Covington Pro's & Con's (Again)

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by PastorRFBC, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. PastorRFBC

    PastorRFBC
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    I know this subject has been talked to death, but I felt compelled to write as one who has attended and is currently teaching at Covington.

    Why did I go to Covington? The reason is simple; at the time I was working full time on a secular job, was a full time pastor, and a full time husband and father. While I didn’t need a degree to pastor my church, I did need practical and theological knowledge. Thankfully Covington had a satellite school in my area and I got the benefit of sitting in a classroom and being taught by other pastors. Many of these pastors were men who hold degrees from places like, Southeastern Seminary; New Orleans Seminary; and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, just to name a few. I know this because the qualifications of each professor is listed with the subject they are teaching. Even those without prestigious degrees have so much to offer a young pastor. These wonderful men of God give of their time freely so the cost will be within reach of any student. Ten years later I’m now teaching at Covington. I don’t have one of the prestigious degrees, but I do have twelve years experience as a pastor and a lot of time put in learning from those who were my Paul to this young Timothy. If you could attend one of these classes and see the Sunday school teachers, deacons and yes, even pastors who have worked all day and yet enthusiastically attend these courses, you might see it in a different light. Recently in one of these classes I watched an old pastor weep because he discovered that for years he had been preaching and teaching without any regard to the proper exegesis of Scripture. Many of our small southern churches have pastors who have never been to any type of Bible school. For generations their church has believed that a pastor only needs a calling from God and a heart for his people. While that is paramount, these pastors are now realizing that they need a better understanding of God’s Word and Covington is simply the best they can do. I do agree that if you can afford to and have the time to you should attend one of the more prestigious schools. But what about those who have families and are having to work a secular job while they pastor a church in an old warehouse? Is it better for them to just forgo any teaching than attend places like Covington? And while they could possibly take a correspondence course, and many do, there is nothing that can compare with classroom experience. I thank God for all those who teach and give of themselves that others might learn to share the good news of Jesus Christ more effectively.
     
  2. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Pastor RFBC Response

    Pastor RFBC,

    I want to thank you for bearing your soul to us on the BB. I really do feel your ethos and pathos. I know on some level how you feel and say a hearty "AMEN" to most that you have affirmed.

    "I have somewhat to say unto thee" however.

    I left a job, a very lucrative job, at the age of 30; with a 3 year old child, a 6 month pregnant wife, with only $1800 in my pocket, with no job, and no prospects to attend Mid America in January of 1982. I know that that is not God's will and plan for all. But, I get a bit put out when I hear men (this is not aimed at you personally) say they cannot make the break to go to school. It can be done "'causing I done it!!" So when this type of logic is used, people like myself, UZ ThD, Broadus and others hear such--we really don't get it. So, please have us excused from this particular discussion.

    Secondly, and it has been said and beat to death: with all of the programs out there that are accredited there is absolutely no reason--NO REASON--to do the non-accredited route.:BangHead: I feel as if I keep beating my head against the wall on these issues.

    FWIW!

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  3. poodle78

    poodle78
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    Brother,
    I, too, decided on Covington almost 5 years ago. At the time, I didn't think Covington was A choice, I thought it was the ONLY choice. As I have written before, I am not a pastor. I am a minister of music and the choices for distance education in my field are extremely limited. To limit them even more, my master's degree is from an unaccredited school that was recommended in an earlier edition of Bear's Guide, but then closed shop and popped back up in Hong Kong 5 years later. My degree is from Clayton University in Missouri. So I was faced with obstacles on 2 fronts - distance education in a field not normally offered, and an unaccredited master's. When I found the small ad for Covington in Pulpit Helps, it was just what I was looking for at the time. They were the only school to advertise a concentration in Music Ministry.

    Now I can't say for sure that I would enroll in Covington again. Since graduating I have found several schools in California who were registered with the BPPVE that offer music degrees. But I will say that at the time, Covington was exactly what I was looking for.
     
  4. UZThD

    UZThD
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    ===

    I have no quarrel about training in praxis courses at such schools as Covington. IMO, years of success in the pastorate is sufficient to teach pastoral courses.

    Here's my concern:

    Covington awards doctoral degrees in Bible/Theology-not so?

    Consider the doctoral programs in Bible or Theology in ANY accredited, evangelical seminary. Look the prerequisites, curriculum , and research requirements .

    Do you disagree that Covington falls very short of any of these? Can the Covington "Dr" do what the TEDS or DTS Dr can do? I Think not!!!

