SWBTS revises M.Div. curriculum

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by gb93433, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Read the article at http://www.swbts.edu/pr/pressrelease.cfm?id=149

    It will be interesting to see how many students will go into the Religious Education school. That was the reason the non-language track was started in the late 80's by Dr. Cranford and Dr. Corley.

    Will history repeat itself at SWBTS. Imagine pastors getting out with little theology and no language training!
     
  2. JGrayhound

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    Why would you go to seminary and duck out on theology and languages?
     
  3. Baptist Believer

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    You and I wouldn't, but I knew plenty of folks who did in order to get their "piece of paper".

    I worked with a number of seminary students at one point and we often talked about seminary stuff.

    I know some folks will think my biases are showing, but honestly all but one of the persons I knew who did it were "conservative resurgence" diehards. That's not to say all of them did it, some folks (on both sides of the issues) were very diligent in their studies, but a slight majority of them wanted to get through seminary as quickly and easily as possible because they knew that most people in the churches wouldn't know the difference.

    A former pastor of mine who was the chairman of the Executive Committee a few years ago earned his "doctorate" shortly before
    he came to our church. In our first meeting with him (I worked on staff at the church), he told all of us that he wanted to be addressed as "Dr. -----" because he had worked hard to earn his degree. :rolleyes: I didn't mind too much since I assumed he had put in a lot of time and effort to work through a Ph.D program. It wasn't until I went to seminary that I discovered the nature of his degree. I couldn't find his dissertation in the usual places, so I did a search on the computerized catalog system and discovered that he decided to get a D.Min from the Religious Education department. I retrieved a copy of his "dissertation" and discovered that it was actually a preaching project on stewardship with a paper that analyzed the results of preaching on stewardship for (I think) 18 weeks. Reading through his sermon outlines and the paper, I realized that I had done better work for some of my college classes. :eek: His degree is, in my opinion, a sham degree designed to increase his standing among his peers and church members. :rolleyes:

    To his credit, he did take the language classes for his M.Div, but I strongly suspect he would have bailed on the language classes if he had the opportunity.
     
  4. gb93433

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    Just ask those you know who were students at SWBTS about how many took Dr. Lorin Cranford for Greek. His Greek classes usually ended at about 15 students or less. But consistently it was one of his students that won the Greek award. He was criticized by some of the higher ups for not catering to the students who didn't want to study so hard.

    If you go to seminary to learn you will take the professors that demand a lot. But if to get a degree then you will take less demanding professors. Once a student told me that he did not want to take Dr. Cranford because he wanted to keep his GPA up. In the class I was in there was only one student who received an "A".
     
  5. JGrayhound

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    You would be pleasantly surprised by the excitement at SBTS over the languages. Of course you always have your guys that want a youth ministry or music degree, but most of the theology students take their Greek and Hebrew very seriously.

    I definitely lose respect for anyone who tries to avoid taking languages, or theology classes.
     
  6. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
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    Baptist Believer

    The education department at SWBTS has never given out a DMin, they have only recently started giving out a DEdMin to ministers of education that wanted an equivilent degree to the DMin - that is a doctoral degree that is heavy in the applicaton, but not intended to be used to teach on a college or seminary level.
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    I definitely agree with you there... I always tried to get the more challenging professors -- it kept it interesting for me.

    My favorites were:
    ---------------
    Keith Putt - Philosophy classes and biblical interpretation
    Lorin Cranford - Greek
    David Garland - Hebrew and New Testament
    William Estep - Church history and Church and State
    James L. Garrett - Theology of American Cults
    James Spivey - Church History
    Henry Smith - Missiology
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    Hmm... I checked his online resume and it lists a "Doctor of Ministry" degree from Southwestern. I know from looking it up that it was focused on "Religious Education". His project was devoted to a sermon series on stewardship. Perhaps it was managed through the School of Theology, but it certainly was not quality work or doctrinally sound.

    Notable in one of his sermons was the idea that God loves people who are obedient with their money more than those who are less obedient. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I noticed that they added another semester of Hebrew. I certainly applaud them for this.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  10. Baptist Believer

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    Nothing wrong with that... I had just started feeling comfortable with Hebrew toward the end of the second semester. A third semester would have been very helpful.
     
  11. gb93433

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    What is the quality of the third semester of Hebrew? Is it equivalent to what we had in one year or is it 1.5 times as much?

    A friend of mine at DTS had in three years what we had with Dr. Cranford in two.

    I am told the enrollemnt at SWBTS is way down from what it was when I was there.

    Anybody know what the enrollemt at SWBTS is among the master's and doctoral students?

    What do you think about Patterson wanting to add an undergraduate school?

    Personally I think it is a mistake. I am glad that I majored in something else. It has done me well for many years.
     
  12. gb93433

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    I had some of the same professors as you did. When were you there? I still talk with Dr. Cranford by phone regularly. Those men are men of God and great professors as well. Nobody could sit around and chew the fat if they had those professors you listed. I thank God for how well they helped me to be prepared.
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    I was at Southwestern from Spring 1990 until Spring 1995, but I took one year and a couple of semesters off because of a major family crisis and some financial difficulties.
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    If I, being a current SWBTS student (and a particularly well established student in regards to my involvement with administration officials at this beloved school), might interject some information into the conversation I would appreciate you all hearing me out.

