The number of full-time students at the evangelical seminary has dropped 44 percent in 20 years.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) has cut nearly $1 million in spending, hoping to head off financial disaster as the seminary’s enrollment numbers decline.
President Nicholas Perrin told faculty and staff on Thursday that the suburban Chicago seminary has to make some “pretty fundamental changes in how we go about our business plan and mission.”
Trinity International University (TIU)—which includes an undergraduate school with two campuses, a graduate school, and a law school, in addition to the influential evangelical seminary—is concluding the first part of a three-phase process of “creating efficiencies.”
The first phase is focused on the seminary. It includes “reshaping the personnel” so that TEDS can carry out its mission “in a revenue-effective way,” Perrin said in a recording obtained by CT.
TEDS, never a big school, has long had an outsized influence on evangelicalism. The seminary made a name for itself in the defense of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy and served as the birthplace for Sojourners magazine. It was the institutional home for theologians D. A. Carson, Wayne Grudem, Clark H. Pinnock, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Bruce Ware, and has produced scholars such as Scot McKnight, Douglas Moo, Mark Noll, and David F. Wells.
What happens at the Deerfield, Illinois, school reverberates in evangelical institutions across the country.
Last week, the seminary eliminated at least seven faculty positions. A spokesman for the school declined to give exact numbers. Multiple professors, speaking on the condition that they not be named in this article because they are not authorized to speak for TEDS, said two faculty members have taken early retirement, three …