Pastors and degrees

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Jesus is Lord, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. Jesus is Lord

    Jesus is Lord
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am really interested in your personal opinion.

    Do you believe that a pastor should have a degree in Theology or a related field? If yes, Bachelor, master or Doctor and is regional accreditation important to you?
     
  2. mark

    mark
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/mark.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2000
    Messages:
    1,906
    Likes Received:
    0
    I do think so.... but then the last two churches I have been a member in have been Bachelor Drgree only from Bible Colleges. There are some great great seminaries out there and some not-great ones two. A personal observation.... I think Dallas Theological turns out great preachers (speakers). I have observed some pastors who were very very compassionate out of Midwestern Baptist (KC) and some wonderful pastors (caring for their flocks) from FBBC in Ankeny, Iowa.
     
  3. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

    Clergy trained are better equipped to serve. I can't tell you how many times I'd be visiting a church, and say to myself, "I guess they didn't offer public speaking at his seminary".

    My dentist is a Godly man, who is gifted in his field. He spends months every year travelling the world and providing orthodontics free to underprivileged children. I wouldn't remotely consider seeing him if he wasn't properly educated and trained, even though his career is his spiritual gift. Why would I expect less of my pastor.
     
  4. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

    Clergy trained are better equipped to serve. I can't tell you how many times I'd be visiting a church, and say to myself, "I guess they didn't offer public speaking at his seminary".

    My dentist is a Godly man, who is gifted in his field. He spends months every year travelling the world and providing orthodontics free to underprivileged children. I wouldn't remotely consider seeing him if he wasn't properly educated and trained, even though his career is his spiritual gift. Why would I expect less of my pastor.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Hogwash! Seminary, Bible college, accreditation, etc. do NOT make a pastor. The primary qualifications of pastors are personal and spiritual, not academic. How do you measure the spiritual qualifications by degrees? A degree does not make or qualify a man for the pastorate. Some of the best pastors may not have a degree. By the same token, ignorance is not a qualification for the pastorate. A man of God can learn through diligent study on his own.

    This is not to say that a good education isn't important but it is ancillary to the more important factors. As for speaking, some of the worst speakers that I have heard were seminary trained. Some of the best preachers and pastors have degrees in other fields. Good preaching is a gift, much like teaching, that cannot be obtained through education or training although proper education and training will enhance it.

    BTW, that is an issue in itself—should pastors be trained or educated. There is a difference. For example, training is like teaching a person to use a specific word processing program, such as MS Word, by memorizing keystrokes, whereas education is to teach a person how word processors work so that he can use any word processor (e.g. MS Word, WordPerfect, et. al.). The trend today is to load the curriculum with methods classes. Methods change with time. This is training because the students are trained to use specific methods in counseling, management, preaching, building a congregation, etc. It is practical “how to” learning using specific techniques. On the other hand, traditional pastoral education was in academic disciplines including Greek and Hebrew. This was an academic education that could be applied in various situations.

    Later [​IMG]
     
  5. Kiffin

    Kiffin
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    2,191
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you mean SHOULD HE (as a requirement for office of Pastor)I would answer NO! Does Bible College or Seminary Education help? Yes, Absolutely! It should never be a requirement for a man to have a Bible College or Seminary Educationin in that it imposes a man made criteria not found in scripture.

    Some men because of differant situations are not able to attend College or Seminary and others surrender late in life when family and financial situations make it hard to attend school. I think it is dangerous to compare education requirements for Lawyers, Dentists, Doctors and that of the ministry. The primary Bible requirements are spiritual not academic. Many men such as Amos and the Apostles were considered uneducated by the standards of their day as was Carey, Bunyan, Spurgeon. Some of the best preachers I have ever heard had never attended college or seminary.

    Spiritual education is not measured by a B.A., Th.B, M.Div, Th.D or a Ph.D. If we make these requirements we are in a way questioning the call of God on non seminary or non Bible college educated ministers or implying they are second class ministers or uneducated. We should beware of casting doubt on those the Holy Spirit has called. I would never make a degree a requirement but judge each man by his own gifts.
     
