rigor in grad Christian Ed

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by UZThD, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. UZThD

    UZThD
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,238
    Likes Received:
    0
    What must be necessary for a PhD/ThD program in Biblical Studies and/or Systematic Theology to be genuinely rigorous ?
     
  2. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    One of the requirements of any doctoral program is research. If that is not required it is not a true doctoral program any way you slice it.
     
  3. Joeman

    Joeman
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would add that not just research is required but original research.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    And isn't that the toughest, considering so many seek doctorates in biblical/theology fields. Originality there is NOT necessarily good!

    Part of my work was looking at the progress of baptists in Wisconsin. Going through old journals, reports of mission conventions from the 1850's, etc, gave wonderful insight into the minds and ministries of these men.

    And saw that they put their pants on one leg at a time, just like men today!
     
  5. UZThD

    UZThD
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,238
    Likes Received:
    0
    If research, original research, is required, then in these disciplines what criteria indicate that this research by the student is rigorous and what qualities should a supervisor and members of a dissertational committee possess to indicate their competency to evaluate the rigor of that research?
     
  6. Joeman

    Joeman
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you want your PhD/ThD program to be truly on par with any secular PhD programs in the US, students have to be judged by the quality and quantity of their publication. On average, a PhD student publishes 3-4 papers plus the thesis.

    The high number of people seeking doctorates in biblical/theology fields Dr. Bob talked about can only be a problem if the fields of research are too saturated. However, from what I heard, that's not the case. There are still lots of things that need to be researched and investigated. For example, archaeologists dig stuff up all the time. Christian scholars are always needed to examine things they are digging up.
     
  7. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    The program where I am at requires at least three years of practical experience in the field of study before being accepted.
     
  8. UZThD

    UZThD
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,238
    Likes Received:
    0
    The high number of people seeking doctorates in biblical/theology fields Dr. Bob talked about can only be a problem if the fields of research are too saturated. However, from what I heard, that's not the case. There are still lots of things that need to be researched and investigated.

    ==

    I agree that many things remain to be investigated even in dissertational work in Biblical studies. I was impressed, eg, by the originality of Hoover's Harvard ThD research into the question of whether or not harpagmos as a predicate accusative is an idiomatic expression when used with certain verbs as the one Paul employs in Philippians 2:6.

    I used that research in one chapter of my dissertation on the question of role hierarchy in the Godhead. Since I just finished that dissertation, I still take opportunities to bore people with it--sorry.

    My thread was begun as a fishing expedition to see if these waters held any who might, as I do, think it wrong for some schools in America to offer ThDs after eight months of what IMO likely is not very rigorous work.
     
  9. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. Biblical languages including additional Semitic languages for OT specialization
    2. Modern languages (probably German or Dutch) and Latin
    3. Qualifying tests (written and/or oral), competencies, and oral defense of dissertation
    4. Display of exacting scholarship in writing and research
    5. Real research on an original problem—not just a compilation and regurgitation of something already chewed and digested
    6. Demonstration of communication and research skills

    In the end, it depends much on the major prof. Is he a task master? Choose a hack and anything will slide but a real scholar is proud of his craft and will demand excellence.

    Finally, much falls in the student's lap. Are you studying to get a degree or to learn? Curious students, who tend to be more intelligent, learn on their own. A student interested in a degree will only do the minimum and miss many opportunities for learning.
     
  10. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree but this is America. It is a market-driven economy. Even accredited schools are succumbing to market demands (i.e. less time, less work, shorter semesters, higher degree).
     
  11. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    My solution is that, like lawyers, we need fewer doctorates. Let's put a quota on the 10 best qualified in theology per year. Even though I revel in the esoteric, I really don't think that “whether or not harpagmos as a predicate accusative is an idiomatic expression when used with certain verbs as the one Paul employs in Philippians 2:6” will make any difference in my life. What I really need to do is love God and my neighbor more. I gotta get on with living.
     
  12. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    IMHO, the experience is the greater teacher. The other is contrived experiences in an artificial environment. The ivory tower ain't real life.
     
  13. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds wonderful but what is original research? How is it different from un-original research?
     
  14. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    In the IFB circles, it seems that he who has the most degrees wins.
     
  15. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    Experience is generally the first teacher. But a person who has had poor experience is almost impossible to retrain.

    I have been in the field I am in 35 years this year and realized a long time ago that the vast majority in the working world have poor practices stemming from their experience alone without any additional study.

    When I was a student in school I was talking with another student and we reaized that the top people in the world have all gone to school to learn from some of the best in ther world.

