Kevin Bauder on the future of fundamentalist education

"By every indicator, historic, mainstream fundamentalism is a shrinking movement. Churches are shrinking. Fellowships are shrinking. Mission agencies are shrinking. Schools have closed and those that remain are scrambling for students. ...This situation confronts Bible colleges and seminaries with a difficult question: how can they continue to train students for ministry in mainstream fundamentalist churches and mission fields?" - P&D

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Joeb's picture

The old saying you get what you pay for does apply to a certain extent.  Bob Jones University has an academic reputation bar none.  So when your comparing schools how are their academics.   Does Faith have the same quality of Academics that Clark's Summit University has.  Clark's Summit University for undergrad runs about 25 to 27 grand for everything.  I don't know what the Seminary runs.
 

 I have been to Clark's Summit University's campus it's beautiful and they really don't seem to have a strict dress code.  Tyler you really need to see what price your son gets before making a decision.  Getting a tuition price is like buying a car these days.  To my knowledge most Christian Schools give Pastors half  price on tuition.  Again look at price and the quality of the academics.  BJU does not have to prove anything to anyone regarding the quality of their education.  Speaking as a parent who already sent two of my kids through Gordon and it almost bankrupted me I understand where your coming from regarding costs Tyler.  Drexel University where I went is 60 Gs a year now.  I would not recommend anyone going their unless they were a genius like Bert and they were going into Engineering or a hard science major.  The coop program for those majors probably brings in 40 Gs for 6 months of work which offsets the tuition. 
 

By the way my daughter just gave birth to my first grandchild.  I'm a grandpa.  

TOvermiller's picture

Tim, regarding BBS you said, "Wayne Slusser was not a good choice." I'm mentioning this statement because it seems to be a bit out of place. If I may say so, in a very gracious way, it may even border on slander since you're casting a negative light on a person with no clear basis or good reason for doing so.

Dr. Decker was an outstanding professor with whom I enjoyed some limited interaction before I enrolled in the seminary. Unfortunately, I was never able to have classes with him, though I still refer to his written works in my studies. That said, My M.Div. experience with Dr. Slusser as a professor has been a good one and I am looking forward to an NT preaching class with him this coming Fall.

On a separate but related note, I'll add that two girls from our church are upperclassmen at Clarks Summit University and have had a tremendous experience there, including a quality education, a transformative discipleship approach, and clear spiritaul growth and development.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | StudyGodsWord.com
Blog | ShepherdThoughts.com

TylerR's picture

Editor

We are, shall we say, not interested in going to BJU. Faith and Boyce are both regionally accredited and offer strong programs in the non-bible undergrad degree my son wants.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

T Howard's picture

TOvermiller wrote:

 

T Howard wrote:

 

Clarks Summit (aka Baptist Bible Seminary) has been bleeding seminary students for a while. They are choosing to go to SBTS and other conservative evangelical seminaries instead.

 

 

What do you mean here? That Clarks Summit undergrad students are going elsewhere for seminary or that seminary students are leaving their program midway through to go elsewhere instead? (Or that their Masters graduates are going elsewhere for Doctoral degrees afterwards?) And on what basis do you say this? I - for one - am a very satisfied and grateful BBS student who's wrapping up an M.Div. there this year.

Tom,

Let me be clear: I, too, am a very satisfied and grateful BBS graduate. Before I left, I even inquired about starting and funding an annual seminary scholarship in honor of Dr. Decker. I believe I received a rigorous, advanced theological education at BBS. But, since I graduated with my M.Div., the seminary has lost several key faculty members and has downgraded due to fewer residence students. The last I heard, the seminary now mostly attracts online students and this led to the selling of its seminary building and reducing its full-time seminary faculty. BTW, I'm a big fan of on-line seminary as long as the academic rigor is maintained. Therefore, I'm not a fan of Liberty's online program.

Now, from what I was told by several seminary faculty the year I graduated (2016), many men who in the past would have gone to BBS for seminary (I'm assuming they know this because these men were attending GARBC churches) were choosing instead to attend a Southern Baptist or other conservative evangelical seminary. They knew that I was also accepted to the M.Div. program at SBTS and were curious why I chose BBS instead.

