Searching for a Seminary

Whether you aspire to full-time vocational ministry or to serve the Lord as a layperson, Cedarville provides an excellent foundation for ministry preparation. While Cedarville University does not offer a graduate program in biblical and theological studies, many of our graduates go on to pursue additional education and training at seminary. Here are some resources as you may consider seminary after graduating from Cedarville:

Why go to seminary?

  • The crucial nature of the task demands skilled laborers: "you will save yourself and the ones who hear you" (1 Tim 4:16).
  • Few college grads have developed their theology and ministerial skills sufficiently.
  • Some important, dare I say "essential," tools cannot be acquired sufficiently on the undergraduate level, e.g. languages.
  • Urgency and Preparation do not stand in opposition to one another: "Not many of you should presume to be teachers..." (James 3:1).

What degrees do they offer and what are they for?

M.A. (Master of Arts)

  • A one to two year program
  • Minimal core courses coupled with a narrow speciality in ministry or academics
  • Can suffice as a preparation for some doctoral programs
  • Can suffice for those heading into supporting roles within the church, eg. Youth Pastor or CE Director

M.Div. (Master of Divinity)

  • A classic 3 year degree
  • For those heading into ordained ministry as senior pastor/teaching elder
  • Core courses with additional courses reflecting institutional emphases and/or student interest

Th.M. (Master of Theology)

  • Combination of M.Div. with one additional year of study in a specialized area
  • Can involve a thesis
  • Serves as necessary prerequisite to some Seminary-based doctoral programs (e.g. Dallas Theological Seminary)

D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry)

  • A professional ministry degree providing advanced-level training in a particular field of service
  • Requires, mostly, an M.Div. or equivalent
  • Cumulative project differs from the Ph.D. in that it is geared toward practical enhancement of ministry

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

  • An academic degree for those intending to teach at the undergraduate or graduate level
  • The final project (thesis) is intended to further the knowledge in the particular field of study

Questions to ask to get beyond the surface:

  • What is the benchmark of your school (the one thing your school is known for)? Can you give me some example of individuals that you feel embody that benchmark?
  • How many new (non-repeat listings), paid full-time (not raising your own support) written ministry position requests (and from whom) does your school receive every month/year?
  • Does your school have an institutional or faculty position on current issues such as the Gender issue, Openness of God, etc.?
  • What are some of the ares in which your faculty has recently written/presented papers?
  • What is your faculty/student ratio? What is the size of your student body? What are the denominational demographics of your student body (e.g. 60% Southern Baptist, 20% Pentecostal, etc.)? Do you require your students to affirm the doctrinal position of your institution at graduation?

Things to look for in the catalog:

  • Is there a diversity in the experiential and academic background of the faculty (e.g. do they have their doctorates from a variety of institutions or are they all from one school)?
  • Do they articulate a concern to be culturally literate and engaged?
  • Pertaining to their doctrinal statements, how extensive are they? Do they go beyond broad "evangelical" commitments to a more defined niche within evangelicalism, e.g. in matters of eschatology, creation, salvation, polity, etc.? If they do, how do they approach the presentation of their positions on these topics? On what do they seem to put a particular emphasis?
  • How broad is their mission? This can be thought of along a number of lines. Do they think globally, nationally, or regionally? Are they deliberately ethnically diverse?
  • Do they intend to train the various types of "church workers," or do they focus primarily on pastors, academics, etc.?
  • Do they deliberately, structurally attempt to address the whole person? E.g. if you are/will be married, does the seminary make provisions to address the needs of your spouse and family as you go through your education?
  • Are they associated with a prominent person or organization such that you could learn something of their mentality toward and approach to ministry from an attention to that person or organization?
  • Do they articulate and vision for men and women, or primarily men?