Seminary help?

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kjat32

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello!

I stumbled across this forum trying to find some information on reformed seminaries, and have enjoyed reading it so much! Thank you all in advance for helping me with this question, I know it's a long read.

My husband has just finished his first semester of study for his MDiv, via online courses from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He chose SBTS partially on reports of it being a "hotbed of reformed theology", partially because of its reputation for church history and theology. He is studying for his Masters because he wants to teach at a Bible college, preferably in Africa. His passion is not so much to be a pastor himself, but to help other pastors learn the Bible so that they can teach. We are hoping to be sent as missionaries once he finishes his courses. I'm giving the background because it seems from other posts I've read that the goal of seminary education is important to know when giving advice about which seminary to study at.

Here are my questions:

* My husband has noticed a trend in two of his three classes this past semester that is disturbing: "higher criticism" or "redaction criticism" seems to be of greater importance than what the Bible itself says! Can anyone say whether this is normal at SBTS, or just an aberration?

* We have been looking at two other seminaries during this winter break in case SBTS is all "higher criticism". They are the Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis, and the Western Reformed Seminary in Tacoma (we are actually members of the Bible Presbyterian denomination). With our goal in mind, would either of these seminaries suit? Are they good seminaries? Is accreditation an issue for serving in foreign missions? Financially we simply can't do any campus visits so all info is much appreciated.

* Are there any other seminaries that we should be looking at?

* Lastly, but not quite related, what kinds of courses would be the best preparation for overseas Bible college teaching? Biblical languages are a real struggle for my husband, but he will do it if necessary. What should he be taking next semester? He will be staying with SBTS until June at least because of funding, and wants to take advantage of their course offerings if we do end up switching schools next fall.

Thanks again! All help is appreciated!
Pro 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
 

McPatrickClan

Puritan Board Freshman
I can't answer all the questions well, but I think that's fantastic that your husband & you are working for this. There is a tremendous ministry in Africa and if you can help them learn the Bible, that would be awesome.

To answer your questions, I don't know that I would say SBTS is a hotbed of reformed theology (if we are talking about the campus in Ft. Worth, Texas). Last I heard, being a Calvinist was grounds for putting you on a prayer list!

I have heard some lectures from Covenant Seminary in Missouri and really liked them. I think there stuff seems to be very good.

I don't know if you would want to move to Texas, but I really like the faculty at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas. They are top-notch and work with each student where they are at.

Unfortunately, I think some seminaries reject a lot of transferred credits. Not sure exactly why, but that is what I have heard.

I personally have had a really tough time with the languages, mostly because I have so many other things going on & I don't think with the left-side of my brain as much as the right side! But even a few semesters of Greek & Hebrew will, at a minimum, help the Bible come alive to your husband in a way that is likely not reasonably going to happen without the languages. Just understanding the grammar was a big help for me.
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I can't say anything about SBTS, but I heard several people who graduated from Covenant say that the best thing about Covenant Seminary is their library. And another guy say that he was confessional in spite of Covenant.

Just passing along what I have heard.

-----Added 12/13/2009 at 10:35:42 EST-----

I can't answer all the questions well, but I think that's fantastic that your husband & you are working for this. There is a tremendous ministry in Africa and if you can help them learn the Bible, that would be awesome.

To answer your questions, I don't know that I would say SBTS is a hotbed of reformed theology (if we are talking about the campus in Ft. Worth, Texas). Last I heard, being a Calvinist was grounds for putting you on a prayer list!

I have heard some lectures from Covenant Seminary in Missouri and really liked them. I think there stuff seems to be very good.

I don't know if you would want to move to Texas, but I really like the faculty at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas. They are top-notch and work with each student where they are at.

Unfortunately, I think some seminaries reject a lot of transferred credits. Not sure exactly why, but that is what I have heard.

I personally have had a really tough time with the languages, mostly because I have so many other things going on & I don't think with the left-side of my brain as much as the right side! But even a few semesters of Greek & Hebrew will, at a minimum, help the Bible come alive to your husband in a way that is likely not reasonably going to happen without the languages. Just understanding the grammar was a big help for me.

