ALPB Forum Online

ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Dave Likeness on September 19, 2012, 10:10:22 AM

Title: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Likeness on September 19, 2012, 10:10:22 AM
Some Lutheran parish pastors have gotten a Doctor
of Ministry degree while serving their congregation.
Is this degree a way to fill the coffers of seminaries
with extra money?  Does this degree really mean
that this newly minted doctor is eligible for a call
to be a seminary professor?

Most of our Seminary professors have a PHD or are
working on them.  Is the Doctor of Ministry a watered
down doctorate?  Do you on the Lutheran Forum have
an opinion?
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Weedon on September 19, 2012, 10:15:41 AM
DMin is to Th(orPh)D what MDiv is to STM; a professional versus an academic degree.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Likeness on September 19, 2012, 10:26:16 AM
Pastor  Weedon, could you explain further
the difference between professional and
academic degree?
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Benke on September 19, 2012, 10:29:03 AM
DMin is to Th(orPh)D what MDiv is to STM; a professional versus an academic degree.

This is the way I see it.  I have a D.Min. from New York Theological Seminary, received back at the dawn of time in 1983.  The thesis topic is the Nehemiah Plan and how it came to be. It turns out to be an historical document, since the Nehemiah Plan, Spring Creek version, is a current event. 

For me the D.Min. was a worthy endeavor as an extension of parish pastoral ministry.  I had done an STM, so I understand the difference from an academic perspective.  Today there are any number of other continuing education options; some lead to a certification like the D.Min., others do not.  Underlying is the need for continuing education for pastors.  I got mine out of the way 30 years ago and haven't learned a thing since, in the opinion of some to many.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Charles_Austin on September 19, 2012, 10:41:46 AM
Legit for what?
The value of the D.Min. depends solely on the quality of the education poured into the requirements, the diligence of the candidate, and what the one who has a D.Min. does with it. The same is true of a Ph.D. or any other degree.
I have seen many D.Min. degree people over the years, most of whom have improved their ministry by getting it. Some, I have also seen, have slackered through the requirements so that they can be called "Doctor" or put "D.Min." behind their name on the bulletins.
Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was headed for a Ph.D. when I decided to return to secular journalism. There, the degree would have had no "standing" at all, because what counts in that profession is best learned through experience and proved through doing the job under rough conditions and rougher editors.
What counts in the pastorate can be helped by advanced degrees, but there is no guarantee. Pastors need rough conditions and rougher mentors to improve. Some do. Some don't.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on September 19, 2012, 11:00:13 AM
While Wikipedia is often a far from reliable source, this article gives an overview of the professional degree. I always note the irony that, with many professional degrees, the next more advanced degree after the first professional doctorate is a master's, e.g., JD to LLM and DDS to MSD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_professional_degree
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: pearson on September 19, 2012, 11:42:54 AM

Some Lutheran parish pastors have gotten a Doctor
of Ministry degree while serving their congregation.
Is this degree a way to fill the coffers of seminaries
with extra money?  Does this degree really mean
that this newly minted doctor is eligible for a call
to be a seminary professor?

Most of our Seminary professors have a PHD or are
working on them.  Is the Doctor of Ministry a watered
down doctorate?  Do you on the Lutheran Forum have
an opinion?


Any degree awarded by an institution of higher education that is fully accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency (an important qualification these days) is a "legit" degree.  Beyond that, there is very little standardization across the board in higher ed -- you can't readily tell much about the qualifications of the person just by noting the academic degree she holds without asking more questions.  From what institution does the degree come?  Has the person taught higher ed courses, and at what level?  Have they written and published, and in what venues?  Have they been active in academic organizations, participated in academic conferences and meetings, conducted independent research in their field? 

Otherwise, I think Chaplain Weedon is correct:  A DMin is a professional degree in the sense that DMin programs are focused on enhancing (beyond the MDiv) a range of competencies specifically related to parish ministry (and related ministries, such as chaplaincies) within a particular faith community.  Academic degrees tend to be broader in scope, dedicated to equipping the student to understand (and to apply) the total scope of the literature, the traditional problems, and the proposed solutions to those problems, within a given discipline.

And what I have just written above is a textbook example of stilted academic verbiage. . .I surely hope no parish pastor (with or without a DMin) ever talks that way.

I can't imagine many seminaries establish DMin programs just to "fill the coffers": given the associated administrative costs, these programs are no longer money-makers.  I suppose there may be seminaries that hire folks with terminal DMin degrees (particularly is practical areas, like homiletics or Christian education, or if they are only adjuncts), but the reputable accrediting agencies will strongly encourage seminaries to hire qualified PhDs or ThDs.

Anyone who earns an advanced degree has my respect.  I will confess to a bias, however: I'm hard-pressed to understand the real value of a graduate degree from an on-line program offered by the (ever-proliferating) off-site academic institutions.  I've taught on-line courses at the undergraduate level, and those are vulnerable to all sorts of problems.  At the graduate level, where so much of the real education involves interpersonal mentoring between the faculty and the student, I cannot see how an on-line graduate program can be much different from looking up recipes on the internet.  It reminds me of reading the score of a symphony without ever listening to the music.  An on-line doctorate is one degree I would look on with some suspicion.  Would you want your physician to have earned her degree from an on-line program?

OK, I'm done.

Tom Pearson       
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Benke on September 19, 2012, 11:51:28 AM
While Wikipedia is often a far from reliable source, this article gives an overview of the professional degree. I always note the irony that, with many professional degrees, the next more advanced degree after the first professional doctorate is a master's, e.g., JD to LLM and DDS to MSD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_professional_degree

Interesting.  In reading through the Book of Concord recently, I've been struck by the ways in which Martin Luther is called.  Melanchthon calls him "Luther."  It was always "Dr. Luther" to most of the others.  And you don't find "Pastor Luther." 

By the way, Don, one of the signatories to the Schmalkald Articles was Sigismund Kirchner. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: MRoot on September 19, 2012, 11:52:35 AM
As I remember from my days as a dean, the accreditation rule is that teachers of masters-level courses must normally have a terminal degree (what a phrase!).  For the Association of Theological Schools, which accredits most seminaries, a DMin can be an appropriate degree for someone teaching in 'professional' areas, such as preaching, parish administration. evangelization, etc. (which is only to say that a school would not get in accreditation trouble for hiring such a person for such a slot).  A school would risk trouble with accreditors if it hired someone to teach in a more academic area - systematic theology, bible, church history - with a DMin and not a PhD or ThD.  The school would need to be ready to argue that in this particular case the person is qualified to teach at this level.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on September 19, 2012, 12:11:05 PM

By the way, Don, one of the signatories to the Schmalkald Articles was Sigismund Kirchner. 

You mean the Rev. Master Sigismund Kirchner?   ;)

Yes, and Timotheus Kirchner, (born 6 January 1533 in Döllstädt, died 14 September 1587 in Weimar) a Lutheran theologian, pastor, professor of Theology and superintendent in Weimar, is also an ancestor. Kolb has referred to the latter in his books.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Weedon on September 19, 2012, 01:37:13 PM
I may be wrong on this, but I seem to recall that it shows also in the ways the degrees are awarded:

MDivs
DMins
STMs
PhDs

The academic degrees come at the tail end. At least, I THINK that's how I remember them conveying them at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Likeness on September 19, 2012, 01:56:35 PM
I appreciate all the input to my question.  It seems
professional degrees such as M.Div and D.Min are
not on the same level as academic degrees lilke
STM or PH.D   This explains why a D.Min could only
teach in the Practical Department at our Seminaries.
This has concerned me that a D.Min could be on the
Seminary faculty.

My other concern has been the motivation for getting
an D.Min.  I have heard parish pastors tell me they
wanted a D.Min so they could go up on the District
Salary guidelines.  I felt that was poor motivation.
If you get a D.Min because you want to improve your
ministry in the parish that is a different story.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Benke on September 19, 2012, 02:37:09 PM

By the way, Don, one of the signatories to the Schmalkald Articles was Sigismund Kirchner. 

You mean the Rev. Master Sigismund Kirchner?   ;)

Yes, and Timotheus Kirchner, (born 6 January 1533 in Döllstädt, died 14 September 1587 in Weimar) a Lutheran theologian, pastor, professor of Theology and superintendent in Weimar, is also an ancestor. Kolb has referred to the latter in his books.

Fine props there, Don!  I'm in that era through the Pfotenhauers, and, although not a surety, possibly through another Schmalkald signatory, John Kilian - we have a lot of Kilian names in our family tree, even though I don't find us to be Sorbs/Wends.  So who knows?

I found it very fitting as a child to live one block from Teutonia Avenue, the Milwaukee northside angle street that would take you near the Schlitz brewery and down by Schuster's.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: pr dtp on September 19, 2012, 02:54:06 PM
As I remember from my days as a dean, the accreditation rule is that teachers of masters-level courses must normally have a terminal degree (what a phrase!).  For the Association of Theological Schools, which accredits most seminaries, a DMin can be an appropriate degree for someone teaching in 'professional' areas, such as preaching, parish administration. evangelization, etc. (which is only to say that a school would not get in accreditation trouble for hiring such a person for such a slot).  A school would risk trouble with accreditors if it hired someone to teach in a more academic area - systematic theology, bible, church history - with a DMin and not a PhD or ThD.  The school would need to be ready to argue that in this particular case the person is qualified to teach at this level.