  6. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0

    No, they don't. The EDUCATE and EQUIP a pastor.

    You don't. But spiritual qualifications are the beginning, not the end, of pastorship.

    No, it increases their ability to pastor, and makes them more equipped and better able to serve.

    Likewise, some of the best physicians don't have current certification. That doesn't mean they shouldn't get certified.

    A person who doesn't think he needs formal training needs it the most. I can't remember who said that. (Obviously, memory courses aren't taught in Bible college).

    A good education is far from ancillary. If I wanted to be a church musician, I need to get educated in the music field, no matter how spiritually gifted I am. I could probably direct a choir, but it would be irresponsible for me to direct a choir without formal training.

    Probably because they were not taught public speaking. Unfortunately, not all seminaries think this is imporant, and it shows in their graduates.

    Good thing, too. Pastoring is not just getting up and talking once a week. Much of it is aking to running a business. Balancing the books, seeking sources for revenue, managing projects, etc. It would be somewhat irresponsible to get a pastor who was good at speaking, but then ran the church into the ground financially, wouldn't it?

    Gifts often have the term, "assembly required" affixed to them. The spiritual gift of pastoring is no different. Even Moses recognized this. Moses was slow to speech and tongue. He was a lousy public speaker. So God sent Aaron, who was already a good speaker. Over time, as Moses became learned in the art of public speaking, the need for Aaron to speak began to minimize. By the time we get to the end of Exodus, Moses pretty much does all of his own public speaking.

    Hence the phrase, "formal training". This implies training (education) by persons qualified and equipped to teach.

    Hence, consinuing education. All professionals should endeavor to consinut their education after enterng the workforce. I do. People in the Computer field do. Physicians do. Pastors should as well.


    Unfortunately, you'd be surprised how many spiritually gifted pastors don't even know the difference between the LXX and the TR, let alone their historical significance. It's a shame that many folks onthis board know more about that topic than their pastors do :( .
     
  7. bt

    bt
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    OUCH!!!!!
     
  8. bt

    bt
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    A question from someone who has an undergraduate degree from a Bible College, enrolled in Seminary for a MDiv., and planning to get a Ph.D...

    How many years of formal education did Spurgeon have under his belt?
     
  9. Headcoveredlady

    Headcoveredlady
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,388
    Likes Received:
    0
    My husband and I look for pastors who are qualified according to 1 Timothy.
     
  10. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    How many years of formal education did Spurgeon have under his belt?
    _______________________________________________

    More than you might imagine. Besides, not many men had the privilege to learn from the masters; the Puritans and godly parents and a learned grandfather. Have you ever seen Spurgeon's library?

    A formal education is but a key to learning, and not learning of itself. Else we just become robots or parrots of the teachers.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    Learning is a life long task. One who only desires get up in front of a congregation should never be a pastor. Being a pastor involves imparting a zeal for God and a lifelong passsion for God desiring the meat of the word so that he can give out a regular diet of it each week.

    If I needed heart surgery I would want to go to the best equipped. The best equipped most likely went to medical school and expaned on that afterward.

    Shortly before my brother in law became a Christian he started attending a church. One summer I went to visit he and my sister. He had several questions for me about what the preacher had been preaching on. What I found out was that the preacher had never been to college or seminary. The things he preached on were clearly taken out of context and he didn't even know it. So I suggested to my brothwer in law that he change chruches. He did and went to a church where the pastor had graduated from seminary. He even commented to me at how much different the preaching was. Later he became a Christian. But at the other church he question the man's preaching. So he asked me. I agreed with my brother in law who was not a believr at the time.

    Some might say a pastor doesn't need to attend seminary. That is true. But most often those say that are people who speak out of ignorance. Why reinvent the wheel. Why not learn from people who have already been there. One professor I had was over eighty and had pastored many years. To think he doesn't have any more wisdom that I would is foolish thinking. I don't know of any pastors who wouldn't wished they knew more knowledge. Many after pastoring for awhile go to seminary to learn the things they don't know or have trouble with. In several classes I took I had to present papers and then I was critiqued regarding the thoroughness of my research and position.

