Author Topic: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?  (Read 8685 times)

Dave_Poedel

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #60 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.

Jim Butler

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #61 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.)
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

George Erdner

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #62 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.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #63 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.

dkeener

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #64 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

racin_jason

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #65 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.
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Scott6

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #66 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.

Dave Likeness

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #67 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.

George Erdner

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #68 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.
 

Scott6

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #69 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.

readselerttoo

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #70 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.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 04:11:49 PM by readselerttoo »

readselerttoo

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #71 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.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 04:21:41 PM by readselerttoo »

Daniel L. Gard

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #72 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.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #73 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.

Dave Likeness

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Re: Is The Doctor of Ministry a Legit Degree?
« Reply #74 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.