Regionally Accredited Online Master of Theology

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by mjohnson7, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. mjohnson7

    mjohnson7
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    I know there are many on the BB pursuing or wishing to pursue graduate studies in the field of theology. In light of that, I am posting a link to Campbellsville University's new online Master of Theology program. From their site:

    I think the nomenclature is misleading since the Master of Theology is typically a research degree following the MDiv, however this may be another option for those considering online studies that may not want to go with Liberty yet want regional accreditation.

    Campbellsville is accredited by SACS and is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. The tuition is isn't too bad - $275 a credit hour. Just an option!
     
  2. Siberian

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    It looks like a decent program; but I cannot believe the nomenclature! As you mentioned, it is very misleading. I wonder why they did not call it a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, or the like.
     
  3. TomVols

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    If you live near Pineville, KY (Clear Creek Baptist Bible College), I think you can do some of this there at their campus.
     
  4. mjohnson7

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    I don't know why they would call it a MTh rather than an MA. The faculty certainly knows the difference. Maybe the nomenclature is purposeful for that reason.... more recruiting....I don't know.

    Anyone else have thoughts?
     
  5. TomVols

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    Isn't that what the South African schools call their master's programs?
     
  6. mjohnson7

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    I believe it is. I just wanted to post the link because in more academic circles they tend to frown on earning all one's education at one institution.

    Hope it's helpful to someone!
     
  7. PreachTREE

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    The MTh is the next theological research degree after an MA in European, South African, Australian seminaries.
     
  8. Jon-Marc

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    I was interested until found out what it costs. Being retired and barely getting by on a limited income, additional education that I will more than likely never use is a waste of money I don't have. I have an associate degree with Christian education that does me no good.
     
  9. Martin

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    Personally, I have never understood why the MDiv is so long and why they would even offer another Masters after the MDiv. Most MDiv degrees are around 90 graduate semester hours (give or take a few). That is the equivalent to about two and a half regular graduate degrees (36 hrs). Why add another Masters degree on top of that? Why not just go directly into a DMin or PhD program? If a 90+ hour graduate program does not prepare a person for a doctoral program, nothing will.

    I like the M.A. in Religion (MAR) at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. It is 45 hrs and provides students with a complete theological education. The only weakness is the lack of languages. But the languages can be made up online through New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary or Luther Rice University. Liberty is now offering a M.A. in Theological Studies (36 hrs) online. The M.A. in Religion or Theological Studies is a wonderful option for busy pastors.

    In my opinion, and I know this is not a widely shared view, the MDiv is outdated. I could be wrong, but I predict that the MDiv will slowly become less common. The Master of Arts degrees will start taking over and seminaries will allow M.A. graduates to enter DMin and PhD programs. This is already happening. There has been a big jump in the number of M.A. programs being offered. That will probably continue.
     
  10. TomVols

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    What seminaries are allowing MA grads to enter D.Min programs? Some allow MAs into PhDs but those seem to be few and far between.

    I dont know about M.Div programs. Years ago it was thought that shortened M.Divs would be the rage for people with Bachelor degrees in Theology, etc., but this never really materialized.
     
  11. UZThD

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    The MTh. at the South African Theological Seminary and Unizul is more like a MA than a ThM. I have both a MA in Religion and a ThM in Biblical studies. In my experience, the MA can be the equivalent of one year of full time study, whereas the ThM, having the MDiv as a pre requisite, is the equivalent of four years of full time study (including the MDiv), two Biblical languages, and a thesis. I too think the nomenclature 'MTh' is confusing.
     
  12. Rhetorician

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    MDiv Martin Response

    Hello dear brother:

    I hope you are well.

    I keep hearing this discussion of the MDiv vs. the MA. It is "kinda" and "sorta" based on the "what do you want to be when you grow up little boy?" is it not?

    And I know y'all know all of my biased opinions. (It seems as if we have been over this time and again on the BB).

    The MDiv was a carry over, as all who have been around a look time know, of the old American BD or Bachelor of Divinity. The BD was done after a university Bachelor's had already been done. So inevitably there had to be a shift in the degree.

    In the American system the MTh or ThM "took up the slack" if you will between the BD and the PhD or ThD degrees. So the person who started out wanting and believing he wanted to be a minister went that route.

    The idea seems to have been that it would (and IMHO and should take at least three academic years) take to "train" a minister for all areas of the ministry. So one had a university degree that was unrelated to the ministry field, a BD preparing for ministry without many hours in a particular discipline, then the MTh that prepared them for the terminal research doctorate later developed.