Which degree did Rev. Kurt Marquart have?  And which department did he teach in?

And what about those who go around with "honorary doctorates", that are neither academic nor practical?
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on September 19, 2012, 02:54:50 PM

By the way, Don, one of the signatories to the Schmalkald Articles was Sigismund Kirchner. 

You mean the Rev. Master Sigismund Kirchner?   ;)

Yes, and Timotheus Kirchner, (born 6 January 1533 in Döllstädt, died 14 September 1587 in Weimar) a Lutheran theologian, pastor, professor of Theology and superintendent in Weimar, is also an ancestor. Kolb has referred to the latter in his books.

Fine props there, Don!  I'm in that era through the Pfotenhauers, and, although not a surety, possibly through another Schmalkald signatory, John Kilian - we have a lot of Kilian names in our family tree, even though I don't find us to be Sorbs/Wends.  So who knows?

It's only because of their puclic recognition that we are able to follow the line back to them. In my paternal grandmother's family line, Pagel, they've been able to trace things back to the Thirty Years War. Then they hit a dead end due to the RC armies burning the Lutheran churches, including the baptismal records.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Rev. Spaceman on September 19, 2012, 02:58:07 PM
I appreciate all the input to my question.  It seems
professional degrees such as M.Div and D.Min are
not on the same level as academic degrees lilke
STM or PH.D   This explains why a D.Min could only
teach in the Practical Department at our Seminaries.
This has concerned me that a D.Min could be on the
Seminary faculty.

My other concern has been the motivation for getting
an D.Min.  I have heard parish pastors tell me they
wanted a D.Min so they could go up on the District
Salary guidelines.  I felt that was poor motivation.
If you get a D.Min because you want to improve your
ministry in the parish that is a different story.

Dave,

As Charles said, I think the value of doing a DMin has to do with your personal motivation.  There are quite a few DMin programs that really have a reputation for enhancing a pastor's skills in a particular area.  I have always heard good things about Luther Seminary's DMin in preaching.  With a DMin in that area, for example, you might be able to do some adjunct teaching work at some point, but it's not likely that it will be a fast track to a teaching career.  I think it's meant more for personal enrichment and for "bringing together" what you know as a pastor so that your work can be more effective.

A "down side" about these kinds of degrees is that they do tend to take a lot of work while one is doing ministry.  One person told me that "it is too much on my plate."  At Luther, for example, you have to spend three weeks on campus for three summers in a row in addition to the work you need to accomplish throughout the year.  Another thing is that the degree can be expensive.  I think that Luther's DMin program is a total of 10K, payable in increments.  No financial aid from the institution is available. 

Also be aware that religious degrees like a DMin have a reputation for being fraudulent.  So, you want to make sure that the degree program you are looking at is legitimate (accredited).
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: racin_jason on September 19, 2012, 03:21:18 PM
As parish life continues to radically change, a Dmin is worth less than it once was.

It's roughly analogous to an Master of Arts in Sacred Music and being a church musician: go to a seminary for an MA and you'll learn how to play the organ and direct a 4-part choir. All that is well and good, but there are many church musicians out there leading worship with a guitar and conducting a choir with their MacbookPro churning out the accompaniment.  Seminaries aren't currently equipped for our varying contexts.

In the same way, a Dmin from a seminary is a good thing, but in looking at a handful of seminary Dmins, I'm not convinced the programs offer much, practically speaking: they are long on theory.

Synod compensation guidelines still often recommend added pay for advanced degrees, FWIW.

Not long ago Princeton Seminary dropped its Dmin program altogether.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: David M. Frye, OblSB on September 19, 2012, 03:37:49 PM
The discussion raises a little broader question for me: What legitimates study?

After assembling a strange array of degrees—B.S. in physics, M.Div., and M.A. in Journalism (news-editorial), I've found the greatest and simultaneously humbling increments in wisdom have come through my own reading and study, which has exceeded in breadth and depth what I confronted in those earning those degrees.

I tend to read along threads, digging down into a sequence of books on a topic. Eventually some other thread either branches off from a predecessor thread or some other idea suggests itself—and off I go. The great thrill comes in integrating "degree-knowledge" with "autodidactic-knowledge" and giving God the glory for what emerges!
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on September 19, 2012, 03:45:51 PM
And what about those who go around with "honorary doctorates", that are neither academic nor practical?

Better put: "And what about those who go around with 'honorary doctorates,' i.e., non-substantive degrees?"

You mean those who have received the nepotistic "doctorate" from within the Concordia system for whatever non-reason and go around calling themselves Dr. so-and-so, looking like buffoons?
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on September 19, 2012, 03:57:04 PM
Faculty credentials are based on the standards established by the institution's accreditation body.  The ATS puts forth the following:

5 Faculty
The members of the faculty of a theological school constitute a collaborative community of faith and learning, and they are crucial to the scholarly activities of teaching, learning, and research in the institution. A theological school’s faculty normally comprises the full-time teachers, continuing part-time teachers, and teachers who are engaged occasionally or for one time. In order for faculty members to accomplish their purposes, theological schools should assure them appropriate structure, support, and opportunities, including training for educational technology.

5.1 Faculty qualifications, responsibilities, development, and employment

5.1.1 Schools should demonstrate that their faculty members have the necessary competencies for their responsibilities. Faculty members shall possess the appropriate credentials for graduate theological education, normally demonstrated by the attainment of a research doctorate  or, in certain cases, another earned doctoral degree. In addition to academic preparation, ministerial and ecclesial experience is an important qualification in the composition of the faculty. Also, qualified teachers without a research doctorate may have special expertise in skill areas such as administration, music, or media as well as cross-cultural contextualization  for teaching, learning, and research.

http://www.ats.edu/Accrediting/Documents/GeneralInstitutionalStandards.pdf
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on September 19, 2012, 04:05:41 PM
My husband is about 5 courses shy of completing a DMin.  He has appreciated the learning and practical application it has provided.  He has no desire to do it for the sake of moving over a column or two on the district salary guidelines.  He took this route after considering a PhD knowing it would limit his ability to teach.  He recognized it would help him become a better pastor and feels it has indeed done this.

I personally overlooked a couple of doctoral programs which would lead to a DPA, DBA or EdD because I knew I wanted to earn the credentials that would allow me to teach . . . a research-focused PhD.  This is typically how I have come to understand the difference between a research-focused and practice-focused doctorate in my years working in higher ed.  Want to further your skills as a practitioner?  Take the doctorate route.  Want to teach?  Take the PhD route.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on September 19, 2012, 04:12:12 PM
The thesis topic is the Nehemiah Plan and how it came to be. It turns out to be an historical document, since the Nehemiah Plan, Spring Creek version, is a current event. 

Do you have your thesis available electronically, and would you be willing to share it with me?  I think I'm being pulled in that direction for a research project.  :D
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on September 19, 2012, 04:39:48 PM
The funny part about getting a PhD to teach is that most who have a PhD don't really know how to teach.  What I mean is that they probably haven't taken teaching/education classes.  Actually, now that I think about it the saying "those who can't do, teach" is even more ironic. 

Got ya on that.  They have piled the knowledge higher and deeper, but not all know how to convey it and to the extent which research and study have distracted from keeping teaching skills sharp, they are less good at it than those with a Masters.

They can always teach others for doctoral degrees though so they can be as poor teachers as they are.  ;)

Mike
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on September 19, 2012, 04:58:36 PM
I will confess to a bias, however: I'm hard-pressed to understand the real value of a graduate degree from an on-line program offered by the (ever-proliferating) off-site academic institutions.  I've taught on-line courses at the undergraduate level, and those are vulnerable to all sorts of problems.  At the graduate level, where so much of the real education involves interpersonal mentoring between the faculty and the student, I cannot see how an on-line graduate program can be much different from looking up recipes on the internet.  It reminds me of reading the score of a symphony without ever listening to the music.  An on-line doctorate is one degree I would look on with some suspicion.  Would you want your physician to have earned her degree from an on-line program?

Your bias is not uncommon, but it is diminishing.  I used to be a doubter over online education until I became a student of it.  The access to scholarly information through technology is unprecedented these days.

I personally have 24/7 access to my professors if I so choose (and should care to be so rude) through access to their cell phones, emails, and Skype.  We meet virtually as a class face-to-face through Wimba sessions in which we can all see and speak to each other.  It's actually pretty amazing.

Online education also allows for wonderful diversity in the classroom.  I have cohort members from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Jamaica and even New York!!!!!  ;D  My instructors hail from Kenya, Korea and other exotic locales and bring such a richness of knowledge to the classroom.  In our ever-increasing global society, this is a valuable component of my studies.

Any way, long story short, online education in many programs is no walk in a cookbook.  I'm not studying to perform surgery on a patient, I'm merely increasing my knowledge in the area of leadership as it pertains to business and learning valuable research and writing skills as I do.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on September 19, 2012, 05:45:07 PM
Honestly the education system is filled with cracks such that it is difficult to know what is what unless you are familiar with the institution and its graduates.

