One of the major interdenominational accrediting bodies for theological education is the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Founded in 1918, the ATS currently grants accreditation to over 250 schools. Of these, 27 are Baptist theological seminaries in the U.S.
Over 15 different Baptist subdenominations are represented among the accredited theological schools. These include regional bodies such as The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and The Baptist Union of Western Canada. National bodies, such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the American Baptist Churches USA are also represented.
Northern Theological Schools
Northern schools include Bethel Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota, which was founded by Swedish immigrants in 1871. With approximately 1300 students on the main campus as well as satellite campuses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, California and Massachusetts, the school is one of the 10 largest accredited seminaries in the U.S., according to the seminary's website. Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, which is located in Rochester New York, was founded in 1928. The seminary emerged from the union of Colgate Theological Seminary, which is one of the oldest Baptist seminaries in the country, and the Rochester Theological Seminary. With approximately 115 students, the seminary blends evangelical and liberal theological approaches.
Southern Theological Schools
The south has many seminaries including the Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary in Jacksonville Texas and the John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Falls Church Virginia. Both schools have less than 100 students. In contrast, the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has over 3000 students at the main campus and at extension centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, according to the seminary's website. Some southern seminaries are affiliated with larger universities such as the George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University in Waco Texas and the Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh North Carolina. Both seminaries have less than 500 enrolled students.
West and Midwestern Theological Schools
Many seminaries are situated in the west and midwest part of the country as well. Western Seminary in Portland Oregon has 705 students and over 100 faculty members. This seminary stresses practical ministry and distance education. Several seminaries have less than 200 students, including The American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley California and Sioux Falls Seminary in South Dakota. In contrast, the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley California has approximately 1500 students. With campuses in California, Arizona, Washington, and Colorado, this evangelical university focuses on equipping graduates to participate fully in global Christian missionary movements.
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