Will You Share Your Experience Studying at RPTS?

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B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
Greetings PBers,

I'm looking to pursue a Master of Theological Studies via distance learning and one of the schools on my short list is the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS). I had a very good conversation with the admissions team yesterday and was curious to learn of people's experiences with the school.

The topics I'm most interested in are on the quality of the education received and thoughts on how distance students generally fared in the mixed class setting.

All other comments/feedback are welcome as well. If curious, others on my short list include WTS and GPTS.

Thanks!
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
If you are on Facebook, join Covenanters group and ask there. I know several who have finished studies recently in that group.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
I am currently studying distance, started three weeks ago. Only two classes, but have found both quite edifying. Spiritual Development with Dr. David Whitla, and Doctrine of Revelation with Dr. Richard Gamble. Of course, three weeks isn't enough for a professional evaluation.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am currently studying distance, started three weeks ago. Only two classes, but have found both quite edifying. Spiritual Development with Dr. David Whitla, and Doctrine of Revelation with Dr. Richard Gamble. Of course, three weeks isn't enough for a professional evaluation.

How is the Moodle platform that is used? Do you feel like you are part of the class (as much as possible from a distance)?

After three weeks under your belt how has it been juggling two classes at once? I was going to dip the toes in with a single class initially, but am curious to hear whether two classes is feasible for a fella juggling a day job and family duties.
 

Ethan

Puritan Board Freshman
I’m wrapping up my 2nd year of distance learning at WTS for a MATS degree. I’m only taking one class at a time as it’s hard to balance with a full time job and a family but I’ve found it to be very beneficial in my walk and understanding. I wasn’t sure at first given that I read whether I’m in school or not, but the structure of the courses and the graded assignments really have helped me. The downfall is a lot of the students are fairly unfamiliar with reformed theology which can make some group work pretty tedious, but I figure you’d find a lot less of that at PRTS or GPTS. I will say for the price of a MATS at WTS you can get an MDIV at GPTS. I can’t speak for PRTS. Feel free to reach out if you’d like more info.
 
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RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
How is the Moodle platform that is used? Do you feel like you are part of the class (as much as possible from a distance)?

After three weeks under your belt how has it been juggling two classes at once? I was going to dip the toes in with a single class initially, but am curious to hear whether two classes is feasible for a fella juggling a day job and family duties.

I feel like part of the gang, but I've met the faculty on-site in May, and at Synod in June. Dr.'s Whitla and Evans are in my presbytery. Did you talk with Edmissions? I haven't used Moodle long enough to love it or hate it. Seems to work.

I'd just say, be prepared to be stretched, and prepare your family for the endeavor. More than just work and family, there's the requirement to continue as a vibrant, active member of your local church. A pastor had counseled me that the endeavor requires perseverance. Time commitment itself depends on the classes. I think the traditional wisdom is that for each credit, expect one hour in lectures and two hours of study outside of class. So two classes @ 3 each (2 x 3 x 6) is eighteen hours per week.

I slow down big-time for Dr. Gamble's "Doctrine of Revelation" because his book series "The Whole Counsel of God" is concise in words, dense in substance. I'm at level 101 with many things he interacts with; so my study time is protracted for his class. Beware, I've not yet taken the midterm, so my opinion of the class could change.

Classes like Spiritual Development are experimental/devotional, so if you have a good life of communion with God the substance is familiar, but still profound. You'll spend extra time because you want to absorb essays such as Warfield's "Spiritual Life of Theological Students." Other than that, nine hours of total committed time is roundabout right.

I'd expect for language courses that you will spend extra time wrestling with materials. Greek and Hebrew are real bears to get used to. You could pre-prepare by learning alphabets, pronunciations, practice reading, etc.
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
Any Scottish historical works or works on church history from Scotsmen that RPTS or FCOSC-like seminaries consider integral? For example, a lot of Reformed seminaries nowadays consider Berkhof's Systematic Theology to a standard for systematics everyone ought to be acquainted with.

I already picked up Hewison's 2 volume set by Banner, James Bannerman the Church of Christ, and Cunningham's work on the Reformers and Reformation. I also have Thomas M'Crie's Sketches, but it is a digital copy.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
Any Scottish historical works or works on church history from Scotsmen that RPTS or FCOSC-like seminaries consider integral? For example, a lot of Reformed seminaries nowadays consider Berkhof's Systematic Theology to a standard for systematics everyone ought to be acquainted with.

I already picked up Hewison's 2 volume set by Banner, James Bannerman the Church of Christ, and Cunningham's work on the Reformers and Reformation. I also have Thomas M'Crie's Sketches, but it is a digital copy.
Cunningham's work on "Historical Theology" in very useful.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
Greetings PBers,

I'm looking to pursue a Master of Theological Studies via distance learning and one of the schools on my short list is the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS). I had a very good conversation with the admissions team yesterday and was curious to learn of people's experiences with the school.

