In January of this year, the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) closed its doors for good. Mike Clingenpeel, a BTSR board member, wrote an article for the school’s website reflecting on the closure, and his article was reprinted in the Summer 2019 issue of In Trust. Clingenpeel’s honest reflections offer rare insight into the painful realities of closing a seminary.

In the piece, Clingenpeel offers five factors that, in his view, contributed to the closure:

  1. The deregulation of seminary education among Baptists in the South.
  2. Competition.
  3. Insufficient funding at the outset.
  4. The fact that BTSR was a freestanding instead school rather than one connected to a college or university.
  5. Bigger trends in American theological education.

Despite the painful decision to close, Clingenpeel asserts that BTSR's founding was a courageous, necessary move during a time of unease. He concludes that “the fact that BTSR ultimately could not overcome all the factors that threatened its existence from the start is no reason not to celebrate its nearly three decades of fruitfulness in God’s Kingdom.”

Read his full reflections in “After voting to shut the doors, a seminary trustee reflects on the reasons behind the decision.”