    I am currently in my last year (Fall 04 last semester) of my MDiv work at SWBTS. I was fortunate to get on the Advanced Track MDiv program here at SWBTS because one of my majors in undergrad (Liberty U.) was religion. I believe firmly that to be called as a pastor is to be equipped to fully serve the saints and represent the Word of God accurately and completely. The worst thing that happened to the MDiv cirriculum at this seminary was track-2 (non-languages.) The whole theology faculty at this institution also hold my, and other students', position on this matter. It was a glorious day when we saw the revised MDiv cirriculum to do away with track-2 and require a third semester of Hebrew. There has been much rejoicing lately here on campus. A seminary student, regardless of their ministry emphasis (youth, evangelism, etc.) has no business graduating without proper language training. The third semester of Hebrew will be a class called Hebrew Exegetical Methods and will focus on taking the grammar and basic instruction of the first two semesters and put the rubber to the road in dealing with issues of syntax, verse construction, context, and how to properly interpret portions of the OT. The professors teaching this course are some of the best profs we have at SWBTS and I am fully confident in their abilities to train up the future pastor-theologians our seminary will be turning out.

    Other good changes in the MDiv cirriculum will be the addition of the Women's Studies programme and the option of declaring a specific ministry emphasis (pastor, evangelist, etc.) which will allow for a concentration in that area. The establishment of the expository preaching center will be headed by our new Dean of Theology Dr. David Allen who is an excellent expositor and teacher. SWBTS saw the enrollment for this spring semester increase, which is unheard of at higher education insitutions. With the arrival of Drs. Patterson we are anticipating great things from this seminary and are excited to see these things beginning to happen. I really believe the best days are ahead of SWTBS as it continues to be the largest seminary in North America.

    Now to mention something about the students who have opted to take the now destitute MDiv track-2 program. Some seminary students no matter the size of the school are at seminary to get a simple degree that will give them a cushy job failing God's calling in minstry. We as pastor-theologians are called to be excellent in our training and presentation of Christ, not only from a moral-spiritual aspect but also an academic-knowledge aspect. I know many a student who is on the track-2 program and most of them are at SWBTS for the reason that this will allow them to get a basic seminary degree, go out into the ministry field, and never really be stretched in their education. I believe it is a fair statement to make that most MDiv track-2 students are on easy street and don't really want to get off that street. Yet we cannot blame the seminary for this group of people. The track-2 program was not created for students entering the pastorate at any level. (I have personally been in favor of exit examinations from seminary that will have the students leaving show their adequate training and retention in the areas of the languages, theology, philosophy, history, pastoral ministry, preaching/teaching, and other ministry areas...but my view is a minority view around here and I recognize that.) When speaking to many of the students on the track-2 cirriculum and inquiring why they are on that track the basic reply is because all the tools are out there already and they need further training in that regard. Unfortuantely when presented with Vine's dictionary, BDB, BADG, or some other language tool in concert with a text these students have never been able to adequately handle the text or answer basic questions. We might as well write 007 on the back of their graduation gowns for they are going into ministry with a license to kill and will use it in that regard.

    Great things are happening at SWBTS. I am excited to see how God continues to use this wonderful school for His Kingdom glory. Thanks for hearing me out.
     
  15. RandR

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    Jimmy is right that the D.EdM. is relatively new. And BB is right that it would certainly have been possible to do a D.Min that looked like an RE project.

    But the DMin program at SWBTS is currently in a stage of being rebuilt. In fact, a recent group of new D.Min students was specifically told NOT to look at any D.Min projects from the last decade as examples. There are genuine efforts being made to increase the theoogical reflection of projects and to improve the argumentation and writing level of projects.

    The academic integrity of the program at SWBTS is improving. Unfortunately...in an era when one could basically buy a D.Min from any one of a dozen places, no amount of improvements will overcome some people's negative perception of the D.Min in general.
     
  16. gb93433

    gb93433
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    preachinjesus:

    Don’t get me wrong when you read the following. I believe that every pastor and every teacher ought to be as best prepared as they can possibly be both academically and practically. We oew it to the congregations and to God.

    You probably know that many SBC missionaries are not required to have a seminary degree.

    One of the main reasons I went to seminary was to learn Hebrew and Greek. I had Dr. Harry Hunt for Hebrew and Dr. Lorin Cranford for Greek. They are some of the finest men you could ever meet. The vast majority of students would not take him. The reason I regularly heard was because he was so hard. I even heard one student tell me was because he wanted to get a doctorate and taking Dr. Cranford would reduce his GPA. If you would like to see what he is teaching his undergraduate students go to http://www.cranfordville.com/GWUclass.htm and click on any of the Greek tabs. Click on Greek 202 and see how that compares to what you are learning now in your last semester of Greek. Take a look at what he requires for an exegesis paper in Greek 202. He regularly heard complaints from the administration about how his classes were so small.

    The majority of pastors who have kept up their skills in the languages is very small. The SBC will not help you and most of the churches will not appreciate your discipline in this.

    The SBC is so interested in nickels and noses that most of what you hear is about that. They will report about the numbers of members but not attendance. They give out the annual cooperative program giving and then list the top ten or 50 churches in giving to the program. The seminary and colleges have pictures of those who donates large sums of money. How worldly can they get?

    At the conferences you go to, start some dialog with the speakers and try and discuss some aspect of what you have learned in Hebrew and Greek. Start a dialog with pastors and other leaders in the SBC you meet outside of the seminary and you will find out what I mean.

    Let me leave you with two questions: Have you ever been to any conference or heard any chapel speaker who works for the SBC ever express the need for languages and the importance of them? Never once can I ever remember a chapel speaker or SBC worker ever talking about that. Most of the time it was about getting people to come to church. Have any of your professors ever demonstrated to you how to make disciples? In my personal discussions with professors and students the number is less than five percent who currently are making disciples in the community.

    And that where the real problem lies. You can have all the education you want and still be dead and disobedient to Matthew 28:19,20. If you are not personally making disciples then how can you lead a church in doing this?

    Take a look at http://www.gospelcom.net/navs/collegiate/resources/borntoreproduce.pdf
     

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