    Before I ever considered pastoring I was a teacher. I would hear people talk about how they were self taught or how they didn't need to go to school to learn woodworking. Their ignorance always showed in their work. I had the privilage of studying under a master who has some of his work on display at The Smithsonian. People come from around the world to study at the school he founded. They have learned that you can learn the hard way or the easy way. It's much like the saying, "If you think education is expensive try ignorance."

    I would never want to take someone's life in a congregation so casually so as to not be the best prepared I can be. Why not be the best I can be for God. Doesn't He deserve that kind of honor.

    We would never think of trusting an unlicensed, uneducated doctor to operate on us should we need surgery. But yet there are many who would consider leading others and teaching them without ever considering adequate preparation beforehand. Is it too much to ask of ourselves to be well prepared before we lead a church in God' work?

    Pastoring is not about how little we can get by with, but rather being the best prepared we can be for God's service. Why shouldn't we be the best prepared we can be both in practice and academics when dealing with things of eternal consequences.

    Just last night a lady asked me some questions her son came home and asked. Her son is 12. He asked her about gnosticism. Apparently this type of thing is being talked about at school. He asked her about how we can know for sure we have God's word and that we are not mislead. She asked me those questions. She was not prepared for those questions. She was raised in a Christian home and went to college. Yet she did not know enough to give her son an answer.

    I know for a fact that neither would I have been able to answer her son's questions had I not studied those things in seminary.
     
  12. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like what you said gb.

    I think that the life long learning, continuous education is the key. Sometimes this results in degrees and sometimes it does not. I have asked myself before why am I taking a certain class. Is it just to get more degrees and more initials after my name or is it because learning these things will make me a better pastor and a better servant of God.


    With the opportunities we have today there is no excuse for a pastor without at least a basic level of Biblical education. This does not always mean a Master or Doctor's degree but I would ask any man of God, "What have you learned this last year?" A man who still takes classes and challenges himself to learn more from God's word is the kind of man you want to follow.

    Tentmaker
     
  13. Kiffin

    Kiffin
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    2,191
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Response was to the question pastor should have a degree in Theology or a related field? If "should" means that is a requirement, Then No.

    There are 2 Extremes I have confronted,

    1. The Anti Seminary Crowd - You don't need to go to Bible College or Seminary and learn all that Greek and lose your faith in God and the Bible. Those Greek high priests are corrupting the Word of God, :rolleyes:

    2. The Theological Snob Crowd - If you don't have at least a M.Div you are just a backwoods ignorant preacher. :rolleyes:

    Both are extremes. My reason for caution is that I know of a Denomination that basically disfellowshiped or pulled support from one of their congregations because they called a Pastor who had a seminary degree but did not take Greek. I fear the day Baptist churches follow such unscriptural illogic.

    I think North Carolina Tentmaker said it well, "With the opportunities we have today there is no excuse for a pastor without at least a basic level of Biblical education. This does not always mean a Master or Doctor's degree but I would ask any man of God, "What have you learned this last year?" A man who still takes classes and challenges himself to learn more"

    A degree should not be a requirement but a Pastor should continue his education in whatever way the Lord provides. Those who say you don't need to go to Bible College or Seminary may discourage a young minister (or older minister for that matter, I have known 60 year old seminary students [​IMG] ) from reaching his potential.

    Those who insist on a certain type of Degree however are adding a man made requirement and it gives the Church a very secular feel. We have the most educated ministry in history yet according to George Barna in a interview with SBC Life Journal this month we have Biblical illiterate church members. This implies that even Pastors with degrees have not continued their education in God's Word or have at the least not passed it down.

    It is true that great Pastors and Preachers like William Kiffin, Spurgeon,and Carey, were uneducated by the World's standards. William Kiffin however devoured Calvin's Institutes in his studies and Spurgeon had an enormous library and self taught himself diligently. Carey self-taught himself Latin, Greek, Hebrew and world geography. Though not seminary trained, they were educated.

    The key thing is a Pastor should always seek to educate himself (that includes those with M.Div, Ph.D's [​IMG] ) and should avail himself in whatever opportunities there are to increase his education whether Seminary or otherwise. A degree requirement however for the Pastorate? Absolutely NOT!
     
