Choosing b/w Southeastern and Mid-America Seminaries

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Heb11:6, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. Heb11:6

    Heb11:6
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    Just wondering if anyone can give me some inside information on these two seminaries--maybe some similarites or differences/likes or dislikes that you know of?? I plan to attend starting this coming fall, so my wife and I are starting to prepare now. All honest opinions are welcome!

    Thanks alot!
     
  2. Martin

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    ==I attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary a few years back. I really enjoyed my time at the school (I transfered to Liberty's dlp program due to conflicts with my job, etc).

    The school is near Raleigh and is located in Wake Forest. Below are the information websites for those two locations.

    City of Raleigh

    Town of Wake Forest
     
  3. mjohnson7

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    I know Southeastern is a great school....they have a very good president right now. Also, Martin is someone whose advice you could trust. However, I don't have any firsthand knowledge of them.

    I do, on the other hand, know a little more about Mid-America. They are extremely conservative (a characteristic I like), all of the professors there have been in the real world and been in ministry. They are not ivory tower professional academics....however that does not mean they are not scholarly. Mid-America's profs would rival any of the other "big six".

    Mid-America's graduate tend to be soul-winners. Their theology department tends to be calvinistic (again a good thing in the eyes of some of us) but that does not deter their evangelistic fervor.

    All that said....I'm not a Mid-America grad!! I've visited the school several times and had planned on attending but took another pastorate in a different area. I have several friends that have attended there and they would tell you similar things.

    It isn't one of the "big six" sbc seminaries, however MABTS has gained a reputation as an excellent school that prepares/trains pastors more than adequately. They have 2+2 MDiv or MMiss program with IMB. In addition they were really alone in the 70s and early 80s when sbc theological education was still largely liberal....they are know for their stands on the fundamentals.

    Both schools are great and I think you would prepared well at either. I don't mean to preach to the choir....seek the Lord.....however, He can give you the liberty to choose which one you want to go to.

    God bless!
     
  4. Broadus

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    While I have a friend who teaches at MABTS, I would recommend Southeastern. It is a quality school with profs passionate for the Lord.

    While MABTS is passionate about evangelism (and I will get flamed for this :praying:), I think their required evangelism superficial. If all the school reports to have been converted had truly been converted since the school was founded, the Memphis area would have been turned upside down for the Lord. You asked for honest opinions, so there it is. Academically, though, MABTS is a good school. I did a PhD at SBTS with some MABTS alums in some of my seminars, and they did good work.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  5. PastorSBC1303

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    I think you would get a quality education from either seminary. If you put the work in and make the choice to get the most out of seminary possible, then you will do fine.

    Just curious, seeing that you are from Kentucky, why are you not considering Southern?
     
  6. Rhetorician

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    Heb. 11:6 Response

    Hello dear brother:

    I am a MABTS grad as well as a Southern grad. I "have been around the block" a time or two you might say! I also have two other seminary degrees from RA & ATS accredited schools.

    Why, I am the only guy I know who has been through seminary four different times. I am finally going to find one that I am going to like one day. HA!!:smilewinkgrin:

    As I was typing this I thought of my good friend and colleague on the BB Broadus. I guess he has been through seminary as many time as I have. Then there is Dr. Bob and UZThD and probably others. Huh! I guess there are more of us around that I thought.

    I cannot compare the two cited above. But, what I can do and have done in the past is to compare MABTS with SBTS.

    Let me do this on the MDiv levels. Both have strong language requirements. Both are conservative and evangelical. Mid America would lean (and always has, toward the Fundamentalists end of the spectrum of Indoctrination vs. Investigation). Both teach the SBC P & P just as well as the other.

    The major contrast, IMHO, is that Mid America alums are "Evangelists" or "Soul-Winners" wherever they might be. They are this according to the mandate and the paradigm that is within their own realm as was described above.

    A Mid America alum may hold the position(s) of denominational worker, pastor-teacher, evangelist, missionary, seminary prof, B & H Editor, Church Planter, Board Administrator for an SBC agency, etc., et al, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. But, just don't forget this one thing. He will always be a "Mid America-type evangelist" whatever office he might hold.

    As to the theology, there are only two profs who are left who are mildly/moderately Calvinistic. My educated guess is that when they are gone then there will not be any hired that even "wink Calvinism." And believe you me, I am in a place to know. I graduated in 1985. I have stayed on in the W. TN. area. I have been around the campus constantly off and on since then for conferences and such. I love the school. Do not let the critique fool you. They played a major role in whom I am today.

    Now to Southern: I got my MDiv there in 1995. It seems to have taken on the part of the SBC's Princeton. It is Calvinistic to the core. But, not to the extreme. The programs there produce a well-rounded MDiv grad. A man or woman who knows church history, theology, apologetics, BL, and all of the other disciplines. IMO, they produce a more well rounded minister overall than Mid America. And with this I would say the SBTS alum might be a bit more of a critical thinker!

