Southern, Southeastern, Southwestern

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by notafan, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. notafan

    notafan
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    Can anyone give me basic overviews of Southern, Southeastern, and Southwestern seminaries?

    Theology (more/less reformed), Focus (I've heard Southern focuses on theology, Southeastern on the Great Commission, etc), Notable professors, Atmosphere (chapel services, campus, etc), the seminary's President, etc..

    Things like Cost I can find on the schools' websites, but it is harder to find some other things that are important.

    And please give well-reasoned explanations. I've seen a few threads where people just rant about how bad a school is without giving any legitimate reasons for why the school is bad.
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    notafan, welcome to the Baptist Board. I can't answer your OP questions, but it'd be great if you could tell us more about yourself. May i suggest you go up to the very first thread "Welcome to the Baptist Board," and fill in some blanks. Where are you from? You have family? Do you pastor?

    Let's get acquainted.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    That's a great question. Real quick before I drop some time into a reply:

    Why are you asking? and are you intending on attending one of the seminaries? Just curious. Thanks! :)
     
  4. notafan

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    Yes, I am planning on attending one in about 2 years.

    I've been praying about it, talking to the few people I know who know anything about seminaries, and finding out as much as I can about them online. I feel like I have a pretty good idea what each seminary is like (at least, as best I can without having visited any yet) but I would like to hear from people who attend one of them, have graduated from one, etc.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  5. 12strings

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    I put this summary on another thread...it may be helpful...

    Here's a Quick Run-Down for you from information I have heard the last few years (all unofficial, of Course). Hope it is helpful.

    1. Seminaries:
    -Southern Seminary (SBTS) puts out the most Calvinists Pastors, led by Al Mohler, a Calvinist. (interstingly, None of the DEANS at sbts would identify themselves as calvinists, Though some of them are 4 pointers, and many other of the professors would.
    -Southeastern may be second, as Danny Akin is probalby a 3-4 pointer, and has no problem with calvinists.
    -Southwestern (texas) is strongly against calvinism, led by Paige Patterson. It has been reported that several years ago he actually worked to remove all calvinist proffessors.
    -Midwestern, New Orleans, Golden Gate...I haven't heard anything...they don't make the news.

    2. Pastors (quoted from Baptist Press):

    Quote:
    Stetzer, who also is LifeWay's missiologist in residence, noted that the research showed that among pastors of Southern Baptist churches who are recent SBC seminary graduates, 29 percent indicated they are Calvinists. Stetzer said 27 percent of 1,234 recent seminary graduate respondents serving in SBC church leadership positions "somewhat agree" or "strongly agree" that they are five-point Calvinists, while 67 percent affirmed that God's "grace is irresistible" and 58 percent said they believe "people do not choose to become Christians, God chooses and calls people who respond to him."

    The numbers of graduates who affirmed Calvinism rose steadily between students who graduated in 1998 and those who completed their degrees in 2004, Stetzer said. In the last year of the study, 34 percent of those serving in SBC churches identified themselves as five-point Calvinists...

    ..."At the end of the day, Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike in our churches are failing to engage lostness in North America. This theological discussion has to lead to missional action and that missional action needs to cause Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike to love each other and to encourage each other and to provoke one another on to love and good deeds."
    3. Churches: I would say the vast majority have members of all stripes on this issue, though majority Non-cal, I'm sure. Though I'm also sure it is Geographic to some extent surrounding the Seminaries. For example I live about an hour from Louisville (SBTS), and I know many of the Louisville churches are calvinistic, and many of the churches in our vicinity are pastored by calvinistic Men. I'm sure if you went to SBC churches around Southwestern you would find the opposite trend.

    (Disclaimer of possible bias: I am a recent SBTS Grad, Current Music & Youth Pastor at an SBC Church one hour from Louisville (for 5 years), mostly calvinistic in soteriology. My church has 3 other pastors, all calvinists, though we may argue about limited atonement. Our church has members on all sides of this issue, most are not calvinists...But I think most know that we are, and sometimes joke about it to us. We have had some lively Sunday school discussion about the issues...and we still all love each other. And we have one guy who seems to agree with Unconditional Election, but disagree with eternal security...so I don't know what he is...He might just be a Christian )
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    I'll give a fairly even handed run down of the major SBC seminaries for you. Please feel free to interact. Also, as a caveat, I am an alumnus of SWBTS (which will be surprising given my comments.)

    Southern (SB,) located in Louisville is the oldest of the SBC seminaries.
    Southwestern (SW,) located in Ft Worth is the second oldest.
    Southeastern (SE,) located on the old campus of Wake Forest University is one of the younger seminaries.

