Religion: Fading Big Five

From the 1930s until the turbulent 1960s, a handful of elite seminaries exerted an all-powerful influence on American Protestantism. The liberal religious voice of the Establishment, they drew unique strength from their ties with great universities and remained proudly free of control by the denominations that eagerly hired their graduates. With wide control over the production of theological doctorates, they dominated church life and thought.

No longer. A critical Rockefeller Foundation report to be issued this week documents the fading church-leadership role of the Big Five which have trained a majority of the...

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