, it rather is being WORD-centered! It is saying that the study of God's Word deserves our very best effort of study. Therefore, one who claims a DOC in that study needs to have spent him/her self in rigorous academic devotion to that study over a long period of time in order to really earn that highest of degrees.


    2) DURATION OF DOC PROGRAMS IN BIBLE


    Why do such schools as Dallas require their PhD students in Bible to labor so long in the vineyard of academe to get the doc degree? It simply is because there is so very much to learn!

    A program which requires only 1/5 of the time normally expected suggests that there is not really all that much to learn about the Bible at the doc level!

    According to the ATS online catalogue, as I read it, the ATS masters in Biblical studies can be completed in 8-12 months. Similarly a doctorate can be "earned" in another 8-12 months. Therefore, one might finish both the masters and the doc at ATS in from 16 to 24 months.

    By way of comparison, DTS or the Masters builds their doctoral programs on the THM. ALL accredited ThMs in the USA take FOUR FULLTIME years of grad study. The Master's ThD or DTS PhD requires from three to five more years.

    So, the ATS grad may have finished his masters/doc in 1 1/2 years. Accredited schools require a minimum of 7 years.

    It is all well and good to say that ATS doc programs "fit the needs of some," but I would counter that a doctoral degree should imply the highest level of rigor in the program and the greatest degree of competency in the graduate.

    This hardly can occur at ATS if the entire masters/doc can be done in 1 1/2-2 years whereas the normal expectation is 7-10 years of study!

    One of my basic questions is, what motivates an individual to attempt to get a degree by which he, supposedly, is called "Dr." in Biblical Studies which only requires him to study 1/5 of the time his brethren are studying in other schools?

    What motivates a school to award the very highest degree in one of the most difficult areas of study under those very modest circumstances?


    SUBSTANCE OF DOC PROGRAMS IN BIBLE

    The substance of a PhD or ThD program Bible is not merely more of the same at the master's level. The doc is not just a big masters. The doc is not a bunch of survey courses!

    Students entering doc programs in Bible , generally in either NT or OT, should already have the necessary skills to interact with the scholarly literature, exegete in the original languages(s) , and to research them and evaluate hypotheses.

    An example of all three of these coming into play is evaluating whether or not John V. Dahms in "The Johannine Use of Monogenes Reconsidered" (NTS, April, 83) is correct that Greek Septuagintal research indicates that that adjective requires a birthing of the one it describes.

    A student in a genuinely rigorous doc level study in Bible ought to able to research that hypothesis. He can compare the Hebrew 'yahid' to the LXX translation of that. He can read the seven occurences in the Greek in Judges, Psalms, and Apocrypha and see from their context if Dahms is right. The conclusion of that research qualifies the Person of Christ and immanent Trinal relations, and is , therefore, crucial to a sound, doc level understanding of Christianity!

    Scores of such could be given!

    Now I understand that a common attack to my sort of reasoning is that such education is just being prideful. But just where in the Word does it say that ignorance at the DOCTORAL level of studies is being humble?

    IMO to assume the title of "DR" for insignificant rigor is not being humble!


    PROFESSORS OF DOC PROGRAMS IN BIBLE

    If the doc student in OT or NT is to be equipped to do scholarly work, then it follows that the faculty need to be qualified to supervise such work. The normal qualification would be an accredited PhD/ThD in the area taught. I say "normal" because that is the standard of gov approved accreditors.

    All of this does not mean that I am saying that only RA accred schools could possibly offer quality grad studies in Bible. However, IMO, the prerequisites, the duration , the substance, and the qualifications of the faculty of the doc programs in Bible [ie, the "rigor," of such programs]should approximate those of accredited schools.

    Such requires devotion to GOD'S WORD not merely to accreditation!

    Again, my comments connect only to doc degrees in Biblical Studies, not in praxes, and are not intended to denigrate the character of ATS staff or students.
     
  10. Plain Old Bill

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    Dear UzThd,
    I have looked at Andersonvilles'catalogue too. the first thing I noticed was it is weak on languages. Call me crazy but I think you need 18 semester hours of Greek and at least 6 hours of Hebrew to enter Grad school (seminary). So I would add they need to step up in the language deptartment also.
     
  11. Plain Old Bill

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    I am hoping they improve as it seems they are sincere.
     
  12. izzaksdad

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    Just a quick note here also guys. ATS is considered by many Pastors- not just small church Pastors- as a quality alternative to on campus seminary education such as SEBTS, SWBTS, etc. Phil Hoskins, Higher Ground Baptist Church, outside of Knoxville, TN runs about 2500-3000 in worship, and over 1000 in SS. He received degree from ATS.

    Also, Southern Baptist Center for Biblical Studies in Jaxonville, Florida would not be considered accreditted, but it has a wonderful reputation and a good, solid graduate program of study. Large church Pastors with graduate degrees from this institution are to numerable to name- just a couple you might recognize though- Herb Reavis, Jr. - North Jacksonville Baptist Church- 3000+ membership. David Gallamore- Rock Springs Baptist Church, Easley/Greenville SC- 4000 membership.

    Just info.! [​IMG]
     
  13. UZThD

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    Izzaksdad: I tried to explain that my comments were connected only to the doctorate in Biblical Studies NOT praxes.

    As PO Bill (I also am Bill) astutely observes, NO , as in NOT ONE, US accredited (ie by Gov approved accreditors) seminary gives a doc in Bible or EVEN admits one to doc studies in Bible w-out Heb/Grk. If ATS does not require Heb/Grk in doc Bible studies, then that is reason, IMO, to doubt ATS rigor in those studies.

    I am not saying that one cannot become a pastor with an ATS degree. What I am saying is that academically speaking ATS grad studies in Bible are quite deficit for the reasons I listed. Yet the THD in Bible IS an academic degree!

    Here is a simple academic test of the rigor of the ATS grad studies in Bible: Name ONE ATS grad of a master's degree in Bible , MA or MDiv or ThM, who entered a genuinely accredited (ie gov approved accreditation) PhD or ThD in Bible on the basis of what he learned in the ATS masters in Bible program and who successfully finished that accredited doc work. Just name one! If this cannot be done that, IMO, is reason to doubt ATS rigor in those studies.

    The issue is NOT just accreditation, as I can point to unaccredited sschools so rigorous that their grads do indeed succeed in Dallas or TEDS doc programs. The issue is rigor--the rigor the WORD of God requires AND deserves at grad level studies.


    Of course I believe that everyone should study the Bible---just don't give docs in Bible for less than rigorous doc work!

    Again, I am not doubting the sincerity of ATS staff or students.

    I am saying, however, as one who has finished three accredited masters and an accredited doc in Biblically related studies, that the ATS doc program in Bible is not really that!

    [ January 05, 2005, 06:40 PM: Message edited by: UZThD ]
     
  14. Broadus

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    UZThD,

    Well reasoned and well said.

    Bill
     
  15. izzaksdad

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    Point taken.

    Idad
     
  16. Plain Old Bill

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    I do think if they aqueezes thier grad stuff in with thier undergrad studies the would be comming up with some good Bacheleor programs.It still would'nt hurt them to add more language study.
     
  17. Plain Old Bill

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    Sorry I shuda edited that.
     

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