Why?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Martin, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Martin

    Martin
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why does Wheaton College have two graduate church history programs?

    The first is listed as a Master of Arts in "General History of Christianity". This program includes 30 hours of set study and 6 hours of electives. If a student chooses to write a thesis they only get 2 hours of electives.

    The second is listed as a Master of Arts in "Religion in American Life". This program includes 26 hours of set study and 10 hours of electives. If a student chooses to write a thesis they only get 6 hours of electives.

    Thesis in both programs count as 4 hours.

    Ok, so whats the problem?

    I only see a difference of 2 classes. In the MA/GHC the student is required to take "The Reformation" and "Topics in the History of Christianity". In the MA/RAL the student takes "Seminar in American Christianity and Historical Theology". The rest of the differences are in the electives. So why have two seperate programs? Maybe the second is aimed more towards students who might go to get a PhD in American History? That is the only reason I can see. Does anyone know the reason? Would it be better for them to offer a MA/History and just have two concentrations? I think so.
     
  2. paidagogos

    paidagogos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Go to the source

    Ask Wheaton.
     
  3. Martin

    Martin
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,228
    Likes Received:
    0
    :tonofbricks:
     
  4. EdSutton

    EdSutton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    8,755
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thread title: "Why?"

    Answer: "Because!"

    That answer is not meant to sound 'flip', but paidagogos is right, here. Any institution can set up any program it deems appropriate. Fortunately, for good or bad, most do follow some sort of "credit hours" for the degrees offer. If Wheaton sees fit to offer two programs that are basically similar in required courses, with the primary differences coming from the "Electives" end of the spectrum, why should that concern you or me? Various M.A., M.A.R., M.A.B.S., Th.B; and M.R.E. degrees can be found ranging all the way from about 30 Credit hours to over 70 credit hours, assuming a bachelor's degree. Likewise, an M.Div can range from some 75 Credits up to over 100. So what? "Caveat Emptor!"

    Any institution can actually employ any one, and bestow any degree it sees fit.

    Would it surprise you to know that B. H. Carroll, D.D.; never finished his Bachelor's degree, having become a soldier in the Confederate Army, a couple of months short of fulfilling the classroom requirements, but was granted this degree anyway after the close of the American Civil War, by Baylor, and that this was the closest he came to 'earning' any degree, although he was conferred with a D.D. later, and he at some point became a Professor of Theology at Baylor, the head of the Graduate Department of Theology, and later the Founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, which under his leadership became the largest Seminary in the world?

    Or that John A. Broadus, D.D.; one of the four founding faculty members, and later the President of Southern Baptist Seminary, had only the degrees of M.A. ('earned', Univ. of VA) and a D.D. conferred on him.

    Or that Wilbur M. Smith, D.D.; author of Smith's Bible Handbook and also Dictionary never had any Seminary training, per se, and I don't believe he even 'earned' a Bachelor's although he was sorta' fairly well read, having amassed the largest individually owned Christian Library in history, edited the Peloubet's International Sunday School lessons for over thirty-five years, and was to become a professor of Bible at three different fair-to-middlin' schools, namely Moody Bible Institute, a Founding Faculty member of Fuller Seminary, and, then a Professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. And I am talking about a coupla' of pretty well known individuals, and fair sized schools, I believe.

    I said all that to say this; "Who has the degree?" is far more important than "What is the degree?" Any degree!

    Ed
     
    #4 EdSutton, Sep 23, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2006
  5. Martin

    Martin
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok Wheaton is not the first, or only, school I have seen do this. I was just wondering if anyone here knew why schools, like Wheaton, make these divisions.

    Certainly it is their "choice" to do so and thats fine. I am just wondering if anyone here knows the reasoning behind it.

    For example Liberty now offers...

    Master of Arts in Religion
    Master of Arts in Religious Studies
    Master of Arts in Theological Studies

    Now the MA/Religious Studies program is different from the other two. It is not a seminary program and focuses the student on one main area of academic study (New Testament, Old Testament, Church History, Apologetics, etc). However the other two, MA/Religion and MA/Theological Studies, I have to wonder about. Both are described as introductory graduate level degrees. The MAR has 45hrs, the MATS has 36 hours. Am I missing something here? If they want to offer a MATS why not just rename the MAR?

    The Wheaton example and the Liberty example are two very good examples, I wonder how many times I can use that term in a sentence, of what I am talking about.
     
  6. El_Guero

    El_Guero
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    7,714
    Likes Received:
    0
    :BangHead:

    :tonofbricks:

    :BangHead:

    Sounds like a reasonable enough of an answer to a different kind of question.
     
  7. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,009
    Likes Received:
    2
    ATS Web Page

    Martin,

    I do have an answer. But I think if you go to the ATS web page and get the definitions of the various degrees it might help clear up the issue for you.

    This type of thing has been discussed before here on the BB. Some of it has to do with the TYPE of institution being considered. It is natural that a seminary (grad professional school to train ministers) is going to have a different master's program than a university (focused on graduate research leading up to the PhD) when the whole philosophy and reason for being is different.

    Wheaton is after all a "university" as such.

    That is why I have tried to argue for the old MDiv/BD tradition for the basis of the PhD for seminary profs. Seminaries need learned scholars who are or were pastor/practioners in their respective fields IMHO!

    sdg!

    rd:smilewinkgrin:
     
  8. Martin

    Martin
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,228
    Likes Received:
    0
    So I asked Wheaton about this issue. Just as I suspected. The degrees are for two different groups of people. One is for people more interested in a Seminary program in general church history, the other is for people who want to learn more about American church history and maybe enter a PhD program in American History. The differences, they said, is in the electives.
     

Share This Page

Loading...