Education questions

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by thjplgvp, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    Just a thought concerning academic accreditation, how is it that a man can spend many years studying, preaching and teaching the word of God in a church but when that same man teaches in a bible college he is suddenly not on the same level intellectually as Dr. so and so who has 20 years of education but no practical experience?

    How is it that when one dedicates his life to the study and presentation of God’s word that that man now (after many years) has to be approved by secular labeling as qualified Ph. D., Th. D. M Div. etc.?

    Why would we care that secular accreditation is denied a bible college? If one is called and sent by God, then God will direct them to the school of his choice and not the school of our choice. When we tell one who has determined that it is God’s direction in their life that is leading them to a particular school why would you or I challenge God’s choice for their life?

    BTW I am not against education I am still pursuing mine none-the-less I would like to hear your comments.


    thjplgvp

    :type:
     
  2. dallas

    dallas
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well said and very appropriate, thjplgvp! I agree! But our resident "scholars" on the BB are gonna get ya now!!!
     
  3. Broadus

    Broadus
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    0


    It is difficult to respond to "broad brush" assertions. Do you have an instance in mind, or is this just a hypothetical situation?

    If a man has spent many years "studying, preaching and teaching" the Scriptures, then that is a commendable thing. What, though, has been the depth of that teaching? Many pastors' idea of preaching is taking a verse, telling a lot of stories, interject some exhortations to get the congregation to do something, and then get decisions. Congregations know little or nothing of the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the meaning of justification, or what nice biblical words like "propitiation" mean. I speak out of almost 30 years of ministerial experience in Baptist churches.

    Really, your illustration is comparing apples and oranges, and I don't really understand its point. What does it have to do with "academic accreditation"? Accreditation is referring to a school's being certified as legitimately doing what it claims to be doing according to certain minimal standards. Graduates are not accredited; only institutions are.


    Why do you call this "secular labeling"? Martin Luther had a doctor of theology. I don't understand the point of your question about a man who has spent many years presenting the Word of God having to be labeled by degrees. Do you mean for such a man to teach in a Bible college or seminary?


    Unfortunately, there are many Bible colleges and seminaries which are little more than shams. The requirements for students are very low, sometimes laughably so. Accreditation, again, simply asserts that an institution is operating at generally acceptable minimal standards. This is not necessarily a secular determination, because a school may be accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools or by the Association of Theological Schools.

    Also, how does one know it is God's will for one to go to a certain school? The "will of God" has been used to justify everything from a woman's call to the pastorate to the right of homosexuals to minister in the church.

    So, men go to a substandard school and justify their going as being "God's will." Really? How do you know? A feeling of peace in the heart? A hunch? An audible voice declaring that one should go to X Theological Seminary? Might the will of God be determined by examining what the school teaches, the rigor it demands, the lives of the professors who teach, the quality of its grads' ministries, etc.? I realize that's pretty radical stuff. ;)

    Is you training in Bible or theology or some such ministry-related field? Where are you going to school, if you don't mind telling? If you prefer not, that's fine. Regardless, I'm glad to hear that you're pursuing additional training.

    FWIW, I have enough degrees to show that I'm educated beyond my intelligence. :tongue3: All are from accredited institutions, except for one master's degree. The unaccredited institution was by far the poorest educational experience I had. I realize that's not always the case. Sometimes, an unaccredited institution will be more rigorous than an accredited one, but the exception doesn't make the rule.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  4. Convicted by the Spirit

    Convicted by the Spirit
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh they will you my pretty .... MAWWWWW HAAAAAAAAA
     
