Which Seminary?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by rmodis, May 1, 2012.

  1. rmodis

    rmodis
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    Howdy,

    My name is Ryan Modisette, and I am a student at Texas A&M University. I am looking into seminaries for the next stage in my education, and I am uncertain as to which seminary is best. I am most definitely not a fan of liberal theology, and I want to make sure that the seminary that I go to sticks as closely as possible to the text of the Bible. I am currently trying to decide between Dallas Theological Seminary, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and The Masters Seminary. Eventually, I want to obtain a PhD in a field of Biblical research, but I am not exactly sure which one yet. My ultimate plan is to work at a seminary and teach/preach at a church. If there are any opinions, recommendations, or suggestions as to other seminaries or to narrow down my field of vision between these three, I would be happy to hear them. Thank you.
    Grace and Peace in Christ
    Gig 'em and God Bless
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    Hello. Its interesting that we've had two similar questions along these lines.

    Thanks for giving us your background and hopes. I'm going to echo my words in the other thread and expand on them. To answer your initial question:

    I'd highly recommend DTS or SBTS, and lean towards SBTS if you're an Southern Baptist. The truth is the cost will be able 1/3 of the total cost at DTS. That is a factor.

    As for your plans, well here's my background I got an MDiv from SWBTS and a PhD from a non-SBC school. I currently (and plan on continuing) serve a local church as a pastor. While I appreciate that you desire to serve in academics if you truly want one of those positions (and at a seminary) you need to plan on going overseas or to a high end research school to get your PhD. There is a looming shortfall of humanities (by this I mean all things theology) on the horizon and all the positions being filled right now at the big-6 SBC schools are being filled by guys who are going to be there for at least 20 or 30 more years. (i.e. the faculty is YOUNG.)

    Now unless you're highly connected in the SBC, it is a huge uphill battle to get on faculty at one of the seminaries. Also there is a lack of academic freedom that is robbing their faculty of the ability to produce good scholarship. (I recognize a lot of people disagree and will go toe-to-toe with any one on this issue.) The thing that will help is a great degree from a great research school. Scholarship isn't easy and unless people are coming up to you and saying that is exactly what you should be doing in unsolicited comments, than it is a rough road. Plan on living poorly for a long time and having a position of relative obscurity for most of your career. Just being honest. Teaching looks cool but it can really suck...especially in our modern academic environments.

    Also it is hard to teach at a seminary and preach locally. Most of the positions are taken by full time guys who are dedicated to their churches. Congregations just aren't interested in a guy who has a PhD, teaches, then shows up on Sunday and Wednesday. Its a great gig if you can get it but that isn't the attitude of most congregations. Besides the pulpit supply circuit around seminaries is so locked down it is hard to get into decent positions.

    So there it is, my honest take on the thing.

    Listen, if you're honestly called to do this then go do it. I'd say we need more guys with PhDs in churches, serving there for an entire career than lingering at a seminary. There's a lot of good that can be done locally in a church, probably even more than at a seminary. That's what I'm doing.
     
  3. rmodis

    rmodis
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    Thank you for your response. Yes, I will agree, from all that I have gathered, that the professorships in the humanities are becoming increasingly sparse. I am currently a Classics and Philosophy double-major, and I have look into graduate work in both of those field too; I have gotten the same answer. That is one of the reasons that, if God allows, I will pursue a PhD in one of those two fields, probably in Classical Philosophy. I also understand your comments about a congregation wanting a full-time pastor; if I was a member of a congregation searching for a new pastor, I would want someone who was going to be there, who was reliable. To clarify my particular intentions, I do plan on getting a PhD, but I am perfectly fine with holding down a full time pastoral role until I can secure a position at a seminary, even if that means many years. I do not wish to pursue my own desires; I want to do the most that I can (allowing God to work through me) to further God's kingdom, to preach the gospel of Christ, to edify believers, and to defend Christianity from the attacks that are now coming from all sides, from within and without. Ultimately, as I am sure you know, it will entirely depend upon what God allows me to do and what doors He opens up in my life. I have depended upon Him to get me this far, and I will depend on Him to guide me throughout the rest of my life as well. Thank you for your advice, I really do appreciate it.
    God Bless
     
  4. RG2

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    rm, welcome to the boards. I'm in the same bucket as you are right now, I'm looking to start seminary in Jan and live in the Dallas area so I'm considering some of the same schools you are.

