What are the benefits of academic rigor?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Plain Old Bill, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
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    Now I am certain if one wants to remain in the academic world that acasemic rigor and proper credentialing is paramount.
    Now to the young man who wants to learn to become a pastor who finds a school that can give him the tools he needs and present the material in such a way as to impart knowledge without extreme rigor,why would that be a problem? If this person were to arrive at the same level skill level wise and be a good pastor,why would there be a problem?
     
  2. Plain Old Bill

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    Sorry I fat fingered a couple of keys.
     
  3. Broadus

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    Hi Bill,

    The ministry calls for the best we have. Those who understand the Scriptures best are the ones who are capable of explaining them most clearly.

    A pastor can get by too easily in our culture because expectations are low and folks, for the most part, are biblically illiterate.

    God does gift pastors in various ways, but I hate to think that those who minister the Word would be trained with less rigor than those in other fields.

    Properly communicating the whole counsel of God is hard work. Rigor in training helps to establish a good work ethic and prepares one to do one's best.

    Obviously, there is more that goes into being a good pastor than good training, whether that training is formal or informal. Nevertheless, those pastors remembered in history have either had rigorous training or overcame poor training with hard work.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  4. El_Guero

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    POB

    It really depends upon objective. If a school's objective is to compete with other instituitions, then that school will usually use 'academic rigor' as one of the comparisons in the competition.

    Other competitive areas are FTE (Full time equivelent) students; size of library holdings; the number of students that are accepted into other institutions doctoral programs; and the credentials of the staff.

    If the objective is to turn out pastor/preachers then the criteria is usually considered less academic and more practical.
     
  5. Broadus

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    EG,

    With all due respect, I have to take issue with your statement "If the objective is to turn out pastor/preachers then the criteria is usually considered less academic and more practical."

    I consider our seminary training for pastors as needing increased emphasis upon the academic and less emphasis upon the practical. After having spent probably too many years as a student and almost thirty years in the ministry, I find that practical courses, for the most part, "impractical." I consider present-day evangelical Christianity quite ineffective because we teach our students how to grow churches numerically, what are the principles of leadership, how to have a vibrant youth program, etc., and they know too little about how to exegete and exposit the Scriptures, the practical importance of systematic theology, and how important an awareness of church history is to their congregations.

    Some practical courses are doubtlessly needed, such as a course in biblical evangelism. I have found most practical courses which I've taken to be a waste of time in my pastorate.

    The theologians of the Reformation were pastors. Now we place the theologians in ivory towers and place the pastors among the people. I think we need to recover the concept of the pastor/theologian.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  6. Brandon C. Jones

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    Bravo Broadus, not to mention theologians before the Reformation were pastors too. The idea that pastors don't need much theology (or academic rigor) is a modern concept to say the least.
     
  7. El_Guero

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    Bill

    I would suggest that you send a letter to the seminary you were inadequately trained at and point that out to them.

    I pray that 30 years from now, I do not feel as down by my training as you do.

    In Him

    G
     
  8. Broadus

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    G,

    I never said that my seminary (SBTS) did not adequately train me. What I said was that I felt the practical courses to be practically useless. I find that such matters are learned on the job, not in a classroom. BTW, I did not keep my view hidden while I was at Southern.

    Actually, I used my electives to take additional exegesis and history courses. Southern is, IMO, one of the most rigorous of evangelical seminaries. I'm not down on my training as a whole; I just don't think some of the practical classes required to have been as effective as what some make them out to be.

    Just to clear up matters, my SBTS training was under the present administration. Much of my ministry was spent without good preparation. I envy young men who are at Southern now.

    Too, some will say that my disdain for many practical courses is because I had already spent many years in the ministry. That's fair. However, my response is shared by young pastors who were at SBTS while I was there.

    If you study the life of J. Gresham Machen, you'll find that he and others were standing against the de-emphasis upon the academic and the increased emphasis upon the practical at Princeton, as well as encroaching liberalism. It's a view that I share.

    Bill
     
  9. El_Guero

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    Bill

    I would share your frustration if my practical classes were useless. I just wish that all of our classes were more practical.
     
