Best Evangelical Seminary

Discussion in 'Education, Teaching and related degrees' started by xtrabusy, Aug 12, 2011.

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Which seminary would you attend?

  1. Gordon-Conwell

    37.5%
  2. Westminster Theological Seminary

    12.5%
  3. Trinity Evangelical

    25.0%
  4. Reformed Theological Seminary

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Covenant Seminary

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Dallas Theological Seminary

    62.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    This is a good explanation (even though it's wikipedia...) Evangelicalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Other categories:

    Fundamentalism (to the right of evangelicalism)
    Conservative (generally synonymous with evangelical)
    Mainline (generally middle-of-the-road to liberal)
    Liberal (sometimes lumped in with mainline)

    In general, as one goes from liberal to fundamentalist, one becomes more "orthodox" in theology. On the fundamentalist side, other cultural distinctives arise, such as not attending movies, dances, etc.

    Some representative denominations/groups:

    Fundamentalist: independent fundamental Baptist churches, many pentecostal churches

    Conservative/Evangelical: Assemblies of God, Southern Baptist Convention, Wesleyan Church, Presbyterian Church in America, many nondenominational churches, Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod)

    Mainline: United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), American Baptist Churches, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ

    Liberal: United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalists

    Of course, there is variance in theological orienation within each denomination/group/church.

    For instance, you will find some conservative Methodists and some relatively liberal Southern Baptists. In the Episcopal Church this is also common, as the conservative, evangelical wing of the denomination and the liberal wing of the denomination have clashed over the issue of homosexuality. Similar conflicts are occurring in the ELCA, UMC, and PCUSA.
     
  2. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    Until recently the head of Liberty's seminary was Ergun Caner (ThD UNISA) and he was Arminian (anti-Calvinist). James White used to take him on (though I am not sure in person as I am not sure Caner was confident enough to debate White).

    Both White and Caner have a DL connection (Caner-UNISA and White Columbia Evangelical Seminary). Caner was also a good example about not inflating your resume (went down over some inflated claims of his Muslim activity prior to becoming a Christian).
     
  3. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Again. It seems that your definition of Arminian is "anything but hyper-Calvinist." Not being a Calvinist does not default one to being an Arminian.
     
  4. PilgrimPastor

    PilgrimPastor New Member

    OP: one thing to consider is that I suspect at least that you may have difficult getting into most of those schools with an unaccredited degree. Im familiar with TNARS and appreciate what they are doing, but those seminaries you named may not.
     
  5. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    Not sure that follows but whatever. I would not consider James White or Dr Al Mohler Hyper Calvinists, would you? People like Ryrie are considered moderate Calvinists.
     
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I am a 100% non-Christian. If I can say so without disrespect, the system you're describing is totally confusing. You refer to people (James White, Ergun Caner, Calvin (seems to be a big shot) as if some ignorant person (me) understands the implications. But no one is saying anything about which specific beliefs separate sects. You make it all seem so complicated. It can't really be so complicated, can it? I believe all these differences are just human ego.
     
  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  8. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    To be fair, the thread is about evangelical seminaries. A thread discussing the best schools to study continental philosophy could also be confusing to those not conversant in the literature.

    The Calvinist/Arminian distinction is in the realm of "soteriology," which is the "study of salvation." Although there are variances, the classic distinctions between Calvinists (associated with the French Protestant reformer John Calvin) and Arminians (associated [loosely] with the Dutch theologian Jacobus [or James] Arminius) pertain to a few factors, commonly expressed using the acronym TULIP and known as "The Five Points of Calvinism." Historically, the five points were expressed at the Synod of Dordt, which convened in response to the arguments of the Remonstrants (the Arminian camp).

    The TULIP acronym is not perfect, but it gives a general idea:

    T-Total Depravity-Humans are sinful by nature, and every human faculty has been touched by sin. This does not mean that everyone is as bad as they could be--only that there is no part of humanity unaffected by sin. Also, this means that every individual is in need of salvation and is unable to save himself or herself.

    U-Unconditional election--God has "elected" (chosen) from eternity past who would be saved. This selection is not based on foreknowledge of future human actions; it is based entirely on God's sovereign decree.

    L-Limited atonement--(some Calvinistic Christians reject this point)--Christ was sent to die on behalf of the "elect" (the ones chosen for salvation) only. (Arminians would say that Christ died for every one, but they would still contend that faith is necessary for salvation.)

    I-Irresistible grace--Those whom God has chosen will come to faith because God will cause them to come to faith. No one who has been chosen by God will fail to come to faith.

    P-Perseverance of the saints--Those whom God has chosen will not lose their salvation because they are kept by God's power. They will persevere in faith.

    ----

    Generally, the distinction between Calvinism and Arminianism can be boiled down to the difference between deterministic and libertarian philosophies.

    In Calvinism, one's destiny is determined by God alone. In Arminianism, one's destiny is determined by the interplay between God and a person's choices.

