Dr. Albert Mohler insightfully comments on a NYT article which chronicles the financial and numerical turmoil of seminaries that embrace theological liberalism. Weak seminaries are the result of weak denominations and weak denominations are the inevitable fruit of theological liberalism (United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church USA, The Episcopal Church USA, etc.). The upshot is fascinating:
“The nation has 165 seminaries, but 39 percent of seminary students attend just 20 of them. The 20 large institutions, all but two evangelical Christian, raise substantial money, have big endowments or receive moderate to high denominational support — or do all three.”
Just think about that: Within the United States, almost 40% of those attending seminary are doing so in only 12% of U.S. seminaries. And 90% of the largest seminaries are evangelical. Reporter Richard Higgins goes on to mention that non-sectarian theological and divinity schools that exist within university settings (e.g., Duke) also tend to be in good shape financially.
“But a majority of Protestant seminaries are smaller independents, and many, including Andover Newton, lack adequate endowments. The mainline churches that parented the older seminaries have sharply cut financial support.
A result, said Daniel O. Aleshire, executive director of the National Association of Theological Schools, is that around 30 seminaries are in financial stress. In the future, Mr. Aleshire said, “There may be just two kinds of seminaries, those with substantial endowments or effective annual giving and the nonexistent.”
Read the whole thing. Most of the article is about Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts, which was started by orthodox Calvinists who fled Harvard after it embraced Unitarianism. Later, the school developed ties to the United Church of Christ. Today, Andover Newton is in financial duress, with only 380 students (25% of whom are Unitarian Universalists).