Reformation Bible College

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Doulos McKenzie, Feb 13, 2017.

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  1. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    As a young Reformed person who wants to go into ministry I have been looking at a few different options for college. The one that I am most interested in is Reformation Bible College in Orlando. I wanted to know if y'all any thoughts or opinions about the college and maybe some pro/cons you could list. Thanks for the help.
  2. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Junior


    I would recommend putting yourself under the care of a solid Reformed church, and pursuing the ministry under the pastoral guidance of the elders there. You say that you hold to the Westminster Standards, but are a member of a Baptist Church, and your profile says that you are seeking affiliation. I would get those things worked out first. In the mean time, you might look into a community college nearby.

    If you don't mind my suggesting it, I would recommend looking into Sovereign Grace Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. The preaching is sound and heart-felt, the worship is Biblical, they hold strictly to the Westminster Confession, and the pastor is a very godly man. They belong to the same denomination that I do.
  3. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Sir for you kind advice.

    As to me "getting those things worked out" I can't. I am only 16 and still live under my parents roof. My dad is a retired second generation Southern Baptist preacher. Am I not obligated to go to my father's church until I am an adult? I personal agree with the historic Reformed tradition rather than my father's baptist tradition.
  4. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Folks that have been on the board a while will have read this from me before, but since you are fairly new, I'll say it again:

    I wouldn't waste my time and money on a Bible College degree (even one affiliated with RC). I'd start with a practical degree or a trade (and start that at community college). Then I'd layer on a seminary degree if my elders confirmed that I appeared to have a call.
  5. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for you wise advice.

    But I have already been confirmed to have a call for ministry from my old Church back in Texas. My plan was to go to a Bible college and then become a youth pastor and then go to seminary.
  6. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    At age 16?
  7. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

  8. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Senior

    Can't agree with this enough. As someone who thought they had a call, but maybe still does, it has been put on hold and hassaved me a lot of time and money, and stress not to go this route.
  9. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank y'all for all the advice about going into ministry, college, and seminary, but could someone please help me with the original question I asked. "As a young Reformed person who wants to go into ministry I have been looking at a few different options for college. The one that I am most interested in is Reformation Bible College in Orlando. I wanted to know if y'all any thoughts or opinions about the college and maybe some pro/cons you could list. Thanks for the help."
  10. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I'd agree in exercising caution with getting only a degree in Bible. Most pastors I've known have had to have some other type of employment at some points in their ministry (waiting for a call, at times being bi-vocational, etc.) and having a trade school or other education can be very helpful in having something easy to do when it becomes necessary.

    If you do specifically want to study Bible/Theology/Ministry at an undergraduate level, you could also look at going to a Christian college or university where you could trust the teaching and also study something in addition. I went to Covenant College where even as part of the core you take quite a bit of theology, Bible, and Christian worldview classes, but my classes in Computer Science and Economics prepared me for a job at graduation. There are other good schools too that could be options, such as Geneva, Grove City, and Wheaton.

    I would also advise taking on as little debt as possible. Some of the schools I mentioned have high sticker prices, but the actual price has a lot of factors. Still, many students end up going while it is beyond their means and I do not think this is wise.
  11. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry--I didn't realize. You might ask your father's permission to look for a church that aligns with your convictions.
    Bear in mind that Timothy was about twice your age when Paul wrote this to him.
  12. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Senior

    Its not accredited and there is no campus to live on. So think through the implications of that.
  13. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    Yeah your right. I was probably taking Paul out of context there.
  14. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    I would love to do that but as of right now my father is actually unaware of my convictions. I come from a line of Southern Baptist ministers so for me to just come out and say "Hi dad. I'm a Presbyterian now." would cause quite the conflict. I was hoping to be able to discuss it with him soon.

    Also since we as Reformed Christians believe in that the father is the federal head of his own house, would that not necessitate that I would have to submit to him in what church attended while I am still under his roof? Or am I just over thinking it?

    Thanks for your wisdom. It is a big help.
  15. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    Jonathan - It is great to hear from a young man of 16 that he desires to serve the Lord vocationally! I have no doubt that your previous church in Texas confirmed your call to ministry. I won't challenge their assessment. I hope you'll see that it isn't an attempt to throw a wet blanket over your dreams to suggest a route different than the one you presently have envisioned, but I want to add my voice to Edward's regarding going to a Bible College... I (and Edward, I believe) hope you'll get to the same destination you're wanting (vocational ministry), except by a different route.

