One Doctorate Vs. Another Vs. Another Etc.

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    All who seek truth through knowledge:

    There has been some implied overlapping of the different doctoral degrees in times gone by on the BB. The "dumbing down" of some PhD programs, the "bulking up" of some DMin programs, and some institutions (seminaries and grad schools of religions) letting folk in PhD programs with only a university level (or type) MA degree and such.

    And before you jump on me, I know the last of my above examples is a bit of a stretch. You all know that I have argued in the past for the MDiv as the entrance degree for the PhD at the seminary level.

    I would like to hear a light and lively as well as an introspective discussion of this and attendant topics.

    Let me hear from you gang!

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  2. Martin

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    Well since I generally favor doing away with the MDiv degree all together I suppose we will disagree on PhD entrance requirements. I would like to see seminaries focus more on theology, church history, and Biblical studies and less on ministry and counseling (etc). So I would propose 60hr MA degrees in Theology (Systematic or Historical Theology, Apologetics, Church History), Biblical Studies (General, New Testament or Old Testament), or maybe Biblical Languages (Focus on either Greek or Hebrew). These degrees would focus on where the person is going. For example if someone was going to be a pastor a MA/Biblical Studies (General) would be good. It would give them a solid Biblical foundation with some ministry courses. Also maybe that person should enter the DMin program instead of the PhD program. A person who wanted to be a seminary professor could earn a MA/Theology in the field of his/her choice, or maybe even a MA in one of the two languages. Each program would give major training along with training in the languages. The MA would be required to enter the PhD program at any seminary. This would also allow someone, let's say, with a MA/Theology Church History Concentration (maybe American Church History) to enter a PhD/History program at a secular school. This is a more academic focus.

    If we are going to keep the MDiv and require it for entrance in to a doctorate program it should only be required for the DMin. The PhD should be an academic research degree and not a degree which prepares a person for church ministry (though pastors certainly should be encouraged to enter PhD programs).

    The University level MA degrees are, generally speaking, more academically challenging than seminary MDivs. So I certainly don't believe we should put the MA below the MDiv.
     
  3. gb93433

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    Most pastors do not have troubles in churches over theology as much as they do the antagonists. A lot of the education you get anywhere depends not on the degree requiremenst but the individual professor. The professor I had for Greek and NT studies at SWBTS was regualry told to lighten up by the administration because not very many students would take him. He expected students to work hard and learn a lot. Some of the other professors were more interested in getting students through rather than training them.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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  5. Humblesmith

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    Well, I have a take on this. I started this seminary / ministry thing in mid-life, after having already taken a circuitous route through grad school. So I am currenlty working on a second MA, one focused on apologetics and theology. I would love to get a PhD, but right now, I can't quit work to do it..........I have to keep a demanding full time job. So I already have 40 more graduate hours than my sister in law who has a PhD in Education, and I have more theology than my pastor. And I'm MUCH more prepared than the typical PhD in Religion from the secular state school. Yet for me to get a PhD from a seminary, it would require me to take another 90 more hours after I finish this second masters. I'd be dead before I finished. Plus, part of that would be completing an MDiv, which would include counseling and homiletics, which I don't need or want.

    So I'll likely just end up teaching at a second tier bible college or community college and writing. We'll see what the Lord brings.
     
    #5 Humblesmith, Dec 11, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2006
  6. Dr. Bob

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    Typical college/seminary program
    Think 128 credits for BA
    32 grad for MA
    32 grad more for M.Min
    32 grad more for M.Div.
    32 grad more for Th.M.
    32 grad more for Th.D.

    If one is looking to EARN a doctorate, unless one is aiming at teaching in a seminary, I would take a shortcut to the D.Min. This is 64 more than the M.Min. program or actually very similar in requirements to the traditional M.Div.
     
  7. Rhetorician

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    Humblesmith Response

    Dear Humblesmith,

    My dear brother; do I detect a tone or resentment or disillusionment in your prior post?