    For the longest time my plan was to go to SWBTS, but I have heard some negative things about SWBTS (one by a professor there actually) that really makes me question that as a decision.

    Like preachinjesus said there has been a shift in generations it seems, and I've noticed as well most of these guys have at least one degree from European institutions or higher end research universities.
     
  5. Chad Whiteley

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    Here is my shameless plug for Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary in Jacksonville, TX. It is extremely affordable and affiliated with the BMAT/SBCT. It is regionally accredited by the SACS and also accredited by ATS.

    The really remarkable thing is that the per credit hour tuition is only $120. That is incredibly affordable. An MDiv will only cost a little over $10,000. I can not imagine a better value in theological education.

    http://bmats.edu/tuition_fees.htm
     
  6. Havensdad

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    If you are SBC, then hands down go with SBTS. It is by far the most affordable, and the scholarship and rigor cannot be beat. Neither can the Biblical Fidelity.

    I would not suggest DTS to anyone, unless they are theologically in line with DTS. I have heard of difficulties there, in terms of academic freedom, specifically in terms of soteriology and eschatology. They are heavily Dispensationalist, and make no bones about it..

    The Masters Seminary is a good choice, if you are not SBC. However, they do not offer a PhD. They only offer a D. Min., or ThD.
     
  7. revmwc

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    DTS would be my choice in your situatution.
     
  8. revmwc

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    Let me add that you need to see which aligns with your doctrinal beliefs. Are you fundatmental, liberal or conservative in beliefs? Does the school follow your beliefs in:
    Soteriology
    Eschatology
    Pnuematology
    Creation or Theistic Evolution
    Dispensationalist or non
    Calvanist, Arminian or neither

    To me DTS is very sound on these to others the Dispensational teaching is not what they follow. DTS is sound on this as are other schools. So pray it through and see where you align Doctrinally with each school and base your decision on that after much prayer.
     
  9. Havensdad

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    Oh, I forgot to mention the main reason for not going to DTS, IF you are SBC...a lot of churches do not like to see degrees which are from schools that do not subscribe to the BF & M on your degree. Some don't even like it if your degree is not specifically from one of the SBC "Big Six" I went through a lot of this when I was seeking a pastorate... Probably one out of three specifically called for one's education to be from a "Southern Baptist Seminary" and another 1 out of three while they did not list it, were unfriendly to the idea.

    So if pastoring in the SBC is in your future (along with professorship), SBTS should be your first choice.
     
  10. RG2

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    At least around the D/FW area there are a number of Baptist churches that are DTS friendly, and some that actually seem to prefer DTS over SWBTS. However, some of this might just be due to the proximity. That being said I have seen a number of churches that will only look at a Pastor with a big 6 degree though.

    As others have said DTS is heavy on dispensationalism, they used to require that you signed a dispensationalism agreement (much like SBC seminaries require that you are aligned with the BF&M). The dispensationalism issue combined with the extra cost (basically double) has been my main hangup with deciding to go there.
     
  11. Chad Whiteley

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    I would prefer BMATS over DTS for a variety of reasons. I am never sure why it never comes up when people are considering which Texas seminary to look at. An MDiv at BMATS would be a great foundation to lead into a ThD or a PhD at other seminaries.

    Is there a reason why a Southern Baptsit would look suspect at the seminary?
     
  12. Havensdad

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    The Fantasy of Landmarkism, for one.
     
  13. RG2

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    Because it's BMAA and not SBC?
    Location?
    History?
    Not where my Pastor went?

    Probably a number of reasons.
     
  14. Chad Whiteley

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    Several of the professors at BMATS hold their doctorates from DTS and Southwestern. This seems to qualify them academically. If the SBC was so concerned with the BMA's position on Landmarkism, why did the SBCT and BMAT join forces last year?

    Is there some evidence that Landmarkism is still much of an influence at BMATS? Would Landmarkism, even if a force, really affect a student who is studying subjects such as pastoral counseling or Christian leadership?

    Is Landmarkism more dangerous than the positions held by Hodges, Faust and Evans (among others) from DTS which states that a beleiver who is unfaithful can be cast into outer darkness during the millennial reign of Chirst?

