FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2022
Today CBTS has announced the formation of a new track for their Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree program in Biblical Counseling. This track is the third MATS track that will be offered alongside the two existing tracks of Systematic/Historical Studies and Biblical Studies.
A New Program at CBTSeminary
CBTS’ mission is to help the church to prepare men to undertake the full range of pastoral responsibilities they will face in serving Christ and His kingdom and to equip Christians for effective service in the church. The main priority in CBTS’ curriculum has been to provide well-balanced programs which fill a need, particularly in areas of systematic and historical theology.
However, one area of opportunity in the seminary curriculum has been in the area of biblical counseling. Seminary leadership believes there is a need that CBTS can address in local churches by helping to equip (both pastoral and non-pastoral aspiring) biblical counselors for practical ministry with a balanced theological curriculum.
“One of the great and beneficial revolutions that took place in the 20th century was the rebirth of biblical counseling,” says CBTSeminary President Dr. Sam Waldron. “Jay Adams, in Competent to Counsel, reminded the church that counseling was the responsibility of the church. Pastors and even other (instructed) Christians were seen to be responsible to counsel on the basis of the sufficiency of Scripture alone. At CBTS we embrace that vision; and we want to further it by adding another emphasis to our Master of Arts in Theological Studies. Its distinctive advantage will be to place this counseling emphasis firmly in the context of theological studies!”
CBTS’ primary goal for the program is to train aspiring pastors who want to be better equipped in biblical counseling, but it is also hoped that the program will benefit non-pastors, both men and women, who desire to counsel under the authority of local church pastors.
As in all its ministries, CBTS is concerned that the MATS Counseling program has a biblical local-church focus as set forth within its confession of faith (Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689), and that those who are trained in the program receive a degree that is heavily saturated with a proper understanding of the local church’s role in Biblical counseling. “If you want to be a ‘lone wolf’ counselor who counsels independently from the local church, this program is not for you,” said Brice Bigham, Director of Development at CBTSeminary. “It is our desire to train well-rounded biblical counselors to be effective in ministering to believers and unbelievers in coordination with and under the authority of the pastors of their own churches.”
Faculty and Program Information
J. Ryan Davidson, Pastor of Grace Bible Chapel in Hampton, VA, has agreed to serve as the primary instructor for the counseling core. Davidson says, “Counseling that rests on the Word of God, that is informed by the light of nature, and that is attentive to the complexities of humanity is a great need of our day. Training within the seminary context provides the counselor with the benefit of both theological and practical training and seeks to particularly assist those who are counseling within the context of the local church. This new program offers students the ability to learn within a Confessional context and focus their studies on the work of counseling as a supplement to the public means of grace within the context of the church.”
CBTS plans to utilize other faculty members within the program, including Dr. Fred Malone (Pastor, First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA). Others will be announced at a later date.
The degree program will be 57 credit hours overall, including 15 credits in Exegetical Theology, 16 in Systematic/Historical Theology, 21 credits of Counseling core, and 4 credits of elective courses.
While subject to change, some planned courses for the degree are Marriage & Family Counseling, The History of Counseling & Pastoral Care, Biblical Counseling & Legal Issues, Counseling & the Body, Biblical Counseling in the Local Church, Counseling Children & Adolescents, and a Counseling Practicum.
Partnership with IRBC
CBTS has agreed to a partnership with the Institute of Reformed Biblical Counseling (IRBC) in an effort to bolster the practical aspects of the program and to provide standing for graduates to attain certification with IRBC as a result of the completion of their studies.
CBTS has begun accepting applications for the program now and plans to begin adding a rotation of regular live counseling courses beginning in 2023.
The vision of CBTSeminary is to see the church of the Lord Jesus Christ strengthened and expanded worldwide, to the end that Christ would be known, loved, and exalted. Its mission, therefore, is help the church to prepare men to undertake the full range of pastoral responsibilities they will face in serving Christ and His kingdom, and to equip Christians for effective service in the church. They do this work by providing rigorous academic training and by facilitating extensive pastoral mentoring.
To learn more about Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, visit CBTSeminary.org.