    Terms and sentences like, "I started this seminary / ministry thing in mid-life," make me wonder if you are having a problem with "The Call" or some such?

    I do not ask in a condescending attitude, only in one of concern. I wish you would say some more to clarify my concern.

    Also, if I have "minded your business" on too personal a basis then please forgive.

    I remain your humble servant.

    sdg~:thumbs:

    rd
     
  8. John of Japan

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    Dr. Bob, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the M. Div. was the usual requirement for the D. Min.?? :confused:
     
  9. Humblesmith

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    No, you are indeed perceptive, and I appreciate the comments and concern.

    I'm not resentful, but I am a bit frustrated......and getting tired. I am not called to pastor, but to teach. In my 20's, I completed a rather rigorous 75-hour M.Ed, and I've worked in adult job training for 20 years. Today, to teach what I'd like, I had to essentially re-start the education at 45 years old. Now, I'm taking these seminary classes while working and raising a family, and it's exhausting. I'm tired, and feeling guilty for being an absent husband and father.

    I'm in the midst of a 60-hour MA in apologetics. A PhD at a seminary (if I understand correctly) requires an 94-hr MDiv then another 60 for the PhD. I'd end up with about 200 graduate hours, and I'd finish when I was about 65 years old. It's not looking very practical.

    What frustrates me is that there are liberal PhD's in religion at state universities with less education and less discernment than I have now. Yet to get a PhD at a good seminary would require me to study for many more years just to get the degree, when I can teach just as good as they can right now.

    So I know there are folks out there that have completed the degrees, so I have no room to whine. But I'm just getting frustrated, and wondering if I should just stop all this seminary education and be satisfied with teaching at a local church. I don't think I'll live long enough to get the PhD, but I could finish the MA, and be able to teach at a bible college or community college. As I said, we'll see what God brings into my path.

    Thanks for the comments, and any suggestions are welcomed.
     
    #9 Humblesmith, Dec 12, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2006
  10. Rhetorician

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    HS Response!

    Hey guy, I know how you feel. I am 55 and did not get my doctorate until I was 52. I have been teaching at one of those small Baptist Colleges you were talking about.

    Southwestern has a PhD that you can enter with the MA in whatever your discipline is I think. Check it out. There is still time and if the Lord is in it then you can do it. I would definitely have to know God's will was in it for me or I would go and do something else. I know the rigor and guilt of leaving wife and kids and the whole drill. That is all I did during my 30s, 40s, and into my 50s. But it was well worth the price paid to know, follow, and do God's will

    Think about it and get a clear word from the Lord and the blessing of your wife. She will probably pay a higher price than you.

    Send me a PM or email and I will send you my phone number and we can talk direct if you want. Many others have and it is always good to have someone who is on the same page with yourself.

    sdg!:thumbsup:

    rd
     
  11. Rhetorician

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    General Response To All

    This FYI!

    Gentlemen and Gentle Ladies:

    This is only a corollary to what Dr. Bob posted above.

    For the record:

    Most BA/BS, MA/MS, PhD sequences for a Science or Liberal Arts PhD degree follow the following (in the University models in America IMO):

    128-132 sem. hrs. for the BA/BS;
    36-42 sem. hrs. for the MA/MS;
    50-60 sem. hrs. for the PhD in the same field. That is IF and ONLY IF all of the degree(s), credit(s), and such line up with the receiving Universities or Grad Schools programs.

    I have never seen a PhD program (and I will be glad for you to send me the information) that was built upon any less than 80 to 100 graduate hrs. post BA/BS degree in any subject matter.

    Then when you come to a PhD degree from an RA or ATS school in Religion, most are built upon the MDiv degree. And most of us know that it is 90 sem. hrs minimum. That makes it at least two years or 60 sem. hrs. (+ or -) longer than the university model. I know there may be some exceptions.

    That does not even include the Dallas TS model. It is a 120 ThM program. But, then again, they have always been a world unto their own self! HA!:tongue3: No slam intended on any level!!!!!