  5. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    RE:Bills reply

    Bill,
    My thought in my opening paragraph is this, I have seen the accusation implied, we are way to careful to say it, if a bible college has no accreditation then the men who teach in that institution are not meeting certain standards as set by academia in general. But the fact is there are many who have not the letters of education designation who have very clear understandings of the doctrines of substitutionary atonement, justification and propitiation etc.
    It may seem on the surface it is apples and oranges, but is it? Do we not use one to set the standard or justify the other? Do we not imply that if the institution is accredited then the faculty must have met a particular standard? And do we not imply that if an institution is not accredited then there is not uniform standard in place to insure credibility amongst the faculty of the school?
    If a man is considered a scholar within his realm of influence do we not as a whole challenge the view of others should he not have certain initials after his name?
    My example is drawn from your own words,
    “Unfortunately, there are many Bible colleges and seminaries which are little more than shams. The requirements for students are very low, sometimes laughably so. Accreditation, again, simply asserts that an institution is operating at generally acceptable minimal standards. This is not necessarily a secular determination, because a school may be accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools or by the Association of Theological Schools.”
    I am not trying to be disrespectful here but I don’t believe any school started out with all the educational pieces in place. I believe I read somewhere that Princeton was considered a sub par education until one Johnathan Edwards revamped their educational integrity and I have never seen him referred to as Dr. or Ph. D..
    I am not challenging the system I am simply asking why do we place so much emphasis on the tags and the accreditation?
    As to my personal schooling I have an AA in Aircraft Structures at San Diego Jr. College, Certificate of Pastor Theology BBC Springfield, BA in Christian Ed. Andersonville Baptist Seminary. I would also say that my next goal (should the Lord allow me to live longer) is a Masters in Christian Ed. Administration from Liberty.
    While I may agree that some schools are not where we or I would like to see them I respect their right to grow as they are led by the Lord. I would agree that not everyone understands the will of the Lord but I would venture that many do understand therefore I would always give the benefit of the doubt to he who says “that is where God is leading me”.

    I appreciate your response

    thjplgvp
    :type:
     
  6. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    2
    My friend Dallas!

    All that we "resident 'scholars'" ever wanted was for God called men, whoever they might be--to be men who are the very best that they can be!!:thumbs:

    One of the primary arguments made is that God's man, once again whoever he is, should not personally be satisfied without performing his best and getting the best. And those of us who are "scholars," as you call us, would demand excellence from each of God's men if we could. And all of the "scholars" that I know on the BB have demanded excellence of themselves and would take no less!!

    Please do not take this for arrogance. It is only that we want the man of God to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works for he handles the very breath of God.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  7. Paul33

    Paul33
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,434
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let me ask the question in reverse. Why do so many unaccredited schools market their presidents and faculty as "Doctors?"

    If it doesn't matter, and if it is a mark of the world, then why does this practice persist in the very schools that teach it doesn't matter?
     
  8. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    2
    Amen to Paul!!!

    Paul and Broadus have framed the arguments so well, how can one improve upon their observations.

    sdg!:smilewinkgrin:

    rd
     
  9. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    Re:paul33

    Paul 33, Rhetorician and Broadus,

    First of all I can't answer your question, I do not know what 'forces' would prompt a man to take an honorary doctorate and pretend it is earned. But many have had honorary doctorates bestowed on them in their late years as a testimony of their life work and this IMO is giving honor to whom honor is due.

    I don't believe I said "it doesn't matter" and perhaps I am unable to express my point clearly. I am not saying that education is unimportant nor am I saying a school or a student should not strive for excellence. What I am saying is that there are many good men who strive for excellence apart from going to a school to attain degrees for the sake validating their education. I would also say that there are some fine schools who do strive for excellence that are not accredited.

    As I read, and not just on this board, I sense that there is aura of emphasis placed on credentials and accreditation instead of scripture. As if Christ had not said "I will build my church" and the Pharisees who took note that the "unlearned and ignorant men had been with Jesus". I am not trying to be ultra spiritual here but it seems that we have established and perhaps unintentionally certain performance criteria that should it not be met or adhered to deems men and schools as lacking God's blessing.

