What's up with Liberty's Global Studies?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by John of Japan, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Liberty U. doesn't seem to have a missions or missiology major nowadays. The department is called "Global Studies," and it's nothing at all like the missions dept. at any school I know of.

    The new department head has been in 36 countries, has done missions trips, and those things are admirable. However, she apparently has no career missionary experience. She has an MSW (Master of Social Work) and an MA in Cultural Studies, neither of which prepare you much for missionary work. http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=79544

    Check out the B. S. degree here: http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=28339. In the "Career Opportunities" full time missionary is not even listed. I get that the degree would be good for a "tent-maker" approach, but other than that a church-planting missionary would not be helped much.

    They also have an MA in a religious studies track here: http://www.liberty.edu/online/masters/christian-ministry/global-studies/. This degree does mention missionary as a career option--along with four others.

    I really don't get how "Global Studies" will prepare a missionary fully for overseas service. It seems more like "missionary" is just lumped in with other international jobs--just one more job you can choose, rather than a sacred calling.

    Courses not included in the MA: basic missions, missiology, history of missions, learning a foreign language, cross cultural evangelism, church-planting, cross-cultural adjustment, etc.

    I really don't understand why they've structured their program this way. I certainly wouldn't recommend a future full-time missionary to go to Liberty.
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I've looked at the course list in the Liberty catalog. For a BS in Global Studies, there is a "Barefoot Language Learning" course which is done with the field internship (which is 3-6 hours), along with "Ethnographic Research" and "Living Abroad," adding up to 12-15 hours of study on the internship. Wow! Tons of pressure while living for a few months in a foreign culture. But nothing about a missionary internship per se.

    There is "Cultural Anthropology," which might correspond to learning to live in another culture. There is "World Religions" which might correspond to Comparative Religions. There are courses in Animism and Islam, but nothing on Asian Religions, but that could be covered in "Directed Study."

    Again, there are not even electives for cross-cultural evangelism, church-planting and so forth. I see no way a missionary would be prepared by this BS degree.
     
  3. just-want-peace

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    Not being a product of a seminary, I can only guess at this, but it seems that this may be the first baby step to follow in the footsteps of some of the old institutions that - as I understand - were originally CHRISTIAN institutions; Yale, Harvard, etc.

    Getting ready to fit in the "new world order" perhaps???
     
  4. Salty

    Salty
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    John
    thanks for the 4-1-1

    Lets trust we will not have to call 9-1-1
     
  5. go2church

    go2church
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    It may be that they are expecting that someone wanting to be a missionary will have to go to seminary.
     
  6. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Huh?

    Before her recent stint in the International Mission Board stateside bureaucracy, Melody previously served for five years as a Southern Baptist missionary in Singapore and Australia.
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    I'm a Liberty grad, but didn't attend their seminary for my Mdiv. My knowledge of the folks involved with this degree is that it is attempting to develop a world-class program to help train and engage with people before sending them out. Using the most updated academic forms in global studies will provide a more comprehensive missions education for students.

    I have not served as a missionary overseas in a long-term capacity nor stateside, however there is a larger conversation going on amongst missiologists on how to best develop and present missionary training to place in the field more equipped missionaries. I believe Liberty is attempting to do this.

    Some of the faculty involved are really well informed people.
     
  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Let's hope not!
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I haven't followed the history of the missions program at LU, so maybe this is just a recent development that needs to mature.
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thank you Jerome, our resident BB top researcher! :thumbsup:

    I'm glad to know this. Strange that it said nothing about her missionary service in the LU website article about her appointment last year: http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=79544
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    The MA course I linked to above is in the seminary. However, when I read your post I took another look and there is an MDiv in Global Studies that looks a sight better than the MA: http://www.liberty.edu/media/1270/Master of Divinity Missional Studies 2012.pdf

    In this track you can choose electives from the Evangelism courses, which do have classes on church planting and cross cultural evangelism.

    Still though, I've seen what I consider to be much better missiology/missions master courses, such as Maranatha for us ind. Baptists: http://www.mbbc.edu/seminary/academics/programs/cross-cultural-studies/macc-requirements/

    For the SBC, here is a top flight course: http://catalog.sebts.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=1&poid=49&returnto=38
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I'm sure this is true. I don't doubt their sincerity or competence. I just think their "Global Studies" program, especially the undergraduate, is misguided.

    Here are my two major objections to the LU program:

    (1) "Missionary" is lumped in with various secular fields as "possible careers" with the degrees. But it is not just a career, but a sacred calling to fulfill the Great Commission, Christ's final command. I'm not SBC, but I was very impressed with SEBTS's emphasis on the Great Commission when we visited our son on furlough in 2011-2012. They get it!

    (2) The LU program looks quite good in helping people to become expatriates and live in a foreign society. That's fine for a linguist, translator, business person sent overseas, English teacher, etc. However, missionary work is far more than that. I'm quite unsure how you can prepare someone to be a missionary without a course on church-planting and one on cross-cultural evangelism at a very minimum.

    I came to Japan with just a BA in Bible and a semester of seminary. (I completed my grad degree on furloughs.) One the lowest points of my entire 32 years as a missionary was when I graduated from language school (loved it) and we moved to Yokohama to start a church. I realized then that I had absolutely no clue as to how to start a church. I had done some evangelism with the senior missionary, but had never even heard the term "cross-cultural evangelism." Would that I had been trained better, and would that young people wanting to be missionaries learn better what they are getting into.
     
  13. Gina B

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    A question born of ignorance here - is this, perhaps, something that is better learned on the field and from established missionaries, rather than in a classroom? I'm just wondering if they might be thinking that if this is a true calling, there is too much that cannot be taught, that must be learned from others and in specific situations. Would that make sense or am I totally off on this?
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You are correct to a large degree. Helping the new missionary adjust to the field and learn the ropes is an important task of the veteran missionary, the "senior missionary" as we call him in my circles. There are many things on the mission field that the classroom simply cannot prepare the rookie missionary for. Also, there are things that cannot be done by the new missionary before he goes to the field, but must be done on the field, usually with the senior missionary's help: getting a tutor or signing up for language school, learning the foreign language Bible translation and hymn book, learning the "religious language" that is not taught in the secular language school (Second Coming, inspiration and other words), and so forth.

    Having said that, "forewarned is forearmed." Taking good classes on missions in college can greatly help the new missionary avoid being "ambushed" by such things as culture shock, language learning, cross-cultural evangelism and so forth. I wish so much that I had taken a class or at least read a book or two on church-planting before reaching the field. (To be fair, there were very few books out on church-planting when we left the States for the field.) The Liberty U. program in Global Studies does not address these things, but is designed generally for anyone living in a foreign culture, not specifically missionaries. It would be helpful to a degree to a future missionary, but is too general on the whole for missionary work.
     

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