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Should I Get a Theology Degree?

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

  1. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    That might say just as much about denominational requirements as it does about degree structure...
     
  2. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    It probably says something about the fact that, for example, the "University of Divinity" teaches Salvos, Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Church of Christ people, and Uniting Church people.

    There's a bit of variety in "denominational requirements" there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  3. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    True, but we tend to do different awards. The Catholic ordinands do a degree in philosophy, then another in theology. The Salvation Army officers do a two-year diploma programme. I'm not sure about everybody else.

    By the way, there's no need to put University of Divinity in scare quotes. It's a real, properly accredited university offering very high quality coursework and research programmes.
     
  4. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    But there is clearly a large overlap in the degrees offered by the different colleges of UoD.

    It's certainly a "real, properly accredited university." But it has no lecturers and no classrooms! The associated colleges do all the work.

    That said, I apologise for the "scare quotes," and I apologise for leaving the Lutherans off my list.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  5. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    Not exactly. The colleges don't award the degrees. In fact, a student can take different units at different colleges towards the same degree. I did units at five of the different colleges; the United Faculty of Theology (as it was), Whitley, Stirling, Catholic Theological College and Yarra Theological Union.

    The collegiate model suits its stakeholders - the various denominations - because they can then provide colleges which they deem to be appropriate environments for the formation of their ministry candidates. I don't think it's fair to say the colleges do all the work, though; there is centralised oversight of unit content and assessment and all the rest. (I sat as a student rep on an academic board for a while, so I got to see how some of this plays out behind the scenes).

    What is missing, I think, in this model, that you'd expect in any other university is proper student services. They are almost non-existent.
     
  6. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    I meant "offered by," of course.

    Conversely, at Morling you can apparently do a UoD degree or an Australian College of Theology degree.

    And it shares the huge accreditation workload between colleges. And it keeps the government at arms length from the churches.

    I don't deny that. But you know what I mean.

    :(
     
  7. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    Hmm. I wasn't clear. Even the colleges don't really offer degrees. They offer units, and it's up to the student whether they want to take all the units they need for their award at one college or mix it up a bit.

    I'm not sure the government thing has been a big consideration; government accreditation standards etc have to be met either way. I think it's more about each denomination having an environment in which their denominational identity and praxis are at the forefront and celebrated. (You know, somewhere where the Anglicans can say to their ordinands, you will be at morning and evening prayer in chapel, even though that has no bearing on any academic requirements, for example).
     
  8. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    I'm actually familiar with the system, but it's hard to put in words. The colleges can and do put up websites saying "come and do an MDiv with us" (even though the certificate, when presented, says "UoD" or "ACT").

    And that's important.
     
  9. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    Sure they do. Because if you do the entire degree there, they get all the fees!
     
  10. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Are you being cynical?

    By the way, when UoD became a University, wasn't there an obligation under the Higher Education Standards Framework B1.2(7) to offer "an extensive range of student services, including student academic and learning support, and extensive resources for student learning in all disciplines offered"?
     
  11. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    Cynical? Moi?

    Somewhat, but also somewhat practical. It takes money to run a college, and not all of them are lavishly funded by their churches.

    Probably. And some of that sort of stuff is there. But the sort of student services I might take for granted at a big secular university, like a health service, counselling service, childcare centre, etc etc etc.... that all just doesn't exist.
     
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  12. DennisTate

    DennisTate Newbie Supporter

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    Dr. Kevin Zadai offers courses online that might fit your schedule better. I consider him to have exceptional insights.



    Homepage
     
  13. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    But these lack accreditation and so would not help the OP to be regarded as a serious intellectual in the world of theology.
     
  14. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Hi All,

    I apologize for the slow response, but I wanted to let everyone know that I have read through all of these posts and really, really appreciate everyone taking the time to respond. It has been extremely helpful!
     
  15. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    By the way, I think I'm leaning toward pursuing one or more certificates from one or more well-respected seminary. An MDiv probably doesn't make sense, given my time constraints and that I don't plan on becoming ordained.
     
  16. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Thanks for the advice. I'm not EO, but I'm very interested in EO theology. What are the EO seminaries in the U.S.?
     
  17. usexpat97

    usexpat97 kewlness

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    I declined to pursue a theology degree, opting to go the carpenter's route instead. Generally speaking, I tend to view theology degrees as more an indoctrination and less a teaching of fact. You can, and should, always be studying the Bible, its history, and its Author in your free time anyway. The apostles had no theology degrees. Specifically jn the U.S., many theological institutions tend to indoctrinate their students into dispensationalism (Dallas Theo Seminary, CFNI, and Liberty, to name a few). What do you do when a professor quizzes you on a test, wording it like, "This is the way it is. Is it a), b), or c)?" Yet you don't believe it. Do you answer truthfully, and lose the letter grade? Or just answer the way you are taught--even though you weighed the teaching material critically and think the professor is wrong? It's a litmus test. Bear in mind: this is by no means limited to theology. I had it happen in Poli Sci as well.

    I think it best to steer clear of those situations. An educational institution is to teach you facts or beliefs (and appropriately label beliefs as such)--not indoctrinate you with them. Would you want to pursue a Poli Sci degree at a Chinese institution--and then try to get a non-Chinese employer to hire you?
     
  18. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    I think the "indoctrination" aspect depends on where you go. Where I did my MDiv, one of my lecturers told me that I could argue any position I wanted in my essays; as long as I could back it up with solid argument. That forced me to do the research and the thinking if I wanted to disagree with my lecturers (and I sometimes did), which was good discipline!
     
  19. GreekOrthodox

    GreekOrthodox Psalti Chrysostom

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  20. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    Of these, my Orthodox clergy friends tell me that St. Tikhon’s and Christ the Savior offer the best general value if you only speak English; if you are willing to learn Russian and live in austere monastic conditions, Holy Trinity in Jordanville would be the place to go, while St. Herman’s is great if you can deal with Alaskan living. St. Vladimir’s has the best academic reputation, with names like Georges Florovsky and Alexander Schmemann associated with it.
     
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