What good is a degree if...

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Paul1611, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. Paul1611

    Paul1611
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    My Pastor graduated from a TRACS accredited school about 9 years ago, and loves the school he graduated from. He has nothing but positive things to say about the faculty and staff. He is quick to tell you that obtaining a good education is hard work. Yet he said that the school was trying to teach him so much, in so little of time that he really didnt learn all that much. He said that there were so many exams, tests, scripture memorization, papers to write, and so on, that he really didnt have alot of time to take everything in. He said that in all reality you did just enough to pass the the Science test because you had an English paper that was due the next day, and you did just enough on your English paper because you had to remember 20 verses Scripture for your NT Testament Survey class and so on... He said he has learned more out of college than he did in college because he now has the time to study out the subject and truly comprehend and understand what he is studying instead of just remembering some facts to pass a test. He said that he probably would have benefited more from a college like Columbia Evangelical Seminary or even something like Covington where you have time to breathe and think about what you are studying. Has anyone else experienced the same? I mean what good is going to college (and going in debt, my Pastor is still paying for his college 9 yeras later, not tuition but the debt he got into while trying to live while in college) if you can aquire the same knowledge by reading and studying on your own? I am not trying to bragg or anything but he said that I know more about the Bible, Theology, Church History, and even English now then he did when he came out of BIble College, and I have only been saved for 5 yrs and have no kind of college education whatsoever.
     
  2. Cutter

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    I couldn't agree more. The things you learn in the real world, which for a pastor is fulfilling the required duties, are much more helpful than classroom.
     
  3. nexxus

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    I have learned most of what I know from my own study and help from godly pastors and the leading of the Holy Spirit. After 26 years in the ministry, I can truly say, that which school you went to will be the least of your worries, that is, if you are going to preach. Find a good reading list (there are several on the internet). It's all about what you are trying to accomplish. Try to stay with good conservative authors. There's nothing wrong with more education. I think we should continue learning throughout our ministry experience.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    Paul Response

    Paul,

    Glad to hear from you, I don't believe you and I have talked in a while.

    There are just a few things off the top of my head that come to mind.

    First, I personally believe that a university degree would equip the minister-to-be better than a "Bible college" degree. I have the Bible college degree, and I might say it was quite rigorous. The reason I say this is that the BC route is too specialized and there is not nearly enough general "western civilization," and the arts, and Greek mythology, et al in the BC curriculum to form a well rounded "liberally educated person."

    Secondly, what a college degree in any format does is that it teaches people to finish what have been started.

    Thirdly, if a new minister gets a good BC degree or a university degree it not only helps him with facts and data it also helps him to think logically, focus on argumentation, follow an argument through to the conclusion, etc.

    Fourthly, the work load you mentioned is very demanding. But it is no more demanding than an active soul-winning minister or church of any size at all would have "to balance and juggle" on a daily basis. So the work load in BC is, IMHO, small in comparison to what most do daily and weekly for the Kingdom's increase is it not?

    Fifthly, education is good just for education's sake. As high as tuition is, it is cheaper to get the education in some sort of school than it is to have to pay for it "out in the cold cruel world."

    Sixthly, it also helps one to begin to think critically about people, life, situations, complex issues and data. Then this one can separate them into component parts for analysis purposes. Things in this life are much more complicated than we really believe or want them to be.

    Seventh, to play off one of your points above; there is not 1 in 1000 or 10000 that "can learn on their own" to be a real "pastoral scholar." Most do not have the time, focus, learning aptitude, motivation, research skills, etc. that formal education requires as well as gives. And then there are some that "don't know what they don't know." And they are just happy to be where they are--although most have no idea where that is!

    A couple of things extra (it will not cost you any extra):

    1. I have sense that you pastor may be stroking your ego; and,

    2. Please run the SpellCheck on the next BB post. You are making a good case "FOR" going to
    college.

    Please do not slam me with the "educational snobbery" charge or any such. Remember you did ask the question. There is no ulterior motive here!

