Saturday, January 14, 2023

Some Thoughts on Liberty University's Rawlings School of Divinity

If you are thinking about studying for an accredited Master of Divinity degree, it's likely you've done some internet searching already. Inevitably, this leads to ads showing up for you on Facebook and elsewhere, promoting various theological schools. One that will very likely come up for you in an ad (or ten!) is Liberty University's Rawlings School of Divinity. While it is currently an ATS accredited seminary, and charges a fairly reasonable block rate of $2,750 per semester, ULC ministers might find it especially tough to be admitted. 

In addition to the usual school transcripts and references, there is also a questionnaire that you will need to fill out. It asks for the church where you are a member in good standing, as well as for the pastor's name. It also lists several theological positions that you must affirm in order to be accepted. Given that ULC minister often hold to beliefs that are considered irregular to some degree by traditional Christianity, or else don't have membership in a local church, many of us will not be eligible for admission.  

That said, perhaps you are a ULC minister but also a very conservative evangelical Christian and also a member of a local church that is likewise conservative and evangelical. In that case it's entirely possible for you to fill out the application questionnaire with no problem. As I've indicated already, though, that would probably make you more of an exception to the general rule about us. We get ordained to officiate weddings for friends, or to start a wedding business, or even to start a church or ministry with some recognition. For those of us who take it in a professional direction, if we had local churches and denominations within which to pursue ministry, we probably would. Fortunately, the Universal Life Church offers us an alternative.

In terms of finding a good theological seminary that fits your budget and beliefs, I strongly recommend that you spend some time exploring the accredited seminaries listed on the ATS website. With so many options, and so many schools offering their coursework entirely online, you're sure to find something you like. 

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