    This is not a slam of either of the institutions. They both have a completely different "philosophy of ministry." That is not necessarily wrong. It is just different. You know that old saying and how it goes.

    It is not my motive to impugn or malign either. But, I am in somewhat of a unique circumstance to make an evaluation of both. And I have been around MABTS for the last 21 years. Heck! their (our) president is even my Interim Pastor just now.

    Feel free to RSVP to the BB or to me personally if more info is needed. Other factors should also enter the equation like jobs, part of the country, family circumstances, ones personal philosophy of ministry, etc.

    One other observation is this. A degree from Mid America might hold you back somewhat. Where a degree from one of the "Big Six" might open doors for you more often and in the long term.

    The bottom line is: what do you think God wants you to do and how and where is He leading.

    sdg!:wavey:

    rd
     
  7. Lagardo

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    As a graduate of one of the "big 6" I had some thoughts regarding MABTS when I visited it with a friend who was considering studying there.

    For one, I thought it was very personable, and I was under the impression that a student could have a great realtionship with his professors. I also found everything, even the business office, to be very sincere and ministry minded.

    The dress code struck me as odd. Personally, I don't care if a school has a dress code and I don't have much patience with people who go and then complain...after all, you knew when you went.

    What struck me as odd about the dress code (shirt and tie) was that the reason given was money, that is "our biggest contributors expect it." However, there seem to be an underlying mentality that a shirt and tie someone made someone a better minister. Not sure exactly how to pen point that thought, but I know I heard one student say, "its not required, but nobody will talk to you if you don't wear a tie." Another student was eager to show me some report that said "business causal" was a thing of the past...those ties were right all along.

    Tradition often works its way into theology, and I got the sense that it was doing that there.

    However, if you don't mind the ties...it doesn't seem like a bad place to go at all. And Memphis has some great BBQ, music, history, etc....its a happenin' place.

    Of course, if one were choosing a seminary based on food, well there's no place like NOBTS!
     
  8. Rhetorician

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    Lagardo Response

    Lagardo,

    "Long time no see!" It is good to hear your opinion again. I have just a follow up on your observations.

    You are correct about the unwritten "dress code." It all stems from the time when MABTS was started IMHO. It was started and "seen" as a raw SBC iteration of fundamentalist's school. And those perceptions were probably true on some levels. Then again our "big 6" did call for a course correction.

    It was probably the closest thing that resembled a "Bob Jones" or a "Liberty U." in the SBC realm that I know anything about.

    It is like Jim Dobson says: "More is caught than is taught." The ties and such being one of the chief indicators of such. Chapels, "Report Hour" Chapels on Tuesday when/where all report on the "souls saves" and witness encounters given are just another of the "MID America mystique."

    Another that I personally have heard from Dr. BGray Allison say concerns chapel attendance. He said "That it would be hard for him to recommend someone to a church who would not come to daily chapels at MAB TS." His reasoning was that if someone would not come to "church" during their education, then how could they be expected to come when they went into the local church ministry?

    Both the "necktie" and the "chapel attendance" were under the rubric of "not being required!" But, somehow the social pressure to perform those rituals was very very strong. I do not know how it is now since "there arose a king who knew not Joseph." My take is that it is somehow and somewhat the same.

    FWIIW! (for what it is worth)!

    sdg!:tongue3:

    rd
     
    #8 Rhetorician, Jan 13, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2007
  9. Lagardo

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    Such comments often make me wonder about actual church involvment among the students. When I was in seminary, I rarely made it to chapel. My schedule was extremely tight and I could not work chapel in. Now, I was very involved in the ministry of my church, but I would often here this criticism...often from people who would not go to a church unless they were on the payroll.

    Many good things become moral things and then required things...but if you know this going in, then it can be part of your decision.

    Interestingly enough, Gray Allison's grandson once told me that there was no way he was wearing a tie when he started at MABTS....I never found out if that became true.
     
  10. TomVols

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    I esteem SEBTS to be the better of the two. Dr. Akin is an outstanding man as president and some of the faculty are very good. I don't like the MABTS practice of required "evangelism" as someone else pointed out.

    But here's my question: why wouldn't you go to the best seminary on earth, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville? :thumbs:
     
  11. Rhetorician

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    Tom Vols Response

    Tom,

    I can say "AMEN" to that!

    sdg!:laugh:

    rd
     
  12. Heb11:6

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    Thanks for all the honest assessments. They are very helpful. Now to answer the question of why I am not considering SBTS. From my perspective, it is a great institution loaded with great professors. My wife and I actually visited there about 2 months ago and to be honest we just haven't felt like it was the place for God to have us go. With that said, I must admit we haven't visited MABTS or SEBTS so things could change with that as well...as ultimately I want to be where God wants me to be and with a campus visit I feel that will help out alot, or at least according to other people's testimonies. In the meantime, I love to here people's opinions on different seminaries I feel God may be leading us to and I appreciate all the comments...good, bad, or indifferent.

