Blog Interview – Dr Graham McFarlane – London School of Theology

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at London School of Theology [LST]

I am the Vice-Principal: Academic and Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology at LST, and serve on the senior leadership team. I am responsible for directing the efforts of our excellent and internationally renowned faculty, developing partnerships with other international organisations, and for providing theological leadership.

2) Tell us a little about LST.

The London Bible College was founded in 1943 by a group of ministers, missionaries and business people with a vision for an interdenominational, evangelical college. Full-time students began studying in 1946 and in 1970 the College moved to Northwood, becoming the London School of Theology in 2004. Currently, LST has over 900 students on undergraduate, postgraduate, PhD and distance-learning programmes studying a range of certificate, diploma and degree courses in Biblical Theology, Music & Worship, and Christian Counselling.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

Courses at LST can be undertaken flexibly, full or part-time.

4) How do LST’s students fund their studies?

 

Undergraduate students are eligible for UK government student loans towards fees and living costs. US students are able to acquire Sallie Mae loans towards their studies. Many of our students are not in receipt of student loans and fund their studies through savings, fundraising, family and church support. LST also has bursary funds at its disposal and in 12/13, distributed £156,354 worth of bursaries to 78 students.

5) Does LST take students from overseas?

Many of LST’s students are from overseas – typically around 23% of our undergraduates and 58% of postgraduates are international students. The School has highly trusted sponsor status with the UK Borders Agency and is fully licenced to accept Tier 4 Visa students. In addition, we hope to be accredited with the European Union’s Erasmus programme, enabling greater student exchanges across the EU.

6) What type of ministry is LST intended to prepare students for?

 

Studying at LST prepares students for a diverse range of vocations. Our theological training is evangelical, interdenominational and spiritual, yet highly academic, enabling students to become Church leaders or undertake denominational training, as well as to pursue professional roles in other areas. Degrees in Theology, Music and Worship and Christian Counselling, allow students to explore specific gifts and callings in these areas whilst LST’s Training Department facilitates placements at various organisations, Churches and charities to provide students with vocational experience.

7) When students leave LST what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

LST graduates are involved across virtually all areas of Christian ministry including youth work, overseas mission, worship pastoring, and Church leadership as well as in law, international development, academia, journalism and politics. LST alumni include Ruth Valerio, author of ‘L Is For Lifestyle’, Joel Edwards, Director of the Micah Challenge and Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance. Many of our students also continue studying after to undertake research Masters and PhD’s.

8) What is distinctive about what LST offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

LST uniquely combines a Christ-centred, pastoral, community with courses that represent evangelical, Bible-based theology and high academic standards. Our faculty (and indeed, our students) represent a broad range of denominations and theological viewpoints, creating an exciting environment of discussion, debate and joint understanding that truly prepares individuals for ‘doing’ theology in the modern world. We also host internationally renowned speakers including Dr. Timothy Tennent, Shane Claiborne, and Heidi Baker at our Laing Lecture and Deo Gloria Lecture.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

LST’s library is housed in the former chapel, holds over 50,000 volumes and over 200 periodical titles a year, and is recognised as one of the best specialist theological libraries in the UK. Subscription to the EBSCO Religion & Philosophy Collection™ provides full-text access to articles published in nearly 300 peer-reviewed academic journals.

10) Does LST offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.

LST offers a distance learning Theology Certificate, Diploma, BA and MA degree and will shortly launch a new MA in Integrative Theology, with seven unique exit points in Social Justice, Theology & Arts, Public Leadership, Worship Studies, Old Testament, New Testament, and Systematic Theology. Students will be able to study this programme residentially, entirely online via a Virtual Learning Environment, or via a combination of both.

My thanks to Dr McFarlane for taking part in their interview series. London School of Theology’s journal, Vox Evangelica is available online <<HERE>>.

Blog Interview – Dr John Frame – Reformed Theological Seminary

logo 1) Please introduce yourself and your role at RTS.

john-frame John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL.

2) Tell us a little about RTS.

