Is John Frame right?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Siberian, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. Siberian

    Siberian
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    Do our institutions need to sever themselves from the current accreditation system to better produce right-minded theologians?

    Read the excerpt.
     
  2. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    No.

    Though for a presuppositionalist he is, at least, consistent.

    This is a fine point: Evangelical denominations and schools need to seek new methods of training people to teach theology, educational models that will force theologian candidates to mine Scripture for edifying content.

    I suggest it can be accomplished within the confines of an accredited school. We need to realize that accreditation, as it works properly, is just as much for students as institutions. There is a protective element and a standards element to it. Too many schools, when outside accreditation, end up offering inferior degrees and take advantage of students.

    It is a necessarily evil. Though we must remember that the fastest growing evangelical schools are still consistently seeking accreditation. :)
     
  3. Siberian

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    I doubt Frame means to promote an unaccredited status, per se. He's pointing out that the current accreditation standards (especially of ATS) are sometimes employed by institutional administrations in ways that prove counter productive to the institute's goals; especially as these standards apply to faculty hiring.

    I think Frame makes some valid points.
     
  4. Crucified in Christ

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    I do think ATS can be a problem. In addition to what you are driving at, ATS hampers a Seminary's ability to provide Distance Education...as demonstrated by the MWBTS having to offer its DL Masters Degree through the college.
     
  5. glfredrick

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    Southern Seminary is having no real problems with a conservative evangelical faculty and tenor while being accredited by ATS and SACS. In fact, we helped host the SACS convention this year in Louisville.
     
  6. StefanM

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    ATS is useless.

    I've said it before: a theological accrediting agency that accredits both the Starr King School for the Ministry (Unitarian Universalist) and Dallas Theological Seminary does not have the best perspective on ministerial preparation.

    There should be an evangelical alternative to ATS.
     
  7. Batt4Christ

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    Unfortunately, ATS is still the "crown jewel" of accreditation and recognition for schools...

    The seminary I am receiving my degree from in May (BMATS) worked hard to gain ATS accreditation (after maintaining SACS accreditation for a long time). BMATS gained that ATS accreditation and just went through a fresh set of visits - trying to get the extension campus in Conway, Arkansas fully accredited so that all degrees can be offered on both campuses.

    There have been no issues with theology that I am aware of - as BMATS remains very conservative.
     
  8. zackskrip

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    I have an accredited BA, I was in an Accredited MA, with guys that have now gone on to do their PhDs in places like Oxford, Manchester, and either University of Jerusalem or Tubingen, he hasn't decided yet. So, when it comes to scholastic achievement and the necessity of a good education, I have some sympathies.

    Now I am in a good church, where the elders are mentoring me and I am learning that my exegesis is good (all studies were in Biblical Studies) but my pastoral skills, my homiletics are not up to par. On top of that I'm still paying off my large student loans from my previous education. I have a family, a full time job, and church responsibilities (the same place most of you are in). I've decided I can't move and I won't pay for an expensive accredited degree.

    I know what I am giving up, but at the same time I know what I am gaining. If I were to require an accredited degree I'm not sure when (if ever) I would get the training that would help me be of further use to the church.

    I heard one poster in a different thread liken accreditation with "rendering to Caesar" or submitting to the government (Rom 13). This is misguided (I would argue).

    If my muffler were broken and I could get it fixed by a certified mechanic or an uncertified one, all things being equal, I would pay less and get the uncertified one to do the repair.

    And right there I open myself up to all sorts of things, because, one would argue, all things are not equal. True. As I've done a lot of research on both accredited and unaccredited MDivs in the last little bit, I can tell you there are some really shoddy unaccredited schools that mandate a little more than a few quizzes and a final for their Masters level classes.

    Now, if I can find a program that requires rigorous study, would that be worth it? If I can take 15hrs in homiletics so that I can preach clearly, and the body understands what it is the Word of God requires of them, if I can preach persuasively and they go and conform their lives to the truth of the Word, is that degree worth it? If I can have outside assessment that truly pushes me to work hard, and tracks my progress, is this worth my money? After much thinking and prayer, I would say that in my situation, yes, it is worth it.

    To liken accreditation to the requirement to submit to Caesar, or even less, to argue that accreditation means that the school will be of high quality is misguided. My industry is extremely regulated by the US government, and I can tell you that we go above and beyond what is required, because government regulations only require minimum standards.

    To hear more of what Frame was arguing go here or just download the full article "Proposal for a New Seminary."
     
  9. Siberian

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    There are some significant differences in what you are getting at and what Frame is arguing in The Doctrine of the Word of God (and this is very different than Frame's bold paper he called The Proposal that he wrote early on in his career (though he makes some good points there too, though his solution is a bit monastic for my liking - and it is no doubt seminal in his thinking about pastoral prep). Frame is concerned with accreditation because it keeps the institutions within the academic world's status quo, and he views that as potentially problematic as it relates to pastoral preparation. You seemed to be concerned with the financial burden that often accompanies accredited programs (another legitimate concern within the big picture of pastoral preparation).

    Of course, an unaccredited program might be of great benefit, and may fit your situation well. As long as you know what you are getting into, no problem. However, one thought to add: there are some very reasonable accredited options out there. For example, Liberty has a tuition cap for its M.Div. programs, so you can only spend 2k a semester, tops. Also, taking a longer time to finish the degree might make it more affordable (most have time limits of about 7 years).
     
  10. zackskrip

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    Wow, I didn't know that LBU had a tuition cap. That's worth looking into then. I mean, I am a bit on the reformed side (a bit of an understatement) but I might be able to stick it out :tongue3:

    Thanks, man.
     
  11. Crucified in Christ

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    I need to check but someone said that they have moved this up to $2200. per semester.
     
  12. Havensdad

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    I am a Reformed Baptist and I have had no troubles at Liberty, except in the "Spiritual Formation" class...and even this was not a Reformed issue, but an issue of using New Age spirituality techniques (ala Foster and Willard), that are clearly not Biblical.

    And yes, the tuition cap is nice!
     

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