SEBTS vs. SWBTS

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by reverist, May 1, 2012.

  1. reverist

    reverist
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    I am looking into both schools (and not only these schools, for whatever that's worth) for PhD work. I've read/heard that SWBTS is "second rate," but what I want to know is why that is. Is it the faculty, academics, administration, some combination? And what is the prevailing opinion of academic freedom at both of these institutions?

    I happened to be at SEBTS last year for a conference and enjoyed the faculty I met from the school and the area so much I decided to look into it. I have never visited SWBTS (at least as of yet). Any help would be appreciated. :)
     
  2. RG2

    RG2
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    From what I've seen on the board in the past it's pretty negative on here. I'm in SWBTS territory and most pastors around here are all SWBTS alums, and I have to admit from what I've heard here has been pretty mixed. I can't really speak about SEBTS.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    As a SWBTS alum and someone who considered both for a PhD I'd say SEBTS is a better option right now.

    SWBTS is in a period of institutional torpor (the only way I can describe it) right now. Enrollment continues to decline and the faculty isn't nearly what it used to be. The leader there is intent on fashioning the school into something J Frank Norris would be proud of, and if you're remotely familiar with that person and his legacy with the school that isn't a mark of honor. The faculty are nice people but, primarily because of lack of academic freedom, unable to grow beyond their insitutional lid.

    SEBTS is a better place. It has a better faculty.

    That said, if I had to choose a school for a PhD I wouldn't go to either (and didn't.) One question, why do you want to go and get a PhD?

    Here's the thing, academic positions for theology are drying up and tons of folks with European degrees are coming back over and snatching up the available positions. A PhD from an SBC school ain't gonna get you much by the time you're done. If you want to teach go to a high end academic school and get a MA/PhD...like Duke or Yale or (if you must) TEDS. Or go overseas. Oxford and Cambridge are handing them out to reasonably qualified stusdents right now.

    So there it is. Just my opinion. :)
     
  4. Greektim

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    I am currently a ThM student at SEBTS. I have no experience w/ SWBTS so my comments will be restricted to SEBTS.

    I actually applied to the PhD program at SEBTS, but felt a bit overwhelmed by the lack of academic rigor I had previously experienced. So I figured I would beef up my research acumen w/ the ThM instead. I will be the first to vouch that the faculty at SEBTS is second to none, at least in the areas of Biblical Studies (not too sure about the rest). They also have a great blend of ministry and academics (we say that every class is a great commission class; not always true but I like the thought behind it). If you wanted to study under guys like Kohstenberger, Black, Cole, and Robinson; then SEBTS will get you good exposure to great faculty.

    Here is the downside. I was interested in a PhD/ThM in NT. SEBTS doesn't offer that. Theirs is a PhD in Bib Studies w/ an emphasis on OT or NT. They have other PhD's too, so I don't know which you would be interested in. But their program had some issues in it that made me like the ThM option more and not really consider them for a PhD. Since their PhD in Bib Studies is more generalized, I was going to take a lot of seminars on issues that I wasn't interested in. So that deterred me. I was not going to be allowed to transfer any of my ThM credits either. This is a SBC6 thing I believe. So I was looking at another 60+ credits for the PhD. Honestly, a European PhD has much more appeal right now, although I'm talking to some people at GGBTS.

    For what it is worth, if you wanted to teach at a Bible college or small seminary type level, a PhD from SEBTS is highly recommended. But I think any degree is only as good as the time and work put in it. I've met PhD's from SEBTS and SWBTS and SBTS that did not impress me. 3 letters do not make a good scholar. Scholarship is what is needed. If you apply yourself, I think you'll find that you'll get more than you bargained for at SEBTS if the format and emphases are what you are looking for.
     
  5. reverist

    reverist
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    Thanks!

    Thanks to all who responded. I am new here, lurked for a couple weeks. I am married with no kids, and I'm 29. I finished my MAR through Liberty and I've nearly achieved MDiv equivalent status. I love hockey. There. Now you know some about me. :>

    To answer a question from earlier, I desire a PhD in large part to open doors that may otherwise remain closed with "only" a master's. I want to keep all options on the table. It's something that I believe God would have me to do; a belief gained through a sincere desire and (at least perceived) aptitude for it. I don't expect a lot of monetary return on it, and in reading the posts on this forum the consensus is the jobs in the SBC seminaries aren't opening any time soon. I also wish to apply the knowledge that I'll gain through research to a local church, even if only as an assistant pastor or even Sunday school teacher in a small church. (As an aside, I currently attend a megachurch, and find that I like both large and small settings. What can I say?) I certainly do not want it only for the letters, or prestige, or whatnot.

    One thing I hope can be expanded on is the idea of academic freedom. I certainly wouldn't expect to have the academic freedom to, say, deny the deity of Christ (nor would I want to do so even if I did have such freedom). But I would expect the academic freedom to deny dispensationalism or affirm postmillennialism (neither of which I necessarily do). What kinds of examples (no names are required, of course) are there of the academic freedom or lack thereof at SWBTS? One of the main reasons I ask is because my pastor may have "connections" there that may make a transition for both church and school easier (always easier to move across the country if you know someone; and no I am not talking about illicit connections), and so I am at least considering them. Thanks for all your help!

    PS--GreekTim, I have two good friends up there. One who just graduated and one who is just finishing his second year of MDiv studies. They have both mentioned the Great Commission thing you did. I find that quite admirable.
     
  6. John of Japan

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    I don't know about SWBTS, but my son has finished his classwork and is working on his dissertation for his Ph. D. in NT with a major in Greek under Dr. David Alan Black. He also grades for Dr. Maurice Robinson, so I've gotten to know both men and am very impressed with their level of scholarship and their love for the Lord. And of course as a missionary I too love the Great Commission emphasis there.

    If you're thinking of Greek you couldn't do better than SEBTS. If you're thinking of some other field, I suggest you get to know both the scholarship and spirituality of the profs of the two schools in your area. You can do this by reading their books and articles, and emailing them, maybe even getting to meet them personally.
     

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