Reformed Theological Seminary - Orlando & Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Discussion in 'Seminaries, Colleges & Education' started by Peter Bell, Feb 12, 2019.

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  1. Peter Bell

    Peter Bell Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello Gents

    I've go the opportunity to study at both seminaries. I love the emphasis on the languages and Presbyterian polity of Greenville, but the name recognition and accreditation of Reformed is also big for me.

    I'll be pursuing a Master of Divinity at either school regardless, and the current idea is church planting through my current church (Acts 29 network), or to join an existing PCA congregation in my current area (or another if the Lord calls). Again, this is provisional, and my pastor and I have a long road ahead to define what the Lord wants to do in my life.

    From what you know of either school, which would you recommend? I see a potential of academic ministry in the future, but I know for a fact that I'm called into Pastoral ministry first and foremost.

    Only looking at these two, as they've got the Hybrid MDiv option! Mine and my wife's current jobs allow us to pay for seminary without incurring debt, as well as some help from our church.

    Thank you!
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    You should probably visit both places, then decide. I can't tell you--I don't think anyone can tell you--if either school's credential will advantage you down the line, when your circumstances allow you to pursue an academic degree beyond the MDiv. If there were places being highly selective about who gets in, then maybe the deal-breaker would be accreditation. Him, not you.

    Then, I suppose the school that might have you to teach could pick the other guy over you, because he got into Harvard, and you only got into TEDS. Or, you could just say that all those future possibilities are little more than maybe. Do you want to mortgage your future on the hope that you will break into the tenured ranks?

    If you truly are called to be a pastor, then go and get the standard instruction from the place you fit in best. I like GPTS, because I went there. It's a good school, in my biased opinion. I've been to the RTS-Orlando campus (about 20yrs ago). Their library (compared to Greenville's at the time) made me drool. I prefer the Old School emphasis at Greenville. RTS was, and perhaps still is, a bit more amenable to New School Presbyterianism, a bit more "evangelical" in the broad sense.

    As others have said on a similar topic, the instructors impart their ethos to the place and the students. If RTS-O has more of a mix of professors (in terms of their lean) than GPTS, the graduates from there will likely be more centrist than those who graduate from the latter. But, a lot of what you take away from a school is not what you get from there, but what you brought there and had honed and shaped by the effort you put into learning.

    You can expect to get criticism, no matter what place you choose. But the ultimate validation of your training is the call of the church, the call of Christ. And what door he opens, no man can shut.
  3. Peter Bell

    Peter Bell Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you, Bruce! That's certainly something I need to keep front of mind. The Lord will open the doors he wills to.

    I've been admitted to both GPTS and RTS-Orlando, praying, seeking counsel, and asking others, all to make the final decision!
  4. Peter Bell

    Peter Bell Puritan Board Freshman

    Additionally, what's the academic rigor of GPTS? I hear slight mixed reports (more in favor of rigor than against) about the academic rigor of GPTS.

    I'd love yours (Bruce), and others' testimony of this! I know for a fact the piety and Christ-centeredness of the school is the best out there (as far as I can tell).

  5. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Take it from me that accreditation is, in many cases, not all it's cracked up to be. When I was choosing seminaries, I was, in honest truth, in part looking for a big name with solid accreditation. Let me tell you, in hindsight, I would take faithfulness over accreditation.

    Just look up some of the things John Frame has to say about accreditation. Here is an example.
  6. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    A number of my professors have retired, moved to the next job, or passed on to glory. I thought the academics were appropriate when I went there; and I do not assume they have declined (I've heard nothing different). Frankly, standards almost everywhere except in our conservative Presbyterian and Reformed institutions are dropping off. The reason is, the schools that turn out bachelor degrees have lowered their standards. Our seminaries are trying to remediate, at the same time they are initiating students in the non-negotiable minimum for a proper divinity curriculum.

    No self-back-patting intended, I think I would have done tolerably well at any school I chose. The main reason being, I was reared in conservative Presbyterianism. It is hard to overvalue your kindergarten-through-primary Sunday School teachers, when you look back and regard them as invaluable; they patiently plowed deep, for a future that was completely opaque to them as to what sort of future awaited all of us who learned from them.

    I guess I'm saying: you will get out whatever you put in, wherever you go. GPTS should challenge you, and make you work for your grade. So will a lot of places.
  7. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    As someone who didn't go to either school, but knows something about both by reputation, I can tell you what happened when I saw guys from both schools go through my Presbytery. The guys from GPTS usually had no exceptions to the standards, knew how to preach, and were pretty militantly confessional. The guys from RTS-O were much more centrist, as Bruce mentions. As RTS schools go, I liked the guys from RTS Jackson and RTS Charlotte more than the guys from RTS-O. If your only choice is between RTS-O and GPTS, I would recommend GPTS. But if you broaden your choice to include RTS Charlotte and RTS Jackson, then any of those three would be a good choice. Of course, I am a bit biased in saying that WTS Philly is now the cream of the crop as Reformed schools go.
  8. Peter Bell

    Peter Bell Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks, Lane! My wife and I's current jobs allow us to pay for seminary without incurring debt, so the Hybrid option is what made most sense, while still being under the care of my pastor, whom we've been with the past 4 years.
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