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Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by StefanM, May 9, 2005.
What about it?
I'd like to see everyone's thoughts on this school.
I am a 1985 alum. I did a 96 sem hr ADiv degree. You must witness their way once a week to a lost person in order to get academic credit.
They are very stong SBC progam oriented, conservative, evangelical. You cannot go there if you have been divorced. You cannot be a woman and get into the MDiv degree program.
They prepare SBC people to do evangelism in any postion. Whatever one of their grads so, they will do it from an evangelist's view point. Very stoing on inerrancy and Biblical authority. Ultra conservative.
I will be glad to answer some direct questions if raised?! I live here near the school and go there often and still know the profs and some are friends of mine personally. I have an expertise in this area.
Could you describe the witnessing requirement?
It was early this morning when I typed this, I am sorry I mispelled your name.
From MABTS' 2002-2004 catalogue pp. 38-39:
All enrolled students must witness to an average of at least one person per week during the term. To constitute a personal witness, the interview is to include a presentation of the plan of salvation to a person believed to be unsaved and an invitation for that person to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. . . ."
"(2) The student must witness to an average of at least one person per week during the term."
"However, no academic credit is given to any student for the term if he or she does not satisfy the minimal requirements for the Practical Missions Program for that term, . . . " and witnessing is one of three requirements.
I hope this helps. I would write and get a catalogue so I could see the program first hand. You can order it on line @ MABTS.edu.
If you have any more question please post them or email me off board!
I have a couple more questions.
Given the witnessing requirements, they seem to be Arminian-leaning in soteriology--is this true? ( I don't want to cause a big debate; I'm just trying to gauge the school's theology.)
Additionally, does the school have a prevailing eschatology? If so, what is it? If not, how much diversity is there?
From what you wrote I assume you meant share their faith but that does not include discipleship? If that is the case then it does not coincide with the command Jesus gave in MY. 28:19, 20.
I have noticed that the once a week requirement stops as soon as they leave the school. I have known some who have graduated from that school who do not witness with all that much reglarity after graduating. My belief is that I would want to know what they were doing before seminary. Seminary should not be a place to teach people how to witness. That is the responsibility of every church. Evangelism classes for me in another seminary were such a waste of time. I had already led quite a number to Christ and discipled many.
However, I will never forget the time I met a lady whose dad was an ordained deacon and she had never given her testimony nor ever shared her faith. She had never seen her parents share their faith. She had gone to an SBC university before coming to the seminary. A student like that should have proven experience before coming to a seminary. The churches need to have pressure put on them. The seminary should not have to teach basic things every Christian should be doing. A secular university does not teach basic math just because some of the high schools have failed to prepare their students for college. That is what a hgih school or other schools are for. The seminary is there to prepare leaders not just teach their students the basics that should have already been learned.
If anything the seminary should be about helping students develop discipleship and evangelism in the church.
They are probably not any more or less Arminian than the SBC at-large.
There has been some circumstances there in the past that were quite devastating to some of us who are more Calvinistic than the "run of the mill SBC hand!" I cannot go into the details here, it is not the time and probably would not be ethical.
Secondly, they would mostly be "literal Kingdom of God on earh" with its different iterations. But, one would surely not be "looked down on" for holding some alternative view.
Thirdly, I would tell you up front that if you do not know anything about the "Landmark Baptists" you had better "get up to speed" on that issue if you go there. Many of the older profs hold that view of Church Theology.
Fourthly, if you are Calvinistic leaning you need to attach yourself to Dr. Jimmy Millikin and Dr. John Mahoney. They are "like minded." They will both work you "like a gov'ment mule" but are Godly men and you will learn much.
What do you understand the purpose of the MDiv degree to be? I am interested because of your comments about MABTS' evangelism ideals.
There seems to be two wide variances on the philosphies for the MDiv degree programs:
Is yours that:
The MDiv needs to train people who have BAs or BSs from other disciplines who need Bible, Theology, Church History, practical training, etc?
Or is yours that:
They should come to seminary with evanglism, missions, and practical stuff already "under their belts?"
It seems that you have told us where you believe the MDiv should lie. However, the programs cannot be that idealistic but must be done "in the real world. Many a young minister has "not a clue" when they get so seminary what will be expected of them. (Or for that matter what the ministry is!). Others, are blessed to have come from Bible college or Christian Liberal Arts Univ. and will have to repeat many things like OT & NT Surveys. Many come from evangelistic churches only. Others come from churches that will not even Baptize one who has not been through a "New Members" class or has been under "Watch Care" for several months.