    As someone mentioned above about the "factors" in picking between MABTS and SEBTS...they are defiantly a big involvement . We have a one year old so it will be a bigger transtion I believe with him. Does anyone know about the ministry placement possiblities (particulalry preaching/pastoring) between MABTS and SEBTS or job opportunities as well?
     
  13. Rhetorician

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    Heb. 11:6 Response

    Dear Bro.

    Here in Memphis you cannot blindfold yourself, throw a rock, and not hit a preacher. That does not mean a sovereign God cannot open a door (maybe vocational where you can even get paid) of service for you, especially if you have a "youth pastor's heart" or you are a "worship leader." Then you can probably find a place to minister.

    But, as I said above; if you want more long-term opportunities to serve in the SBC context then you need to get an "official SBC 'union card.'" What I mean by that is the MDiv from one of the "Big Six." It will help you along the long and sometimes lonely highway of the ministry.

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  14. Bible-boy

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    Well...

    IMHO SEBTS is hands down the best of the six SBC Seminaries. However, you may say that I am biased being that I am on staff here and will graduate this coming May!:applause:

    I expect SWBTS will become the real power house very soon since they have discovered oil on the campus property.

    What's the name of that cute little school over in Louisville, KY?...:smilewinkgrin:
     
  15. Rhetorician

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    BB Response

    BB,

    My dear brother, I know that you know your own SBC history.

    In light of that, I would want you to also remember that "that cute little school over in Louisville" as you so gently refer has either been the "mother" or the "midwife" of all of the other 5 SBC seminaries. That could also be said of Mid America, Luther Rice, Criswell College, and on some level Beeson @ Samford.

    So let's not forget our "upbringings," OK?:applause:

    This is said "toungue-n-cheek" and meant in good humor!:smilewinkgrin:

    sdg!

    rd
     
  16. Broadus

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    As a two-time SBTS alumnus, I probably don't have to state where I would like to see you go. That said, SEBTS and MABTS are good institutions. As I stated above, I personally would not choose MABTS because of the evangelism requirement. I was in a school which had a similar requirement, and the "evangelism" basically was reduced to getting a decision for Jesus. Maybe students should have to turn in report slips for how much Bible they read, how much time was spent praying, how many times they assured their wives of their love, etc. ;)

    Before my family moved to the Louisville area in 1996, I had taken extension courses from both NOBTS and SEBTS professors at the schools' extensions in Georgia. I was impressed with the quality of the SEBTS profs. Also, Danny Akin served on my PhD committee at Southern before he moved to Wake Forest.

    Concerning vocational ministry opportunities, a lot will depend on your experience and age. You appear to be a young man, but that does not mean a bivocational pastorate is out of the question. It may be a bit more difficult to secure one than if you were older. I can say there are good ministry opportunities within driving distance of SBTS, with the Ministry Referral Office dedicated to helping students find them.

    However, I would not go to any seminary expecting to secure a vocational ministry experience, especially if I did not have prior experience. I would get a good part-time job lined up, perhaps at a UPS or FedEx distributor. You can usually line up a work schedule that will function with your class schedule.

    It will be a transition, though. You're going to have to fight for time to spend with your wife and child as you should. Too many seminary families get relegated to an afterthought while the husband/dad is up to his eyes in class requirements and work.

    Blessings in your search.

    Bill
     
  17. ichthys

    ichthys
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    They're not booing

    In the immortal words of Chip Caray back in the old days, and Peyton Manning in these last days...

    "they're not 'boo'ing, they're 'Hey you'ing!"

    "You" being Rhetorician and TomVols.
    "They" being everybody in Wake Forest and quite a few people spread out around central NC. :wavey::laugh:
     
  18. ichthys

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    And if they weren't so polite and the training at SEBTS wasn't so thorough, they would be taking off their shoes and shirts and wanting to fight. :laugh:

    What do you want to study Heb 11:6?
    Maybe (SEBTS) that will (SEBTS) help us make a (SEBTS) decision for you (SEBTS) I mean (SEBTS) with (SEBTS) you. :laugh:
     
  19. paidagogos

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    Unscientific opinion

    Well, guys, I'll weigh in with a completely biased personal opinion. I like MABTS simply because of Gray Allison, David Skinner and Jimmy Millikin but SEBTS has Daniel Akin and Robert Jones too. So, for a statistical scientific decision, just flip a coin. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  20. Bible-boy

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    Hey Brother Rhet,

    It's all taken and handed out in good natured Southern Baptist fun (along with a healthy dose of not takin myself too seriously)!:smilewinkgrin:
     

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