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-SEEKING-
Apr 15th 2009, 01:00 PM
I've had this desire for quite some time now to go to school to study Theology. Specifically I want to get as far as a doctorate. I'm really not sure if it's my own leading, or if God is putting this in my heart. The problem is that sadly it would cost an insane amount of money, besides the years, to acquire this. I wouldn't mind doing it if I knew for sure that God's leading me in that direction. My frustration lies in not knowing where this is coming from. If money were not an obstacle, I wouldn't even need to write this post. I'd do it in a heartbeat. So I need some advice. I've been praying about it as well, but I wanted some feedback from you all here.

Thanks in advance.

OkieRob
Apr 15th 2009, 03:49 PM
Hi Seeking!

If your main concern is financial, I can lead you in the direction of several different seminaries. Regionally accredited seminaries will always cost more and the most affordable is Liberty University. However, there are many unaccredited but very reputable seminaries who charge as little as $100 per credit hour at the graduate level. They will also allow you to finance your education at 0 percent and pay $100 until the balance is paid in full. Let me know how I can help!!

OkieRob:)

cajunman4life
Apr 15th 2009, 04:06 PM
http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=2042590&postcount=4

Not exactly what you're looking for, but it's just a though. :)

OkieRob
Apr 15th 2009, 04:20 PM
Seriously, aside from cajunman, if you have a desire to study God's word formally, there are many great opportunities and I will be glad to help you with them.

Cajun,

Seeking is sincerely asking about formal education - I am sure they know about letting the Holy Ghost lead you...they obviously know how to do that as He has led them seek formal seminary education at another level. I understand you believe that ANY learning institution will corrupt God's word...of course, this doesn't make it true. Just take it easy and let's try to help seeking.

OkieRob

cajunman4life
Apr 15th 2009, 04:31 PM
Cajun,

Seeking is sincerely asking about formal education - I am sure they know about letting the Holy Ghost lead you...they obviously know how to do that as He has led them seek formal seminary education at another level. I understand you believe that ANY learning institution will corrupt God's word...of course, this doesn't make it true. Just take it easy and let's try to help seeking.

OkieRob

OkieRob,

The OP said he didn't know if it was His (God's) leading, or his own. Now, I wasn't saying that he should not go to formal schooling. And I never said that I believe any learning institution will corrupt God's word - where did you see I said that?

I hope my tone doesn't come across as an attack (that's not my intent) - just so you know (it's always hard to determine "tone" on the net).

-SEEKING-
Apr 15th 2009, 04:50 PM
Hi Seeking!

If your main concern is financial, I can lead you in the direction of several different seminaries. Regionally accredited seminaries will always cost more and the most affordable is Liberty University. However, there are many unaccredited but very reputable seminaries who charge as little as $100 per credit hour at the graduate level. They will also allow you to finance your education at 0 percent and pay $100 until the balance is paid in full. Let me know how I can help!!

OkieRob:)

This is excellent information. :ppThank you. Please send me whatever information you have. It's definitely alot more than the info I have. :hmm:

OkieRob
Apr 15th 2009, 05:02 PM
I took your reply as an inference that you oppose formal seminary education because you answered the same way in the other post that you linked to after someone else asked about seminary.

I saw your reply and thought "for cryin' out loud, the OP is asking for advice and this guy is doing the same thing here he did in the other thread - making it sound like formal education is a bad thing...just rely on the Holy Ghost!"

So, yes, it was my mistake and I misinterpreted your message. I know that I looked for many months for a seminary as I have several degrees in Nursing but am a "lifelong learner" and wanted to further my education in theology and basic Christian doctrine. I started out at Liberty which was reasonable but it was still over $800 a course! So I began to look at respectable non-accredited seminaries and found a couple that would let you finance interest free and the tuition was around $100 which is dirt cheap for a quality seminary education. I was offering the experience I went through to the OP so they might avoid "reinventing the wheel."

