Degrees! Degrees! Degrees! Why so many degree?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. Rhetorician

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    Feb 1, 2005
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    Hello all!

    Some if not all of you will be surprised at what I am about to write. In tone. In word!

    I use to be, and am probably somewhat still, an "educational snob!" But over the years I have changed a little--and maybe more than I know? I use to think that everyone who was "called to preach" should run off to seminary, as I was told to do (and did) 30 years ago when I was called. But many of the conversations of the BB have caused me to think through some of these rather narrow minded attitudes.

    I am not sure if I have learned better or just mellowed in my old age. Anyway, when I was finishing up my first Masters at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary I was blest to have Dr. Marvin Tate for the OT Book of Psalms. He had done one of the commentaries for the Word Commentary Series if memory serves me here?

    I asked him what PhD to do, where, and such. And I will never forget what that dear Old Man of God said to me: "It does not matter what doctorate (read degree) you get, it is most important however how you use it."

    I am not saying for these "young bucks" not to get all the education they will need. But I am saying if they can try to decide what they want to do ministry wise, then they can go and get the education that will prepare them for that.

    Another factor that pushed me in this direction is that I have been, for the last year, spending a great deal of time with some pastoral and church interns where we attend church now. And not all of these are going on the seminary route necessarily. They are waiting on the Lord. They are trying to understand the call. They are trying to "figure it all out" rather than just selling out and going the seminary route as I did.

    Don't get me wrong. I still believe in the full seminary, MDiv thing, for the one who knows for sure that he has a pulpit ministry in mind. But that "one size fits all" may be an approach of the past that may be limitedly relevant for "the times that are a changin.'"

    Before you wear me out. I know that my arguments may be full of inconsistencies. But then again, "consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."

    Just one old man's intellectual meanderings.

    "That is all!" :smilewinkgrin:
    #1 Rhetorician, Jun 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2010
  2. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Jan 27, 2006
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    Marvin Tate! My Old Testament professor too, at Southern, 1960-1963.

    When I graduated from Southern I thought I wanted to teach, and headed toward a university PhD program. I got accepted at the universities I wanted to attend, but could not get a call to a church near one of them. With a pregnant wife and a head full of seminary training, I knew I wanted to and needed to work in ministry.

    Long story short ... I went into campus ministry, eventually earned a DMin degree, and have always felt that the Lord prevented me from doing something out of pride or of overblown self-esteem, and that I have ended up with the right training for the work I have subsequently done.

    I too think it is good for people to test their gifts before running out to seminary. We do not have the draft hanging over their heads as we once did! One option is a non-traditional seminary like the one for which I have been a trustee, John Leland Seminary in Arlington, VA ... focuses on the student who is working and offers courses at night and/or in intensives.
  3. gb93433

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    Jun 26, 2003
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    Every seminary should require of every entering student tha they have made at least one disciple. The purpose of a seminary is not discipleship but rather helping one to be a better leader. The problem is that so many seminaries are not even doing much about training men and women to make disciples. Is it any wonder why we have them teaching gimmicks to attract people to church instead?
  4. ReformedBaptist

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    Aug 7, 2007
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    Has anyone out there had the thought or desire to see some of the training that men and women recieve in a seminary education made available to folks who desire it, but not necessarily seeking a vocation in the ministry? I have...

    I have an undergradute degree, but no formal training in a seminary. I have noticed some seminaries offering their courses for free through distance learning, without credit of course. One example is RTS through their iTunes U program.

    Others, like Bill Mounce, have written books to teach Greek at a very elementary level. Wouldn't it be great if a program were developed that was sound theologically, and provided some measure of a seminary type education that could be produced and used in local churches around the world.

    Imagine the level of biblical and theological literacy that would result, if the Lord was willing, from such an endeavor. I know of churches that have such programs, but I don't know of anything that any church could pick up and use with their people.


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