    I went to a Bible College - Moody Bible Institute - and my education there was augmented by the job I had in which I was a supervisor for numerous TEDS (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) students. Between my schooling and my many discussions with those students, I can easily affirm that my time in Chicago was probably the most developmental in terms of my theology and understanding of the Bible. Truly, by the time I went to Seminary, much of it (but not all!) was a mere repeat of things I'd been taught already. This board was an asset during that time as it challenged me to think in ways I hadn't, but I consider it more of a "fine tuning" than was the complete overhaul I underwent in my college years.

    Despite this, over the years I have profoundly regretted not having pursued vocational training in a trade. See, with my education (Moody and SBTS), I have virtually no marketable skills outside of ministry. This has prevented me from being able to consider smaller or rural churches because I have no way of augmenting what it is that they can provide in terms of financial income. Additionally, I have wished that I'd gone to a good university and majored in something that would have resulted in me having the knowledge base and credentials to either pursue advanced studies or, if needed, supplement my income so that I could consider serving small or rural churches.

    As the landscape of American churches continues to change, more and more bivocational ministry will become the norm. If you anticipate this reality now, at your age, you can position yourself to have the ability to provide supplemental income for you and your future family so that you can be freed to minister in the context in which you find yourself. So I encourage you to learn a trade, or pursue a marketable degree at a university. While you're doing that, do your own theological reading and continue to be discipled by your pastor. Be active in the local church and serve there. Don't discount that importance of this as ministry training! And then, once you have a degree you can "use," go to Seminary - assuming you and your elders still believe God is calling you to vocational ministry.

    But for right now I'll say to you what I say to my own 16 year old: Do well in high school! You want to leave as many doors open as possible. You don't have to walk through any of them, but you want the knowledge that you have choices. Performing badly in high school closes doors for your future... You don't want that! So for now... put your focus on doing as well as you can.
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  16. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    I agree with the recommendations for learning a marketable skill/trade.

    So far as the college itself goes, I do not know too much about it. However, I did think the curriculum looked reasonably challenging, when I looked at it a while ago. My main concern would be that the college is not "Reformed enough," especially seeing how I know of Bible college students that tend to pick up the idiosyncracies of their Bible college professors. This does depend on the student though and the manner in which they choose to allow their undergraduate professors to influence them. A related question I would have is whether the college takes after R.C. Sproul's views (such as on the 4th and 2nd Commandments) or whether the variety of professors teach a variety of things?

    I do have a friend from the OPC who goes to school there. I could see if she or if someone she knows is willing to talk with you about the school, if you wish. (Edit: But I don't think I'd be comfortable putting you in contact with her or someone there until the situation with your family is taken care of/unless your father knows you are considering that school.)
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  17. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    As a minister (and a former attorney) who deals with ministers and candidates in my Presbytery all the time, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to get a marketable skill in today's climate. Churches will have less and less ability to pay ministers in the coming years. More and more ministers will be bi-vocational. There is also a non-monetary advantage in some contexts to being bi-vocational. You can listen to these excellent podcasts by Thom Rainer:

    The New Marketplace Pastor and Marketplace Bivocational Ministry

    Having a marketable skill allows you to work in a smaller church context by subsidizing income (see Ben's post above), it allows you to do missions work, it allows you to be a tent-maker in church planting, and more. If you get forced out of a church (all too real) you can support your family. I know several men who are in severe financial straights because they left their church and have no real skill to earn income.

    I can't say this strongly enough. There is no way I would ever allow my son to get a Bible degree. And I say that as someone who greatly respects RBC and RC.
  18. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you. You have given me a lot to think on.
  19. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for taking the time to help. And yes my father does know I have been considering Reformation Bible College.
  20. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    Hmm. That is defiantly something for me to pray and think about.
  21. zsmcd

    zsmcd Puritan Board Freshman

    Jonathan, as a young guy myself (25) who has sensed a call to ministry from the same age (16), and has received affirmations of that call from several ministers, I do have to agree with most of the men above. Though I will try to answer your question directly, I'll also try to throw in some personal thoughts/experiences since I pretty much went through the same.