There are still lights of excellence out there. I consider for example Pr. Weedon's STM shows itself, reflecting on St Louis. Dr. Rast showed the depth of Vanderbilt IMHO. Beyond that there are those with academic degree that disappoint, and those without that amaze. Mentorship has a huge part more and more in what excellence is brought forward. If you just sit at a knee, and take notes, it's amazing what substance can fill one's knowledge and application skills. That can happen (and is happening) without even finishing high school.

In my second career, Academic degrees were a negative in the field. It took me as many years as an employee had education to unteach them to be productive... see Gates dropping out of Havard etc. I mentored an employee through his ComSci  Masters, and even after he got it, I kept having to answer questions he should have known. The school didn't help anything but his wallet. Which I guess is a consideration.

Yet sometimes the student doesn't recognize what they received. I have a DMin friend who introduces himself as a "recovering seminarian," but what he learned cannot be hidden, however base and humble he tries to make it. He can't "Not Know" the languages, history and teachers etc. ... But he's right ... the paper on his wall is not his witness.

----

Which gets to the honorary degrees. Those of value honor the school, because they are then associated with some one who didn't need their honor, and had to go out of their way to go receive it.

"Dr" Bill Gates has so "honored Harvard" ... and ... Nyedrode, RIT, Waseda, Tsinghua, Karolinska ... and ... to name a few... You know what .. It don't matter to him if you honor his doctorate(s). (He's probably more proud of dropping out, than the doctorate) And his head nod to the schools is simple courtesy. ... to them ... not from them.

And as a note, yes I can name some very specific, corporate certified teaching tech's (with High School diploma only) and alt route nurses, I would have operating on me, on my heart, ahead of a great many "doctors," because they are the ones who actually taught him how to do the surgery, and in fact bailed him out more than once in some dicey surgeries. That (the doctor operating) example is rapidly becoming .. not a very good analogy. I'm not downgrading med schools, just saying don't ask me who I would rather have operating on me. the first 2 or three might not be a doctor. And if it is it, won't be "because" he is a doctor.

The truth is the teaching of excellence, academic and otherwise has so taken a beating the last few decades, that apart from knowing where, and under whom, the degree is rapidly of no value. For the student, it can be, and can be for those in their discipline as well. Some things need in depth research and understanding ... whether it gets a piece of paper or $60 Billion it's stiil research that is needed, and (IF!!!) accomplished deserves honor. But after the "Great Translation, Doctor!" a seven year old can read the English he provided. Let's pray the young one will stand on those shoulders to do more in legitimate work and study.

Knight Commanders of the Order of the British empire don't need a doctorate from Harvard. Harvard gives those out just to cover their nakedness from his previous "dropping out," from their slipping in excellence. The same is sadly true all over in lesser cases. Some unaccredited "Ajax on Line Junior College" may well be more excellent than Harvard. That's a demonstrable fact. And some times its worth discovering that.

MHO
TV
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on September 19, 2012, 05:45:48 PM
Dr. Root noted the ATS' standards for professors with DMin vs. PhD (or ThD).  Among the, uh, issues surrounding Jerry Schmalenberger election as President at PLTS back in 1988 was that he not only wanted to teach courses on parish ministry, he wanted a professorship even though his doctrate was "only" a DMin.  Looking at the PLTS catalogs, the first one that includes him he was listed solely as "President."  In the second, he became "President and Professor of Parish Ministry."

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: pearson on September 19, 2012, 09:02:23 PM

Your bias is not uncommon, but it is diminishing.  I used to be a doubter over online education until I became a student of it.  The access to scholarly information through technology is unprecedented these days.


You're right; it is diminishing.  Especially among those who think of higher education as a commercial enterprise -- sell information in attractive pedagogical packets, build a market of academic consumers who will ingest those packets, bestow a degree on those who have bought all that information, and pocket the cash.  For the most part, higher education is a losing proposition, fiscally speaking.  So it's no surprise that some savvy institutional entrepreneurs should figure out a way profitably to peddle instruction electronically.  The University of Phoenix (to pick but one out of dozens of examples) is the new educational amazon.com. 


I personally have 24/7 access to my professors if I so choose (and should care to be so rude) through access to their cell phones, emails, and Skype.  We meet virtually as a class face-to-face through Wimba sessions in which we can all see and speak to each other.  It's actually pretty amazing.


I think that's great.  As I said before, anyone who earns an advanced degree has my respect.  And on-line programs do some things remarkably well: they deliver staggering amounts of data as diverse as the interests of the people who pay for it.  But I'm still skeptical of those who might be tempted to equate acquisition of data with understanding, insight, appreciation or wisdom.  The latter, I'm still old-fashionedly convinced, requires real and sustained (not "virtual" and transient) human contact.  At least on that score, Socrates got it right.

Come to think of it -- how might Jesus have done "virtual" discipleship with the Twelve?

Tom Pearson   
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Benke on September 19, 2012, 09:16:05 PM
The thesis topic is the Nehemiah Plan and how it came to be. It turns out to be an historical document, since the Nehemiah Plan, Spring Creek version, is a current event. 

Do you have your thesis available electronically, and would you be willing to share it with me?  I think I'm being pulled in that direction for a research project.  :D

I understand the pull in that direction!  "Electronic" and "1983" did not go together, but it's possible the seminary (NYTS) has their copy electronically loaded by now.  It's not easy for me to consider this thought, but that thesis is around 300 pages long and I typed it on a typewriter, my Hermes portable.  And I typed it from a written longhand original. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on September 19, 2012, 10:13:35 PM
I understand the pull in that direction!  "Electronic" and "1983" did not go together, but it's possible the seminary (NYTS) has their copy electronically loaded by now.  It's not easy for me to consider this thought, but that thesis is around 300 pages long and I typed it on a typewriter, my Hermes portable.  And I typed it from a written longhand original. 

I did not want to make that assumption about the year and availability of electronics.  :D  At my residency out east last week, I was immersed in a class relating to Qualitative Research; our prof. passed around her research notes from her own dissertation circa mid-80's and joked about how the Apple IIe saved her since it had just come out!  It was funny to relive the dot matrix print-out days.

I'll look into the seminary archives and see what I can find.  Have you worked or do you work with corporate partners with the Nehemiah project?  That's the angle I'm looking at.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on September 19, 2012, 10:25:42 PM
Come to think of it -- how might Jesus have done "virtual" discipleship with the Twelve?

Well, as I stated, I'm certainly not studying for the vocation of physician of the body, nor am I studying for the vocation of physician of the soul.  A virtual environment is lending itself well to my chosen program of study, though.  Brick and mortar institution, hybrid course delivery with on-site residencies at the beginning of each term and lots of live, virtual interaction in-between with diversity like I've never experienced.  It's certainly not for everyone, but it is the new reality for education.  Any way, no need for me to try to change your mind.  It's already been said that the quality of education in any form depends on the institution offering the program.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Scott6 on September 19, 2012, 11:16:16 PM
It's already been said that the quality of education in any form depends on the institution offering the program.

Actually, I think it likely has more to do with the quality of the professor and the quality of the student.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Scott6 on September 19, 2012, 11:16:57 PM
Well, how would Jesus have done with academia?  The people he bumps heads with are the scribes, the scriptural intellectuals of the day.

For those of us not Jesus, I have appreciated what I've learned from the folks who have taught me.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: George Erdner on September 19, 2012, 11:37:40 PM
Some Lutheran parish pastors have gotten a Doctor
of Ministry degree while serving their congregation.
Is this degree a way to fill the coffers of seminaries
with extra money? 

I think it safe to say that every degree offered by any institution of higher learning results in more students paying tuition, which the institution of higher learning puts into its coffers.
 
Does this degree really mean
that this newly minted doctor is eligible for a call
to be a seminary professor?

Are you sure that you mean "eligible" and not "qualified"? Eligibility requirements can sometimes be petty or arbitrary, while qualifications are usually bona-fide criteria.
 
Most of our Seminary professors have a PHD or are
working on them.  Is the Doctor of Ministry a watered
down doctorate? 

Would that not depend greatly on the institution granting the degree? Would a Doctor of Ministry degree from an institution with a well-regarded reputation be worth more or less than a Doctor of Divinity from some third-rate diploma mill?
 
Do you on the Lutheran Forum have
an opinion?

I think worrying about the minutiae of credentialing of professors is less useful than worrying about what those professors actually teach their students. From what I've read in this forum, there are far too many Lutheran professors with impeccable credentials teaching some very troublesome things.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: D. Engebretson on September 19, 2012, 11:44:14 PM
Which degree did Rev. Kurt Marquart have?  And which department did he teach in?

And what about those who go around with "honorary doctorates", that are neither academic nor practical?

