Grad School Help! Reformed Theological Seminary vs. Biola's Talbot School of Theology

RTS v Talbot

  • Reformed Theological Seminary

    Votes: 9 100.0%
  • Talbot School of Theology

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    9
Status
Not open for further replies.

IveGotQuestions

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi y'all!

I am pursuing a M.A. in Theological Studies and have been accepted to RTS and Talbot. I am currently serving in the military and will be completing this degree online.

A little background on my ministry goals. I was a Behavioral Science major with a minor in Religion Studies in College. I developed a strong passion for the study of theology and how individuals process and apply it in their lives. My ministry objective is to serve others through psychology. I intend to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology following the completion of my Master’s of Theological Studies. I firmly believe that faith plays a crucial role in the healing process. A sound biblical foundation will allow me not only to minister to an individual’s mental health but also to their spiritual health. I seek to help people work through some of the most challenging times in their lives while offering them spiritual knowledge that influences their understanding and guides their decisions and actions. I am also interested in keeping the door open on teaching at the university level in the future.

I am looking for a school that will provide me a strong biblical foundation and challenges me academically.

I have done some research online about each school and both have shown up on a few lists of top schools. I feel a bit ignorant about how each is perceived in the community and I would appreciate any advice, experience with either school, pros/cons, the major difference I may be overlooking, etc.

Thank you for your help!
 
Last edited:

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
RTS for a specially Reformed schooling. I know that, at least, their Jackson campus is integrationist with regard to Biblical counseling. Are you sure you can't move there? Its cheap and you could buy a home.
As for Talbot, I haven't a clue.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I graduated from Talbot in 1994 with the M.Div. It is neither liberal (Andrew!) nor Pentecostal (Charles!). Talbot, as with Biola generally, is broadly evangelical and conservative. It is not hostile to Reformed thought, generally speaking. In fact, my church history professor, Alan Gomes, is Reformed. I think he might be retired now, or getting close. Historically (Talbot was founded in 1952), the school was in the Classic Dispensationalism camp (2nd generation dispensationalist - Ryrie, Walvoord, et al). However, due to the influence of the late Robert L. Saucy (1930-2015), who taught systematic theology there from 1961 until his death, the school can be described, starting in the 1990s, as being in the Progressive Dispensationalism camp.

Biola has an excellent library (which Talbot shares, as the two schools are on the same campus). I've been prowling that library (founded in 1908, as was Biola) for many years, and there is a lot of Reformed stuff there. It has at least two sets of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics on its shelves, for example.

During my time there, dispensationalism (of whatever stripe) was never brought up in the classroom - even in the theology classes. So, the school is officially dispensationalist, but they don't make a big deal about it.

I think you would get a good, solid, conservative education there, but you would have to pretty much study Reformed theology on your own. If you want an explicitly Reformed education, go to RTS (or elsewhere).

Also, as to your psychological interests, the Rosemead School of Psychology has been one of Biola's schools for several decades now, although I can't vouch for their education or training programs.

Hope this helps.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Talbot is not a reformed seminary. That which is not reformed is not biblical, hence, liberal. Evangelical, yes. Reformed and Biblical, no. There are many more better seminaries out there.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Depends on which RTS it is and on what you want to do in life. Do you want to teach at the post-grad level? Then I would lean towards Talbots. Also, what do you want to study and teach? High octane philosophical theology, then go to Talbots.

What kind of PhD program do you plan to get into? That also might limit it.
 

IveGotQuestions

Puritan Board Freshman
I graduated from Talbot in 1994 with the M.Div. It is neither liberal (Andrew!) nor Pentecostal (Charles!). Talbot, as with Biola generally, is broadly evangelical and conservative. It is not hostile to Reformed thought, generally speaking. In fact, my church history professor, Alan Gomes, is Reformed. I think he might be retired now, or getting close. Historically (Talbot was founded in 1952), the school was in the Classic Dispensationalism camp (2nd generation dispensationalist - Ryrie, Walvoord, et al). However, due to the influence of the late Robert L. Saucy (1930-2015), who taught systematic theology there from 1961 until his death, the school can be described, starting in the 1990s, as being in the Progressive Dispensationalism camp.

Biola has an excellent library (which Talbot shares, as the two schools are on the same campus). I've been prowling that library (founded in 1908, as was Biola) for many years, and there is a lot of Reformed stuff there. It has at least two sets of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics on its shelves, for example.