Southern is in Kentucky. Southwestern is in Ft. Worth.
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
My husband … is studying for his Masters because he wants to teach at a Bible college, preferably in Africa. His passion is not so much to be a pastor himself, but to help other pastors learn the Bible so that they can teach ,,, Lastly, but not quite related, what kinds of courses would be the best preparation for overseas Bible college teaching? Biblical languages are a real struggle for my husband, but he will do it if necessary

It is vital that pastors who have the primary responsibility for teaching the flock have the ability to understand the Word of God in the original languages. Therefore your husband needs to be able to thus equip them.

My husband has noticed a trend in two of his three classes this past semester that is disturbing: "higher criticism" or "redaction criticism" seems to be of greater importance than what the Bible itself says! Can anyone say whether this is normal at SBTS, or just an aberration?

I would be more than a little shocked to learn that Dr. Mohler would tolerate higher criticism at Southern.
 

N. Eshelman

Puritan Board Senior
I would think that as Presbyterians you should have your husband talk to his presbytery and say what his intentions are. If he feels called to serve in missions, then this should be through the presbytery. They can (and should) be giving him this direction:
1. Where to go to seminary (maybe even a number to choose from).
2. How to discern his call.
3. What his gifts are.
4. EXAMINE these gifts.

These things need to be done under the authority of your presbytery. They can give you the help you are looking for.

BTW, I went to Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and it was a GREAT experience. :) :) :)
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Excellent advice, Nathan.

And I would concur with Andrew--take a good look at the African Bible College. It would probably serve you well to take up a correspondence even now with Dr. O. Palmer Robertson, who works there.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
The seminary that i'm involved with is online, Reformed, and free...but we are not accredited (it's in my signature line).

I think either Covenant or Western would be good choices for you. My pastor received his D.Min. from Covenant, and he was very happy with it.
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
Katherine,

I am very interested in what your husband means by higher or redaction criticism being placed above the Scriptures at SBTS. I would be shocked, absolutely amazed, and stunned if this were true. In fact, I think the professors there would be shocked at this as well! Dr. Mohler certainly would be!

There is a difference between promoting something and merely describing something. Could this be what Nathan is running across? Dr. Mohler taught a course on Liberalism this past year, and those I spoke with who took it benefited greatly from it- it helps to know the views of those who are in error so you can give a better response and also know better why we believe what we believe.

Also, could it be that he is mistaking the study of various textual strains (Byzantime, Alexandrian, Majority Text) and manuscripts (Textus Receptus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaticus)? There is a huge and vast difference between textual criticism and the higher and redaction criticism.

It's sad to think about how liberalism and the higher criticism was taught at SBTS back in the 70s and 80s, but I am thankful that God has seen to spare the seminary and ground it again in the Word of God and centered around the Gospel!

-----Added 12/14/2009 at 07:27:40 EST-----

I can't answer all the questions well, but I think that's fantastic that your husband & you are working for this. There is a tremendous ministry in Africa and if you can help them learn the Bible, that would be awesome.

To answer your questions, I don't know that I would say SBTS is a hotbed of reformed theology (if we are talking about the campus in Ft. Worth, Texas). Last I heard, being a Calvinist was grounds for putting you on a prayer list!

I have heard some lectures from Covenant Seminary in Missouri and really liked them. I think there stuff seems to be very good.

I don't know if you would want to move to Texas, but I really like the faculty at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas. They are top-notch and work with each student where they are at.

Unfortunately, I think some seminaries reject a lot of transferred credits. Not sure exactly why, but that is what I have heard.

I personally have had a really tough time with the languages, mostly because I have so many other things going on & I don't think with the left-side of my brain as much as the right side! But even a few semesters of Greek & Hebrew will, at a minimum, help the Bible come alive to your husband in a way that is likely not reasonably going to happen without the languages. Just understanding the grammar was a big help for me.

You mean Southwestern.

Southern is in Louisville. Lots of Calvinists here!!
 

Bookmeister

Puritan Board Freshman
I agree with Andrew as well. I am currently attending RTS Jackson and in addition to ABC, Miles Van Pelt will make learning the languages easier than most Profs, his pedagogical approach is really wonderful. You can live on campus here for VERY reasonable rates and the cost of living is unbeatable. I guarantee the higher criticism is rejected by all here.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Katherine-

Your husband is just plain wrong. Higher criticism is not taught at SBTS as if it is true. They DO teach it in terms of "this is what they say" and they teach it very thoroughly, but then they debunk it. I remember squirming in my seat in Dr. Bloc
k's OT class as was teaching it because he didn't stop every sentence to say "and this is why it is wrong." No, he presented it and allowed the arguments to to sink in... I think he took two whole class periods presenting it. And then he tore it apart. But it was a very uncomfortable 2 days.

