Can someone please explain this to me..

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Pastor Shaun, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. Pastor Shaun

    Pastor Shaun
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    I was told by one of my college profs. that a mdiv is needed to teach Bible at the University I attend. Our Youth and Family ministry director recently left to work at George Fox ...

    "M.A. (or equivalent) or M.Div. will be considered."

    Why would they call for a MA when I was under the impression that an MDIV is more complex.

    Can someone please explain this to me. There must be something I am not getting, what is the difference between an MRE or MACE and the MDIV?
     
  2. Rhetorician

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    Pastor Shaun Response

    Hello Shaun,

    It may be that they were looking for "a Master of Divinity" or "Master of Arts with Master of Divinity equivalency"? If this is the case then: they were looking for someone who had 90+ semester hours in Religion or Divinity.

    The MA is usually a shorter "university type" master's degree in a field of expertise, like an MA in Greek etc. The MRE is a specialized Master's in Religious Education. The Master of Divinity use-to-be a generalist practitioner's degree for the pastoral ministry or related vocational ministry.

    NOW, you can do an MDiv with a "core module" of a specialty like Youth Work or even Religious Ed as a "major." When they are looking for an "MDiv Equivalent;" what I guess they are wanting is an MA (+) enough work to equal 90 hours that would equal the MDiv, OR they are looking for someone who is "trained as a pastor" because that is the primary focus of the MDiv degree.

    This has been a major issue on this portion the the BB in times gone by. "The Master of Divinity is too long and should be abolished." "Why not have an MA in XXXXXX at the seminaries like the MA at the universities?" Two of the main answers are: the seminary is NOT a university! And, the seminary is for training pastors which cannot be done in just 36 hours. Now there may need to be a "re-looking" at both programs. The MDiv may need to be used only for those who are going into "parish ministry" and then you could have the MA format at the seminaries. And a good number of seminaries are going that way. Go figure!

    I hope this helps. Afterthought: some of the above is only applicable to acquire in the larger seminaries where they have the resources to do such degrees and specializations.

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
    #2 Rhetorician, Aug 31, 2007
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  3. Broadus

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    For teaching Bible, one may have had as many Bible courses with an MA as one does with an MDiv. As a matter of fact, one may have had more Bible courses by the time one completes his MA than a grad with an MDiv. The MA in Bible specializes in that. The MDiv, as Rhet said, includes a broad spectrum of course, including Bible, church history, theology, practical courses, etc.

    The reason that an MA would get similar recognition as an MDiv is that an MA is typically built upon the student's undergrad degree. Such a student would consequently have had more Bible through his bachelor's and master's degrees than a typical graduate with an MDiv.

    The MDiv is typically not built upon a bachelor's degree, though there are more students coming to seminary with BA's in Bible and such. Most MDiv's though, have bachelor's degrees in non-biblical areas. My undergrad was secondary education, for instance.

    The MRE and the MACE are basically the same degree, if I remember correctly. MACE is the more contemporary nomenclature and would not include as much Bible as would an MA in Bible.

    All of this said, with the preponderance of PhD's looking for teaching positions, it is becoming more unlikely that a candidate with only an MA or an MDiv will secure a college or university long-term teaching position. Adjunct? Yes. Full time? Doubtful.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  4. Jkdbuck76

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    Pastor Shaun,

    You wouldn't be a preacher in Indiana would you?
     
  5. Pastor Shaun

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    Thanks for everyones information.

    Kentucky, one reason that I have several questions is because I am interested in the academic part of ministry. Being from a small town, I know few people who serve in that position. I am just young and curious to what possibilities are out there, and looking at the best degree for my service.
     
  6. Bible-boy

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    That is exactly the situation in my case. I earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies and History of Ideas (double major). Then I earned a M.A. in Intercultural Studies. So I had my entire undergrad course work in Biblical Studies under my belt when I entered the Masters program. The core Biblical classes required for my M.A. were identical to those required for my classmates working on their MDiv degrees. Plus I had four semesters of NT Greek (8 semester hours required in college and 6 semseter hours required in seminary). Those of us who had Biblical Studies undergards were miles ahead of the MDiv guys who came to seminary with undergrads in Accounting, Engineering, Elementary Ed., etc. (when they first arrived).
     
    #6 Bible-boy, Aug 31, 2007
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  7. StefanM

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    I believe that MDivs should be abandoned all together. IMO, the whole system would be better off with an undergraduate degree based on the five-year engineering model. Those with a previous BA or those with an AA could shave two years off of the program, leaving the 90 hrs of ministry classes. Those who desired more academic study could earn an MA/PhD, structured like in many secular fields (MA in passing, PhD after dissertation). Those who wanted to do a ministry-focused track could get a master's in a DMin style format.
     
    #7 StefanM, Aug 31, 2007
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  8. Pastor Larry

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    The MDiv assumes a non-theological BA. It the minimum foundation for pastoring. It used to be called the BDiv (Bachelor of Divinity). You enter an MDiv with a BA for a reason ... to ensure that there is a solid undergraduate foundation. The "ministry focused track in a DMin style" misses the whole point that you can't even apply for a DMin until you have an MDiv and at three-five years of actual ministry experience.

    Far from doing away with the MDiv, I would do away with pastors who don't have them from a reputable institution. They are the foundation needed for pastoring a church.

