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Should I Get a Theology Degree?

Discussion in 'Full and Part Time Ministry' started by jinc1019, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Hello!

    Perhaps this is a strange question to ask, but I couldn't think of a better place to ask it. I'm considering going back to graduate school to get a degree in theology (not an MDiv but something else, perhaps). However, I'm not sure if it makes sense for me to do so, and I'm hoping you all can help me make an informed decision.

    I'm a relatively well-read writer (politics). I'm regularly on television and engage in a variety of speaking formats. It's not uncommon for my work to reach millions of people in a single week. I don't have a background in theology, but I have spent a lot of time privately studying and researching over the past several years, and I'd like to find ways to spend more time writing and speaking about Christianity and my faith--especially since I have a large platform to reach a large audience. In many ways, I feel a strong Christian duty to do this.

    I'm very interested in taking courses, learning, and researching a variety of topics related to my Christian faith to assist me in my efforts to communicate effectively about Christianity, so on one level, a graduate degree in theology appeals to me. However, I already have two graduate degrees (journalism and government) and a pretty busy work schedule. I love the idea of learning, attending courses, etc., but I'm not excited about busy work, term papers, and things like that. In my ideal world, it would be possible to get a degree by just attending courses and taking an exam at the end of the semester, but as you all know, that's not how it works!

    I could take noncredit courses online and at a nearby seminary, as well as engage in other, similar activities, but I'm worried that if I don't have a degree in theology, people won't take what I have to say seriously.

    What do you think?
     
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  2. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    If you're already reaching millions of people a week, it doesn't sound as if you need a degree in theology in order to be taken seriously.

    I also think it sort of depends what you want to get out of it. Will a degree expose you to the variety of topics you're particularly interested in? Or will it (for example) require you to spend a year learning Greek, even if you have no interest in or use for Greek?

    I think that of course you get more from a course if you have to do the assessment, but I understand the hesitation of committing time and energy beyond what might be the point of diminishing return. I wonder whether it's worth just trying something out? Do a non-credit course (is that the same as auditing a course? Where you sit in all the classes and can do as much of the reading as you like, but don't have to hand in assessment?) or two and see if that's giving you what you want. If it isn't, you can always ramp up to doing something for-credit.

    It's also worth noting that you don't have do commit to a whole degree for credit; you should be able to do a certificate or diploma course that is significantly fewer units, but still gives you something to work with intellectually.
     
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  3. Unofficial Reverand Alex

    Unofficial Reverand Alex Look up Jason Evert on YouTube; he changed my life Supporter

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    Well, I'm working on a B.A. in Theology right now, but it seems like you're looking at something a little different from me.

    Are you looking for a Theology degree just to be taken a little more seriously? A lot can be learned from an "armchair theologian". If you want, I can share some of my favorite books with you.

    Given your schedule, I don't know if another degree is the best option; sticking with less work-intensive research (as it sounds like you're already doing) might be the best option, but this seems like something best decided with a lot of quiet time in prayer.

    Peace out, God bless, watch out for sharks!
     
  4. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

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    I agree with Paidiske. Audit a course and see how it goes. When it comes to theology the reading will be time consuming, as it is. If you know your stuff and can communicate it effectively, then credibility shouldn't be an issue considering the influence you already have.
     
  5. KateforChrist

    KateforChrist Koalas are NOT bears

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    Unless you need a theology degree I think it would be better to study an area, or areas, which you are genuinely interested in. Perhaps sit down with a pencil and paper and make a list of topics which you would like to learn more about. Then note which ones could be helpful in your outreach. The number them in the order that you think might be best for you to study.

    There are many topics/courses available on the internet, some are free and some charge a fee. I've noticed that some of the paid courses have samples.

    I've watched many of the videos from The Master's Seminary.
     
  6. pdudgeon

    pdudgeon Traditional Catholic Supporter

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    Brilliant!!! Hit's the nail right on the head. If I were in this same situation, this ^^^ is the advice I would follow.
     
  7. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    It does help that I've done an MDiv and AdvDipMin, so I have a pretty good idea of what that world is actually like! :swoon:
     
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  8. Phoebe Ann

    Phoebe Ann ...yet not I, but the grace of God that is with me Supporter

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    I think a degree would be very helpful
     
  9. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Lord Jesus did not have a degree in theology. It did not seem to render Him less effective.
     
  10. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    Theology is defined as the study of the things of GOD. Theology can be doctrine (a teaching to apply to our lives) like the topic of Soteriology (The study of salvation), or it can be on the existence of something (like the tabernacle or temple) or someone like the study of the nature of GOD (in how He is spirit, and or how He is triune, i.e. GOD is a Trinity. God is three persons [i.e. The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost], and yet God is also one God.). All of the study on the things of God in your Bible is called: Theology. "Theo" means God. The "logy" is a particular field of study. But you may already know these things.

    Anyways, please take no offense, but I am against Bible schools for several reasons according to the Bible. Please consider my following points by way of prayer before you dismiss what I am about to say.

    #1. God's Word talks about how His Word is free.

    "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Isaiah 55:1).

