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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Midwestern offers advanced standing for master’s programs; Southern celebrates its ties to Billy Graham

MBTS offers advanced standing for master’s programs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Among the questions often asked by master’s degree students applying to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is, “Why do I need to repeat certain courses in my master’s program when I’ve already taken ones very similar to them in my undergraduate studies?”

The seminary’s policies and practices regarding that question have now been updated to provide an “advanced standing” option, MBTS President Jason Allen announced Feb. 12, for qualifying students to reduce their required masters’ degree credit hours by up to 25 percent.

“Among our primary goals in existing for the local church is to provide high-quality education and training at an affordable cost and to graduate equipped students into the ministry field as quickly as possible,” Allen said.

“By meeting specified standards in Midwestern Seminary’s Bible and theology courses with comparable courses … at the undergraduate level from accredited institutions, students can now save time and money in working toward their degrees,” Allen said. “This gives them the opportunity to get into their ministry calling more quickly and with less debt.”

The advanced standing option, Allen said, is “a win-win-win for students, Midwestern Seminary and the churches we serve.”

Provost Jason Duesing explained that advanced standing is granted “when master’s degree applicants have successfully completed undergraduate courses that are, in effect, the educational equivalent to their graduate course requirements.” He noted that advanced standing is different from transferring courses, “in that we are making an assessment that students have the knowledge, competence or skills that would normally come from these specific courses.”

If a student receives advanced standing for three, three-hour classes, for example, the number of hours for an 81-hour M.Div. degree is reduced to 72 credit hours, providing a savings of approximately $2,250, Duesing said.

The maximum number of credits a student can apply toward their master’s degree through advanced standing is capped by the Association of Theological Schools at 25 percent of the total degree hours.

To learn more about Midwestern Seminary’s advanced standing option, visit www.mbts.edu or contact the admissions office at [email protected].


Southern Seminary celebrates its ties to Billy Graham

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — R. Albert Mohler Jr. celebrated the life of the late Billy Graham in a Feb. 22 chapel at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, highlighting the famed evangelist’s relationship with the seminary. Graham died Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the age of 99.

Mohler, Southern’s president, began the service reflecting on Graham’s immense influence in the seminary’s history.

Graham was “absolutely instrumental” in helping to begin in 1993 “the recovery of this institution with a very clear doctrinal identity and a very clear confessional direction,” Mohler said.

“I grew up hearing Billy Graham preach. I’ve never known my evangelical existence without Billy Graham. But I recognize that’s not true for many of you here in this room.,” Mohler said. “[T]hrough the years, I want you to hear something of what Billy Graham had to say to students at Southern Seminary.”

Mohler shared video from Graham’s addresses to the student body, two of which happened at the same pulpit at which Mohler stood in Alumni Chapel. In the clips, Graham said:

— From April 25, 1974: “We communicate the Gospel by the authoritative proclamation of the Gospel. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If I have criticism of modern American seminaries, it’s this: … I don’t think we are putting the emphasis enough on preaching and proclamation. Where are the preachers today?”

— From Dec. 8, 1982: “If you are faithful in proclaiming the Gospel — I don’t care how bad of a preacher you are — … the Holy Spirit is going to use it because it’s the Gospel. It’s the power of God unto salvation. And you don’t have to water it down and dilute it and try to be relevant. The day for relevance is finished.”

— Also from Dec. 8, 1982: “If I thought that Christ was coming back tomorrow, I wouldn’t change one thing if I were you. I’d just study. If that’s where God led you, and you’re in the will of God, study. But while you’re studying, on the side study the Word of God for your own soul, not just for classes, not just for grades. Fill your heart with the Word of God. I’ve found that the ones who know the Scriptures are the ones who have the power today.”

— Oct. 14, 1993, at Mohler’s inauguration as SBTS president: “We want to join hands with Southern Seminary in both theology and evangelization, and we’ll do everything in our power to support Dr. Mohler and the faculty and the staff and the trustees of this great institution. You certainly have my love and my prayers.”

Mohler said Graham’s words, in making such clear statements, continue to convict him.

“And in allowing the establishment of the Billy Graham School, he was making a very clear statement,” Mohler said of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry, founded in 1993.

“Throughout the years he continued to be of immense help and encouragement here. He became a very dear friend, a friend to whom I am very indebted, a friend whose friendship continued, and through his organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, continues even now,” Mohler said.

“But time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away. Now he is with the Lord he so faithfully preached.”

Video from the chapel service, including the clips of Graham’s sermons, will be posted here.

    About the Author

  • SBC Seminary & BP Staff

    Cassity Potter writes for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, the SBC’s news service; Alex Sibley writes for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and S. Craig Sanders writes for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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