The first Ph.D. degree program with an emphasis in practical theology in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) is now offered at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The degree program, formally designated “Ph.D. in Theology and Culture,” will emphasize areas of study where these two disciplines intersect. Requirements will include courses in Christian anthropology and communication theory, though the shape of the program will be tailored to each student’s interest and needs. Applications are being received for the 2000-2001 academic year.
“The church needs additional ways to develop scholars to be future leaders, capable of applying fundamental practical theology with integrity to a confessional stance and with sensitivity to people in a specific context,” commented Dr. James W. Voelz, dean of Concordia Seminary’s graduate school. “Such pastors will bring critical thinking to the arena of practices which grow from current secular and religious questions. Their studies will teach them how to understand a concrete situation, how to select a practice based on biblical, historical and systematic theology, how to defend that practice critically, and how to identify means and strategies necessary for its implementation. Their dissertations will show that they are prepared to apply theology to contemporary practice.”
Candidates for the Ph.D. in Theology and Culture program are required to have an M.Div. degree with the level of competency in biblical languages expected of Concordia Seminary graduates. This differs from eligibility requirements for the other areas of concentration in the Ph.D. program at Concordia Seminary. “This is required because of the range of pastoral thinking that is brought to bear on an issue of a current clash between theology and culture, and the need to defend a resolution with all areas of theological study,” commented Voelz. “Less preparation seems to shortchange the thinking.”
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, offers the only Ph.D. degree program in the LCMS with emphases in various disciplines of theological study. For more information on the Ph.D. programs offered by Concordia Seminary, contact: Graduate School, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; 314.505.7103 (phone); 314.505.7003 (fax); firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail);
www.csl.edu (web site).