Outside Your Tradition

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Gentlemen and Gentle Ladies:

    I have been privileged to study for the pastoral and academic ministries by studying in three different seminaries and graduate schools of religion and also a state university. I obtained two advanced degrees from these institution with one of them being my doctorate.

    Some were liberal, some had a "high view of Scripture, some were ecumenic; but all challenged me to know who and what I am as a Baptist. I actually think they helped solidify my Baptistic ideals and mindset b/c they made my think through the "whys" and "wherefores" of my own traditional identity. In fact, I may be a "better Baptist" for this experience.

    That sets up my question(s):

    First,
    How many of you have studied religion, theology, and such at a non-Baptist institution (and would admit to it on the BB)? HA!:laugh: This is very common for linguists who study at one of the "Hebrew" institutions.

    Second,
    How, if at all, did it change you for the better or the worse? Elaborate please?

    I hope this opens up the floor for some good and sprightly dialog!

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  2. greek geek

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    Well, I've mentioned before on the BB that I am attending DTS for a ThM. And I am only a few hours shy of graduating, which is exciting since I've been there much longer than I thought I would.

    I have absolutely LOVED going to a non-Baptist school. Granted many of my profs are Baptist or from Baptist backgrounds (of the ones I've personally had - maybe 50%)

    I grew up in a Baptist family going to a Baptist church and then went to a Baptist undergrad (which I loved). When I started at DTS it took a bit of adjusting - after all, I was Baptist through and through. So the first time I heard someone give a defense for infant Baptism, I was shocked. I was brought up to think that it was non-Christian to baptize infants. Well, even though I don't agree with that, and I don't think it is right - I realized that it wasn't heretical, and that those who Baptize infants (not for salvation purposes) can still be Christians. Talk about a shock! There are many other instances such as that.

    Going to a non-Baptist school has corrected my perception of other denominations (I do not believe that Baptist are the only "true" Believers.) I have learned to respect other denominational variants, since most do not alter the gospel. And more than that - I have learned even more why I, personally, am Baptist.

    I am no longer a "brain washed" Baptist - I am Baptist fully by choice. That is what a non-Baptist school did for me.
     
  3. Jack Matthews

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    My experience is sort of in reverse. I was a member of a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) when I went to college at Belmont University, a Baptist school in Nashville. It was good to have the experience outside of what I knew, and, as a result of the freshman level Bible courses I took, I decided to register for a Bible class every semester I was there. Some semesters, I had room in my schedule for two. I wound up with 40 hours of Bible in addition to my major and minor. And I became a Baptist as a result of influences from close friends while I was there.

    I went to law school at Vanderbilt, and then started taking courses in the divinity school there, mainly because I was teaching a class in church by then and I just like to go to school. Vanderbilt is definitely not Baptist, but exposes you to a very broad and diverse theological perspective. I was challenged to dig in and study, and draw my own conclusions out of conviction when I encountered things I didn't understand or hadn't heard before, or questioned. The automatic assumption of some people, when they hear you are going to Vanderbilt Divinity is that you must be a flaming liberal. Not so. Likewise, I've learned that a degree from Bob Jones doesn't make you a fightin' fundamentalist, either.

    I think going outside your denomination for a couple of semesters isn't a bad thing. There are no denominations in heaven.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    Great Responses!

    Gentlemen,

    This is great!! It has fomented just the type of responses I hoped it would.

    Keep them coming!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  5. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    "Ain't that weird?!"

    Gentlemen;

    There are just a couple of things that came to mind as I read your very good posts:

    First,
    I was reared in an SBC/IFB/Bob Jones context. So, I have nearly always either directly or indirectly been around DTS people. Now, SBC seminaries are hiring DTS people. I took my Greek @ Mid South Bible College which was ostensibly a DTS extension. So personally, I do not consider them "extra-Baptistic." But I would not argue the point either way only to bring up a touchstone of reference.

