Weekend Poll: Theological Education Options

Anyone who wants theological education can get one–at least here in the United States.  Whether it is institutions, ministries, or organizations, theological education has taken flight on the wings of technology and creativity that is encouraging to all who prize the words of our God who said,

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

In light of that, I am curious to know what options you have taken or benefited from, or those options would plan on pursuing in the future.  If you click “other,” please explain in the comments section.  Thanks!

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20 Comments on “Weekend Poll: Theological Education Options”

  1. I returned to college when I was 41 with two years in a community college under my belt. I felt old. But I did it. I went straight from college with a BA to seminary for an Mdiv. I am so thankful for my godly wife and wonderful kids who supported me through it all and for my Father who provided our needs.

    It feels a little odd knowing that you are no longer in seminary, Timmy. We read your blog while you were there and its good to see you’re still blogging away.

    • Johnny,

      Interesting. I’m am a few years from 40 and am looking to start an MDiv program at an SBC seminary ext. campus. It sure seems like time and money I don’t exactly have. You are an encouragement to me.

  2. James Taylor Says:

    I spent two years on a Church-based Internship (http://st-helens.org.uk/training_ministry/associate_scheme.php?e=135)
    followed by 3 years in full-time ministry at that church, and am now currently at the end of the 1st year of 3 (or 4) “on site” at Oak Hill Theological College. The combination of church-based training and ministry followed by further full-time study has been an excellent progression for me

  3. The sad thing is the “Church” as an organization is not investing in training up people. This poll, just goes to show that.

  4. iMonk Says:

    Seminary was a big mistake for me. SBTS in 1979 was mostly a waste. I would have been better to study with Ron Nash and Bill Lane in the Master’s program at WKU. Sigh.

    • scott shaffer Says:


      What advice would you give someone regarding preparation for ministry? Are seminaries still a viable option? Are there quality local church based or distance education options that work under the umbrella of the local church?

      Why do you consider your seminary education a mistake?

    • John Says:

      Anyone who sat at Nash’s feet was blessed. I was lucky enough to have him as a prof at SBTS.

    • Indeed, Nash was classic. I will never forget his hip shake. 🙂 I was fortunate to have him in his last philosophy class taught at SBTS. One of the highlights of my seminary education no doubt.

  5. I chose not to go to seminary. Instead, I received my formal “theological education” as a Baylor graduate student at the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies in both the M.A. in Church-State Studies program and the doctoral program in Religion, Politics & Society. During my time at the Dawson Institute, there have been a handful of Southern Baptist pastors including Ben Cole who have completed the doctoral program.

    My dad who was at SBTS in 1979 has on occasion lamented that he did not do his doctoral work with Martin Marty at U of Chicago. He was a poor newly married student and SBTS was free.

  6. Did a B.S. in Biblical Studies and am now doing an M.Div. online. It allows me to actually be doing the work I’m called to while getting my education. I love it. 🙂

  7. Dirk Says:

    I voted that I went to on-site seminary (SWBTS-Houston), but I also have done some extension work from SBTS and I like to use Biblical Training some when I have time (which isn’t much anymore). I guess I should have picked other.

  8. I have no formal theological education. (It probably shows.) I have a BBA in economics/international business. My theological education has come from books, online reading and audio which mainly includes mp3s.

    Right now I am enrolled in the Founder’s Pastoral Theology class as I am discerning a call to ministry. It’s a great class! Lord willing, I will start an MDiv program soon.

  9. The funny thing is, I’ve done most of these. My primary education was “on site seminary” at SBTS. I served in a church based internship at FBC Woodstock (Johnny Hunt), and I served with a para-church organization (Young Life/Deaf Teen Quest). I have for the past 6 years been mentored by my senior pastor.

    But the only place where actual theology was taught (outside of my pastor’s sermons) was in seminary. All the rest were more about the practice of ministry.

  10. What if you have benefited from all of the options?

  11. I just finished seminary (I took on-campus and online classes), I am currently involved in an iternship, we have theology classes for the church, and I was involved in parachurch ministry before this.

  12. G F McDowell Says:

    Can you make it possible to click more than one on the poll?

    • I tried to see if that was possible. Unfortunately, this poll set up does not allow for that. Perhaps it would be best to have it rephrased as the option most used. I will look into the possibility of allowing more than one answer again.

  13. Matt Cummings Says:

    I said “other” because I am doing a hybrid of on campus education and online education (both through SBTS)

  14. Mike Woodward Says:

    I’ve benefited from Covenant Seminary St. Louis Worldwide Classroom. Twenty of their courses were recorded and transcribed. I particularly found Christ Centered Preaching by Brian Chapell to be edifying. I bought the textbook and “followed along.”

    I’m a 45 year old bi-vo associate pastor at a small church. After years of teaching / leading large bible study groups at a mega church, we moved to a small local church. After a time of prayer and examination, we affirmed a call from God and from the church to become an associate pastor.

  15. Kamatu Says:

    Other. Non-formal reading of various sources, also known as self education. I would have done something more formal in recent years, but there is an old controversy from the early 90s which will prevent me from pursuing that until certain people retire and the SBC chooses to correct an error.

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