Sorry about the false assumption. :blushsad:

OkieRob

-SEEKING-
Apr 15th 2009, 05:05 PM
I know that I looked for many months for a seminary as I have several degrees in Nursing but am a "lifelong learner" and wanted to further my education in theology and basic Christian doctrine. I started out at Liberty which was reasonable but it was still over $800 a course! So I began to look at respectable non-accredited seminaries and found a couple that would let you finance interest free and the tuition was around $100 which is dirt cheap for a quality seminary education.
OkieRob

Please give me some more info about that Seminary. It sounds like this is something that I'd be able to do.
Thank you.

cajunman4life
Apr 15th 2009, 05:13 PM
I took your reply as an inference that you oppose formal seminary education because you answered the same way in the other post that you linked to after someone else asked about seminary.

I saw your reply and thought "for cryin' out loud, the OP is asking for advice and this guy is doing the same thing here he did in the other thread - making it sound like formal education is a bad thing...just rely on the Holy Ghost!"

So, yes, it was my mistake and I misinterpreted your message. I know that I looked for many months for a seminary as I have several degrees in Nursing but am a "lifelong learner" and wanted to further my education in theology and basic Christian doctrine. I started out at Liberty which was reasonable but it was still over $800 a course! So I began to look at respectable non-accredited seminaries and found a couple that would let you finance interest free and the tuition was around $100 which is dirt cheap for a quality seminary education. I was offering the experience I went through to the OP so they might avoid "reinventing the wheel."

Sorry about the false assumption. :blushsad:

OkieRob

Hey man, no harm no foul, just had to "defend my honor" ;)

For the record, I replied that I liked the way the poster of the above link "though," though that wasn't mean to be a "I think man-made schools are bad." I see how that could be inferred, however. :blushsad:

Meanwhile, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to get that information from you as well. Financial concerns are a big part of holding me back from going to school as well...

OkieRob
Apr 15th 2009, 05:29 PM
Please give me some more info about that Seminary. It sounds like this is something that I'd be able to do.
Thank you.

There are basically two that I narrowed my choice down to. You will get multiple opinions from just about anyone. The most important thing to look for when choosing a seminary (IMO) is to make sure that all of the faculty didn't get their degree from THAT seminary. You want a well rounded set of faculty with degrees from many different seminaries. Next is philosophy - I don't mean denomination. As long as a seminary follows the basic tenets of faith we all believe in then you will be safe attending. They really don't discuss denominational issues in most of the seminaries unless it is course specific. For instance, if you take a theology course at a respected Baptist or Pentecostal seminary, you will basically get the same information. I am a "Holy Ghoster", fundamental pentecostal (minus the long hair and husband of one wife) and I attend a fundamental Baptist seminary.

The first is www.columbiaseminary.org (http://www.columbiaseminary.org) They have a tuition schedule and I think it is about $85/hr for undergraduate. My reasons for NOT choosing them? 1) They have not been around long enough for me (1991), 2) They charge a fee for their payment plan, 3) A lot of their teachings seem to center around one individual. Remember, these are ALL personal opinion.

I finally went with Louisiana Baptist University. www.lbu.edu (http://www.lbu.edu) Their tuition is very affordable, they have no interest payment, and they are recognized by the Bible Baptist Fellowship International. Why is that important? I am not Baptist but this group has 3-4,000 churches worldwide and is well established and very fundamental in their teaching. So this lends lots of credence to the University. Again, they are not regionally accredited but are a well-respected and recognized university.

Finally, if you look ANY non-regionally accredited university up online, chances are very good that someone will list them as a diploma mill (a college that gives out degrees just for paying your money). So be expecting that. But, it is absolutely not true.

AND, where would I go if I had money to burn? I really enjoyed Liberty University www.luonline (http://www.luonline) I would also like to go to Global University (Assembly of God) www.globaluniversity.edu (http://www.globaluniversity.edu) These are both VERY affordable accredited universities (Global is currently a RA candidate but that is good enough).

