Sunday, February 15, 2015

Best Evangelical Seminaries

When it comes to a good choice for digging deeper to study there are many excellent choices in the US. If you feel called to full time ministry in its old sense, this will help. Not in any particular order, ones to go to:

1.) Dallas Theological Seminary.  Known for strong language and theology classes. International reputation. Great student services. Excellent profs, overall. Great alumni for chapel. Weaknesses are high cost, an overwhelming bias to only dispensational views, and less denominational connections for post grad job opportunities. Still would recommend.

2.) Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  Top notch scholars who influence entire evangelical world. Strong belief in Scripture's trustworthiness.  Lots of programs. In an area with need for new churches. Weaknesses though are limits of its smaller pool of connections around country in actual churches, very high cost, less well known than 15 years ago. Still would recommend.

3.) Criswell College/Seminary. It just seems like every up and coming evangelical professor teaches there, so the future connections you have are great. Large expansion plans in the works, including on campus housing. Well known chapel speakers. Weaknesses are smaller size, lots of administration changes, and less well known nationally than others.  Would tell a friend to go still, with promise of a good education at fair price.

4.) Southern Seminary. About half the faculty are top notch nationally.  Historic greatness. Al Mohler, need we say more? Ok, yes, fairly inexpensive.  And love for true Bible teaching.  Weaknesses are City of Louisville ( it threatens seminary on occasion, is anti Christian often) and there is an 'you're an insider or you're an outsider' system that rewards yes people, and an assumption that if you are traditional in music/dress you're just better.  Not all but some profs in apologetics department only tolerate certain types of apologetic methods or you're on their bad side indefinitely. Worthy choice for preaching and doctrine though overall would definitely recommend.

5.) Southwestern Seminary. Top notch evangelical figures also, a large open campus, lots of newer housing, missions focus, and students who actually serve in churches.  Students who actually serve in churches is a sign of spiritually mature men and women.  Good education at low price.  Solid counseling degrees. Great chapel speakers. Good library.  Weaknesses are a preference for traditional music to a high level, not every professor but many are died in wool one theological system on a pet doctrine. Still would definitely recommend for knowing how to actually do church.

6.) Gordon-Conwell. This is a school with a rich past and some great professors near retirement, however, it has taken a hard left in it's views in evangelical circles.  While it has alumni one might respect, serious Bible students would not attend there today.  There are just better choices.  One tact may be to go and try to sit under only certain professors, but your degree would set off alarms of doctrinal liberalism in evangelical circles.  It has high name recognition from the past, not present.  Current younger faculty are also not widely referenced.

7.) Golden Gate Seminary. A president whose actually done real pastoral work and church planting, and well known. Very international.  Lots of exciting changes with new campus.  People seem to just like everyone there. Formerly it was persecuted by City of San Fran, so they've moved. This is a wise choice for practicality.

8.) Midwestern Seminary.  Up and coming with lots of prime location and solid teachers.  Has Charles Spurgeons collection.  New chapel.  Pretty area. Good price.  President almost all can get along with, who does care. My only concern is kind of a colder feel from students, but that may be regional culture thing.

9.) Fuller. Historically famous. Name is widely known, but not favored.  Recently seems to lean too far toward Bible doubter professors and super wide ecumenical ties and charismatic bent in some classes. People in the know know this.  Not best choice.  Semi costly too.

10.) Masters. Well, if you're a John MacArthur type, it's all you. What more is there to say?  You may be able though to get a job upon graduating at a Bible or Baptist type church, so that's lots of real life options. 

11.) Denver Seminary. Less on the rise than 10 years ago. Known only in theology circles. Some different kinds of views among faculty, as in ... Different.....  Yeah that kind.  Near great ministries to work at though. Lots of room to church plant nearby in need. An ok choice only if you get right professors. This is really hard to do though.  Not sure could say it's best choice.

