BCC Staff: As part of our BCC vision, we want to point you to the best of the best in robust, relational, biblical counseling. Periodically 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. You can find links to all of our interviews here.
Virginia Beach Theological Seminary
Today we’re pleased to connect with Dr. Jim Newcomer of Virginia Beach Theological Seminary in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
BCC: “Dr. Newcomer, please tell our readers about the degree(s) you offer in biblical counseling?”
JN: “We offer the M.Div. (96 credits), Th.M. (30 credits beyond the M.Div.), MBS (Master of Biblical Studies; 36 credits), and the MBSC (Master of Biblical Studies—Chaplaincy; 72 hours). We currently offer 5 biblical counseling classes which may be applied to any of our degree programs. Many students who desire training in biblical counseling in particular enroll in the MBS program where 15 of the 36 hours are electives. In addition to using their electives on biblical counseling classes, the student receives a hearty diet of systematic theology and hermeneutics.”
BCC: “Who is your target audience or ideal student? Are your programs primarily for senior pastors, associate pastors, lay people, biblical counselors, all, others?”
JN: “The M.Div. is the seminary’s flagship degree designed for preparing the student for a ministry of the Word. The M.Div. curriculum is constructed and sequenced to develop within the student theological soundness along with appropriate affections for God, His people, and those without Christ. The M.Div. includes 96 hours of course work in the biblical languages, theology, biblical content, and pastoral ministry. Upon completion of the M.Div., the student will have the biblical, theological, and exegetical skills necessary for credible ministry to the body of Christ in the 21st century.
The MBS is an academic graduate degree intended to train a student in biblical content, systematic and historical theology, missions, and evangelism. The MBS is designed to develop within the student theological soundness along with appropriate affections for God, His people, and those without Christ. The goal of the MBS is to prepare servant-leaders for an effective support role in the local church and in the work of missions. Many who desire a biblical counseling degree to support the counseling ministry of the local church choose the MBS.”
BCC: “What are the names of some of your core biblical counseling courses?”
JN: “Introduction to Biblical Counseling, Issues in Biblical Counseling, Biblical Counseling for the Home, Counseling as a Local Church Ministry, and Directed Studies in Biblical Counseling.”
BCC: “What model(s) of instruction do you use: traditional (15 weeks/one class per week), modular (one week block classes), online, all/blended?”
JN: “We offer traditional (15 weeks resident), modular (1-2 and 8 week block classes), and online courses. The MBS degree can be completed entirely online if desired.”
BCC: “Is your program accredited, and if so, by which agencies?”
JN: “Virginia Beach Theological Seminary is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) [PO Box 328, Forest, VA 24551; Telephone: 434.525.9539; email [email protected]] having been awarded Reaffirmed Status as a Category III institution by TRACS’ Accreditation Commission on April 3, 2012 ; this status is effective for a period of ten years. TRACS is recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).”
BCC: “Please tell our readers about your program’s mission and vision. What makes your degree program(s) unique?”
JN: “Virginia Beach Theological Seminary was birthed by Colonial Baptist Church in 1996. The church’s mission is ‘Displaying God’s glory by making disciples through the gospel of grace.’ The church defines itself by the pursuit of 5 Grace Essentials: Text, Community, Worship, Ministry, and Mission. It is in the context of this thriving local church that VBTS operates. It is a local church-based graduate school. It is the educational objective of the seminary to contribute positively to the larger body of Christ through the preparation of humble servant-scholars who can rightly divide the authoritative, infallible, inerrant Word of God, and passionately articulate the gospel of the grace of God.”
BCC: “Jim, what is your program’s succinct definition of biblical counseling?”
JN: “Biblical counseling is the conviction that the Canon of Scripture is absolutely sufficient to address any spiritual need in any person in any generation without exception (2 Timothy 3:15-17).”
BCC: “How do you envision your graduates using their degrees? In what types of ministries are your graduates already serving?”
JN: “Our graduates are serving as pastors, college and graduate school professors, conference speakers, youth pastors, assistant/associate pastors, rescue mission counselors, Bible college administrators, Christian camp leadership, and local church biblical counselors.”
BCC: “Share a little bit about your biblical counseling faculty.”
JN: “Dr. Jim Newcomer—Dr. Newcomer has been the Professor of Biblical Counseling and Pastoral Theology since 2005. He holds a BA (Bob Jones University), MA (Bob Jones University), and D.Min. (Northland International University). He also serves as Executive Pastor at Colonial Baptist Church in Virginia Beach. Prior to coming to VBTS, Dr. Newcomer served five years as senior pastor of Twin City Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and six years as youth pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Newcomer has led seminars and taught modules across the United States and around the world. He has taught biblical counseling as faculty adjunct at numerous schools. He has authored the book Help! I Can’t Forgive (Day One, 2012). For more information, see his faculty bio here.
Dr. Roger DePriest—Dr. DePriest is a Level 2 certified ACBC counselor. He is also the founder and director of Grace Biblical Counseling Ministries. He holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (New Testament) from Baptist Bible Seminary (Clarks Summit, PA), an M.A. in Theological Studies from Talbot Theological Seminary (La Mirada, CA), and a B.A. in Psychology from Cedarville College (Cedarville, OH). He has been in full-time ministry for over 30 years, serving 20+ years in pastoral ministry (first as a youth pastor and then as a pastor/church-planter), and for the past 12+ years in jail and prison ministry (first as Chaplain and then as Regional Director). Throughout his professional years, he has carried on an active counseling ministry, pulpit ministry during his work with jail and prison ministry, as well as serving as interim pastor multiple times. He also serves as adjunct faculty Baptist Bible College (Clarks Summit, PA), and Grace Bible College (Grand Rapids, MI).”
BCC: “Could you share a testimony from one of your current students or graduates?”
JN: “From Lori, a current MBS student: ‘When I decided to go to seminary, I had one goal in mind: learn everything I could about Jesus in order to 1) intelligently share the gospel with confidence and 2) provide counsel to those that may be going through difficult times as I had, before I became born again. In a culture that blames people’s problems on anything and everything imaginable, the real truth, as I learned in biblical counseling, is it originates with sin. I learned to trace conflicts or problems to their origin, to find the cause, which is normally rooted in sin.
Once identified, the sin can be addressed and overcome through putting off the ‘old’ self, and putting on the ‘new’ self. This allows the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to regenerate us into the image and likeness of Christ. Society puts hope in ‘medication’ or ‘fulfilling personal desires’ as the solution to overcome conflict, addictions, and mental disorders. However, ‘societal cures’ are more synonymous with putting a bandaid on a bullet wound, vice applying a Biblical cure.
The various courses VBTS offers in biblical counseling: Introduction to Biblical Counseling, Issues in Biblical Counseling, Biblical Counseling for the Home, Medical and Legal Issues in Counseling, etc., are a few of the electives I have chosen, and recommend, toward the MBS degree. The course reading material and assignments have proven extremely practical. I have been able to apply all the lessons to situations in my personal, spiritual, social, and professional life. Moreover, the study is richly rewarding, not only in growing your knowledge and relationship with Christ, but in becoming a better disciple for Christ.’”
BCC: “How can people contact you and learn more about your school?”
JN: “People can connect with our school at:
Email: [email protected]
Virginia Beach Theological Seminary
2221 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
BCC: “Thank you, Dr. Newcomer, for your ministry leadership at Virginia Beach Theological Seminary and for introducing our readers to your school.”