  14. Tractster

    Tractster
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good resource on accreditation is http://www.degreeinfo.com.

    Accreditation may not matter to certain students, but it does matter to the government, some employers and some churches, schools and denominations.

    I think it's a shame that so many Christian schools use phony accrediting agencies and then promote their schools as being "fully accredited." They fail to note that their accrediting bodies are NOT recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education.

    Another issue in this regard is the matter of rigor: How easy is it to get a Th.D.? Do you pay $300 and "earn" it in three months? Do you get a D.Min. for life experience? Do you get an M.Div. from a real school or from a diploma/degree mill?

    Something to think about.

    Roscoe
     
  15. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes he should have. God never calls a man to preach that he doesn't call to prepare. Seminary training is no guarantee that a man is qualified to be a pastor. But proper seminary education trains a man how to think and to study, what tools to use, and the basics of theology. Seminary training in a necessary beginning to learning.

    Being a pastor, I don't have to worry about it. But if I were not, I would not go to a church of a man who was not seminary trained. To me, that shows someone not willing to do the work to do what God has called him to do. It is too easy in this day and age to get seminary training at a good seminary. It is too easy in this day and age to get blown over by issues you should have learned in seminary.

    If God calls you to preach, then go prepare for it. Take the time and do it. From personal experience, I can tell you that it pays dividends many times over. I was in the ministry before my seminary training and now after it. Having experienced both, I don't know how I ever made it before.
     
  16. go2church

    go2church
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,304
    Likes Received:
    6
    The ole Spurgeon didn't go to school so I don't have to arguement is so hollow.
    1. Education was different during his time, much was life learning as oppsoed to school learning.

    2. You are NOT Spurgeon!

    3. He read everything

    4. He started a college to train pastor's, (must have thought it was important to someone)

    5. You are NOT Spurgeon!

    6. Spurgeon smoked cigars, so are you going to do that just like Spurgeon too?

    7. Hello, YOU ARE NOT SPURGEON!
     
  17. Kiffin

    Kiffin
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    2,191
    Likes Received:
    0
    Excellent points go2church BUT I would also caution people who are making Seminary education a requirement. There may be many ministers that read this board who are not seminary educated and may read some of these comments and get doubts about their calling. To say those who have not attended are somehow not willing to do the work to do what God has called him to do is a ridiculous statement. I know many ministers who have to work a full time job, pastor a church that pays them virtually nothing, have wife and kids, car payments, house payments etc.. It is an insult to such men. There are others who may have differant situations that currently hinder them from getting a higher education. Would Seminary training benefit them? Yes! but lets not paint a wide brush on implying non seminary educated pastors are ignorant or maybe should leave the ministry.

    If I was to choose a church, I would not judge the pastor by his degrees or seminary but what he believes, teaches and preaches. Every person must be judged individually. There is no Biblical requirement for pastors to be seminary trained. To say differantly is to add to scripture. I don't want to give an excuse to someone not to attend school either.

    I think ministers should seek seminary training if possible but we must steer clear of both the ANTI SEMINARY CROWD and the THEOLOGICAL SNOB CROWD. If a pastor is unable at present to attend college or seminary, i would suggest for him to read Theological books, Systematic Theology, Church History etc...and most importantly The Bible daily. There are also online programs that you can seek to further your education on and those with computers should avail themselves. A pastor should not let anyone discourage him for your lack of Seminary training BUT also do not neglect to go if opportunity is there.
     
  18. Pastork

    Pastork
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2002
    Messages:
    434
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think Kiffin has offered a pretty balanced perspective. In my view, the important thing is training for men who are truly called, but that can be accomplished in a number of ways. I, for one, would not have wanted to attempt pastoral ministry without the degrees the Lord led me to get, but those degrees are by no means the most important qualification, which is God's calling and His gifting a man with a shepherd's heart. Show me a man with a shepherd's heart, given to him by God, and I will be able to train him for the challenges he will face in pastoral ministry, whether or not he has a degree. But give me a seminary grad without a pastor's heart, and I will suggest he do something else.

