Studies & Degrees in Protestant Theology

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The study of Protestant Theology involves acquiring a deeper knowledge of the Protestant religion, mainly in the quest of being the head within the community. A degree in Protestant Theology offers two courses- the merely academic course or the parochial, theological course that will further lead to a profession in the clergy. This study will provide some perception of how Protestantism will blend in with the rest of the planet – today, in the past as well as in the future. The five biggest bodies of Protestants are Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian and Baptist.

A religious system like Protestantism gives important influence in the lives of many people and has a vital role in the foundation of countries and communities. Religions, particularly the Protestantism searches to give answers to huge questions about the existence of humans and its roles in their lives. It aims to give guidance and strength to a person and to connect communities in common rituals and beliefs which are pass from generation to generation.

Any individual who wish to have a Theology-related career, specifically with Protestant Theology must realize that they are not just picking a profession but a lifestyle as well.

Protestant Theology is inclined to give graduates with a broad knowledge of how Protestantism plays both in the cultural and personal aspect of the community. Educational prerequisites for access into the Protestant ministry greatly vary. A Bachelor of Arts degree in religion, theology or liberal arts might be needed for a future ministry member as groundwork for graduate programs. Actually, a religious background is never a requirement in order to start studies in Protestant religion. About three out of four ministry members have accomplished a bachelor’s degree course and a lot of denominations need a master’s degree in theology studies. Some denominations command students with different kinds of training from liberal arts colleges or religious colleges. You may ask your religious leader to know exactly the needed requirements.

Most candidates for Protestant clergy and minister possess a 4-year degree from a recognized university or college. They then get a Master of Arts degree and partake in theological seminars. If you choose to have a career in your ministry, your studies at the bachelor’s level could center more on subjects that may complete your knowledge base like English, philosophy, classic and arts.

Ordination in a religious institution will serve as a certification in case of clergy. The process of ordination, which differs by denominations will separate the Protestant Theology graduates from the laymen and make them give religious services and head congregations legitimately.

The Protestant movement or Protestantism started in Europe in the 16th century. From Europe it then spread to the American continents, Africa and the Asia Pacific Region. Today, there are about 800 million people worldwide following the Protestant faith. The Protestant community is composed of several thousands of denominations with some differing beliefs, practices and doctrines. The largest of these groups are the Baptist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist or Wesleyan and Presbyterian. Regardless, they all seek to strive to live and practice their Christian way of life.

Many schools and universities offer the study of Protestant Theology as a course. What is Protestant Theology? The word Protestant is derived from the Latin word “protestari” which means publicly declare. The word theology is derived from two Greek words, “theos” meaning God and “logos” which means theory. In general, Protestant Theology is the study of the Protestant faith and its religious practice.

Those who take Protestant Theology as course do so for various reasons. Some take this study out of academic interest; to have a better understanding of the doctrines and traditions of the Protestant faith. Most of those who take this course do so for religious reasons. The study of Protestant Theology can help Protestants understand and appreciate the beliefs and traditions of their religion. The study can also aid them when they start teaching and invite others to their religious community. Protestants knowledgeable in their own theology will be more able to defend or justify their religious faith. For those who wish to enter the clergy, the study is an excellent starting point as they further pursue their chosen career. Students who take this course will get to know the writings and teachings of distinguished Protestant writers and theologians. A student will get to know the history and evolution of this remarkable religious faith and learn the origins and basis of the Protestant beliefs, practices and doctrines and how it guides and influences Protestants in their day to day lives.

Many from the Protestant clergy and community leaders like ministers or pastors and those who aspire to be one take this course. Some Protestant denominations may actually require their minister or pastor to have some form of education in religion or theology. Members of the Protestant faith depend on their leaders for answers on questions of faith. So those of the clergy who are well versed in Protestant Theology are better equipped to guide and enlighten their church members. Although most of those who take this course are members or aspiring to be with the Protestant clergy, this study is not exclusive to them. Any person who is curios about the Protestant religion and would like to know more about their teachings and doctrines can take up a study in Protestant Theology.

Protestant Theology is more than an academic discipline. It is can also be viewed as form of professional training for the Protestant ministry. Many Protestant denominations now require those who wish to enter pastoral service such as ministers to be Protestant Theology degree holders.

Job positions for Protestant Theology :

Protestant Clergy

A religion such as Protestantism is an important influence in the lives of millions encourages many to join to strengthen their faith. A lot of denominations exist in Protestantism, with every group possessing special responsibilities and traditions given to its clergy.