    At 16, all I wanted to do was go to bible college, become a 'youth pastor', go to seminary, and become a pastor. But my wise mother directed me away from the bible college route, and for good reason. I am thankful that I did not go that route. Very thankful. But I will hold that for later since you didn't ask about that. Up until about three years ago, I too was very interested in going to Reformation Bible College. It has a great looking curriculum and the faculty is grade A. Everything RC Sproul, Ligonier, and St Andrews puts out is going to be absolutely well done, which is why I was so drawn to the school. Since you asked, below I will list some cons, since I honestly just listed all the pros above. This is what drove me away from the school:

    - Expensive: College in and of itself is expensive. A private 'bible' college like RBC? Even more so. Unless your parents are rich or you have some crazy means of paying for the school, you are going to be in debt for an education that allows you to enter ministry. Go into debt to enter ministry? And only youth ministry for that? No thanks. Spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to read books, listen to lectures, and write papers? I'll pass. Not to mention if you are going to go the pastoral route, now you have to pay big bucks for seminary. The conclusion I came to? Traditional college isn't worth it, unless you are going into one of the jobs that requires it: medicine, law, etc. I have prepaid college AND the GI Bill, and I STILL have chosen not go to this route. It is a waste of money, if you ask me...

    - Vocation: Don't misread me here, I am not hating on education, or even college as a whole. I am just hating on the idea that someone should spend thousands of dollars for a vocation that doesn't require an expensive traditional college education. So here is my advice for you: You are 16. I don't know if you are in home school or attend a public/private school. Either way, you are in an amazing position, living under someone else's roof for 'free,' to learn a trade that you can use for the rest of your life. Interested in business? Start a small business. You can do that. Like to teach/write? Start a blog and look around for places to publish your writings. You can do that. Enjoy hands on stuff? Learn how to lay flooring, lawn care, etc. There are so many young men right now, like myself, who have a calling for ministry. And I am not doubting their calling, but they jump from high school to college to seminary to ministry without learning any trade that can pay their bills. What happens when your church fires you? What happens when they don't pay you well? Is God sovereign? Yes. Will he care for you? Duh. But does that negate your responsibility to learn a trade to feed you and your future family's bellies? Nope. You don't want to be in a position where you feel like you can't teach a convictional truth of Scripture out of fear of losing your job/pay and not being able to do something else. This is what a wise, 60 year old, pastor of 30+ years told me. So use these years under your parents roof to figure out something you can do to make money. If it is something that requires school, go to it, but do it smartly (CLEP, Community College, etc.). If you don't know what you want to do, don't go to school, pick up a trade that you would be happy doing, get good at it, and get paid for it.

    - Accreditation: Want to study theology/ministry stuff? Don't pay a ton of money for a degree that is not accredited and useful for nothing other than an ordination board. will give you the same exact degree for $0 dollars. $0 vs. $10-20k? Go with the $0 and put the $20k towards a house. Be a wise steward of the money and time that God is giving you. Find a pastor you look up to and have him mentor you through the classes. I guarantee you that you will not regret it. I am not against traditional seminary/college - I am very thankful for them. But I am against stupidity. And for me, paying all that money for a piece of paper that you can get for free is.... not the smartest decision.

    So those are my thoughts. If you were my son (I am just saying this because we have a very young son so I am thinking through what I would tell him) here is what I would encourage you to do, in brief...
    - Start a small business (very small) or learn a trade now. Get that experience. Start a career now. You are 16, you are a man, don't wait to start your vocation.
    - Find a pastoral mentor to disciple you and to walk with you through a systematic theology, practical ministry, etc. Learn everything you can from him that you can't learn in a traditional school course.
    - When you are done with high school, start taking classes through TNARS. Get a feel for how seminary type classes are, and whether or not it is for you... all for FREE. Discuss those classes with your mentor and elders. Apply them to your life and ministry.

    Okay, off my soap box. Hope that helps and is more encouraging than not. Blessings to you and I look forward to seeing where God takes you.
  22. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Senior

    My sentiments exactly, down to the finest detail.
  23. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Junior

    That's a very mature response. Please understand that I do not mean to call into question your sense of call, your giftedness, or your church's confirmation. I would, however, caution against entry into office to early. I come from a similar (Southern Baptist) background, and when I told my church leadership I thought I was called, they scheduled me to preach on a Wednesday evening two weeks later. Looking back, I should have NOT been allowed into a pulpit at that time.

    That is a tough issue, and it's one that has to be taken on a case-by-case basis. My dad was very frustrated when I became a Calvinist, though he barely understood what it was. He died never knowing any of the other differences I had with the Arminian, Dispensationalist, Southern Baptist doctrine I grew up with.

