MDiv & Languages

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Is it proper to have a seminary offer a Master of Divinity without the Biblical Languages?

    Or, should that degree be called something else altoghether?

    If it is an MDiv; the workhorse for the ministry degree, the primary ordination degree, and the primary preaching/teaching degree; then DOES THIS NOT DEMAND IT HAVE THE BIBILICAL LANGUAGES?

    We have talked all around similar questions before, but never this question directly?

    What think ye?

    sdg!

    rd
     
  2. mcdirector

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    If no languages are taken, I think it should be called something else. I expect that someone with an MDiv has had Hebrew and Greek.
     
  3. PastorSBC1303

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    I agree, a MDiv without the Biblical Languages is no MDiv.
     
  4. Martin

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    Rhetorician:
    ==Yes it is proper. However those who earn such degrees must be made aware of the limitations it puts on their future. I use Liberty University as an example. They have two MDiv programs, one on campus and one online. The oncampus version has the normal language requirements. However the online version only has "Hebrew Tools" (3hrs) and "Greek Tools" (3hrs). This is called their "english track". There is nothing wrong with that as long as the student understands that this MDiv (english) will not qualify him/her to enter Liberty's ThM program or most other seminaries ThM, DMin, or PhD programs. As long as the student has no interest in going on to those programs this should not be a problem. Then again the student could make up the languages before moving on to one of the other more advanced program.

    I have a MA/Religion degree from Liberty. I only took Hebrew tools because I had greek at Southeastern Seminary and at the Bible College level. I would suggest that all students take at least one year (two semesters) of greek. This will not qualify for the ThM/PhD programs but it will give a pastor/missionary/layperson the experience in the New Testament language they need (to get by).

    I believe that Southern Evangelical Seminary's MDiv (Apologetics) does not require language courses beyond a basic intro course in language tools. Their MDiv (Biblical Studies) does require alot of language courses. They do offer the MDiv/Apologetics students the chance to major in Apologetics while concentrating in Biblical Studies (thus giving them the languages). No language courses, beyond the language tools course, are offered online.

    Luther Rice's distance MDiv does not require languages either. However I was told that they were working on allowing student to take these courses online.

    These are MDiv degrees. I think it just depends upon what a student wants from the degree. Going beyond a MDiv requires languages but not all wish to go beyond the MDiv. Some MA programs are heavy on the languages, some are not. However they are all MA programs. The languages do not make the program.
    ____________________________________________

    ==The Baptist Church does not require any certain degree (nor do I think we should). There are many fine preachers who don't know the languages. While I certainly believe the languages are important I would not require someone to take the languages if they did not wish to. Though I would always require language tools.


    Martin.
     
  5. NateT

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    At SBTS, if you don't take ANY languages, you don't get an MDiv, but instead an MA. In fact, 90% of the people that I've heard in the MA program, or thinking of switching to the MA program do so because of the lack of languages.

    That being said, it is still possible at SBTS to get an MDiv with as little as 9 hours of language (Elementary Greek & Hebrew, and 1 syntax class).
     
  6. Charles Meadows

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    If someone is seeking to be a pastor though his main focus is not languages. I wouldn't think that too much Greek/Hebrew should be necessary across the board for this degree.
     
  7. TaterTot

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    Disagree - I think a pastor should at elast have a minimal command of the biblical languages. Why would someone not want that?
     
  8. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Tater,

    I disagree. I don't think languages should be a requirement for being a pastor. If one is seeking a Doctorate or to be a seminary prof., then I would think it would be a requirement. The MDiv w / languages is mainly an academic degree from the way I see it. I don't see any Biblical requirement that Greek and Hebrew be learned to be a pastor. I think it is good to know and could help. I don't think it is a requirement to be a pastor. It is a requirement for a doctorate and further academic pursuits as a career.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  9. TaterTot

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    Well definitely it should be required for a doctorate. I guess we can just agree to disagree on this one. ;) [​IMG]
     
  10. mcdirector

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    Do I think a man can pastor without the biblical languages? Yes -- men pastor with little or no education. Are those languages helpful? Yes, as is a seminary education.

    But the original question was: should someone get an MDiv without biblical languages or should it be called something else.

    I still think an MDiv implies Greek and Hebrew were studied and an equivalent degree without them should be called something else to eliminate confusion.
     
  11. Joseph_Botwinick

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    mcdirector,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. The MDiv is primarily meant to be an academic degree to prepare the students for further academic pursuits.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  12. TaterTot

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    I agree too
     
  13. PastorSBC1303

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    I cannot for the life of me understand why a pastor would want to put the work in for a MDiv and not take the languages...but I have known many. My opinion is that it is laziness.
     
  14. Humblesmith

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    The comment above about Southern Evangelical Seminary's language requirements are not quite correct. SES offers an MA, with a choice of majors in Apologetics, or Philosophy. These do not require heavy language emphasis. However, the MDiv has the normal full language load. Other than the Intro to Language course, all of the language requirements must be taken on campus, not via distance, or transferred in.

    That being said, there seems to be a lot of discussion on this board about languages. I'm certainly not knocking language study, but it just strikes me that there is a LOT of discussion here about it, moreso than the many other things that could be discussed.

    Methinks thou doth protesteth too much.
     
  15. mcdirector

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    It may well be laziness Pastor, but I will be the first to admit I'm a language dud. I did what I had to in HS and college and felt like a loser the whole time. I had a double major, made the dean's or president's list most every quarter, and still this was a terrible effort for me.

    Now my son (the one in seminary), he is a language fiend. He'd taken Spanish, Hebrew, Russian, and Latin before graduating from HS and college. He's eating his Greek and Hebrew up. I don't know if I could do it.
     
  16. PastorSBC1303

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    mcdirector, I understand about being a dud in languages. I took the bare minimum that I had to take in high school and college to slide by because it was very hard for me and I did not enjoy it.

    In seminary I struggled with the languages, especially Hebrew. But I put the work in and persevered through it and I am very thankful I did.

    I am not nearly as proficient in them as some that I know, but I can use them to study and preach God's Word.
     
  17. Rhetorician

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    "Joseph_Botwinick:
    & mcdirector,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. The MDiv is primarily meant to be an academic degree to prepare the students for further academic pursuits."

    I think this is a misunderstanding of the MDiv degree. The degree can lead to the PhD/ThD. But it was and is designed for the one who will do the work of the preaching-teaching-pastor-elder etc.

    Please go back and read some of the descriptions of the MDiv degree from some of the RA or ATA Schools and think you will find yourself self corrected.

    Food for thought.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  18. mcdirector

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    Thanks for the info rd, but I didn't say that :D I know lots of men with MDiv's that went no farther.

    The only point I've made in all of this is that an MDiv implies languages. An equivalent degree without languages should be called something else so as not to confuse people.
     
  19. Charles Meadows

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    Because "command" of the languages takes a certain intellectual bent and a LOT of work. That simply is not feasible for the average pastor.

    Basic familiarity of the languages is good and SHOULD be a part of the M Div degree. But "command" is simply not feasible.
     
  20. TaterTot

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    well isnt it true that most who come out with an MDiv with Languages has a good familiarity with them? Not everyone has a great command of them, of course. But not understanding the issues associated with the languages can be detrimental when one knows only enough to be dangerous.
     

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