Need advice about online seminary degrees.

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by michael-acts17:11, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. michael-acts17:11

    michael-acts17:11
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    As a layperson who would like to pursue a theological degree, how accepted & thorough are the online degrees being offered by Christian universities? Do they truly prepare you for a "career" in ministry or education?

    I have a few credits from a Christian college when I was young & have always enjoyed studying Scripture without the constraints of denominational "blinders" and would like to pursue a theological-based "career". As a middle-aged husband & father, I'm not sure how to best pursue this desire.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Rhetorician

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    Michael Response

    Michael,

    I am glad you opened up this thread. I would say for discussion's sake that
    you "tell us what you want to be when you grow up?" By that I mean to ask, what are your spiritual gifts, what do folk say you do well, what are your interests, what are you passionate about? Do you want to pastor, preach, do missions, plant churches, et al?

    What I am trying to get at here is this; ministry education is much like secular education. You need the degree(s) or education to equip you for the job you where you see yourself out there in the future. Now, I know that this is not the "be all and end all" of the equation of the ministry end but it is good to consider.

    Have you mentioned anything about "God's call on your life?" That probably should have be talked about first in the discussion.

    Hammer some of these out in this discussion and we will try to help.

    "That is all!" :smilewinkgrin:
     
  3. mjohnson7

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    Michael,

    Some more information would be helpful.

    • Do you have an undergraduate degree (BA or BS) already or are you asking particularly about earning a BA or BS.
    • I am assuming you are a Baptist since this is a Baptist fellowship forum. What exactly do you mean by denominational blinders?
    • With regard to career - what type of career/area of ministry? Pastoring/church ministry, parachurch ministry, theological education, writing, itinerant ministry/evangelism, etc.
    I think if you could answer these or give us more insight into what you're thinking, there would be many here willing to offer help and/or advice.
     
  4. mjohnson7

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    Looks like Rhet and I were thinking along the same lines. Rhet posted his reply one minute before mine!
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    I am working through a MAR at Whitefield Theological Seminary. It is extremely rigorous. I can't imagine any accredited seminary being more demanding than this one. lol It's just less expensive.

    Great school. Would this education prepare me for teaching, preaching, et. Absolutley, as long as I put the effort into it that it requires.

    I have little or no concern for accreditation. In fact, I kinda like it that it doesn't have any. But that is another discussion. It's the quality I was most concerned with. After that I did have to take financial considerations into account. But this degree is not that cheap after tuition and media costs.

    But I bet the Hermeneutics course doesn't require over 2,000 pages of reading. lol
     
  6. michael-acts17:11

    michael-acts17:11
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    I started off as an IFB 40yrs ago progressed to Mb and am now a SB. My IFB background had left me confused & hungry for the truth of Scripture w/o all the religion, so I took hermeneutics & a few other classes years ago for my own understanding, but I did not pursue a degree. I've never been in a church where the pastor & leadership didn't ignore or reexplain portions of Scripture to justify denominational beliefs. I leave my baptist beliefs "at the door" when I study Scripture, and it has changed many of my non-salvational doctrines.

    I would like to work toward a MaDiv; a degree that will be of great benefit to my personal understanding & growth as well as adequately prepare me for where ever God may lead.

    The church is in dire need of teachers who can teach the meat of the Word. I would like to train teachers in Biblical interpretation & discernment. Most "Bible study" is centered on some book or literature other than the Bible. I feel that our churches are spiritually hampered by a lack of expository, interactive teaching. I don't remember the last time I heard an expository sermon or Bible study.

    Concerning the "call to preach", my viewpoint on "the call" would be the subject for another thread. I see a need within the church & am willing to fill that need. God will lead & direct along the way.
     
  7. ReformedBaptist

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    Hey Michael,

    I appreciate your heart brother. You are correct that the Church is in need of strong theological teaching. They also are in great need to know their history-church history. When is the last time you saw a Church history course taught? I have never seen this, but I know it does happen.

    When is the last time there was a Hermeneutics class on Sunday morning? Or how about Systematic Theology, or Biblical Theology? I hear you brother. And I know of 200 Gospel workers in south India that would come and listen to something like that all day long.

    And your right, expository preaching is not in favor today. But how many pastors actually know how to preach that way? I am studying hermeneutics right now, but it is difficult to go from the principle to the practice.

    The author of the book I am reading does a good job explaining what the grammatico-historical method is, and waxes elequent when saying it is the method observed in Scriptures. But does not do so good at illustrating how the grammatico-historical principles are observed from Scripture itself. How is it that the Apostles and the Lord Jesus interpreted Scripture?