    My two cents worth! Then again, you know that if you have watched my comments on the BB at all.

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
    #4 Rhetorician, Aug 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2007
  5. TomVols

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    Good pots, Rhet.
    I had the same struggle in college, seminary, and now the grad school I attend. Yet I learn and remember. It depends on the person. Not to slam your pastor or anything. I agree that you can do so much that learning is harder. I'm sure I would've learned more had I not had to have jobs in addition to my schooling (I never say that about the classes I got A's in, but if I didn't I always blamed my extracurricular demands) :). But I did learn an awful lot. Still am. Why? A good foundation in college and seminary and now grad school.
     
  6. UZThD

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    A good school tells you what the questions are and how to research the answers.
     
  7. Rhetorician

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    Paul 1611 Response

    Paul,

    We are patiently waiting for your replies. You must remember that you did ask the question. I think there have been some very good answers and I would like to hear your responses and considered opinions.

    And Paul, do your really believe all you said in the opening OP? Do you?

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
    #7 Rhetorician, Aug 9, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2007
  8. Paul1611

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    Rhet,
    I am not quite sure what you mean by me believing everything that I posted in my OP. I am simply stating somethings that my Pastor told me in his office about his dealings with Bible College. I dont have time right now to post everything that I would like to post, but will have more time this evening when I get home from work. Just didnt want you to think that I was avoiding all the good posts, hope to "chat" with you all later this evening. Paul
     
  9. Jkdbuck76

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    Paul,

    It sounds like he took too many credit hours.
     
  10. Paul1611

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    Rhet,
    You are right there have been some very good answers posted and I appreciate everyones comments. It is comforting to read cutter and nexxus post. It is good to hear that there are other men out there who know what my Pastor is talking about and where he is coming from. I was speaking to another Pastor (who has retired because of health reasons) who has been in the ministry for almost 50 years, and he too agreed with my Pastor. He said that he didnt get a chance to get deep into his studies until after he had completed Bible College. He described it much like my Pastor did.
     
  11. Rhetorician

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    Paul 1611

    Paul,

    I call no man's motivation or service into suspect, especially since I have so many problems (sins, foibles, etc. et al) of my own. But it seems to me that Tom Vols answer I quoted above might have some relevance for our present discussion and your OP.

    Some are "college material" and maybe some are not. I am not saying that the two men whom you have quoted and to whom you look to for guidance and maturity are not. What I am saying is that there are different abilities, gifts, opportunities, commitments to our Lord and His Word, personal maturity, etc.

    I am sure that there are many out there that have had a great deal of trouble with BC or seminary whom God has used in a great way in personal soul-winning, preaching the Word, teaching the Word, pastoral ministries, etc. It may be that these are "the Great Men" of the Kingdom that most of us know and have received help in some way from them in our formative years of ministry training.

    Amen?