    Please respond your thoughts help me think this through:smilewinkgrin:

    thjplgvp
     
  10. Bible-boy

    Bible-boy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2002
    Messages:
    4,254
    Likes Received:
    0
    The situation you have outlined above is outside the objective truth and bounds of the Scripture. Since the Bible never addresses how or even if God "calls" a man to be educated at a particular school vs. some other school, how are we (any of us) to know for sure based on the only source of objective truth that we possess (the Bible), that one has indeed correctly "determined that it is God's direction in their life that is leading them to a particular school"? I think Brother Broadus has very correctly addressed your OP and raised some very astute questions that you ought to consider. What is the problem with expecting a school to put forth the effort to demonstrate to an accreditation board that it meets certain academic standards? Remember we are talking about accreditation for an institution (school) not pastors or individual professors.

    Yours in Christ,

    Bible-boy
     
  11. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    RE:Rhetorician

    Let me say first of all that I agree with you when you say that God’s man should not be satisfied with any thing less than his best. And within our personal sphere of friends, books, educators and schools making sure that certain standards for excellence are adhered to is great. In the thread “where did you go to college” I saw your credentials and I must say congratulations they are impressive. But you did not have those credentials 20 years ago, but I suspect you had the desire, drive and love of study that ultimately brought you to where you are today. You were afforded a great opportunity for education and you took it.

    But what if the opportunity for those degrees had not presented its self? Would your desire to learn, your drive and love of study changed? Probably not, you would be the same diligent man only without the degrees. You would still have the gift of teaching and the study habits formed through love learning.

    I remind each of us that we are to be apt to teach but we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God. Excellence does not require a degree nor accreditation.

    Your thoughts

    thjplgvp
     
  12. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    2
    One issue among many....

    thjplgvp,

    It is true that a man can be well read and scholarly on his own. It is also true that a man may even approach "scholar" status on his own.

    But the average pastor, no matter how good he is, no matter how committed he is, no matter how much he prays, no matter how many souls he wins, is not going to study much more than would qualify him to be a generalist at best.

    The burdens of the pastorate are too great to give the needed time and effort to just doing one thing and becoming even a well read generalist.

    Let me give a homespun example, albeit a poor one. I have young men who come to me an ask me to recommend a "baby Greek" grammar b/c they want to learn Gk on their own. I have gotten to the point where I tell them to keep their money and save their time. There is not 1 out of 100 who can ever make it through a baby Greek grammar on their own and get anything out of it. They are a lot better off just getting the Gk study helps and then developing a network of seminary friends as "go tos" to help with the fine points of the Gk text.

    First off, pastors don't have the time.

    Secondly, the person who has average intelligence can learn Gk and Hebrew. But, most would never have the personal discipline to do the work. I am not bragging just reporting what I did. In grad school I took baby Hebrew with one of the OT men who helped translate the NIV OT Scripture. Now granted I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer but for a 3 sem hr course, I was spending 10-15 hrs per week translating, memorizing, regurgitating, etc. And that is just one course in one discipline.

    Thirdly, the time constrains, personal discipline, pastoral responsibilities, and all the other will not allow a man to be adequately prepared in all of the disciplines associated with what a 3 year MDiv degree. Consider also how to do exegesis, homiletics, OT backgrounds, NT backgrounds, Systematic Theology, Historical Theology, Communications Theory, Church Administration, and on and on an on it goes. And I am not sure the church would allow the man the time needed to do the work. The days of Jonathan Edwards where he could spend 4-5 hrs a day in the study are no more.

    None of the three of us whom you have called to help you would not say for a moment that a man cannot know the Bible rather well. But can that man differentiate between Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism and why? Can he explain and does he understand the Doctrine of the Atonement that has to do with Double Imputation? And again, on and on and on it goes.

    When we handle "the very breath of God" it is incumbent upon us to not only know the Scriptures but how they came to be and all of the backgrounds associated with the different theories of interpretation, exposition, why the "Lost Gospels" were left out etc.

    Have I said enough?

    One thing I would say more: we can never lift our people any higher than we ourselves have risen.

    Amen!?

    or

    Oh Me!!!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  13. Paul33

    Paul33
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,434
    Likes Received:
    0
    I will answer again in reverse.

