Not Winning

Even if evangelicals think they are:

Since the 1995-96 academic school year, Princeton Theological Seminary has seen 30 percent fewer full-time enrolled students. Reformed Theological Seminary saw a 33 percent decrease to 547 full-time students while Candler School of Theology experienced a 39 percent drop to 414 full-time students.

Joe Carter spins this as victory for the Gospel Allies:

Kenneth Kantzer, the late academic dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, once said that in 1890 all of the Protestant theological seminaries in the United States—with the notable exception of Harvard—were evangelical. Forty years later, though, almost all of them had become liberal (i.e., denied basic tenets of orthodoxy). By the 1950s, only four of the top ten largest seminaries were sponsored by evangelical denominations. Of those four, three were part of the SBC, which was struggling at the time to take back control of its schools from liberal professors.

By the 1990s, the trend had shifted once again back toward conservative evangelicalism. After the “conservative resurgence” in the SBC, all six of the denomination’s seminaries were solidly orthodox. And by 1995, only two liberal-leaning seminaries remained on the list of top ten schools by enrollment (Princeton at #9 and Candler School of Theology at #10).

Doesn’t he know that for some Southern Baptists, evangelical is a “Yankee” word.

And what does he not understand about Kenneth Kantzer’s reasons for leaving Fuller Seminary?

Roman Catholic apologetics are catchy.

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18 thoughts on “Not Winning

  1. Hi there – I read your blog quite regularly. Not to be obtuse, but why is Joe wrong on this? I was heartened by the numbers I saw. And I imagine RTS’s drop in FT enrollment has much to do with the explosion of online courses. Not trying to be obtuse, but wanted to understand your point more fully, including the part about catchy RC apologetics.

    Best,

    John

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  2. John,

    Don’t you think turning this into a “we’re winning” moment misses the differences among Presbyterians, Southern Baptists, and evangelicals?

    Plus, isn’t Joe simply wrong because he write for Gospel Coalition? I know I live my life in tidy and impermeable categories.

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  3. I did find it odd that a decline in students overall was seen as a good thing. Let’s spin it more positively. Maybe it’s a sign that individual churches and seminaries are being more discerning about ministerial candidates?

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  4. I live in KCMO and I see Midwestern Sem folk everywhere in the hipster part of town where me and my wife live (don’t ask).

    I assume Midwestern is so popular because it’s an 81 credit M. Div. program, and hey, Justin Taylor teaches there! Plus TGC pushes it all the time. Oh and money.

    I tire of going to a coffee shop and people sitting next to me because I’m reading Vos’ Shorter Writings >_>

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  5. SJ, that is tough to have to devote your coffee time to intense spiritual scrutiny by hipsters

    Although some will see that as Victory

    Still not judging…

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  6. And the “we’re winning!” argument apparently doesn’t bother to consider the quality of the graduates. Rob Bell, Steven Furtick, anyone?

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  7. I think you may have missed the pull quote from the Carter article:

    “While we should be careful not to make too much of this shift (enrollment size doesn’t necessarily determine national influence) this sustained trend deserves our notice and gratitude.”

    Note the equation of perceived influence with importance, and as a basis for gratitude. Matthew 5.11? I don’t know Mr. Carter and I hope that he would not think “influence” is as good as faithfulness or nearly the badge of honor as being hated by the world. Worldly thinking has a subtle and pervasive influence on church life.

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  8. First Things has more influence than this blog. Creation ethics has more followers than redemption ethics. So why not put Jesus on hold, and try to make the world better with talking and writing

    The difference between fundamentalist losers and evangelical l scholars are winners who pat you on your head and tell you haw bad they feel for you being so mean http://www.gq.com/story/inside-ark-encounter-theme-park?mbid=social_cp_fb_tny

    ” Some Christian scholars aren’t so sure a guilt-tripping theme park is the best way to spread the good word. At one point in reporting this story, I call University of Dayton history professor William Trollinger, who (along with his English-professor wife, Susan) has just published a book called Righting America at the Creation Museum. The Trollingers were some the first people through the Ark’s door. And like me, they left frustrated by its combative tone. The…. relentless insistence that human beings are moral failures and disappointments to a vengeful Lord who at any moment could drown the world’s population, left he and his wife feeling the opposite of uplifted.“To our mind,” Trollinger said, “it’s hard to think of a message Jesus would like less.

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  9. How can you look like a winner when you continually criticize winners like Tim Keller? Why don’t you grow up and get back to normal?

    http://theblazingcenter.com/2015/10/early-warning-signs-of-adult-onset-calvinism.html

    descriptions of losers
    The ability to bring every conversation full circle to Romans 9.

    Frustration that guys like Piper and Sproul don’t draw more lines in the sand.

    An unshakeable conviction that Tim Keller is too theologically soft.

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  10. McMark, do you think the author has three kids from a previous wife?

    I’m married to Jen, and I have three kids. I know a lot about Star Wars, and I live in a van down by the river.

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  11. markmcculley says: The Trollingers were some the first people through the Ark’s door. And like me, they left frustrated by its combative tone. To our mind,” Trollinger said, “it’s hard to think of a message Jesus would like less.

    You think the Trollingers are talking about this Jesus, Mark?:
    Jesus:But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! Luke 12:5

    Also, isn’t that park just displaying history?
    -Genesis 6:7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
    -2 Peter 2: 4 For if God.. 5 did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; …9 then the Lord..
    -Luke 17:26 And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all….
    33 Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it…

    Mark, Reminder,be careful who you follow and to whom you listen.

    David C. Noe says: Note the equation of perceived influence with importance, and as a basis for gratitude. Matthew 5.11? I don’t know Mr. Carter and I hope that he would not think “influence” is as good as faithfulness or nearly the badge of honor as being hated by the world. Worldly thinking has a subtle and pervasive influence on church life.
    morning exercise.

    Dear Mr. David , Are you being fair? Might engaging in worldly tactics including misrepresenting or putting words in another’s mouth? Anyway:
    influence = important =faithfulness *(source:Jesus)
    faithfulness= proclaim His excellencies (source: Jesus)
    influence = proclaim His excellencies (source: Jesus)
    important = proclaim His excellencies (source: Jesus)
    to all given such a job of His-excellencies proclamation = gratitude (source: Jesus)

    *See bible for all the many way he says what faithfulness looks likein witness/testimony of Him/truth in belief/though/word/action/deed

    Like

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