    I am just trying to understand why Texas Baptists prefer DTS over BMATS. It seems odd to me. If I was in Texas when I finishing my seminary work, BMATS would have been a top choice. DTS, in my view, is nearer to Gordon-Conwell, Talbot, or Master's. All of these are fine schools, but they are not really Baptist at all.
     
  15. Chad Whiteley

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    Under the list of Southern Baptist colleges, Jacksonville College is listed as affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

    http://www.sbc.net/colleges.asp

    On their website, Jacksonville College states, "Since [1923] the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas has owned and operated the college. In July of 2002 the college also became affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention."

    So, we have a weird thing going on. The BMA and the SBTC are fine with working together cooperatively on schools at that level, but it is not okay at the seminary level because of the "fantasy" of landmarkism.

    I am glad I am Independent. Associations and Conventions just make no actual sense at all.
     
  16. Havensdad

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    I would not attend either. Yes, Landmarkism would have an enormous effect, since the entire way you view how God has been working throughout the last 2000 years would be affected. Church History is a big chunk of your degree (my degree in Biblical studies was almost 1/4 Church History).It affects how you would counsel a Presbyterian, or Methodist. Not to mention, it is demonstrably untrue. Its like attending a College that teaches the earth is flat.
     
  17. revmwc

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    If the SBC schools don't teach the Pre-Trib, Pre-Mil view that is enough in my book not to attend any of them. Of course we aren't talking us we are talking to the one that wrote the OP and he must find which school best aligns with his beliefs and go with that school.
     
  18. Havensdad

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    You are saying a school simply ALLOWING for a mid-trib position in their statement, would cause you to not attend?

    I HOPE that's not what you are saying...
     
  19. Chad Whiteley

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    Your assumption is that BMATS holds to a flawed view of church history.

    Did you made this assumption because you know the professor of church history at BMATS?

    Do you have syllabi from the college that would validate these claims?

    Everything I have seen from BMATS is that they teach the same church history as any other Baptist college.

    http://bmats.edu/library/library_int_chrchhist.htm

    Your idea that mainline Protestants are mistreated at BMATS should require some data to validate those claims.

    Do you have any actual data for such accusations against these brethren?

    When I was at CBC (A BMA school), we used MacBeth's history of the Baptists, which is also used at most other Baptist colleges.

    As a Texas Baptist, were you vocally opposed to the alliance of the BMAT and SBTC? Do you wish that Jacksonville College was not listed as an SBC affiliated school?

    This is from the school's catalog:

    Church History
    CH 411. History of World Religions
    (Fall 2011)
    This study is designed to acquaint the student with the major living religions of today other than Christianity: Animism (Folk Religions), Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Taoism, Islam and Judaism.

    CH 412. History of Christianity
    (Spring/2011; 2012)

    The development of Christianity is traced from its inception in the first century
    through twentieth-century Christianity. Special emphasis is given to the Conciliar period from 325 to 451, the Renaissance, the Reformation period, denominationalism,
    rationalism, revivalism, and the ecumenical movement.


    CH 511. General Church History I
    (Fall/2010; Summer/2011; Fall/2012)
    A general survey of church history is made, beginning with the Book of Acts and moving through the Medieval period. Special attention is given to the rise and progress of the Roman and Greek Catholic Churches and the impact of the Christian religion on Western culture.


    CH 512. General Church History II
    (Spring/2011; 2012)
    This is a continuation of CH 511, surveying Christianity from the Reformation
    to the present. Emphasis is given to the influence of Bible translations, the rise of numerous sects originating after the Reformation, and the secularization of Christianity.


    CH 621. Survey of Baptist Heritage
    (Hist/Theol) (Spring/2011)
    The historical and theological background of our Baptist faith is covered by means of lectures and research assignments. Careful study is made of the leading so-called heretical movements, their teachings, practices, and radical emphases.
    Note: The course may be repeated one time when different material is studied.

    CH 631. Special Studies in Church History
    (Hist/Theol) (Spring/2012)
    This course is designed to offer specialized and advanced studies in various top
    ics of church history and theology. Issues are selected which have had significant impact in the history of the church. Note: May be repeated when a different topic is studied.

     
  20. Havensdad

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    I read their doctrinal statement. Also, Landmarkism is a distinctive of the Baptist Missionary Association, which they are a part of. I am not attacking them. You asked why SBC churches would have a problem with them. Since we in the SBC can trace our heritage to English Separatists and the Reformation....
     

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