T Howard's picture

TOvermiller wrote:

Tim, regarding BBS you said, "Wayne Slusser was not a good choice." I'm mentioning this statement because it seems to be a bit out of place. If I may say so, in a very gracious way, it may even border on slander since you're casting a negative light on a person with no clear basis or good reason for doing so.

Dr. Decker was an outstanding professor with whom I enjoyed some limited interaction before I enrolled in the seminary. Unfortunately, I was never able to have classes with him, though I still refer to his written works in my studies. That said, My M.Div. experience with Dr. Slusser as a professor has been a good one and I am looking forward to an NT preaching class with him this coming Fall.

Tom,

I'm not sure how saying Wayne Slusser was not a good choice to replace Rod Decker is slander or, in this case, libel. I've made no character judgments about Dr. Slusser. I'm sure he's a great guy and a good professor. I've only interacted with Slusser once and that was during my doctrinal paper defense. My point was that replacing a well-respected and recognized Greek scholar like Decker with Slusser wasn't like replacing Michael Jordan with Lebron James. The former provided BBS with a level of academic rigor and respectability (at least in NT Greek studies) that was lost.

But, let's be honest, Decker was a rare bird. There aren't too many professors at independent baptist seminaries who are recognized scholars in their field of study.

Quote:
On a separate but related note, I'll add that two girls from our church are upperclassmen at Clarks Summit University and have had a tremendous experience there, including a quality education, a transformative discipleship approach, and clear spiritaul growth and development.

As I said previously, I have no knowledge of the quality of undergrad education at Clarks Summit University. 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

TylerR wrote:

We are, shall we say, not interested in going to BJU. Faith and Boyce are both regionally accredited and offer strong programs in the non-bible undergrad degree my son wants.

I can understand your not being interested in BJU.  However, lack of regional accreditation should not be one of your reasons -- they've been regionally accredited for several years now.  Achieving regional accreditation was one of the good changes that has happened under Steve Pettit.  The quality of the academics at BJU has never been an issue, and now they have the accreditation to go along with it.  When I attended in the 80's and BJU was not accredited, I had no trouble being accepted into more than one graduate program, and one professor I interviewed with for the grad program in computer science even remarked that students from BJU entering their program had always been very strong academically, especially in math and sciences.

Dave Barnhart

TylerR's picture

Editor

Thanks. I know they recently achieved regional accreditation. The institution just has too much baggage for me to ever be comfortable with it. I once reluctantly broached the subject with my wife and she was vehemently against it. I am not really enthusiastic about it. The institution's baggage sours me on anything about it. I wish them well ... from afar.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

TylerR wrote:

Thanks. I know they recently achieved regional accreditation. The institution just has too much baggage for me to ever be comfortable with it. I once reluctantly broached the subject with my wife and she was vehemently against it. I am not really enthusiastic about it. The institution's baggage sours me on anything about it. I wish them well ... from afar.

As I said, I understand why some may not choose it.  But a "fundy degree mill" it is NOT, and in certain programs, it's one of the better options.  However, BJU will, unfortunately, be fighting with its past (and what people remember of it, rightly or wrongly) for some time to come.

Dave Barnhart

TylerR's picture

Editor

I know they're good, and I know their seminary has an excellent reputation. I heard Bauder say recently that it's just as good as the better evangelical seminaries. It's just too much baggage for me! Even I wouldn't do something like a PhD there, because the institution's very name just conjures up the silliness of fundamentalism's worst impulses. I couldn't ever say I had a degree from there without feeling a sense of embarrassment. I know it's not fair, but that's just the way it is ... (sad face).

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

JohnS's picture

Matriculated from BJU with a business degree in the mid-1990s. Still a lot of the cultural trappings even then, some of which were simply not biblical.  The Lord led me to remain in the Greenville area since, working in the secular workplace.  Have had one question/comment from a co-worker in 25 years related to theology/cultural views of BJU.  Rest assured that there is hardly a more thin-skinned politically-correct environment than corporate America, so I think I would have heard a lot more than that in 25 years if there really was that much baggage.  The "baggage" thing is a non-issue right here in the area where BJU is seen up-close by the community.