Professor Marquart had only a BD degree for many years, and it's the degree he had when recruited to Ft. Wayne to teach in the Systematics department in 1975.  As I understand it Robert Preus strongly encouraged him to go back and earn a graduate degree.  He went to Canada and earned a M.A. from the University of Western Ontario.  His emphasis, I think, was philosophy of science, which was appropriate considering his interest in apologetics.  Not too long before he died Concordia University Wisconsin awarded him an honorary doctorate, although folks were already addressing him as "Dr." without it.  That was the broad- based respect he commanded for his intellectual and academic accomplishments.  Some of the most respected theologians of the past never earned a doctorate.  Martin Franzmann, who worked on a Ph.D program for many years never earned the degree, yet went on to chair the exegetical dept. at St. Louis. His introduction to the NT, The Word of the Lord Grows, has become a classic text. Bishop Bo Giertz, the great theologican of Sweden does not appear to have earned a doctorate either.  Others outside of Lutheranism who have become recognized scholars often studied by those in doctoral programs include the likes of Karl Barth, Reinhold Niehbuhr, C.S. Lewis, and F.F.Bruce.  I respect those with an earned doctorate, whether a D.Min or Ph.D, yet I realize that many of the great minds also attained great academic and intellectual achievements without them.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on September 19, 2012, 11:57:51 PM

Your bias is not uncommon, but it is diminishing.  I used to be a doubter over online education until I became a student of it.  The access to scholarly information through technology is unprecedented these days.


You're right; it is diminishing.  Especially among those who think of higher education as a commercial enterprise -- sell information in attractive ... So it's no surprise that some savvy institutional entrepreneurs should figure out a way profitably to peddle instruction electronically.  The University of Phoenix (to pick but one out of dozens of examples) is the new educational amazon.com. 


I personally have 24/7 access to my professors if I so choose (and should care to be so rude) through access to their cell phones, emails, and Skype.  We meet virtually as a class face-to-face through Wimba sessions in which we can all see and speak to each other.  It's actually pretty amazing.


I think that's great.  As I said before, anyone who earns an advanced degree has my respect.  And on-line programs do some things remarkably well: they deliver staggering amounts of data as diverse as the interests of the people who pay for it.  But I'm still skeptical of those who might be tempted to equate acquisition of data with understanding, insight, appreciation or wisdom.  ...

Tom Pearson

As mentioned I'm sometimes skeptical of advanced degrees from some schools others may  hold in esteem, and that because of "who is teaching what," so all cautions apply. However ...

On line training well done has engaged, ever present, mentoring. That (at least in my experience) can be greater than any brick and mortar opportunity... and I had an example of the best brick and mortar presence, acknowledged and rated as such at the AF Academy. I had only PhD professors and no grad student, and every one had to come help me at 2AM till 4 AM if I asked, or get court martialed. It was their sworn duty 24/7 part of their commission, and oath, and duty which every one took as seriously as being on the front lines of war.

But that wasn't the best "mentor presence" I had. That happened in "on-line" programs. I'll explain.

I lived, before being called to Denver, in the back wood mountains of Colorado. In that desolate place were cabins with billionaire businessmen, Apollo program senior Engineers that got us to the moon, etc. etc. all hiding in the woods. It was a big challenge for our church to find and minister to these. Sometimes the genius's are not all in the halls of Harvard. You have to fly out and find their secret fishing hole in the wilderness, and convince them to share a beer. And they don't want anyone to know who or where they are.

Don't assume that those outside the brick and mortar world don't have the type of mentoring life that you "might" find at a brick and mortar location. Some do. I banked with a simple man in a flannel shirt in a nice modest home up in the woods. (whose company still does $billions a year).

My ten year, including online, short cut?, was a ten year vicarage with some brilliant and well degree'd mentors, but sometimes it was while fishing, and sometimes it was on the kitchen floor awash in suicide blood. It doesn't all happen in the basement or commons area, or designated bar of a college town. On line is often engaged fully in real application of the now, of the "facts" and theory that have been taught ... on the fly as best God allows. And it can be better than the best which I saw at the Academy. Maybe your experience was better than that, but take it up with those who rate such things.

Scott says it well... and sometimes the man who helped me fix my car built the lunar lander, and the 4th of July party was at a retired former church body leader's house. It isn't all the gathered doctors on a campus.

PS "Professor" Scott, remember what you said dear brother ... as I know you do. Even when you retire to a secret fishing hole... and some "on line" kid offers you a beer.

While there are certainly bad examples enough to cover the world, "on line" doesn't have to mean you don't end up spending regular weekends on the floor of the house of the acknowledged expert of a field. It doesn't mean you cannot be formed by one who has been there, and done that. That too happens.

TV
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: pr dtp on September 20, 2012, 01:33:03 AM
Which degree did Rev. Kurt Marquart have?  And which department did he teach in?

And what about those who go around with "honorary doctorates", that are neither academic nor practical?

Professor Marquart had only a BD degree for many years, and it's the degree he had when recruited to Ft. Wayne to teach in the Systematics department in 1975.  As I understand it Robert Preus strongly encouraged him to go back and earn a graduate degree.  He went to Canada and earned a M.A. from the University of Western Ontario.  His emphasis, I think, was philosophy of science, which was appropriate considering his interest in apologetics.  Not too long before he died Concordia University Wisconsin awarded him an honorary doctorate, although folks were already addressing him as "Dr." without it.  That was the broad- based respect he commanded for his intellectual and academic accomplishments.  Some of the most respected theologians of the past never earned a doctorate.  Martin Franzmann, who worked on a Ph.D program for many years never earned the degree, yet went on to chair the exegetical dept. at St. Louis. His introduction to the NT, The Word of the Lord Grows, has become a classic text. Bishop Bo Giertz, the great theologican of Sweden does not appear to have earned a doctorate either.  Others outside of Lutheranism who have become recognized scholars often studied by those in doctoral programs include the likes of Karl Barth, Reinhold Niehbuhr, C.S. Lewis, and F.F.Bruce.  I respect those with an earned doctorate, whether a D.Min or Ph.D, yet I realize that many of the great minds also attained great academic and intellectual achievements without them.

Which was my point - there are doctorates and there are doctorates - Ph.D., D.Min, D.Miss, and Honorary.  Some of those honorary ones are for life-time achievement - and some are simply politically expedient.

Even from the same institution and the same year.....as noted above - it has a lot to do with the prof and the student, and their relationship.   Then again, that relationship can occur in a parish as well as in a ivory tower.  By no means indicated it can't take place on the seminary campus or the university campus - but I know many who grew both in academic knowledge and pragmatic skill and in their spiritual growth in the parish. 

Heck - where did Walther and Wyneken get their PhD's from - anyway?

Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on September 20, 2012, 01:55:46 AM
Actually Capitol University [ed: or on research CapitAl or is now Trinity??] conferred Walther a DD in 1878, but then two years later accused him of heresy. Whatcha gonna do?!!

For the record  ;D Trivia, too much trivia .. can't think straight must sleep...

TV
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Charles_Austin on September 20, 2012, 03:53:33 AM
Honorary doctorates are just that - honorary. In protocol and common usage, they do not give a person the privilege of being called "Doctor" or putting the title before their name. But the practice is not consistent, and the usage "The Rev. E. Gobig, D.D." is often seen.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Benke on September 20, 2012, 08:36:59 AM
I understand the pull in that direction!  "Electronic" and "1983" did not go together, but it's possible the seminary (NYTS) has their copy electronically loaded by now.  It's not easy for me to consider this thought, but that thesis is around 300 pages long and I typed it on a typewriter, my Hermes portable.  And I typed it from a written longhand original. 

I did not want to make that assumption about the year and availability of electronics.  :D  At my residency out east last week, I was immersed in a class relating to Qualitative Research; our prof. passed around her research notes from her own dissertation circa mid-80's and joked about how the Apple IIe saved her since it had just come out!  It was funny to relive the dot matrix print-out days.

I'll look into the seminary archives and see what I can find.  Have you worked or do you work with corporate partners with the Nehemiah project?  That's the angle I'm looking at.

Yes to corporate partners, mostly in banking, but also in job creation and education in conjunction with the creation of new communities and the renewal of parishes and existing communities.  I will say that in the first Nehemiah, the banks and corporate interests had fundamentally written off the inner cities with banks "red-lining" neighborhoods such as all of the ones in our Nehemiah catchment zone, making mortgages and investments through the banking industry impossible.  In that era, the only remaining civic institutions in the neighborhoods were the churches.  I think that comes through in the doctoral thesis, but I haven't read it in awhile.  In other words, corporate partnerships from my perspective are in the same accountability zone as government agencies and the churches (parishes and denominations) themselves.  Did much/did little/did nothing/ - ally/enemy/who knows?  The Missouri Synod was and is a tremendous ALLY in urban housing, not only spiritually but in terms of providing leadership and financial resource.  The latest Nehemiah at Spring Creek featured investments of $200000 by the Atlantic District and $200000+ by the LC-MS in interest buy-downs that allow the houses to be built for less and cost less to the purchaser.  So in that sense LC-MS Inc. is a corporate partner.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on September 20, 2012, 09:21:07 AM
There are still lights of excellence out there. I consider for example Pr. Weedon's STM shows itself, reflecting on St Louis. Dr. Rast showed the depth of Vanderbilt IMHO. Beyond that there are those with academic degree that disappoint, and those without that amaze. Mentorship has a huge part more and more in what excellence is brought forward. If you just sit at a knee, and take notes, it's amazing what substance can fill one's knowledge and application skills. That can happen (and is happening) without even finishing high school.