    True men of God will not charge you as a part of teaching His Word. Collections of money was only needed so as to further the gospel and giving is totally voluntary out of one's heart (See 2 Corinthians 9:7). Bible colleges are trying to imitate the world (secular colleges) and this is wrong. They are placing you into debt and that is not a loving thing to do to your neighbor (Yet, Jesus says it is more blessed to give than to receive). In the Bible, the early church met in each others homes and they studied the Word of God together. There was no need to get any fancy degrees on paper, etc.; And they certainly did not charge each other large amounts of money to gain any teachings from God's Word.​

    #2. We can be taught God's Word by the Holy Ghost and not men.

    1 John 2:27 says, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."​

    #3. Study to show yourself approved unto God.

    2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." We are to study to show ourselves approved unto God. Letting others do all the study for you and then force feeding you is a violation of this verse. You need to study the Bible on your own by the leading of the Spirit and prayer and not in the wisdom of men.​

    #4. Bible schools will indoctrinate you to a certain false way of thinking.

    They think you will not be able to just read your Bible in the English and believe it. They think that the only way you can understand your Bible is by doing a study in the original languages. While original language studies can be helpful sometimes, they should not conflict with a normal reading of the Bible in English and they should not be the primary way we read, study, and understand the Bible because these languages are no longer in existence. Doing keyword studies can be helpful, but they have their place and time when we run into a word within a verse that we are not sure about. We should not attempt to re-write God's Word in what it says already in the English. No scholar in the past thousand years has actually grown up in Bible times to know what that language says. God inspired men to preserve His words in our language that we have today. Jesus said, "Beware of the scribes." The scribes are those who TRAN-scribed the Law or the Scriptures. The scribe of our day is the scholar. So we are to beware of the scholars. For they seek to change God's Word or make you not trust the Word of God in what it plainly says in your own language.​

    #5. Some Christians have stopped believing in God because of Bible college.


    #6. Most who go to Bible college do so as means to become a Pastor of their own church organization.

    However, the popular church organizations today are an unbiblical form of fellowship. Actually, it really is not fellowship because many go to a church and never connect with anyone there.​


    #7. Does the Bible teach that you are to go to a college and get a degree and then get a big building whereby you are to have rule over others who sit in it?

    I would pray to GOD about these things and seek out the truth before you continue to attend something that the Bible speaks against.

    Anyways, I hope this helps and may God bless you today.
     
  11. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First suggestion, get involved in your local church, both for the opertunity to teach, to talk with others also speaking in church, to support them and be supported by the church in your wider work.

    2nd if you have this support, try reaching your wider audience in the media, you already know what and why you believe, test your knowledge in different forums.
    If you can communicate, a degree won't make much difference to whether people want to hear/read what you have to say.
     
  12. pdudgeon

    pdudgeon Traditional Catholic Supporter

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    Exactly! :oldthumbsup:
     
  13. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  14. GreekOrthodox

    GreekOrthodox Psalti Chrysostom

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    There are other religion degrees other than the MDiv. The MA in Religion is a basic masters degree for non-pastoral students. Those who might work for their church body's publishing house or as leader of an outreach program might end up with that. This is way and above what you typically need to teach even adult studies at your local congregation.

    There may also be programs through your church like in the Eastern Orthodox church there are deaconate programs.

    What are you looking at trying to do?
     
  15. Bob Carabbio

    Bob Carabbio Old guy -

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    Paul's answer was to "Know nothing except Christ, and Him Crucified" because:
    1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    Bottom line - If the Holy Spirit doesn't draw people - they ain't com'in ( Jhn 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.)

    No matter what your level of education is people will only hear "Foolishness" unless their heart is "pricked" by the Holy Spirit, and they're convicted by the SPirit of their SIN, and of Judgement. YOUR JOB is to give testimony of what you KNOW in the Spirit, and "Convincing people" is the Holy Spirit's job.
     
  16. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    Indeed.

    The MDiv is what would actually be most helpful if the OP wanted to pursue a career in the church, in an established jurisdiction that agreed with the publically expressed sentiments of the OP. A Masters in Theology lacks the pastoral care or practicum elements of an MDiv.
     
  17. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    Depends where you did it. I think - without pulling out the transcripts to check - all my pastoral care/practicum stuff was in the AdvDipMin.
     
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  18. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    For many Australian tertiary courses, there's a course in the US with the same name. That doesn't necessarily imply that anything else is the same.

    American MDiv's do seem to have more practical stuff.

    We have an odd system in Australia where degrees like the MDiv come from umbrella organisations like the "University of Divinity." That might perhaps create pressures to make the course more theoretical, with diplomas and/or non-credit units covering the more denomination-specific practical stuff.
     
  19. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    No, not really. The practical and denomination specific stuff still gets academic credit (and the diplomas come through the UD anyway). Even CPE, which is typically run through hospitals, gets academic credit.

    As I understand it, the issue is that some denominations (mine among them) require more academic units of their ordinands than will fit in an MDiv. So the diploma takes the "overflow" units. You could, in theory, major in practical and pastoral care units in your MDiv and then put your - say - systematic units into the diploma; as long as you find a way to tick all your denomination's boxes and fit them into the university's requirements with regard to degree structure etc.
     
  20. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Oh, OK.

    I was right about that, at least.

    And that's kind of what I was getting at; there's a tension there that doesn't seem to have an exact US equivalent.
     
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