To Expand Knowledge or Expound Knowledge?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by swaimj, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. swaimj

    swaimj
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    I had a conversation with a friend earlier today. He is an IT guy who works for a company which contracts with major colleges and universities to assist them in promoting themselves and recruit students over the internet. My friend attended a seminar this week in which the speaker explained that there are two types of schools. One is a research institution. It has a faculty who have interest in a particular area and they direct their students to research various aspects of the given field in order to expand the sum of human knowledge regarding that subject. The other is a practical school which does not really seek to expand knowledge, but seeks to dissiminate the knowledge that is already avialable in a given field for use by those who wish to have a career in that field.

    Now, think about the schools you have attended; your Christian college or seminary. Which role do you think they are playing in the field of education? Are they researching to expand the knowledge of a certain field or are they teaching people practical guidelines based upon accepted knowledge in order to facilitate workers in a certain field?
     
  2. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    I would say it is their responsiblity to try and do both.
     
  3. Rhetorician

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    swaimj,

    From where I have been, what I seem, and what little I know; It was explained like this. Theological ed does not fit the "ed paradim" of the world. Most theo ed fall somewhere along a continuum with "indoctrination" at one end and "investigation" at the other. This is generally on the Master's level.

    To do to grad school and work on a doctorate you need to have much time on the investigation end primarily. If you are going to pastor a church then you need to have much time on the indoctrination end of the scale. Denom money and time and effort and leadership wants their output product to look like and carry on "the family tradition" as it were. Normally, then do not want to know "some new thing" to be taught in the churches. They just want the "pastoral ministries" of marrying, burying, preaching, teaching, etc., et al to be done professsionally.

    The problems come when either/each is done to excess or minimally that does not fit the norm for the ones/one who is "paying the piper" as it were.

    My two cents worth!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    All,

    Please forgive the typos in the above post, it was early in the AM and I was not very awake.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  5. swaimj

    swaimj
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    Rhetorician,
    Thanks for the reply.

    I agree that pastoral training must necessarily consist, to some degree, of training men in what is already accepted as true. There is no need for each generation to completely re-invent the wheel. At the same time, we must not buy into ideas merely because they are "what has always been taught" as that will lead to the propogation of unexamined traditions. In my own experience, as I look back I find that my Bible college training gave me a very good understanding of the doctrines and practices of independent fundamental Baptists, from whose tradition I have sprung. Seminary training helped me develop skills to critically evaluate those doctrines and practices; some of which I think should be discarded, and some of which I find to be quite valuable. Consequently, I belief that both methods of learning have their place.
     
  6. El_Guero

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    "indoctrination" or "investigation"

    I would prefer ... That the Word of God be taught: Orthodoxy & Orthopraxis

    Seminary at all levels should teach the Bible. That is the Word of God as revealed to mankind. Anything else is to substitute weakness for strength ...
     
  7. Rhetorician

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    El Guero,

    It is assumed on some level that a person has had an entry level of understanding of the Scriptures either from SS or a Bible College. On the other hand, some Bible knowledge is needed on the seminary (master's lever). But what seminary does is to teach the pastor/teacher to: evaluate, critique, think critically, interact, communicate interpersonally, judge, exegete the Scripture, preach, counsel pastorally, administrate, have a church ed program, work denominationally, teach, prepare sermons, lead, do missions, lead the church to be "mission's minded," be a world Christian, be a chaplain, etc., et al.

    I was told that the reason that the MDiv degree is so long (usually 90 Sem hrs) is that it promotes what a pastor would have to spend 20 years in service without it to get the knowledge and expertise to get it. It is truly a smorgasbord of "a lot of everything and not much of anything" in particular. That is why the arguements over the greek and hebrew here on the BB are so important. MDiv's are different for different schools. Each place has to determine what is most impt for them.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  8. Rhetorician

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    PS,

    El_Guero,

    I meant to say that the MDiv is geared so the pastor/teacher can be equipped to teach the Scripture by training themselves, NOT to be taught. They are to know the Bible for themselves with the tools they have been given in seminary.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  9. UZThD

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    ===


    I agree that the written Word of God (as correctly interpreted) should be taught as the inerrant authority (in the originals) over belief and practice. The difficulty as I see it is that we conservatives cannot agree even about central points as to what that "Word" is saying.

    We cannot even agree about Christ Himself!!! Does the Father essentiate the Son or is the Son also autotheos? Is the Father eternally role subordinate over the Son or only temporally so? Did the Son give up the use of divine attributes in incarnating or is God changeless in that regard? Is the incarnation just God using human qualities or is Christ a genuine man with a human mind and will which function in distinction from His divine mind and will ? Was Christ tempted in the sense that He could have sinned or did the deity in Him make that impossible? Is His "active" obedience salvific and imputed to us or is only His death efficacious? Which of these views so central to our Faith are the "Word of God" and which are the creation of men?

    IMO the ideal would be that at the seminary level the student would know not just the particulars of his or her denomination and the opinions of his/her profs and how to teach those particulars, but would be exposed as well to the wide array of positions on important doctrines ; ie, he/she would be equipped to effectively evaluate any position including those within conservatism and even those of his/her seminary profs.

