"Sex and the Seminary"

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Hello to all:

    I don't know if you follow or read Al Mohler or not (I am a SBTS alum-for full disclosure's sake), but I do? Here is a very interesting blog Dr. Mohler wrote. I would like some feedback from the readers of the BB. I would like to pose a question: Will the time come when the "conservative, Evangelical, seminaries" have to part company with the ATS over "Sex and the Seminary" and other "progressive issues?" Will the fundamentalists be proven right?

    http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=3091

    Some will know that I am also an alum of Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. When they sought and gained Regional Accreditation (SACS) in the early 1980s, they decided NOT to seek ATS's certification for these very reasons. Just a side bar of interest.

    "Shalom Y'all!":wavey:
     
  2. StefanM

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    Regardless of one's position on this issue, it is insane to have a primary specialized accrediting body for seminaries when the seminaries themselves are so diverse in thought. Harvard Divinity School and Southern Seminary may have excellent reputations in their respective circles, but they are light years apart both in subject matter and in purpose. Why should we expect a "one size fits all" accrediting body.
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Anyone who works at a seminary knows that pornography is found among some students. A professor friend of mine at the Baptist university he was teaching at last year told me caught a student looking at pornography on a computer during class time while he was giving a lecture.

    A few years ago one of the trustees at SWBTS was caught shacking up with some ladies from his church at the time.

    So perhaps some sound education might be in order.
     
  4. michaelbowe

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    ATS is the major accrediting body for theological institutions. They do not have a set statement of faith that all its seminaries have to abide by, which gives way to the difference between HDS, and SBTS. There are many differences in denominations, some are liberal, moderate, and conservative. ATS accredits all if they meed academic standards. I have not read the changes in the accrediting standards, so I am typing from a outsider looking in, but I wonder if the changes are wanting seminaries to address sexual issues and prepare the ministers to address these issues. I can't imagine ATS being able to get all seminaries to have an alternative sexual chapel service because sexual preference is not yet made the protected class. When ever that does happen, I still don't see it as a problem. Several seminaries and churches discriminate based upon sex. ATS gets a bad image because it accredits several liberal institutions, but it accredits several conservative institutions as well. I doubt anyone will go toward TRACS, its reputation is not so good, and doesn't carry the wieght of ATS accreditation. All this rambling to say, I think ATS is trying to get seminaries to prepare men and women to address sexual issues, within themselves so problems like Ted Haggard and the aforementioned problems at other seminaries do not arise, understand how to deal with the outside public, and address this issue.
     
  5. StefanM

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    Then I ask...what is the point?

    Regional accreditors already address issues of academic quality.

    It's not like the ABA, which has uniform professional standards. The societies in religion are diverse, and, although some are more prominent, no one society has sway.

    TRACS is not the solution. It has the reputation of being the accreditor of Bible colleges who could not get regional accreditation.

    An alternative to ATS would have to be professionally-focused (i.e. an accreditor of graduate and doctoral programs) and the standards would have to be high.
     
  6. michaelbowe

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    That is for you to decide. ATS specializes in Theological education. Many of the other seminaries offer other degrees, i.e. MACE, MA in religious studies, MS in patient counseling, and Ed.D. which require regional accreditation for them to mean anything. The people obtaining these degrees usually work outside the church. ATS is geared to preparing people to work inside the church, and sexuality needs to be addressed.
     
  7. StefanM

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    I'm not necessarily opposed to sexuality being addressed. In fact, I probably have more in common theologically with many of the ATS-accredited schools than the rest of this board. However, I also know that theological education by its very nature will cause difficulty in creating uniform standards. The ministry context of a graduate of the Starr King School for the Ministry (an ATS-accredited Unitarian Universalist School) will be dramatically different than the ministry context of a DTS or SBTS graduate. Is having one major theological accreditor the best way to go?
     
  8. michaelbowe

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    Good point! I, like you, fall under the more common with other ATS schools than this board. I am a moderate baptist, uh oh, and I attend a moderate to liberal seminary. The school I attend is only accredited by ATS, because it only offers a MDiv and DMin. The same standard is for RA's Harvard, will be vastly different from DTS, SBTS, etc. I can't see ATS being able to make a rule for everyone to accept these alternative sexualities, but I believe it should require every student and faculty to deal with these matters.
     
  9. Joseph M. Smith

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    Isn't Mohler setting up a straw man? The report from the originating group says that they are going to recommend "sexual justice" policies as accrediting standards. It does not say that ATS is going to accept them or even consider them seriously. And that may not even be a smart move to make, anyway. I am a seminary trustee (John Leland Center) and we found that the ATS visitors, etc., are no pushovers!

    If I announce that I am going to recommend that my deacons apply a standard of discipline to my church members, do I not run the risk that they will be offended at my going public and just turn me down flat? And if then my fellow pastor down the street, wanting to puff his position, starts talking about how the deacons at my place are "going to" take that stance, has he not moved too far too soon in order to look orthodox at my expense?
     
  10. StefanM

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    But regional accreditation is not religious accreditation. The religious element completely changes the scenario.
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    I appreciate Dr. Mohler, his ministry, and his desire for the truth to be preserved. This is a funny little issue and I'm glad he has brought it to our attention.

    Sexuality is a difficult enough issue in evangelical contexts. We've gone from not talking about it enough to talking about it (in some contexts) way too much. How many churches seriously need to do the "30-day Sex Challenge"? Really?

    I will say that most seminarians I know are grossly undertrained in how to deal with sexual ethics and the proliferation of a sexual culture when they leave the cloisters of seminary. How do you talk with someone who has an STD? Is involved in a homosexual lifestyle? Is enjoying multiple sexual partners (of both genders)? Uses sexual intimacy as a true barometer of relational health? How do you do this without using the cliched language of last century? Seriously how?

    That said I don't know of any seminary that doesn't provide a course in sexual ethics. We don't need a course that this wayward institutions are proposing though. It is just plain foolishness.

    ATS is a good accreditting body. Obviously it is still the standard for seminares. I have some disagreements with them (primarily over the use and opportunity of online courses as a good method of education.) I just don't see them adopting this kind of coursework.

    The rebellion from good seminaries would be too much.

    Thanks for the thread!:thumbs:
     

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