Comparing online seminaries

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by paidagogos, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. paidagogos

    paidagogos
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    From time to time, banner ads appear at the top of our screens for this board. Recently, two ads featuring Messiah Seminary and Andersonville Seminary appeared at the top of my screen. I visited the Messiah web site and compared it with Andersonville Theological Seminary. I would encourage other members to visit both web sites to compare and contrast these two online and unaccredited seminaries. There are big differences, IMHO. To sweeten the pot, I would include Louisianna Baptist University and Bethany Theological Seminary . I think you will find an obvious difference in attitude toward education and academics.

    Compare and contrast:
    1. Faculty qualifications
    2. Attitude toward accreditation
    3. Courses and curriculum
    4. Methods of instruction
    5. Professionalism of the web site
    6. Rigor of the curriculum (Hint: note the amount of Greek and Hebrew required as opposed to the fluff such as leadership, methods, etc)

    This is a good opportunity to compare the less than wonderfull schools with what can be done in distance education. I value your comments.
     
  2. Broadus

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    I don't have time to go through the list at present, but Messiah's faculty laps those of the other three.

    Messiah's website is especially well done.

    They speak of seeking accreditation but I did not read with whom, other than that the agency is USDE.

    I think the exclamation mark which is evidently part of Messiah's name is a bit strange. I'm sure their are exited about their new school, but Messiah! Evangelical Seminary?

    If someone is looking for a viable DE alternative with a dispenational flavor, Messiah looks promising.

    Bill
     
  3. Brother Ian

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    I just phoned and no one answered. I sent an email with my background to see if I qualify.

    It looks promising.
     
  4. Paul33

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    Messiah looks good. I wish they would be more open to non-dispensational perspectives, but it does look like they tolerate us nondispensationalists!
     
  5. Phillip

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    Try the South African Theological seminary. It is CHEAP, due to the exchange rates. Don't have the link handy. They used to be quite "Baptist" in doctrine, but I haven't been there lately. I did take their Old Testament Survey class and it was not a con-job. We had to get four text books and write a bunch of papers. I found most of the books on ebay or at used book stores.
     
  6. paidagogos

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    Please note that the web sites of the aformentioned schools in the opening post may be reached by clicking on the school's name. In other words, the name of the school is linked to its web site for your convienience in visiting.
     
  7. paidagogos

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    I agree but I started this thread to compare several online schools that have received heated discussion on other threads of this board.
     
  8. Brother Ian

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  9. Phillip

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    Sorry, read your post too quickly.
     
  10. Brice

    Brice
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    Paid,

    I think you're right on! The proof is in the pudding as they say. I would like to hear more about Messiah though. I don't think we've discussed it yet.
     
  11. El_Guero

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    Ian

    You are getting good at this stuff . . .
     
  12. Brother Ian

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    El,

    Maybe too late.....
     
  13. paidagogos

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    While surfing, I came across a web site (http://www.seminarygradschool.com/index.taf?mode=seminary) listing seminaries in the southeast. What struck me as significant were the enrollment figures.

    Asbury Theological Seminary 1,700
    Beeson Divinity School 180
    Columbia International University Graduate School and Seminary 422
    Gordon-Conwell (Charlotte, NC) 504
    Knox Theological Seminary 125
    Reformed Theological Seminary 2,500
    Southern Evangelical Seminary 304
    Wesley Biblical Seminary 135
    Total 5,881

    Bethany Bible College and Seminary 6,025

    (Note: Lee University (3,930) was listed but I did not include it because this includes mostly undergraduates in other than Bible majors.)

    Compare the enrollment of Bethany with the total enrollment of the major traditional evangelical seminaries in the Southeast.