I hope this info helped and again, my apologies to cajunman! If you have any more questions, just ask. I am sure others will join in as well!!

OkieRob

-SEEKING-
Apr 15th 2009, 05:53 PM
Thank you so much OkieRob. You are a fountain of information. Thank you for sharing.

Br. Barnabas
Apr 16th 2009, 03:19 AM
Might I ask what you want to do after you get your Ph.D.? I am doing the same thing know I am attending Asbury Theological Seminary, doing a Masters in Theological Studies and Masters in Biblical Studies. I plan on going into Ph.D. studies when I am done, in hopes of teaching at the college level.

I will tell you what my professors told me when I let them know that I wanted to do this. They said if there was anything, anything, anything that I would rather do then I should do that. Because you have to get into a good Master's program and then do really good in that, then get into a really good Ph.D. program and do really good in that. And after all that you are not even guaranteed a job.

So in other words if you want to teach then you have to do it at an accredited school and one that is pretty well known. Now if you can many state universities will pay for you to go to their school and even pay you to go there. I looked at Florida State University and what they do for anyone that gets into the program in NT studies they will give a tuition waver and will pay you because you have to be a TA. So it is a pretty good deal the only thing is you have to do really really good on the GRE and have a good GPA and a good writing sample.

If you go to a seminary then you have to make sure you go to one that is not going to teach only their church's idea's or doctrines. For example if one wanted to be able to teach at a University or a seminary outside of the church then you could not go to a school like that. For example I could not go to Southern Seminary because it is a southern baptist seminary and they only teach the southern baptists views on things. Where as a non-denom or presbyterian or methodist seminary will teach other views.

If you can you can also sometimes get your church or denom to help pay for your school at a seminary. In my experience at Asbury they have a form that students have to fill out and then that information is inputted to a database and it searches for all scholarships that the student could get. The only problem is that if you want to teach and only go to a seminary for both grad and Ph.D. work then you can only really teach at a seminary. Which limits your job prospects a lot and the way the market is now it is really not a good idea to limit yourself in any way.

So really all this to say that if you are not sure if you want to study or not sure what you want to do at the end it is best not to do it. Also best not to go with a deal that seems too good to be true, because it is really not going to help you in the long run. If you go to an unaccrediated school then you are just really going to waste your time unless you plan on going into a pastoral ministry. Because you will just have to repeat your courses at an accrediated school. But the choice is up to you. I am just trying to pass along what I have learned and what is going on with me. I am in seminary and it is going to cost me a lot of money I am one semester in and I paid half the cost from savings and cost me about $2,000 and about $2,000 in loans, with a $1,685 scholarship for only 12 credit hours. I am going to be paying it off for a long time because I did not make it into the states schools I wanted to make it into.

OkieRob
Apr 16th 2009, 04:24 AM
Hi Again Seeking,

Wow...I enjoyed Uriel's statement up to the point that going to an unaccredited seminary is a waste of time. As I told you , this is what you will face. Take that statement at face value - you can see what it is worth. Remember that investing in an education at an accredited seminary will very rarely pay for itself in the end. Students who attend accredited seminaries many times (not always) like to boast in the fact or say "I'm just letting you know you won't be able to teach or do this or that if you attend an unaccredited seminary.

I initially spent time explaining the difference to you so that when people began bashing reputable unaccredited seminaries you would be aware of it. If you want to learn more about God's word, become a pastor, or serve God's people, any of the seminaries I mentioned are fine. If you want to teach at an accredited seminary you will want to seek an accredited degree. But, it will need to be a calling because teaching at a seminary is not going to reap lots of financial rewards except for a select lucky few. Think about how much Uriel is spending and look at the ROI. As he thinks the seminaries I mentioned are a waste of time, I think his seminary is a waste of money.

OkieRob

-SEEKING-
Apr 16th 2009, 12:48 PM
Thank you all for your input. This is really good stuff that helps me become aware of all my choices. Last night I presented my request to our small group and asked them to include my decision for school in their prayers. I'm also going to speak to one of the pastors to get his point of view as well. Once again thank you all for your input.

