On Doing a "Cheap" PhD!!

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    To all who are considering doing the PhD degree:

    This is a follow up of sorts on the heels of the PhD post I made this morning. That one told of all the "ups and downs" and "in and outs" and "pros and cons" of doing a graduate PhD degree.

    This one is for information purposes only. It is almost a commercial.

    If you want a good conservative Phd program; and

    If you want a Regionally Accredited PhD program; and

    If you want a school that believes in the Inerrancy, Infallibility, as well as the Plenary Inspiration of Scripture; and

    If you want a program where every professor in the program has a earned doctorate; and

    If you want a program where every member of the faculty is open for personal, professional, and ministerial counseling; and

    If you want a program where the class size is small; and

    If you want a program that is "thoroughly Southern Baptist," and most of all;

    If you want the cheapest tuition around anywhere that meets all of the above criteria, then you want Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. across from the Belleview Baptist Church on I-40.

    I literally just got off the phone with the Dean of the PhD program there. The tuition is about $2200.00 per semester. There is only one catch. You pay the total for the duration of your time in the program. The up side is; it does not matter how many credit hours you take, you still pay the same.

    The web page is: http://mabts.edu/templates/System/default.asp?id=23267

    I thought this would interests some of you. I would encourage you to read the other post, go to the blogs as well, to help you make up your mind.

    I will be more than glad to add my opinion and expertise to the mix to help you out with any or all information I have that might be of service to you with your decision. For full disclosure's sake; I am a Mid America Alum to boot!:laugh:

    "That is all!"
     
  2. Havensdad

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    Yeah, it looks great, and the tuition is wonderful. The only problem?


    "The Seminary does not admit as a student anyone who has ever been divorced or whose spouse has ever been divorced. This applies without exception both to those who are “innocent parties” of divorce and to others."

    I am sorry, but holding to such a thing "without exception" is kind of sickening to me. For example, my wife got a divorce after her husband nearly killed her, by tying her to a chair and beating her.

    I think this is taking these Biblical commands out of their proper context: pharisees who were writing letters of divorcement for petty reasons...
     
  3. StefanM

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    While I generally agree with your sentiments, I would suggest that an individual with divorce in his past or his wife's past would not fit well with the culture of Mid-America, anyway.

    I attended the school for one semester, and during my time there, I felt way out of place, even though I was strongly conservative at the time. (This has since changed, due in part to my experiences there.) MABTS is more of the "fundamentalist" milieu than other conservative schools, in my view. I believe others would attest. MABTS is by no means IFB, but it's about as close as you'll find in SBC circles.

    The cultural fit is very important. A PhD from MABTS will open doors in staunchly conservative to near-fundamentalist circles. In other circles, it probably won't do much for you.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    Explanatory Response

    Brethren,

    I can understand your feelings. Let me explain as an alum.

    They started out years ago, I understand, making a "case by case" examination of the facts and merits of each individual. But, some were allowed. Then they were really "burned" by some that they let in.

    Afterwards and still early on, they made the blanket policy.

    I personally have recommended people to attend or at least check it out. They came back to me and "scalded me" verbally, "took my hide off," and insinuated that my mother and father were not married when I was born. So I know the drill. And I am sorrowful for your experience there. Not as a defense or justification, "But it is what it is.":smilewinkgrin:

    Thank you for your input.

    "That is all!"
     
  5. StefanM

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    For some, it is a good fit. For others, it isn't. That is the case with any school. For those who in the same "world" as MABTS, it is a very affordable option. I do not harbor any bitterness toward the institution. They were always kind in their dealings with me, but I was naive in thinking that the culture really wasn't as it seemed. MABTS is MABTS. They do not hide what they are, and that is to their credit.
     
  6. Martin

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    ==Their statement is unBiblical, legalistic, and lacking in grace. Each student should be handled on a case-by-case basis. What about those who got divorces before they were saved? Will MABTS hold something against them that God no longer holds against them? What about those who were faithful, loving spouses, who were cheated on and walked out on? Is MABTS going to punish that innocent Christian because of what some person did to them? Then there are the cases of abuse and adultery.

    Having said that, they are a private school and thus make their own admission decisions. I support that right. However as long as their divorce policy is in place I cannot recommend anyone attend MABTS.
     