    The more and more I do this, the more I am leaning towards a PhD university model that gains entrance into the seminary PhD WITHOUT the MDiv.

    Don't all fall out with a coronary!!! I am not persuaded as of yet!!!

    Rebukes, responses, or angry exhortations!?

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
    #11 Rhetorician, Dec 14, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2006
  12. John of Japan

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    You're getting closer and closer, Rhet! :thumbsup: :smilewinkgrin:

    Question: Is there not the possibility of diminishing returns to the church of Christ if the doctorate is too busy with far more credits than a secular doctorate? Here is what I mean. Frankly, it looks to me like by the time a student finishes his M. Div. then he is at about the scholarly level of a secular Ph. D. in, say, linguistics. The linguist is then teaching or working in his field, producing for society. However, the M. Div. grad then has to go on for his doctorate and continue to produce papers for his classes, when he could be out preaching, teaching, writing for the journals, writing books, etc. With a more reasonable amount of work for the Ph. D., what he would produce for his classes could then be produced for the Christian public at the same level of scholarship.

    My son is working on his M. Div., having already earned an M. A. His profs are urging him to get a M. Th. before going on for his Ph. D. at Southeastern. I ask you, what sense is all of that? If he were a linguist instead of a theologian, he'd be out producing by the time a theologian finishes that M. Div.!

    As Mark Twain (or was it Samuel Clemens?) said, "Everyone is always talking about the weather but no one ever does anything about it!" Well, people complain that we don't have enough top scholars in the evangelical/fundamental world. Why don't the academic types do something about it? [​IMG]
     
  13. Rhetorician

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    J O J Response!

    John,

    I will for you and yours a Merry "X"mas and a Happy New Year there on the field in Japan. The "X" is for the Cross of our Lord Christ. It is always good to hear from you and view your more than acurate and critical comments. These are, IMHO, far beyond your Fundamentalists upbringings. Although, for tradition's sake I think you would want to maintain the label else your G'father would spin in his grave! HA!:smilewinkgrin: That is said and meant with the greatest respect for John R. and I think you know that.

    Now to the matter at hand. My whole argument is based upon the idea (and maybe an outmoded ideal) that those who teach ministers should be ministers; ie, they should be trained as ministers. That assumes the MDiv degree does it not?

    It is VERY COMMON to see a whiz-kid PhD at the university teaching under the age of 30. But, I don't know about you (but I think I do), I want our young people to be trained by a minister (and in your case a missionary) who has been "in the trenches!" Is this not the model or paradigm Paul left for Timothy; faithful men committing the same to faithful men?

    I really do not want some young "whipper-snapper" or "whiz-kid" teaching young impressionable ministers, missionaries-to-be, "second men," and other future seminary profs., et al without at least the training of a minister. And under the best of circumstances men and women who have many years of ministry experience.

    My thoughts, and they are only worth what they are to me. HA! :applause:

    Thoughts and angry exhortations!?

    sdg~

    rd
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Hi Rhet.

    Thanks for your ever-present graciousness. And yes, Grandpa would spin if I abandoned the label! [​IMG]

    It's bedtime here in Japan, so I'll just comment briefly. My short answer is that I agree that whippersnappers should not be teaching men to be preachers, but should get some real life experience. However, I think it is a complicated subject with no quick and easy answers. Try this on: seminaries could hire bright young scholars as tutors (languages, history, research etc.), put them under mentors, require them to work in a church before becoming a prof.

    But my objection to the M. Div. remains, and I believe it is in line with your comments in that few seminaries to my knowledge require hands-on training for the degree, but only stick them in dry libraries to do dry research for dry papers. However, an M. D. must do an internship, a Ph. D. in counselling must do actual counselling, and a Ph. D. in physics must do actual laboratory research. What does an M. Div. give the holder but knowledge and understanding, which is only two thirds of a Biblical trilogy (find it in Prov., etc.) which also includes wisdom--something gained from mentors and from service!

    Oyasumi nasai (good night)! [​IMG]
     

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