"On Doing a PhD..." From the Profs @ SBTS

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. Rhetorician

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  2. Johnv

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    My dear wife, who has a Master's in Christian Education, has been considering pursuing an Ed. D. When we married, she made me promise to talk her out of it whenever she gave it thought. I've talked her out of it 6 times now. I think I might be on the losing end of it.
     
  3. TomVols

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    One, Sinclair Ferguson and James Boice have expressed frustration with the idea that Ph.Ds are for the academy only. Two, a friend of mine recently wanted to apply for the Ph.D at SBTS and exceeded the requirements. However, he was steered towards the ThM, even though his M.Div was from SBTS. Rumor has it that the ThM enrollment had gone down and that they're going to steer as many as they can this route to get more money.

    I love SBTS. If I had my way, my Ph.D. would've been from SBTS. They have great D.Min programs, particularly in expository preaching. But seminaries are in a bind. They blurred the lines between the "practical" degree areas (D.Min) and the research degree areas (Th.M, Ph.D.) and now they're stuck trying to rebuild the wall without cutting off areas of research that are useful for those who want them, and without cutting off a good income stream for the schools.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    Perhaps it is high time we started to ask ourselves why we want all the fancy letters behind our names. At one time, degrees were academic. The goal was to teach in a seminary or Bible college. Too many pulpiteers with PhD's who might better go and get three years of Bible college to help them preach to the common man in the pew.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. Johnv

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    There's no such thing as too much education. However, there is such a thing as getting an education for the wrong reason. A person needs to prayerfully question why s/he is pursuing education. Most people I've known pursue it for the right reasons, but occaisionally, you run into the person who does it to brag about the alphabet soup. My wife has three degrees (I have a mere two), and she never lists them after her name unless it's a strict professional setting that warrants it.

    That said, in this day and age, the minimum requirement for a pastor should be a Master's degree in Divinity or related field. I don't udnerstand churches that appoint uneducated leaders.
     
    #5 Johnv, Oct 16, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2009
  6. Crucified in Christ

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    Understanding that a church might value the Spirit's guidance over a Master's Degree is very easy for me to understand.
     
  7. PilgrimPastor

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    Some seminaries (many) train young men who are on fire with the passion of God and the power of the Holy Spirit upon arrival, right out of even belief in the God of the Bible and a Jesus of miracles. Bible believing Churches do well, I would suggest, to require education from a likewise Bible believing institution.

    An interesting sub-point here. A person with only a Bible College Degree or a degree in Biblical Studies from a Christian University has a very similar amount of biblical / theological / ministerial training in many cases as does a person with an undergraduate degree in business / fine arts / whatever, and a Master of Divinity.

    A B.S. or B.A. in Pastoral Ministries will give someone as much as 90+ credit hours in biblical related studies. The average M.Div. program is 90 credit hours... while those are graduate level credits at the M.Div. much of it is very similar and certainly the undergraduate "versions" of those courses are often very much adequate to give a person a foundation for future study.

    Anyone who thinks that completion of the M.Div. means that you don't have to study any longer for sermon prep etc. is very much mistaken.
     
  8. TomVols

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    It is sheer folly to presume that one must choose one over the other.
     
  9. Jim1999

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    The minimum degree for a pastor is a degree of filling of the Holy Spirit, love for Him and His word, and a supreme degree of desire to express His word to one and all.

    I know one pastor who never finished High School. He went to Bible College as a mature student and currently pastors his church quite well. His people love him and they are all growing together.

    I put more stalk in the man than the degree. The day we set a minimum for pastors is the day we filter the pulpit with ignorance.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. paidagogos

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    Worshipping at the education shrine..........

    I beg to differ. Education, especially formal education, is not the sine qua non of life. Whereas education, especially for a young person, is important, all of life experience is an education or learning experience. Many, who learned through life experience, excel beyond those who learned in school. Achievement and competence are more of a person's ability, character and personality than education. Moreover, possession of degrees does not necessarily denote an educated person. Having spent my life in academia, I can tell you factually that most who received degrees are less than educated. We have a saying about those "educated beyond their intelligence." Perhaps you ought to give a little more careful thought to this idea.
    Again, I differ. One of the best and most consistent Bible expositors that I've known (I would put this guy on the level of MacArthur and Swindoll) did not have a seminary degree. We must not confuse the ability to expound Scripture, counsel, teach, and pastor with academic credentials. I find no academic qualifications in Scripture but I do find spiritual and moral qualifications. Perhaps we are focusing on the wrong qualities.

