Should Pastors Get Doctorates?
Dr. John Piper offers his take on this question over here. My experience was different than Piper’s. My doctoral research has definitely enriched my ministry. A big reason for that was that I was able to study with an institution that shared my values and confessional commitments. I highly recommend Reformation International Theological Seminary (RITS) to anyone looking for a doctoral program that’s both theologically rigorous and confessionally oriented. I recently became aware of another local Reformed pastor (of a NAPARC church) who is working on a doctorate with RITS. Some men you may have heard of with their doctoral degree from RITS: David Murray (professor at Puritan Reformed Seminary) and Robert Grossmann (formerly of Mid-America, now with Heidelberg Theological Seminary).
Following John Piper as much as I do I am not the least bit surprised that his diploma has not come out of the tube since 1974 and I don’t doubt it for a moment. He is a very unique pastor and many people benefit from his passion and insight of the gospel.
But I think it is easy for him to say it’s not important once he has the doctoral studies so far behind him. It would be impossible for him to now separate, even in his own mind, what his ministry would have been like over the past 30 years had he not had the doctoral studies completed. He may now have the perspective that it is not that significant but I think the people that follow him all over the world and his own congregation certainly benefit from it all the time. How can they not?
Wes, I think the same is true for you and will be true going forward. I think the value of your studies does enrich your ministry with your own congregation and even for this blog. For an average person like myself, I am very thankful that there are people as well read as you in our Reformed churches. So please keep sharing!