    The MA is really the proverbial "horse of another color." It is (and was IMHO) designed for the person who came out of college knowing that he wanted to do grad work in a narrow field like say NT, OT, Church History, Archeology, or some other Biblically related subject matter. So he could do the very narrow MA in a content area that would allow and prepare him to do the PhD degree, probably at the best university that he could attend.

    One of the problems, as it seems to me, is a blurring from both the men who are going into the ministry, and many very late in life, and the universities.

    Seminaries, especially conservative and evangelical seminaries want to be known and have RA and ATS credentials. And universities want to get those dollars from men who want the "prestige" of a university degree and may not want to be known as "preachers" but "academics."

    But, it use to be that "west was west and east was east and never the twain shall meet!" when it came to the MDiv and/or MA models of education.

    It seems to me, as I made an allusion above, that people who want to go into pastoral ministry should still do the MDiv. And those who know for sure they want to go on to do some PhD prep or the degree itself should follow that line of education. But as most of us know, things in life, and God's leading and call are not that simple and plain to any of us. Most of the time things are unfolding to us.

    I do not mean or try to demonstrate that the entirety of the issue is monolithic. They are not!!! for sure!! But to just dismiss the whole educational tradition of the BD/MDiv " out of hand" I cannot see to be very wise. Men, who handle the Word of God need the rigors of the three years, 90+ hours of the MDiv education if and when they are going to be pastors.

    With all of the above comments, it should be rather easy to understand why most schools (and I am sure that will change to get the $) or should I say seminaries, will not allow the DMin to be built upon the MA degree alone but will require up to 90+ hours of "leveling work." I do speak in generalities and I am sure things as we know it will change, maybe not for the better. Then again, "I am old school!!!"

    My comments come from having done the MDiv from one of the most rigorous programs around today, from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary since Dr. Al Mohler has been the president. I have an emphasis in Christian Higher Education "with Biblical Languages." I also have a Master of Arts (in Religion) from the Harding University Grad School of Religion with an emphasis in the History of Christian Thought. I am not saying I am an expert but only an "interested observer."

    My feeble minded attempt to salvage and save what some think is an antiquarian system of education. :thumbs:

    "That is all!"
     
    #12 Rhetorician, Jan 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2010
  13. TomVols

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    I agree Rhet. For the person with a BS/BA in a secular discipline, a 36 hour program is just not enough. Besides, no one is asking law schools to abandon JD as their entry program, or Med schools for their MDs.

    That said, I think the seminaries should offer something for people (like me) who had substantial theological education on the undergrad level. The M.Div program was virtually redundant for me and students like me. The Advanced M.Divs just never materialized. Far too many friends and colleagues either wasted time and money in a repetitive M.Div, or they went the MACE/MRE route and added enough hours for M.Div equivalency for entry into Doctoral programs. I do see some schools still trying the AMDiv (the Graham school at SBTS has one that isn't bad, but it's still a bit redundant) and some other denom schools will grant advanced standing although this doesn't necessarily reduce the number of hours. I'm not saying the M.Div should be 36 hours for these folks, but reducing a semester off the total is equally as ridiculous. A solution that could be a better stewardship of resources and time for the student and school would only benefit the church.
     
  14. PilgrimPastor

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    Rhetoratician,

    A thought for your consideration / comment; there is a serious issue underlying all of this conversation - dollars and cents!

    I tend toward agreement with everything you stated above. But is it always the men getting the degrees who want the prestige of a RA / ATS accredited seminary degree or a perceived NEED of such things for broad acceptance in ministry and the academic community of theological endeavor as many pastors wish to at least participate in those broader "discussions" such as those found at the ETS etc.?

    What about a church culture that expected me to do as I did in earning the M.Div. from an accredited university at a total expense of more than 3x's my annual salary as a local Church Pastor? The above is true for me as well. With a B.S. in Religion (Bible / Theology) much of the M.Div. was very similar work.

    Could the same training be offered at a lower cost with/without the accreditation cost? Is not at least in part why the Bible College model was birthed? (in addition no doubt to the desire to train men in a specifically conservative theology without the influence of drifting secular institutions)
     
  15. Rhetorician

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    Pilgrim Pastor Response

    PP,

    Hello and thank you for the "come back." I would encourage you to read the "Bible College" post I put out by Dr. Kevin Bauder on the other post just this morning. It is very good and aids in this discussion here.

    "That is all!" :smilewinkgrin:
     
  16. Martin

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    Hi Rhetorician,

    Sorry for the delay in replying, but the start of the semester is always a bit busy. I have 6 classes and every one of them are packed. I see my future clearly: Grading massive stacks of essays! Why do I do this to myself? :laugh:


    ==I agree, and that is the problem. For example, I have a MA/Religion and a MA/History, yet I am not qualified to enter a PhD/Church History program at any conservative seminary. Why? Because I don't have the MDiv degree. Yet I would submit that my background makes me far more qualified for entry into such a program than most men who only have a MDiv. I'm not saying that I am looking for a PhD in Church History, at this time I am not, I am just making a point. The system is not set up for those who wish to go in an academic direction.

