In case you care about stuff like this…

Even though I listed my church and my family as the primary reasons for choosing to stay at Southern, I don’t want to give the impression that academics was not part of the equation at all. I think both schools have excellent programs. However, Trinity’s reputation as a powerhouse in evangelical scholarship exceeds ours and has been in place longer than ours has, and I do consider it a loss that I will not be able to enjoy the benefits of a new perspective at a more diverse school. Nevertheless, I believe that both Southern and Trinity belong to a small group of evangelical schools that should be considered the finest in America, and Southern is continually building a stronger reputation in the scholarly world.

My program, which begins this fall, will consist of 66 hours: 40 hours of seminars, 10 hours of colloquia, and 16 hours for the dissertation and defense (research languages and comprehensive exams have no credit hours attached to them). From what I understand, Systematic Theology students normally take 6 seminars in theology and 2 in a minor area (philosophy, New Testament, etc.). The Systematic Theology program is supposed to be very rigorous.

One of the distinctives of Southern’s program is the 10 hours of colloquia. This is designed to broaden the educational experience so that it includes the full range of theological loci. I think it is theoretically possible to graduate with a Ph.D. in theology from some excellent institutions and still be largely unacquainted with some major topics in the field. I don’t think that is the case at Southern. The seminars and especially the dissertation will provide depth while the colloquia will provide breadth. Both are important for the ministry of teaching.

The more I learn about the program, the more excited I am to be a part of it.


2 Responses to “In case you care about stuff like this…”

  1. Stephen Newell Says:

    Why is it that Southern doesn’t have the same “oomph” that Trinity seems to? Is it just me being Baptist born and raised?

    Maybe that’s something that needs correcting in our circles as well–the single-mindedness of “being Baptist” to the exclusion of other traditions.

  2. Aaron Says:

    Do you mean “oomph” in a good way or a bad way?

    If you mean it in a good way, then I would say Southern lacks the same “oomph” (in terms of reputation) for two reasons:

    (1) Southern has been through a major transition in the last decade. Dr. Mohler is the one who has led the charge for making this one of the finest evangelical schools in America. So much progress has been made (in fact, as I have said I think we are already one of the finest in America), but it is still a work in progress. Trinity, by contrast, has had a reputation for being one of the finest evangelical schools in America for quite some time now.

    (2) Southern wears its denominational label in its own name and seems to be much more closely bound to its denomination than Trinity seems to be bound to the Evangelical Free Church of America. In addition, the SBC is much larger and more widely known than the EFCA as a “fundamentalist” denomination. In our culture, once you are associated with Christian fundamentalism, your intellectual credibility automatically suffers in the public eye.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: