Friday, February 24, 2006

A Knowledgeable Reader Corrects My Analysis of Central Baptist Seminary

One of the very best features of the blogosphere is the opportunity to receive correction from gazillions (isn't that the technical term for it?) of fact checkers. Yesterday, one of my readers challenged my analysis of the Central Baptist Seminary situation with some of his own facts, derived evidently from the a very official source, the ATS. I appreciate accuracy and am happy to offer his supplementary/contradictory explanations. Here are his comments:

The figures I gave [you] came from the Association of Theological Schools fact books, found on their web site

Central has been weak for 50-60 years after the SBC formed Mid-Western. Like I said, Central is on an ABC-SBC border, and the ABC constituency is on the less populated side of that border. I grew up in Missouri, and the pastor of my childhood was in one of the last classes that graduated very many SBC pastors.

But Mid-Western isn't very healthy for a SBC seminary.

It's the smallest SBC seminary. Golden Gate, the next smallest SBC seminary has not quite twice the number of students, but has over three times the number of Full Time Equivalents, which means Golden Gate is teaching many more credit hours per student than Mid-Western. There are continual rumors that Mid-Western will be turned into a satellite of Golden Gate.

Northern Baptist also seems to have many part-time students. While their total student count is over twice the number as CBTS, they have only 28 more FTEs. I'm not sure exactly how many credit hours a seminary student takes a semester, but assuming 15 credit hours a semester, NBTS is only teaching 420 more credit hours a semester than CBTS.

Mid-Western has is lucky enough to have been founded with a very large campus in what now is a fast growing area of Kansas City. They've been able to sell of parts of the campus to raise money. I think they have sold 40-50 acres in the last couple of years for something like $8-9mil. Central, on the other hand, is in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Kansas City, and done a good bit of ministry in that neighborhood for years. I doubt that there is a great market for Central's current campus.

My take is that Southern Baptist's move in forming Mid-Western created two weak Baptist seminaries in Kansas City.

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