Theological PhD’s and the Local Church

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As I am crossing the halfway point of my seminary career (just 3 more semesters after this one), I am beginning to think more and more about where I want to pursue my PhD and in what field. I entered into seminary with the mindset that I was going to go straight through and pursue my PhD after my MDiv, so whether or not I’m going to pursue it isn’t the question, but where and in what are the issues.

With that said, I came across this very interesting post yesterday about the job market decline for PhD recipients in general, and especially in the field of Theology. The article, “More Bad News in the Ph.D. Job Market,” notes the following points about the Association of Theological Schools:

  1. Enrollment at theological schools has declined steadily since 2006
  2. Theological schools are hiring half the new faculty they were two years ago

In an article written in response to Cortez, Brian LePort seeks to answer, or pose, the question of whether or not this is good for the local church.

Good points are made on both sides. On the one hand, you will have more educated, disciplined men in the pastorate as a result of less and less full-time teaching jobs coming available. However, a good counter to this point is whether it is a good thing that men are entering into the pastorate as a “back-up plan” because they couldn’t find a teaching job at any institutions.

You can see more in LePort’s article on the specific arguments made for each case, as well as some other insightful points about how this could impact our local churches in the future.

What do you think? Do you think that this declining market in academia will serve to be a good thing for the local church?

  1. Posted by Brent Cantrell
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