During my time there, dispensationalism (of whatever stripe) was never brought up in the classroom - even in the theology classes. So, the school is officially dispensationalist, but they don't make a big deal about it.

I think you would get a good, solid, conservative education there, but you would have to pretty much study Reformed theology on your own. If you want an explicitly Reformed education, go to RTS (or elsewhere).

Also, as to your psychological interests, the Rosemead School of Psychology has been one of Biola's schools for several decades now, although I can't vouch for their education or training programs.

Hope this helps.

Thank you for this insight. It helps a lot!
 

IveGotQuestions

Puritan Board Freshman
Depends on which RTS it is and on what you want to do in life. Do you want to teach at the post-grad level? Then I would lean towards Talbots. Also, what do you want to study and teach? High octane philosophical theology, then go to Talbots.

What kind of PhD program do you plan to get into? That also might limit it.

It is RTS Global and I would want to teach courses related to religious studies. I have already discussed this and requirements/details with the school I would want to teach at and they have had few people follow a similar path with an online theology degree and then the department-sponsored them later on for Ph.D.

I am looking at just pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Would attending one of these schools limit my ability?
 

IveGotQuestions

Puritan Board Freshman
RTS for a specially Reformed schooling. I know that, at least, their Jackson campus is integrationist with regard to Biblical counseling. Are you sure you can't move there? Its cheap and you could buy a home.
As for Talbot, I haven't a clue.

I definitely won't be able to move but have heard really good things about the RTS Global education and flexibility which is a Pro for me.
 

IveGotQuestions

Puritan Board Freshman
That depends on what kind of school you would go to for your PhD. I don't know that a clinical psychology school would want a theology degree.

I understand what you are saying. I don't believe that this degree will hinder me in that way, by any means. In fact, I think, if done well, the completion of a master's degree will help demonstrate my academic ability to succeed in a Ph.D. program. I didn't put my full career goals here but this theology degree aligns itself with the type of services I would like to offer. Thank you for your insight.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I understand what you are saying. I don't believe that this degree will hinder me in that way, by any means. In fact, I think, if done well, the completion of a master's degree will help demonstrate my academic ability to succeed in a Ph.D. program. I didn't put my full career goals here but this theology degree aligns itself with the type of services I would like to offer. Thank you for your insight.

So what kind of job do you see yourself working at?
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Talbot is not a reformed seminary. That which is not reformed is not biblical, hence, liberal. Evangelical, yes. Reformed and Biblical, no. There are many more better seminaries out there.

A school that is not Reformed is automatically liberal? But, you admit that a school that is not Reformed can still be Evangelical. Evangelical schools tend to be conservative in their theology, not liberal. I don't know too many PCUSA schools, for example, that could be called Evangelical - but they *are* liberal. You're painting with rather a wide brush, Andrew.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Yes, historically, Talbot has been hostile to the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement.

Probably not to the same extent now as before. The Southern Baptists aren't really so hostile to it anymore either.

I vaguely remember some insinuation that Talbot was getting a little wobbly on inerrancy in the 80s and Masters being established as a result, with Robert L. Thomas moving from Talbot to Masters. I think Dennis McFadden posted something about that here years ago.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Hi y'all!

I am pursuing a M.A. in Theological Studies and have been accepted to RTS and Talbot. I am currently serving in the military and will be completing this degree online.

A little background on my ministry goals. I was a Behavioral Science major with a minor in Religion Studies in College. I developed a strong passion for the study of theology and how individuals process and apply it in their lives. My ministry objective is to serve others through psychology. I intend to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology following the completion of my Master’s of Theological Studies. I firmly believe that faith plays a crucial role in the healing process. A sound biblical foundation will allow me not only to minister to an individual’s mental health but also to their spiritual health. I seek to help people work through some of the most challenging times in their lives while offering them spiritual knowledge that influences their understanding and guides their decisions and actions. I am also interested in keeping the door open on teaching at the university level in the future.

I am looking for a school that will provide me a strong biblical foundation and challenges me academically.

I have done some research online about each school and both have shown up on a few lists of top schools. I feel a bit ignorant about how each is perceived in the community and I would appreciate any advice, experience with either school, pros/cons, the major difference I may be overlooking, etc.

Thank you for your help!