    Being the best requires experience and study.
     
  16. UZThD

    UZThD
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,238
    Likes Received:
    0
    Even though I revel in the esoteric, I really don't think that “whether or not harpagmos as a predicate accusative is an idiomatic expression when used with certain verbs as the one Paul employs in Philippians 2:6” will make any difference in my life. What I really need to do is love God and my neighbor more. I gotta get on with living. [/QB][/QUOTE]

    ===


    Problem: Does the Esoteric Relate to Living?

    I'm sorry that you feel that way. It would appear that you would also then say that my own dissertation is not profitable because it doesn't affect you or your love or your "going on with living."

    IMO , in contrast, the doctrines of the Bible including the Trinity are revealed for a purpose. We are to understand ,as we are able, the God we say we love!

    We are to be able to compare conflicting belief systems about these tenets with what we understand as truth (Rom 16), and we are to refute error ( Tt 1). Hoover's research ,and mine, relate to doing just that!

    I'll try to explain in a few words some of my issues as expressed in my dissertation for any who are interested.

    Those who just want to "get on with living" may feel free to skip this post.


    The Esoteric and Our Faith

    Within **Evangelicalism** today ,(NOT in its conflict with liberalism, I mean within itself!), there is a debate re the Person of Christ and His role within the Trinity! There is a debate , I am saying, about the God we love!

    Let the reader understand: The Evangelical Church ITSELF DOES NOT agree on the relationswhips of the Persons of the Trinity and on the Person of Christ Himself! Now I, for one, think this is very important!

    IMO, this is quite important enough to research and also relates, at least in my own case, and I explain why shortly, to "getting on with living"!

    Many Christians are not aware of this conflict over belief about something so central to Christianity, however, it should not be "esoteric" since it is central to our faith!

    If the discussion is "esoteric" perhaps the fault is in the Church not in the discussion.


    The Esoteric , Evangelical Views on Christ

    One position following the ancient belief of the Church expressed by such as Tertullian and the Nicene Creed, includes modern writers as Kitano,Berkhof, Wiley, Shedd, Williams, Lewis, Demarest, and Dahms in both ThM theses, systematics, journal articles, book reviews, and so forth .

    These take the position that as the "Person" or "essence" or "hupostasis" of the Son is eternally, unendingly, and necessarily generated by the Father, God the Son is therefore, because of that process, immanently and eternally in second place IN RANK. The Father is eternally "the Boss" of the Son--they say.

    These mainly base their eternal generation doctrine on John's several applications of the adjective monogenes to the Son which the KJV renders "only begotten." My dissertation also discusses that adjective which only John applies to Christ, but that discussion too likely would be deemed too esoteric for any any practical good --even though it is about an inspired word!

    There is, these think, a relational hierarchy IN God (as opposed to economic,outward relations only) because the Father orders the Son about due to the Father causing the Son's existence (but not in time).

    Such literature may be "esoteric" in the sense that only a small portion of the Church reads it. Yet, the subject these discussions IS important because it is about the God of the Bible Whom we say we are to love!

    It relates to living because it is about the One we live with and for!!

    These evangelicals are talking about God the Son and what the Bible says about Him! The Son, it is thought by them, does not have life in the same manner as does the Father, neither has He knowledge, neither He has sovereignty as does the Father!!

    In other words, one Trinal Person has divine attributes the Other does not.

    I don't agree with that. IMO attributes reside in essence ,and as each "Person" in God has the identical essence, it follows that Each has the identical attributes.

    While such thoughts may be "esoteric," that does not IMO mean that they SHOULD BE esoteric. Esoteric means read by few!

    That few in the Church consider these ideas important is not a measure of the worth of these ideas. It is instead a measure of the doctrinal instruction , or the lack of it, in the Church

    IMO Christians need to think about God, and Christians need to understand the Scriptures about Him-- not just "Get on with living" !!


    A second position expressed by such as Grudem is that while the Son is not eternally generated by the Father, the Son nevertheleass is eternally role subordinate to the Father. The earthly submission of Jesus is but a prolongation of God the Son eternally flittering around the emptiness of precreation carrying out dutifully the will of the Father.

    One effect of this notion is that it would then appear that in God there are multiple faculties of will since the will of one Trinal Person is subservient to the will of the Other. I don't agree with that. IMO there is only one faculty of will in God.


    A third position, taken ,in general, by Erickson , Buswell, Bilezikian, Derickson, Feinberg, Giles, BB Warfield, and me in my dissertation, is that the obedience of the Son began in His incarnation. The Son is not eternally and immanently role subordinate but only temporally and economically so.

