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Knox Seminary Programs – limited to men?

May 23, 2012

Theophrastus originally noticed and blogged about the fact that the Doctor of Ministry degree jointly offered by Knox Seminary and Logos Bible software might be limited to men, since this was phrase was found in the D. Min. program description on the Knox Seminary website.

I remarked off the cuff in a comment,

“That seems consistent with the view of the PCA that women cannot be preachers, elders or deacons, but can only serve as assistants to deacons.”

The phrase “limited to men” was subsequently removed from the page that Theophrastus linked to.

I then commented that another page – which I captured as a screen shot last week –  on the Knox Seminary site explained their policy in greater depth. It read,

“The Doctor of Ministry is a professional program for pastors, missionaries, and others actively engaged in ministry-related fields. Admission to the Doctor of Ministry program is limited to men. This admission policy derives from Knox’s commitment to operate according to the Holy Scriptures and the constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America, namely the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Catechisms, and the Book of Church Order.”

Was this simply a stray page from a previous version of the website? Did this apply last year and not this year? I did not download the entire site, nor did I save a site map, so I can’t say. However, going to their website today, I also noticed that another document seems to have been moved or removed, refering to the M. Div. program and its restrictions to men also. In some way, I could understand that. I could understand that they would be reluctant to train women for a position that a woman cannot hold. But restricting the D. Min. program to men seemed more like withholding academic expertise from women so they would not have access to the same exegetical tools that the men could have.

This disturbs me, in view of the fact that nobody has ever proffered lexical evidence that the word in 1 Tim. 2:12 so often translated as “to have authority” actually means that, rather than meaning “to lord it over” as is suggested by the way in which it was translated by Jerome. I simply don’t think that there is a Bible verse which states in so many words in Greek that women cannot possess authority, whether academic or spiritual. So, no, I don’t think that it is necessary to restrict doctoral level studies to men only in order to operate in accordance with the Holy Scriptures. But maybe this is all last year’s policy …

And, if this program is now open to women, then I am happy for that.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ann permalink
    December 10, 2012 5:15 pm

    The Knox and Logos program is open to men and women. We have women currently enrolled.

  2. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 10, 2012 5:52 pm


    Thanks for this comment. I hope that the women will have a level playing field when it comes to employment. Education is so expensive these days.

  3. Chrysostom permalink
    December 11, 2012 4:52 am

    And a Piled Higher and Deeper is just about the best way to insure one can not find a job, as I have found. (I’m studying for the priesthood, but good luck finding a job to help; thank God the Church subsidizes seminarians.) It’s a way to pay tens of thousands of dollars to unlock the wisdom of the ages, and make sure that you can’t afford to do anything with it!

    As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’m a complementarian (in accordance with Catholic magisterial teaching), but women should be allowed to learn whatever they like; there are denominations that have women pastors and priestesses, so why can they not learn their trade at the school of a different denomination, as I have learned some theology at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, even though I am a Catholic? they did not expect me to seek ordination in an Orthodox Church from the mere fact that I was studying at a denominational school. Much as we had, at the Josephinum, several Orthodox studying – not only Orthodox, but married Orthodox – who, even if they wished, could be ordained in the Catholic Church no more than a woman could, but were not seeking Catholic ordination; they were seeking a bit of Catholic or ecumenical education with the goal of ordination in an Orthodox Church.

    Unless the purpose of the program is solely to train persons for practical ministry in the “real world” in a practical manner – much like a trade school for pastors – it should be open to women as well; if the sole purpose of it is to prepare men for ministry in a denomination that – and here, I agree with PCA, follows the Bible and tradition on this matter – does not allow the ordination of women, then the “men only” policy is, to my eyes, justified. (As it is when the Catholic Church subsidizes my education in Catholic seminaries, with the promise that I will receive ordination, if capable, and become a priest, either regular or secular.)

    When the focus is on academic skills and knowledge, and pastoral care is subsidiary, egalitarianism should reign, for nowhere in the Scriptures does it state, “I suffer not a woman to have knowledge”, or “I suffer not a woman to become educated”, and learning the most one can within one’s ability can never be construed as an exercise of authority.

  4. Chrysostom permalink
    December 11, 2012 4:55 am

    I should rephrase part of that: “It is the inherent right of all human beings, male and female, to learn whatever they wish, to whatever level of proficiency they wish to, or can, achieve”. Even as a patriarchalist, the right for a woman to become educated howsoever she does choose in whatsoever subject likewise does not come from men: it is a natural right in accordance with the natural law. I’m not a Muslim (anymore).

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