Keep in mind that there may be trouble in the future with licensure for those who oppose the normalization of homosexuality and transsexualism. I want to say that there have already been some issues with either that or someone getting approved for their Ph.D. I can't remember whether that was in Canada or the US. But with the rapid pace of change today, I'd be very surprised if Bible-believing Christians will be able to get licensed and stay licensed in the near future. Some will dismiss this as fearmongering, but I can't help but think that it will be a problem.

One reason why you are perhaps not getting as many replies here as you might like is because many here (and in Reformed/Calvinistic evangelicalism in general) reject the whole idea of what you're trying to do and think that only Biblical/Nouthetic counseling is legitimate. A lot of conservative seminaries, such as SBTS, have gotten rid of their licensed counseling and psychology programs after coming to reject as illegitimate the idea of integrating the Bible and psychology. But as noted above, RTS is integrationist.

I don't really have any idea about either program. But in general, I'd say if you're looking for something distinctively Reformed, RTS is the way to go. (I don't know what other Reformed options may exist.) Maybe if Biola's program is considered to be excellent and better than RTS, that may be a good option also.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
Talbot is not a reformed seminary. That which is not reformed is not biblical, hence, liberal. Evangelical, yes. Reformed and Biblical, no. There are many more better seminaries out there.

"That which is not reformed is not biblical, hence, liberal."

That sylogism doesn't even begin to check out. What's your definition of liberal?
 

wcf_linux

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi y'all!

I am pursuing a M.A. in Theological Studies and have been accepted to RTS and Talbot. I am currently serving in the military and will be completing this degree online.

A little background on my ministry goals. I was a Behavioral Science major with a minor in Religion Studies in College. I developed a strong passion for the study of theology and how individuals process and apply it in their lives. My ministry objective is to serve others through psychology. I intend to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology following the completion of my Master’s of Theological Studies. I firmly believe that faith plays a crucial role in the healing process. A sound biblical foundation will allow me not only to minister to an individual’s mental health but also to their spiritual health. I seek to help people work through some of the most challenging times in their lives while offering them spiritual knowledge that influences their understanding and guides their decisions and actions. I am also interested in keeping the door open on teaching at the university level in the future.

I am looking for a school that will provide me a strong biblical foundation and challenges me academically.

I have done some research online about each school and both have shown up on a few lists of top schools. I feel a bit ignorant about how each is perceived in the community and I would appreciate any advice, experience with either school, pros/cons, the major difference I may be overlooking, etc.

Thank you for your help!

If getting a theological education that's more expressly rooted in the Reformed tradition is important for you, that's a point in RTS's relative favor. That said, at least with Talbot you know you are getting an eclectic Protestant curriculum, so you know to look for ways to get extra footing in Reformed material.

Don't underestimate the importance of broader factors. Biola is in southern Los Angeles county, and much of the off-campus housing options are in northern Orange County. Pretty pricey, and all the airports are a fair bit of a jog away. That's less of a factor for online study, of course, but worth keeping in mind. I wasn't careful with cost of living and tuition expenses in my graduate studies, and that's caused me trouble in the years since.

I graduated from Talbot in 1994 with the M.Div. It is neither liberal (Andrew!) nor Pentecostal (Charles!). Talbot, as with Biola generally, is broadly evangelical and conservative. It is not hostile to Reformed thought, generally speaking. In fact, my church history professor, Alan Gomes, is Reformed. I think he might be retired now, or getting close. Historically (Talbot was founded in 1952), the school was in the Classic Dispensationalism camp (2nd generation dispensationalist - Ryrie, Walvoord, et al). However, due to the influence of the late Robert L. Saucy (1930-2015), who taught systematic theology there from 1961 until his death, the school can be described, starting in the 1990s, as being in the Progressive Dispensationalism camp.

Biola has an excellent library (which Talbot shares, as the two schools are on the same campus). I've been prowling that library (founded in 1908, as was Biola) for many years, and there is a lot of Reformed stuff there. It has at least two sets of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics on its shelves, for example.

During my time there, dispensationalism (of whatever stripe) was never brought up in the classroom - even in the theology classes. So, the school is officially dispensationalist, but they don't make a big deal about it.

I think you would get a good, solid, conservative education there, but you would have to pretty much study Reformed theology on your own. If you want an explicitly Reformed education, go to RTS (or elsewhere).

Also, as to your psychological interests, the Rosemead School of Psychology has been one of Biola's schools for several decades now, although I can't vouch for their education or training programs.

Hope this helps.