    ==That sounds great, but the system is not set up for that. A person would be better off earning a secular MA/History degree and a secular PhD/History degree than trying to get a Church History PhD from a conservative seminary (I am picking on history because that is my field). If they were to go the conservative seminary route, they would be forced to do a MDiv degree. That would cause them to spend money and time taking classes they don't need or want. An academic program, such as a PhD/Church History, should not require an MDiv degree. It should require either an MA/History or MA/Church History. Just my view, anyway.

    As for the MDiv and pastors, if they want to go that route that is fine. However I personally believe a 45 hour MA/Religion (like I have) does more than enough for most pastors. Besides, many pastors don't have the money or the time to devote to 90+ hourse of graduate study. Most of the pastors I know don't have an MDiv degree and they are doing far better than many who do have MDiv degrees. When it comes to the ministry it is not the degree, or number of graduate hours, that matters. It is the man, his walk with the Lord, and his knowledge of Scripture. A 45-hour graduate program can help him with all of those, but mainly the last of the three.


    ==Clearly I don't agree with that. My current pastor only has a Bachelors degree, and he is one of the best expositors of the Word of God I know. My last pastor held a MA and PhD from the unaccredited Covington Seminary. Yet, he was very knowledgeable of Scripture. I could name others just like that. Many of the MDiv grads I listen to sound like they are preaching from a textbook on "how to preach". Its awful. That, of course, is an overly general statement and I can think of plenty of exceptions to my statement. However my point is that the MDiv is not necessary. If a person wants to do an MDiv, or believes they need the MDiv, I have no problem with that. I believe they should do it. My point is that (a) it should not be required for entrance into all seminary PhD programs and (b) it is not necessary for ministry. A 45-hour graduate degree program is not a cake walk (or at least it should not be). As for the DMin, that is a ministry degree. So if we are going to say that the MDiv is the standard ministry degree then it should be required for entrance into the DMin program.
     
  17. paidagogos

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    Education at the cheapest...............

    If an education is what you want rather than just a degree, opportunities abound. Check out the seminaries on iTunes U. Full course video lectures by top notch professors are available with all course content available at web sites for download. Also, you can find the textbooks dirt cheap sometimes at Better World Books. Education, not necessarily the capital letters to go along with it, is within almost everyone's reach.
     
  18. Joseph shall add

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    It is quite sad to say, but Seminaries are not exactly Gods training grounds today. I should point out that as I am typing I just remembered were my desk came from, Theologial Baptist Seminary of Dallas Texas. Never bet against me that is another story.
    Frankly Bible Seminaries are just to worldly today. They cost to much for most people in these times. If you think about it there are many who would indeed go to school if they could afford to. But we have allowed the Seminaries to become nothing but just another kind of School.
    We have a college here in my town and if seminaries are anything like it. A waste of money. They charge 400 to 600 a month for rooms. And the cost per credit is like 300 a hour.
    Seminaries need to offer cost affective online courses to take care of the bulk of the courses. Reduce actually student cost and creat a student teachers work programs to decrease the cost of operations while at the same time raise General support from Church community they will serve. Thus removing the cost of education to the students. And that programs needs to start at the local Churches.
    Seminaries are expensive to maintain as in a physical one. But a internet based one should be very cheap to run. It is because of greed that they are so expensive. As with all the schools today. I really and amazed at the greed of seminaries. I have designed many college building and know quite well the cost are over inflated on many levels. I have designed many churchs too and they cut every penny. LOL you know us Baptist.
     
  19. DHK

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    You mean to say:
    It is quite sad to say, but seminaries are not exactly God's training grounds for today. I should point out, that as I am typing, I just remembered where my desk came from, Theological Baptist Seminary of Dallas, Texas. Never bet against me. That is another story.

    I tried to correct your grammar and spelling in just this one short paragraph by bolding your mistakes. It is safe to say that you don't have much credibility in criticizing any seminary when you don't even have a grade nine-equivalent education of the English language. :rolleyes:
     
  20. exscentric

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    My last English WAS in the ninth grade and during too many years in post secondary CHRISTIAN education I was not required to take any English except for a partial semester of BONE HEAD English (which really did not help).

    The Christian system is not the best in some areas. I have struggled with learning grammar and spelling for years and still am not where I should be.

    Condecention is not a prety picure buy the whey. :thumbs:
     

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