The decision to close BTSR was gut-wrenching. It was also necessary.

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Bert Perry's picture

The long and short of it here is that apparently there was not a sufficient market for Baptist theology in a "moderate to progressive" mold, or perhaps more specifically, that sector was already filled quite well by formerly evangelical schools (maybe Wheaton, Gordon, etc..) moving towards theological liberalism.  Put a bit more bluntly, if your target market is Baptists who want to move from "traditional" theology on things like ordination of women, you're likely to find that same population is not altogether persuaded that they want to hold to specifics of Baptistic theology, either.  

I'd argue that the moderate to progressive, but not confessing theological liberalism, movement probably has a better home in "generic evangelicalism" than among Baptists.  That noted, I'm not quite sure how they can avoid becoming just another brand of theological liberalism--there does not seem to be a unifying set of theological principles that they won't compromise on.  Maybe I'm wrong, but the whole point seems to be "progress." 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

W. T. O'Harver's picture

This article seems to indicate the BTSR was founded as a response to the Conservative Resurgence within the Southern Baptist Convention, correct?

Also, does anyone know why tuition had ballooned to these levels? The author invested considerable amounts of money into the seminary, and a "broadening donor base" was referenced. I also noticed references to a decent endowment for a school that size. With all that said, why were the students bearing so much of the financial burden through these excessive fees?

Bert Perry's picture

WT, I'm under the impression that yes, it is a function of the conservative resurgence. 

Regarding the $84k, that's the overall cost, not what the students actually pay.  Many seminaries, including Central in Plymouth, operate far more on the contributions of generous donors than on tuition, understanding that a bill in the hundreds of thousands isn't terribly appealing for someone working to earn a pastor's salary!  Another example is Moody Bible Institute--I've at least been told that there is no tuition there whatsoever.  

So what's going on here is you have a need for a certain size facility due to a certain number of required faculty to have a credible seminary, and when you add that together with a few administrative/janitorial/etc.. posts and divide that by the number of students, you get an Ivy-League-like $84k.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.