    I understand that the average minister is often not regarded as an exegetical theologian but as "just" a preacher/teacher. But how else would it be determined that what is being preached is actually the Bible unless the acquiring of investigative/evaluative skills were part of the seminary outcomes?

    We have enough Protestant popery already.
     
  10. UZThD

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  11. williemakeit

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    In the words of one preacher:

    Ecclesiastes 1

    1] The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
    [2] Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
    [3] What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
    [4] One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
    [5] The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
    [6] The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
    [7] All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
    [8] All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
    [9] The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
    [10] Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
    [11] There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
    [12] I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
    [13] And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

    Yep! Maybe we should concentrate on remembering the former things more. [​IMG]
     
  12. UZThD

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    So, what exactly are the "former things" you say should be remembered according to this text in seminary training? How does this text clearly connect to this thread? What *particular* outcomes do you think this text is saying that seminary training should have, and why do you think this text is saying that? Help me to understand your citation by convincingly explicating the passage and exponding on its lucid relevancy to the topic being discussed.

    Thanks,

    Bill G.
     
  13. Rhetorician

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    UZTHD,

    Bill,

    Do you generally agree w/my post from above? If not, why not? Critical dialogue is always welcome. I am presently writing the first chapter in a book project, and this type of peer review is very needful and helpful in a marketplace discussion like this or in critical writing.

    I teach Interpersonal Communications. One of its major components is "perspective." We all have our own "set of lenses" as I call then through which we see. And, ALL OF US have tainted and tinted lenses. Sometimes we don't even know it and need "fellow travelers" to help us with them.

    I tried to articulate the point earlier when I discussed on another thread the need to have one graduate degree from an "outside" institution if one was going to teach college or seminary. A secular degree or another denominational degree really does help the prof to be better than s/he might have been otherwise.

    IMHO!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  14. williemakeit

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    Wow, Bill. Do you speak to everyone like that outside the classroom? Sounds like a final exam question. Brought back memories--some of which are not fond ones. [​IMG]

    I was responding to EL_G's post, which I believe was in respond to Rhetorician's previous "indoctrination" and "investigation" post. From Rhetoician's post, I got that doctorate-level seminary training was not really required for churches that did not want teaching in "some new thing". My response bascially presented 'is there anything wrong with doctorate-level seminary training addressing the old/former things?'.

    I know, I know. You do not have to tell me. I got a C, didn't I? Oh, well. Just like the not-so-fond memories of Freshman Calculus. [​IMG]
     
  15. UZThD

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    Wow, Bill. Do you speak to everyone like that outside the classroom? Sounds like a final exam question. Brought back memories--some of which are not fond ones. [​IMG]

    I was responding to EL_G's post, which I believe was in respond to Rhetorician's previous "indoctrination" and "investigation" post. From Rhetoician's post, I got that doctorate-level seminary training was not really required for churches that did not want teaching in "some new thing". My response bascially presented 'is there anything wrong with doctorate-level seminary training addressing the old/former things?'.

    I know, I know. You do not have to tell me. I got a C, didn't I? Oh, well. Just like the not-so-fond memories of Freshman Calculus. [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]===

    Sorry if I came across improperly professorial. In my usual density I just didn't see any explicit connection which might be easily made by a grammatico/historical exposition and was asking for clarification as to how that might be done. sorry.
     
  16. UZThD

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    ===

    I do basically agree with this. But I might qualify my take on your second paragraph with two observations:

    1) re: "not much of anything in particular"--

    some seminaries, as "my" Western, allow the MDiv student to concentrate in an area as Missiology or New Testament and not only have a concentration of coursework in that but also do a thesis as well on a cognate topic. So, there WOULD BE something in particular.

    2) re: 20 years in service to get what is learned in the MDiv.

    I am a former Special Education school teacher (35 years doing that) with a teaching degree in English and a second one in Special Ed.from two universities (and two states). These certifications included courses in student teaching experience at the secondary level and grad teaching assistant experience at the university level. I also finished 1/2 of the EdD coursework. So, probably my education courses are equivalent or better in number than the praxis courses of an MDiv program.

    However, IMO, 60 semester hours of coursework in Education fail by far to teach the student what even five years of actual teaching does.

    Therefore I have some doubt that one coming directly out of an MDiv program on the average would have learned what a pastor learns in 20 years of pastoral experience. Or conversely, I question that It would take a pastor 20 years to learn what a seminarian learns in three!

    !
     
  17. Broadus

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    The only reason of which I'm aware for the length of the MDiv is that it is not typically built upon a baccalaureate in a religious field of study. In other words, one's bachelor degree is irrelevant. Consequently, persons with all sorts of bachelor majors are accepted into MDiv programs. Were they to have earned a master's in the field of their bachelor's, the master's would typically have been some 32 to 45 hours instead of the 90+ of the typical MDiv.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  18. Rhetorician

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    UZTHD & Broadus,

    The comments about the 20 years of experience were made upon my experience with MABTS' MDiv. They use to have only one generic MDiv, tried the specialty MDiv's w/modules, now have moved back to the one generic. That is where I got my info. Sorry if it "muddied the waters!"

    sdg!

    rd
     

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