Theological education

Discussion in 'Personal Advice, Care & Prayers' started by Taiping, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Taiping

    Taiping New Member Anglican

    Posts:
    13
    Likes Received:
    20
    Country:
    Malaysia
    Religion:
    Christian
    I'm currently in my final year of my second Bachelor's degree and there are still certain things in life which I'm still unsure of. While visiting another Anglican church on Sunday, I spoke with the priest who delivered the sermon about God's call and mission as these things were in my mind. After answering the questions I had, he asked about me and he suggested that I work in a seminary first for a bit and then consider doing an MDiv as a full time student.

    So, now I'm pondering whether or not I should get a theological education that sort of comes with a possible job offer. Could anyone here advise me about Masters level theological education and what should I consider before getting myself into it?
     
    Liturgyworks likes this.
  2. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    725
    Likes Received:
    680
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian
    Hello Taiping.

    I took my M.A. in Practical Theology online from St. Joseph's College of Maine, an RC institution. They also have an M.Div. I know that finding a suitable program can be both difficult and expensive, and I was happy with what this program offered:

    https://www.sjcme.edu/academics/online/programs/
     
    Liturgyworks likes this.
  3. Taiping

    Taiping New Member Anglican

    Posts:
    13
    Likes Received:
    20
    Country:
    Malaysia
    Religion:
    Christian
    Thanks!

    I was also thinking what is the difference between a Masters in Divinity and other equivalent theological qualifications. And also if such a qualification is useful/practical.
     
    Liturgyworks likes this.
  4. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    725
    Likes Received:
    680
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian
    Traditionally the M.Div. has been the standard for those seeking ordination. That being said, I know of some who have been ordained without it, and there seems to be a growing trend away from making it mandatory.
     
    Liturgyworks, Taiping and Fr. Brench like this.
  5. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

    Posts:
    102
    Likes Received:
    159
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    In the US, the MDiv is a sort of "dead end" degree, you can't go to the doctorate level after it without supplementing it with a ThM or other master's level degree, because our MDiv is not specialized enough academically. (Instead it's very broad, covering a wider range of subjects, which is why it's the standard for 'practical' ministry training.) But as I've learned from an English friend lately, that may not be true in other countries. So you should look at the degree programs and the church's requirements... if you're aiming to teach or aiming to minister, there may be other degree programmes that would befit your situation better.

    If you're going to be working in a seminary before becoming a student, then you'll probably have ample opportunity to get a sense of the culture there, what the programs are for, and all that fun stuff.
     
    Brigid, Liturgyworks and Taiping like this.
  6. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    724
    Likes Received:
    349
    Country:
    US
    Religion:
    Orthodox Christian
    There are some denominations however which will ordain an MDiv but not a ThM, for example, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Although do any require it, or are bachelor’s degrees in Divinity accepted? In several Orthodox churches a seminary education is not required, and I like this, because in my opinion the Seminary in its present form is a Tridentine innovation. What would be preferrable would be something like the Coptic system, where people advance through the ranks of minor orders and then spend a 40 day fast in a monastery being trained in the liturgical practicum. It is worth remembering that Oxford and Cambridge used to be monasteries: every college was once a monastery or convent, and the current secularization of these universities, which in an ideal world would be the Anglican answer to Mount Athos and Meteora or Tur Abdin or the Egyptian desert, is a human tragedy.
     
  7. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    724
    Likes Received:
    349
    Country:
    US
    Religion:
    Orthodox Christian
    I should add that if anyone knows of a continuing Anglican denomination that does direct training of prospective ordinands by parish clergy, and does not require an MDiv or other external MDiv, or which will ordain someone who plants a church as the rector of that church if he assents to that formula, I would like to know about it.
     
  8. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    410
    Likes Received:
    477
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I could probably name off 8 or 9 jurisdictions that will do it. How far into the world of episcopi vagantes do you want to get?

    Also, for a long time, 'reading for orders' was an acceptable mode of education. In that system, the bishop provides an aspirant a list of books to read and will usually require him to write a paper or two, or at least take an oral board, that demonstrates some understanding of the argument of the text. Reading for orders is still sometimes prescribed for older men who seek ordination (think 60+).
     
    Liturgyworks and Will_ like this.
  9. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

    Posts:
    102
    Likes Received:
    159
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    There are a lot of Anglican priests in the ACNA who have not attended seminary. "Reading for Orders" still happens in a number of places; church planting is sometimes treated as a highway toward ordination. In some ways it makes sense, but it also has some obvious massive shortcomings.
     
    Shane R and Liturgyworks like this.
  10. Taiping

    Taiping New Member Anglican

    Posts:
    13
    Likes Received:
    20
    Country:
    Malaysia
    Religion:
    Christian
    Just in case: I'm not seeking ordination but I may consider teaching. So, Fr. Brench's post about MDiv being a dead end degree is certainly helpful
     

Share This Page