    I go possibly in this third position a bit further than some and say , following such as the Antiochenes, Theodoret, Leo, Chalcedon (IMO) , the Damascene, and Anselm that only the human nature in Christ is role subordinate not the divine.


    Application of the Esoteric to My Living

    I think Jesus is fully human with a human mind and will , and that in these He obeyed-- not in His nature as God. In God, IMO, there only can be equals, and in God there can only be one mind and one will.

    Now as for me, this DOES have to do with my living for God, and the issue of harpagmos being an idiomatic expression relates to this. I'll try to explain:

    Were harpagmos in Phil 2:6 taken, as do Wallace in his Grammar, and Burk in his paper to the ETS, and Martin in Carmen Christi, NOT to indicate that the Son has the "equality with God," then support is given to the position that the Son's incarnational obedience is simply an unbroken prolongation of the Son's eternal obedience and is carried out by the Son's divinity through His humanity--not BY the humanity!

    But Hoover's research instead gives strength to the idea that the Son has both the form AND equality with God because harpagmos with some verbs is idiomatically used and indicates possession of the object (in this case equality) of the verb . Hoover's research is a piece in a Christological puzzle that scholars deal with, and that I attempt to assemble in my dissertation. But that piece also has practical importance.

    To me, it is practically important, despite it being "esoteric," that the Son has equality with the Father in His form of God. That would imply,then, that it is in His humanity that Christ is obedient. Then, no hierarchy of authority IN God is necessary.

    Then, in Philippians 2, the Son additionally takes the form of a Servant to God. I think this "form of a Servant" is TRUE Man including human mind and will. IMO HERE is where Christ's obedience occurs--not in the form of God. Obedience IMO is accomplished BY His humanity NOT by His deity through whatever His humanity may be.

    Now this distiction of "by the humanity" vs. "through the humanity" may be "esoteric," but it much relates to who and what Christ (the One we love) is:

    1) Is Christ God working through mere human behavior patterns as say Buswell, and IMO Athanasius and Cyril too ,

    OR,

    2) Is Christ TRUE Man (who also is God) experiencing as TRUE Man the human condition including temptation as say such as Hodge and Clark?

    [in case Hoover's findings in all of this has not been noticed, or understood, that 'harpagmos point' supplies the premise that in His deity the Son is EQUAL to God, and therefore just as sovereign as the Father]

    How is all this practical to me so that I can "GO ON LIVING"?? How does help me to "LOVE" Christ?

    In this manner:

    If Christ is true man (Jo 8:40; Acts 2:22) made like His brethren, ie, made like me (Heb 2:14,17) who grew in knowledge (Lk 2:52) , and if Christ in His humanity earned my salvation (Rom 5:15) and if it were in His humanity that He resisted temptation( Heb 2:18 ;4:15) , THEN, indeed, is He my example (Phil 2:5; 1 Pet 2:21) .

    BUT if Christ is REQUIRED by the generated and/or submissive nature as Son to obey the Father, if the earthly obedience of the Son merely is an unbroken prolongation of an immanent and necessary Trinal relationship, if Christ obeyed AS GOD , then IMO my example is lost! I cannot attempt to resist temptation as God does as God cannot even be tempted!

    I love Christ for that: because He is LIKE ME in His humanity , free (sidestepping predestination now) to chose obedience as Man, and He has experienced some of what I do, genuine temptation, yet He was without sin.

    Hoover's research is related to this, don't you really see?

    I'm sorry that my theological exploration of these issues ,and my exegetical research on releated texts , is deemed unprofitable by some who only need to "go in with living."

    alla ekenosen heauton,

    Bill
     
  17. Broadus

    Broadus
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bill,

    Thanks for delineating the gist of your dissertation.

    I agree with much that has been written concerning the needed rigor of Christian education. I can only relate experientially my two doctoral adventures to the question.

    My DMin at Luther Rice included coursework and the writing of a major project. By nature, it is a practical degree and is not considered an academic/research oriented degree. I put in a lot of work, but I can't say that the process was rigorous. From comparing it with other DMins, I consider it comparable to DMins from other institutions.

    Of course, some have questioned the legitimacy of the DMin. David Wells has written a wonderful essay, "The 'D-Min-Ization' of the Ministry," which appears in the book No God but God, ed. by Os Guinness and John Seel. Wells contends that the DMin was basically begun as a revenue-producer for theological institutions and literally put many schools "in the black." Wells also contends that the courses for many DMins would be considered nothing more than continuing education in many professions. Because we live in a culture which lauds the professional, but pulpit and pew relish the designation of "Doctor" for the pastor. It is a part of the success mentality.

