Mark Dever on the PhD and the Pulpit: “On Having a Doctorate in the Pastorate”

Should a pastor have a PhD? Is it helpful? Is it necessary? Mark Dever spoke on the assigned topic: “Why a PhD is Needed in the Pulpit” (mp3) but changed the title to “On Having a Doctorate in the Pastorate.” I outlined his brief remarks below and included some quotes from the questions and answers segment I found helpful.

Here’s the archive description: “Opening remarks and question/answer session conducted at the Feb. 27, 2002 meeting of the Graduate Club in the President’s Reception Room, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.”
Five Reasons a PhD May be Helpful for Pastoral Ministry

  • It may be helpful for the matter of what you study. If you pick something you’re edified by it can assist and help your ministry.
  • It may be helpful from the very form of the studies. Doctoral studies should improve your ability to research and at best your ability to think.
  • It may be helpful for the ministry you have while you’re in your doctoral studies.
  • It may be helpful for the connections you make through your studies. Consider the community and relationships you’ll build which may serve your ministry in the future.
  • It may be helpful for the credibility you may have with non-Christians and carnal Christians and Christians you don’t know very well.

A PhD is Certainly Unnecessary for Pastoral Ministry

  • Great learning can be ill-used.
  • You can become prideful.
  • You can do people little good – you may speak above people’s comprehension.
  • Little learning can be well-used
  • John Owen on John Bunyan – “If I could possess that tinker’s abilities for preaching I would most gladly relinquish all my learning.”

Conclusion: “Involvement in a good church is unquestionably far more helpful in the pastorate than a doctorate. But a doctorate can be useful in the pastorate. To say less would be misleading, but to say more, any more, would be false.”

For more of this post see Slavepj.com

I now blog at gospelize.me

Should a pastor have a PhD? Is it helpful? Is it necessary? Mark Dever spoke on the assigned topic: “Why a PhD is Needed in the Pulpit” (mp3) but changed the title to “On Having a Doctorate in the Pastorate.” I outlined his brief remarks below and included some quotes from the questions and answers segment I found helpful.

Here’s the archive description: “Opening remarks and question/answer session conducted at the Feb. 27, 2002 meeting of the Graduate Club in the President’s Reception Room, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Five Reasons a PhD May be Helpful for Pastoral Ministry

  1. It may be helpful for the matter of what you study. If you pick something you’re edified by it can assist and help your ministry.
  2. It may be helpful from the very form of the studies. Doctoral studies should improve your ability to research and at…

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