    #6 Martin, Jun 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2009
  7. preachinjesus

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    I think we're going to be seeing the proliferation of "PhDs" amongst some like there has been a proliferation of "DMins" for many years.

    Oy vey...sorry I'm not a fan of MABTS program.
     
  8. paidagogos

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    Where is your tolerance?

    Martin, you come across as the most narrow and legalistic Fundamentalist in your attitude toward MABTS. Can you persuasively show from Scripture that they are wrong? I think not because there is room for debate and disagreement over the divorce question. However, you harshly judge them with no evidence of tolerance (disagree but allow their right to believe differently). All of your arguments are questions from life and things don't always add up to even sums in life. The real question is what does Scripture teach? There is a range of disagreement even among Bible-believing Christians. If MABTS sincerely believes this is the Scriptural teaching (i.e. ministers ought not be divorced men), then they ought to stand by their policy. Can you prove otherwise? The ball is in your court.
     
  9. StefanM

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    All he is saying is that he cannot recommend the school due to this policy. That's not legalistic. That's evidence of a firmly held conviction.

    As a former student there, I feel that people should be aware that MABTS is very much a "black and white" kind of school. Gray areas are not that common.
     
  10. Martin

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    ==I'm sorry, but I am not the one being legalistic. That would be MABTS which refuses to consider individual circumstances when turning down a student who has been divorced at some point in their life. They can hold to their policy, but as long as they do I cannot recommend their school. I have no problem with a seminary making sure its students are mature Christians. However, as I pointed out, there are Christians who got divorces before they were saved. Does MABTS believe they should hold that against them when God no longer does? Why do they believe such a unforgiving attitude is positive for a Christian institution? What about those Christians who were faithful, loving spouses, yet who found themselves being cheated on and walked out on? Are they to be turned away because of the sin of another?

    In my opinion MABTS's policy goes too far. If you believe that my opinion is "narrow and legalistic Fundamentalist", so be it. I'm not one to change my views simply because others don't like them.



    ==Why should I show MABTS tolerance and grace when they will not show a more important tolerance and grace towards Christian students who may have been divorced before they were saved or are divorced due to no fault of their own.

    Notice the policy:
    "The Seminary does not admit as a student anyone who has ever been divorced or whose spouse has ever been divorced. This applies without exception both to those who are “innocent parties” of divorce and to others."

    Where is the grace and tolerance?

    O, and yes, my attitude is very harsh when it comes to such legalism.

    ==Scripture does not address the issue of admission into seminary programs. Jesus did not condemn innocent parties in divorce.


    ==MABTS is free to hold to any policies they wish and I am free to say their policies are wrong. After all, not everyone who attends a seminary is going to be a pastor.

    As I said, I will not recommend MABTS to anyone until their policy is made more graceful.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Say what you will Martin, your comments here are very lacking in grace towards those who disagree with you. I don't agree with MABTS' policy, but to call it legalistic is way off base. Your comments are just as legalistic are theirs are, and handled with less grace, so far as I can tell.
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    I fail to see the lack of grace in this post. But those insisting such might want to go back and look at some of their very own previous posts.
     
  13. Martin

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    ==Be that as it may, I will not recommend MABTS to anyone unless they change their policy.
     
  14. StefanM

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    I agree. I thought it was simply a disagreement.
     
  15. paidagogos

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    Easy to judge....................

    Martin, this expresses exactly the kind of attitude for which Fundamentalists are criticized. They set their own parameters and will not tolerate anything outside. It does not matter whether they have a Biblical basis or not. From our give and take in previous posts, I would have expected better of you. It is alright to disagree but you are writing off these folks over one point of contention for which you cannot establish that they are unBiblical. Here, you are elevating your opinion to the level of Scripture.

    Consider the evolution of Fundamentalism. At first, it was separation from unbelief and apostasy. In other words, Fundamentalism was a movement separating from Liberalism and Modernism. Then, it became a separation from those believers who were not separated from others in Liberalism and Modernism. With the march of time, it became so narrow that separation was done whenever anyone deviated slightly from one's own closely held personal opinions.

    Martin, I tell that it is the same kind of spirit and thing being done when supposedly more tolerant believers, who criticize the Fundamentalists for their narrowness, begin lamblasting other believers over a moot view. If you're going to preach love and tolerance, then you must practice it regardless whether others do or not.

