Do some seminaries close doors?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by rockytopsgt, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. rockytopsgt

    rockytopsgt
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    Does anyone here have experiance with earning an SBC mdiv and trying to apply to a top tier Phd program? I want to teach so I know that I probably need to attend a university PhD program unless I want to be limited to Baptist/Evangelical schools but I also want, if possible to get an mdiv from an SBC school. My question is whether an mdiv from say Southern would close any academic doors for me that you know of.
    Thanks

    Revelation 21:7
     
  2. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    Not all schools are equal.

    That being said a reputable MDiv from a school like Southern (I suppose you mean Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) isn't at all a lesser degree. In the pantheon of seminary MDivs it is one of the better ones imho. :)

    One thing you might consider is getting an MDiv with a particular concentration related to your PhD pursuit. Then go and get a MA/PhD program from a high end research institution. That would be a potent combination for wanting to teach.

    One thing that I did in my PhD pursuit is obtaining a great MDiv with an outstanding GPA. This allowed me to secure a full time vocational ministry position while I worked on my PhD. (Granted my PhD is in theology so this might not completely apply) With a good MDiv you should be able to get entrance to a decent program. Now when I applied to various (non-SBC/evangelical) schools for my PhD I was encouraged more than once to do an MA plus PhD to "level" my degree with everyone else.

    Given my undergraduate institution (Liberty) I was counseled (honestly here not snidely) that I would need this additional MA to supplement my decent MDiv to overcome my undergraduate. (One advisor at a top tier institution in New England told me this exact thing) A good MDiv (like at SBTS or SWBTS) will open doors but make sure you're ready to do an additional MA that leads into your PhD. Make relationships with faculty while doing an MA (also while doing you MDiv) because that is fully 1/3 of the process in applying. A great faculty recommendation is what makes or breaks an application.

    Now, for my obligatory "so you want to teach" part. Humanities (which is what a PhD in religion, philosophy, etc is) faculty positions are becoming rare as hens teeth these days. With the (disgusting) movement away from historical academics into a consumer driven model by many major institutions the days of following a tenure track out of your PhD until retirement are going by the wayside.

    I recently watched a great PBS documentary called "Declining Degrees" (check it out here: http://www.decliningbydegrees.org/) which really highlights the death of traditional academics at the hands of unabashed US consumerism. Most of our colleges and universities are really facing tremendous challenges to their academic core.

    So why do you want to teach at the university level? How are you going to fit in with current models? What is your expectation of your academic career? What scholars are you interfacing with right now? These are important questions to ask.
     
  3. rockytopsgt

    rockytopsgt
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    thank you. let me clarify. I want to preach, teach, and write. The teaching would be in a Christian subject . I am thinking new testament and early Christianity as of now. Also, to be honest, I want to be a part of the conversation and I now that takes more , usually, than knowing your stuff.
    If I went straight to a ma/phd program in New Testament would that close doors in he convention?. I'm just trying to run through options since I have to decide relatively soon.
     
  4. rockytopsgt

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    Sorry about the typos...using a blackberry
     
  5. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    Interesting reply. Imho, the conversation is overrated. ;)

    So just to develop some more thought here, how would a secular university degree be better than a PhD in NT from say SBTS or DTS?

    I can see maybe doing something at Princeton, Yale, or definitely a college part of the Oxford system...maybe even St Andrews or Edinburgh...as being more beneficial. How would this help your writing and teaching? Specifically what area of NT are you considering studying?

    Keep in mind you don't need to have ready answers for this, that isn't important that this stage. Though it is something to keep in mind. If you desire to do the above I don't see how stepping into a university is more beneficial than staying within a seminary. Adding a ThM at the end of your MDiv will certainly be helpful. Imho, if you do an MATh at the end it would be too much. A ThM would be more helpful and really prepare you for PhD work.

    If you're thinking this far ahead...way to go. Really I mean that. One of the first things I'd encourage you to do is to find a couple of NT guys (like Schreiner or Seifrid) and talk to them about this kind of a track. Then take your courses and see how you do. If you're PhD quality you'll know it and your profs will begin to know it.

    What kind of doors do you want opened in the SBC? Are you there for position and prestige or to truly help the local church?

    As I went and got my PhD I found that the SBC was too limited an exposure. Right now I work with plenty of churches from a variety of denominational and non-denominational backgrounds. Its rare when I work with an SBC church.

    BTW, I wouldn't worry too much about doors closing because of a PhD. In another 10 years the PhD will likely be the degree churches are looking for rather than a DMin imho.

    Now that should cause some fun replies...:laugh:
     
  6. Martin

    Martin
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    If you are wishing to enter a PhD program at most seminaries, SBC or otherwise, you will need an MDiv and/or ThM. However if you are looking at a university/secular PhD an M.A. would probably do fine. Wheaton College has several good M.A. programs (LINK) as does Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (LINK).
     
  7. rockytopsgt

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    I have heard that a seminary doctorate was not as acceptable outside of a Christian school as one from a university. I have also heard that the resurgence poisoned the well for SBC schools specifically. that is why I tend toward a secular degree. Also, about keeping doors open in the convention. I am not thinking prestige wise, I am talking local church. I am just wondering how much suspicion not going to a seminary would arouse. Thanks for your answers.
     
  8. Rhetorician

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    Rocky Top Sgt

    Dear Rocky Top,

    It is good to hear you and your opinions. I would just say a few things if you will give me leave.

    First, getting a "secular degree" PhD from a "big name" school will only help you in the SBC seminaries.

    Second, it will especially help you to get a position, all things being equal, in an SBC related college.

    Thirdly, if and when you want to minister professionally in an SBC church, you really do need the "union card" of an SBC degree, probably the MDiv. You would need the degree from one of the "Big Six" or one of the auxilliary schools like Mid America, Luther Rice, Beeson DS, et al.

    Fourthly, I could say more but it would only be one old man's opinion hearing himself rant and rave.

    These are just my opinions based on over 30 years in the SBC system. I have 4 seminary degrees and two from SBC "related schools." One from Southern Seminary and one from Mid America. These are, after all, just my humble observations. :smilewinkgrin:

    "That is all!"
     
  9. Rhetorician

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    Rocky Top Follow Up

    Rocky Top,

    Let me add: write, write, write, write, write, and write some more.

    Let me add: conference, conference, conference, conference, conference, and conference some more in your discipline.

    Let me add: make friends, make friends, make friends, make friends, and add to your network.

    Do all of these in abundance to an extreme and early.

    "That is all!" :smilewinkgrin:
     
  10. gb93433

    gb93433
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    It is the dream of many to teach but few really make it. I substitute taught the first time when I was in high school and have top evaluations. Teaching is requiring more and more research to bring in what we call research dollars. It is money driven not student driven. Less and less professors are coming from America. More and more laboratories are being shut don in favor of online education. Once online classes are set up it is easy to teach them. The tests are automatically graded. Some classes work well online and others do not.

    Seminaries are money driven more than you can imagine. I know one of the top professors in a seminary who was told to make his classes easier so more students would take his classes. At that seminary the majority of doctoral students had him for several classes. After the badgering by the administration he left to teach at a university and teach many of the same classes. That same seminary moved their former registrar to a teaching position because he told them they needed to improve in certain areas to maintain their accreditation. They wanted him to cover up some of what he recommended.

    More and more ladies are going to college and get better grades than the men. The ladies out number the men in college. They are willing to work for less in places of employment. It has been my experience that they are typically better more mature and are better students.
     
    #10 gb93433, Jul 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2010

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