Posts Tagged ‘Higher Education’

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The Successful Seminary Student

In the days ahead, tens of thousands of seminarians will begin a new academic year in theological institutions across America. In the Southern Baptist Convention alone, we will see close to 20,000 students enrolled in one of our six seminaries this year.

For the student, a new year brings with it cause for optimism and excitement, but just because one attends seminary does not mean he will get much out of it. The wise student will optimize his seminary experience. Here are nine disciplines for the successful seminary student to master. Read more

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Pronouncing the Word "No": The Most Important Lesson I Learned from Al Mohler

For me, pronouncing the word “no” did not come naturally. When pushed, I could spit it out, but I preferred to steer clear of it. I was equipped to say “no” over issues of doctrine, conviction, or morality, but I was much less capable of saying “no” over more subjective, less consequential issues—especially when asked by someone I knew and loved, like church members. Read more

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Why We Must Recover the Master of Divinity Degree

As an institution that exists for the Church, Midwestern Seminary abides under an Ephesians 4 mandate, equipping pastors, ministers and missionaries for local church service. While not every graduate will minister within a local church setting, seminary students should view their calling through the prism of serving the church.

In the world of theological education, the Master of Divinity degree has long since been the gold standard for ministry preparation, and its sole status is well deserved. In it one finds the complete toolkit for ministry service: Greek and Hebrew, New Testament and Old Testament, theology, church history, preaching, pastoral care and counseling, evangelism, missions, and much, much more.

Yet, in many seminaries the Master of Divinity degree has fallen on hard times. In recent years, shorter and less rigorous Master of Arts degrees have syphoned off students from the Master of Divinity degree. Read more

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Pickles Have Souls: Balancing Confessional Integrity & Academic Freedom

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Conservative Resurgence produced more than a few controversial lines, perhaps none more so than Adrian Rogers’ “pickles have souls.” In 1987, while serving as SBC president, Rogers quipped, “If Southern Baptists believe that pickles have souls, then the Southern Baptist seminary professors must teach that.” What Rogers meant as hyperbole, moderates took as an offense, and a firestorm of criticism ensued.

Rogers’ argument was straightforward—Southern Baptists founded, funded, and governed their seminaries, thus they have the right to determine what is taught in their institutions. Yet, his statement brushed up against an ever-present tension in Christian higher education, especially theological education: balancing confessional integrity with academic freedom. Read more

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Whither Christian Higher Education?

In his award-winning biography of Franklin Roosevelt, Arthur Schlesinger famously described the economic and political malaise preceding Roosevelt’s first term as “the crisis of the old order.” Another crisis of the old order is upon us, and it pertains to the established world of Christian higher education.

The challenges are numerous and interconnected, and they are wreaking havoc on Christian institutions across America. A shrinking college-age demographic, nagging questions about the value of advanced degrees, the online revolution, persistent economic sluggishness, and escalating costs coalesce to present daunting operational challenges to even the best-funded institutions. Read more