    Second,
    I am a Baptist who attended and received an advanced degree from Harding University Grad School of Religion (Churches of Christ seminary).They pushed me to learn and demonstrate apologetically why I am a Baptist.

    And by-the-by, I was treated as well (and in some ways better) in my extra-Baptistic experiences than at the Baptist schools.

    As Bro. Dave Gardner would say: "Ain't that weird!?"

    Keep'emcomin'!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  6. Jack Matthews

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    I'm assuming by DTS you are referring to Dallas Theological Seminary? I didn't realize that they had a lot of influence in the Baptist community, since I've heard that a big chunk of their faculty goes to Presbyterian or Methodist churches.
     
  7. daveatlanta

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    I do not hold a graduate degree, but I am seriously looking into attending Emory's Candler School of Theology and then get a PhD there in New Testament from their Dept of Religion.

    Why? Well, because of the same reasons Rhetorician stated. I want a challenge and I want to be exposed to what others believe about Christianity and ecclesiastical history.

    In fact, in my research on the New Testament and Church History professors at Emory, many (it may surprise you) are far more conservative than I believed they would be. I've read articles and listened to lectures from Dr. Carl R. Holladay, Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson, Dr. Lewis Ayres and Dr. Michael Joseph Brown. Now that I've researched their work, I don't consider these professors 'liberal' at all. I guess that goes to show you the importance of investigating issues ourselves instead of relying on opinions and perceived reputation.

    Just something to think about.....
     
  8. Joseph M. Smith

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    I like both the tone and the content of this thread. While my own theological education (BD and DMin) was within a Baptist framework, now part of my responsibility is nurturing Baptist students who elected to attend a Methodist seminary (Wesley). I think most of them would say that being there has strengthened their appreciation of the Baptist heritage because they were challenged to defend it or explain it. Of course, it is also important that we do offer, through the House of Baptist Studies, both courses and support programs to help our Baptist students stay connected to our way of understanding and living out the Christian faith.
     
  9. greek geek

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    I have met people who would say that DTS has no place in Baptist life. Which I find hilarious. There are many profs who are at least from the Baptist background, if not currently an active Baptist. Out of 1900 students, 680 are Baptist (309 Southern Baptists). The only other categories that come close are nondenominational (467) and independent (395). It may not be a Baptist school - but it is gaining ground among Baptists.
     
  10. LeBuick

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    I did some post graduate studies at Iliff school of theology which is also a Methodist school. They demythologize the bible which is tough for an ordained minister. I agree with your assessment.
     
  11. UZThD

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    An Eclectic Education

    BA in Bible, ThB--a Baptist Bible College

    Teaching Credential in Lang Arts--A Roman Cathololic Univ

    Teaching Credential; in Special Ed--A public Univ

    MA in Religion--A Nazarene Univ

    MDiv,ThM--A Baptist Seminary

    D.Th. --a public Univ


    As a Conservative Baptist I'm happy to have had each different educational experience. But IMO my two tier (undergrad/grad) Baptist training was important for me.
     
  12. Dave G.

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    Bachelor’s in Ancient History/Humanities at a state university, with professors who knew the Bible well, but never knew the author. Stephen Harris of The Jesus Seminar. R. Joseph Hoffman, translator/embellisher of “Porphyry’s Against the Christians” and “Celsus: On the True Doctrine, A Discourse Against the Christians”. Such training was a formidable stumbling block to faith, but nothing too great for a God who is sovereign in all things.

    Master’s at a conservative Baptist seminary. (Not to be confused with UZThD’s Conservative Baptist seminary.)

    Seriously considering Stellenbosch and Pretoria (state universities) for post-grad.
     
  13. Humblesmith

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    Dts

    My experience is that most of the DTS grads I run across are in independent bible churches.
     
  14. greek geek

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    there are numerous DTS grads in independent bible churches. but there are still lots of baptist students there...and the number has been growing since the sbc politics have affected some of their seminaries so much.
     