The topics I'm most interested in are on the quality of the education received and thoughts on how distance students generally fared in the mixed class setting.

All other comments/feedback are welcome as well. If curious, others on my short list include WTS and GPTS.

Thanks!

I am a graduate of RPTS. The quality of education has improved considerably since I started in the Fall of 2015. It is only getting better with the addition of Jeff Stivason, David Whitla, and Keith Evans to the faculty. Highlights for me were the Biblical Counseling, Church History, Old Testament, New Testament (w/Dr. Stivason), and the Preaching classes.

Since distance students are not on a live-stream (unless this has changed after COVID) - you are not interacting much with other students as much other than through Moodle. Which was pretty minimal at the time (I graduated in May of 2020, so things might have changed). I did spend six months onsite which were invaluable for me. For the preaching and counseling classes in particular. There was talk about them doing intensive weeks for distance students. Not sure if they ever implemented it - but I would go for that as often as they offered it. I would suggest that whatever Seminary you go to - try to spend as much time onsite as possible. For any RPCNA students reading this - especially so for you as you will be laboring (Lord willing) with many of these professors and fellow students in the courts of the church. Get to know them well. It will be a great aid for you in the ministry.

I was part time (three, sometimes four classes a quarter) until my final year when I took five classes a quarter. I did that while working fulltime, helping raise a family of six, and serving as a Ruling Elder. It is doable if you are structured and disciplined. Do not ever take an incomplete or let assignments slip. I have seen men do that and it becomes a terrible burden. Get your work done on time, even if it isn't the greatest quality work, it is better to get a B than to be underwater - especially with a family to tend to. Was it Warfield(?) who said to Seminarians - for some of you it is a sin to not get an A and for some of you it is a sin to get an A. I cannot remember who said it - but that is good counsel.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
I am a graduate of RPTS. The quality of education has improved considerably since I started in the Fall of 2015. It is only getting better with the addition of Jeff Stivason, David Whitla, and Keith Evans to the faculty. Highlights for me were the Biblical Counseling, Church History, Old Testament, New Testament (w/Dr. Stivason), and the Preaching classes.

Since distance students are not on a live-stream (unless this has changed after COVID) - you are not interacting much with other students as much other than through Moodle. Which was pretty minimal at the time (I graduated in May of 2020, so things might have changed). I did spend six months onsite which were invaluable for me. For the preaching and counseling classes in particular. There was talk about them doing intensive weeks for distance students. Not sure if they ever implemented it - but I would go for that as often as they offered it. I would suggest that whatever Seminary you go to - try to spend as much time onsite as possible. For any RPCNA students reading this - especially so for you as you will be laboring (Lord willing) with many of these professors and fellow students in the courts of the church. Get to know them well. It will be a great aid for you in the ministry.

I was part time (three, sometimes four classes a quarter) until my final year when I took five classes a quarter. I did that while working fulltime, helping raise a family of six, and serving as a Ruling Elder. It is doable if you are structured and disciplined. Do not ever take an incomplete or let assignments slip. I have seen men do that and it becomes a terrible burden. Get your work done on time, even if it isn't the greatest quality work, it is better to get a B than to be underwater - especially with a family to tend to. Was it Warfield(?) who said to Seminarians - for some of you it is a sin to not get an A and for some of you it is a sin to get an A. I cannot remember who said it - but that is good counsel.

Regarding your last line, I don't remember who said it, but it was more fully:

Some of you will not get an A because you sinned and were lazy. Others of you will get an A because you sinned and you neglected your families.

I still don't understand how you did study fulltime while working fulltime and managing a family of six; but that just means I have to re-review what you've written to me. I'm crawling through Doctrine of Revelation right now. But, do I love it!
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Any Scottish historical works or works on church history from Scotsmen that RPTS or FCOSC-like seminaries consider integral? For example, a lot of Reformed seminaries nowadays consider Berkhof's Systematic Theology to a standard for systematics everyone ought to be acquainted with.

I already picked up Hewison's 2 volume set by Banner, James Bannerman the Church of Christ, and Cunningham's work on the Reformers and Reformation. I also have Thomas M'Crie's Sketches, but it is a digital copy.

This link will help you: The semester book lists from Fall 2020 to Fall 2021. However, I suspect this isn't the most recent list, because the books assigned to me include others not on this list, like Concise Reformed Dogmatics, selections from Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology, Warfield on the Authority and Inspiration of Scriptures, Calvin's Institutes, and a bit from Berkhof.
 
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