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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Largest Seminaries? Evangelical (and Primarily Southern Baptist)

On more than one occasion I've lamented the demise of Mainline Protestantism and the (public) denial by of Mainline Protestant leaders that there's anything wrong (Mainline Denial; Mainline Denial Redux; The Myth of Evangelical Decline). However, data published by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) once again reinforces the fact that Mainline Protestantism is in decline and Evangelical Protestantism continues to thrive. More precisely, the ATS data indicate that evangelical Protestant seminaries draw the largest share of students seeking training for church ministry. While all of the ten largest seminaries are evangelical, half are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). In fact, five of the six are associated with the SBC although the largest is Fuller Theological Seminary, which is not affiliated with the SBC. There has been little fluctuation among the list of the top ten schools over the years although this year Reformed Theological Seminary (of the evangelical Presbyterian Church in America), Princeton Seminary (Presbyterian Church, USA), and Candler School of Theology (United Methodist Church) fell off the list (from The Aquila Report as reported in Religion Watch).

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