MDiv Degree Differences by School Type

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Hello to all:

    I hope God's blessing in Christ is abiding on you and your work this Lord's Day.

    I think I know the answer to the question but I will throw it out to help me clear the smoke away, if you will allow a poor metaphor.

    What are (is) the differences, if any (or all), in a Master of Divinity done at different types of institutions say:

    1. A university that has a graduate school of religion; I am thinking here about my own alma mater, Harding University Graduate School of Religion.

    2. A university that has a seminary or Divinity School of its own; I am thinking here about Vanderbilt University, Duke University, Harvard University, or Beeson Divinity School at Samford U. in Alabama.

    3. A stand alone evangelical or denominational seminary; I am thinking here of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (also my alma mater), TEDS (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), Gordon-Conwell, etc.

    Of course I have a good idea, I just need some clarification. If you do not think there is any difference in the educational philosophy differences other than the obvious ones, then you have not attended one of the other genre types named.

    I think this will bring about some interesting discussions and may help some who know not the differences themselves. I am not sure this question has ever been asked before.

    I look forward to your feedback.

    "That is all!"
     
  2. Ruiz

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    I would add another growing group: Seminaries under the authority of a local Church.

    Do I think there is a difference? Yes!

    Personally, I think the Seminary training becomes more institutionalized the larger entity it becomes. As well, a seminary's focus becomes less Pastoral focused and more saturated when it is "one of" the things it does rather than the main thing it does in the bigger institutions.

    Granted, early on in the life of the organization that may not be true, but the longer the institution is around the more saturated the focus becomes.
     
  3. TomVols

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    Church-based seminaries like Master's Seminary and SBTS (yes, the Big six are church based) offer similar M.Divs. I don't see a lot of M.Divs from schools like Carson-Newman, Georgetown, etc., as they have grad schools of Religion. Schools like Baylor, Duke, Samford, etc that have a divnity school will have M.Divs and others.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    Comment on Tom

    Tom,

    Clarification!

    I am sorry for the confusion. I meant the question to go to the heart of the content and philosophy of the MDiv degree from the different kinds of schools.

    Please forgive. My assertion is that an MDiv degree is not the same degree is not the same degree just because you hold it. What attributes to the differences in their content from venue described in my OP?

    How would someone with an MDiv degree from say Vanderbilt Divinity School have a different outlook than say someone from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary? And I guess a more important question is why?

    But it must be kept in mind that the "conservative" and "liberal" monikers must be set aside for this present discussion, in my humble opinion.

    "That is all!":wavey:
     
    #4 Rhetorician, Sep 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2010
  5. Joseph M. Smith

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    One aspect of this discussion is that I suspect you will not find much of a focus on practical pastoral ministry in the graduate school of religion type. This is more focused on the academic -- Biblical, theological, philosophical -- etc., rather than on skills and techniques of preaching, pastoral care, church administration, etc.

    Some will doubtless argue that a degree from a university-related div school will be more academic and will contain more exposure to diverse points of view than a confessional seminary. Maybe so, particularly in the present SBC circumstances, but it is entirely possible that a solid confessional or denominational seminary can provide exposure, critique, and solid knowledge as well as the practical side of ministry. And then, in Baptist life, there is also that all-crucial business of making connections that will help you with placement (said with tongue only slightly in cheek).

    A case in point to advocate for the confessional seminary (assuming it is not hobbled with trying to defend a narrow theology): you cite as a co-editor of a book Bobby Agee. Though I have not seen him in years, we were seminarians together at SBTS in the '60's. What a fine mind and what a capable scholar! When you look at men like him there should be no doubt of the value of the education received under the circumstances of an honest and yet confessional seminary.
     
  6. Greektim

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    I've never really consider the differences too much, but I am very interested to hear the thoughts on this. It peaked my curiosity.

    In the same vein, David Alan Black, my new faculty mentor, advised me to consider a secular university for a PhD after my ThM. I would wonder what the thoughts are on that after securing a solid MDiv or ThM from a good evangelical seminary. I know a couple of Hebrew/OT/Semitics guys who have done this very thing. They did an MDiv &/or ThM and went to a University (Wisconsin, Cornell, UCLA, etc.) and got the MA & PhD in Semitic studies. They always turn out to be some of the best OT scholars I know.
     

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