Reformed Theology School in the East

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ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Ok all, I am praying about and considering a major move within the next year or two.

The desire I have to learn is pushing me toward seminary. I have always longed to learn more about the bible and theology, but never has the passion over taken me like it has since becoming reformed.

My wife and I only have the one child we adopted and she graduates college this May! After that we can start making plans officially.

What school are there for me to at least look into on the East Coast? Any at all in the North East? I am really considering moving, getting a small appartment, a job that pay enough to pay the bills, and gettting a degree (or two :D )

Any info will be appreciated as well as your prayers of course!
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
You got a couple choices up there.

Westminster in Philedelphia
Gordon Conwell in Mass
Ref Pres (the one Andrew just noted)

You also could do distance learning through
RTS, Whitefeild, or Greenville.
RTS has an MAR degree you can do thorugh distance learning. You just have to fly in for a couple weeks at the beginning and end of your degree.

It all depends on what you want to accomplish Adam. You have a goal in mind with this?

[Edited on 20-1-2005 by puritansailor]
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
A solid goal? Well, I hesitate to sound silly, especially at this point in my life and learning. But I have always dreamed of being a traveling preacher. Ever since I was a child I used to "play" preacher! Yes, my mom can tell you stories of how I would stand on the landing of our stair case and "preach" to my stuffed animals that I placed below me. I was around 4 years old!

I grew up in a Weslynian "Church of God" and we always had "revival" preachers that I loved. As an early teen (13-14) I was puzzled as to why all of our services couldn't be just like those revival services. No, they were not charismatic. They focused on sin and repentance, growing closer to the Lord and walking in His statutes. But after that week, the services went back to being dry, boring, ho-hum services where sin was rarely mentioned.

I love to write. It's one of my strongest passions. I know I need some "English" courses because my spelling and grammer suffer badly at times. It's laziness more than it is ignorance though.

I would love to be a traveling, writing, preacher of God's word. I have an absolute passion againt Dispensationalism that stole years away from me and still keeps my loved ones within it's grasp.

I dream of becoming a respected theologian asking the Lord to use me to spread His truth through preaching, teaching, and if He will, writing.

I know it's a big dream, but I am only 35. I figure that by the time I am 50 I could possibly be doing what I dream of after obtaining the degree(s) it would take to garner the respect I would need in order to do it.

Maybe I am crazy, but it's been on my mind for some time now.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Adam, I know a pastor who didn't start until he was in his 50's. God can use you no matter how much time we have left. Andrew Gray was a Scottish Presbyterian minister in the 1600's. He died at age 23 I believe and only pastored for about 2 years but was used greatly in his ministry. Pursue you're desires. Talk to your pastor and elders about them too. They may be able to help you test out those gifts to help confirm that the calling is genuine. :twocents:
 

ARStager

Puritan Board Freshman
That's good advice for me too. I keep forgetting that if I'm not in seminary by this time tomorrow, all is not lost. Keeping my focus on my here-and-now vocation is one of my biggest areas of temptation and sin.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by ARStager
That's good advice for me too. I keep forgetting that if I'm not in seminary by this time tomorrow, all is not lost. Keeping my focus on my here-and-now vocation is one of my biggest areas of temptation and sin.
:ditto::amen:
Visiting in California has killed me this week. I got to visit WTS CA for part of the day yesterday and I can't tell you what spending a few hours in the library does to a person that has to work the next day! Let's all pray for each other that God will give us wisdom and direct our steps.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
That's a great ambition Adam. Definitely look into it's possibilities.

I can totally understand your passion to learn more (since becoming reformed). I'm also tossing around the idea of seminary but at this point I don't have any burning ambition to be a preacher or pastor. I don't know what that says about me (spiritually) but I just feel like I NEED to have a greater understanding. My hesitation at this time is just this: I don't know what I want to do with such a degree so it seems very self-centered at this point.

I can also totally relate to feeling like I've wasted so many years submerged in dispensationalism, etc. It's all VERY humbling especially as I thought that I had a good grasp of Scripture before.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Whew, you guys don't think I'm crazy!:lol:

I will pray for you all and asking you do the same for me. My pastor is on vacation, but I am going to run it by him when he returns!

Chris, I thought I knew the bible very well too, then I found out there was a wealth of knowledge no one ever told me existed. I have to fight actually being angry about it.
 

JonathanHunt

Puritan Board Senior
Let those of us born into 'reformed' homes and churches count our blessings. I cannot imagine what it is like to change your theology after many years. Seismic.

And Adam, go for it, if the wise counsellors around you agree, and the Lord leads. You might be suprised about what the Lord wants you to do at the end of seminary/studies - but so long as you are willing to be used, and submit to Him, you will be used.

