Proposal of a New Theological Degree

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    To all who have an ear to hear:

    The discussion on the other thread prompted this thought in my little mind.

    Help me out some of you who have been through the arduous and sometimes futile seminary process.

    I propose that we (or at least for this discussion):

    Go to some form of 4 year post-bachelor's doctor's degree that would incorporate the three year MDiv curriculum with that of the Doctor of Ministry. That would make it a full eight (8) years like the MD for physicians. It could be something closely resembling the ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary only with a twist. That way we could:

    1. Have all of the Biblical Languages in the program (maybe even Aramaic);

    2. Separate those who really want to and who do not want to attend seminary;

    3. Give the title "Doctor" to everyone upon graduation;

    4. Study the upper level courses in the original languages instead of being labeled "English Bible;"

    5. Offer a lesser "masters" for individual specialty degrees. These could be 64 sem. hrs. or two years.

    6. Allow people who wanted to do a specialty or write a thesis do so;

    7. Have the PhD or ThD still above and beyond that in order to teach. Or incorporate 2 to 3 more years of research with some sort of special designation to teach above and beyond the "basic doctorate."

    Do you see the good of such a pedogogical design?

    Input please!?

    sdg!

    rd
     
  2. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    What is the difference in that and doing the MDiv and DMin now? It takes 7-8 years study time to complete both of those degrees. Maybe I am missing what you are meaning?
     
  3. StefanM

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    The whole educational course (BA + new degree) would equal 8 years instead of the 12 years right now.

    I'm in favor of it. It would put it on par with other professional degrees (MD, JD).

    As it stands now...a 3-year Master's degree is insanity, IMO.
     
  4. PastorSBC1303

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    oh ok, I see what he is saying now. Thanks.
     
  5. Rhetorician

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    Clarification:

    The D.Min. is meant to be built on and MDiv + three years experience. The MDiv is meant to be somewhat of an apprenticeship for those wanting to do "professional doctoral studies," i.e., the Doctor or Ministries degree.

    This new program would or could take on a whole other focus and attitude.

    Could it not?

    I could guarantee one thing, it would cut back in the number who would enter seminary if they thought they had to do a doctoral degree and that it would take 4 more years beyond the degree they already possess.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  6. Broadus

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    Rhet,

    As you well know, an MDiv is three years because it is not built upon the undergrad degree. If, however, one enters medical school, one's undergrad degree would have to be in a field of science, wouldn't it? Consequently, I don't think the comparison between the MD and your propsed DMin is valid.

    The JD is a different story. The holder of a JD is rarely called "Doctor." Until about 1970, Yale stilled designated the same degree as a Bachelor of Laws. It has been my assumption that a law degree takes three years because, much like the MDiv, it is not built upon one's undergrad degree.

    Somewhat in line with your thinking, I would propose that if one has a four-year undergrad degree in Bible or theology, then a 36-45 hour MDiv program be developed. Requiring a student with a Bible degree to take even an "abbreviated" 75-80 hour MDiv program makes no sense.

    Bill
     
  7. EdSutton

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    Good afternoon, Ladies and germs. While there is nothing particulaly wrong with any of the above proposals, I guess, this approach does seem to be somewhat simplistic. It implies that all degrees, even from reputable institutions (we're not talking diploma mills) are 'exactly' identical. This is simply not the case. The general requirement for an A.B., B.A., B.S., or B.Bible is 4 years. Or is it? If one goes the route of an A.A. or A.S. intermediate degree and goes to a diferent school, that often changes to additional work. The same is true with an M.Div. to Th. M., S.T.M., or some other intermediate steps to a degree, or degree along the way. I believe it is possible to receive a D.Min. from some institutions in about 8 years total, provided one doesn't hop, jump and skip around on the way. There are various other routes to a Doctorate, as well. A D.R.E. would be another example. Toss in other various Master's degrees and the fairly rare Th.G. and almost as rare Th.B., which can be, and was actually, across the board as to specifics and could range from a four year to 7 or 8 year program and the proposal is almost meaningless. Unless one were to 'legislate' uniform specific standards for each and every degree, what would it amount to?
    Ed
     
  8. gb93433

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    I always thought a Th.M. was a one years degree past a B.A. in the same field. Then a doctorate is 2 more. That would equal 7 years.

    A growing number of colleges and universities are combining the masters and doctorate. If the student does not complete the doctorate and has a certain number of hours they are given the master's. In the field I am in, a master's is not much value. It is not a BA nor A PhD. The only place it is of much value is teaching at a junior college.
     
  9. sovgrace79

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    Bill (Broadus),

    I like your idea. It is precisely what you have said that has led me to pursue a Master of Arts in Religion, instead of the M.Div. My B.S. in Biblical Studies was the Pastoral Theology track, and as such, I noticed similarity between many of the courses of an M.Div with my undergrad. I realize that the M.Div would be more in depth, but I'm sitting back and asking myself how many more pulpit speech courses I really want to take (I have 12 credit hours of speech and pulpit speech).

    If there was an abbreviated form of an M.Div, I might do it. I'm not afraid of doing languages or hard work; I'm just not sure how many more of the same things I would want to do. The M.A.R. I'm taking is 20 courses, and is able to be customized into a "concentration".