    There is nothing wrong with being unaccredited or serving without initials if that is the best one can do given his or her circumstances. What is wrong is using these lack of credentials as a badge of superior spirituality.

    I'm not saying you are doing that. But the general tone of those schools that don't apply for accreditation is that they are more obedient to the Word of God by not getting accredited as a mark of separation from the world. And then they "reverently (with honor)" call each other "Doctor!"

    You do the best with what God has given you to do. If that means studying at home with commentaries, so be it. But then do it to the best of your ability (and buy the right commentaries!).
     
  14. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    23
    Well said brother Rhetorician. In my own studies I often come to an empasse having no one to ask for clarification and not having the skills to go further my self.

    Thank you
     
  15. Nord

    Nord
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2004
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a variety of opinions on this issue.

    First, I believe that there are cases where schools have legitmate reasons to not pursue accreditation. They will likely meet the needs of students who intend to never use the degree outside of thin denominational lines. The problem is that those legit schools like PCC, A Wisc. Synod Seminary, BJU (prior to pursuing accreditation), LBU, West Coast Bible College, etc are far and few between. Many unaccredited religious schools are unaccredited because they have no hope of accreditation due to their poor standards rather than because they object or cannot afford it..

    My bias is to clergy with formal education. I think we owe God our best and that includes the discipline to prepare ourselves. WIth so many affordable acrredited options, money is not an excuse.

    Lastly, my concern is with clergy who for what ever reason have not prepared themselves academically but want to appear they have and want to put "MDiv or Dr." onto their name. I would rather have a Chuck Smith with mentorship studies than a dude with a coupleof diploma mill degrees. Chuck SMith's approach has integity

    Nord
     
  16. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    2
    Academic Defense

    thjplgvp,

    You said and I quote:


    The men who have as you say, "...20 years of education but no practical experience..." may be the paradigm in your denominational circle? But, it is certainly NOT the standard for the SBC "Big 6" seminaries. As Broadus has stated in other venues and threads, nearly all SBC profs have multiple years of practical experience in their discipline. Men usually go on to get their academic training in the fields where they have experience and want a doctorate to be able to teach in that field.

    A man would either have to love the discipline in which he teaches, or be a glutton for punishment, or just be plum stupid to spend so long and pay such a high price to get an academically rigorous doctorate.

    I don't know if you understand what it takes to get an accredited degree, PhD or ThD or even the DMin, from an RA and/or ATS accredited school? That is why we ask such demanding questions of these almost "degree mill" in house church schools.

    Just for your own edification get yourself a pile of catalogs from: The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dallas TS, Gordon-Conwell TS, Wheaton Grad. School, Trinity Evangelical Seminary (TIU), Harvard, Yale DS, Princeton, Reformed TS, Westminster TS, or even BJU grad school, etc. Look closely and carefully at what the grads with an earned doctorate have had to do. Then you will realize what a great price these men have paid for their "Doctorate."

    It may seem that sometimes we are a bit arrogant and resentful of the church schools and diploma mills. And I guess sometimes we are. But, we just know that we will be dealing not only with the text of sacred scripture but young minds who will be dealing with same and the people of God; their eternal state and the loss of souls.

    So please forgive us if we want to get it RIGHT!

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
    #16 Rhetorician, Jun 27, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2006
  17. Martin

    Martin
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,228
    Likes Received:
    0
    thjplgvp,

    I am not going to go into alot of detail here since I would just be repeating what Bill has already said on the matter.

    First I am very glad to hear that you are considering earning your Masters degree at Liberty University. I earned my Masters degree at Liberty, it is a great school and I am sure you will love your time there (be it on campus or online). The Lord has really blessed Liberty University and has used that wonderful school to train many men/women for the ministry God has called them to.

    Secondly, and way off the subject, I think the Aircraft Structures degree must have been very interesting. Do you work in that field (I am not looking for details)? I have never been in an airplane myself because I am 100% terrified of heights. I even have trouble in tall buildings. I am ok if I can't see out a window but if I do look out I feel like I am falling. Not good. Still I would think aircraft structures would be very interesting.

