Question regarding MDIV/MA

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Pastor Shaun, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. Pastor Shaun

    Pastor Shaun
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    Hey guys,
    I have a question and was wanting some opinions. I will graduate with a BS in Bible and Education (I will be teaching Middle grades) and my current institution should pay 85% (as a alumni discount) for me to study through the grad school. They offer NT, Theology, Preaching, Christian Ministry, etc (All 36 hour programs).. If I go that route I still want to go for a higher degree such as an MAR or MDIV. I go to a private school which means I am in debt. As of now I would be leaning toward Liberty's 60 hour MAR. What are the opinions? Go for the MAR, or hold out and study for an MDIV? If I pursure an MA, would that hurt me if I wanted to study for an DMIN? or would I meet MDIV equivalent with both masters?


    The reason this is a concern is that I want to be prepared if God calls me into full time ministry. Teaching would be my trade for now, but potentially full time in the ministry. I am in my younger 20's seeking some wisdom. Please don't say I am thinking "too much" because I do feel that full time ministry is in my future, and I am posting this because of the faith I have in those responding. I'm just trying to make the right choices now so I will be ready. I appreciate all the opinions. :)


    Another quick question, what does everyone know/think about Bob Jones University?

    God bless all,
    Shaun
     
  2. Paul Kersey

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    Shaun:

    Liberty's MAR is typically a 45 hour degree and can normally be applied fully towards the MDiv. The same thing applies to the MA, normally a 36 hour degree. The distinction at Liberty is that you can obtain a degree midway through your MDiv, which many churches will accept as meeting their educational requirement.
    You will not hurt your chances of entering doctoral training my having a MA, as long as obtain a MDiv or equivalent (and years of practical experience) before applying.

    I love many Bob Jones graduates and respect the institution, but their distance learning option is not comparable to Liberty's. I don't agree with everything at Liberty, but it has enough positives that I chose it over the alternatives. I'm finishing a MA in Theo Studies this term and continuing in the MDiv. The courses have been challenging, but manageable.

    You made a key statement: "if God calls me into full-time ministry." If you're not clear in this area, you are undertaking quite a bit of expense (for someone) and a great deal of effort in going down this road. I would vigorously seek God's will in this area before pursuing Master's level seminary work.

    Blessings,
    Mark
     
  3. Rhetorician

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    Pastor Shaun Reponse

    Pastor Shaun,

    Let me welcome you to the BB.

    I have both the MAT and the MDiv from Regionally Accredited and Association of Theological Schools accredited schools. I also have the Doctor of Ministries degree. You are wise for being forward looking and asking relevant questions early on.

    First let me say that you DO NOT want to do any true academic work that is not RA at the very minimum. Secondly you will also want to do work that is ATS also if at all possible. Both cover all bases.

    If you do an MA at a university, say in History, it WILL NOT count in you "M Div Equivalency." But if you do the MAR at some place like Liberty, I would guess that all or nearly all of the MAR will be accepted towards the MDiv. Some places might take the MA in History from the university and some may not. It is probably on a case-by-case basis.

    Now, if you do a PhD/ThD at a seminary you must have the MDiv. I, just a few days ago, looked at the new PhD Liberty is about to launch. They say purposefully that the MAR will not get one into the program. An MDiv is the degree of choice. However, I would make an educated guess that if one had the MAR and then did the other 45 sem. hours you could probably get in.

    Let me make a suggestion. I know this may be harder b/c of the money involved. But it is a viable alternative and may save some time down the road which translates into less tuition overall. Consider doing an MA at the university and then a PhD also at the university in some Biblical cognate like Classics. Then you could do your PhD in Greek, Greek or Roman Culture, or History. That is really a good alternative for someone who is young and just starting out.

    You did ask so let me make three more suggestions if you do go on to do doctoral work. These are made in the context of not having to do the work at some seminary:

    1. Pick a "big name" university where you can study. Or,

    2. Pick a "big name" renown scholar with which to study, even if s/he is an abject heathen. Or,

    3. Pick a topic that no one has studied before OR pick a "hot topic" in the Academe and study it from a unique perspective.

    The best way, it seems to me in retrospect, is to do both the MA & PhD at the university. But, to have the MAR (it is sorta kinda a 'Junior MDiv' anyway) would help you in your church work.

    What you really have to decide is: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" i.e., what is your ultimate goal?

    Do you want to teach? Do you want to pastor? When you decide this, then go the quickest & shortest route that will cause your wife and family the least amount of headaches.

    As they say in the Navy:
    "That is all!"

    FWIW!
     
    #3 Rhetorician, Apr 7, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2008
  4. BRIANH

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    BJU is only TRACS accredited. That is fine of course but it may have less utility in the future if trying to get into an ATS school.
    85% of the cost is appealing, if you go general enough in your course work, one would think they would be transferable. It would not hurt to look at the courses offered at somewhere like a Liberty to see how they match up.
    Because I am a Liberty student, I should also let you know they have a deal with distance learning that caps the tuition at 2000, potentially you can take a lot of classes a semester.
     
  5. Pastor Shaun

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    Hey,
    Thanks for all responses. Let me clear a few things up. I do feel God's calling into full time ministry. I am just trying to do whats best for me and my family. I am receiving a quality Biblical education in Bible and Theology. I am double-majored with Education. This way I can help pay and save for future graduate/seminary studies. With a huge alumni discount I will probably go to graduate school for a Masters in Christian Leadership (emphasis in either Pastoral care, preaching, Theology). This is a blessing from the Lord because I will receive a full accredited/quality education for nearly nothing in cost. This is something that this school offers and can be a major pull for possible future students. They do not offer Ph.D. programs. I feel from here I am stuck. If I go for an MDIV that will be alot of money. Are there quality Doctoral programs that I can get into with a MACL? Or do I need to study for the MDIV.

