The Master of Divinity Degree

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Hey Gents & Gals (not PC I know),

    Is the MDiv degree a valid degree without the Biblical Languages? Or, should one going into the Pastoral Ministry who has done Master's level work receive a degree to pastor w/out having done the Biblical Languages?

    sdg!

    rd
     
  2. PatsFan

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    Call me a purist, but I don't think it's an MDiv without at least some Greek and Hebrew.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    I just finished an MDiv (AdvTrack) this December and am settling into a ministry position at a great church. I can say unequivocably every pastor (regardlessof particular calling) needs the languages, and lots of em, for what is a pastor called to do? teach...

    how can one teach effectively if they rely on other people for their thoughts and opinions?
     
  4. Hardsheller

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    Sure glad you don't make the rules.

    BTW - how much is enough when studying the Biblical Languages?
     
  5. Broadus

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    I think that one should have at least the basic grammar course and an exegesis course in Hebrew and Greek in order to be able to build on that once one gets on the field.

    Bill
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    well Hardsheller...I'm glad your happy. My question for you what is the calling of a pastor-theologian according to Scripture? what is the continual reiteration by the NT writers?
     
  7. Hardsheller

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    That would be... I'm Glad YOU'RE happy - not your, as long as we're focusing on knowledge of languages! :D

    The Calling of the Pastor is:

    To Shepherd the Flock
    To Preach and Teach the Word

    Are you saying that men lacking training in Hebrew and Greek are not qualified to be Pastors of Churches?
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    sorry my spleee chker didn't catch my miscue...

    you're exactly right, the pastor handles God's two most precious things:

    God's Word
    God's People

    Certainly as ministers we must endeavor to be the best at what we do for we serve a great and mighty God. We must challenge our people to be the best Christians they can be. We must challenge them to be the best stewards of what God has given them. We must reflect our challenges.

    If we handle God's Word the best we can why should we fall short and simply take a translation of that delivered Word which (given the particular English translation) represents a theological predisposition in every sentence? Why should we take some translator's word for it when we can go to the texts ourselves and discover the blessing God has for us? Why should we expect a non-inflected language like English to be able to properly translate the heavily inflected languages of Greek and Hebrew (not to mention Aramaic and Latin)?

    Our translations are excellent efforts to deliver to our people a precious commodity from God...His inspired Word. These translations are reliable but only go so far. Tell me how easily an English translation renders an aorist participle with a simple word or two (An interesting example of this is trying to nail down the exact meaning of the Future Passive Particple in Hebrews 3:5)? There is far more to the thought than just that. How about a Hiphil which might be causative or stative? Our English translations do deliver the Word of God in wonderful form for our people. We can discern much from these translations, but are still relying on the word of a human translator.

    If we are to be pastors we need to excellent in equipping the saints. We need to be excellent in teaching the saints. How is avoiding the languages at seminary hard work?

    Let me share a personal word: I took fifteen hours of Greek and nine hours of Hebrew in my seminary days. It greatly prepared me and gave me reference tools (grammars, good lexicons, understanding text-critical problems, etc.) and a working knowledge of the languages so I can go out into my ministry and further develop these. Seminary will never produce someone who is proficient in Greek and Hebrew in three years but rather equips people to continue to develop their skills so they can become so while in ministry.

    Now you asked whether I thought someone without the languages is qualified to be a pastor?

    This question is a bit of a red herring but I'll jump anyways. If you are called to go to seminary and prepare yourself in the MDiv (pastoral ministry) degree you are called to a level of academic excellence which needs to include to languages. If you aren't called to seminary then work on the langauges with an equipped pastor in your field. My grandfather was a SBC pastor for nearly fifty years and never had a lick of the languages. He never went to seminary. He planted a dozen churches. He was an excellent pastor. I still think he was qualified to be a pastor. Do I think someone who is without the languages is in some way disqualified from being a pastor? of course not, but if you are in the place where you are called to equip yourself at an institution sending out the called with the best education to train our laity should we not work to get the languages secured?

    Why is it that we have neglected the stewardship of God's two most precious items? If we are to be the best at our calling, pastor-theologian, we are called to handle God's Word and God's people. We should make every effort to equip ourselves so we can equip them effectively. (Eph 4:11-12)
     
  9. Hardsheller

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    Not wanting to cast cold water on your argument but you did not learn the languages in a vacuum. You depended on someone to define for you the alphabet, the meaning, and the pronunciation of both Hebrew and Greek.

    The reality is that in today's world with all our technology and translation tools and access to literally thousands of books about the Bible we are still influenced by what others have written and have said regardless of how well we know or don't know the Biblical languages.