RTS was started in 1966, in Jackson, MS., to train students for ministry. The school is committed to the authority of Scripture and the Reformed understanding of the Scriptures as found in documents like the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Today RTS has campuses in Jackson, Orlando, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Washington, DC, Houston, TX, and Memphis, TN. We offer programs of study leading to the M. Div. degree, M. A. degrees in several fields, and D. Min.. We also have a program in counselling. Currently, there are 974 students enrolled for academic credit.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

Our students are able to take our degree programs on either a full-time or a part-time basis.  20% of our students are considered full-time (12+ semester hours).

4) How do RTS students fund their studies?

 

The ideal scenario is for the student, their church, and RTS to each cover 33% of tuition.  Most students get some form of financial assistance from RTS and have to work to pay their living expenses.

5) Does RTS take students from overseas?

Yes, many of our students come from outside the United States and currently there are 67 international students from all over the world.

6) What type of ministry is RTS intended to prepare students for?

RTS seeks to prepare all their students with a solid foundation in the Scriptures, the Reformed faith, and Missional mind-set in order to equip them to serve Christ wherever He would call them.

7) When students leave, what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into?

Most of RTS graduates go into vocational ministry that include pastoral, missions, counselling, chaplains, college/university ministries, and various para-church ministries.

8) What is distinctive about what RTS offers compared with other colleges in the US and overseas?

(1) Our commitment to Reformed theology and biblical inerrancy. (2) The high quality of scholarship on the faculty. (3) The diversity of our student body and seminary locations.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

The Orlando library houses over 80,000 titles and another 100,000 in microform. In addition the resources of the other RTS libraries are easily accessible to RTS students, and there are a growing numbers of full-text electronic resources in biblical studies and theology that RTS students have access to.  In sum, the library fully supports the seminary’s MDiv curriculum, and it provides ways for faculty and students to conduct research beyond the curriculum.

10) Does RTS offer a distance or on-line learning option?

Yes. It is possible to earn three degrees from our Global Campus: the MABS, MATS, and the MAR (currently 455 students enrolled).  Many residential students take some classes through our Distance Education (currently 12%).  RTS-Orlando offers a Distance M.Div. for students who cannot move to campus.  This program allows a student to take up to 67% online and they can fulfil the 33% residential requirement via week-long intensives.

My thanks to Professor Frame for taking part in this series.

Blog Interview – Dr Stafford Carson – Union Theological College, Belfast

logo 1. Please introduce yourself and your role at Union Theological College.
Carson, Stafford My name is Stafford Carson. I am the Principal and Professor of Ministry at Union Theological College.

2. Tell us a little about Union Theological College.

Union Theological College is the denominational college of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and a constituent college of the Institute of Theology at Queen’s University, Belfast. We have 240 students enrolled in both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. Thirty-nine of our students are in training for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. We offer the Bachelor of Divinity degree, Bachelor of Theology, Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy degrees plus Graduate Diploma in Ministry and Diploma/Certificate in Youth Ministry.

3. Are the courses full time, part time or a mixture of both?

A mixture of part time and full time.

4. How do Union Theological College students fund their studies?
Through the Student Loan Company and through the Students’ Bursary Fund of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

5. Does Union Theological College take student from overseas?

Yes.

6. What type of ministry is Union Theological College intended to prepare students for?

 

We prepare students for the ordained ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and many of our students use their theological education for a variety of careers in education, church-based ministry and community work.

7. When students leave Union Theological College what kind of ministries/jobs do they go into?

Ordained ministry of word and sacraments, youth ministry, community work.

8. What is distinctive about what Union Theological College offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

We are a distinctively reformed and Presbyterian college where all our faculty subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith and catechisms.

9. Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

Our library, the Gamble Library, has over 70,000 books and 20,000 pamphlets and takes over 70 journals and periodicals. It is by far the largest theological library in Northern Ireland.

10. Does Union Theological College offer a distance or on-line learning option. 

No.

My thanks to Revd Carson for taking part in this interview series.