Your opinion of Liberty U

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Havensdad, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. Havensdad

    Havensdad
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    I am curious of everyone's opinion of Liberty University. I have applied for admission into their M. Div. program, and am praying to God for admission.

    I just really feel I need some more "seasoning" before entering into the pastorate: I know I am a little too dogmatic on some things, and I tend to get a little too "feisty". Also, I need to explore some areas of doctrine that I feel I am weak on.

    Looking at their online program, it looks like a good opportunity for me to be able to serve as part time Youth minister at my current church, while taking classes through distance ed. Also, their summer on campus "intensives", would give me the opportunity for some face to face interaction as well.

    In any case, feel free to voice your likes/dislikes here.
     
  2. StefanM

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    I think that Liberty is a very good program. I've taken a couple courses through their program. The one deficiency is in the lack of language courses online, but you may be able to use intensives for that end or you may be able to take a few courses from another institution if needed.

    The one downside is the lack of ATS accreditation. This is what allows LU to offer the program by distance, though, so it's a tradeoff. Moreover, among fundamentalist and conservative churches, ATS accreditation may not matter much anyway. It would be a bigger deal if you were looking to continue to a doctoral program at some point, but even then there are still options because LU is regionally accredited.

    Bottom line--you could do a lot worse than LU.
     
  3. TomVols

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    Liberty's lack of ATS accretitation will not hurt you one whit, with one possible exception of chaplaincy endorsement, but even that's a stretch (does Liberty even offer CPE?).

    I have a couple of doctrinal differences with Liberty, but all in all, you could indeed do worse. Your instincts are right in that you need some RE. I'm not sure as to what they require as residencies now for the M.Div., but take all you can. Realize that intensives still are not the best way for interaction ( you don't get a whole lot of Peer-to-peer or mentor to student because there just isn't enough time) but at least you're not completely squirelled away somewhere stagnant. Will summer intensives work for you as a Youth minister? That's often the busy season.

    Would this be my first choice? No. But you could do worse.
     
  4. Martin

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    Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary is a great school. If you work hard and do your best it will be a very educational experience for you. God bless you in your studies.

    Martin.
     
  5. michaelbowe

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    I hope you are well. Liberty has a great program where you can complete your entire MDiv program online. There are some downsides to this. One is the lack of interaction between your peers and profs. Usually, the blackboard site is ran by the prof's TA. That was my experience when I attended. Secondly, there is a lack of languages. They only want you to be able to get by. The admissions reps will tell you this. Thirdly, there are some that are not on board with the whole distance ed thing. I'm not saying this is right, but just how it is. When the entire degree is completed online some people are a little weary. I know because I have an online undergraduate. Lastly, the lack of ATS accreditation. SACS is the regional accreditor, but ATS is kinda the signature accreditor to theological schools. This is not anything new, ABA accredits law schools, ADA dental schools, AMA, Medical Schools. There are some ATS schools that offer distance ed, and then you can fulfill the residency requirements via intensives. SACS is good, please do not get me wrong, but some places will not transfer or accept the credits because of the lack of ATS. I know this from experience as well. I attended liberty for a short time, due to doctrinal differences left and none of the credits transferred. Doctrinally, they are incredibly fundamental, don't know if this is something you prefer, I didn't. I want to push the limits and know what I know, not get preached what I already know. I did not like my experience there, but maybe yours will be different.
     
  6. Havensdad

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    Hey Michael,

    Could you tell me what schools would not take RA transfer credits? All of the literature that I have looked at, specify RA, not ATS. ATS accreditation seems to be an "acceptable alternative" to RA, in some cases (for schools that are ONLY ATS accredited) but I don't see any that REQUIRE it.

    I am not doubting you, I am just curious.
     
  7. michaelbowe

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    Hey, Havensdad

    Certainly, the institution I attended would not take the courses, BTSR. I thought of Beeson Divinity and they said they would be very reluctant over the phone. A friend of mine, who is presbyterian, said Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary would not take the course work either. I see ATS schools thinking they are some special stuff, and they really only like to take ATS schools and even then they may not accept core class work. There is no standard that each school has to take anyone else's credits. Accredited will likely transfer, but there is never a guarantee.
     
  8. Havensdad

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Other than Liberty, the only other Seminaries I would be interested in are the "Big Six", and all of them accept RA. Even Southern, I noticed, has recently changed it's policies. On their website, for example, under graduate transfer, ATS isn't even mentioned. It says they accept credits from RA institutions, and will consider credits from other recognized accreditors. This is a very recent change, because when I looked 3 or 4 months ago, ATS accreditation was specifically mentioned.

    I have no intention of transferring out, though. But I may well pursue Doctoral studies, after the M. Div., either at Liberty, or one of the Big Six.
     
  9. michaelbowe

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    This is pure speculation. I do not know this for a fact. I imagine the relationship with Liberty and the six have changed for the better because Thomas Road, is now a SBC church. Usually, a seminary will have both RA and ATS because RA is for EdD, MACE, MAR, etc. Good luck in your studies and hope the best for you.
     
  10. Havensdad

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    I am not sure about that, but I DO know that Liberty is (from their website) affiliated with the Southern Baptist of Virginia Convention, as well as being listed as a "SBC university" (rather than an SBC Seminary) on the SBC website.
     
  11. michaelbowe

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    As I said, I am purely speculating.
     
  12. preachinjesus

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    I enjoyed my time at Liberty. I did my undergraduate degrees there. It was a bit of a different place then.

    I would recommend it, particularly if you are in vocational ministry. They are really leading the packing in DE.

