DTS vs SWBTS

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by trogdor76, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. trogdor76

    trogdor76
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    Hello all... longtime lurker but rare poster here. :) Was hoping to get some honest feedback regarding some upcoming decisions I need to make... bear with me as I explain my situation:

    I grew up Southern Baptist... came to faith in Christ and was baptized at an SBC church as a teenager. Throughout college, attended SBC churches and was very involved in my college's Baptist Student Union. Eventually moving back to my hometown, I got plugged into an SBC church and soon after met my wife-to-be, who came from more of a charismatic/full-gospel background. After we married, we decided to look around and found an independent Bible church in our area that taught very sound doctrine... the teaching there was of a great help to my wife especially, as her Arminian background never offered her any absolute assurance of her salvation (side note - we had previously had many discussions about that, and I was quite certain of her standing before the Lord even if she was not.)

    After a few years, I sensed the Lord calling me into vocational ministry, and with the blessing of my wife I began preparations. I enrolled at Luther Rice Seminary and earned an MA in Biblical Counseling totally online. However, I desired more thorough and intense preparation for ministry than what was available at LRS, so we relocated to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and I began working toward a ThM at Dallas Theological Seminary.

    Here is where the dilemma lies... I've had a great experience at DTS thus far, and would have no qualms about finishing what I started there. However, I believe the Lord has implanted within me a desire to "return to my SBC roots", if you will, and serve in an SBC church upon graduation, likely in pastoral ministry. With that in mind... would it be advisable to perhaps transfer to SWBTS and get my M.Div. there (and have the "SBC union card", so to speak)? I figure I could always continue my education at DTS (or wherever) later, if I pursue doctoral work. I guess my biggest concern is that I could potentially graduate from DTS, but the average SBC church would turn their nose up at that degree because it is 'non-SBC'.

    Thought? Advice? All are greatly appreciated...

    Thanks!
     
  2. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    You've got a great question. For what its worth I don't think too many SBC churches care about the degree difference from DTS to SWBTS. We just hired a guy who has an MDiv from TEDS for our staff and we're a pretty good SBC church. The "union card" mentality of getting an MDiv from the Big-6 to have a ministry in the SBC is gone.

    I'm not certain how far along you are with your work at DTS. That would be a key ingredient, if you're nearly or over 1/2 way through you probably should stick it out. DTS is a great school imho. I went to SWBTS over DTS primarily because of cost. I didn't want to pay for another undergraduate degree level cost and was able to do my entire seminary at SWBTS loan-free.

    If you had asked prior to attending DTS I would have recommended getting your MDiv from SWBTS (because of cost) and then adding a STM from DTS as a level degree. Just my opinion though.

    That said DTS has the largest endowment of any evangelical seminary in the US right now. It has a a great faculty and is positioned well to impact the Kingdom. If you want a really good analysis talk to former SWBTS profs like Drs. Bingham and Blount about the differences. They are a great resource and very fine scholars. :)
     
  3. jaigner

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    This point is accurate.

    For what it's worth, I wouldn't send the bacteria under my fingernails to be educated at SW these days. They are bordering on lunacy and Paige Patterson is stubborn as ever.

    DTS isn't my favorite, but I believe it to be the far superior choice.
     
  4. Havensdad

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    My question would be where you are at in terms of theology. DTS and SWBTS are not exactly identical in what they believe. SWBTS is vehemently anti Calvinist, while DTS leans Calvinistic. DTS also stresses dispensational theology, whereas SWBTS does not do so as much (though, like most SBC insitutions, they are friendly to it).

    Academically, of course, there is no comparison. DTS carries a level of academic reputation that I do not believe is matched by any of the Big six (with the possible exception of Southern). It is known for producing first rank scholars, whereas SWBTS is known more for producing local church pastors.

    Please do not take me as an authority; the above is "How I see it."
     
  5. go2church

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    They are basically the same with a few differences here and there just to make it interesting, fundamentalist and dispensational. SWBTS used to a great seminary it is now a shell of its former self, avoid like the plague.

    If you want to connect with your SBC roots go to a SBC church. You wouldn't find what you where looking for connection wise at SWBTS, or any of the seminaries for that matter. Too much of closed society to really allow any connection with the people in the pew. Which happens to be a problem for all seminaries.
     