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  12. Paul1611

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    Rhet,
    Thanks for the very informative post, and I see where you are coming from. I hope that you do not think that I am trying to make a case against education and Bible Schools and such, because I am not. I have been praying about whether or not to attend Bible College for about 5 years now (as long as I have been saved). As a matter of fact I believe I spoke with you (at least I think it was you) months and months ago over the phone about some of my options. I have been through 2 diploma mills, and when I say diploma mills I mean DIPLOMA MILLS, these guys were extreme diploma mills, and I became very frustrated with the way they did things and decided to give up on the whole Bible College thing all together. Then when I joined the BB I began to learn more about accreditation, diploma mills, and so on. Before I thought a Bible College was a Bible College, that they were all the same. Now I know better. I have talked with my Pastor quite a bit about the whole Bible College thing, and in my original post I was simply repeating somethings my Pastor told me and wanted to see if anyone esle agreed with what he was saying. He made it sound like it was something that you just have to get through so can really get serious about your studies. My pastor has watched me struggle with the whole Bible College thing. He has watched me get all pumped up about a school and then watch that door get slammed in my face. I dont have the time to get into all of that right now. As far as my pastor stroking my ego, that may very well be the case. He has stated to me a number of times that he didnt think that I needed any kind of Bible College. I have filled in for churches for months and months at a time, and God has opened doors for me to preach and teach in churches all over my county and surrounding counties. The way my pastor sees it, is that I am already doing what they will be trying to teach me in Bible College. He made this point (not me, I dont want anyone to think that I am trying to toot my own horn, because I promise you I am not) The point I am talking about is this. I have had 2 men call me (I know both of these men personally) and ask me how I get all these chances to preach and fill the pulpit. They say that their colleges have them on record and that they have put their name on a list down at the local southern baptist association, and still they dont get half as many doors opened as I do, and I have never put my name on any list or anything like that. So my Pastor says "look you have 2 guys over here who have spent $30, 000 on education and on a degree, and they cant buy their way into a pulpit, and you have a place to preach at least every week", so in a way I see where my Pastor is coming from. Then again he may very well be stroking my ego. But I can tell you this much Rhet, as God as my witness, I STUDY. I study every chance I get. I study theology, history, and anything I can get my hands on if it has to do with the Bible. I love His Word! I love to preach and teach His Word! And while my pastor may think that I do not need Bible College, I believe I do. That is one of the reasons I post here on the BB. If you have noticed I usually post in the College/Seminary section of the board. I am still studying all my options and just waiting to see what the Lord opens up for me. By the way I spoke with Mr. Walston today and he answered a number of my questions. Sorry, I guess I got to rambling. But thanks once agiain for your post.
     
  13. Paul1611

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    Amen Brother! You must have posted this post while I was writing mine.
     
  14. TCGreek

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    1. Brother, I was in seminary at your age and five years later I have no regrets.

    2. Go to seminary and get a good education.

    3. Get yourself prepared. You would not regret it. Pray about it and choose wisely.

    my 2cents worth.
     
    #14 TCGreek, Aug 9, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2007
  15. Rhetorician

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    Paul Response

    Paul,

    My dear brother, I feel for you and pray for you as I type this response. Many cannot make it without the discipline of a structured program. You may very well be that 1 in a 1000 I spoke about above.

    My story is very similar to yours when I started out. I was a Union Journeyman Steamfitter/Welder when I was called to preach at age 30. I was going to stay in Nashville, TN and be a "weekend warrior," stay a pipe fitter, and only preach at small churches on the weekends. But God had other plans.

    I looked at correspondent schools of theology and Bible at the time, early 1980s. And I tried those but not anything seemed to fit.

    I left it all to come to Mid America in Memphis in 1982 with a 2 yr old daughter, a pregnant wife, and $1800 cash. I did everything to make a living. I get a little perturbed with folk who say that they cannot make it.

    Needless to say, 25 years later, three kids--two of whom have gone through college themselves, a special needs child with many many issues, four seminary degrees, one Bible college degree, a book about to be published, an idea for another book and several contributors already "on board," being asked to speak at a symposium of one of the biggest and best seminaries in the country, and much much more; education is the best deal in town outside of becoming a follower of Jesus Christ--IMHO.

    Now, I would tell anyone who even considers themselves called to pursue a "formal education;" be it at CES, or Liberty, or Luther Rice, or some other. Just get out there and "do it" at the tennis shoe commercial says. You will never know how much you don't know until you do.

    Please, I beg of you to give some formal educational program for ministers a shot. Not everyone can do what I did, not everyone is called as I was called. In fact, I don't recommend it with all of the alternative DE programs out there from reputable RA schools. Just go for, and be for Christ and His Kingdom all that you can possibly be.

    sdg!:thumbs:
    rd
     
  16. Paul1611

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    Thanks for the post. Believe me, I have been praying and praying and praying some more. For some reason things are taking alot longer then what I expected.
     
