In light of the rising number of students within Midwestern Seminary’s Doctor of Philosophy program and adding new faculty members who possess expertise in specific fields of study, the school announced the addition of two new Ph.D. emphases on Jan. 29.
Midwestern Seminary currently offers a Ph.D. in biblical studies, with available emphases in apologetics, ethics, historical theology, ministry, missiology, New Testament, Old Testament, preaching, and systematic theology. Now, the institution will offer biblical theology and biblical counseling emphases as well.
“The primary intention of our Ph.D. program is to equip students for vocations of teaching and research in theological schools, colleges, and universities or for the scholarly enhancement of ministerial practice,” said President Jason Allen. “Student interest in the fields of biblical theology and biblical counseling has increasingly grown, and with the election of Dr. Andreas Köstenberger and Dr. Dale Johnson, we have faculty members in place—with vast expertise in these areas—to provide excellence in scholarship that will prepare our students to a lifetime of serving well and faithfully for the church.”
Köstenberger, who was elected to Midwestern Seminary’s faculty as research professor of New Testament and biblical theology in April 2018, will oversee courses taught in the biblical theology emphasis.
Explaining this new emphasis, Köstenberger said, “The new Ph.D. emphasis on biblical theology at MBTS will be a unique program that promises to attract top-tier students from across the Southern Baptist and greater Evangelical world. It makes MBTS an even more desirable destination for doctoral studies.
“These students will be able to study in-depth the use of the Old Testament in the New and to engage in specialized study of biblical-theological connections between the Testaments. They will be able to explore major themes as they unfold progressively throughout the Scriptures, such as the Messiah, salvation, covenant, creation and new creation, or any number of other topics.”
Köstenberger added that the new biblical theology emphasis will help train preachers and teachers to competently preach and teach from both Testaments, which helps people see inner-biblical connections across the canon and to appreciate the beauty of God’s unfolding plan of redemption in Scripture.
Johnson, who was elected to the faculty as associate professor of biblical counseling in October 2018, will oversee the courses taught in the biblical counseling emphasis.
Of the biblical counseling emphasis, Johnson said, “The degree program will offer intimate study with astute scholars who are committed churchmen. We will be assembling a faculty to serve our Biblical Counseling Department who are respected in this field and who focus on counseling ministry for serving with the local church.”
He added that students will have an opportunity to accomplish academic research at the intersection of theology and anthropology. They will engage the modern theories of the therapeutic philosophies with biblical sufficiency, theological acumen, and practical application in a way that brings theology to life, mission to churches, and peace to hurting souls.
“We want the biblically- and theologically-saturated works of our students to guide the next generation of pastors as they lead their respective congregations to be the primary community for the care and cure of souls,” Johnson said.
He also noted that Midwestern Seminary’s biblical counseling emphasis will enable graduates, as Southern Baptists, to live out consistently their commitment to be people of the Bible. The degree is an intentional pursuit of consistent ministry of the Word of God both corporately, in preaching, and privately, in soul care so that churches may be edified and strengthened by God’s Spirit through His gracious revelation.
As with all other Ph.D. degree studies at Midwestern Seminary, students are required to complete the 16 hours of core seminars, then within each emphasis there are 24 hours of seminars. Students complete their degrees with comprehensive examinations and dissertation seminars.
New courses offered in the biblical theology emphasis and taught by Köstenberger are “Ancient Jewish & Greco Roman Literature,” and “Advanced Biblical Theology;” while new courses offered in the biblical counseling emphasis and taught by Johnson are “Biblical Counseling Theory and Practice,” “Historical & Theological Foundations of Biblical Counseling,” and “Advanced Marriage and Family Counseling.”
“The addition of these two, new Ph.D. emphases are Exhibit A of the “for the church” scholarship DNA that runs through all of our doctoral programs,” said Provost Jason Duesing. “I am grateful for the development and growth of our faculty and student body over the last six-plus years, which allows us to expand and continue to innovate with emphases like these.”