I know faculty in the NT and OT departments (more intimately in the NT department) and I can assure you that liberalism has zero chance in the current climate there.

If your husband has concerns, by all means have him contact someone at Southern.
 

Broadus

Puritan Board Freshman
. . . .

To answer your questions, I don't know that I would say SBTS is a hotbed of reformed theology (if we are talking about the campus in Ft. Worth, Texas). Last I heard, being a Calvinist was grounds for putting you on a prayer list!

. . . .

You are confusing SBTS (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary--Louisville) with SWBTS (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary--Fort Worth).


Katherine-

Your husband is just plain wrong. Higher criticism is not taught at SBTS as if it is true. They DO teach it in terms of "this is what they say" and they teach it very thoroughly, but then they debunk it. I remember squirming in my seat in Dr. Block's OT class as was teaching it because he didn't stop every sentence to say "and this is why it is wrong." No, he presented it and allowed the arguments to to sink in... I think he took two whole class periods presenting it. And then he tore it apart. But it was a very uncomfortable 2 days.

I know faculty in the NT and OT departments (more intimately in the NT department) and I can assure you that liberalism has zero chance in the current climate there.

If your husband has concerns, by all means have him contact someone at Southern.

I agree completely with Ben. Southern teaches what liberals claim and then shows the error. I certainly would not call SBTS a "hotbed of reformed theology," but Calvinism is alive and well there. For most Arminian-leaning Southern Baptists, any positive talk about the doctrines of grace denotes a "hotbed of Calvinism." :rolleyes:

Note to Ben: When were you at Southern? I was there from '96-'02, finishing a second MDiv (long story :) ) and PhD.

Bill
 

Ivan

Pastor
Southern is not a hotbed of reformed theology...Doctrines of Grace, the 5 Solas, yes. As to what is being taught from your husband's perspective, I think that is already been dealt with. They may teach ABOUT but they do not PROMOTE.

BTW, there are a few promoters of the Doctrines of Grace that teach at Southwestern, but very few.
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Southern is not a hotbed of reformed theology...Doctrines of Grace, the 5 Solas, yes. As to what is being taught from your husband's perspective, I think that is already been dealt with. They may teach ABOUT but they do not PROMOTE.

BTW, there are a few promoters of the Doctrines of Grace that teach at Southwestern, but very few.

I was under the impression that Dr. Patterson booted all 5 pointers. The only "doctrines of grace" guys left are 4 pointers at the most.
 

Ivan

Pastor
Southern is not a hotbed of reformed theology...Doctrines of Grace, the 5 Solas, yes. As to what is being taught from your husband's perspective, I think that is already been dealt with. They may teach ABOUT but they do not PROMOTE.

BTW, there are a few promoters of the Doctrines of Grace that teach at Southwestern, but very few.

I was under the impression that Dr. Patterson booted all 5 pointers. The only "doctrines of grace" guys left are 4 pointers at the most.

I can't remember the names, lesser lumanaries, ya know, but there are a couple of them there. I don't recall anyone being dismissed for being a 5 pointers. Do you have examples?
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Southern is not a hotbed of reformed theology...Doctrines of Grace, the 5 Solas, yes. As to what is being taught from your husband's perspective, I think that is already been dealt with. They may teach ABOUT but they do not PROMOTE.

BTW, there are a few promoters of the Doctrines of Grace that teach at Southwestern, but very few.

I was under the impression that Dr. Patterson booted all 5 pointers. The only "doctrines of grace" guys left are 4 pointers at the most.

I can't remember the names, lesser lumanaries, ya know, but there are a couple of them there. I don't recall anyone being dismissed for being a 5 pointers. Do you have examples?

I do not have any examples. I am just going by what I read. Here is a link to several sources stating that Dr. Patterson was going to fire all five pointers.

ARE CALVINIST PROFESSORS TO BE “LET GO” AT SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (SBC)? : Apprising Ministries
 

jogri17

Puritan Board Junior

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Covenant is the official seminary of the PCA. It would probably be worth considering if you all wanted to be sent by MTW.