    Third. I admire men who have spent their life walking with the Lord and studying His Word. I don't care about their educational background. However all schools must hold to high standards. I would argue that Christian schools must hold too very high standards since we are representing the Lord God Himself. Accreditation affirms those standards. Anybody with a computer and time can open an online school today. The result is that degree-mills are all over the place. Sadly this is very much true in "Christian" circles as well as secular circles. There are people out there who just want to get your money (with very little education in return) and there are others who want to give you an education but don't know how to educate (teach). Accreditation affirms that the school has achieved a certain standard, that standard in turn is acknowledged by other schools and businesses. Schools that don't have accreditation have no proof that they have achieved those standards. So while I admire Godly men who have spent their life studying God's Word, and while I would gladly listen to their counsel, I would not want them teaching in a seminary or Bible college if they do not have the correct academic backgrounds. Why not? Because if a school hires a person who does not have proper training in their field the school's standards are questionable. Let's go back to the aircraft structures degree you hold. What if I went out, purchased every book I could find on aircraft structures, and spent a few years reading those books. I have no degree, no offical training, just my own personal reading. Would you want me to work on an aircraft you would allow your family to fly on? Probably not. Why? Because I have no offical training. I may know alot, and I may have the best of motives, but if I don't have offical training I should not be allowed to touch that plane. The same is true in theological training.

    Fourth. In large part the professors at seminaries know their Scriptures well, and have spent years walking with the Lord. Part of that walk has been offical training in theology, Biblical studies, or some form of ministry. They have learned greek, hebrew, systematic theology, and church history among other things. Sure you could read about those things on your own but that is not the same as having offical training. These men have dedicated years of their lives, and alot of sacrifice, to be able to stand in front of a classroom of students and teach at that seminary. They have worked very hard for those PhDs. They have a level of knowledge that simply cannot be gained apart from offical training.

    I think the fact that you are considering Liberty for your Masters degree shows you already know this...
     
  18. UZThD

    UZThD
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,238
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  19. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    2
    Inquiry?

    thjplgvp,

    Is any of this that we "academics" asking and declaring making any sense to you?

    If it is not then I am through with this thread!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  20. Broadus

    Broadus
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    0
    thjplgvp,

    First, let me say that I appreciate the tone and tenor of your interaction. Too often folks with questions such as yours produce much more heat than light. I think you're more interested in light.

    I think it important that we distinguish between the pulpit and the seminary lecturn. I have been in the ministry for almost 30 years and have had more than the minimum biblical language courses. Yet, I am not qualified to teach biblical Hebrew and Greek. Using it for exegetical purposes and teaching its concepts are two different things.

    Also, concerning the accreditation of schools, it has been pointed out that there are a very few worthwhile unaccredited institutions. Some have philosophical reasons not to pursue accreditation. However, there are almost countless fly-by-night institutions (get a copy of Pulpit Helps; I think that's the name and check the education ads) that cannot get accredited even if they wanted to do so. Yet, many ministers affix the Th.D. or Ph.D. or D.Min. behind their names as though they had earned a real degree.

    You are right that schools do not start out being accredited. However, most legitimate schools start out in pursuit of accreditation. Again, this does not mean they are orthodox and that you would even want to go there. It does mean that they are seeking to reveal that they have attained, and I say it again, a minimal academic standard, though accreditation also looks at other factors, such as financial stability.

    Bottom line, my advice is always this: there are so many good, solid, accredited schools that one does not, except in rare situations, need to go the unaccredited route. Does that mean that the grad will be a good pastor? Does that mean that he will possess a godly character? Does that mean that he can preach his way out of a paper sack? ;) Of course not. It simply means that his degree certifies that he has met certain minimal academic standards. He may or may not be a scholar, and he may or may not be seeking to live in obedience to the Word of God.

    I'll stop here. If I go on, I will say more than I know. :tongue3:

    Blessings,
    Bill
     

Share This Page

Loading...