JH
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Adam,

GPTS in South Carolina is probably the best seminary on the East Coast. :up::up:

RPTS, I think, is the best one that is close to you currently. :up:

I think PRTS in Grand Rapids, Michigan may be the best seminary in the country. :up::up:

I would strongly discourage you from considering Gordon-Conwell. :down:

Westminster is not what it used to be, but I reckon one could glean some good from that education. ~

I would also encourage you to take time to think this decision through. As you rightly mentioned, it warrants prayer by yourself and those around you. A call to the ministry is a weighty thing. You should consider both the internal and the external call. If those are both discernable, and all other things in your life are equal, then by all means proceed. But although you can certainly go the long-distance education route, I would also add an encouragement to visit campuses personally and interact face-to-face with the folks there. There is much to be said for thinking of seminary education as more than just vocational training; it's a life dedicated to the ministry of God's Word, which means interacting with people. In the meantime, you might consider taking/auditing one Bible class at a local or long-distance campus just to get your feet wet. If you are indeed called to serve God in the ministry, He will make straight your paths and enable you to complete that which is begun.

May the Lord grant you wisdom and direct your steps. God bless!
 

Ivan

Pastor
Originally posted by JonathanHunt
Let those of us born into 'reformed' homes and churches count our blessings. I cannot imagine what it is like to change your theology after many years. Seismic.

And Adam, go for it, if the wise counsellors around you agree, and the Lord leads. You might be suprised about what the Lord wants you to do at the end of seminary/studies - but so long as you are willing to be used, and submit to Him, you will be used.

JH

Yes! Talk to your pastor, elders, wife, etc. If you feel God leading you....GO FOR IT!!!!

:up:
 

bond-servant

Puritan Board Sophomore
Adam,

Pursue your dream! If it has been on your heart and won't go away, it's probably God. Never know how He'll use this to bless and grow your life and others too.:bigsmile:
 

daveb

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
I think PRTS in Grand Rapids, Michigan may be the best seminary in the country. :up::up:

Sorry, what does PRTS stand for? I'd be interested in checking it out with a recommendation like that.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by houseparent
I am gonna guess Puritan Reformed Theology Seminary?

You are correct Adam.

They are good if you want to learn about Puritans, that's for sure. But they still have some kinks to work out. They only have two professors at present. Though they just finished a new building and plan to add more faculty.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
PRTS is a wonderful school. It would however be a shock for many in the "moderate" Reformed camp. PRTS is anti TV, anti movies, and anti new ideas. Pro KJV, regulative principle of worship, and big on holiness, etc. They run a very tight conservative ship.:pilgrim: My advise would be to go down and check it out first. Talk with the teachers and students. PRTS is not your typical seminary of ecletcic students from a mosaic of backgrounds. Most that attend are Free Reformed, Heritage Reformed, Free Church (Continuing), Presbyterian Reformed etc., from the very or ultra conservative denominations. I would think that mainstream Reformed students would find it a bit restrictive there. And I do not think you can just decide to "go". It is quite a process to get in. Not based on accedemics alone, but wether the aplicant would "fit" into PRTS.

Having said that, if you can do it ...DO IT!:up: It is the best there is right now in the USA. :scholar:

Kind regards,

Jerrold
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by houseparent
I would want to visit the entire "area" as I would need to know what the job market was like as well.

Grand Rapids is nice. Housing is affordable. Lots of reformed churches, and I mean lots! And lots of places to get books too! I visited there quite frequently the last few years because my friend lives there. I've also visited the seminary a few times and considered going there. Like I said, they still have some kinks to get worked out, primarily interacting more with the theological developments of the last hundred years or so. The Puritans are great, but the Church has had some struggles since then that we need to learn from as well. Not saying it's a bad school at all. They have a rather rigorous load. You just may have to supplement some stuff for yourself with extra reading where they don't cover it, as you would with any other seminary. And they also are not accredited yet, so if you wanted to do some higher education elsewhere that may be a consideration for you.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
Like I said, they still have some kinks to get worked out, primarily interacting more with the theological developments of the last hundred years or so. The Puritans are great, but the Church has had some struggles since then that we need to learn from as well. Not saying it's a bad school at all. They have a rather rigorous load. You just may have to supplement some stuff for yourself with extra reading where they don't cover it, as you would with any other seminary.


I am wondering what these kinks are? Which struggles are so important that RTS would give them time when PRTS would not? Seems to me that the great plight in today's sem's is a lack of the past. PRTS has said from the outset it wishes to train pastors, not academicians.:)

Kind regards,

Jerrold
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
The Michigan school sounds very intresting but their newness makes me a bit nervous. I would eventually want to go to the seminary that garnered the most "respect" amongst the bretheren.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by houseparent
I love to write. It's one of my strongest passions. I know I need some "English" courses because my spelling and grammer suffer badly at times. It's laziness more than it is ignorance though.