While my knowledge of RTS Jackson is dated, it would be well worth consideration. It's generally well considered in the PCA, but being independent, it might give you more flexibility with other denominations.
 

Ivan

Pastor
I was under the impression that Dr. Patterson booted all 5 pointers. The only "doctrines of grace" guys left are 4 pointers at the most.

I can't remember the names, lesser lumanaries, ya know, but there are a couple of them there. I don't recall anyone being dismissed for being a 5 pointers. Do you have examples?

I do not have any examples. I am just going by what I read. Here is a link to several sources stating that Dr. Patterson was going to fire all five pointers.

ARE CALVINIST PROFESSORS TO BE “LET GO” AT SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (SBC)? : Apprising Ministries

I would be careful with believing what it promoted by Apprising Ministries. They are sometimes a bit over the top.
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I can't remember the names, lesser lumanaries, ya know, but there are a couple of them there. I don't recall anyone being dismissed for being a 5 pointers. Do you have examples?

I do not have any examples. I am just going by what I read. Here is a link to several sources stating that Dr. Patterson was going to fire all five pointers.

ARE CALVINIST PROFESSORS TO BE “LET GO” AT SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (SBC)? : Apprising Ministries

I would be careful with believing what it promoted by Apprising Ministries. They are sometimes a bit over the top.

Thanks for the information. I did not know that about Apprising Ministries.
 

kjat32

Puritan Board Freshman
Rts?

RTS Jackson --> African Bible College!!!

Thank you so much, all.

I have a question about RTS - why one particular campus over another? Are they all commesurate academically? Should we just pick a place that looks nice?? (Right now it's "warmed up" to -20 after weeks of -40 C/F and we have hope one of our cars might actually start tomorrow...so pretty much anything above 0 C looks positively balmy right now! Not a good reason to choose, though..;)

Katherine
 

kjat32

Puritan Board Freshman
Details and more questions

I have done some googling but the only ABC's I can find are actually IN Africa. I have found links that say that RTS has a relationship with ABC but nothing about there actually being an ABC in MI. ???

I should have known I couldn't make a comment about higher criticism at SBTS on this board without being explicit. :) So I asked my husband what he found bothersome specifically and this is it: his teachers assigned books by liberal authors, taught out of those books and tested out of those books, but did not "tear it apart" in class. They did mention other viewpoints but my husband felt the great majority of information presented was higher criticism-informed. Sorry if there was any confusion. Perhaps this seeming preponderance of liberal theology only came across because the classes were online, not in person (thus the books having more thought-time). He is planning on talking to people at SBTS before committing to changing seminaries.

I've heard mention of Westminster, CA several times. Is there much of missions emphasis there? My family live in LA and the only thing I know about Escondido is that it is a rich area. I imagine that would make a Westminster degree proportionately more expensive after cost-of-living (COL) adjustments?? That issue is also affecting Western Reformed Seminary as an option (along with accreditation). With seminary being so expensive to begin with, does COL really come into the decision process?

Thanks,
Katherine
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
I have done some googling but the only ABC's I can find are actually IN Africa. I have found links that say that RTS has a relationship with ABC but nothing about there actually being an ABC in MI. ???
African Bible College (University) has an administrative office on the campus of RTS Jackson. Buck Moselle is located there. You could call him and speak to him. I used to help them out in my spare time with some IT stuff.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Katherine, can you share with us some of the liberal authors and textbooks that were used for the class at SBTS?

To use an analogy, when I was in seminary, I was given an assignment to research and write a paper on the Documentary Hypothesis (the JEDP theory, which is at the core of higher criticism of the OT Pentateuch) and present it to the class. But it was understood that I do so critically, and I subsequently "tore it apart" in front of the professor, which is the reason he assigned it in the first place. A shepherd has to know how to fight off the wolves if he is going to protect the sheep. :)
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I have done some googling but the only ABC's I can find are actually IN Africa. I have found links that say that RTS has a relationship with ABC but nothing about there actually being an ABC in MI. ???
African Bible College (University) has an administrative office on the campus of RTS Jackson. Buck Moselle is located there. You could call him and speak to him. I used to help them out in my spare time with some IT stuff.

You have spare time?
 
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