    Another quick question, What is the difference between the MAR, and MARE, and why is the MAR so much higher than the MARE and MDIV at Liberty.

    I just feel that I am always looking and trying to pinpoint myself in the right direction. I look a seminary schools alot and different programs of study. I feel that I am in the Lord's will, but I do need direction. Being so young it is hard to understand and comprehend the great plan that God has for our lives. I need direction.
     
    #5 Pastor Shaun, Apr 7, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2008
  6. BRIANH

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    They are both 250 a credit hour and qualify under the 2000 cap...MARE is just 60 hours and an MAR is 45 or so...thats my understanding anyway
     
  7. PilgrimPastor

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    Some thoughts,

    I have the B.S. in Religion From Liberty and the M.A.R. from Liberty Seminary. I am currently working toward the completion of the M.Div. with Liberty Seminary. I am also a full time Pastor so I might be able to offer some direct insight into your question.

    As for the M.A.R. it is actually a 45 credit hour degree and is completely available online with the major in Church Ministry. That is the degree that I have. They have been adding a lot of degrees of late though and there may be another major that is available online such as apologetics, church history or something else. The advisers at Liberty are great - I would suggest calling to see if a certain major you want to study in is available online if that is your plan.

    They do offer the 60 credit hour M.R.E. (Master of Religious Education) and perhaps that is what you are talking about? I am not sure if this is offered completely online but almost all Liberty degrees can be earned mostly online with some 1 week long intensive requirements along the way. (blended format)

    Liberty has even added the Master of Sacred Theology recently, S.T.M., which is a degree higher than the M.Div. and it appears that even this degree is offered online.

    As for the M.A.R. meeting degree equivalence for entrance into a D.Min. program. That really depends on the school but for the most part you will have to either earn the M.Div., or do some extra course work for entrance. MOST D.Min. programs that I have explored though are going to want at least the M.Div. since the D.Min. is designed for experienced pastors to be "re-tooled" etc.

    One option that you might want to consider is the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, M.A.B.S. from Temple Baptist Seminary. This is a 60 credit hour degree that they offer. A person can actually earn the Master of Ministry, M.M. (36 credits), then the M.A.B.S. (60 credits), and then the M.Div. (90 credits). If you intend to stay in education a while before the pastorate they also offer a 60 credit hour Master of Arts in Christian Ed that I am sure would mostly or all transfer into the M.Div. with them, Liberty, or perhaps Luther Rice Seminary - which by the way is also a great option.

    There are other option besides the D.Min. that you might think about too. For myself, I am only concerned with Federal Accreditation through the M.Div. for future ministry opportunities and clearly Liberty is great for equipping. I started doctoral work recently with North Tennessee Bible Institute I have settled on the Doctor of Sacred Theology with them. (S.T.D.)

    :type: some thoughts...
     
  8. Martin

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    ==Liberty Seminary's MA/R folds directly into their MDiv. In fact, that is what most of their MA/R students do. So you probably should go on to the MA/R and, once you finish that, go on to a MDiv at Liberty or another school. Btw, the MA/R program at Liberty is 45 hrs.



    ==That depends on how the school defines MDiv equivalency.
     
  9. Pastor Shaun

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    Thanks again for the responses. Here is my goal: To eventually get into a DMIN or Ph.D. program.

    What is the best thing to do. Go to graduate school at my current college (85% discount) for a MA in (preaching, pastoral care?...ect) or go right into an MDIV...Both?

    Could I go to grad school at my current institution and study for another MA to meet equivalency?
     
  10. BRIANH

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    Take the 85% discount.
    Take very general classes.
    Either role it into a MDIV or get another MA and go get DMIN or Ph.D.
    Every doctoral program I have read gives a chance that there are other options to be admitted outside of an MDIV..
    and you MIGHT still be able to roll your hours into a MDIV anyway
     
  11. PilgrimPastor

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    I agree... take the 85% discount. If the school is accredited then chances are you won't have a problem transferring a ministry related degree into most M.Div. programs.
     
  12. StefanM

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    Be careful, though. It is very common for institutions to refuse to count hours from a completed masters toward another masters. It's an accreditation issue, I believe.

    E.g. If you have a 45 hour MAR but later try to go to another institution to get an MDiv, they may require you to take all 90+ hours or they might only give you advanced standing in a few courses (not reducing the number of hours). Of course, what you could do is take a bunch of courses that parallel the requirements at your target institution and transfer without a degree. Then your hours wouldn't be limited.

    That being said, you'd have to check with the target school about possible credit transfers.
     
  13. Pastor Shaun

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    I talked to a guy who is an adjunct prof at the college I attend. He is getting his MDIV through Liberty. He also received an MA from the college I attend. I asked him about credit transfer since he is in the direction that I mostly likely will follow. He said that Liberty not only accepted all of his MA credit, but they also accepted some of his undergrad courses. Of course alot of them were electives but it allowed him to focus on the actual MDIV. He said that Liberty reviewed both his undergrad and grad degree and gave him 55 hours towards the 90 hour MDIV. He also seemed very pleased with Liberty's distance learning and plans to go directly into the DMIN. I think this answered my question.

    One more question. How do most seminary's feel about accepting someone in a doctoral program who is bivocational instead of full-time?
     
  14. PilgrimPastor

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    That sounds about right by my experience as well. I took a few courses in the undergraduate degree in religion with Liberty that they accepted as graduate credits in the M.A.R. These were courses that had a graduate equivalence. I think it saved me 12 credit hours in Church History and some elective courses I think as well.
     

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