Thursday, 8 October 2015

The purpose of our Teacher of Theology ordination-degree Th.D.O.M. program is to recognize and describe the ministry of the graduate (the office of the doctor) as stated in Ephesians 4:11.

Douay-Rheims Bible (DRB) - Ephesians 4:11.
And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors,

In John Calvin's Ordonnances ecclésiastiques (Ecclesiastical Ordinances) of 1541 it is stated, "the office proper to doctors is the instruction of the faithful in true doctrine, in order that the purity of the Gospel be not corrupted either by ignorance or by evil opinions",

The word "doctors" in Ephesians 4:11 (DRB) is a translation of the Greek word "didaskalos" which mean "teachers". All ministerial offices mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 (DRB) and elsewhere in English Bible translations are directly translated from the Greek and Latin. However, the same method is not applied in most English bible translations for the office of the doctor where it is often translated as "teacher" [which is not a biblical term] but a contemporary one.  

The word "doctor" has traditionally been used in the King James Bible (KJV) to translate the same Greek word "didaskalos", to connote an authoritative religious teacher (Luke 2:46, Luke 5:17, Acts 5:34). 

Luke 2:46
And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 

Luke 5:17

And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 

Acts 5:34 

Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; 

Thus an ordained Teacher of Theology (Th.D.O.M.) should more properly be referred to as a Ministerial-Doctor of Theology to connote the authority, 
level of learning, seriousness (Proverbs 1:7) and sacredness of the subject matter (Revelations 19:13, 2 Timothy 3:16) and weight that the "office" carries.  

However, because of the connotation of the word "doctor" in contemporary times both in secular and religious academic circles the word would refer to an academic doctorate or even an honorary one. Thus, SBU Theological Seminary has chosen to use the term "Teacher of Theology" instead to describe the ordination-degree of the graduate.

This is so it can clearly be understood that the Teacher of Theology ordination-degree Th.D.O.M. (may not be equivalent to an academic doctorate nor is it an honorary degree) is a ministerial-doctorate in the true sense of the word which is an ordination, recognition and description of the office of the ministry in the Church - the Teacher. (NB: The Th.D.O.M will automatically be converted into a masters degree with a specialization in the ministry of the Teacher if the graduate is no longer in ministry).   

Although it is acceptable and normative especially in Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian circles for religious leaders with earned doctorates or even only with honorary doctorates from any seminary to be addressed as Doctor (Dr.), SBU Theological Seminary discourages the use of such titles in the Church based on those degrees as it not only undermines the sacredness of the ministry of the Teacher (aka Doctor) but is in fact a violation of the command given by Jesus Christ himself.                                                                         
Matthew 23:8-10 (1560 Geneva Bible) But be not ye called, Rabbi, for one is your doctor, to wit, Christ, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth; for there is but one, your Father which is in heaven. Be not called doctors; for one is your doctor even Christ.

Thus, the custom at SBU is for graduates at all levels to be addressed as Brother (Br.), Sister (Sr.) and to use the post-nominal letters O.M. (Ordained Minister). 

SBU Theological Seminary stands on the principle that only when it is necessary should a
minister who sits in the office of the Teacher be addressed as a Ministerial-Doctor of Theology (not as a title but as a reference to the office) to connote the authority, level of learning, to convey the seriousness and sacredness of the ministry, to instill respect for the Scriptures (Revelations 19:13, 2 Timothy 3:16) and to convey the weight that the office carries but most of all to instill the fear of God (Proverbs 1:7) in the hearts and minds of the congregants. 

The Abstract of Principles

The 1689 Baptist Confession for the 21st Century

Founders Ministries

Reformed Baptists


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