A Seminary Where a Bicentennial Looks Forward

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the Andover Newton Theological School here, banquets, exhibitions and church services proclaim the bicentennial this year of the school’s founding as the Andover Theological Seminary.

The Rev. Nick Carter, its president, celebrates the seminary’s history proudly, but he is more engaged by how the school will adapt to the deep ferment in American religion and survive until the 250th anniversary and beyond.

Mr. Carter’s question is shared by scores of other smaller and midsize independent Protestant seminaries that have seen their financial support from denominations wither, their costs increase, and their assumptions about church life and the career of ministry tested by growing fragmentation and change in the pews.

“The church is changing,” Mr. Carter said. “Our concepts of religious leadership, mission, denomination and the status of ministry are being redefined. Other than the Gospel itself, most of the assumptions that our programs of study are based on are being swept away.”

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

5 Comments
Posted April 26, 2008 at 9:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. An Anxious Anglican wrote:

I wonder about his source for the assertion that 20 seminaries have 395 of enrollees.  It would be fascinating (in a geeky kind of way) to see which schools are thriving and which ones (other than our liberal Episcopal schools) are dying.

April 26, 10:04 am | [comment link]
2. An Anxious Anglican wrote:

That was supposed to be 39% of enrollees.  Sorry - not enough coffee in my system to be typing!

April 26, 10:05 am | [comment link]
3. archangelica wrote:

“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.
In addition, nonsectarian theological and divinity schools that exist within a university also tend to be in good shape.”
Does anyone know which two of the 20 large healthy institutions are not Evangelical? Also, what are some examples of nonsectarian theological or divinity schools that exist within a university and tend to be in good shape?

April 26, 10:21 am | [comment link]
4. Ross wrote:

Archangelica:  I’m in an M.Div. program at Seattle University.  The school of theology here is ecumenical, but most of the major denominations have worked with the school to develop appropriate specializations of the degree requirements—for instance, as an Episcopalian, I have to take courses in the Book of Common Prayer.

From where I’m sitting, the theology school seems to be thriving.

Episcopalians who are “in process” for ordination (I’m not) can do most of their M.Div. at Seattle U, but they’re required to spend at least one full-time year at one of the “official” Episcopal seminaries—usually CDSP.  Same deal for Lutherans; I’m not sure about other denominations.

April 26, 12:14 pm | [comment link]
5. kb9gzg wrote:

Ah! That’s the ticket: who needs to learn how to preach Christ and Him crucified, when we can borrow the vast insights and resources of business in order to train our clergy to effectively minister to those holding pluralistic beliefs in our congregations.

April 26, 12:41 pm | [comment link]
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