    Assumptions, observations and questions:
    1. Bethany graduates its students faster than the traditional seminaries because the distance education (I realize that they do have a small traditional classroom program) degree is earned quicker than the classroom-based degrees. Thus, Bethany’s portion of degrees awarded is probably greater than the enrollment figures show if all other factors (dropout rates, degree completion, etc.) are equal.
    2. The two other less than wonderful seminaries (i.e. Louisiana Baptist University and Andersonville Theological Seminary) are equal to or greater in enrollment than Bethany. Even considering some schools not listed (e.g. Bob Jones Jr. Seminary, Pensacola Theological Seminary, North Greenville University, SBTS, SEBTS, NOBTS, etc.), it is apparent that a significant percentage of evangelical theological degrees being awarded in the Southeast come from unaccredited, distance education seminaries with questionable academic standards.
    3. A good percentage of people in ministry or going into ministry have seminary degrees from less than first-rate accredited seminaries. What does this say about the academic qualifications and preparation of people in ministry?

    I would like to hear some comments of what posters on this thread think about the number of “cheap” degrees coming out of these three schools under discussion. How will this impact the local churches and ministries in the Southeast? What will be the trickle down effect if this trend continues? Will the people in the pew be less well taught since the pastor in the pulpit is less well qualified? How will this affect the acceptance and credibility of theological degrees in general? Will theological degrees lose their academic respectability?

    What do you think?

    [ November 20, 2005, 08:50 PM: Message edited by: paidagogos ]
     
  14. Brice

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    Bro. Ian,

    It is never too late. I am sure, from our conversations here, that you will be more than an asset to the Christian community.

    Paid,

    It seems that these seminaries have capitalized on an opening. It seems that if you walk into an average congregation, at an average SBC church, they will have no idea nor care where their pastor went to seminary. If they did care to ask, they may not know the difference between SBTS or LBU. It is up to each person that feels God’s calling, to educate themselves appropriately. The hard part is that people feel a calling to go to the pastorate and don’t get the adequate information before their endeavor. ATS is accessible and cheap, so they don’t realize they are selling themselves short in many ways. I think accurate information needs to be spread. That being said, I do believe God can use anyone, so there is no need to give up due to lack of education. I hope that the pulpits will be filled with qualified people (education or not). I do think that lack of rigor will affect ministry across the board, eventually.
     
  15. paidagogos

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    In my conservative estimation, there are at least 15-25,000 people out there with degrees from less than wonderful seminaries. Additionally, these seminaries are turning out more graduates with low-grade doctorates at an alarming rate. How does this affect the quality of ministry in our churches? How much good Bible exposition and preaching are the people getting? How does this affect the credibility of people with reputable doctorates since the commoners are oblivous to where their pastor got his degree? However, it shows when Dr. Snodgrass slaughters the Queen's English. The academic world may have reason to look askance toward theological degrees. Is there a way to police ourselves?
     
  16. Brice

    Brice
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    Paid,

    I think these are very important questions that deserve their own thread. I’ll go ahead and start one up.
     
  17. Brice

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    Posted response in the wrong thread.
     
  18. Hope of Glory

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    Without commenting on these schools, since I know nothing about them individually, I do know that some distance learning colleges offer a higher quality education than real, physical colleges.
     
  19. paidagogos

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    I don't think this thread is questioning the quality of distance ed as a a genre but it is about the lack of standards in many quarters. Which DE schools do you think have higher standards than residential schools?
     
  20. Hope of Glory

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    A friend of mine is a headhunter. He can more easily place a high end exec with a degree from Phoenix than he can someone with a degree from most state institutions in the TN/GA/SC/NC/AL area.

    BTW, I know little, if anything, of any of the online seminaries, but I do know of many scholars who are lamenting the decline of many brick and mortar seminaries. Their description matches my friend's description of public colleges: They lower standards so more people can attend and graduate. At the same time they are lowering standards in key classes, they are adding a bunch of junk to pad out the credit hours. (Here locally, you can get college credit for fly fishing.)

    BTW, this is just intended as a minor observation. Neither an endorsement or condemnation of anything.
     

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