Emory/Candler School of Theology

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by daveatlanta, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. daveatlanta

    daveatlanta
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    I need a bit of advice from you all. I know I have a call to go to seminary. I don't intend to go into the pastorate, but to be a researcher, scholar or maybe a professor. I am a conservative Baptist with a wife and child I am not willing to uproot from our home in the Atlanta area.

    I need some feedback on Emory's Candler School of Theology, which is here in Atlanta. I know they are liberal in their theology. However, I would be attending in order to study Jewish Studies/Church History. I can't uproot my family to move to any of the six SBC seminaries. In addition (don't be angry:mad: ), I'm not sure any of those seminaries are considered "scholarly" in academic circles (like Emory is).

    What are your thoughts on Emory's Chandler School of Theology (good, bad or ugly)? This is a tough issue for me so I'd appreciate your help.
     
  2. Brandon C. Jones

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    If you can get in and afford it more power to you, but I'm sure the profs will test you there :).
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    I live around the Atlanta area. Personally I can't recommend Candler for anyone.

    I realize the money issue is huge, BUT you can get a good masters degree education from the New Orleans Baptist Extension or the Dallas Theological Extension (I would recommend Dallas personally) and supplement it with transfer classes from Columbia Theological Seminary in this area (particularly classes with Dr. Walter Brueggemann teaching.)

    Just stay away from Candler. Even for what you're planning on working in there are better options. Personally I'd do an MA in this at one of these that I've recommended followed up with an additional masters from an Atlanta college like GT or GSU in History itself if your plan is education.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    Reply to daveatlanta!

    Dave,

    This is an issue in which I have some measure of expertise.

    At the age of 30 I was a journeyman steamfitter/welder construction worker. I had never even taken college entrance exams. I left my home and moved my pregnant wife, two year old daughter, and quit my job to go to seminary. I know that circumstances seem insurmountable at times.

    Instead of giving advice (but I will be glad to do that too!), I would ask some rather pointed questions for you to ponder in prayer and Bible study.

    1. Are you sure that you are "called to be a prof" or to teach seminary, grad school, etc? There is such a glut of academics already who would fill those positions in every discipline i.e., church history, NT, OT, theology, et al.

    2. I have never heard of anyone to know for sure that they are NOT called to be a pastor. Are you sure of this?

    3. Are you a Southern Baptist? If you are then you will really need at least one SBC credential especially one graduate or advance degree.

    4. Would you not consider at all moving your family? You have painted your circumstance(s) so narrow that God may want to do some amazing things right before your eyes if you will but "Trust and obey!" (No judgment just thoughts!).

    5. What is your BA/BS? What are you equipped to do now? This may give some insight into future ministry opportunities.

    6. Would you consider doing some sort of MA or MAR on line or doing some on campus modules 1, 2, or 3 times a year for a week at a time for a few years?

    7. Did you know that all of those criteria which you have set will make it hard to get all of the education needed for what you want to do just in the one area?

    These are just 7 I came up with "off the top of my head!" I have 4 seminary/grad school of religion degrees and a Bible College degree so circumstances like yours are close to my heart. And it is certainly a formidable challenge but nothing our Father cannot handle.

    It seems to me that the "call" in the beginning is to a closer walk and fellowship with Christ and then if there is a vocational call it broadens out as we go along. It took me 21 years and much family and personal sacrifice to do what God had called me to do and finish the course in order to teach. But, I did not know God's call to teach college of seminary was on my life until I had nearly finished my first seminary degree.

    I will mention this, it is something that I kinda' sorta' wish I had done. It would have meant a second major move for me.

    You said you were interested in doing research. You might want to pick up an MLS degree, the Master of Library Science. I know there is a program there in the Atlanta area. Then you can make a living AS you work on other degrees and such and can minister too. Just a thought.

    I hope some of this helps. I am willing to talk via PM or email. Fell free to contact me.

    sdg!:smilewinkgrin:

    rd
     
  5. Rhetorician

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    Follow up

    Dave,

    Preachinjesus is telling you correctly. You will become slowly what the seminary you attend puts in you and there is no way not to be influenced by it (notice the double negative for emphasis!).

    I would say to look at the Atlanta Consortium of seminaries. It is ecumenical but you would probably get an education that is more in line with where we are here on the BB and where you are as a Southern Baptist.