And the best educations for a master's or doctoral degree are exactly that same type of mentoring. Simply done within the context of a classroom setting.

Degrees can be meaningless lauds which are never applied or they can add the same substance to enhance one's knowledge and application skills.

True, there may be some useless doctoral programs out there.  I'd still say that the probability of a doctoral program adding that substance is a lot higher and less haphazard than hoping to glean it getting drunk by the creek side.

Mike
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: FrPeters on September 20, 2012, 09:27:52 AM
Far be it from me to discourage further study, but it seems to me the value of the DMin all depends on where you get it and what is required of you to earn it?  I have looked into a few programs that actually gave credit for "years in ministry" or staying alive while in the parish.  I have also looked into a few who expected and required a great deal of academic work for this professional or vocational degree.  I know some who went into programs and largely relied on what they knew and read before hand and I know those who opened books they would never have read were it not for this program.

It appears to me that continuing education should compel us to read -- journals (the heavy weight kind like LF, First Things, Logia, etc), at least a half dozen heavy weight theological works a year, and to keep abreast of the conversation in the churches (maybe like this forum, for example).  Anything less and I wonder... what is going on with that person.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Michael Slusser on September 20, 2012, 10:53:24 AM
The value of a D.Min. degree to a pastor is the value of applying to pastoral work the experiences of others and learning to use the methodological tools that will help in addressing pastoral problems and opportunities. This can and should be a substantial extension of the things that the pastor learned in doing an M.Div., coming after a few years of experience has shown the limits of what was learned in seminary and where the pastor wants to go much deeper. It is in principle a praiseworthy enterprise.

The value of a D.Min. degree to a seminary ought primarily to be seeding the congregations in the church(es) the seminary serves with more pastoral expertise and good example. A D.Min. program is no "cash cow," if the accounting is done honestly. Among the secondary, mixed motives may be (a) keeping up with other seminaries and (b) allowing faculty to extend themselves in a higher-level program.

The value of a D.Min. thesis/project is primarily for the student, both in the written report and in the process of discovery, research, and experiment. (The value of a Ph.D. dissertation, by contrast, is [supposed to be] the increase of well-founded and thoroughly checked body of knowledge available in the world of learning.)

Peace,
Michael

Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: George Erdner on September 20, 2012, 11:56:41 AM
Far be it from me to discourage further study, but it seems to me the value of the DMin all depends on where you get it and what is required of you to earn it? 

Amen!
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Lon Kvanli on September 20, 2012, 01:03:36 PM

The value of a D.Min. thesis/project is primarily for the student, both in the written report and in the process of discovery, research, and experiment. (The value of a Ph.D. dissertation, by contrast, is [supposed to be] the increase of well-founded and thoroughly checked body of knowledge available in the world of learning.)

Peace,
Michael

My perspective...

About a dozen years ago, Luther Seminary in St. Paul reviewed it's D.Min program and the work being produced by the students. They discovered two things: 1) less than 20% of the students were completing their D.Min; and 2) most of the D.Min theses that actually completed were more anecdotal and opinion in nature, they did not contribute much to the body of knowledge, nor were the theses the type of work that could be used by another researcher to support or expand further research. As a result, Luther dropped out of the D.Min consortium (a consortium D.Min program with other seminaries in the Twin Cities) and created it's own program based on a cohort model with higher academic expectations.

In 2003 I enrolled in Luther's Congregational Mission and Leadership D.Min program (I was part of the second cohort). It was five-year program with a week of full-day (8am-9pm) classes on campus in January and another week in July. Between classes there was a minimum of 3,000 pages of required reading per year, and numerous papers. In addition to theology, classes were taught on research methodology and statistics. I studied statistics for a year so that I could properly do the research I wanted to do in stewardship (I used a mixed-methods, action research model with a quantitative longitudinal survey and qualitative interviews).

The Luther D.Min in Congregational Mission and Leadership is not only geared to increasing the student's knowledge, it is also meant to help the student make a difference in his or her congregation.

I have always been an avid reader, but the D.Min helped bring focus and comparison. I have taught, preached, and put into practice much of what I learned in the D.Min program and, as a result, there has been slow but noticeable changes in the practices, focus, and sense of mission in the congregation I serve.

Also note: I am blessed to work with a colleage who has a Ph.D from Marquette in Lutheran church history. I have come to know and respect his incredible breadth and depth of knowledge and wisdom. The Ph.D is certainly rigorous and requires a broad knowledge of theology and church history - in addition to one's dissertation (and usually requires 2-3 years of full-time study on campus, followed by years of research and writing). The Luther Seminary D.Min degree is quite rigorous and more narrowly focused and is meant to be done while the student continues to serve in a parish (or some other setting).

What I'm saying is this:
Some D.Min degrees are fluff.
   Some are not.
Some will do little more that add a title to one's name.
   Some will make a difference in the life and ministry of congregations for the sake of God's mission.

Still in One Peace,
Lon

Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Likeness on September 20, 2012, 05:09:29 PM
Perhaps, it has been overlooked in this discussion,
but what about the finances for the D.Min ?

It seems to me that the pastor who undertakes
this project  for better ministry to his parish, should
expect some financial help from his parish.
There should be a line item in every parish budget
for continuing education for the pastor.  During the
time the pastor pursues his D.Min he should receive
the necessary funds to accomplish this.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on September 20, 2012, 07:19:48 PM
The D.Min. can be a valuable professional degree or it can be an easier way to get to use the titke "Doctor." It largely depends on the seminary. Both LCMS seminaries offer the degree and both have excellent programs. I am most familiar with CTSFW as I have served both as D.Min. Supervisor and Dean of Graduate Studies. I believe it is still true that CSL does not place the D.Min. under their Graduate School but as an independent program.

The D.Min. is not strictly an academic degree like the Ph.D./Th.D. It seeks that place where theology and the practice of ministry intersect. A Ph.D. can be done without contact with the Church; a D.Min. can only be earned while in full-time,  active ministry. It is equivalent to an Ed.D. as that degree relates to a Ph.D. in Education.

Upstream it was asked if a D.Min. qualifies one to serve as a professor. The answer is yes – within the disciplines of a D.Min. In our systems, that would be the Pastoral Ministry Department. Not every professor necessarily has an earned doctorate, although almost all do. There are exceptional theologians who do not possess a doctorate and yet have a knowledge base and pastoral background that serves future pastors quite well.

Degree nomenclature can be confusing. For example, some confuse a B.Th. with the old B.D. The former is an undergraduate academic degree like a B.A. or B.S.; the latter is the older nomenclature for a first professional degree from a seminary (post-B.A. or B.Th.) which has been replaced by the nomenclature M.Div. One who holds a B.Th. does not have the same degree as one who holds a B.D./M.Div.

There was a short period of time (in the 1960s I believe) when a few schools granted a D.Min. rather than a B.D. The theory was that, just as M.D. and J.D. were “doctorates” as first professional degrees, so ministry should have a “doctorate” as a first professional degree. Today, a D.Min, student must have a M.Div. plus 3-5 years of ministry experience before starting the D.Min. program.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave_Poedel on September 21, 2012, 09:07:59 PM
The DMin I earned helped me a great deal with the parish ministry I am honored to serve.  The issues of the economic value of the degree are absent in the parish ministry....I serve gladly for the small salary the congregations I serve and have served throughout my ministry.  It was weird, but the community college where I taught for 30 years offered a substantial salary differential for the completion of a doctorate.  I was already engaged in my studies when this policy came out, and I never expected them to include a DMin in the policy, but they did!  That helped my pension calculations and now provides the economic base for me to serve small parishes who cannot afford a full-time salary and benefits package.

So, the DMin has been legit for me in my earlier vocation.  I do not use the Dr. title because "Padre" is the title I value much higher....to me it means "servant of The Lord through Word and Sacraments"
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Likeness on September 21, 2012, 10:04:28 PM
You are to be commended Padre Dave for not
using the title Dr., despite your D. Min. degree.
I can assure you that is not the norm, but you
have the heart of a servant, God bless you and
your ministry.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on September 22, 2012, 08:39:50 AM
You are to be commended Padre Dave for not
using the title Dr., despite your D. Min. degree.
I can assure you that is not the norm, but you
have the heart of a servant, God bless you and
your ministry.

I can't imagine NOT using someone's proper title out of respect for the fact that they've earned it.  Then again, I spent six years in the Army and over 15 years in higher ed. where it's customary and proper to do so.  If someone earned a doctorate, I'll be calling them Dr.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Likeness on September 22, 2012, 09:53:28 AM
Kim, you will have to forgive me for some of my
feelings toward the D.Min.  I have seen this degree
abused and mis-used too much in our part of the
MidWest.

Pastors who blatantly told me they were getting that
degree to go up the District pay scale.
Pastors who demanded their parish members call them
Doctor instead of Pastor.
Pastors who went on an ego trip with their new D.Min
in the company of other pastors.

