I recently decided to make a change to my degree. Right now, I am in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The change will be to the Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies (MABTS) here at the same school. My wife and I took time to think and pray through the decision and think it would be best for where we are headed. It is interesting that I didn't know the degree existed until about a month ago.
Lord willing, I will go on to apply for PhD programs after finishing this degree. The dream would be to teach at the university or seminary level someday, but I am open to other options too. Ultimately, I want to lead others to discover and love the truth. I say "lead" not because I will ever know everything, but because I want to be headed towards truth my who life, and want to tell others to head that direction too. I say "discover" and "love" because we have to search for truth and know truth in order to love the truth. The truth is, of course, found in Jesus Christ, and loving him means obeying him too. Any occupation that would allow me to lead others in this discovery and love of truth in Christ sounds good to me. That may be teaching anywhere in the world, or working in an academic library, or editing books for a publishing company. If I get to be an aid to someone else's excitement in knowing truth and living accordingly, then I will be happy.
The MABTS degree is more suited for the goal and fits better with my passions. I love theology, church history, and am loving Greek as I take it! The new degree will allow me to take more classes in these areas, including Hebrew (which I haven't yet taken, so I am not sure yet how I will like it, but I am optimistic). These big circles of subjects are the areas I could potentially see myself studying for the rest of my life, and, teaching on some level. Deo volente.
In theology, I get to take things like the Theology of the Old and New Testaments (2 classes), Foundations in Theological Method, and Methods and Issues in Biblical Interpretation. I will also use the three theology electives allowed in the degree toward specific things like the History and Theology of the Reformation, and John Calvin's theology and legacy. Historical Theology is also required, which is specifically exciting. There are the handful of Greek and Hebrew courses to take as well. And at the end, there is a guided research paper I will write as a sort of "capstone" to the degree. It isn't a traditional, full "thesis", but will serve me well in research experience and in submitting applications for PhD programs down the line.
There is not a single class I am disappointed to take--I can't wait for each one! So the degree fits me a bit better. I am sad to miss out on the chunk of classes I will forfeit from the MDiv because there is a lot of good there. I may still audit some of those courses. But, in the end, the MABTS looks like the right choice.
I believe that God is sovereign, as the Bible teaches. It is crazy to think where my family was a year ago--moving in with some now dear friends in prep to move across the country--and where we are now. We never know the next step in our life, but the Lord is always leading, always aware of where he is taking us. A year ago, I would not of thought we would have a second baby on the way and be considering a change from the degree we initially moved out here for. Two years ago, I would have never thought we would be in North Carolina. But God knew and he has made it happen. And he has used it for our good.