Br. Barnabas
Apr 16th 2009, 01:29 PM
I don't like how much I am paying either but I know that I have to go to an accredited school and one that is pretty well known in the academic world if I want to teach at any kind of State school, a private school, or a seminary. When looking at the links that you had posted earlier I noticed that one of the schools has some people teaching from some pretty good seminaries and universities but I also googled a couple of the profs from the Columbia school they are teaching at other schools as well as doing this mentor thing at this one. When looking at the Louisiana one I noticed that most of the people teaching there or the deans have a masters and Ph.D. from this school. That makes it very suspect, many places don't give you a degree from their school then hire you on to teach, not that it does not happen just very rare. You might get a masters from a school then go some where else for a Ph.D. and then come back and teach at the masters school or teach some where else then come back and teach at the school that gave you a degree. But usually they want fresh blood or someone that has gone to a better school to come in and teach to give there school a better reputation. Not that these schools are bad but I don't think that I could go to them and achieve what I want to do by going to them. If you want to teach at a school like this then by all means go to these schools.

I am just trying to pass on what I have learned at my undergrad univeristy and what most schools are going to be looking for if one wants to apply for Ph.D. studies and later when one is applying for jobs teaching in the higher education field.

I will list some schools that I looked at when thinking about where to go but really what you will need to do is find what you want your focus to be in the area that you want to study. For example you said you wanted to do Theological studies. What area do you want to do in that Systematics, Philosophy of Religion, Sacramental Theology, Doctrine, Church History, ect? I was looking at more Biblical studies more specifically New Testament (Hebrews and the catholic epistles being the focus) and Second Temple Judaism studies. So I looked at FSU and Norte Dame, because they had people in DSS and 2nd Temple and some people in Hebrews. I also looked at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Regent College, Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, and a few others. But really one of the best things that I can suggest is choose some area you like to study then research it find out who the important authors are in that field, see where they teach at; because then you will know that the school they teach at will have what you want to do or at least a prof whom you can learn from.

-SEEKING-
Apr 16th 2009, 01:36 PM
Thanks for your info Uriel. This is all new to me so I first need to find out all the fields of Theology. This is really new to me and I couldn't honestly tell you the difference between any of the fields you mentioned. Where could I get some detailed info about these fields so that I can then make a more informed decision.

OkieRob
Apr 16th 2009, 01:39 PM
If academics is your goal, I agree with Uriel...get ready to shell out some cash. I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and thankfully can pay for school but I wasn't interested in teaching - only in learning and pastoring. The return on investment for an accredited seminary degree is very volatile to say the least. I feel Uriel provides excellent advice from an academic standpoint - if that is where you are being led. Like he says: more info about you would help a lot. Ever been to college? Young? Old geezer like me? What are you wanting to do with the degree? :confused

OkieRob

Br. Barnabas
Apr 16th 2009, 01:53 PM
Here is a website with the nine areas of theological study this is usually more for systematics but it is a good starting point. http://www.northave.org/MGManual/theology/theo2.htm

There is also philosophy of religion. Where you study what many philosophers have said about God and the nature of God. A lot of people get hung up on how many non-Christians are trying to define God in this area but philosophy has a different idea of God then Christianity but the Christian philosopher can always try to correct and give a right understanding of his nature in this field.

In church history it is the study of the history of the church. Can be early church where you will study the writing of the Early Church Fathers a lot. There is Medieval, Reformation, Protestant church and modern, and Global church.

One thing you might think about doing is going to a Christian book store or just a book store with a good religion section. Look at books that you would like to read or study. If you end up looking at and like the commentary section then Biblical studies is more for you. If you look at a history of the church then there you go. If it is in one of the other areas on the website then that is some help or look at the books you have, what are they in? Also if you have a university with a religious studies department near by maybe go talk to one of the profs there it would probably be a lot more helpful.

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