    That's for another thread.
     
  8. TomVols

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    Very worth thread :)

    Actually, our church has a Systematic Theology class at 9:00 that will run until May. We finished a Historical Theology class last May. I'm chomping at the bit for Church History, which was introduced on Wednesday nights during the 6:30 service for many weeks.
     
  9. michael-acts17:11

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    That sounds wonderful. Most churches have replaced the equipping of the saints with easy preach-ism. If the pastors were fulfilling their Biblical commands, the average church member would have the equivalent of a college degree in theology within a few years of salvation. Jesus trained the apostles in only three years.


    So, any thoughts on which online seminary would provide the best distance-education?
     
  10. Martin

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    ==It depends upon the school. A regionally accredited institution will have much wider acceptance in education circles than a non-accredited degree. I always recommend Liberty University and it sounds like they might be a good fit for you (www.luonline.com).
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    Sam Jones, old-time itinerant Southern Methodist preacher, said, "Get all the education you can, even if you're just going to drive a mule. It makes that much more difference between you and the mule."

    I would encourage anyone gifted by God for ministry to get formal, legit education.

    If I can put a plug in (since I received the first Master's degree granted by the school in 1971) I would consider Maranatha Baptist Seminary. Maranatha Baptist Bible College, a fully accredited historic ifb (not looney tune) school now offers a Master of Arts in English Bible COMPLETELY ON LINE. They have some classes that are actually web-based live with cameras in the classrooms and interaction in real time with fellow seminarians.

    http://www.mbbc.edu/seminary/MastersEnglishBibleOnline.aspx
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Any ideas on Reformed Theology colleges or is Marantha Calvinistic?
     
  13. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    Michael I will give you a couple specific recommendations. I was called to preach and began my education after becoming a husband and father. My ministry has always been bivocational and so was my education. You mentioned that you grew up ifb but are sb now. I am from the same background growing up pretty extreme ifb but now sb. I have pastored ifb, sb, and independent non denominational churches so I know exactly what you're talking about when you say you leave your denominational beliefs at the door.

    For undergraduate work I would first suggest you look at Seminary Extension. Seminary extension is a sbc educational program that is a joint ministry of the six sbc seminaries. Classes are taught by internet, correspondence, and in live local satellite classrooms around the country. I took a total of 12 classes through seminary extension by correspondence and live classroom years ago. The live classrooms use seminary trained instructors, usually local pastors. The online and correspondence classes are taught by professors at one of the seminaries. The quality of the education is superb and they are fully accredited and transferable. You cannot however, at least when I was a student with them, get a full degree through seminary extension. They have certificate programs but encourage you to transfer your credits to another school to complete your degree. You can check out Seminary extension here:

    http://www.seminaryextension.org/

    For later work I would recommend Masters International School of Divinity. I received a Doctor of Biblical Studies from them in 2008. I just love Masters, they have real classes at their campus in Evansville Indiana. They also offer online and correspondence classes. They also have seminar style classes that compress a semester long class into a one week intensive seminar. Seminars are offered at the Evansville campus and occasionally at other locations around the country. Masters is kind of accredited. I know that “kind of” part sounds bad. They have accreditation from some agencies, I would have to look up which ones. They also have agreements with other fully accredited schools (Columbia Southern and California Coastal I think) for some programs. Masters has some great degrees in Christian councelling and in order for their graduates to be certified councellors they have to have accredited degrees so those degrees are actually issued by Masters as a school under the direction of the accredited universities. If that sounds confusing it is because it is. The short version is, some degrees at Masters are accredited, some aren’t. Anyway, Masters is a great school with real professors and a rigorous approach to education, and it is affordable and convienent. They are non denominational. You can check them out here:
    http://www.mdivs.edu/

    Now those are both schools I attended and loved. They were both a great help to me and I heartily recommend them both. In between these two however, I took some classes from an ifb kjvo school that I will neither name nor recommend. I did complete their master of divinity program and have the degree, but it was no where near the quality of instruction I received at Master’s International.

    You will find all kinds of opinions on this board about different schools and accreditation. Every school is not right for every student and I will pray that you can find the one that is right for you.
     
  14. Dr. Bob

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    Some are good solid 4-5 point calvinistic men, others still confused. But very conservative, biblical, Baptistic, dispensational so not going anywhere near covenant theology, etc.

    I did my Master's in Dec 1969 era and not a prof from then is still around. I'm thankful that I'm still around!!
     
  15. michael-acts17:11

    michael-acts17:11
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    Thank you for all of the advice. I now have a good starting point for my educational future.

    Thank You & God Bless
     

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