    Consider the five two hour exams and the accredited ThM required by The Masters JUST TO BEGIN the doc!

    Covington does not require what these others do because schools such as Covington would lose money by raising the bar!

    Two men have doctorates. One does three or four times for his degree what the other does for his in both substance and rigor. Which one does his best for Christ? If a Covington doctorate in Theology or Bible is one's best, then that one needs not a doc at all-IMO.

    If one wishes to teach Bible or Theology in seminary, then let him or her go to a better school than Covington. God and His Word deserve that.
     
    #4 UZThD, Jan 14, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2008
  5. Broadus

    Broadus
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    Well put--could not agree more.

    Bill
     
  6. Martin

    Martin
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    What A Degree Means

    What is a degree?

    When a person attends a school, secular or religious, and graduates what does that mean?

    The fact is that on most any subject, theology included, a person can learn most of the basic facts on their own. You want to know God's Word? Pick it up and start studying. You don't need a seminary to teach you God's Word. Maybe you want to study theology or church history, apologetics, or even the languages. Again, you don't need a seminary to do those things. The same is true for most fields of academic study.

    Point? You don't need to attend a school to learn a subject.

    That being true, why does one attend a school?

    To earn a degree to assist with his/her calling (ie...career). Whether it is teacher, preacher, doctor, lawyer, clerk, or nurse, one attends school to learn so that they can enter a career or gain advancment in a career.

    What does this have to do with anything?

    It blows my mind that Christians honestly think that it is ok for us to "earn" "advanced" degrees from substandard institutions.

    Schools like Covington maybe fine for institute or undergraduate study, but such schools are not fine for graduate study (on or off campus). They don't have the resources nor the academic backing that is needed to offer true graduate level degrees. A person who gets a MA/MDiv/ThD from Covington is getting a degree that they have not earned. That is why I used the term "get" instead of "earn". From what I have see the courses at these type schools are not graduate level courses. At best many of these courses are undergraduate level. Why should a person get a graduate degree for doing undergraduate work? My answer to that is that they should not!

    My old pastor earned his ThM and ThD from Covington. His "dissertation" was little more than a transcript of a series of sermons he did on Lordship Salvation. That is not a real academic dissertation. It would never have been accepted by schools like Dallas, Trinity Evangelical, Southern, or Southeastern. It just did not measure up. I don't say that to be mean to my former pastor. He is a godly man and, you know what, he will tell you up front that his degrees from Covington are not on the same academic level as other schools (like the ones mentioned). He got his degrees from Covington many years ago when there were little to no other distance options. Of course, today that is no longer an acceptable excuse.

    Degrees mean something! If someone has the letters "Dr" before their name or "MDiv", "MA", "JD", "MD", "DMin", "EdD", after their name then we should be able to assume that they have done the appropriate academic work to earn that degree (that honor, that responsibility). Schools like Covington take away that assurance. People graduating from these type schools have not done the appropriate academic work needed to earn the degree. The result of this is that their degree is misleading. They have not done graduate or doctoral level work and they have not earned a graduate or doctoral degree. Instead, they have been given a graduate or doctoral degree for doing undergraduate level work. That is wrong and it should not be allowed.

    I don't understand why some Christians think it is ok for a minister to get a graduate or doctoral level degree when he has not done the work that should be required of a person in order to earn that degree. Few if any of us would accept such lazy standards from lawyers or medical doctors or teachers in schools. Why should we expect less from ministers? I say we should not. A minister should be clear what his educational background really is. If all he has is an undergraduate degree that is fine. He should be happy of his achievement. However he should not pretend like he has more education than that. He does not need to enroll in a degree-mill to pad his undergraduate degree. Nor does he need to pretend he has an advanced degree when he has not done advanced work. If he wants a graduate degree let him earn it from a school that will require graduate level work (and that is accredited).

    Degrees mean something. If they don't, why bother?

    As I said in connection with my former pastor, I am not saying any of this to be mean or cruel. I understand that it can be tough to earn advanced degrees when one has limited income, a family, and a full time job. So I understand why schools like Covington and Andersonville are a great temptation to many people. I understand why someone in that kind of situation may justify to themselves why it is ok to go the less demanding and less expensive route. I understand that. However that does not make it right. We should earn our graduate degrees from schools that demand that we do the work that is expected of someone earning a graduate degree. There are online options, payment plans, and always the one class at a time method.

    There are no shortcuts to a good education. :thumbs:

    In Christ,
    Martin
     

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