I would love to be a traveling, writing, preacher of God's word. I have an absolute passion againt Dispensationalism that stole years away from me and still keeps my loved ones within it's grasp.

I dream of becoming a respected theologian asking the Lord to use me to spread His truth through preaching, teaching, and if He will, writing.

Adam, I don't think I could better sum up my thoughts on my own future goals! Those three paragraphs are pretty close to my general thoughts at this point on what I want to do, although in my situation I would change the last one to "spread His word through writing, teaching, and if He will, preaching."

Personally, I'm thinking of going to either RTS-Jackson or one of the Westminster branches. What are your thoughts on moving somewhere further from where you currently are - or is that basically not something you're considering?

In any case, I'll pray for you as you endeavor on these decisions and the journey as a whole, and I'd appreciate your prayers as well over the next several years.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by JOwen

I am wondering what these kinks are? Which struggles are so important that RTS would give them time when PRTS would not? Seems to me that the great plight in today's sem's is a lack of the past. PRTS has said from the outset it wishes to train pastors, not academicians.:)

I'll be glad to talk about them via U2U if you wish to get more specific. The ultra conservative mentioned issues above are one thing to consider. There are some personal reasons which made me choose RTS over PRTS and others. It really depends on where you want the emphasis of your theological education to be. If you love the Puritans and want to really know them well, and don't mind the unaccredited degree, then PRTS is where you want to go. I guess that's all I'll say for now.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by houseparent
The Michigan school sounds very interesting but their newness makes me a bit nervous. I would eventually want to go to the seminary that garnered the most "respect" amongst the brethren.


I would suggest that respect does not come through a piece of paper from a reputable School, but through the Spirit's anointing on your ministry. I know of no minister/pastor/teacher/theologian who garnishes more respect that Rev. Dr. Joel Beeke. His ministry, which is only just beginning, is truly global in the Reformed world. He's a minister who trains ministers. It does not get any better than that.
If at all possible you should try and stay home in your local Church to train for the ministry and do most of your work by distance ed under the tutelage of your Session/Presbytery. This is the best model In my humble opinion. I have an article on Seminary Ed and the Church here : http://www.mychristiansite.com/personal/experientia/distanceeducation.htm

kind regards,
Jerrold:)
 

Ivan

Pastor
Originally posted by JOwen
I would suggest that respect does not come through a piece of paper from a reputable School, but through the Spirit's anointing on your ministry. I know of no minister/pastor/teacher/theologian who garnishes more respect that Rev. Dr. Joel Beeke. His ministry, which is only just beginning, is truly global in the Reformed world. He's a minister who trains ministers. It does not get any better than that.

First of all, I agree whole-heartedly with the first sentence. Second, Beeke's recent book on spirituality demonstrates the anointing of the Spirit on his ministry!
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Originally posted by houseparent
I love to write. It's one of my strongest passions. I know I need some "English" courses because my spelling and grammer suffer badly at times. It's laziness more than it is ignorance though.

I would love to be a traveling, writing, preacher of God's word. I have an absolute passion againt Dispensationalism that stole years away from me and still keeps my loved ones within it's grasp.

I dream of becoming a respected theologian asking the Lord to use me to spread His truth through preaching, teaching, and if He will, writing.

Adam, I don't think I could better sum up my thoughts on my own future goals! Those three paragraphs are pretty close to my general thoughts at this point on what I want to do, although in my situation I would change the last one to "spread His word through writing, teaching, and if He will, preaching."

Personally, I'm thinking of going to either RTS-Jackson or one of the Westminster branches. What are your thoughts on moving somewhere further from where you currently are - or is that basically not something you're considering?

In any case, I'll pray for you as you endeavor on these decisions and the journey as a whole, and I'd appreciate your prayers as well over the next several years.

That's pretty cool Chris! You can take the West coast while I am on the East and then we can meet in the middle to divy up the rest!:lol:

I appreciate the encouragement and prayers and you can be certain I will do the same for you.

As for moving, I would be up to it if needed. I would be slightly nervous about being somewhere I've never been but if it was the Lords will...sure!
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Jerrold and Ivan;

I am certain a "peice of paper" is not "needed" but for years I have disregarded a formal education as being important at all. I now have a passion to become as educated as I can be in the word of God, and I trust less those that are not.

I am sorry if this is wrong of me, maybe I am more paranoid that I should be but when you have been in error as long as I was you tend to be over protective I guess.
 
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