Reformed Theology Education

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R.G. Sassard

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey guys! I am new to the site and glad to be here. I have been reading the PB forums for quite a while and finally decided to make an account and join. I am 24(going on 25) years old and am a bible college freshman double-majoring in Bible/Theology and Pastoral Ministry. I am considering transferring schools in the near future and was curious if anybody had any thoughts or recommendations on a good college to study reformed theology at a reasonable cost. I am highly considering Reformation Bible College, but unfortunately, they do not have on-campus housing and do not qualify for grant money, which can be a problem when paying out of pocket and trying to find an apartment. Thank you in advance for any advice and input!
 
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Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
I highly recommend Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS). PRTS recently finished student housing. They turned out beautifully.

What is your goal once you are done with your education?
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
My recommendation would be to get an affordable undergraduate degree in something marketable, and then for you to go to Southern Baptist Theological seminary in Louisville.

Your calls if you go out there with a bachelor's from a Bible college are likely going to mean you are going to have to be a tentmaker to support your family. With an M.Div. from a respected seminary, you might get pastoral calls that can support you, and if you don't, you have some marketable skills.
 

R.G. Sassard

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the input! My call is to pastor, so I won’t be needing a degree for a secular vocation. The school I’m at now prepares you to be fully equipped and ready for ordination upon completion of the pastoral program. I do, however, plan on pursuing a graduate degree from seminary after my undergrad. I may finish school here, but I’d like to go somewhere more reformed.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Thanks for the input! My call is to pastor, so I won’t be needing a degree for a secular vocation. The school I’m at now prepares you to be fully equipped and ready for ordination upon completion of the pastoral program. I do, however, plan on pursuing a graduate degree from seminary after my undergrad. I may finish school here, but I’d like to go somewhere more reformed.
Imagine Paul saying, "My call is to be an apostle, so I won't need to learn tentmaking." How can you be sure that you will be supported full time in the ministry? Many, many Reformed ministers have secular employment in addition to their pastoral labors out of sheer necessity.
 

R.G. Sassard

Puritan Board Freshman
Well that is very true that there is a possibility that I may need to support myself with work outside of ministry, but I just meant I don’t need a degree for it. I’ve been out of school and working for 7 years before going to bible college, and I just don’t believe I necessarily need a degree for that. I’m able to get good work without one if you can understand that. I’ve worked in sales, management, etc. My goal is to be as prepared and equipped for (full time) ministry as I can be. So Bible college is where I am called to right now.
 
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iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for the input! My call is to pastor, so I won’t be needing a degree for a secular vocation. The school I’m at now prepares you to be fully equipped and ready for ordination upon completion of the pastoral program. I do, however, plan on pursuing a graduate degree from seminary after my undergrad. I may finish school here, but I’d like to go somewhere more reformed.
I'd recommend looking at Grove City College or Geneva College. Both have excellent reformed Bible and Theology departments. I'd second the recommendation to study something marketable rather than essentially doing the same round of studies twice. My undergrad was in electrical engineering and I worked for a couple of years in the oil industry before using my skills on the mission field for two years, after which I went to seminary. My background helped me to support myself through seminary, and the experience of working in the secular world was/is invaluable in relating to the folks in the pew. In addition, I learned how to run a meeting that didn't wander all over the place (a skill that sadly few Presbyterians have mastered...).
The one qualification on the above advice would be that if possible do as much Greek and Hebrew as you can in your undergrad. That will really help you when seminary comes around. Other Bible and Theology courses won't help you that much, especially if taken in non-reformed schools.
 

TheInquirer

Puritan Board Freshman
In an American context, I think I would recommend seminary to 99.9% of people interested in going into the ministry. Even after a really good seminary education, I am still shocked by what I don't know that I need to know for ministry. Seminary provides you the tools for future study all the while laying a foundation that is extremely important. Sometimes its hard to appreciate all there is to know, and all that goes into the development of theology, doctrine, the complexities and nuances of various positions, without doing a deeper dive academically.

What's great is the flexibility of some programs these days where you can stay in a church context doing ministry and receiving mentoring and take classes remotely or do a hybrid where you travel a couple of times a year and not have to move.
 