12.) RTS. I'm not an expert on it, I'll let you research, but it's noteworthy. Big names on staff.  Scripture minded, not theory. An up and comer nationally. Limits include small denomination affiliations.

13.) Westminster. Historical greatness, Machen, Van Til, Jay Adams, etc.=Major evangelical influence. However, it's expensive and tied to a Presbyterian reputation mainly. Also, recent controversy but I'm no expert on that.

14.) Southern Evangelical Seminary. Not to be confused with Southern Seminary. SES is big on Norm Geisler loyalists.  Had a pet doctrine it favored big time on salvation. New president though with serious credentials.  May be a new day. At least get the catalogue!

15.) Wheaton. History is rich. It's been of late ... falling out of favor for good reason unfortunately. It pains me to say that too.  But has big names on staff. Popular with northerners.  Somewhat pricey, but not as bad as some. Would not recommend at all since last year approved of staff living in open sins, refused to address biblically.  Off times at Wheaton, let's pray together it changes soon.

16.) Truett. Beautiful campus.  Support of a major university.  But: Don't go there. Bad choice theologically.  Teachings encouraged at school include open theism, denial of the word for word trustworthiness of the original Scriptures as God handed them down by many professors, and a penchant for whatever is the newest neo-liberal imagination.  In other words, you will simply gets lots of doctrinal error in most classes.  So why would someone who believes Scripture go there?  I would not personally recommend it to a friend of mine.  Plus when you get out, you are labeled as believing what most of their professors do, which means you probably will not get ministry opportunities you want.  Those are two powerful reasons against going.

17.) Western Seminary. So ... it's an interesting place. Has ups and downs on why to go or not. Has some well known alum. Good perhaps if on West coast.

18.) Southwestern Assembly. This is only for signs-wonders type charismatics, which isn't me. But if that's your thing, it's in DFW. There are lots of grad opportunities in the area.  Personally I'm not convinced of the signs and wonders movement.  To me it seems like a cultural thing within their churches, rather than a changes in covenant continuing thing from the New Testament.  But I have friends who disagree and I respect that.  So if you're into signs and wonders this is a popular choice.

19.) Covenant St Louis. Small but good.  Well known faculty.  Great preaching department.  Often associated with Presbyterians though.  So you might have job finding problems unless you are seeking a Presbyterian pulpit.  On flip side, Covenant is well known enough perhaps you could overcome this by explaining.  There are some great doctrines well covered in this school though.  Might recommend.

20.) Asbury Theological Seminary.  If you are Methodist this might be your thing.  The truth about most American Methodist seminaries are they are rotting spiritually.  This is not true of their churches.  But a UMC seminary more often than not is just a near exact replica of modern liberalism.  If some topic is hot with culture, a UMC seminary will run with it.  Unfortunately, the views popular in our culture also contradict the revealed Scripture we have throughout our Bible.  Only someone who thinks they are a heavy weight and God's Word is not all that important would seriously go to Asbury -- if they examined its background.  A better choice now if you are Methodist would be Dallas Theological Seminary or Gordon-Conwell.  I would not ever recommend Asbury to a friend out of concern for their spiritual well-being.

21.) Perkins in Dallas.  Perkins is much like Asbury, but less conservative.  I would not ever tell a friend to attend Perkins, out of concern for doctrinal error and a seeming endorsement there of belief in other religions as valid ways to God.  Clearly Jesus teaches He is the only way to God.  People in the know have seen Perkins moving away from Scripture for decades.  So it is operating as a standard practice with wrong teachings and approvals of certain things contradictory to God's Word.

22.) Liberty University Grad School / Seminary.  I'm not the best person to recommend this school or not.  It is worth your looking into its programs.  Obviously the school is large, but the seminary grad material I'm just not  certain on.  

1 comment:

aapastor said...

Thanks for this list! I just came across it. Any reason you left off Talbot School of Theology? I had a great experience with top notch evangelical professors here.