  6. RevGKG

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    I am a DTS grad and Pastor an SBC church. The local church itself does not seem to care one way or the other about whether or not I went to an SBC school.

    Involvement in the state convention is where I seem to experience some resistance for not having a "sanctioned" SBC degree. I must confess however that I was not raised SBC so have no “ties” to them and heavy involvement in the state convention does not interest me.

    For you, it would depend on what your career goals are. Do you want to be involved in the convention hierarchy or focus more in the local church?

    As was stated previously, it would depend a lot on how far you are in the DTS program. If you are pretty far along, some credits may not transfer and you would have more work to do. If having a degree for an SBC school is important to you, possibly consider a second degree from an SBC school. With a ThM from DTS you shouldn’t have to take too many courses to get an MDiv from an SBC school. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  7. trogdor76

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback! Lots of things to consider here.

    I am not terribly far along in my degree program at DTS... I've completed less than 20 hours at this point, just going part-time. I'm sure some of that at least will transfer... plus I can transfer in some credits from Luther Rice... so if my calculations are correct, I would be roughly 50 hours away from an M.Div at SWBTS. Not too bad.

    Theologically speaking... I lean Calvinistic/dispensational, although I try to keep an open mind and let Scripture determine my theological framework, not vice versa. Aren't there at least a few Calvinistic profs at SWBTS?

    The point regarding DTS' academic reputation is well taken... that is largely what drew me there in the first place. However, I do want to be 'practical' as best I can and tailor my education towards my ministry goals - which at this point is pastoral ministry within the SBC. I do foresee joining a SBC church in the near future, as we are beginning to 'look around' a bit.

    I do feel I should consider opportunities for picking up experience along the way... one thing in SWBTS' favor (as I see it ) would be the connections with local SBC churches. For instance, I would think a smaller SBC church looking for a pastor (or youth/associate/etc.) would look to SWBTS rather than DTS, wouldn't you say? Most of what I see on the DTS internship board are 'non-SBC' churches... plus I don't even get full access to the placement office until I near graduation (which is several years away at this point).

    Thanks again for all the feedback... this has been most helpful.
     
  8. StefanM

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    Finish the ThM then do a DMin or PhD at an SBC seminary.
     
  9. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    Given you're 20 hours in I'd encourage you to consider the switch if for no other reasons that you might save a bundle and still get a good education. You can reasonably attach a STM (Master of Sacred Theology) at DTS to round out your experience. There is no advantage to staying at DTS financially unless, read this as a big unless, you are called to be there by God.

    Talk it over with your family. Look at all the pluses and minuses. Ask your wife for her honest feedback and give her time to contemplate it. This shouldn't be your decision it should be your family decision imho.

    That said do know there are Reformed folk at SWBTS but you need, for the sake of your ministry, to surround yourself with Reformed, non-Reformed, and other perspectives in order to push yourself. SWBTS has really changed over the past 5 years. I can't say its for the better...honestly. Yet it still provides a good education for the MDiv level. Your profs will be as engaging and enjoyable as you involve yourself with them. Seminary is more than the leadership of the school. If you don't get bogged down in the politics and pointless pontificating too many MDiv students engage in you'll have a good experience.

    I love SWBTS and the campus is near and dear to my heart. It is a good school (though a shadow of its former glory) that is doing much to reach the world and grow the Kingdom. Ironically most of my fellow students have found the best way to do those two things is by leaving the SBC. Therefore don't think that by attending SWBTS you will get more or less consideration by good churches out there. :)
     
  10. TomVols

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    Havens, I don't know that I'd label SWBTS as anti-Calvinistic, esp with Dr. Blaising, et.al., there. But they are definitely not SBTS. And I don't know that DTS is any more Calvinistic than SWBTS....maybe less so.

    I also disagree about DTS being automatically more weighty. Some dismiss DTS automatically from scholarship due to the rigidity of dispensationalism.

    This, too, is limited to my experience in the scholarly circles I run in. And please don't read me defending SWBTS. They haven't had a good leader (save for Hemphill) in...well...maybe ever. Dilday was a joke, and Patterson's scholarly abilities are negated by his inability to shy away from theatrics that would make Billy Sunday wince.