Folks can sincerely hold their views on the past, but the reality is that institutions change, even by God's grace for the better.  As an analogy, Kia and Hyundai were the targets of auto quality jokes 20-30 years ago.  Now both make vehicles that are at least as reliable as the average mark.  Consumers could still refuse to buy K/H autos due to quality issues from 20-30 years ago.  But such decision-making would have to either be ignorant of or in willful denial of K/H quality performance over the last 10+years.

 

We all have our blindspots, me included.  I just don't understand hanging onto a mental image that no longer represents reality, especially when talking about matters of consequences.  May seem counter-intuitive, but if I had a bad experience as a teen with a green car that broke down on me on a date with the pretty girl in the class (embarrassing) and I still loath the color green, that's unfortunate, but not a big deal.  For one, green can't change the fact that it's green.

If my best friend stole that pretty girl from my romantic plans and I still can't stand the guy, well, I probably should think hard about if that is wise.  We both have grown a lot as people and he's probably not the same person he was and I am not either.  All analogies break down, but just a thought.

Grateful for a Savior Who is making all things new.

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Most people know nothing about BJU and there isn't much baggage there, in that respect. The baggage is in my head. I don't want to go there or get a degree from there, or have my son get one, either. There's literally no reason on earth to go there when there are other institutions around. Just don't want to have anything to do with the school. I wish them well ... from afar. Sincerely.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Joeb's picture

There is a young couple in my house church, which I mentioned before on SI.  He was born and raised Bob Jones ie church K-12 and college.  This young man was a Computer Graphics Major.  He is very sharp and extremely intelligent like a younger version of Bert although Bert looks a lot younger then he really is.  From what I'eve seen this young man from my church got one heck of an education.  
 
I'd say with Cedarville University slowly going down the toilet Bob Jones University is a Toyota or KIA in quality since KIA came in just behind Toyota in the quality ratings.  Cedarville is headed for the Yugo Category.  
 

Just an update the first victim who first exposed Paige Patterson said President White was in on her cover up and White's wife handled her spiritual discipline for being raped.  Considering all the rapes were outright aggressive rapes White's aiding and abetting a rapist technically legally makes him a RAPIST.  Throw in a female student from Cedarville who wanted the Federal Sex Harassment Form to file a complaint against a male student and was denied this opportunity by White and his administration it's not looking good.  Plus the Female Student was later raped by the guy it makes it even worse.  
 

I talked to my brother who was a Southern Baptist Pastor and he personally knows the Pastors who ran the campus of Churches that Paige's and White's closet gay sex perp Buddy was fired from   If you remember White claims they withheld critical info from him and the Church said it fully briefed White and specifically told White that his buddy was not able to EVER work and any type of ministry or teaching position   In my brothers opinion personally knowing the church's Pastors White is LYING. Throw in Cedarville hired a big name law firm and PR firm Cedarville is digging in for a fight.  

Where am I'm going with this is parents on blogs are already saying they're  taking their kids out of Cedarville.  Cedarville's loss may be BJU and Clark's Summit's gain. At least BJU has moved beyond their baggage and are in a much better place.  I'd recommend BJU and Clark's Summit University over Drexel University any day of the week when you take in costs and academic prowess of both Schools and Graduate Schools.  By the time all the law suits are done and/or the Rotten Food gets exposed there may be no Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary or Cedarville University.  Jules Roy is just getting started with Cedarville   I'd expect more victims to contact Jules Roy.   

 

So the title of this thread deals with the decline of Fundemental institutions.  I say some are in decline like Cedarville and Masters and others are just digging out and improving including BJU.  So I would disagree all tradional Fundy Higher Education institutions are in decline.  Cedarville went worse then any traditional  Fundemental institution.  Considering Paige Patterson and his wife has been identified as Gothardites and Duggarites Cedarville went straight to Gothardism.   Can't get any worse than that.  

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