Southern Baptist Seminary or Luther Rice

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by brackinja, May 28, 2007.

  1. brackinja

    brackinja
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    I really like both of these schools, but the only problem I have is the j-terms that you have to do through Southern.... I am full-time staff and would have a problem getting off for a week to go..... Luther Rice's m.div is 96 hours online, but the Southern Baptist Masters degree I think would go much farther.... any sugguestions?
     
  2. Rhetorician

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    Brackinja Response!

    Dear Brother,

    May God's blessings and wisdom abide on you as you choose.

    I would suggest that:

    First, The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville is one of the most outstanding seminaries anywhere around at the present time. I say that as a 1995 MDiv grad with Biblical Languages and an emphasis in Higher Education. You will be hard pressed to find a better all-around MDiv education.

    Secondly, Luther Rice has really come a long way in the last few years especially in the way of accreditation, new hire faculty members, etal.

    Thirdly, I am afraid that the on line program at Southern might be more aggressive and challenging than that of LR. I have no empirical data for this "feeling" and that is all it is.

    Fourth, if you are a "real Southern Baptist" then the MDiv from Southern can and maybe will become your "union card" for allowing you to have ministry opportunities later in life that may not be open to you as an alum of LR.

    Fifth, you can surely do grad PhD, ThD, ThM, studies with the MDiv from Southern even at some prestigious Grad School of Religion at a "Big Name" university.

    Sixth, as a general rule in education, "you can pay me now or pay me later." As has been discussed ad infinitum ad nauseum (sp?) on the BB quicker is not always better and seldom is.

    I could probably think of some other really good reasons but will leave that up to my colleagues.

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  3. Broadus

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    I have an MDiv ('85) and a DMin ('92) from LRS and an MDiv ('98) and a PhD ('03) from SBTS. Admittedly, my LRS experience is dated. Recognizing that, though, my advice would be this: if you can do the on-campus work at SBTS, complete your degree there. I really don't care about "union cards" and such, but SBTS provides a more challenging and rigorous education.

    On the other hand, if it is not possible to continue to meet the on-campus requirements for SBTS, LRS is a good alternative.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  4. Martin

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    ==If I had the choice, I would choose Southern. That's not to crash LRU, but just my personal preference. Unlike other folks in this thread I am not a Southern graduate, I am a Liberty graduate (MA). However I think this is a decision you have to make. You need to (a) make it prayerfully and (b) make it practically. Is Southern's "J-Terms" something you can really do? If you need a total on-line program Luther Rice is probably your best bet (because they offer languages). If you can get to campus, Southern would be your best bet.
     
  5. GARick

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    Brackinja,

    Congratulations on your decision to pursue your MDiv. I graduated from LRU last year and found my studies there rewarding and aligned with my needs. As others have said, much of the choice between LRU and SBTS depends on your goals. A couple of considerations and recommendations below:

    Accreditation: If you feel you may someday want to continue on to a PhD then SBTS is the better choice due to regional accreditation (SACS) versus LRU’s TRACS accreditation. The DMin at LRU may also be an option depending on goals.

    SBC: If you are targeting a career with SBC affiliated organizations then SBTS is the better choice as it is affiliated with the SBC (the flagship SBC school). LRU’s doctrine is aligned with the SBC but there is no direct affiliation.

    Doctrine: If you are not familiar with Al Mohler (SBTS President) I suggest you do a lit search and read some of his work to ensure that you are aligned with his (and therefore SBTS’s) doctrinal beliefs.

    Pragmatic: I believe you’ll find the LRU MDiv to be 90 hours (vs. the 96 cited in your post) and two classes per semester is manageable in the on-line format with a full-time job. You should be able to complete the degree in 5 years.

    If you have any specific questions about LRU feel free to contact me.

    Rick
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    seems like a no brainer to me...I'd choose Southern in a heartbeat over Luther Rice.

    If you've got a choice go with the stronger school. SBTS out paces LRS by about a thousand lengths when it comes down to it.

