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Doctoral Graduate Testimonies
The following is a sampling of some of our graduates. Some additional information is available for those with links. You will note that a number of these graduates received appointments as adjunct professors, advisors or doctoral committee members at Reformation International Theological Seminary.
Rev. Dr. David P. Murray, D.Min. (2006), Pastor, Professor; received degree as a pastor in Scotland, now Puritan Reformed Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.
The following testimony was written in 2006 before Dr. Murray had moved to the United States.
I am pastor of Stornoway Free Church of Scotland (continuing) in the Outer Hebrides. It is a busy pastorate with about 250 souls to care for as well as preaching three times a week. I am also the lecturer in Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament at the Free Church Seminary in Inverness. The lecturers and students gather once a month in Inverness for seminars and tutorials. However, most of the teaching is done via "distance-learning".
With this workload it was seemingly impossible for me to even contemplate doctoral studies, as most Colleges and Seminaries require their doctoral students to be in residence at least for part of the course. Having four young children and a wife to support meant that finding spare cash to pay the fees and fund the study was also a major obstacle.
When I came across RITS the impossible suddenly became possible, and the financial obstacle was greatly diminished. RITS was able to offer me the opportunity to commence and complete a Doctor of Ministry degree from home at a fraction of the cost of other institutions. RITS’ flexible approach produced a course of studies tailored and adapted to my own particular interest in the Old Testament. An excellent UK-based mentor was always only a phone call or an email away. The writing of my thesis, "Old Testament Introduction and the Ministry", helped me both to improve the academic standard of my own Old Testament Introduction Course, and to make it more relevant and useful to ministers and students for the ministry. The Doctoral Committee’s comments on my submissions were constructive and further helped to deepen and refine my thinking in a number of important areas.
In summary, the "RITS" experience was enjoyable and edifying. I hope it has made me a better preacher, pastor, and lecturer.
Rev. Dr. Robert Grossman, Ph.D. (2005), Pastor, Professor, Reformed Church U.S., Vermillion, SD, U.S.A.
Dr. Robert Grossman, a pastor in the Reformed Church of the United States, presently serves as a co-founder and professor at Heidelberg Theological Seminary in Vermillion, South Dakota. He previously served as professor and board member at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, Dyer, Indiana. He now also serves as adjunct professor at RITS in Pastoral Theology, Modern Church History, and Creeds and Confessions. He gives the following comments about his experience obtaining a Ph.D. from RITS.
Dr. Grossman gives the following testimonial regarding his experience as a doctoral graduate from RITS.
As a recipient of a PhD. degree from Reformed International Theological Seminary, I would like to make the following comments on this institution's program and its quality.
First, the PhD. program I followed at RITS was sensible and thorough. It was designed to fulfill requirements for advanced academic skills and knowledge without engaging the student in extraneous busywork.
Second, the examination of the student's defense of his thesis was conducted in a unique and efficient manner by requiring him to audiotape his answers to a carefully-designed and lengthy set of questions which probed not only his knowledge but the depth of his thinking on the issues involved. This tape was made in a timed session with no breaks and no reference materials allowed, thus enabling the examination committee to truly judge the candidate's preparation without involving him or the Committee in time-consuming and expensive travel. This examination was very well done, so that my knowledge of a subject very familiar to me, Creeds and Creedalism, was deepened by the exam.**
Third, I am honored to have the signatures of well-known and respected Reformed and Presbyterian scholars on my PhD. They took their time to examine my work, and I much appreciate their approving of the degree, a degree I am proud to own as a part of my academic credentials.
**This method, while still able to be used, has been supplanted by a conference call system whereby the same series of questions is developed by the doctoral committee, but instead of being done by audio tape; it is done live by conference call and recorded for review by those on the committee unable to make the call. This has proved even more effective as it allows for direct interaction as would be the case in a face-to-face defense.
Rev. Dr. Ralph Bass, Jr., Th.D. (2005), Author, Counselor, Professor; Greenville, SC, U.S.A.
Dr. Ralph Bass has been a pastor, Christian nouthetic counselor, and author as well as businessman. He has written Hope for Today’s Problems, Back to the Future, and What About Baptism? and after completion of his doctorate has recently joined the staff of RITS heading up the Counseling degree program and assisting in other areas. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina.
He gives below his experience in receiving his doctorate from RITS.
RITS provided me with the only option I had to continue my education. Moving to another community to work on my doctor’s degree was out of the question. I found that working under the close oversight of Dr. Westcott of RITS was both a needed option and a most pleasant experience.
One hears horror stories of men working for years on their doctor’s degree, only to be turned down at the last moment over difference of philosophy or even trivial difference between themselves and their academic advisors. But I in no way found the faculty or administration determined to conform me to their theological preferences. Instead, I found men willing to evaluate my work solely on its academic merit, respecting the difference that we shared.
I enjoyed the process and continue to enjoy the community of faith that I have become a part of through this very pleasant experience.