Monday, April 3, 2023

Rawlings School of Theology is Not for ULC Ministers

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If you are considering pursuing a Master of Divinity degree, it is important to carefully consider your options before choosing a school. One school that may come up in your search is Liberty University's John J. Rawlings School of Theology. However, before making any decisions, it is worth exploring some of the concerns raised about this institution.

First and foremost, it is important to note that Rawlings School of Theology is the largest seminary in the world, with an enrollment of over 94,000 students taking online classes and 15,000 students on campus. While this may seem impressive, it is important to consider the quality of education you will receive in such a large and busy institution. With an FTE of 86 and only 16 reported full-time faculty members, it is clear that most professors are part-time or adjunct. This lack of full-time faculty sets Rawlings School of Theology apart from traditional seminaries and raises questions about the quality of education you will receive.

Additionally, while Rawlings School of Theology is currently an ATS accredited seminary, it may be difficult for Universal Life Church ministers to be admitted due to the questionnaire that applicants are required to fill out. This questionnaire asks for the church where you are a member in good standing, as well as for the pastor's name, and also lists several theological positions that you must affirm in order to be accepted. Given that many ULC ministers hold beliefs that are considered irregular by traditional Christianity, or don't have membership in a local church, they may not be eligible for admission.

It is also worth noting that while SBC seminaries used to be the largest seminaries in America, only five of them have grown over the past 30 years, while one has experienced an 82% drop in enrollment in its M.Div. degree program. In contrast, other schools such as Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Central Baptist Theological Seminary have experienced significant growth over the past three decades. Additionally, several new schools have emerged, presenting students with new opportunities for theological education.

In conclusion, while Rawlings School of Theology may seem like an attractive option due to its size and relatively affordable block rate of $2,750 per semester, it is important to carefully consider the quality of education you will receive and whether you are eligible for admission. With so many options available, it is worth exploring other accredited seminaries listed on the ATS website to find a school that fits your budget and beliefs.

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