    Sometimes, this is expressed as "monergism" vs. "synergism." Roughly translated, these terms refer to "sole work" and "work with." Calvinists would argue that salvation is the "sole work" of God, but Arminians might argue that salvation comes from an individual's choice "working with" God's offer of salvation. This is overly simplistic, however, and some people are not entirely consistent on their positions here. For instance, one might claim to be a monergist while holding a synergistic position.

    To put things in context, the contemporary Roman Catholic Church is closer to Arminianism than to Calvinism, but they are usually not classified as Arminian because Arminians came out of the Protestant Reformation. St. Augustine of Hippo, however, is closely associated with Calvinism because Augustinian theology was a precursor for Calvinistic though.

    I hope this helps.
     
  9. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    How much time do you have? LOL

    In general, Christian denominations have generally emerged over time as splits from a larger group. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches are the oldest, and most other denominations came about after the Protestant Reformation. Some of the earliest distinctions in denominations occurred in part because of varying levels of rejection of Roman Catholic tradition and teaching. Over time, some of these denominations split into varying factions.

    In contemporary society, the splits often pertain to evangelical vs. liberal factions. Generally, the evangelical wings emphasize infallibility of the Bible, the divinity of Christ, and the need for personal salvation. The liberal wing generally rejects infallibility, may or may not accept the divinity of Christ, and often emphasizes social efforts instead of personal evangelism (or proselytizing). The doctrine of infallibility is a major one, as passages in the Bible condemn homosexuality and contain exclusivist teachings (i.e. the idea that non-Christians will go to hell and the only way of salvation is through faith in Christ). The liberal wings often strive for gay rights in general and gay ordination in particular, and the evangelical wings typically reject such moves because of biblical teachings. The liberal wings would argue that the text was a product of the authors with human biases, but the evangelical wings would argue that the text was inspired by God and therefore infallible.

    That should give you a "birds-eye" view.
     
  10. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

    The short answer re differences between Christian denominations is: Not much that you'd likely care about. There are marked differences between Catholics / protestants / Orthodox, but even they still agree on most of the central doctrines.

    Re calvinism-vs-arminianism: This distinction has nothing to do with being "evangelical"; a person could be calvinist or arminian and be "evangelical."

    What evangelical really means is somewhat indistinct IMHO. It's hard to really define. My systematic theology prof from seminary wrote a book called "Our Evangelical Faith" in which he spends a whole chapter trying to define what makes a person "evangelical." IMHO (this is by no means an official designation) but it seems like a person is evangelical if they believe the central traditional tenants of the Christian faith while avoiding some of the uncritical/unthinking negative attitudes of "fundamentalist" Christians. (Not to say that fundamentalists are always that way, and evangelicals have problems of their own, but in theory they try to avoid some of the errors of the fundamentalist group.)

    You can read part of my prof's book here (some pages aren't available on Google Books but hopefully it'll still be sorta helpful?):
    Our Evangelical Faith - Google Books
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2011
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    You guys are great. I'm so tired now that I can't really read what you've written with any real respect so I'm leaving it for tomorrow. Thanks.
     
  12. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Now LU and the Roman Catholic church are both Armenian? Interesting. I'll bow out on the theological discussions and stick with looking for more DL teaching opportunities...
     
  13. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    Not technically in either case, of course, but LU is closer to Arminian than it is Calvinist (apart from the loss of salvation angle). The RCC isn't Arminian, either, (as it is not a Protestant church) but it is generally synergistic in its understanding of salvation.
     
  14. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Honestly I had no idea what the differences were until I googled it. I told you I wasn't a "seminary kind of guy" nor am I a theologian. To be perfectly honest I find highly dogmatic people of faith to be missing the point but I guess there is the inevitability of it since Revelations speaks to 7 distinct churches, I can only assume the distinctions were on minor differences in belief rather than geographical location but that's probably another debate entirely.

    I read the 5 points of Armenian-ism and do not disagree with any except the belief that one can lose their salvation...I for one do not believe this is possible, though I do think that some people who claim to be "saved" are in fact not. With Calvinism I do not believe every believer is pre-ordained by God and he picks his people. I honestly have not researched this much but even from Genesis God has placed a great deal of importance upon people voluntarily choosing to follow him (free will). Choosing who he will save and not save is inconsistant with that theme. Again...not a theologian, just a layman who reads the Bible.
     
  15. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    I read somewhere where a Reformed Theologian (Calvinist) called the Roman Catholic perspective "warmed over semi Pelagianism".
     
  16. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    These points are certainly consistent with a place like Liberty.

    If one has the free will to follow, do they then abandon their free will such that they cannot then choose not to follow? I never quite grasped the logic in a once-saved-always-saved position. Either grace is "irresistable" or its not. It seems more consistent with Scripture to me that no one forfeits their choice to reject a gift once accepted.
     
  17. skidadl

    skidadl Member

    Fuller is awesome.
     

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