Try to understand the different seminaries are doing the best they can, with what they have, where they are, with the $ they have, with their particular philosophy of ministry, under the Lord's leadership, at this place in their history.
Please try to temper your attitude a bit to be more loving because there is not a "one size fits all" theological education; or for that matter a "one size fits all" "philosophy of ministry!"
Questions &/or rebuttals welcome!?
I am not trying to be hard on anyone. I just happen to believe that a number of theological schools and churches have skirted their real responsibility to train men and women to do ministry. It is seldom done through preaching and lecture. Even some of my friends who are in theological education believe this too. So I am not alone. Some of them are trying to do something about it but are not well received because they are told it would cost too much money to run the school.
The purpose of the M.Div. program is primarily to equip its students to lead others to lead in ministry. Pastoral leadership requires o much more than evangelism. Evangelism alone requires few leadership skills and pastoral care. Pastors are leaders of those doing ministry not just individuals doing ministry. They are to equip others in the church to do ministry not just to do it themselves.
Just because you set an evangelism requirement does not guarantee that it will produce what it should. Nor does it paint a very realistic picture of real life.
Having an evangelism requirement other than one that is biblical is unrealistic and sets a person up for discouragement and poor success later on. So often evangelism is taught as a canned form. People need to be taught to be under the control of the Holy Spirit in everything they do.
When we are listening to God, He will make it evident when we are to say and/or do something and what we are to say and/or do.
When we set up an evangelism requirement and no other requirements then we are saying one thing is more important than another. Where is the importance of the other gifts? Do we ignore them to give way to evangelism. Would that not make others who have a variety of gifts as unimportant.
An elderly man I met with over 20 years ago told me something I will never forget. He told me that a man who was called praying Hyde who was criticized because he spent so much time praying instead of doing evangelism. At the time he told me that the only ministry that stands today in that area is where praying Hyde was a missionary. This man had just returned from that same area as a missionary for about 35 years.
I believe the vast majority of churches are weak because they do not give adequate attention to the details of personal discipleship. If a person can disciple others he can easily do evangelism.
I believe that one of the greatest reasons why people in the pew do not share their faith is because most do not know their Bible very well and have little to share. Yet the pastor week after week tries to encourage them to share their faith. Isn’t that kind of like telling someone to feed someone else when they are starving.
If you believe evangelism is the most powerful tool to reach people then why is it listed as one among many gifts. I take the position that it is not any more important than any other gift. All the gifts are just as important as another.
Think about 1 Cor 12:22-24, "On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it."
If you believe that evangelism is the best way to reach people then try to the math. If you led ten people to Christ everyday for 60 years you will have led 219,150 people to Christ. If I disciple one person every two years and that person disciples one person every two years and that person disciples one person every two years I will have reached 325,509people in 26 years who are discipled along the way rather that just “saved” folks hoping once in awhile they reproduce.
I see things a bit differently from you, although I deeply appreciate your understandings.
I am not particularly defending MABTS point of view on evangelism. Or, do I think that there is not an ongoing need for discipleship. I see things from more of a Calvinistic Soteriologic sense.
I believe that what we need is both evangelism and discipleship. But, I believe that the "jerk them to Jesus" or so called "easy believism" techniques are NOT the Gospel necessarily. Just getting someone to pray the prayer to "close the deal" is not the Gospel spelled out in the NT. (In my humble but most accurate opinion! HA!!).
One of my profs at MABTS put it this way to me many years ago. "There is NO true evangelism because there is NO true evangel!"
I appreciate your continued interests and open attitudes in the discussion(s).
Today, May 10th, is the 20th Anniversay of my graduation from MABTS. I recieved my Diploma of Theology/Associate of Divinity on May 10th 1985.
Whatever can be said for it, it did set my feet on the path of higher education. If you can study there and do well you can go about anywhere and do the academic work.
In the "for what it's worth" column.
When I was at New Orleans Bapt Seminary, folks talked about Mid-america as being the most conservative of all the seminaries.
On the continuum of <Investiagtion.................Indoctrination>, they are way to the right towards the end of indoctrination. This is my experience. I am an alum and have been around the school off and on since I graduated in 1985.