    The problem in the church today is that we have too many practitioners and not enough theologians because pastors didn't take their calling seriously enough to go and become a theologian before trying to teach theology. The practice of pastoring should be built on the foundation of the theological basis of the MDiv.

    While I am at it, I think a focused MDiv is a mistake. The point of an MDiv is to teach one how to study what they need to know. It needs to consist of 20 hours of Greek, 14-16 hours of Hebrew, 12 hours of Systematic, 6-10 hours of church history, 2-4 hours of hermeneutics, 2-4 hours of apologetics, 4-6 hours of homiletics. 4-6 hours of ministry management, church polity, and leaderhip, and some room for a few electives in areas of particular interest.

    We need not dumb down pastors to give more degrees. We need to raise the level of pastors by raising expectations.

    Let's face it ... a lot of what we see on the BB comes from people whose pastors do not and did not take theological education seriously. It is a blight on the church.
     
  9. Broadus

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    Well said.

    Bill
     
  10. StefanM

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    I understand that the the MDiv assumes a non-theological BA. I think this does a great disservice to those who have earned theological BAs.

    Regarding the ministry-focused degree...note: I said that it would be a masters, not a doctorate. It would be a master's in practical theology based on the week/two-week seminar format. Besides, I'm talking about a complete revolution of the system. A solid undergraduate foundation in liberal arts is helpful. However, a BA in psychology doesn't teach you how to exegete Greek. A BS in Biology won't help you in Church History. The solution isn't to require a superfluous degree: it is to require remediation if the student isn't up to par. If you can't make it, you can't graduate. Besides, there are plenty of poor students with BAs.


    Good luck on getting native pastors in India, then. My point is not to "dumb-down" the MDiv or to require anything less in the program. It simply removes the requirement to have a BA prior to admission.

    I don't deny the need for theological study, but I think requiring a specific degree or number of hours goes way beyond the scriptures.


    One of the biggest complaints about seminary from pastors is that it doesn't prepare the minister in practical matters. I'd place more emphasis in that area than your outline provides.

    The nomenclature of the degree doesn't matter; the training does.

    While theological education is essential, one need not possess an MDiv to have an orthodox theology. I don't care about the source of the education, whether through an academic institution, through personal study, or through mentoring. History has shown that the MDiv is no antidote to heresy.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Not really. I had a very solid theological BA and the MDiv was way beyond that. Perhaps some have a weak MDiv and are surprised that it isn't a challange.

    This is exactly why you can't (or shouldn't do away with the MDiv). The poor BAs, the practical stuff, all that doesn't help make theologians.


    I am talkking about an American context, not foreign.

    The hours stems from what years of experience have taught us about what is necessaty to pastor and lead in the church. The number of hours isn't the issue; it's the content.


    If they complain about that, that is a sign, to me, that they don't understand what it is about. MDiv is not about practical training. It is about theological foundation. If you learn practical stuff in seminary, it is useless ten years later because people, times, and culture hav changd. You have to go learn it again. And you have to spend your weeks learning theology. If you learn theology in seminary, that will never change. And ten years from now, you won't have a wasted seminary education because you learned practical stuff.

    The other remedy is for seminary to actually be involved in a church during seminary. That's where you learn. A classroom can teach you theology; it can't teach you to minister to people.

    This is true. But a solid MDiv program helps to ensure that one is not "rolling their own" when it comes to theology.
     
  12. Broadus

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    I can think of little more useless in my own MDiv training than the practical courses, and I have been in the ministry for almost 30 years. If I remember correctely (from reading, not from having been there!) one of the reasons why Machen became disenchanted with Princeton Seminary was its growing interest in practical courses, in addition to it turning leftward theologically.

    Bill
     
  13. Rhetorician

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    General Response

    To whomever has an ear to hear?!

    First let me say one thing lest I be misunderstood on any level. I want to say a hearty AMEN to all of the positive things that have been said about the MDiv degree and the need for such above.

    Instead of doing away with the MDiv degree, I would much rather do away with "Bible colleges" that turn out to be "seminary 'wanta-be'" institutions. What I have been telling younger ministers who have "heard the call" for years is to go to a "real" college or university and "get a way to make a livin'!": teaching public school, business school, CPA, medical school, pharmacy school, nursing, or a hundred other fields.

    Following Paul's example and that of the Rabbis, a minister "ought to" know how to feed himself and his family and not depend-on the churches for his "daily bread."

    "In my humble but most accurate opinion!":tongue3: a "Bible college" degree is near-about worthless. And don't send those cards and letters or angry PMs, emails, or post responses; I know from which I speak.

    I have one of those (near about) worthless "Bible college" degrees. It was not worthless in what I learned or what they taught. But, it WAS worthless because I cold not go out into the "cold cruel world" and make a living with it!!! It only served the purpose of getting me into grad school. And that was only because it became RA about the same time I graduated.

    I know, I know; you are going to say that not all are able (define that term--and I deeply doubt the premise statement) to attend seminary or get a good grad school RA or ATS education. That is a bunch of "hog wash" with all of the DL programs, other options out there, all of the electronic programs and media.

    I really hope the "Bible college" model goes the way of the dinosaur, especially the "church based" ones. Or, I hope they can convert to a "Christian Liberal Arts" college or university.

    FWIW!!:tongue3:

    sdg!

    rd
     
    #13 Rhetorician, Sep 1, 2007
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