    I'm not belittling learning the languages. One of the most liberating and fulfilling exercises in all of Biblical Studies is taking a Greek New Testament and translating a chapter or a passage for yourself.
     
  10. PatsFan

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    I agree wholeheartedly with preachinjesus. There are plenty of wonderful pastors who haven't learned the biblical languages. To work on an MDiv without Biblical languates, however, doesn't seem to me to be the genuine MDiv experience. That's more of a Master of Arts or Master of Ministry- -which might be just fine for some ministers
     
  11. PastorSBC1303

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    I believe very strongly that any MDiv needs to include at the minimum a year of Greek and a year of Hebrew.
     
  12. El_Guero

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    A non-PC Rhetorician ... not good rhetorical word play ... ;o)

    No, an MDiv should not require extensive languages unless the intention is exegesis.

    No, the MDiv is not required for God's calling.

    Yes, an MDiv should REQUIRE a focus upon the PROCLAMATION of the Good News and DISCIPLESHIP of the Saints ... (That is what the Lord commanded, right?) It does not matter what language one does NOT understand the Lord's command in.

    The MDiv means Master's of Divinity. It is not a Ph.D. (graduate level research degree.)

    Recent history has seen the degree take on the old meaning of the term. In the old days, the MDiv was a couple of years of research work AFTER the Bachelor's of Divinity. It functioned as our modern Ph.D. In fact, some American Scholars in Theology did not have Ph.D.'s ...

    In the old days - the MDiv was the PhD. Today's MDiv should be viewed as the PRIMARY degree for those that choose a DEGREE for ministry.

    As I have mentioned in other threads, the usage of linguistic studies in the proclamation of the Gospel is as DANGEROUS as it is REWARDING.

    Usage of the original languages gives some people the feeling that their eisegesis is ok ...

    Usage of the original languages gives other people a more humbling encounter with the Word of God.
     
  13. El_Guero

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    How do I know if God called me TO seminary?
     
  14. yabba

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    If you cannot get a peace about going or not going then I urge you to sit in on a couple of classes...or maybe even enroll for a semester...trust me that will make it clear. The knowledge gained for even a semester would be worth it.
     
  15. yabba

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    I wholeheartedly agree. There is nothing like studing the Word in it's orginal form. If one is called to study the Bible academically it should deffinitely include studying from the orginal language.
     
  16. PatsFan

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    In reality the Master of Divinity became the new name for the Bachelor of Divinity- - in the early 1970's, I believe. The programs of study were essentially the same. (A friend of mine who got his B.D. from SWBTS in the 1960's was mailed an MDiv in the 1970's and told of the new name of his degree). You may be confusing the MDiv with the ThM.
     
  17. Rhetorician

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    Broadus, or

    Dr. Bob, or

    UZTHD,

    & ElGuero,

    Hey guys, jump in here and help El Guero get some of his facts straight on the history and purpose of the MDiv degree please.

    Please advise by BB post.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  18. Dr. Bob

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    After a 4 year undergraduate baccalaureate degree (BA, BS) in a field of choice, men went to seminary. There they took 96 additional credits, including 8-16 in Hebrew and 12-18 in Greek required. For this they received ANOTHER baccalaureate degree (BDiv).

    Most went to the pastorate; those continuing on went 36-42 credits for a ThM and then 36 credits for ThD. Ugh.

    Now, the two changes are that the 96 credits beyond the degree is called an MDiv and that some seminaries offer an MDiv that no longer requires Greek or Hebrew.

    If a person is going to be a pastor and able to answer those who ask of the hope within, they had certainly better know biblical languages to know what God said. Depending on commentaries is good (try to read my Keil & Deilitch OT or Lenski NT without knowing Hebrew or Greek and you won't get thru a page).

    I cannot imagine a pastor "expositing" the Word of God from a translation without the ability to study the original languages! They are dependent on someone else and that bothers me.

    BTW, this study of biblical languages does NOT have to be in grad school or seminary. I know many pastors who did not go to seminary but willingly studied deeply into the languages as well as theology. God bless ANY who endure this cruel and unusual punishment!!
     
  19. Mr Mike

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    I was looking into the Seminary program at Liberty University about a year ago. They set the program up sort of like what Bob said... You already have BA/BS... you then take the Masters of Arts in Religion (60 hours) and finally an additional 30 hours to the MDiv. This link is below


    Liberty's MDiv

    So does anyone have an opinion on Liberty University???
     
  20. Rhetorician

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    Pats Fan, &


    Dr. Bob,

    Thanks for the "exposition" on the BD/MDiv. I could have tackled it but may have botched some of the details. As always, you are our "go to" guy. I am learning to really appreciate your education and experience. Now, don't take this to heart and get the big head!?

    sdg!

    rd
     

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