    Academics first, SBTS dominates the game. You can't put anybody at LRS up against the faculty at SBTS in terms of scholarship and classroom pedagogy.

    Also campus life is another consideration. LRS isn't an attractive campus and there isn't nearly as vibrant a student life as SBTS. Also, while Atlanta is indeed a hoping place, Louisville is far better. (I live in ATL and have been to Louisville often...I like Louisville a lot better.)

    Accreditation is an issue. LRS is getting there and I applaud their efforts. But you need a place that gives you options.

    I appreciate LRS, I've got friends who have gone there. But you can't deny the opportunity that SBTS is presenting.

    This is your vocational future, SBTS helps equip for that future and let you be more complete in heading out for the ministry God has called you for in this life. Just my opinion though :)
     
  7. PastorSBC1303

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    This is my thought as well. I do not see why anyone would choose LR over Southern.
     
  8. Martin

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    ==I think Southern dominates the academic game all around. There are very few seminaries out there with the academic background of Southern. I would choose Southern over any seminary. I would choose Southern over Southeastern, Dallas, Southwestern, New Orleans, Wheaton, Trinity Evangelical, and even Liberty. Don't get me wrong! Each of those schools are wonderful and have strong academic standings. However Southern is just better.

    ==I've never really thought about that aspect of it. I am not much of a campus life person anyway. I am much more a library, bookstore nerd than a campus life person. You will not find me hanging out in the student center (etc), you will find me reading a book someplace.



    ==Yes it is your opinion, but your opinion is correct. :thumbs:
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    fair enough, and on almost all of these schools we'd agree (Liberty doesn't deserve to be in that list imho, and I'm an alum.) I would have to say that between Southern and Dallas (if money weren't an issue nor length of degree) I'd pick Dallas hands down over Southern. But we can talk about that more if others want.


    I think campus life and interaction with other students is just as important as academics. Your profs can lead you lots of places and take you into the depths of Christian thought, but you're fellow students help round out the conversation. While I didn't completely enjoy my time at seminary (it wasn't SBTS or Dalas) the students I met and interacted with helped round out the experience.

    You'll always learn more out of the classroom than inside the classroom. I think campus life is huge for consideration. LRS doesn't have much of one.

    thanks for the reply :)
     
  10. StefanM

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    Not to be rude,but it seems that the OP wouldn't be all that interested in campus life if he's doing his studies by distance.

    I personally wouldn't go to Southern because of its strong Calvinistic bent. For Calvinists (or those whom it wouldn't bother), though, it would be a very good choice, if possible.
     
  11. PastorSBC1303

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    I think this is an unfair statement regarding Southern. No doubt, Southern has a Calvinistic lean to it in many ways. However, many seem to think that if you attend Southern you are going to be bombarded with Calvinism and changing your theology, etc. This is simply not true from my experience with the seminary.

    I have been a part of several classes at Southern and not once has the issue of Calvinism been addressed by a professor in a classroom setting. The only times it has been addressed have been by students sitting around having coffee, etc. And I believe you will find this at any seminary.

    So I do not think Southern having a "Calvinistic bent" to it is a legitimate reason to say choose LR or any other school.
     
  12. TomVols

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    Well said. Calvinism is not shoved down your throat at SBTS. People forget that the same doctrinal statement that governs SBTS also governs Southeastern, yet no one blasts SEBTS with this charge, though Dr. Akin was the dean of the school of Theology at SBTS.
     
  13. StefanM

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    I have never visited SEBTS, but I have known for quite some time that the Abstract is the SoF at SEBTS.

    No matter what anyone might say, the simple fact is this: the professors are bound to a Calvinist statement of faith, and this reality draws many like-minded students.

    I visited Southern about a year ago with an open mind toward the Calvinism thing. In conversations around campus, I just stayed silent a lot because I didn't want to be singled out for not being a Calvinist.
     