    I should point out that the seminary I went to prohibited one man from getting his M.Div. while I was there. They told him they only give their M.Div. to men who exhibit a call to pastoral ministry, and they did not believe him to be such a man. So, they allowed him to graduate with an M.A. in Biblical studies instead. He wasn't very happy with that, but I think they did the right thing.

    I am glad that there are some seminaries out there that realize that they cannot give a man the most important things he needs for pastoral ministry, which are a calling from God and a shepherd's heart. But I am equally glad that there are seminaries out there that realize that, although the calling and gifting of God are the first requirements, an intensive training in the Scriptures and theology are also crucial. If such training can be obtained aside from Bible college or seminary training, well and good. But in my experience the men who are thus well-trained aside from some formal education are few and far between.

    Pastork

    http://www.immanuelhomepage.org/
    http://immanuelforum.org/phpbb/
     
  19. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Odd that so many of the anti-formal schooling crowd use Spurgeon or Moody as examples. BOTH of those men knew the value of formal schooling and both STARTED schools to train preachers!

    It would be the rare, rare exception to have a man be self-taught, without formal undergrad or graduate work. Maybe called to preach at 50 or such. Then his "life-long learning" would be a factor.

    I am even LESS thrilled with the wet-behind-the-ears 22 year old who has a "bible college" (some of them blatantly misuse the word "college" imho) education and lots of zeal take a church and produce like shallow-minded clones.

    I have met many pastors who couldn't BEGIN to do that. What kind of person would take the awesome responsibility of pastoring and NOT be adequately trained?

    "Get all the education you can get, even if you're only going to drive a mule. It makes that much more difference between you and the mule." -- Sam Jones
     
  20. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I started out training for ministry in 1945, we had few options. We could go to a school like Oxford or Cambridge and earn a degree, or we could go to a lesser school or Bible College under the denomination of our choice. I chose Bible College. After three years, I was ordained by the Baptist Union and entered upon ministry. I was 20 years of age. Now, a qualifier, I had Bible studies all my life in academic quarters under the Church of England. So, I was quite equipped with Bible knowledge.

    When I came to Canada, most of the pastors in the Baptist Churches had a three-year Bible College diploma, and usually a non-denominational school. Eventually the seminaries were formed and most students attended these seminaries, a four year course to earn a BTh. It was in later years that men went on to higher learning.

    The mission field were filled with dedicated Bible College graduates. The university schools were mostly liberal in theology.

    I have since earned three degrees plus my certification in Architecture, so I certainly do not oppose the idea of getting all the education you can.

    It is a much more complex world to-day than it was in the forties. You need it just to survive in ministry. If we were just teaching Bible, it would not be a problem. We are, however, called upon to be pastor, teacher, evangelist, administrator, psychologist, physician, marital specialist and the list goes on.

    We cannot toy with people's emotions and with people's eternal estate. We need to take ministry quite seriously. The day of the minimally trained pastor is past. We need more.

    Is there a place for the senior man, after a career in business or the world? Certainly there is. We cannot dictate the mind of God, and we cannot second guess a man's sure calling. If a man demonstrates that he is called of God, doors will open and no man can shut them.

    I often think of Dr. Michael DeBakey, the famous heart surgeon in Texas (I think). He had great difficulty in school and almost failed both academic university and medical school. He barely passed and became a doctor. He went on to be a class heart surgeon of reknown. Should we have denied him because of low grades back then? It would have been a great miscarriage of justice, and the world of medicine would have been bereft of this man's dedication and innate abilities. So it is with men called of God to ministry who may not be the greatest academician. Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones entered upon preaching without a theological degree, and assumed the great pulpit of G. Campbell Morgan at Westminster Chapel in London...some 2000 strong in those days, and that was considered a large congregation in London.

    The key is not to ignore one's training, and not to ignore God's calling in Christ Jesus. Afterall, our purpose in the pulpit is to present the clearest picture we can of our gracious Lord Jesus. The rest are extras.

    I never allowed a church to display my degrees. I wanted people to come and see Jesus, my Jesus. That was always tantamount to me.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

Share This Page

Loading...