A Little Note On Seminary Education

I ran across a post at the Said at Southern Seminary blog today. It was about whether or not all seminary classes are worth someone’s best attention. I decided to reproduce my comments here. After all, my comment is still pending moderation and they may erase it because I’m a DTS grad :). If you are in seminary, I encourage you to read this. I could say so much more and may at some point, but for now this is it.

I’m an alumnus of a different school (DTS), so you may not care what I have to think on this :). I think the answer to this has to be no, and for several reasons.

First, you have to ask yourself if your curriculum is 100% tailored to your needs. I am going to bet on the MDiv and ThM levels that this is never true. If that is the case (and I would argue that this is usually going to be so), then it would be unwise to focus on classes that are of little benefit to you. That’s simply bad stewardship. All students come with different educational needs.

Second, and this is a follow-up to the first. You cannot assume that degree planners are always right. Sure, they have experience. Sure, chances are, they know more about it than you (or I) do when we start seminary, or maybe even when you finish. But they are not perfect, and IMHO, seminary curricula are not ideally designed as is...at least the ones I have looked at.

Third, there is a decent chance you will get a class that the teacher is simply not able to teach well. This could be because they lack communication skills, knowledge, or because they don’t care. I had a number of classes taught by teachers that I thought were simply not qualified to teach. If you go through seminary and never have this experience, it’s either because you are really blessed and get only good teachers, you are too nice, or because you don’t know enough about the subject area to know better (which is the case for all of us in some subject areas).

I’ve heard a number of great things about Southern. Being a Baptist, I especially hope they are true. Make the best of your schooling, but be sure never to confuse going to class with getting an education. No curriculum planner can be right all the time for every student. If you find something you need to learn, learn it, regardless of school. If it gets in the way of your classes, so be it. What is most important is that you be well educated.


Mark Warnock 2008-02-02 08:51:44

Excellent thoughts, right along the lines of what I was trying to communicate in the original post at Seminary Survival Guide. Your words have the ring of experience.

Thought I should take a moment to give kudos to a DTS grad. :-)

Eric 2008-02-02 11:09:23

Thanks for stopping by here, Mark. Keep up the good work.