Friday, March 17, 2006

PREACHERS: Is there a decline in those seeking

... to be pulpiteers?

When you start this Times piece you think you'll read about a survey of protestant seminaries and the discovery of a decline in graduates who enter a pulpit ministry. What you actually get is a reasonably well written piece on mainline seminaries and mainline seminarians ... but one that is not well researched: no stats, no graphs, no tables, and a huge hunk of the universal data field missing.
Across the country, enrollment is up at Protestant seminaries, but a shrinking portion of the graduates will ascend the pulpit. These seminarians, particularly the young ones, are less interested in making a career of religion than in taking their religion into other careers.
What you don't get is any research or interviews with Pentacostal, Baptist, evangelical non-denominational, or fundamentalist seminaries. Why does it matter? Because mainline seminary enrollment as a percentage of total seminary enrollment is miniscule; and because mainline denominations as a percentage of the total American protestant population is likewise small.

The above quote is simply misleading. Not only does it give the impression the statement is true as all "Protestant seminaries" but it fails to tell the reader that that has been true for a half century or more. In a graduating class of virtually any protestant seminary only a small percentage are "called" to a pulpit ministry. Duh!

Also, the seminaries mentioned are almost universally liberal (promoting the gay lifestyle, same-sex marriage, genderless pulpits, and support directly and indirectly nations who support terrorists) and apostate. Some are plainly heretical.

Had the author told us her niche was mainline seminarians, and that it avoided a major hunk of the statistical universe, we would have collectively yawned and moved on to something more enlightening or informing. I believe the author knew this and thus deliberately couched her report to avoid that outcome; I believe the editors at the Times are so ignorant of the American religious community they probably didn't even notice.

Why is this important? Because the ignorant and illinformed will derive conclusions from the article; and Christian issues, important to both the religious and non-religious community, will be poorly served and perhaps confused.

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