    One thing we'd agree on. Conservative, scholarly seminaries have their haters, as we clearly see in this forum and on this board in general.

    Well, okay, two. SBTS is holy ground :)
     
    #10 TomVols, Nov 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2010
  11. preachinjesus

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    One could easily go down the list of theology profs and see that there is a good mixture of positions at SWBTS. I agree here!

    I completely disagree with this statement as it pertains to Dr Dilday and other presidents. Look at the host of theologians Dilday assembled, the PhD programme duriny his tenure was better than most Ivy League schools, and are you really trying to suggest Naylor is a theological slacker? Scarborough? Really?

    Maybe your predilections towards SBTS are showing through...;)
     
  12. jaigner

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    This is correct. Patterson is no scholarly heavyweight. Actually, he's a complete joke academically. Dilday was a fantastic president and the circumstances of his demise were unconscionable. SW has gone way, way downhill and is nothing short of a joke. A degree with an emphasis on homemaking? Get real.
     
  13. Rhetorician

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    Trogdor;

    I really do "feel your pain." I wanted to teach so I went for the "union card" as you call it from Southern. One of the best choices I ever made, IMHO.

    Let me make a suggestion if I may? I would seek out Dr. James Allman. He is a good friend of mine, a colleague, a mentor, and just all around good guy. Talk to him and he will give you some insights you may not have heard, and a perspective you may not have seen. It will be on target and will help in this circumstance I know.

    He teaches OT languages and interpretation. I had him at Mid South Bible College in Memphis for my baby Greek decades ago. He was a major mover and shaper in my life. I know he would be glad to help you along the way.

    Check him out. And let me know either here or private email what he says, OK?

    "That is all!" :thumbsup:
     
  14. TomVols

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    Dr. Dilday was a very nice man, don't get me wrong. I just don't believe your view is widely accepted regarding his theologians. No question there were some stars, but SWBTS was hardly Ivy League during his day. Go back and read my statement. I am speaking to overall leadership, not just the ability to hire and fire.

    And yes, I'm loyal to the Beeches :) But I have to take into account the wider opinions of the scholarly realms.
    I don't like Patterson personally. But to call him an academic joke shows you know nothing of the man personally. That's unfairly giving too much weight to prejudice and closed-mindedness.
     
  15. TomVols

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    Moderator;s note:

    Some like to turn every thread into a "let's bash __________ " and they fill in the blank of their favorite nemesis. It stops now.

    Remember the rules: this is a fellowship forum.

    Carry on.
     
  16. Rhetorician

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    Thanks Tom

    Thanks Tom, I think we can discuss the merits of each of the schools without bashing anyone personally.

    I for one think the moderators of the BB do an excellent job. :smilewinkgrin:

    "That is all!"
     
  17. trogdor76

    trogdor76
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    Rhetorician,

    Thanks for the advice... I'll be sure to contact Dr. Allman.

    All,

    In a nutshell, I guess my greatest concern (outside seeking the Lord's will, of course, regarding the whole scenario) is the utility of the degree I will pursue. My primary focus at this time is preparing for pastoral ministry in a local SBC church... which was not my focus or desire when I initially enrolled at DTS two years ago. At that time, I was considering more of an academic ministry... so DTS was probably a good choice at that time. With my current goals in mind, it seems like SWBTS would suit me better for now... and as others have indicated, I can always go back to DTS (or wherever) later for the STM/PhD/etc if I so desire.

    I know that SWBTS has somewhat of a "checkered" past in regards to leadership, SBC politics, etc... I would hope that as long as I don't get bogged down in that stuff, I could have a good experience there. If the professors, course material, etc. are of good quality, and I can pick up the practical experience that I need along the way, then that is my main concern. Is there anyone out there who is a current/recent student who could speak to these issues?

    As always... I appreciate the feeback.
     
  18. sag38

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    My goodness, you are right there in Fort Worth. Southwestern is a great seminary if you just want to prepare for patoral ministry. Actually, I'd highly recommend any of the SBC seminaries for that type of preparation.
     
  19. gb93433

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