I graduated from Biola undergrad in 2005. (I wish now that I had given Westminster OPC a chance when I was there, though who knows how that would have turned out.) The library's just as good as you say. The current building was opened right at the beginning of my time there, and it is excellent. Dispensationalism wasn't a big topic unless you went out of your way to find it. (Which I did, to an extent.)

I think the softer forms of charismaticism were making some inroads when I was a student there. J.P. Moreland certainly seemed to be making noises in that direction. The Pentecostal students I knew, however, did not call it a Pentecostal-friendly institution.

That depends on what kind of school you would go to for your PhD. I don't know that a clinical psychology school would want a theology degree.

Rosemead, which is part of Biola, will not scorn a theology degree, even if it came from Talbot!
 

IveGotQuestions

Puritan Board Freshman
Keep in mind that there may be trouble in the future with licensure for those who oppose the normalization of homosexuality and transsexualism. I want to say that there have already been some issues with either that or someone getting approved for their Ph.D. I can't remember whether that was in Canada or the US. But with the rapid pace of change today, I'd be very surprised if Bible-believing Christians will be able to get licensed and stay licensed in the near future. Some will dismiss this as fearmongering, but I can't help but think that it will be a problem.

One reason why you are perhaps not getting as many replies here as you might like is because many here (and in Reformed/Calvinistic evangelicalism in general) reject the whole idea of what you're trying to do and think that only Biblical/Nouthetic counseling is legitimate. A lot of conservative seminaries, such as SBTS, have gotten rid of their licensed counseling and psychology programs after coming to reject as illegitimate the idea of integrating the Bible and psychology. But as noted above, RTS is integrationist.

I don't really have any idea about either program. But in general, I'd say if you're looking for something distinctively Reformed, RTS is the way to go. (I don't know what other Reformed options may exist.) Maybe if Biola's program is considered to be excellent and better than RTS, that may be a good option also.

I appreciate your insight. Definitely something to take into consideration for the future.
 

IveGotQuestions

Puritan Board Freshman
If getting a theological education that's more expressly rooted in the Reformed tradition is important for you, that's a point in RTS's relative favor. That said, at least with Talbot you know you are getting an eclectic Protestant curriculum, so you know to look for ways to get extra footing in Reformed material.

Don't underestimate the importance of broader factors. Biola is in southern Los Angeles county, and much of the off-campus housing options are in northern Orange County. Pretty pricey, and all the airports are a fair bit of a jog away. That's less of a factor for online study, of course, but worth keeping in mind. I wasn't careful with cost of living and tuition expenses in my graduate studies, and that's caused me trouble in the years since.



I graduated from Biola undergrad in 2005. (I wish now that I had given Westminster OPC a chance when I was there, though who knows how that would have turned out.) The library's just as good as you say. The current building was opened right at the beginning of my time there, and it is excellent. Dispensationalism wasn't a big topic unless you went out of your way to find it. (Which I did, to an extent.)

I think the softer forms of charismaticism were making some inroads when I was a student there. J.P. Moreland certainly seemed to be making noises in that direction. The Pentecostal students I knew, however, did not call it a Pentecostal-friendly institution.



Rosemead, which is part of Biola, will not scorn a theology degree, even if it came from Talbot!

Thank you for sharing your experience and insight!
 

Mikey

Puritan Board Freshman
RTS has a wonderful app with many of their lecture series online for free. I've benefited from many of the lecture series in the past (I'm currently going through one now!). Be sure to check it out.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Probably not to the same extent now as before. The Southern Baptists aren't really so hostile to it anymore either.

I vaguely remember some insinuation that Talbot was getting a little wobbly on inerrancy in the 80s and Masters being established as a result, with Robert L. Thomas moving from Talbot to Masters. I think Dennis McFadden posted something about that here years ago.

The cynic in me thinks that MacArthur was itching to start his own school and "decided" that Talbot was "getting wobbly" on inerrancy as the reason to do so. I could be wrong. When I was there in the early 1990s, the school was solid on the subject. Still is, as far as I know.
 
Last edited:

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I think the softer forms of charismaticism were making some inroads when I was a student there. J.P. Moreland certainly seemed to be making noises in that direction. The Pentecostal students I knew, however, did not call it a Pentecostal-friendly institution.

Yes, I remember being quite amazed upon hearing that Moreland - that hard-headed, no-nonsense philosopher - was playing footsie with some form of the charismatic movement. He was in a serious car accident some years ago. Maybe that got him to thinking about it, having survived that.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top