  10. Broadus

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    I really found most of my "academic" classes quite practical. Language and exegesis were practical in understanding the syntax of the text and hermeneutics was very practical in understanding and applying the text. Church history was practical in helping understand how we got to where we are and, from our Baptist forefathers, providing biblical direction to where to lead my church. Our church just changed it constitution and bylaws to reflect a more historical and biblical understanding of the church. Systematic theology was practical in showing the progression of Bible doctrine through the pages of Scripture, and helping me to place the particular passage which I am expositing this Sunday into the whole scheme of a particular doctrine.

    I found the "practical" courses basically "impractical," because they put forth methodologies which change too often.

    Bill
     
  11. El_Guero

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    Bill

    Maybe that is why I do not hear great things about Southern. I tho't it was just grumpy students.
     
  12. sovgrace79

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    Broadus,

    I pretty much feel the same way about my Bible college education (undergrad). The most helpful courses to me were the Bible exposition courses, and the history/survey classes. The pastoral theology courses were useful in which we talked about "practical" things, like philosophies and models of preaching styles, and church organization.

    The courses that dealt with "Purpose Driven" methodology I have forgotten. Yesterday's techniques were bus ministry, Christian school, door-to-door, etc. Now its purpose driven. What will it be in 5 years? I'm not saying any of the older methods are bad, and in fact, may work well in some areas. But we need to understand what works best where we are, not just copy the sample letter out of Purpose Driven Church. "Contemporary music with an upbeat flavor...", etc.

    In short, I feel like I was prepared well in school, but only because of the more "academic" courses. The ones which I had to do research and dig and try to understand my position. The ones where I learned techniques were interesting, but may not be relevant in the future.
     
  13. Broadus

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    G,

    You extrapolate over much! [​IMG] Or maybe I'm miscommunicating.

    Southern is a great school, especially the School of Theology. I recommend it all the time. It's just that most seminaries place more emphasis upon the "practical" than I think is necessary. You may disagree; we'll just have to leave it there.

    There is a misconception which I am arguing against---that is, rigorous training is needed for those training for the academy and something less rigorous but more practical is needed for the ministry. My contention is that those in the ministry need rigorous, academic training, whether that training is formal or informal.

    Bill
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    Academic rigor fuels the coals of legitimate exegesis for our exposition.

    If we want hot preachers in the pulpits tbey need to go through the fire of introspection and testing.

    If we want to continue our traditions of a proud biblical heritage we should expect our pastors to be able to communicate what the original langugages have to say while being about to expound to the less learned among us the truths of Scripture.

    Academic rigor not only prepares our pastors for the struggles and trials of minsitry, but also weeds out the less committed.

    thanks for the thread [​IMG]
     
  15. Charles Meadows

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    Academic rigor is also determined by the effort an individual puts in. My father in law never even went to college but yet is one of the most powerful (and well-read) preachers I know.

    An advanced degree from a reputable school is necessary if one wants a career in academics.

    If one just wants to be a pastor he can be very well educated at a smaller or distance learning seminary.
     
  16. Plain Old Bill

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    Sorry it took a few days to get back.Perhaps I miscommunicated.I went back a re-read my post the whole point of the question was if one can learn the same things or all that is needed to become a good effective pastor without the "rigor",what is the loss. If "rigor" is the purpose of training then we should just go find a bunch of dummies and no matter what we try to teach them it will be "rigorous".Completeness is more important than difficulty or rigor.
     
  17. Broadus

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    I don't remember anyone making the point that rigor was the purpose of training. It so, that has not been intended.

    I don't care whether it's the most prestigious evangelical seminary or a DE institution or a private mentor. The ministry is the highest calling, and it deserves the best which those being trained can receive.

    I insist upon a rigorous training because I esteem the Lord's work. I am really put off by the contemporary attitude which insists on doing the least one can to get by and smugly acting as though that is spiritual. And doing this least entitles one to be called "Doctor."

    We wonder why biblical illiteracy abounds and why professing Christians cannot decently rebut the common-place Mormon, JW, or secularist. It's little wonder.

    Let's all give of our least to the Master.

    Bill
     
  18. El_Guero

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    POB

    I agree.
     
  19. preachinjesus

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    Broadus,

    I'm with you all the way on this thread!
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    Academic rigor is training in "how to think" more than in "what to think." It equips you with the tools necessary.
     

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