Non-accredited seminary VS. Book Study

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by R. Lawson, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. R. Lawson

    R. Lawson
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    I did not know if this belongs in the book forum or not.

    Would it be more beneficial to purchase books rather than going to a non-accredited seminary? I'm attending St. Alcuin House Seminary on a full scholarship. What books could be beneficial for one's own study rather than going to seminary?

    Thank you.

    In Christ,
    Robb:wavey:
     
  2. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    That depends on why you are attending seminary. If you wish to have a degree that will be recognized for what it is, then by all means attend seminary and at that, an accredited institution. If you are just trying to gain an education, there are other ways to do so, though the rigors of the academy are such that people tend to learn more, study harder, and study broader in any given topic than if left to their own devices (for the most part).

    In my own Bible college and seminary degree work, I did all the class requirements, wrote all the papers, did all the various assignments, and wrote all the quizzes and tests. I was able to participate in classroom discussions where topics akin to what we find on this board were discussed on a regular basis. I was able to hang around with the men who wrote the books that everyone else studies. At the end of the day, it was quite a blessing and I am deeply grateful to our glorious God for gracing me in this fashion.

    During my two degrees, I read an average of 3 books per course (with some requiring upward of 10 per semester. I averaged 3-4 classes per semester, so I read 9-12 or more books as required reading per semester. That comes out to about one a week or so. That is a pace that few self-study students will hold. On top of that, I spent 3 semesters each in Greek and Hebrew studies, which required huge amounts of memorization. I would typically spend 2-4 hours each day working on language memory. That is on top of the books required. Then, there were always papers due. Short papers like 5 pages were no big deal, but even they took a week or so to process because they typically require at least 5 source materials, from which accurate footnotes were required. 15+ page papers often required dozens of books, journals, etc., and took several weeks each to prepare, and no one professor ever really cared that another had his coursework due on the same day. So, at the end of the day, earning a degree from an accredited seminary takes pure and plain WORK.

    But, here is the interesting point. Along the way, I also read work that interested me. During my Christian life, I've done an extensive study of biblical and scientific apologetics, work in marriage (including counseling), church planting and missions, and work in theological history. With those four additional topics added to my course work, I added about 3 books per week to my reading list during times when I was not swamped with school work. At this point in time, I've read and processed somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000+ books on theology and church related subjects. I have "self studied" along side my academic career to a very high level.

    I also started a consulting business, where I edit and format doctoral dissertations for seminary students. I work with students on 3 campuses and at a very high doctoral level, which further exposes me to theological thought, some cutting edge and brilliant, some horrible and a waste of time and paper, and from my long and fruitful studies, I know the difference. In fact, I can often tell whether a person mis-quotes a source material in his work (or worse, plagiarized) because I've worked through that work myself.

    In conclusion, you can study hard and do it at home if a terminal degree that is recognized by others is not important, but I've found that the degree, even performed poorly is worth tons more than all the actual study in the world. Best of both worlds is to study to show oneself approved, and to get the degree to go with it -- my course of action.
     
  3. R. Lawson

    R. Lawson
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    Thank you.:thumbsup:

    May I ask where you attended seminary?
     
  4. StefanM

    StefanM
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    I would consider attending a non-accredited seminary similar to attending workshops and conferences. You don't necessarily get any recognized credit from them, but they can be helpful. The issue is cost and whether or not the instruction is worth the expense.

    If you are attending seminary for free, I don't see the problem. I wouldn't necessarily list the degrees on my resume, however.

    Also, I wouldn't pursue an unaccredited degree in lieu of an accredited degree.
     
  5. Greektim

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    I'd love to hear more about your dissertation consultation business. Do you bother with ThM theses? What are your terms, charges, and policies?
     
  6. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    Southern Baptist in Louisville.

    If you are still looking for book recommendations, I can give that as well. Just let me know.

    Also, I asked why you might be considering seminary... Seems to make a difference as to whether one goes or not. I see a lot of guys (and some girls) come to Southern because they feel called to preach or something, then they discover that seminary is not at all like Sunday school and they get disappointed and drop out.