    Furthermore, it is easy to judge MABTS when we are not in their shoes. We do not know all the data that went into this decison and we do not know the ins and outs of their interpretation of Scripture on divorce. People who are often quick to criticize administration decisions are usually the ones who have never occupied an administrative position in the real world and have never borne the responsibility of said decisions.

    On the other hand, I challenge you to show me any Scripture that MABTS has violated by this policy. We may not like it or agree with it but that is not the point. We can't just write off people or schools just because we don't like some of their policies. They are still serving the Lord Christ, not us.

    The ironic thing is that I consider myself a hard-core Fundamentalist and I am more tolerant on these issues than self-professed, tolerant, and loving evangelicals. Although I have my own disagreements with MABTS, I respect their work for the Lord.
     
    #15 paidagogos, Jun 21, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2009
  16. paidagogos

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    Lacking in grace.....................

    Martin wrote: "Their statement is unBiblical, legalistic, and lacking in grace." Now, if I say you and Martin are "unBiblical, legalistic, and lacking in grace," then you both would probably be offended. Rightly so. No doubt, you would say that I was "lacking in grace" by making such a statement. So, if it is "lacking in grace" toward you and Martin, then it is "lacking in grace" toward MABTS. My old Scot-Irish grandmother would say, "If its sauce for the goose, then it's sauce for the gander too."

    Does Martin have a smoking gun to back up this strong charge of being unBiblical? No. Legalistic? No. Lacking in grace? No. There is no reasoning offered from Scripture but he merely expresses his sentiment and opinion. Whereas he is entitled to his opinion, it does not attain the authority of Scripture. Is MABTS's policy unBiblical. In a word, no. Is it legalistic? No. Is it lacking in grace? No. It does not mean that they have an animus against divorced people just because they deny admission.

    Somehow, people have the mistaken idea that they have a natural right to everything they want and no one can say no for whatever reason. There is no natural right to admission at any school. MATBS defrauds no one by denying admission.
     
  17. paidagogos

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    Cheering for the home team.........................

    Would it be a simple disagreement if I said that you are "unBiblical, legalistic, and lacking in grace?"
     
  18. paidagogos

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    What a fallacy!

    You cannot preach tolerance and practice intolerance. It destroys your credibility. It's an internal inconsistency in your reasoning which totally annihilates your argument. You are saying that MABTS's intolerance justifies your intolerance. Intolerance does not justify intolerance.

    BTW, you are throwing around a buzz word--legalism. Now, please kindly define legalism and connect it to the MATBS policy. I don't think that you know what legalism is. Is it legalism to deny admission to avowed homosexuals? "Oh," you say, "But Scripture clearly condemns homosexuality!" There are some post-modernists who would disagree. Let's suppose MABTS sincerely believes that Scriptures absolutely forbids divorce. Theologian J. Carl Laney thinks so. (Have you read his book, The Divorce Myth?) Now, is MABTS a bunch of legalists because they formulate a policy on what they believe that Scripture teaches?
     
    #18 paidagogos, Jun 21, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2009
  19. paidagogos

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    Admission.....................

    Martin subsequently wrote: "Where is the grace and tolerance? O, and yes, my attitude is very harsh when it comes to such legalism." Would you consider this an admission?
     
  20. Paul33

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    Martin did not say they were unbiblical, legalistic, and lacking in grace. He said their statement on divorce was unbiblical, legalistic, and lacking in grace.

    Paid then goes on a tirade against Martin.

    Martin does an excellent job of stating his thoughts. I wish Paid wouldn't reinterpret Martin and then rebuke him for something he didn't state.

    I agree with you Martin. A blanket statement on divorce is unbiblical in light of Jesus' treatment of the woman caught in adultery. Their statement is unbiblical in light of Jesus' words on divorce in Matthew 19. Their application of their statement is legalistic in that it doesn't allow for individual circumstances. Their statement is lacking in grace in that it doesn't allow for the messiness of life to intrude on their institution.

    Perfect people don't exist and the application of their statement on divorce is unbiblical, legalistic and lacking in grace.

    Thanks Martin.
     
    #20 Paul33, Jun 21, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2009

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