Saturday, December 16, 2006

So far... 4 IWU students accepted at Duke Divinity School!

I know some have a very negative opinion of Duke's Divinity School (their seminary). I think these opinions are largely misplaced, however. Here are my reasons:

1. Duke is not as liberal as they think. Individuals like Randy Maddox, Richard Hays, and Ellen Davis are of the same Spirit as Wesleyans are (or at least what we should be--we've let a little fundamentalism creep into our hearts, unfortunately) and are not any different from many professors at Asbury (actually, wasn't Paul Chilcote an Asbury professor who recently went to teach at Duke?).

2. There are some professors at Duke that Wesleyans would strongly disagree with, but if the students are solid, exposure to such people will help them grow. A person who never hears a real person who disagrees with them may not be well equipped to face the challenges of our day.

3. Believe it or not, Duke is more ministry than ivory tower focused right now. I think the reason some of our students are getting in is because they actually have ministry experience and are not just another egg head with a 3.9.

So I want to celibrate the four IWU students I know of who have gotten into Duke. One is Church of Christ in Christian Union (the first from his denomination!), one is Baptist, one is Church of God, Anderson, and I think the last is Wesleyan (memory fails). They may not all go, ironically (in fact, Wesley Biblical may even get one of them over Duke! Fuller may get another).

Kudos to Alicia Meyer and Kevin Wright who have paved the way for them!


Anonymous said...

Yes, Paul Chilcote was most recently at Asbury's Orlando campus. Before then he taught at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, one of the official UMC seminaries. Africa University before that and a previous term at Methesco before that.

It's overly simplistic and superficial to label a seminary as liberal, conservative, or whatever. Futhermore it's not exactly symmetrical. My experience is that a "liberal" seminary will be more open to conservative minded students than a "conservative" seminary will be to liberal thinkers. That makes sense if "liberal" means "open-minded". A traditionalist will be challenged to justify his/her beliefs, to be sure, but that's the nature of critical thinking.

Ken Schenck said...

Good point. Certainly Duke will never be the Wesleyan seminary (especially at one Wesleyan a year :-)

But I personally think it deepens our denomination to have that one or two every year or so go through their program (assuming we can get them to come back!). It's more academically rigorous than what our normal options offer and keeps us from the myopia that can happen when everyone goes to the same place and has all the same thinkers and practioners around them.

Keith Drury said...

This good showing at Duke (and one of them also got into Princeton, I should mention) is a credit to the activist ministry orientation of IWU--this is what Duke and Princeton type schools now seek, BUT it is also the solid scholarly teaching (and bunches of independent research mentoring) that you and Chris Bounds, and Dave Smith and others have done with these students. So Kudos to you guys too! [And, yes, the 4th one IS a Wesleyan]

Kevin Wright said...

I'm excited to hear about 4 IWU-ers getting accepted to Duke. I only wish that more of them were Wesleyan, for selfish reasons obviously. However, I'm excited for them and agree that the IWU faculty deserve credit for producing such qualified students.

Mark Schnell said...

I don't know if your list is for undergrads only but I was also accepted at Duke for the 2006 academic year but deferred till 2007. Although, I'll actually be attending Gordon Conwell, online for this year, then moving my family out to the Boston area for this coming fall.

I am coming out of the IWU grad program though, rather than the undergrad. For me the grad program served as kind of an junior college type experience. After an attrocious undergrad showing at IWU (barely graduated) I was accepted into the grad program under conditional status. I did well and was accepted at Duke. I agree with Keith about the ministry focus being a huge factor for me being accepted. I am also coming out of 15 years in the local church. I think that also made a difference for me. I wouldn't call the IWU grad program a "feeder system" for schools like Duke necessarily but for me it was a springboard.

I agree with all the good things that Ken said about Duke. I was VERY impressed when I went to visit. They are not about ivory tower academics (though they are as good as anyone in that department) but they focus on the church and reaching the world for Christ. And they put IWU to shame with the amount of John Wesley statues and quotes all over campus. ;-)

Mark Schnell said...

BTW, for those that don't know me I'm a Wesleyan and plan to remain one regardless of where my academic journey takes me. I'm keeping Duke in mind for a Thm or doctorate work down the road.

S.I. said...

I think IWUers should flood New Jersey.

Seriously, if we had more of the ministry minded willing to reach out to the jaded Jersians, hurt people would find Jesus faster than they already are!

There's my official plug for IWUers choosing to live here.

Ken Schenck said...

I now know of two IWU students accepted at Princeton Divinity School for next year.

Mike Cline said...

All these students are going liberal. I'll pray for them :)

Princeton? I know the Duke students...I'm still waiting from Princeton. hmm...You have my curiosity peaked.

Mike Cline said...

Just stumbled on this from a few years ago and was curious how many of us chose to go to Duke after all. Do you know?