On the other hand there are pastors who get the D.Min
to better serve the Lord in their parish ministry.  It is
this group that I commend and hope that many will join
them.  As an LCMS Circuit Counselor I saw  both
the good and bad in human nature in parish settings
concerning this topic.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Charles_Austin on September 22, 2012, 09:57:22 AM
I'm with David Likeness 100 percent on this; and agree with his assessment of the various "uses" of the D.Min.
And in the parish, I have always thought that "pastor" was a "higher" honorific than "Dr.", if one wants to go that way.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: D. Engebretson on September 22, 2012, 10:13:29 AM
I'm with David Likeness 100 percent on this; and agree with his assessment of the various "uses" of the D.Min.
And in the parish, I have always thought that "pastor" was a "higher" honorific than "Dr.", if one wants to go that way.

Several years ago I served a parish with a man who had recently earned his Ph.D and was the senior pastor.  During the year we served together, before the seminary called him, he always used the title "pastor," and never made an issue of his degree either to the parish or to me.  One pastor in my district who has a D.Min from StL noted that he only uses the title with "kingdom of the left" issues where that title might be of practical use.  In the church, however, he declines to make anything of it.  The title "pastor" notes the relationship one has with the flock and best describes his work among the people.  "Doctor" notes ones accomplishments and is best reserved for formal correspondence. 
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: peter_speckhard on September 22, 2012, 10:16:28 AM
I'm with David Likeness 100 percent on this; and agree with his assessment of the various "uses" of the D.Min.
And in the parish, I have always thought that "pastor" was a "higher" honorific than "Dr.", if one wants to go that way.
I agree. Calling a medical doctor "doctor" is like calling a pastor "pastor," but calling a zoologist or a pastor with a D.Min degree "doctor" seems a bit odd, and if the expect to be called "doctor" they risk coming across as pompous.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Charles_Austin on September 22, 2012, 10:18:45 AM
Who says the title, "pastor," has no standing elsewhere? I see it used outside the church and do not think it should be limited to the "relationship-in-a-congregation" setting.
I am a pastor. My friend is an engineer. Another friend is a nurse, another a photographer. They are those things, even to people for whom they are not engineering, nursing, or photographing.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on September 22, 2012, 10:19:12 AM
I don't disagree with either one of you.  I have no doubt it is misused; I just fielded questions on this very issue at my residency last week when we discussed what it truly means to earn a PhD as a Christian.  Some of my classmates have a real chip on their shoulder towards pastors who have done this.  Respect is earned, not demanded.

I don't have the luxury of a web search since I'm on my phone at a karate class, but isn't the reason that Rev. comes first in one's formal title--Rev. Dr. xxxxxxx--because of its higher level of honor?  Then "Pastor" should be the appropriate title to use within church conversations.  In a teaching or academic context, Dr. could be used.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: D. Engebretson on September 22, 2012, 11:05:57 AM
Who says the title, "pastor," has no standing elsewhere? I see it used outside the church and do not think it should be limited to the "relationship-in-a-congregation" setting.
I am a pastor. My friend is an engineer. Another friend is a nurse, another a photographer. They are those things, even to people for whom they are not engineering, nursing, or photographing.

I was not implying that "pastor" has no standing outside the church.  Quite the opposite.  My point had to do with its use as a title within the church as opposed to doctor.  I am well known outside of my congregation in the community as "pastor," even among the firefighters with whom I serve as well as many other community acquaintances, friends, and fellow volunteers. 
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on September 22, 2012, 11:20:29 AM
In the Navy it does not matter what degrees you might hold, what your faith group might be or what your rank might be. Every chaplain is addressed as "Chaplain" or less formally as "Chaps".
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: D. Engebretson on September 22, 2012, 12:19:41 PM
I don't have the luxury of a web search since I'm on my phone at a karate class, but isn't the reason that Rev. comes first in one's formal title--Rev. Dr. xxxxxxx--because of its higher level of honor?  Then "Pastor" should be the appropriate title to use within church conversations.  In a teaching or academic context, Dr. could be used.

It appears that doubling up on titles in an address is actually common British usage.  Proper form in the US is technically to use "the Rev" alone, even if one has an earned or honorary doctorate, although I have seen the two titles coupled in this country many times.  For those with earned doctorates the use of this degree as a title is proper in academia or in medicine, but outside of that it is not, such as lawyers who hold the Juris Doctor degree are not addressed as "Doctor."  I suspect, given the Anglican influence here, the "Rev" precedes "Dr." because "Rev" represents ones order in ministry, and "Dr" is an honorific.  So too with other honorifics such as "canon" or titles of nobility, the "Rev" always precedes, giving preference to the clerical order over the honorific.  The only time something precedes "Rev" is when a higher ranking cleric needs to be identified as in "The Right Reverend" for bishops, "The Most Reverend" for archbishops, etc.  Again, this all seems to stem from Anglican usage, as far as I can tell. 
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Team Hesse on September 22, 2012, 12:36:10 PM
I don't have the luxury of a web search since I'm on my phone at a karate class, but isn't the reason that Rev. comes first in one's formal title--Rev. Dr. xxxxxxx--because of its higher level of honor?  Then "Pastor" should be the appropriate title to use within church conversations.  In a teaching or academic context, Dr. could be used.

It appears that doubling up on titles in an address is actually common British usage.  Proper form in the US is technically to use "the Rev" alone, even if one has an earned or honorary doctorate, although I have seen the two titles coupled in this country many times.  For those with earned doctorates the use of this degree as a title is proper in academia or in medicine, but outside of that it is not, such as lawyers who hold the Juris Doctor degree are not addressed as "Doctor."  I suspect, given the Anglican influence here, the "Rev" precedes "Dr." because "Rev" represents ones order in ministry, and "Dr" is an honorific.  So too with other honorifics such as "canon" or titles of nobility, the "Rev" always precedes, giving preference to the clerical order over the honorific.  The only time something precedes "Rev" is when a higher ranking cleric needs to be identified as in "The Right Reverend" for bishops, "The Most Reverend" for archbishops, etc.  Again, this all seems to stem from Anglican usage, as far as I can tell.

Germans are big on this kind of thing also, "Herr Doctor Doctor So and So...." or at least that is what Herr Teubner, my High School German teacher, taught.

Lou
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: John_Hannah on September 22, 2012, 01:04:14 PM
I'm a Doctor of Ministry. Never use it of myself. Pastor (or Father) always! Not impressed with "Reverends" or "Doctors."


Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave_Poedel on September 23, 2012, 09:07:06 PM
The DMin I earned helped me a great deal with the parish ministry I am honored to serve.  The issues of the economic value of the degree are absent in the parish ministry....I serve gladly for the small salary the congregations I serve and have served throughout my ministry.  It was weird, but the community college where I taught for 30 years offered a substantial salary differential for the completion of a doctorate.  I was already engaged in my studies when this policy came out, and I never expected them to include a DMin in the policy, but they did!  That helped my pension calculations and now provides the economic base for me to serve small parishes who cannot afford a full-time salary and benefits package.

So, the DMin has been legit for me in my earlier vocation.  I do not use the Dr. title because "Padre" is the title I value much higher....to me it means "servant of The Lord through Word and Sacraments"

Interesting discussion.  I have been appointed to a faculty position at Grand Canyon University, teaching Theology & Health Care, a course for all of the health science students, mostly nurses I'm told.  I am planning on mentioning my DMin, as it is my primary theology degree (I did an alternate route to ordination) but will ask the students to address me as "Padre", as almost everyone here does.

Chaplain Gard's comments are interesting as I picked up "Padre" from the troops I served when, as a Medical Service Corps Officer in the Air Force Reserve, I took on the Additional Duty as Unit Chaplain because we lost our HC Officer.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Jim Butler on September 23, 2012, 09:57:29 PM
Emerging from lurk mode...

I earned a D.Min. in 1998 from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, on the North Shore of Boston. Was it a legit degree? I sure thought so! Reading 5,000+ pages between each course session (two weeks in January and two weeks in June, class from 7:00 AM-3:00 PM with a lunch break).

But I rarely use the degree title. I teach some on-line training courses for deacons and prep courses for the SMP program; I use the degree there. But I when I got the degree, I decided that my highest--and best--title is that of "pastor." There are members of my congregation who have no idea I even have a doctorate of any sort; I rarely mention it. I've never used it to justify "more money." As far as I'm concerned, that degree and $5.00 will get me a round trip on the Boston subway. But I learned a lot in the process of getting the degree and that was my reason for getting one: to learn.

Is the DMin a legit degree? I think so. Is it the end all? Not by a long shot.

BTW, there is an interesting chapter on this subject in David Wells' book "No Place for Truth: Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?" called "The DMin-ization of the Church." Suffice to say, he disliked the degree and refused to teach any DMin courses at Gordon-Conwell while I was there. (But I did have Walter Kaiser, Jr. for OT. What a theologian! And he admired the LCMS.)
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: George Erdner on September 24, 2012, 06:35:44 AM
Germans are big on this kind of thing also, "Herr Doctor Doctor So and So...." or at least that is what Herr Teubner, my High School German teacher, taught.