    My initial thoughts about all three are:
    SB - this is, right now, the strongest SBC seminary. The leadership of the school has really assembled a strong faculty and it is producing some great work. If I were to recommend any of the three seminaries, I'd recommend Southern.

    SE - is rising quickly and is assembling some of the best faculty at an evangelical seminary. Some, particularly around here, would place it alongside SB, but I don't think that is the case. Both are strong schools, but SB has a better faculty, resources, and vision.

    SW - used to be the largest seminary in N America, but it is continuing to decline. They have a good faculty but only a few significant theologians. A lot of this has to do with the current leadership who are intent on turning the school into some kind of fundamentalist institution than a more reasonable voice.

    All the seminaries are focused on training and equipping individuals for ministry. All three seek to do this using a biblical method.

    SB - is particularly focused on theological studies and is really producing some great ministers. If you're looking for a more theological degree that is focused on academic studies SB is a good institution. In terms of campus and community life, I don't know of many institutions that can keep up with SB. The campus is simply amazing. Dr Mohler, the President, is well renowned and has developed not only a lasting vision but assembled to proper people around him to facilitate accomplishing that vision.

    SE - is focused on ministry and missions more than any other seminary I know of in the SBC. They are constantly talking mission and putting praxis to the theory in the classrooms. The campus is a good one, particularly that it is growing and exists in the fine buildings that made up the old Wake Forest campus. The Raleigh-Durham community is pretty wonderful as a crossroads of ministry and culture. Dr Akin is a good president who has helped the seminary turn the corner and move forward in his tenure.

    SW - is focused on ministry and preaching. Probably better than the other seminaries, their preaching studies really bring together a lot of what is talked about in the classroom. They view this as the ultimate goal of ministry. The campus is very nice (I spent 3 years there) and the library is rather good. Dr Patterson is an interesting character who came to the school in an intriguing transition from the previous administration. I'll leave my thoughts here.

    If you go and download the academic handbook or seminary catalog these details will be disclosed. When talking with an admissions person they should be willing to provide this info upfront. If not, they're not good at what they do.

    In general, if I was planning on going to seminary, and charting the same course of pastoral ministry that I'm in now, I would start at Southern and then consider other, non-SBC seminaries like DTS, TEDS, or PTS. If I had to stay in the SBC (and why not, the cost is a third of the rest of these schools) Southern would be hands down my first, and almost only, alternative.

    Southwestern (this isn't a rant) is just in a bad place. They aren't growing in their student population and the whole place is stuck in some kind of intellectual torpor. It isn't what it used to be. I can't recommend it for most students.

    I hope this helps.
     
  7. jonathan.borland

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    My time at Southeastern (M.Div., 2003; Th.M., 2009) was one of the fondest in my life. The area is small town but with benefits of big town just 5-10 mins away. Good mix of intellect and practical ministry among faculty. Missions is a big focus (I'm a product of this focus, being overseas since 2001). They also have the distinction of having the most beautiful ministry-minded women to choose from if you happen to be single -- I met my wife there :).
     
  8. Rhetorician

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    Hello to all:

    I would have to say a hearty "AMEN!" to all my esteemed colleague has asserted.

    I started out over thirty years at Mid America Seminary. I ended up with a degree from there and an MDiv under Al Mohler's tenure from SBTS. I was one of the original "grunts" in the "Conservative Resurgence." What this brother says is "spot-on!" I have been around long enough to see and bear witness to the changes in the SBC seminaries and the "not-SBC" seminary-seminaries (if you know what I mean?!).

    I would choose wisely the seminary you want to attend. There was an old road sign when the "Model T" Fords first started coming into play and wagons were very much still in use. "Pick your ruts for you will be in them for the next few miles."

    This is not at all to say that the seminary training received will leave you in a rut. But the Model T and the wagons had different wheel widths. It is to say that training and education you receive in a seminary, especially the philosophy (or theology of ministry) learned you will never get over.

    So I think you are asking good questions and are getting good wisdom from Preaching Jesus. :smilewinkgrin:

    My two cents worth. :applause:

    "That is all!" :thumbsup:
     
  9. notafan

    notafan
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    Thanks to everyone who has answered so far, especially Preachin Jesus. Really helpful advice.

    I forgot to mention (although it seems that everyone assumed) that I am going to pursue and mDiv and that I am not yet sure what area of ministry is in my future.
     
  10. Greektim

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    I would recommend SEBTS because it has a more diverse faculty than SBTS. You will get a host more views there based on the wide range of faculty. And as far as NT studies go (my major at this moment; in their ThM), I think SEBTS is second to none in that field having some awesome guys there like Black, Kohstenberger, and Robinson (and others of course). Not saying SBTS doesn't have good NT profs. In fact, Dr. Pennington taught a class at SEBTS that I took and really stood out as one of those influential professors. The week I was with him, he opened my eyes to a vast new world of scholarship. (Read everything you can by him! especially his Reading the Gospels Wisely and his article on the middle voice verb in Greek and doing away w/ deponents). And Schreiner is of course great.