    Wells acknowledges that there are some DMin programs more rigorous than others, and that some DMin programs can be helpful for the minister, but he questions the granting of a doctorate for the effort.

    My second doctorate is the PhD in Church History from SBTS. While pursuing the PhD, I started telling friends that my DMin stood for "Doctorus Minimus." Though I was being a bit facetious, the difference between the two was like night and day. The PhD required both biblical languages and reading ability in two academic languages (German and Latin, in my case), an entrance exam, rigorous seminars and colloquia with research and papers, comprehensive exams, a dissertation prospectus which had to be approved by my supervisor, my committee, and the seminary faculty, and another couple of years doing research in primary sources as well as writing the dissertation. Then the dissertation had to be approved by my supervisor, my committee members, a style-guide reader, and an outside reader (in my case, a prof at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary). There was no comparison between the DMin and the PhD.

    BTW, the dissertation was in the area of historical theology, showing from primary sources that Baptists had a fairly consistent undertanding of the gospel minister as a "physician of souls" from our Separatist beginnings in the late 16th century until (at least for us Southern Baptists) the end of the 19th century. By the end of the 19th century, the concept of "efficiency" became the mantra among Southern Baptists, as well as other American Protestants, and SBTS even had a Department of Church Efficiency, headed by Dr. Gaines Dobbins, who wrote, appropriately enough, The Efficient Church. By the early 20th century, the SBC had accepted the model that the pastor was the chief administrator of the church instead of the physician of souls, a model which, I believe, has helped to give us an American Christianity strong in numbers but weak in substance and influence.

    Does one need a doctorate to pastor a church? Of course not. I do think the pursuit of it can increase his skills, deepen his understanding, and enable him to have a broader and deeper ministry than he might have had otherwise.

    Of course, many ministers without higher education, because they have a God-given thirst for knowledge, understanding, and growth, have the same type of ministry because they are always reading, researching, and thinking. Whether degreed or not, surely the high calling of the ministry requrires that we are always students, especially of the Word. We never "arrive" until we see Him face to face.

    Bill
     
  18. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    That is what was required for a B.A. at the secular university I graudated from.
     
  19. UZThD

    UZThD
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,238
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bill

    As a retired public school teacher, I know something about "continuing education" for professionals. There is IMO no comparison with that and taking doctoral level courses and doing a D Min project. Therefore, well, in that regard, I disagree with Wells!

    Neither would I be willing to espouse the position that the DMin is purposed to raise money for seminaries , but then, I haven't seen Wells's evidence. My experience with Western CB Seminary, however, (which offers a DMin) and the adsministration and faculty there would not allow me to think that my alma mater or schools like it would be so self-serving.

    I agree that in general pastors do not need doctoral studies, yet, as you do, I also think education , good education, either formal or as you say, informal, is important for the pastor.

    Here's two examples why:

    Shortly after my conversion in '59 under the ministry of Tim La Haye at Scott Memorial Baptist Church in San Diego I became interested in Pentecostalism. Now please understand that I have a high opinion of Tim as a pastor. He let me preach at Scott twice while I was a Bible College freshman.

    Tim prepared extensively for his PM sermons on eschatology. While I may or may not buy into pretrib , I do much admire the effort he took in sermon prep and think that many pastors are lax in this!

    Yet when learning of my (then, not now) interest in glossolalia, Tim called me in for a counseling session. He explained that clearly I Cor 13:10 proves that tongues have ceased since the Perfect (the NT canon) has come!!

    Now exegetically, that interpretation of that verse is highly questionable. But Tim with his (then only) BA from BJU was unable to exegete in the original. So he was convinced because he'd read that in DeHaan or wherever.

    But who am I to talk , since I cannnot write novels [​IMG]

    Then again a couple of years ago I attended a local Bap church. The preacher who preached from the KJV said that Jesus according to Jo 4:2 baptised His disciples. At that time I had my Greek Testament with me.

    So, after the service I privately pointed out that as "disciples" was in the nominative, they could not be the object of an assumed verb.

    The pastor became adament and agitated and never, I think, forgave that. Oh well.

    Do I think that I am better than these?

    No way!

    But, I think these (at that time, Tim now has a DMin I think) could be better with education!


    Blessings,

    Bill
     
  20. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    What is very significant is when the ignorant do not know that they do not know when they think they do know.
     

Share This Page

Loading...