Lou

That's not unique to Germans. In past jobs I worked with many Europeans. It seems that in countries that were accustomed to an hereditary aristocracy, academic titles have replaced titles like Count, Baron, or Duke in the public mind. At least, that's the impression one gets from how academic titles are treated.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Charles_Austin on September 24, 2012, 07:42:52 AM
I lived in Europe for several years and have gone there almost every year for a couple of decades. I have close friends from Germany, Switzerland, France and England and a few other places.
Many Europeans honor "rank," not in the sense of "worth," but because they have a regard for a "social order" that runs contrary to the American idea that everyone everywhere everyplace is "equal" on every level.
So a profession is honored and - yes - some professions have a higher "rank" than others.
Education is honored, and those with academic doctorates get due respect. Americans tend to not like it if they think someone is "too smart."
Social standing, sometimes tied to family heritage and a "titled" aristocracy, is respected; although the old titles are rarely used.
And until quite recently many people practiced the "social graces" and rituals of etiquette reflecting respect for age, profession, education and family background. Americans, to our discredit, give more "respect" to a 15-year old ninny who can sing (sort-of) than they do to a man or women of age and education.
Today in Europe, such elements of a civil society are - alas! - passing from the scene. What the barbarians were not able to accomplish through the power of horse and force, sword and arrow, they are accomplishing through the persistent grinding down of social conventions, aided and abetted by the crude American hegemony that currently exists in large parts of the western world.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: dkeener on September 24, 2012, 10:07:06 AM
I lived in Europe for several years and have gone there almost every year for a couple of decades. I have close friends from Germany, Switzerland, France and England and a few other places.
Many Europeans honor "rank," not in the sense of "worth," but because they have a regard for a "social order" that runs contrary to the American idea that everyone everywhere everyplace is "equal" on every level.
So a profession is honored and - yes - some professions have a higher "rank" than others.
Education is honored, and those with academic doctorates get due respect. Americans tend to not like it if they think someone is "too smart."
Social standing, sometimes tied to family heritage and a "titled" aristocracy, is respected; although the old titles are rarely used.
And until quite recently many people practiced the "social graces" and rituals of etiquette reflecting respect for age, profession, education and family background. Americans, to our discredit, give more "respect" to a 15-year old ninny who can sing (sort-of) than they do to a man or women of age and education.
Today in Europe, such elements of a civil society are - alas! - passing from the scene. What the barbarians were not able to accomplish through the power of horse and force, sword and arrow, they are accomplishing through the persistent grinding down of social conventions, aided and abetted by the crude American hegemony that currently exists in large parts of the western world.

You may be confusing "America" with New Jersey.  Here in the civilized south we do practice the social graces and always respect our elders.  ;D
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: racin_jason on September 24, 2012, 10:19:29 AM
This just in: Feudalism is dying in Europe!

Along with it, the importance of degrees.

Forget Dmin, the importance of a liberal arts degree is being questioned in many quarters these days.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Scott6 on September 24, 2012, 02:02:42 PM
This just in: Feudalism is dying in Europe!

Along with it, the importance of degrees.

Forget Dmin, the importance of a liberal arts degree is being questioned in many quarters these days.

Or a new feudalism is rising.  This one based on style bereft of substance.  Those are the princes of the universe to whom we bow down today, our (at least) American idols.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Likeness on September 24, 2012, 02:35:17 PM
Scott's comment about style without substance is
a reminder of our culture's fascination with TV
evangelists who have no theological education
or seminary degree.

Joel Osteen......attended one semester at Oral
Roberts University.  This is the extent of his post
high school education.

Eddie Long.....has a B.A. in Business Administration

Billy Graham....a diploma in Bible Studies from
Florida Bible Institute (1940)  and a B.A. in
Anthropology from Wheaton College (1943)

Kenneth Copeland....attended Oral Roberts
University, but there is no evidence of any degree.

These men have no theological education and yet
have influenced a great number of people over the
years without a meaningful degree.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: George Erdner on September 24, 2012, 03:22:47 PM
You also left out:
 
Peter of Galilee, a fisherman.
 
Saul of Taursus, a tentmaker.
 
Luke, medical doctor but no known theological training.
 
And, consider that all of the revisionist faction of the ELCA clergy who worked diligently to get the social statement pushed through the various CWA's until they eventually achieved success in 2009 had M. Div's from accredited seminaries.
 
Given a choice between someone with a pile of degrees who can't understand the clear word of Scripture and someone called by the Holy Spirit who actually pays attention to what's written in Scripture, I'll pay attention to the latter more than the former. Sure, someone with training AND the guidance of the Holy Spirit is best, but if someone only has the one and not the other, I'll take the one who pays attention to the Holy Spirit.
 
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Scott6 on September 24, 2012, 03:36:23 PM
Saul of Taursus, a tentmaker.

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished..." (Acts 22:3-5)

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers." (Gal 1:13-14)

 If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. (Phil. 3:4b-6)

Paul was highly educated in the Judaism of his day, studying at the feet of one of the best known teachers of Law as a Pharisee.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: readselerttoo on September 24, 2012, 03:38:50 PM
You also left out:
 
Peter of Galilee, a fisherman.
 
Saul of Taursus, a tentmaker.
 
Luke, medical doctor but no known theological training.
 
And, consider that all of the revisionist faction of the ELCA clergy who worked diligently to get the social statement pushed through the various CWA's until they eventually achieved success in 2009 had M. Div's from accredited seminaries.
 
Given a choice between someone with a pile of degrees who can't understand the clear word of Scripture and someone called by the Holy Spirit who actually pays attention to what's written in Scripture, I'll pay attention to the latter more than the former. Sure, someone with training AND the guidance of the Holy Spirit is best, but if someone only has the one and not the other, I'll take the one who pays attention to the Holy Spirit.

awesome retort!

..and in addition to this:  If one is going to reclaim substance over the dominance of style in today's cultural market, pay attention to the words and what is said in the public forum.  Don't get enamoured with the smoke and mirrors stuff, to use a popular phrase.   Theological education being what it is definitely needs to recover the use and skill in critical thinking along with the art of rhetoric.   Presenting the case for the Gospel in the public forum takes guts along with getting the scriptural acumen in the Gospel's ability to lay itself out through its mandatory content.  In other words St. Paul himself was the master of rhetoric as well as steeped in Scripure's promissory Word.  As has been remarked here not only was St. Paul a tentmaker but he also was a highly educated Pharisee who had, according to the Galatians' text:  "advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers." (RSV).
Rather than brushing off the enormous influence of the tele-evangelist, I critically engage their words and intents of what I hear them saying to create my own apology to their witness.
And frankly most of the time style does dominate over substance in these evangelists' messages.  And certainly the mandatory content of the Gospel, ie. what has to be there for God's Good News to be Good News, just doesn't show up in their words.   Our confessional attention to both Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions provide a qualitatively different witness that authentically relates the core kerygma of the New Testament, imo.  Of course, our voices are simply voices among others within our American context.  And what emerges is the missional territory for us to engage our message within the cultural web.   The Gospel can stand out above these other messages (yes, with or without an academic degree...but in most cases, at least for me, preferrably with one).  Public testimony is key and our congregations as mission centers take center stage as places where our witness to the Gospel take place.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: readselerttoo on September 24, 2012, 04:16:50 PM
And here I go a-marketing myself!:

I've been eyeing the development of the D.Min. and Phd. programs through Luther Seminary and am impressed with their potential for influence toward evangelization.  Their attention to the missional aspect of the Gospel has been a deal-breaker in terms of my own interest in pursuing further education at that institution.  Their faculty and resources are top-notch, imo.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on September 24, 2012, 04:22:10 PM
You also left out:
 
Peter of Galilee, a fisherman.
 
Saul of Taursus, a tentmaker.
 
Luke, medical doctor but no known theological training.
 
And, consider that all of the revisionist faction of the ELCA clergy who worked diligently to get the social statement pushed through the various CWA's until they eventually achieved success in 2009 had M. Div's from accredited seminaries.
 
Given a choice between someone with a pile of degrees who can't understand the clear word of Scripture and someone called by the Holy Spirit who actually pays attention to what's written in Scripture, I'll pay attention to the latter more than the former. Sure, someone with training AND the guidance of the Holy Spirit is best, but if someone only has the one and not the other, I'll take the one who pays attention to the Holy Spirit.

The listing of Peter, Saul and Luke does not take into account the following facts:

1. Palestinian Judaism of late antiquity was not composed of ignorant people (except in the minds of moderns who have not studied the period). They were well educated and trained from childhood through the synagogue. St. Peter was a literate man. St. Paul was not only literate but a leading Pharisee.

2. St. Peter spent three years at the finest Seminary ever to exist - the "Seminary" at the feet of Jesus.

3. St. Paul likewise was trained in the same Seminary albeit as one born out of due time.

4. St. Luke was an educated Greek who sat at the feet of the Blessed Apostle St. Paul.

5. To think that education was measured then by degrees as it is today is to impose a serious anarchonism on the biblical world.

It is true that unfaithful people with multiple degrees have brought havoc on the Church. But it is also true that the faith has been defended and maintained by faithful theologians with multiple degrees.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Charles_Austin on September 24, 2012, 04:38:47 PM
Since the earliest days, the Church has always honored and sought leaders conversant with the philosophies of their day, able to dialogue with those philosophies and defend the faith before the thinkers of those philosophies.
From Augustine, to Aquinas, to Luther, those best known for defending, renewing and preserving the faith had more than one foot in academia.
A few Reformers - Francis, par example - came to their greatness in other ways, but for the most part it was men and women of education and "thought" and not faucet-fixers who plumbed the depths of the faith and advanced our understanding.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Likeness on September 24, 2012, 05:38:46 PM
Charles Austin is correct about the task of the
church leader to defend the faith.

