Does the MDiv have a future?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Hello all:

    Just for the record, check the files here, I have been arguing for several years that the MDiv was "old hat" and would probably be going away. Never fear or mind that I have one and I still think that it is the best degree for ordained ministry out there. But, in an article I found this morning, my predictions (prophecies??) may be coming true. Please read the article and get back to this thread with feedback when possible.

    http://www.outofur.com/archives/2013/10/does_the_mdiv_h.html

    "That is all!" :thumbsup:
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    I think it does, but it has to change. The MDiv would be better if it wasn't developed by scholars.
     
  3. Squidward

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    90+ hours is a lot of school for a Master's program.
     
  4. preachinjesus

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    I agree, but when we look at the history of MDiv programs, when they were called B.D. they matched up with J.D. and M.D. degrees.

    The MDiv is a professional degree that exists to provide an entire curriculum of education to train ministry professionals. (I know we can argue about this, I know pastors are ministers and not professionals, but for the sake of this discussion.)

    My biggest issue (having gotten an Mdiv) is that in 90 hours we aren't actually preparing ministers for contemporary ministry situations.

    If an MBA gets a business professional ready for most business situations in under 60 hours, how are we failing to to do better with 90 hours?
     
  5. Greektim

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    Great question!!!

    I am torn on this. On one hand, I would love to see a 60 credit MDiv w/ prompt to a specialized ThM or something. But I also realize that ministry requires a large many fields to cover: languages/linguistics, Bib studies, theology, history, and then actual ministry stuff (preaching, shepherding, church structures, etc.). Modern day ministry is complex and requires many avenues of studies. This is probably what spurred (in part) the Bible college movement.
     
  6. Greektim

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    I disagree with this. I would qualify and say "only by scholars." Balance.
     
  7. Havensdad

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    Agreed. Squishy instruction leads to squishy theology and squishy pastors.

    If the average man going into the pastorate does not get a headache from the material, it is not challenging enough. It should be blood, sweat, and tears for the average man. It should be challenging material, developed by the best minds.

    The continual "lowering of the bar" is disheartening, and dangerous to the church. I am in favor of pastors getting a PhD, or a Dmin in expository preaching (a serious D.Min., not a "gimme" doctorate....).
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

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    And why is such a scholarly & prestigious level of education necessary for the common walking around Pastor?
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    Just a quick note, I'll return later with more thoughts, you'll never hear me say we should make an MDiv less rigorous. IMHO, it should be more rigorous. Just because you move away from a solely theological coursework doesn't mean the degree becomes less rigorous.
     
  10. Havensdad

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    I said nothing about "prestigious." This is about preparation. Not sure why you even said "prestigious" other than the bias' I know you possess.

    This is about hard work, and knowledge. The disciples spent three years under the direct training of Jesus, AFTER having gone through the at least the minimum Jewish schools and torah training (even Peter, the "unlettered" fisherman). They probably knew more Bible at 10, than most Pastors today...

    So yes, the Pastor needs to be HIGHLY educated....
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I hold no bias against education. But since my religious society doesn't pay pastors your better served getting that advanced degree in something you could use in a secular profession...unless of course you have the means and the desire to further your own sence of purpose. You can write books and create instructional videos on the Internet....it doesn't buy you anything with us though.
     
  12. Havensdad

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    Which is one of the many problems with your "religious society" and why Jesus commanded that pastors and evangelists make their living by the gospel. Half-hearted commitment to the ministry, and whole hearted commitment to secular pursuits, is NOT the attitude a pastor should have!!

    "Hey, don't put all that effort into your studies...". This type of thinking is exactly the problem with the church today.
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    You know the Bible college movement was a response to two things: 1) the Liberalism of too many of the seminaries (or at least the perceived liberalism by fundamentalists) and 2) the need for ministry training that worked for their churches. So I agree with your point...as well as the other points here.

    I just don't see how you can do a MDiv in under 90 hours. Keep the 90 hours, but make it more significant. Make it a rigorous, a law school and medical school rigorous, degree. Require practicums and internships. Have student interact with actual ministers in lab environments. Make them be provoked to learn ministry paradigms. Bring in experts, not just theoreticians (i.e. scholars) who are building sustainable ministries. Have them talk to a minister who has been serving the same church for 40 years and have faithfully led it.

    Keep the theological foundations and the language requirements. But if a student wants to load up on extra theology and biblical studies credits, point them to the ThM after their MDiv.

    The degree is a good degree but it isn't producing leaders who are ready for ministry. If a medical school was turning out class after class of doctors who couldn't perform basic medical tasks we'd demand it to be shut down. If a law school was producing lawyers who couldn't pass the bar exam year after year it'd be sanctioned and lose it ability to place lawyers. Yet we see these basic failures, in ministry perspective, from seminaries too frequently.

    It's got to change. And lowering the bar won't help. But making the degree more theological won't either.

    A fair point.

    As the MDiv stands today it has been designed for a church of last century and is led mostly by academics who have little to no church ministry experience. I remember sitting in more than a couple seminary classes with a professor (often younger guys, but also an established one) who would say things about ministry that those of us in ministry would roll our eyes and know it reflected a perspective unfamiliar with actual ministry.

    There are parts of the MDiv curriculum that are vital and should be maintained. Yet, as I mentioned above, as a full time minister, there is stuff that isn't helpful for actual ministry. Better classes could be inserted and the students better prepared.

    A lot of this is, and its not just my opinion, is due to academics maintaining the education paradigm and a lack of input from present day practitioners.
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Interesting.....maybe in your churches....however ours are very solid scripturally. We are all required to self study and are all born anew. Consequently everyone is very well informed. Here is what. I don't see when I go into those halls....carnal Christians. For all your education, can you say the same?
     
  15. Havensdad

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    Yes. Because we practice church discipline, as commanded by the scriptures.

    "We are all required to self study"...The pastor is not just required to self study. The clear example of scripture is a minimum three year period of time, of dedicated study, before going into the ministry.
     
  16. Siberian

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    This article is like so many opinions on the subject. It questions the future of the M.Div. but acknowledges the reality that the M.Div. is still the gold-standard, still the "most popular choice" among seminary programs, still required for ordination in many denominations, and still preferred by the majority of search committees (I found that last one to be true in my recent ministry transition).

    When, and if, other programs or forms of training become the gold standard, the most popular choice, the requirement for ordination in many denominations, and preferred by most search committees, only then will I concede that the M.Div. has a shaky future.

    Right now, it is still...
     
  17. Squidward

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    Maybe instead of just requiring a ton of credit hours how about 60 hours and the requirement of one year internship with a senior pastor at a church? Many times, living in the job is much more helpful than walking into it with a ton of education and no experience.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    A very good idea. When I was in India One of the things we did was visit a Baptist college. They go for three years and then they are placed with a pastor for two. There they serve the pastors every need and are discipled. A very humbling experience. Then they are placed in a church.
     
  19. Havensdad

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    I think that WOULD be a good idea, as long as the credits that were cut out, were the easier practicums, and not the more academic classes (biblical languages, Bible survey's, Theology, etc.).

    Actual experience trumps classes that are meant to impart some level of experience anyday! :thumbs:
     
  20. go2church

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    For the record, have a seminary diploma on the wall.

    I would agree with a shorter amount of hours for a MDiv and an internship. Can't tell you how many times I've had to "instruct" seminary grads on basic stuff. How to conduct a business meeting, how to plan a funeral, how to make a hospital call. It's great to be able to exegete Romans, but this stuff is important too. Preaching isn't the only important thing a pastor does.
     

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