    Here, for instance, is the course catalog required for a basic M.Div. in the Billy Graham School of Evangelism and Missions. The core course work is similar in the School or Theology and in the School of Church Ministry, but the electives change. I did an Advanced M.Div., which is considerably more rigorous than the regular M.Div (it assumes that the core work below has already been undertaken and builds on the catalog below with advanced course work).

    Remedial/Pre-requisite Courses
    20400 Elementary Hebrew (3)
    22400 Elementary Greek (3)
    31980 Written Communication (if required) (2)
    42490 Cooperative Program (0)

    Scripture and Interpretation (18 hours)
    20200 Introduction to the Old Testament I 3
    20220 Introduction to the Old Testament II 3
    20440 Hebrew Syntax and Exegesis or
    22440 Greek Syntax and Exegesis1 3
    22100 Biblical Hermeneutics 3
    22200 Introduction to the New Testament I 3
    22220 Introduction to the New Testament II 3

    Theology and Tradition (15 hours)
    25100 Introduction to Church History I 3
    25120 Introduction to Church History II 3
    27060 Systematic Theology I 3
    27070 Systematic Theology II 3
    27080 Systematic Theology III 3

    Worldview and Culture (6 hours)
    28500 Introduction to Christian Philosophy 3
    29250 Survey of Christian Ethics 3

    Ministry and Proclamation (19 hours)
    30000 Christian Preaching 3
    32100 Personal Evangelism 3
    32960 Introduction to Missiology 3
    34300 Introduction to Biblical Counseling 3
    35040 Leadership and Family Ministry 3
    40150 Personal Spiritual Disciplines 2
    Applied Ministry: BGS3 (44930-44945) 2

    Total BGS Core Hours 58
    • Elementary Hebrew (if required) +3
    • Elementary Greek (if required) +3
    • Written Communication (if required) +2
    
     
  7. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    I do them all... Th.M. is really no different than any other dissertation, except the length and depth of the subject matter studied.

    For a typical dissertation, I charge $1000 per project, including all printing for oral review and final binding, plus I generate the TOC, check all footnotes and bibliography for style and content, and read the entire project critically to point out areas that may need attention. I also address minor grammatical and punctuation issues to comply with style.

    A Th.M. would be less according to page count and number of copies required for submission.
     
  8. R. Lawson

    R. Lawson
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    Yes. Please post the list.:thumbsup:

    Thank you!
     
  9. Crucified in Christ

    Crucified in Christ
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    Some places request a list of all educational experience. Besides, if we have a degree that we are too ashamed to list, we probably don't need to waste our time with it in the first place.

    As to being in the same class as workshops and conferences, perhaps this is true in terms of building knowledge. There is a distinct difference: I doubt you would ever be eliminated from consideration for having attended workshops and conferences, but as I (and others) have mentioned elsewhere on BB, an UA degree can get a candidate eliminated from consideration. I know of cases where a person had a excellent credentials and "hurt" them by adding unnecessary UA degrees. I know of a church that had a retired minister as the chairman of their search committee and he would not consider anyone with even a single degree that he felt was illegitimate(I use this term because it was not just about ua for him).
     
  10. TomVols

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    Depends on what you want to do. A good UA seminary would suit you well. Stay away from degree mills where all you have to do is write five pages and they give you a Master's degree.
     
  11. R. Lawson

    R. Lawson
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    :applause: Of course I would stay away from a "seminary" that only requests five pages for Masters. That's insane!:type:
     
  12. paidagogos

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    Oh . . . . . .

    And I always thought this was the job of the student who was demonstrating his competency. Perhaps you could take the orals for the student too.
     
  13. paidagogos

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    Scientific papers . . . .

    Number of pages is a red herring. I've seen two hundred page dissertations that were not worth their paper and some scientific papers of five pages were worth a doctorate. It's the content that counts.
     
  14. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    I do not get to do any "writing" for the student. My work is primarly clicking and formatting.

    And, for the record, the faculty supervisor is typically the one who will work with the student while doing a dissertation project, and they will make corrections along the way until a final product is written. Faculty supervisors often recommend my services to their students.
     

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