  15. Joseph M. Smith

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    I'm curious ... what is the attraction to South African universities? What might you be studying there?
     
  16. UZThD

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    ==

    1. low cost... about $3000 for a masters or doc!
    2. no relocating..some unis may a trip or two, Unizul did not
    3. following the UK model, oft done by research only... instead of coursework
    4. accreditation by the South African Qualifications Authority=Our Regional Accreditation(at least in theory, probably not in utility)
    5. degrees may be awarded in Praxis, Theology, or Bible!


    My own studies with Unizul took three years of fulltime effort (I was retired) . I don't feel deprived about not doing coursework for a ThD as I completed coursework for three masters degrees( MA,MDiv,ThM.) in my general area. But IMO, while a SA uni may allow one with a lower masters(MA) to enter a doc in Bible or Theology by research, a higher masters(ThM) is better as one has a broader foundation upon which to build research.
     
  17. Rhetorician

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    Additional info

    Joseph & UZThD,

    I must add for Joseph's information that acceptability is also a major reason to do the ThD from a SA school. US universities and seminaries who want RA and/or ATS accreditation recognize those SA and other overseas programs of study.

    Don Whitney who has taught at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has started teaching @ The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the last year or so. He is doing his ThD @ UNISA (Univ. of South Africa) in spirituality or spiritual formations or some such.

    Ergun Caner who is the Dean of Liberty's Seminary also has his ThD from UNISA (I think).
    So and in addition to what UZThD has said above, the degree is readily marketable in the US as we see that his was and is!

    I thought about doing one myself @ UNISA?! I am 10 years younger than UZ was when he did his. But, I am already have and am doing everything that the ThD would or could do for me by way of opening doors. So, I have to weigh the benefits against the risks. One primary risk would be; how much earning potential would be lost in order to do or get the degree that I might not ever make up? That is just one thought of many that I have taken into consideration.

    I really do not have a heart of avarice but when you are getting older then you must consider all options.

    Besides, I would probably have to get another wife!!! HA!:laugh:

    sdg!

    rd
     
    #17 Rhetorician, Jul 17, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2006
  18. Dave G.

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    Joseph,

    It's #3 on Bill's list. I'm interested in doing guided research in theology.

    DG
     
  19. Rhetorician

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    Guided Research

    Dave,

    If you are interested in guided research then it sounds like one of the SA universities might be just for you.

    I may need to call on UZThD here for some help. But, I talked at length with one who was doing the ThD at UNISA and to the school too. The part about the "guided" I think I will need some clarification on. I believe they want you to come in with a really good and concrete idea about what and how you want or should do your project. They want you to start with your prospectus on the "get go" if I understood correctly. There will not be much "guided" to it I don't think?

    Can you help me out here UZ?:thumbs:

    sdg!

    rd
     
  20. UZThD

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    ==

    In my experience there was not over all much guidance. That is why the Faculty of Religion and Theology (yes, "Religion",remember this a public not a Christian university) requires that the applicant has finished a thesis in his/her master's work. The applicant must be self- directed and able to research on his own..I know Dave and am sure he can.

    If the applicant and his promoter (supervisor) can agree on a narrow topic, then a "prospectus" is submitted which indicates the area of research , methodology, rough out line, and resources. This must be approved by the university faculty senate .

    After I did that I was closely supervised for a couple of chapters mostly in terms of expression NOT ideation. I was free to say what I wished as long as the Promoter felt the Committee would find my argumentation convincing.

    Then I was pretty much let loose to do my own work.

    When done I submitted four copies. It was evaluated by profs from three unis. Their 300 suggestions , mostly regarding grammar, spelling , and documentation, needed to be addressed before the research was approved. Then I submitted more copies.

    The Committee allowed me a local, informal reader. The topic was in American studies not African. So, I had a prof at a nearby school with a PhD from DTS read 6 0f the 7 chapters and give feedback.

    I liked doing it this way.
     
    #20 UZThD, Jul 20, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2006

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