    My best friend finished his ThM there and really thought highly of the OT faculty, Dr. Cole in particular (he was an OT major and Dr. Cole studied w/ Sailhamer). He just started an Dmin w/ Akin and some other preaching profs there (they get some good adjunct guys too). So far, he speaks very highly of it.

    However, if posterity is important to you, than SBTS is the way to go. And there is no shame in saying that you want to go to a school that has the best reputation. I don't know that any SBC seminary is going to overtake that one... not even SEBTS which is just as good, IMHO.

    In short, you could do much worse if you went to a seminary other than SEBTS or SBTS. I've not heard a lot of good things about SWBTS. But I only have hearsay... nothing substantial.

    GO TO SOUTHEASTERN!!! =-D
     
  11. RG2

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    I have to start by saying I'm in the position of deciding where to do my seminary right now, I will probably start in the Summer or Fall. I had planned on going about 5-6 years ago but ended up being side tracked, so I've been keeping tabs on them for a while.

    Second, in your case I would avoid making my decision this early. I've seen a number of changes in the last couple of years, and I don't doubt that there will be more in the next two years.

    On to what I have heard in my search about the schools.

    1) SWBTS
    I hear a lot about SWBTS since I live in the D/FW area. As others have said, not all of it is good... in fact most of it isn't. SWBTS used to be better regarded but it seems that has gone down quite a bit in the last couple of years. Again a lot of it seems to be through the grapevine. I do know a lot of it just has to due with the lack of any big names in the faculty. There has been a big shift of the faculty there and a lot of younger professors have been added to the staff that haven't made a name for themselves yet. As far as theologically I don't know if I'd don't know if I'd say that SWBTS is anti-calvinist, but they are certainly not pro-calvinist. As far as enrollment it's weird to say but I think gas prices going up has probably hurt SWBTS's enrollment as much as the downturn in reputation. There are a number of guys I know over here on the Dallas side that probably would have gone to SWBTS but are reconsidering partly due to the gas costs. Also between Dallas Baptist University's MACE, Criswell College's MDiv, and Dallas Theological Seminary, I think those pull students away as well.

    2) NOBTS
    They seem to have a big focus on ministry and evangelism. They were building a good reputation but were set back a bit because of Katrina.

    3) SBTS
    There's enough out there I don't need to speak on this. Like others have said it's pretty much the epicenter of Calvinism in the SBC.

    4) Golden Gate
    Again like others, I haven't heard much.

    5) Midwestern
    In transition now, the new president (Dr. Jason Allen) was just elected a couple weeks ago. Allen is from Southern so it'll be interesting to see how that might affect things. Not really well supported by churches and the community. Midwestern for a long time was known for being fairly liberal.

    6) SEBTS - Don't have any experience with SEBTS

    7) Non SBC Big 6 seminaries.
    There seems to have been a rise especially in Texas with non SBC seminaries rising up. There has been the BGCT supported Truett (Baylor) and Logden (Hardin-Simmons) as well as the SBTC supported Criswell College.

    Anyway all that being said I plan on visiting a number of campuses this spring so I guess I'll find a little bit more then.
     
    #11 RG2, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2012
  12. Speedpass

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    Don't forget about the B H Carroll Theological Institute. I would choose it over Truett or Logsdon simply because it is not partnering w/the CBF.
     
  13. RG2

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    Only reason I didn't mention BHCTI was due to the lack of RA, but I know one person who was at SWBTS and ended up transferring to BHCTI. They've gone a long way in the last 5 years or so on the accreditation front though.
     
  14. reverist

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    I am going to try to go to Southeastern in the Fall. I have an MAR from Liberty, but I'd like to do PhD studies. Moving up there seems to be the best idea, for a variety of reasons. :)
     
  15. Jack Matthews

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    My brother looked into Southwestern at one point, and echoes what's been said here. On the other hand, it seems significantly less expensive than DBU or DTS, to make it a more viable option for Southern Baptist students, anyway.

    I don't know how many different programs are offered at the extension centers, but Southern has a lot of distance and online options as well. I know several people from our church who've gone to the Nashville extension, and like it a lot.

    I've heard Dr. Akin speak on a couple of occasions. If Southeastern is a reflection of his energy and attitude, then I'd say you can't miss by going there.
     
  16. mont974x4

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    Thank you all for posting your thoughts on this thread.
     

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