Author Topic: Religious Freedom Issues, Again  (Read 775 times)

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4396
    • View Profile
Re: Religious Freedom Issues, Again
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2021, 08:59:55 AM »
The D.Min. degree is the most misused nomenclature in the LCMS.

In the parish it has been used to puff up the ego of the pastor who insists on being called Dr.
It has become a bargaining tool to increase the salary of  the pastor.
This degree has been used to get a position on the faculty at both of our seminaries.
Yes, the seminaries have appealed to the parish pastor to get a D Min. degree to increase his status.

Bottom Line:  The D.Min degree has become a cash cow for seminaries who need to make some money.

I don't think that the D.Min is merely a "cash cow for seminaries who need to make some money."  First of all, it isn't the backbone of their system, and there aren't enough students in that program to make a significant financial difference at their institution.  It is also not a very effective way to "get a position on the faculty at both of our seminaries." If you look at the faculties of either seminary you will see very few D.Min holders (maybe one active full-time faculty position per school?).  The D.Min degree is a professional degree that specializes in the practice and application of pastoral ministry.  Thus, seminaries will look to holders of other academic degrees to fill out most of their curricula where the specializations needed are far more academic in nature.

Continuing education among clergy takes many forms.  For some who are naturally self-driven degrees feel unnecessary.  For others it offers a helpful discipline to formally study theology both in theory and practice, something they may not have done a lot of since their seminary years.  If properly formed, the project (usually not called a dissertation, which is what is required in the Ph.D program) challenges the pastor to apply academic knowledge and insight to very real-world, practical issues he faces in the parish. 

When I returned to graduate school I went the direction of the STM, which I felt at the time would be more academic in nature, since I wanted the possibility of teaching outside the parish.  It did open a door for that, and while it is in no way a tenure track entry into academia, it did challenge me deeply, especially in the writing and defense of the thesis.  It also enhanced my knowledge of research and academic writing.

Some pastors will become enamored by the title and pride relishes such supposed 'honors.'  We all fight this in some way or another.  I would like to believe that the vast majority of those who pursue degrees do it for the gain they receive from intensive study and research, not as a way to add a feather to their cap of ego.   

Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Likeness

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5023
    • View Profile
Re: Religious Freedom Issues, Again
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2021, 09:20:14 AM »
My post was to point out some of the abuses of the D. Min degree in the LCMS.
I have witnessed them as an unhealthy reality in our church body.

On the other hand, I am a firm believer in Continuing Education for Pastors.
A healthy parish will have a generous line item for this in their annual budget.
Both of our seminaries offer Continuing Education in a variety of ways and it
is a necessary component of a pastor who is growing spiritually and mentally.
I am thankful that my congregation offered me the opportunity each year
the time and the finances to get some excellent Continuing Education.

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12217
    • View Profile
    • Atlantic District, LCMS
Re: Religious Freedom Issues, Again
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2021, 10:20:10 AM »
I have a D. Min. degree after an S.T.M.  The use of the academic protocols was ingrained in the way the D. Min. paper was written.  At the same time, the D. Min. wasn't an academic degree but a professional certification.  People called me "Doctor" for about a month, and then went back to Pastor B. 

At the next level of work/vocation, the term Doctor was used about half the time, the rest being President or Bishop, and by the end of that vocational period it was mostly Bishop.  And now back to Pastor, although when intros in person were being done pre-pandemic, a lot of our folks would say "this is our Pastor, Bishop David Benke."  Blame it on a Pentecostal neighborhood vibe where every third storefront is manned by a Bishop and Founder.  Or blame it on the bossa nova.

What turns out to be the great personal benefit of my D. Min. (New York Theological Seminary, 1983) was that it was the story/history/documentation of the Nehemiah Housing Plan and how local congregations and leaders worked with their denominations to bring it to pass practically and theologically, and how that manifested at the congregation and among the leaders I was (and still am) serving.

My successor, The Reverend Doctor Derek Lecakes, Bishop and President of The Atlantic District of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, was privileged to receive the final L.L.D. degree proffered by Concordia, Bronxville a few weeks ago.  Not a poseur, a closeur.

Dave Benke
« Last Edit: June 12, 2021, 11:19:46 AM by Dave Benke »

pastorg1@aol.com

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1009
    • View Profile
Re: Religious Freedom Issues, Again
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2021, 10:52:10 AM »
Canít tolerate poseurs. I donít even wear a surf shirt if I donít surf, which I do; surf and wear shirt.
If I earned a Ph.D, Iíd tattoo it on my neck. So cool.


Peter (If I went to Stanford Iíd say it twice in each conversation as such graduates strain to do) Garrison
Pete Garrison, STS