    And on one point I need to make a rather small disagreement. Our "Big 6" SBC Seminaries will do a fine job for you. NEVER BE AFRAID of our seminaries, especially on the doctoral level. I would personally prefer Southern, Southeastern, and NOBTS just now!

    You might want to check out Liberty University's Master of Arts in Religion (MAR). It is a very difficult program and some on the BB have or are doing this degree. It might possibly get you into a secular university to study history or some other discipline.

    I would check out the MLS programs there.

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  6. gtbuzzarp

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    Personally I would avoid it like the plague....
    but on the plus side, if you do go, you can get yourself a yummy chicken,bacon, and cheese pizza sandwich at Everybody's on a regular basis. That makes everything better.:D
     
  7. Brandon C. Jones

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    My first response was a bit glib. I agree with Rhet: Don't limit your options too much when it comes to your training and think about his questions above.
     
  8. Joseph M. Smith

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    I know very little about Candler, except that there is a person there, Dr. David Key, who is teaching Baptist Studies. It is a program similar to the one I operate at another Methodist institution, Wesley, in Washington.

    If it is a Baptist education you want, what about McAfee (at Mercer)?

    I am interested in what another writer said about the Atlanta Consortium ... that might lead you to ITC (Interdenominational Theological Center), an African-American institution. It may not fulfill all your needs, but I would guess it would be an interesting addition to your mix.

    I also second what was said about taking something with Walter Brueggemann at Columbia Presbyterian Seminary. He is outstanding and challenging.
     
  9. Bible-boy

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    I'd stay away from McAfee (Mercer) as well. Just too liberal for my blood.

    I left the Atlanta metro area in 1998 to come to Southeastern College at Wake Forest (shares campus with SEBTS) in order to complete my undergraduate degree. I have stayed on at SEBTS to complete my MA. I would not trade my SBC education for anything. Likewise, it has been awesome watching the Lord provide for and meet the needs of my family over the past eight years!

    If the Lord wants to use you in ministry (including higher education) don't be afraid of leaving home so that He can educate and prepare you.:praise:
     
  10. daveatlanta

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    Guys, thank you so much for responding to my post. I really appreciate it.

    Many of you gave me the advice to consider moving to one of the SBC seminaries in order to go to seminary. However, I left out the fact that we just moved to Atlanta only two years ago. God brought us here from our hometown and I know that He doesn't want us to move again so soon, especially since our son is about to enter Kindergarden. I know that we will be here at least for a few years, maybe longer.

    Therefore, that established, I also want to address what Rhetorician asked me. Yes, I am very certain I am not called to be a pastor. I have no desire whatsoever to shepherd a flock of believers over a long period of time. My primary gift, I believe, is teaching. I am very much wired for acedemics and research. That's why I believe I should go to a seminary known for its scholarliness, not its ability to produce future pastors.

    Emory aside, I believe the NOBTS extension here in Atlanta might be the best choice. I can earn an MDiv there, which will prepare me for doctoral studies. Unfortunately, the DTS extension here only offers the MABS, which is not intended to get one prepared to earn a PhD.

    Some of you are correct in saying that my options are limited by staying in Atlanta. That's very true and it's also why I needed your feedback. By all means, continue to reply. I need all the feedback I can get.

    Thank you!
     
  11. Broadus

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    Dave,

    If the focus of your interest is church history, why not do an MA in history at an Atlanta-area university? If your interest is research related, I don't understand the reason to do an MDiv, which by design is a ministry-preparatory degree. Your best opportunity for teaching will be at the college level, and an MDiv would certainly not be necessary. Also, you can gear a PhD in history to religious interests and can write your dissertation on some aspect or person in church history.

    Then, should your MA work be good enough and your GRE scores high enough, you could do a PhD at Emory.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  12. gb93433

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    My gifts are very similar to yours. I am currently in the academic world.

    You can only teach what you know. You should be making disciples. Making disciples is real teaching. That is the command Jesus gave to his disciples in Mt. 28:19,20 along with Mt. 4:19. I have never seen a person who is discipling others get far off theologically. But I have seen "scholars" totally in the wrong field.
     
  13. daveatlanta

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    My thoughts exactly. I have no desire whatsoever to do an MDiv. However, if you take look at all of the professors that teach at SBTS, every one of them received an MDiv previous to getting their PhDs. The only exception is the one professor that graduated from Princeton, and he received an MA instead of an MDiv before receiving his PhD.