  14. StefanM

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    An institution's statement of faith is a very legitimate reason to choose or to avoid any particular school. The Abstract of Principles is a strongly Calvinistic statement. You can't be anything less than a 4-pointer without violating it in some form. Because Dr. Mohler has brought the institution to close adherence to the Abstract, the faculty is full of Calvinists. Now, it may not become an issue in many classes, but the fact remains: SBTS is a Calvinist insitution, based on its statement of faith.

    This is not to say that a non-Calvinist will be "converted" to Calvinism there or will not be tolerated, but Calvinism is the official position of the school. I'm sure that Calvinists might be welcome at many Arminian/Wesleyan schools, too, but that doesn't change the soteriological orientation of the school.
     
  15. PastorSBC1303

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    Stefan, I think you are stretching things a bit. I think you are making some broad assumptions based on one campus visit. But thats your right and you are free to choose any seminary you like.
     
  16. Rhetorician

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    StefanM Response

    Hello Dear Bro. Stefan,

    I hope you are well.

    Let me speak to the issues that have been addressed just a bit if I may?

    James Boyce who wrote Southern's Abstract of Principles was what would be characterized today as a Calvinist. But during his day it was just the standard "stock and trade" for most Baptists who would go on to be Southern Baptists.

    And even this "moderate Calvinism" as it has been called in other venues was of the tint and hue of Andrew Fuller. It was a Reformed understanding of grace that was formed by the newly found missionary zeal. All of the founders of SBTS did believe in a limited atonement. But all had a "warm heart for evangelism" and missions. Always and under all circumstances did they "persuade men" to repent and turn to Christ as the sole means of salvation.

    Let us give credit where credit is due. But let us also not make more than what they were. I am and have been spending much much time in the primary documents of Broadus in particular trying to get this volume out. And I would have all know that he and Boyce loved Christ, the lost, and His Church immensely. And they always preached and taught with these three in view.

    Just some words of exhortation and hopefully correction.

    No rebuke intended!!

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  17. preachinjesus

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    the Reformed card is overplayed when it comes to Southern imho. If you want to go to a truly Reformed seminary check out Calvin or Reformed Seminaries. There is lots of room for theological movement at Southern.

    As for the OP, the reality is that the Southern degree will always go farther in life than one from LRS. Of course just the degree is half the battle, showing up ready, willing, and able for ministry is the other half.
     
  18. StefanM

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    I never said that everyone on campus was a Calvinist or that every person would feel uncomfortable if not a Calvinist, but that was my personal, limited experience during my visit.

    My belief that SBTS is a Calvinist institution has nothing to do with my campus visit. That is entirely based upon other factors, namely Dr. Mohler's administration and the Abstract of Principles.

    I know that the SBC was mostly Calvinist at its inception and that the Calvinistic quality of SBTS was nothing unusual. In the years since, however, things have changed in the SBC at large, and Calvinists (4/5 pointers, at least) are in the minority. At SBTS, though, the professors will be Calvinist. Now, many of the professors may not be overly vocal about it, and it may not become an issue most of the time (if ever). Nevertheless, a non-Calvinist Southern Baptist will not be hired to teach theology at SBTS.

    For this reason, I think it is important to consider the Calvinism factor. It may not be important for many, and I, for one, do not have a problem with having a Calvinist as a professor. I would personally appreciate some non-Calvinists as instructors, however. That means that SBTS was off my list, but it is an excellent option for many others.
     
  19. TomVols

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    The same SoF that binds SBTS binds SEBTS.
    I mean no ill will towards you, Stefan. However, I think the experience of some of us who spent years there is more telling or weighty, perhaps, than the experience of one who spent hours there.

    SBTS should not be avoided due to some supposed Calvinist permeation.
     
  20. StefanM

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    Yes, SBTS and SEBTS have the same statement of faith.

    But...

    Are non-Calvinist Southern Baptists hired as professors in the School of Theology at SBTS?

    The answer to this question matters to some people. I do not doubt the experiences of those who attended SBTS, but experiences do not affect this question.

    Once again, my concern is not with the culture of the seminary. I admit that I am not an authority on this, and I will defer. But the question of the institution's confessional position is not limited to those who have attended SBTS.
     

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