The purpose our Teacher of Theology ordination-degree Th.D.(O.M.) program is to recognize and describe the ministry of the graduate as stated in Ephesians 4:11.
Douay-Rheims Bible (DRB) - Ephesians 4:11.
And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors,
The word "doctors" in Ephesians 4:11 (DRB) is a translation of the Greek word "didaskalos" which mean "teachers".
The word doctor is a Latin word which has traditionally been used also in the King James Bible - KJV (to connote an authoritative religious teacher - Luke 2:46, Luke 5:17, Acts 5:34) to translate the same Greek word, didaskalos.
it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them
And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
Thus an ordained Teacher of Theology (Th.D.(O.M.)) should more properly be referred to as a Ministerial-Doctor of Theology to connote the authority, level of learning, seriousness (Proverbs 1:7) and sacredness of the subject matter (Revelations 19:13, 2 Timothy 3:16) and weight that the "office" carries.
However, because of the connotation of the word "doctor" in contemporary times both in secular and religious academic circles the word would refer to an academic doctorate or even an honorary one. Thus, SBU Theological Seminary has chosen to use the term "Teacher of Theology" instead to describe the ordination-degree of the graduate.
This is so it can clearly be understood that the Teacher of Theology ordination-degree Th.D.(O.M.) (may not be equivalent to an academic doctorate nor is it an honorary degree) is a ministerial-doctorate in the true sense of the word which is an ordination, recognition and description of the office of the ministry in the Church - the Teacher. (However, depending on the requirements and academic standards of each Church and seminary in their respective countries it may be treated as a [third grade] academic religious doctorate; thus the term Teacher of Theology and Doctor of Theology can be used interchangeably in the Church).
Although it is acceptable and normative especially in Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian circles for religious leaders with earned doctorates or even only with honorary doctorates from any seminary to be addressed as Doctor (Dr.), SBU Theological Seminary discourages the use of such titles in the Church based on those degrees as it not only undermines the sacredness of the ministry of the Teacher but is in fact a violation of the command given by Jesus Christ himself.
Matthew 23:8-10 (1560 Geneva Bible) But be not ye called, Rabbi, for one is your doctor, to wit, Christ, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth; for there is but one, your Father which is in heaven. Be not called doctors; for one is your doctor even Christ.
Thus, the custom at SBU is for graduates at all levels to be addressed as Brother (Br.), Sister (Sr.) and to use the post-nominal letters O.M. (Ordained Minister).
SBU Theological Seminary stands on the principle that only when it is necessary should a minister who sits in the office of the Teacher be addressed as a Ministerial-Doctor of Theology (not as a title but as a reference to the office) to connote the authority, level of learning, to convey the seriousness and sacredness of the ministry, to instill respect for the Scriptures (Revelations 19:13, 2 Timothy 3:16) and to convey the weight that the office carries but most of all to instill the fear of God (Proverbs 1:7) in the hearts and minds of the congregants.
The Abstract of Principles
The 1689 Baptist Confession for the 21st Century