R.G. Sassard

Puritan Board Freshman
Yeah I understand that completely! I love how a speaker said in chapel the other day “In college, I learned how to learn. I’ve done most of my learning outside of school. But in college, I learned how to learn.” That really resonated with me. My school requires you to be part of a local church in the area, attend every service, and to do practical Christian service every week, so that really helps getting practical, real-life experience in ministry as well. I definitely plan on pursuing my M.Div and possibly/hopefully my Th.M.
 

R.G. Sassard

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks! Yeah that’s something I’ve really been wanting to do, because you can get both your B.A. and M.Div in just 6 years. And I’m not assuming that. The housing down there is actually relatively cheap. I know a few students who go there and have talked to the admissions and financial aid office to ask some questions.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
Thanks! Yeah that’s something I’ve really been wanting to do, because you can get both your B.A. and M.Div in just 6 years. And I’m not assuming that. The housing down there is actually relatively cheap. I know a few students who go there and have talked to the admissions and financial aid office to ask some questions.
Sorry if my comment came across patronizing brother, I was just going off of what you had said in your OP: "I am highly considering Reformation Bible College, but unfortunately, they do not have on-campus housing and do not qualify for grant money, which can be a problem when paying out of pocket and trying to find an apartment."

All the best in this season of discernment! (And feel free to contact me if you have any questions about PRTS - I'm currently in the MDiv program.)
 

Ben Chomp

Puritan Board Freshman
In my experience your undergrad doesn't really matter for the purposes of finding employment in ministry. If you go with a church or denomination that requires education, they will require a masters degree. In that case, your undergrad doesn't really matter for the purposes of employment.

But if you go with a church or denomination that does not require education, they will not care what you got your undergrad in.

So I do recommend that you finish your undergrad and also that you go to seminary if you want to pastor. There are good reasons to do something in your undergrad to prepare you for seminary. Doing a bachelors in biblical studies, for example, won't hurt. I did my bachelors in philosophy from a secular institution and I believe it prepared me very well for seminary. There are also good reasons to do something more practical for your undergrad such as finance, engineering, etc. Suppose down the road you have trouble finding employment in pastoral ministry. Suppose you get defrocked because of scandal. Wouldn't it be nice to have something to fall back on?

Just my 2 cents.
 

SolamVeritatem

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey guys! I am new to the site and glad to be here. I have been reading the PB forums for quite a while and finally decided to make an account and join. I am 24(going on 25) years old and am a bible college freshman double-majoring in Bible/Theology and Pastoral Ministry. I am considering transferring schools in the near future and was curious if anybody had any thoughts or recommendations on a good college to study reformed theology at a reasonable cost. I am highly considering Reformation Bible College, but unfortunately, they do not have on-campus housing and do not qualify for grant money, which can be a problem when paying out of pocket and trying to find an apartment. Thank you in advance for any advice and input!
Hello R.G.

Let me take this opportunity to throw out a plug for military chaplaincy. Seems as though you're set on your course, but just to add to your options, serving as a military chaplain has a range of benefits, and gives you the opportunity to simultaneously prepare for ministry, gain practical ministry/pastoral experience and earn a decent living while doing it. Then, after your commitment to the particular service you choose is over, you will have attained some things that few new pastors fresh out of seminary can say they have:

-Legitimate ministry experience
-Ministerial/educational credentials
-No personal debt
-Veteran military status
-No personal debt (mentioned twice for effect...)

I assume you're single, and you are a very young man, so this could work perfectly if the Lord wills and you so desire. I have taken the liberty of posting below some information about all 4 military chaplaincy programs (Navy chaplains generally serve the Marines).

https://www.goarmy.com/chaplain/become-an-army-chaplain/candidate-program.html
https://www.navy.com/sites/default/files/2018-03/chaplain-brochure_0.pdf
https://www.airforce.com/careers/specialty-careers/chaplain
https://www.gocoastguard.com/active-duty-careers/officer-opportunities

If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them as best I can. Another good resource is Ben Duncan, a fellow PB member.

In Him,

Craig
 
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