I would say that what you heard at NOBTS is probably for the most part true.
fine... tell me, if i recall right, someone told me, or the word was that Mid-America was not given the same "recognition" that the others were. The seminary in New Orleans had told me friend when he was going to pursue an undergraduate of A.Div degree at Mid-American and come back to NOBTS and get his M.Div that he should come to New Orleans first, and then go to Mid-America because they didnt tag the same recognition on Mid America as they did with Southwestern..etc.
Tell me what you mean by "recognition" and "tag" and I will be glad to give an informed opinion.
It is common to read an ad from a SBC college needing a religion teacher that requires the applicant to have a doctorate "from one of the six Southern Baptist Seminaries." That's a specific code for "No MABTS PhDs Need Apply." They are an independent school and, like a SBC church, they support the Convention but the Convention doesn't support them.
Although the school's leadership is non-Calvinist, the theology teachers are nearly all Calvinist. And practically all of the doctoral students are Calvinist, although the ADiv and MDiv students tend not to be.
I just got accepted to the Ph.D. program at MABTS. I graduated with the D.Min. degree there in 1994. I got the M.Div. degree at SWBTS in 1983. I'm returning to America in July and starting the program in August. I'm a three-pointer (TUP, not TULIP). I think MABTS is a wonderful school.
Concerning MABTS' "theology teachers are nearly all Calvinist" (from above); AND IF THEY WERE THAT WOULD BOTHER YOU WHY!? (if it were true--and I don't necessarily grant it to be true?!) I am a five-point Calvinist, a 1985 Diploma of Theology grad, and have gone on to do doctoral work, and teach college at a Baptist institution, and have lived here, and been in constant touch with the school ever since.
Does the Calvinistic stream of SBC history offend you (generic YOU) so much that you "would bury your head (and heart) in the sand" and not consider the historical documents!?
Do you find it offensive that the four founder's of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary were all "Fullerite" Calvinists; i.e., who believed in the sovereingty of God but had "a warm heart for the lost?!"
Do you find it offensive that these founder's had the influnence of Princeton on them?
Do you find it offensive that there was also the pietistic stream of SBC historical and theological thought who were more experientially oriented and less educated to be a major influence in SBC life!? (I do not necessarily agree w/them but will grant that they are part of my heritage and accept the brethren of this ilk and tint and hue w/open arms and in love).
Do you also find it offensive that this same "Southern Baptist Theological Seminary" to now be teaching these historic "Calvinistic" Doctrines; and that the president of said seminary holds to these doctrines and many who teach theology and baptist history there also hold to these doctrines?
Do you also find it offensive that there is a resurgence not only of Biblical and Theological conservatism but to those same doctrines unkindly and inadvertently known as "Tulip" or "Calvinism?"
Do you find it offensive that there has been a "ground swell" of individuals and groups like The Southern Baptist Founder's Conference" ministry bringing these doctrines to bear on church reformation and revival in the SBC?
I could go on with "Do you find it offensive. . . ?" but I think the point has been made.
My point is: PLEASE DO NOT BE OFFENDED BY WHAT USE TO BE COMMONLY HELD SBC THOUGHT!
Before you "jump" please look with great care and investigate whether or not what the convention has done since EY Mullins et al is really the Gospel? This "easy believism," "get them down the isle," "jerk them to Jesus," "close the salvation deal," seems to be a far cry from what Jesus and the Apostles seemed to teach and preach.
Would you characterize the Calvinists you know at Mid-America or Southern as being Supralapsarian, Infralapsarian, or Sublapsarian.
Yes, I actually believe that John Calvin was sublapsarian, believing that Jesus died for all indiscriminately, but interceding at the Father's right hand only for the elect that he foreknew.
Not having talked to each one individually, and not having a personal knowledge of each; I would not venture a guess.
I suppose one of the old "High Calvinist" would believe that the Father chose in eternity past, the Savior died for those for whom the Father chose, the Holy Spirit by the means of the preaching of the Gospel resurrects, regenerates, "quickens," justifies, sanctifies, & glorifies in time all those whom the Father chose in eternity past and for whom the Son died.
That may sound a bit simplistic (and probably is). But, sometimes it is much easier to stick with the exegesis of the Scripture rather than the philosophical and theological constructs.
Opinions, rebutals, and "angry exhortations" welcome and expected.