As part of our BCC vision, we want to point you to the best of the best in robust, relational biblical counseling. Each week we’re posting (and then making available as an ongoing resource) interviews with churches, para-church groups, educational institutions, and individuals committed to biblical counseling.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Biblical Counseling Department
This week we highlight the biblical counseling department at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. To learn more about their biblical counseling program, we interviewed Professor Heath Lambert.
BCC: “Professor Lambert, please tell our readers about the degrees you offer in biblical counseling.”
SBTS: “Students attending Southern can get almost any counseling degree it is possible to earn. We have a Bachelor of Science in Counseling (from our undergraduate institution, Boyce College), a Master of Divinity (M.Div.), a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (MABC), a Master of Theology (Th.M.), a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.), and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).”
BCC: “Please tell our readers about your program’s mission and vision. What makes your degree program(s) unique?”
SBTS: “At Southern we are passionate about training men and women to use the graces of Christ as they counsel hurting and struggling people. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are a sure and sufficient guide for this work. Counseling students have the benefit of receiving training not only in counseling, but of benefiting from one of the finest theological faculties in the world. Biblical counseling majors at Southern will study theology, church history, biblical theology, and biblical studies from some of the finest scholars alive. It is this pairing of biblical counseling studies with the best of the best in the other disciplines that makes Southern stand out.”
BCC: “Who is your target audience or ideal student? Are your programs primarily for senior pastors, associate pastors, lay people, biblical counselors, all, others?”
SBTS: “We have all kinds of students. Many students are pursuing pastoral ministry positions as a senior, associate, or counseling pastor. Others are pursuing training as missionaries. Some want to work in counseling centers. Our ideal student is anyone who desires to use the Scriptures to learn how to have conversations that are wise and loving with troubled people.”
BCC: “How many new students do you accept each year?”
SBTS: “This depends. For our undergraduate, masters degree, and doctor of ministry programs we accept any qualified applicant. Admission to the master of theology, and doctor of philosophy programs is much more competitive.”
BCC: “How many courses are required?”
SBTS: “This depends as well. Our undergraduate program is 125 hours. The M.A. is 51 hours. The M.Div. is 88-96 hours depending on language requirements for individual students. The Th.M. is 26 hours. A D.Min. is 32 hours. The Ph.D. is 66 hours.”
BCC: “How many Bible/theology/hermeneutic classes do you require?”
SBTS: “Because of the breadth of degree programs we offer at Southern the answer to this question also depends. The short answer is that every degree program at Southern requires courses in all of the classic theological disciplines. There is no way to study counseling at Southern without a full complement of all such courses. This is on purpose. At Southern we believe the practice of counseling rests upon a robust understanding of Christian theology and faithful Bible interpretation.”
BCC: “What model(s) of instruction do you use: traditional (15 weeks/one class per week), modular (one week block classes), online, all/blended?”
SBTS: “We have it all. There are traditional classes that meet through the semester in classrooms, modular classes that meet for an entire week, and classes that meet over the internet.”
BCC: “Is your program accredited, and if so, by which agencies?”
SBTS: “Southern is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.”
BCC: “Could you summarize the primary costs associated with your program? What financial aid do you have available?”
SBTS: “A short answer is impossible here. Costs vary by program, how long it takes a student to complete the work, and whether or not a student is a Southern Baptist. Southern offers and accepts various kinds of financial aid, but does not accept any form of federal aid for any program.”
BCC: “How do you envision your graduates using their degrees? In what types of ministries are your graduates already serving?”
SBTS: “Whether our graduates are professors at institutions of higher learning, pastoring local churches, working in counseling centers, serving as counseling pastors, youth ministry leaders, directors of women’s ministry, overseas missionaries, or stay-at-home moms (we have graduates serving in all these roles) we want graduates who are equipped to point people to Christ in the midst of their problems in living no matter how extreme.”
BCC: “Share a little bit about your director/chair and about your faculty.”
SBTS: “Dr. Stuart Scott is the Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling. He brings over 30 years of counseling experience to Southern Seminary. He is the author of The Exemplary Husband (among other books) and has spent most of his life serving local churches. Dr. Scott teaches courses in the masters and doctor of ministry programs.
Dr. Jeremy Pierre is the Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling. In addition to his role at the seminary, Dr. Pierre serves as a counseling pastor at Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville. He teaches courses in the masters and doctor of philosophy program.
Dr. Heath Lambert is the Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling and the Associate Dean of Applied Studies at Boyce College. He serves as the pastor of biblical living at Crossing Church and is the author of The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams (Crossway). Dr. Lambert teaches courses at the bachelors, masters, and doctoral level.
Dr. Eric Johnson is the Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Professor of Pastoral Care. He is the author of Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal (IVP), and teaches courses at the masters and doctoral level.”
BCC: “Could you share a brief testimony from one or more of your current students or graduates?”
SBTS: “Studying Biblical Counseling at Southern Seminary has been a time of deep growth for me, both intellectually and spiritually. Classes are rigorous, thorough, and deep. Yet not to the detriment of spiritual fervor. A high emphasis is put on the value of spiritual disciplines, and the utter need of prayer and daily interaction with God’s Word. The lectures and discussions I have experienced over the past three years at Southern have combined an amazing balance of high standards in academics with equally high standards concerning the importance of spiritual growth. The program has been designed in such a way that studies in theology, hermeneutics, and counseling are taken congruently and the result is an extremely thorough and well rounded training in understanding the theory and practice of doing personal ministry of the Word. The program, classes, and professors have made an impact on me for life and have transformed the way I perceive and understand life as a Believer. There are many truths that have been soundly implanted into my mind during my studies in Biblical Counseling at Southern, but three of the most precious of these realities are, that scripture really is sufficient for life and godliness, that God’s Word truly heals and transforms people’s lives, and that all believers need personal ministry of the Word. The times of lectures, the engaging discussion, the varied reading, and the hours of writing research papers have all been disciplines that have caused my mind and heart to grow in unprecedented ways. I am ever grateful and indebted to Southern for the training I have received and plan on pursuing further studies in biblical counseling at Southern” (Amber Walsh, completing her studies in the B.S. program).
BCC: “How can people contact the seminary?”
BCC: “Professor Lambert, thank you for helping our readers to learn more about the biblical counseling department at Southern.”