What’s the Purpose of a B.A. in Theology Today?
Posted On February 07, 2024
Written by Dr. John Tweeddale, vice president of academics and professor of theology
Higher education has lost its way. Headlines flood leading news outlets on what seems like a daily basis, stating that more and more Americans no longer see the value of a college education. Perhaps this is not surprising. Educational institutions are struggling to lessen the financial burden of student debt, place graduates in jobs within their degree fields, and respond to the political and cultural changes that have rocked every sector of our society. In response, many are wondering, “What is the purpose of higher education?”
For some, the purpose of education is to retrieve the liberal arts tradition in an attempt to save Western civilization. For others, the goal is to advance the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in order to meet the challenges of the technological revolution. The problem with this scenario is that it presents us with a false dilemma. Both the humanities and the STEM fields offer valuable ways for individuals to contribute to the well-being of society and should not be disparaged. However, there is a need for another perspective on education that transcends these noble endeavors to provide a theological vision for living and working as Christians in the modern world. In the landscape of higher education in the United States, Reformation Bible Colleges offers a unique approach to undergraduate theological education.
At RBC, our purpose is to produce knowledgeable and articulate students who embrace God in His holiness as taught in the Reformed classical tradition. This purpose statement applies to every degree program, including:
- Our 24-credit Certificate in Theology, which is offered both online and on campus;
- Our 60-credit Associate of Arts in Theology; and
- Our 120-credit Bachelor of Arts in Theology.
The residential B.A. in Theology is the flagship degree program at RBC. A student who completes this program will be able to:
- Demonstrate an extensive knowledge of the Bible, Reformed theology, and the great works of literature, history, and philosophy.
- Develop critical thinking and communication skills to articulate, defend, and contend for the historic Christian faith as taught in Scripture, summarized in the ancient creeds, and affirmed in the Reformed confessions.
- Develop personal skills and disciplines—such as time management, problem-solving, and goal-setting—to serve God in his or her calling.
- Grow as a disciple of Christ, demonstrated in a commitment to the local church and through acts of service in the world.
- Be prepared to begin seminary, graduate education, or a career path.
Graduates from the B.A. in Theology are now serving as educators, ministers, church workers, non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs, editors, and missionaries, as well as serving in the home raising their families. They leave RBC poised for what we hope will be a lifetime of faithful service in the church and the world.
As Christians, we have an obligation to teach and train the coming generation about “the glorious deeds of the Lord . . . and the wonders that he has done” (Ps. 78:4). Commenting on this verse, Charles Spurgeon once said, “The best education is education in the best things.” Today, as in every age, we need a generation of college students who are educated in the “best things” of God’s wondrous works. No matter their vocational calling, we want our students to be well-equipped to know, serve, and worship God in all of life. At RBC, that is the purpose of our Bachelor of Arts in Theology, today and every day.