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Featured Southern or Southeastern?

Discussion in 'Seminaries, Colleges & Education' started by Jonathan Ketcham, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. Jonathan Ketcham

    Jonathan Ketcham Puritan Board Freshman

    Im an undergrad student seeking to transfer into a 5 year BA/Mdiv program. I've been torn between SBTS and SEBTS for the past couple months. Here is the dilemma.

    As a reformed Baptist, Southern seems like a great option, I've heard marvelous things about how God is using their faculty. I've also heard good things about Southeastern from a close friend. I live in Grand Rapids but my brother in law and sister (and my new nephew) who are dear friends and mentors are moving down near Southeastern. I would love to be near them, which is a small part of why Southeastern seems appealing. Yet on the other hand, in Louisville I would be 6 hours from my family in Grand Rapids. I don't want to choose a school solely on location, but I know they are both great schools. So for me, if they are close enough to each other, maybe I should go to Southeastern where I could see family more often. I guess my question simply
    put is, is Southern that much better than SEBTS to the point where it would be important to sacrifice something small like proximity to family.

    From what I've gathered, many say that Southern may be a better school. I don't want to sacrifice any quality of preparation for ministry. Both schools adhere to the Abstract of Principles which I like, but Southern does seem more Reformed, and likely a better education. Another thing I'm wondering about is whether it would be good to go to a place where I may find more like minded Reformed teaching (Southern). Or would it be better to be at a school that is still very solid, but maybe puts less of an emphasis on reformed theology, thus, also teaching me how to interact with various viewpoints (SEBTS).
  2. Timotheos

    Timotheos Puritan Board Freshman

    I did my ThM at SEBTS. I am hoping to start a PhD, but neither SEBTS or SBTS are options for me right now. But if I had my choice, I'd go to SBTS. If reformed theology is what you want to be surrounded in, then go to Southern. SEBTS is good too, but you will run into views that will make you want to pull your hair out. Most faculty are 4 pointers (some good exceptions) and premill (even dispie). You have molinists there too. However, this could be a boon for you to force you to defend and affirm your views.

    May I ask why you have not considered Puritan Reformed Theo Sem? They will accept reformed Baptists if you are adhere to the 1689.
  3. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    Both are excellent schools, and while Southeastern is not as consciously reformed as Southern, it is very reformed friendly. It really comes down to your own needs. I will say from experience that Southeastern has much better housing options, especially for families, and there is much more of a friendly small town feel to Wake Forest than there is to Louisville. But if those are not big factors for you, than Southern will probably be a better choice. Also keep in mind that the tuition at Southern is about $30 more per credit hour than Southeastern. That may seem minor, but over the course of 90 plus hours, it adds up.
  4. Jonathan Ketcham

    Jonathan Ketcham Puritan Board Freshman

    See that's what I'm so torn about, what is more important, learning from more openly Reformed profs, or being able to still have a very good conservative education yet be able to learn how to face other beliefs?

    I've heard about it. I've ruled it out for a couple reasons, first, I want to do the 5 year BA/mdiv to save time and money. Because of how a scholarship of mine works, it would save me about 15000 to do a 5 year program. Also I would love to be a part of the SBC because of their missions boards and the opportunities they open up.

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  5. Jonathan Ketcham

    Jonathan Ketcham Puritan Board Freshman

    Im not concerned about money because of an outside scholarship. For me it's location and quality of education.

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  6. Timotheos

    Timotheos Puritan Board Freshman

    So does that mean you're leaning toward SEBTS? It wasn't quite clear.

    I have a friend nearly finished w/ his BA there. He's preaching for me next Sunday, actually. He's a 1689er and doing just fine. He gets frustrated at times w/ the theology. But the course work, esp the History of Ideas classes, have been fruitful.

    Again, why is PRTS not an option for you?
  7. Jonathan Ketcham

    Jonathan Ketcham Puritan Board Freshman

    No, I'm pretty stuck between the two. I just can't decide because I don't want to give up any quality of ministry preparation by going to SEBTS just because I have some family there. I'm just trying to figure out if I'd be losing anything academically or preparation wise by going to SEBTS instead of SBTS.

    Good to hear about the history of ideas, I had some doubts about that. Did he do his MDiv there as well?

    Well going to Southern would be 20k cheaper for me than Puritan because of how my scholarship works. Also it would mean that I would have to stay at the undergrad school I was at last year which was not a good experience at all. I would like to be at an undergrad that is more biblically sound and gospel focused.

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  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I wouldn't recommend getting a BA from a seminary but would recommend some other Christian liberal arts college or university instead. The cost may certainly be more, but if you don't end up in the pastorate, an undergrad from a school that isn't connected to a seminary may well be much more valuable. Of course, the way things are going, a degree from any Christian school may be looked at askance in the future and surely this is already the case in some quarters.

    As for "Reformed", how many profs at Southern are really Reformed? By the standards of this board, (i.e. holding to a Reformed Confession like the WCF or 1689 and not something like the brief Abstract of Principles) just being a 5 pointer isn't enough to be Reformed. (If TULIP is all that is necessary to be Reformed, then you can also go to TMS and learn from "Reformed" men. There are dispys and people who aren't 5 pointers at SBTS also. My guess is that the percentage of 5 pointers at TMS may actually be higher than it is at SBTS.)

    At Southern, they teach what they call Progressive Covenantalism, which is avowedly a middle road between covenant theology and dispensationalism. With the retirement of Dr. Nettles, are there any 1689ers on the faculty at all besides Dr. Haykin, maybe, assuming he affirms it? I think Dr. Welty at SEBTS is a 1689er.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017 at 8:10 PM
  9. Jonathan Ketcham

    Jonathan Ketcham Puritan Board Freshman

    I've thought that through a lot. Frankly though, I don't want to waste thousands of dollars studying something I don't enjoy an something that I don't intend to use long term. Instead I plan on either learning a skill or simply finding a good job (which is much easier without a college education than people will admit) until God provides a ministry opportunity for me.

    Okay, I know not full blown reformed, but at least more reformed in soteriology perhaps?

    So do you think I'd be better off at Southern, or are the two pretty similar?

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  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't know whether or not you'd be better off at Southern. It is certainly somewhat more closely associated with Calvinistic soteriology than SEBTS, but the latter is also associated with it in SBC circles. SBTS is the "flagship" so that may carry a little more weight some places.

    I do know that if you go to SBTS expecting to be taught Baptist covenant theology (i.e. confessional) you'll likely be very disappointed. I doubt there are very many people there that believe it. What they (i.e. Schreiner, Wellum, etc) teach is closer to NCT than anything else. There is more to being Reformed than TULIP. This is why the other poster was recommending PRTS. Regardless, you need to go into it with eyes wide open.

    It is possible that you may actually be more comfortable somewhere a little more diverse like SEBTS since they aren't going to necessarily expect you to fit a certain mold. (I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't some kind of pressure, however subtle, to adopt "progressive covenantalism" at SBTS depending on what your focus is. If you won't be focusing on theological studies but will be focusing on languages, expository preaching or something else, maybe it wouldn't be as big of a deal.) I doubt you'll run into hard core anti-Calvinism at SEBTS as opposed to maybe a couple of the other seminaries.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017 at 10:54 PM
  11. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I'd guess the other question as someone who is Reformed Baptist and holds to the LBCF if you want to minister in a group of confessional Baptists like ARBCA or among the SBC. If the former, it'd be good to also look into options like the Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies at Westminster Seminary California, the Reformed Baptist Seminary, and even Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in your backyard. If you're planning on being in SBC churches you probably would be better off sticking to one of their seminaries.

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