A Protestant Clergy is a spiritual and religious leader, an interpreter and a teacher of his faith and tradition. Most clergy members serve in a platform. They lead and organize standard religious services and preside at special ceremonials such as weddings, funerals and confirmations. They might guide believers in prayers, oversee the sacraments, convey sermons and read from consecrated text like the Bible. When not performing veneration services, the clergy will lead, organize and supervise education programs for their worshippers. A Clergy may visit a sick person or a bereaved to give counsel and comfort to individuals who are searching for a moral or spiritual guidance or who have a personal problem. Also, a Clergy might work to extend the membership of their worshippers and ask donations to fund their facilities and activities.

A Clergy who will serve in a big congregation normally share their responsibilities with a junior clergy or an associate. A senior clergy might spend significant time on directorial obligations. They supervise the administration of edifices, deal for repairs and services, order supplies and administer the work of volunteers and staff. An assistant or associate clergy member sometimes concentrates in the field of religious services like education, music or youth guidance.
Other Clergy members serve their religious communities in manners that do not need them to have a position in their congregations. Some of the clergies may serve as a chaplain in the hospital or Armed Forces while others perform the tasks in social services groups and religious community.

Typically, a Clergy member works irregular hours and a lot of them work longer than the standard working days. A Clergy who does not function in a congregational setting might have further routine plans. Though, most of their works are deskbound and naturally logical, a clergy is often called on short notice to comfort the sick, console the dying and give guidance to those who need it. Participation in community, directorial and instructive actions sometimes requires clergies to work early mornings, evenings, weekends and holidays. Due to their duties as leaders on morality and spiritual issues, some clergy members normally feel obliged to tackle and determine both community problems as well as personal troubles of their worshippers.

Educational prerequisites for entry into clergy position greatly vary. Just the same with other professional jobs, about three out of four clergy members have attained a bachelor’s degree in Protestant Theology. Many denominations obliged that a bachelor’s degree and a professional-level program of Protestant Theology.

The annual wage of a Protestant Clergy depends on the size of the congregation he administers and how rich the members of the church are. But the estimated annual income of a clergy is $80,000 - $100,000.

Protestant Minister

A Protestant Minister guides individuals attending in worship and manages the different rites of their churches like baptism, confirmation and Holy Communion and presides at other events.

A Minster who serves in big congregations might share particular parts of the ministry with a single assistant/associate or more like a minister of music or a minister in education. Several small churches make use of a part-time minister who may be a student of a seminary, a secular job holder or a retired minister. Protestant denominational religious studies only accept students who have gained a bachelor’s degree or its counterpart from a recognized college. After finishing college, a lot of denominations need a three-year course of specialized study in a recognized seminary or school for the degree in Master of Divinity.

Competition is intense for positions serving big, town/city congregations. A Minister who is willing to be employed for small, pastoral congregation or for part-time might have better entry potentials. A recently ordained Protestant Minister who will not be able to find parish post could work in family relations, youth counseling and/or in social welfare groups, teach in a spiritual edifying institutions or work as a chaplain in hospitals, universities, correctional institutions an Armed Forces.

A person that is in the course of being ordained is at times called as “ordinands”, whereas the liturgy or rituals of ordination are called as the “ordinal”. Prior to the advent of Internet, studying at a seminary was normally required so as to become an ordained Protestant Minister.
Nowadays, one could easily become an ordained Protestant Minister by means of different websites, which give free ordination. For instance, the non-denominational ULC or the Universal Life Church of Modesto in California, USA advertises ordinations amid other products and permits a person to be an ordained minister for about $12.

Though the effectiveness of ordination online might be morally debatable, a person who has become minister by being ordained online could lawfully govern weddings and sign marriage contracts, just like other religious leader. Provided that the person who has become an ordained minister has superior reputation in his church, he is lawfully permitted to sanctify marriages in many states in the U.S.

There are several states in the U.S. that need more than just a mere Internet ordainment from a person who would like to execute religious rituals. States like Virginia, Oklahoma, Delaware, Louisiana and Arkansas need a person who has been ordained to present to the particular state a copy of his credential in addition to his address before performing any religious ceremony. Nevada, Ohio and Rhode Island all certify their state’s ministers, while Tennessee requires that the ordination should be “a calculated and conscientious act” and might completely prohibit a person who has become ordained through the online process.

According to the BLS of the United States, an estimated average salary of an ordained religious leader in the year 2007 is $43,720. Wages for a Protestant Minister differ depending on where he functions, what denomination does he belong, how many individuals attend the church and how rich the church members are. Some denomination will tie the pay of a minister to the standard pay of the community or the congregation, thus salaries would be considerably greater in bigger and wealthier congregations.