    Part of my decision is also that the Independent Baptist Churches that fellowship together here do not have any degree requirements, so the M.Div does not mean very much to them.

    If in time I find through my course of study that I really want the M.Div, I can petition and ask to get into that program. I'll just have to see how the Lord leads.
     
  10. Broadus

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    In American seminaries, at least, I have seen the ThM as a year post-MDiv, not bachelor's degree. Dallas has historically offered only the ThM, a four-year post-baccalaureate. A student at SBTS can do a one- to two-year ThM post-MDiv, and students who are not accepted into the PhD program often do that to be prepared better for the PhD. Some students in the PhD program have decided to end their studies before writing their dissertation and, if they have enough seminars (5, I think), they are awarded the ThM. At least this is how things were done as of a couple of years ago.

    I may be mistaken, but I am under the impression that some students have entered PhD programs in certain institutions having a BA in Bible and an MA in Bible. SBC seminaries, to my knowledge, all require MDivs or equivalency to enter the PhD, regardless of one's bachelor's degree. I anticipate this changing within a couple of decades.

    Bill
     
  11. EdSutton

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    gb- A Th.M. is 'normally' a one year or so degree built on an M.Div. which is usually a three year degree above a baccelaureate degree, which is normally 4 years out of college. The M.Div. largely replaced the older B.D. degree of the same duration, and is basically just different naming for one and the same. That is not ALWAYS the case, as there are still a few places one can find B.D. granted, and a few where some course differences are a cause for a single institution to grant both as three year degrees. And there are some institutions that grant a B.D. that is somewhat different than that three year degree. At one time, this was true of Luther Rice Seminary, but I don't think that is the case today. Dallas Seminary, I know, started their four year Th.M. many years ago, without an intermediate B.D. or M.Div. program along the way. Were they the first? I have no clue. The three year program is/was considered a 'preaching degree', generally. Who made this decision is beyond my knowledge. The Th.M. used to be considered a step toward a teaching degree known as the Th.D., but this too was subject to interpretation. As I said above, there is great deal of subjectivity in all this. As an example, one could, or at least used to, go to Bob Jones University and get a four year B.A., followed by an one to one and a halfyear M.A., and then a Ph.D. in a total time of 7-8 years or so. Or one could take the route of the 4 year Baccelaureate, follow that with a three year M.Div., and then pursue a Ph.D., again all at BJU, but the second route did take longer, because, I guess, of different emphases. The final accomplishment was the exact same, a Ph.D. from the same institution. Why the difference? I dunno'. The D.Min. was 'created' as an advanced 'preaching degree' a few years ago, for some who suggested that having some 8 years grad work should be qualification enough for a 'doctoral' designation. I suspect that many liked the idea of being titled 'Doctor', as much as anything. Pride can sneak in in many ways, I suspect. Best info I can cough up from memory. Definitely not foolproof
    ED
     
  12. Broadus

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    I agree with Ed's understanding/assessment. David Wells of Gordon-Conwell wrote an essay entitled "The D-Min-izaton of the Ministry" several years ago in No God but God, edited by Os Guiness and John Seel. His point was that the DMin degree was in response to the desire among both pew and pulpit to raise the perception of the ministry with a professional doctorate.

    Bill
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    the term "Dr" should reserved for those with PhDs or people who can cut me open. I doubt highly that a four/eight year graduate degree would acheive the accreditation need for a doctorate.

    While I celebrate your desire for a stronger MDiv requirement...or at least a stronger clergy entrance requirement...my thoughts are making the level education higher and in turn educating churches that not all seminary degrees are equal.

    The DMin has become nothing more than a clergy advancement degree (simple test is that those with a DMin make $25k a year more than those without.) I role my eyes when I hear someone wanting to go get a DMin so they can get a better church, while requiring their smaller church to pay for it all. Crazy. Anyhoo...PhD is the way for me!
     
  14. StefanM

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    But a three-year M.D. somehow qualifies you?
     
  15. Rhetorician

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    StefanM,

    FYI!!

    The MD is four years above and beyond the 4 yr BSc.

    The JD or Juris Doctorate is 3 years above and beyond the Bachelors degree.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  16. StefanM

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    Sorry for the confusion.

    Nevertheless, the MD is 4 years of grad work.

    If an MD is qualified after 4 years, with respect to time in school, an MDiv/DMin is qualified to be called "doctor."
     
  17. Rhetorician

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    StefanM,

    I concur. Also, the MDiv/DMin combination implies a "three year internship" (read apprenticechip) b/t the two degrees. Whereas, the BSc/MD are back to back with the internships after the two degrees.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  18. EdSutton

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    FTR, what about a D.O.? That is also a physician, and only a two year degree.

    I'm not into anything medical, obviously, with my top degree an N.D.
    Ed
     
  19. UZThD

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    ===

    Hi Rhet

    Would one problem be that doctoral programs should be taught at doc levels and not at MDiv levels?

    Bill
     
  20. Mark Osgatharp

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    Here is what Jesus said about all this:

    "But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

    But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

    But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."

    Mark Osgatharp
     

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