One of the things that always impresses me when
I read the pastoral epistles of the New Testament:
How Paul stresses the importance of combating
false teachers and false doctrine.  Why? Because
the Gospel message is at stake.  This vigilance is
still required of the parish pastor today.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: John_Hannah on September 24, 2012, 05:40:17 PM
Since the earliest days, the Church has always honored and sought leaders conversant with the philosophies of their day, able to dialogue with those philosophies and defend the faith before the thinkers of those philosophies.
From Augustine, to Aquinas, to Luther, those best known for defending, renewing and preserving the faith had more than one foot in academia.
A few Reformers - Francis, par example - came to their greatness in other ways, but for the most part it was men and women of education and "thought" and not faucet-fixers who plumbed the depths of the faith and advanced our understanding.

I can fix faucets; I have, many times. Nonetheless, you are absolutely correct. It has been that way for 2,000 years. We do need highly educated theolgians.


Peace, JOHN.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Charles_Austin on September 24, 2012, 06:47:59 PM
Nothing wrong with faucet-fixing, but it requires different skills than does theology.
The idea that a person - all alone with his/her "Holy Spirit" - is as "good" a theologian as an educated scholar is a dangerous and goofy idea that can only lead to sectarianism and perversion of the faith.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Team Hesse on September 24, 2012, 07:00:29 PM
A quote from Carl Volz' "Pastoral Life and Practice in the Early Church" (page 88):

He [Jerome] also castigates anti-intellectual clergy who pride themselves on their holy ignorance, but if one must make a choice, "a holy peasant is much better than a sinful scholar" (chap 9).

Part of class discussion today. It would seem the debate about the intellectual status of clergy has been going on for some time.....

Lou
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Weedon on September 24, 2012, 07:27:56 PM
I think we need to recognize the concern: educate a devil and you have a clever devil.  And it is very true that one can learn things of far greater value from a sanctified, but uneducated, lay person than from one of those clever devils in a collar. That is in no way to attack the value of education in general and theological education in particular; it is to recognize that education alone is not and can never be sufficient. It can't make up for the genuine wisdom that arises from sanctification under the cross.  St. Jerome was right.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: George Erdner on September 24, 2012, 08:13:06 PM
I think we need to recognize the concern: educate a devil and you have a clever devil.  And it is very true that one can learn things of far greater value from a sanctified, but uneducated, lay person than from one of those clever devils in a collar. That is in no way to attack the value of education in general and theological education in particular; it is to recognize that education alone is not and can never be sufficient. It can't make up for the genuine wisdom that arises from sanctification under the cross.  St. Jerome was right.

Exactly what I was getting at! I sense that those who defend education against mere inspiration of the Holy Spirit missed this:  Sure, someone with training AND the guidance of the Holy Spirit is best, but if someone only has the one and not the other, I'll take the one who pays attention to the Holy Spirit.

 
 
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Charles_Austin on September 24, 2012, 08:26:31 PM
Mr. Erdner still misses the point. If all one has is some personal "guidance of the Holy Spirit" without the education or checks and balances provided by the Christian community, one has a potentially dangerous sectarian.
If someone says "I've got the Holy Spirit, nuts to everything else," you have big trouble.

There is trouble also, when you get the one who says; "Aw, gee, I'm just a simple parish pastor and don't mess much with all that high-falutin' theology and intellectual stuff." Such a one does not serve well these days, or ever. 
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Dave Likeness on September 24, 2012, 08:39:33 PM
Charles Austin has nailed it, "If someone says,
'I've got the Holy Spirit, nuts to everything else'
you have got trouble."

This is the attitude of the Pentecostal TV Evangelists,
like Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer,
Fred Price, and Joel Osteen, who all preach the
Health and Wealth" Gospel.  None of them have
any theological education or seminary degree.
As far as I can ascertain they all have only a
high school diploma.  They preach a false gospel to
millions of people and they make millions of dollars.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: George Erdner on September 24, 2012, 09:03:39 PM
Charles Austin has nailed it, "If someone says,
'I've got the Holy Spirit, nuts to everything else'
you have got trouble."

When, and if, someone says that, I take that into consideration.
 
This is the attitude of the Pentecostal TV Evangelists,
like Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer,
Fred Price, and Joel Osteen, who all preach the
Health and Wealth" Gospel.  None of them have
any theological education or seminary degree.
As far as I can ascertain they all have only a
high school diploma.  They preach a false gospel to
millions of people and they make millions of dollars.

At what point in one's education does one learn not to engage in logical fallacies? The men you mention are frauds. The men you mention lack formal training. Where do you prove that it is their lack of training that makes them frauds?
 
I won't dispute that those charlatans are charlatans. You have not demonstrated that their lack of formal education is the cause of their erroneous teaching. There are well-educated clergy making similar mistakes, albeit on a less well-known level.
 
The existence of con men proves that con men exist. It doesn't prove that some trait that a group of con men share is the reason why they are con men.
 
Deepak Chopra has degrees coming out the wazoo. He's also making money hand over fist pushing his personal self-help message. Dr. Wayne Dyer (D. Ed from Wayne State) is doing the same on a slightly smaller scale. There are plenty of bunko artists preaching pretty much the same message, altering it only slightly to appear tuned in to Jesus, some non-specific deity, or simply "the universe". The lack or abundance of education doesn't really seem to make all that much difference in the general appeal of the erroneous message.
 
 
 
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: pearson on September 24, 2012, 09:30:04 PM

Nonetheless it could be argued that the use of Greco-Roman philosophical understandings to further understand and explicate the truths of God by the likes of Justin Martyr and Origen might have done a disservice to the Gospel and Jesus' teachings. 


It could?  How so?

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Charles_Austin on September 25, 2012, 03:56:04 AM
 I wrote: "If someone says, 'I've got the Holy Spirit, nuts to everything else' you have got trouble."

Mr. Erdner replied:
When, and if, someone says that, I take that into consideration.

I muse:
And there is that persistent, troublesome, and dangerous "I" again. Simply substituting oneself for the one who claims ownership of the Holy Spirit is not how it works.
"I don't like what that one is saying, so he's a fraud" is a meaningless statement.
"I think that pastor or group of pastors has got it wrong, so I'm not recognizing them as pastors," is sectarian and arrogant.
"I know what the Bible says, so no Council of the Church, Synod, denomination, convention, assembly, confessional statement or theologian can contradict what I know," is not how Lutherans think theologically.
Anyone with a few years of direct experience in the church should see the danger that arrives when the individual, personalized "I's" prevail.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Team Hesse on September 25, 2012, 07:43:44 AM

Anyone with a few years of direct experience in the church should see the danger that arrives when the individual, personalized "I's" prevail.

Sometimes yay sometimes nay......

Lou
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on September 25, 2012, 08:04:24 AM
"I know what the Bible says, so no Council of the Church, Synod, denomination, convention, assembly, confessional statement or theologian can contradict what I know," is not how Lutherans think theologically.

Hmm, it's not?

“Since then your sere Majesty and your Lordships seek a simple answer, I will give it in this manner, neither horned nor toothed. Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen."

(Reply to the Diet of Worms, April 18, 1521)”
― Martin Luther, Luther's works, volume 33 : career of the reformer iii
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Steverem on September 25, 2012, 09:35:55 AM
Don't know what lectionary everyone here is using, but the epistle reading we had on Sunday seems a propos:

Quote
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

- James 3:13-4:10

Seems to me that all divine wisdom comes from above, and is by nature accompanied with a humility that acknowledges that said wisdom is not our own.  We should all seek understanding as we are able, and seek to live out the calling God has placed on our lives, but in the end, it is God alone who grants us His wisdom, guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Title: Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
Post by: Felix Culpepper on September 25, 2012, 09:48:00 AM
I wrote: "If someone says, 'I've got the Holy Spirit, nuts to everything else' you have got trouble."

Mr. Erdner replied:
When, and if, someone says that, I take that into consideration.

I muse:
And there is that persistent, troublesome, and dangerous "I" again. Simply substituting oneself for the one who claims ownership of the Holy Spirit is not how it works.
"I don't like what that one is saying, so he's a fraud" is a meaningless statement.
"I think that pastor or group of pastors has got it wrong, so I'm not recognizing them as pastors," is sectarian and arrogant.
"I know what the Bible says, so no Council of the Church, Synod, denomination, convention, assembly, confessional statement or theologian can contradict what I know," is not how Lutherans think theologically.
Anyone with a few years of direct experience in the church should see the danger that arrives when the individual, personalized "I's" prevail.

Pastor Austin is correct in this of course.  However, this dependence on the "I", on personal experience, trusting one's inner voice, and emotional testimony does not only infect the world of televangelists and other (so called) fundagelicals.  The "dangerous I" plays a crucial role in mainline liberal denominations.  In the ELCA, it was appeals to personal experience, trusting one's inner voice, and sharing emotional testimony that finally won the day in 2009.