5 Differences Between Christian Colleges and Seminaries

For those willing to serve their denominations, biblical and theological preparation is inevitable. There are a variety of options consisting of Christian colleges, divinity schools and seminaries. While the names may be used interchangeably, they are not similar. To make a conclusion, one has to understand the differences between these terms.

Resource: The 30 Best Online Christian Colleges in the U.S. 2015

Undergraduate Versus Graduate courses

While biblical colleges offer undergraduate education, seminaries focus on graduate level education. For entry into a biblical college, high school education is a requirement. Biblical colleges thus provide degree programs in biblical studies. In a biblical college, the syllabus revolves around the biblical. However, some colleges offer programs similar to those in secular schools. Graduates from biblical colleges have adequate knowledge in theology. However, they have the freedom to pursue different careers.

Seminaries offer education that prepares graduates for specific jobs within the church. For entry into a seminary, an undergraduate degree is a requirement. Seminaries provide masters and doctorate degrees in religion and theology.

Multi-Denominational Versus Single Denominational

Christian colleges and seminaries differ in their denominations. While biblical colleges are interdenominational, seminaries are aligned to a particular denomination. Biblical colleges, focus on offering common theological information across denominations. Graduates who seek vigorous generalized knowledge on religion should consider biblical colleges.

Seminaries offer education that is single denominational. Seminaries place emphasis on offering instructions based on their parent denomination’s practices. For example, among the Catholics, the priesthood is reserved for males. Only men are therefore allowed to enroll in Catholic seminaries. In deciding between a biblical college and a seminary, one must always consider their church denomination.

Fundamental Education Versus Extensive Experience on Theology

The difference in education offered in biblical colleges and Christian seminaries is one of concern. Biblical colleges can be considered as normal colleges just with a religious inclination. Biblical colleges work best for students who would wish to develop their religious background in a college setting. Biblical colleges offer fundamental education on theology.

Seminaries are meant for graduates who would like to focus on their religion as a career path. Since seminaries are denominational specific, they provide extensive knowledge on Christianity based on the parent denomination.

Bible College Accreditation Versus Seminary Accreditation

Countries have different protocol for approval of learning institutes. In the U.S., biblical colleges are accredited by the Biblical Higher Education Association. Some colleges, however, choose to operate without recognition, as oversight agencies may interfere with the education they pass. The government has allowed this given their religious nature of knowledge (https://www.abhe.org/), however students in unaccredited colleges do not receive federal loans.

Seminaries are accredited by the U.S Department of Education. Most seminaries are accredited. Students must understand what they hope to achieve after studies before taking a degree in a biblical college or seminary.

Academic Versus Practical

While knowledge shared in biblical colleges is academic, seminaries put emphasis on practical aspects of education.
Since biblical colleges do not serve as denominational arms for training, the syllabus they adopt is mostly academic. Practices employed in biblical college training are mostly common across denominations. Biblical colleges are moderate in their education.

A seminary teaches learners on specific roles in religion such as deacons and missionaries. The curriculum followed, therefore, focuses on practical avenues for ministry. However, this does not mean seminaries are not academic; the programs they offer are just often inclined towards practical practices.

For one to achieve success in their career goals, the correct decision must be made between a biblical college and seminary. The questions “what are my career objectives? What do I wish to achieve in the short term?” are helpful in making a choice. The obvious difference between the two is indicated in the outcome. Seminaries are meant to educate graduates who wish to take religion as a career path. Biblical colleges educate students who aim to nurture their Christian values and knowledge.