  17. Mr.M

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    Thank the Lord that no medical doctor and particularly a surgeon, automobile engine technician, computer network engineer, English teacher, or even hair care professional that I use or will use simply "learned on their own".

    What a naive and self-absorbed idea that serious academic training isn't a legitimate part of the preparation of a man who is expected demonstrate his expert handling of the Scriptures. You have history, law, languages and systematic theology to begin with and only a fool would tackle such subjects as if they could be both master and student at the same time.

    While there may be exceptional self-studiers, any self-studier who is respecting of true learning would never eschew the benefits of the academic demands of college and post-graduate work in order to gain all of the academic training needed for mastery of relevant studies.

    Yeah, I know, about now some clown wants to come along and talk about how "the spirit" teaches him all things and he doesn't need all that. Such a response is that of both a fool and an unlearned man. The spirit doesn't deposit into your head historical facts, biblical languages, law and systematic theology to mention a few. The teaching of the spirit is a reference to the ILLUMINATION that he gives to all men, not the academic responsibility of a master of the Scriptures which is exactly what a biblical Pastor is required to be.
     
    #17 Mr.M, Aug 9, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2007
  18. Paul1611

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    Rhet,
    Thanks for the advice and encouragement. I had no idea you went thru all of that, and I had no idea you were called to preach either. For some reason I thought you received your education for other reasons, dont ask me why I thought that, but for some reason I did. For some reason I thought you were a teacher in a school somewhere? Anyways thanks for the encouragement. By the way, how did you pay for all those degrees? I know a simple 4 year degree at say Liberty would cost over $30, 000. Does financial assistance help out that much? Or did you pay for them some other way? Costs has played a major roll in many of my decisions. I just dont have the money.
     
  19. Paul1611

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    I see where you are coming from and agree partially. You make it sound (and I could be mistaken) like in order to be a pastor of a church you have to "master" the Scriptures. First of all I have never met anyone who has mastered anything, much less the Scriptures. Also you talk about history, history is full of men who have never been to a College or a University and yet have been great pastors and teachers. As a matter of fact in Acts 4:13 Peter and John were looked at as "unlearned and ignorant men" yet God used them in a mighty way. The same for Moody, Ironside, Spurgeon, and I know a few personally. While I agree in learning as much as possible when ever possible, I dont think God requires everyone to go to Bible College or Seminary before he can use them. I mean think about the thousands of Pastors overseas and in foreign countries who do not have Colleges and Seminaries to go to. Yet God calls them and God equips them. And as far learning on your own, you mentioned an auto technician. My dad is a diesel mechanic and has the reputation for the best in the area. As a matter of fact the John Deer dealership in town actually calls my dad and questions him on how to repair some of their tractors, and my dad hasnt been to school for any of it. They call my dad "Dr. John Deer. He learned from his dad and by studying this great big manuals day in and day out. I know of great pastors who havent been to Bible School, but have been "raised up" by their pastors, and God has used them in mighty ways. So I do not believe that a requirement for a pastor/bishop is to go to Bible School or to master history, or greek, or even the Bible. At least I couldnt find it in I Timothy 3.
     
  20. Rhetorician

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    Paul Reponse

    Paul,

    FTR, I do teach at a Baptist College using all of my formal education from my doctorate all the way down to my Diploma of Theology (Associate of Divinity) that I earned at Mid America Seminary which was my first academic pursuit at the age of 30.

    So, a "call to preach" is not always necessarily a call to the pastoral ministry. My call has been a meandering, maturing, and even evolutionary call. But I always knew that I would teach in college or seminary. I knew that early on. And since I have received the doctorate I have had doors of opportunity or "effectual" as Paul says that never would have been open to me otherwise.

    That is another reason why to get a formal ministerial education. We had a saying at Mid America early in my first ministry degree: "The sharper the axe the more and better it cuts!" But it must be sharpened. We who are called all have "an axe to grind," but will we sharpen it or let it go dull and rust?

    Think about it!

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     

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