    I found that this seems to be the case at the SBC seminaries. One must receive an MDiv in order to be entered into the PhD program. On the SBTS website it expressly states that their MATS program is for lay persons only, not meant to lead up to the PhD.

    However, at more "prestegious" schools (ie Emory, Princeton), they do exactly what you are talking about. You get your MA and then enter into the PhD program. No MDiv required at all unless you expressly want to enter into church ministry. This is the route I want to take because (in agreement with you) I have no idea why I would need to get an MDiv when I have no desire to be a pastor.

    I don't understand why the SBC seminaries require an MDiv for those seeking a PhD, no matter if you're intended future is church ministry or serving the body in other ways. If places like Emory and Princeton get this, why don't the SBC seminaries?
     
    #13 daveatlanta, Jun 24, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2006
  14. Bible-boy

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    I think that what you are bumping up against here is that most SBC seminary profs understand that they will be teaching/preparing men for full-time church ministry. Thus, they go the route of BA, MDiv., PhD. You could go the Emory type route, you'll just be faced with mountains of biblical liberalism.
     
  15. daveatlanta

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    Thanks Bible Boy, I think you've really hit the nail on the head. Good observation, I appreciate it.

    Everyone has given me much to think about.
     
  16. Joseph M. Smith

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    In addition, I would guess that most of the professors at Southern Baptist seminaries started out themselves to be pastors, and in fact would have served in that capacity during or after their doctoral studies. It is ministry that is their passion, as much as or more than academic study.

    I can neither affirm nor deny that at Emory one would recieve "mountains of biblical liberalism", but then one must contend with the fact that at other schools he would descend into "valleys of biblical literalism". (Couldn't resist!!)
     
  17. Rhetorician

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    Purpose of SBC Seminaries

    To all who are reading this thread:

    I have not read finely all of the thread replies.

    But, it must be remembered that the SBC Convention funds the "Big 6" in order to have SBC churches, pulpits, denominational workers, missionaries both at home and abroad supplied; ALSO/AND academics to teach the next generation of such.

    The primary role of the SBC educational structure is to keep a steady stream of "full time Christian workers" "in the pipeline" as it were. It just so happens that more want and do go into formal academics than there are places for them either at the "Big 6" or on the local and state institutional levels.

    Most, unlike myself or the worthy young man who started the OP, do not have any idea they are going to end up in some sort of academic setting. Who would want to start out with 10-15 years of hard academic training ahead of them in the very beginning when they are "called to preach?!"

    Mytwocentsworth!

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
    #17 Rhetorician, Jun 26, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2006
  18. Rhetorician

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    Short Follow up

    To add to what Bro. Smith said above:

    I am piecing and patching some things together here.

    In response to Dave's OP. It must be kept in tension that the "Big 6" will more than likely NOT HIRE anyone who is not seminary trained or who does not have at least one seminary degree.

    The MDiv degree (usually earned at one of the "Big 6") is usually the "union card" or "minimum requirement" degree to teach at one of the seminaries and many of the state institutions that have a religion's dept.

    Major exceptions have and can be made however. It someone has written widely or they "are outstanding in their field" for whatever reason, then sometimes they will/can be hired. But, TAKE NOTE; these are the exceptions and NOT the rule.

    A few things you also need to know:

    First, network and make many friends along the way.

    Secondly, if you are not going to get the MDiv from one of the "Big 6" then you MUST do something that will set you apart.

    Third, join and attend the professional conferences EARLY.

    Fourth, write much, often, and in as many venues as possible.

    Fifth, take leadership roles in your local church.

    Sixth, take leadership roles on all/every denominational level. You must be known. This will help enhance #1 above.

    I believe you will find all of this information useful.

    But, DO NOT under any circumstances discount the sovereignty of God and his ability to place you where He wants you. But, also do not use this belief as an excuse not to prepare yourself to be "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed!"

    FYI!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  19. preachinjesus

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    For me the interesting thing about Atlanta is the lack of a substantive evangelical seminary founded and institutionally here. Rather strange imho

    Luther Rice would be ideal, but it is too removed academically to mean anything. (Their DMin is still considered an advanced MDiv by most institutions)

    the extension centers don't count, since you have to go back there to graduate and/or do some credits and they don't offer the full swath of degrees the main campus offers.

    maybe someone would start one, I don't know. Weird though
     
  20. daveatlanta

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    I will certainly take all of these into consideration. Thanks so much for your sound advice.
     

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