    I've heard of other cases in which fathers had a much more ecumenical spirit.

    Honestly, I am undecided. Obviously, if it is a matter of obeying God or your father, you should obey God. It would be easy if your father were requiring you to worship a false God. However, the question of when to draw the line between Christian denominations is much more complex.

    When I was in a similar situation at age eighteen, I attended a Reformed church, but waited until I had my father's permission before joining (he did grant that permission eventually, which is a precious story in itself). I don't know if I would handle the situation the same way if I had it to do over again. I would love to hear the thoughts of some older, wiser men.

    QUALIFIER: I don't mean any disrespect to any of the godly Southern Baptist brethren on the board by anything I've said here. The particular culture of the Southern Baptist world that I grew up in is one that would grieve any pious, Reformed Southern Baptist.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  24. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore

    Young person to young person here (I'm only 21). The only nugget of wisdom I can impart on you is this: please, listen to those who are older and wiser than you. That doesn't mean they are right about everything, but you'd be amazed how quickly you can mature and grow in sanctification when you learn from those above you.
  25. Mumbly

    Mumbly Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello there, young man! I see you have received plentiful advice. I have little to offer, other than the point of connection of my limited experience with RBC. I had an opportunity to visit it, as my mother wanted me to attend for a MS degree. While I'm certain I'd immensely enjoy the education provided there (and since you're similarly inclined, I bet you would, also), I determined that throwing tens of grand into a nice experience wouldn't pan out. (That's not to say that it wouldn't have more vocational pay off in your case.)

    I figure you'll carefully examine the more economical options mentioned to you above and be praying about your next step. Maybe He will give you a kick in the seat of your pants toward RBC, or maybe toward another route. :)

    Anyway, it always makes me smile to see young men so serious about attending to Christ's bride. What a hard, lovely blessing. Forge on. :)
  26. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    Just for a clarification my father is a Calvinistic Dispensational Southern Baptist.
  27. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I have a slightly different take on this question. I agree with T. David Gordon, in his book Why Johnny Can't Preach, that too few ministers are able to engage an ancient written text on a literary level. He recommended that students who want to go to seminary should get good training in English literature. Long ago, most seminarians had this training already in high school. However, this is no longer true. Whatever college you go to, take at least more than the required number of English classes, even if you don't wind up majoring in English. It would also be good to take some classical Greek classes. Then also, as Fred mentioned, having a marketable skill is very helpful as well. For me it was music, which had the added benefit of being useful in ministry.
  28. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Senior

    When I had an interest in seminary, I was told to take a liberal arts degree. Perhaps you could get a teaching degree along with it, like I am wanting to do. Seminary is on the backburner for me right now.
  29. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    Hi Jonathan,

    I'm an SBC minister of nearly 19 years, ~10 of which were bivocational. Get an accredited undergrad degree so that you can legitimately get a foot in the door for tentmaking jobs. I've got an undergrad in English, which has translated into sales, management, and schoolteaching roles at different points in my life. I have repeatedly blessed God for his goodness to me when my mom made me promise to get a college degree before starting seminary.

    Full-time vocational ministry may indeed be in your future. But -- probably -- so will be a family. Faithful churches are struggling financially in today's world, and that's likely going to get harder in days to come. Not being a pessimist -- just realistic. By God's grace, our church is growing spiritually, "reformationally" (to coin a word!), and numerically (we're up nearly 25% in Lord's Day worship, and over 30% in Sunday School YOY). Praise be to God! But these are new Christians -- many of whom were raised in church, but had been out of church for years -- and it's taking them time to get their personal finances in order so they can begin giving. Guess what that means? Ministry budget cuts -- including salaries (mine too). Bi-vo may be in my future again.

    I thoroughly agree with what Rev. Greco said above: I'd never let my son get a Bible degree in his undergrad work. Get something you can use to feed your family. Then, if you decide to go the unaccredited route for seminary, that's fine -- clear it with your elders, make sure your denomination will recognize your work, and then go for it. TNARS looks good for seminary work; a friend studied there, and has me considering one of their programs (of course, I've already got 1.9 accredited sem. degrees; so my perspective may be skewed in that regard). But I'm also considering doing another degree at a local college: a masters in English/education, or a degree in business, in case my church would be best served by me re-entering bi-vo ministry.

    Hope this helps, brother.

    Grace to you.
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