    There are some recommendations many have listed and I will add several:
    1. See if you can do some residency and transfer in credits. The professor to student relationship in the classroom is too important to simply pass off onto blackboard.

    2. Do everything and more for your classes. It is easy slack off with a DE program.

    3. Take a multitude of classes from different profs. Variety will enhance your experience.

    Coming out of Liberty I was really dogmatic about very conservative about some stuff...but that had little to do with Liberty and a lot to do with the crew I was hanging out with. Once I got to seminary I had loosened up and was in a lot of conversations with people talking about theology and big question stuff that caused me to loosen my zealotry.

    Liberty has definitely chilled a lot since I was there. That's a good thing! Hopefully it'll be a good fit for you. :thumbs:
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    oh, and to add, if you're life is ministry don't worry about ATS. Even if you're interested in doctoral work, don't worry too much about ATS.

    From many of the circles I wander in and out of, ATS is starting to hit the rocks due to their rampant disgust for DE. They aren't being taken as seriously now as before.

    This might engender some conversation here. Perhaps it should. :)
     
  14. StefanM

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    I'm glad to hear of the shift away from ATS accreditation. I think that ATS accreditation is an absolute waste of time and money. It's little more than elitist pseudo ecumenism. It adds an unnecessary level of "quality control" that doesn't really affect anything. I say let the church or the denomination determine what is acceptable for ministerial training, and let the regional accreditors handle the academic training.
     
  15. go2church

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    If fundamentalist dispensationalism is your bent you should feel right at home.
     
  16. Havensdad

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    Yeah, there doctoral admissions used to require a "Master of Divinity degree from a University or Seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, or equivalent".

    Now, it says:

    "Master of Divinity or equivalent from a regionally accredited seminary. Equivalency is normally defined as over 90 semester hours or 135 quarter hours of Master’s level studies that are comparable to a Master of Divinity from Southern Seminary."

    Equivalency is now determined by being "Comparable to Southern Seminary", rather than "ATS accredited, or equivalent".

    I like this change!!
     
  17. Havensdad

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    Fundamentalist? Absolutely.

    Dispensational? No, but I am pre-mil, so it won't be THAT bad. For the past four years, I have put up with a Churches of Christ sponsored university, and a Charismatic (though Baptist leaning) Seminary( which I love, don't get me wrong).

    I think I can put up with some minor theological differences :laugh:
     
  18. Martin

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    ==This is true, but there are several important points that need to be made.

    First, major universities are now offering degrees online.

    Second, since Liberty University has online and on-campus programs nobody will automatically know you earned the degree online. Also you have no legal or moral obligation to tell people that you earned the degree online or on-campus and most people will not ask. Your degree is 100% accredited and qualifies you to all the rights and privileges of the degree regardless of the delivery method. Anyone who asks if you earned it online or on-campus is asking something that is none of their business. Therefore you are not required to provide them an answer.


    ==This is true, but generally it does not matter. All of the Southern Baptist seminaries accept degrees/credits from Liberty University as do schools like Dallas Theological Seminary, etc.


    ==Universities and seminaries are never required to accept degrees/credits from any university or seminary. The vast majority of LBTS students will have no problem transferring to the University/Seminary of their choice.

    LBTS's lack on online language courses will be a problem for students who seek to earn an DMin or PhD from a seminary or divinity school after graduating from LBTS. Those who wish to earn a PhD from a secular university or do not desire to go beyond the MDiv will have no problems with LBTS's lack on online languages.

    Students should always plan ahead. For example, if you wish to earn your PhD at Wheaton College then you need to make sure that they will honor your MDiv from LBTS before you enroll in Liberty's online or on-campus programs. It is amazing what problems planning ahead will solve.
     
    #18 Martin, Jun 20, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2009
  19. Martin

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    ==Some people need to consider that ATS does not enjoy wide acceptance outside of theological institutions. So a person who earns their PhD from a seminary that only enjoys ATS accreditation will not be able to get a job teaching at many seminaries, most community colleges or secular universities. This is not that big of a problem since most ATS schools are also RA. But it is something to think about when considering ATS.


    ==ATS's policy on distance/online education is out of date and unrealistic. Part of being a well-rounded institution is being able to adapt to changes in the market place. Things have come a very long way since the old Green Acres correspondence schools/classes. Online learning is just as challenging, maybe even more challenging (depending on the instructor), than traditional classes. Sure students can cheat and cut corners when taking online classes. However, as any teacher can verify, that is also true with traditional classes. I have caught on campus students plagiarizing off the internet, trying to turn in an assignment multiple times, etc. The fact is any cheating or slacking off (etc) that can be done online can also be done on campus.

    I have a bit of extra respect for someone who has earned a degree (AA, AAS, BA, BS, MA, MDiv, etc) online. Why? Because the successful online learner is a self motivated, well disciplined, hard worker. They have done the work without having a instructor stand over them or threaten to call on them in class. In some cases, they have done more "work" than traditional students do.

    Mark my word on this, eventually ATS will change their policy concerning online/distance education. It is just a matter of time.
     
  20. Havensdad

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    Martin,

    According to the course offerings at Lu online, they DO offer one online class of Greek, and one of Hebrew. This would satisfy requirements for a D. Min. from, say, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (which only requires one semester of each).

    Also, since Liberty offers Advanced standing credits for Undergraduate Greek classes, this can also become a non issue. Not to mention ICE exams.

    And, if REALLY was a problem, Liberties rather generous transfer credit policy would easily solve it, as you could just take the non-degree online Greek/Hebrew classes from NOBTS: which, btw, is very reasonably priced.
     

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