Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Response to Ben Witherington on IWU's Seminary

Ben Witherington of Asbury Seminary has given his first impressions of our new seminary curriculum (although he does not name us) in a piece he wrote a week ago called M.Div. Lite! --Less Filling--Tastes Great!!

His concerns deserve a good hearing. My response is twofold: 1) there is much, much more Bible, theology, and church history in our degree than at first seems apparent, and 2) the rest is a difference in philosophy--traditional seminaries tend to be idealistic in a way that undermines the needs of most seminary students. "We do less and give more. They do more and give less."

See my clarifications on the seminary blog: Where's the Beef?


Mark Schnell said...

Wonderful response to Witherington, Ken. It's pretty sad that he is doing exactly what he was accusing another responder in that thread of doing. He told that responder they hadn't read his scholarly work but were attacking it. I would say he is attacking something he hasn't looked at closely.

I will say though, I'm no surprised that someone would misread the program from the magazine ads. Rather than focusing on what you are getting with this new paradigm of education they do seem to focus a bit on what you don't have to do to get an MDIV. So, I'd tweak the ad a bit but realize that people are always going to attack what they think threatens their status quo.

P.S. After proofreading what I just wrote: The ads aren't written for Witherington, maybe they are fine!

Ken Schenck said...

You know how marketers are... :-)

Mark Schnell said...

Duke Divinity is a pretty swanky and well respected school. They require twenty four courses for their MDIV. At three hours a course, do the math.