    BTW, you are apparently assuming better job performance from guys with seminary degrees. I've always been skeptical about this. I've seen a lot of new seminary grads destroy prospering churches. Does anyone know of a study comparing the success of seminary grads in the pastorate with non-seminary grads? From personal observation, it seems that the successful pastor is marked by experience, personality, native ability, character, etc. more than his degrees. Of course, we can all point out the colossal failures of both degreed and non-degreed, but I would argue that the degrees played only minor roles.

    What do you think?
     
  11. gb93433

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    For many working in the real world and having to disciple people in a that world where he works a regular job would go a long ways toward an education of doing ministry in the real world of men and women. If a man can do ministry in the world of work he can certainly do it in the church. If a man is one fire in the world he will not have a problem being on fire preaching to the saints.
     
  12. Crucified in Christ

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    But there are clear instances where churches have had to make this very choice. The person that the Lord has led them to call does not have a Master of Divinity degree. My point was that to artificially, and may I say, to extra-Biblically add qualifications which would prohibit such a man would be wrong. That a man would get a Master's level education is still a wonderful thing, but to equate it to a necessary minimum would be folly. We are not called by paper- licenses, ordinations, or degrees- we are called by the Lord Himself. Having this call is THE standard.
     
  13. TomVols

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    I've never seen this. It's as if you're saying a seminary prepared man is incapable of being Spirit filled or God called.
     
  14. Crucified in Christ

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    Only if you are incapable of reading what I have typed. No where have I said anything of the sort. What I did say is that there are some Pastors who do not have a Master's degree whom churches have called because they felt God was leading them to him. I know of several examples of this. One church like this was specifically looking for a candidate with a M.Div. until they brought a supply Pastor (without even a Bachelors) to fill in one Sunday and the congregation overwhelmingly felt it was God's will for him to be their pastor. They never hesitated; they stated that they were to call the man not the degree. Notice, so that you will not continue to misquote me or misrepresent what I am saying, that they would have called him if he had the degree. The degree was not the point; God appointed a Pastor for that church...the church should call him- degree or no degree. I will say it again...if you have ears to hear...a degree is absolutely wonderful, but it does not replace God's specific call to a specific man to a specific church.
     
  15. TomVols

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    If you're saying a church should not dismiss a man from consideration just because of lack of preparation, that's one thing. But it seemed (note carefully) that the bromide of a juxtaposition of a God-called man vs. a prepared man was being trotted out (Mr X vs Mr Y, if you will). That is what I am arguing against.
     
  16. gb93433

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    I would question their prayer life is that is the case.
     
  17. Crucified in Christ

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    Then we are not arguing against each other at all. I think that it is always preferable to have an education, but I whole-heartedly disagree that God refuses to use a person who does not have a seminary degree.
     
  18. Crucified in Christ

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    Perhaps, I am misreading what you are trying to say. It seems that you are criticizing a church for calling a Pastor who does not have an advanced degree. If you are comfortable adding to the Scriptures, than we have nothing to discuss on this matter.
     
  19. gb93433

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    My point was that if a church is only looking at degrees I would question their prayer life. I have a good friend who has never been to college and is a very good pastor. Because of my education I have been able to help him in ways that I ahve been helped. Many times we have done ministry together. Temperature is far more important than academic degrees.
     
  20. Crucified in Christ

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    Brother, I apologize. I am not sure how I misread your comments, but I believe that we are 100% in agreement. My comments were in response to someone saying that the MDiv. is a requirement; I was simply trying to point out that there are examples where churches have been led, by the Spirit, to choose a candidate who did not have this degree. In their particular case, if they continued to insist upon a MDiv degree over the man the Lord selected, they would be wrong. This is what I meant by a choice between the man the Lord called and a man with a MDiv. I was specifically commenting on the point someone was making early in this thread. It seemed that you were quoting my point that churches have had to make that choice (between the man the Spirit led them to and an extraBiblical standard that they had previously desired). I read your comment to say that you would question the prayer life of a church that believed God would send them a Pastor without a degree.

    We are in complete agreement...the search for a Pastor should be led by prayer, trusting the Lord that the one He sends is the correct choice.
     

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