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Requirements for ordination vary across denominations. Baptists and Pentecostals, for example, will ordain people without even a high school diploma, whereas many of the more liturgical denominations require masters and doctoral level degrees before one can even preach.

How then, is one able to assess the academic qualifications of ordained clergy across denominations? In other words, is there a resource that would assist one in gauging the stringency of the qualification process before one is allowed to serve as preist, minister, or pastor? And, what common requirements for ordination can be compared across denominations, so as to be able to compare similiar qualifications across denominational lines.

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If transposed onto a technical scenario, this question reads like "How do we compare the process of packaging and distribution of software across different operating systems?". In agriculture it would be "How do we compare the way crops are grown across different countries, climates and economic statuses?". Do these examples help to show how much scope this question lacks? You want a way to compare dissimilar items on unspecified criteria across multiple sectors? – Caleb Sep 27 '12 at 20:19
I suggest you do some research into ordination for some denominations you are interested in, then bring back any specific questions you can't figure out along the way. – Caleb Sep 27 '12 at 20:19
Maybe I just have a different perspective, but why is this considered important in the first place? When the Lord went looking for leaders, he picked a bunch of fishermen and other common people from various walks of life, and then taught them what they needed to know. In fact, people with a formal background in theology are conspicuously absent from their ranks, and generally appear in an antagonistic role in the NT narrative. – Mason Wheeler Sep 27 '12 at 20:59
@MasonWheeler - The initial 12 apostles were as you describe, but when the Lord wanted the bulk of the New Testament written, he went to a professional theologian. – jcohen79 Sep 28 '12 at 0:17
Hmm, I don't see what's wrong with the question. Surely if one did the resource one could build a chart that said "Denomination #1 - 4 years of seminary plus 2 year internship; Denomination #2 - bachelor's degree or better; Denomination #3 - no specific educational requirements but must pass an interview with an ordination committee", etc. – Jay Sep 28 '12 at 7:30
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The kind of comparison you are suggesting is not going to work for a number of reasons. The most prominent one is a huge difference in job description between those that different denominations consider church leaders.

The Catholic church, for example, ordains priests based on several years of college-level education, as well as other requirements, academic and spiritual. However they typically have one priest overseeing a church with many hundreds of members. Various other paid and volunteer workers take on other roles within the church.

A Baptist or other Protestant church of similar size may have several people with the title 'Pastor' on their paid staff. Those people may have different responsibilities. There may be a children's pastor, a music pastor, or even an administrative pastor. There may be an outreach pastor whose job is to work with the homeless and street people. Many of those people are qualified very differently from the Catholic priest, and any attempt to draw conclusions by comparing their qualifications is not going to yield useful results.

Even if you were to compare just 'lead pastors' (those in charge of an entire congregation), just because a denomination has no minimum standard of academic qualification doesn't mean they habitually appoint those with no academic qualifications. Most of the churches I know that have no minimum standards routinely appoint people with masters degrees.

Another significant issue is the one of who appoints church leaders. Catholic, Anglican and many more 'high church' denominations have their leaders appointed (ordained) by the denomination. This means a certain amount of uniformity of their leaders. However in congregationalist denomination each church appoints its own leaders. This means leadership qualifications are decided by every single church. There might be different standards for every single Baptist church in a denomination, as well as between denominations. Not to mention that each church is free to revise its own standards or ignore them if it feels like it.

As another aside, I don't know of any denomination that requires a masters degree - or any degree - before they are accepted for ordination training.

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And some churches who normally prefer a rigorous set of academic qualifications sometimes appoint high school dropouts. Not that I would know of ... ehem ... any of those. – Caleb Sep 27 '12 at 21:36

If the leader of a movement doesn't need a degree, why do the followers need one?

According to 1 Tim 3:13, gaining experience as a "deacon" is equal to earning a "degree".

If you are looking for Credentials, most Pastors have some type of education. Look at the college they obtained their degree from. Is the college accredited? By whom is it accredited?

I disagree with your assertion that many Pastors in the Baptist denomination are uneducated. What's your source for that information?

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Why are you downvoting? – dongle26 Oct 1 '12 at 20:06
Again, I didn't downvote -- but your personal belief about pastor's education is irrelevant to this question. The only fragment of this that is relevant is not very helpful at all (one common reason for downvotes). – Caleb Oct 1 '12 at 21:29
I changed my mind, I am going to downvote. Here's why. You're main point has nothing to do with the question asked. The problem with this might be easier to see in another context. Say the question was about comparing the translation process for the NWT translation and the ESV. Your answer here would be a rant about how JW doctrine is wrong on their escatology. No mater how much you may be right, you aren't answering with good information about translation process. These kind of off-topic answers are actively bad for the site because they degrade the overall quality of answers. – Caleb Oct 4 '12 at 14:47

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