Author Topic: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies  (Read 4677 times)

Scotty8284

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Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« on: August 12, 2010, 08:54:56 AM »
Since this seems to be of interest to many, I thought we could discuss it here.

Lutheran CORE presentations I've attended here in Western New York offered some interesting solutions for the short term that I think are very creative when it comes to pastoral education.

First thing mentioned was that the new church will be too small to invest in "bricks & mortar", so alternatives have to be found.

Second, basic subjects like Greek and Hebrew are the same regardless of the institution.  So a new seminary is not required for a good deal of the classes that would be offered.

It was mentioned that unlike the LC-MS, ELCA seminaries are not owned by the church.  According to the presenter, two seminaries, Luther and Southern, still have a number of orthodox professors on staff, and the seminary administrations are interested in working with NALC/CORE in creating a curriculum for orthodox students that would be approved by the new church.  (After all, as private institutions, their survival rests on filling the seats, and in good capitalist fashion, if this is what the market needs and they can supply it, it's the logical thing to do.)

In addition, there exist a number of orthodox seminaries.  I won't mention any names, but I believe there was one Methodist, two Anglican and one non-denominational suggested, where a "Lutheran Chair" could be established to provide for uniquely Lutheran content in those settings.

Another option being explored involved the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) and online courses.

I guess it boils down to this:  We're in a unique situation, and the old answers won't work (at least for the near term), so the committee really has to look outside the box in coming up with solutions for orthodox Lutherans.  I was impressed with the possibilities presented and increased my confidence in the many good people trying to bring forth a new Lutheran Church.
Jim Scott
NALC Layman
Wittenberg '78

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 09:04:24 AM »
items in the seminary education that will not be fulfilled in large part by online or even being a foreign part of another seminary is the community and formation a bricks and mortar place might provide.  Bricks and mortar discription fails to mention that people live in the bricks and mortar.   Harvey Mozolak
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SmithL

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2010, 11:13:43 AM »
It was mentioned that unlike the LC-MS, ELCA seminaries are not owned by the church. 

Really?  What controls does the ELCA have over their seminaries?

vicarbob

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 01:32:45 PM »
While harvey does present an excellent observation about bricks and mortar, alternative learning opportunities need to be offered as well. While it is true that 'community'is formed in traditional institutions those approved for the alternative route are more ofteh the not, second career. Clearly community has been formed with contempories within their respective Synod/Distict and local clergy conferences.
Scheduling 1 or 2 yearly gatherings of those preparing for this alternate learning is most beneficial. As stated before, i have been in a "process" for a LONG time and the "process" is ever evolving. However, learning for me has been within the community I have been called to serve and the clergy with whom I serve.
Grrk/Latin/ Hebrew are very good, but not for all, nor are they essential. I refer to many resourses in my sermon prep and have access to koine (?) Greek . A recent visit by a seminary professor to the congregation which I served left with wonderful comments about the sermon. Not one offer of "correction". I provided exegesis, and a solid, engaging sermon. Most importantly, the congregation was "hearing" what was being said. This was not learned in a traditional seminary setting, nor were the liturgical practices of the congregation. "you have clearly maintained the dignity of the Mass" was another comment offered.
This is not about "dumbing down" but "building up" persons called to serve the Church as ordained ministers-bishop/presbyter/deacon. All are not given the same gifts by the Holy Spirit, but eeach of us have been no less "gifted" to Proclaim His Word and Adminsiter His Mysteries.
Again I offer, K-I-S-S...keep it simple sinner/saint
pax
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John_Hannah

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2010, 03:29:26 PM »
While harvey does present an excellent observation about bricks and mortar, alternative learning opportunities need to be offered as well. While it is true that 'community'is formed in traditional institutions those approved for the alternative route are more ofteh the not, second career. Clearly community has been formed with contempories within their respective Synod/Distict and local clergy conferences.
Scheduling 1 or 2 yearly gatherings of those preparing for this alternate learning is most beneficial. As stated before, i have been in a "process" for a LONG time and the "process" is ever evolving. However, learning for me has been within the community I have been called to serve and the clergy with whom I serve.
Grrk/Latin/ Hebrew are very good, but not for all, nor are they essential. I refer to many resourses in my sermon prep and have access to koine (?) Greek . A recent visit by a seminary professor to the congregation which I served left with wonderful comments about the sermon. Not one offer of "correction". I provided exegesis, and a solid, engaging sermon. Most importantly, the congregation was "hearing" what was being said. This was not learned in a traditional seminary setting, nor were the liturgical practices of the congregation. "you have clearly maintained the dignity of the Mass" was another comment offered.
This is not about "dumbing down" but "building up" persons called to serve the Church as ordained ministers-bishop/presbyter/deacon. All are not given the same gifts by the Holy Spirit, but eeach of us have been no less "gifted" to Proclaim His Word and Adminsiter His Mysteries.
Again I offer, K-I-S-S...keep it simple sinner/saint
pax
Still da PiT

BOB

When can we expect the ordination?

Peace, JOHN HANNAH
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2010, 04:24:05 PM »
[I have moved this over from the ELCA church thread Thanks for starting this one]

Where are the 358 pastors needed now with more congregations forming to that growing number? Does LCMC have enough pastors now? How many of those are retired or approaching with less than 5-8 years of service to give?

And the seminaries needed are not yet even off the drawing board. You need trained seminary professors. They are even harder to grow.

Point well taken L Smith.

I think this is a real challenge for all. I often pray for (and sometimes with) those in LCMC/CORE. But the question is bigger, and we need some serious "Praying to the Lord of the Harvest" at this time.

We (The AALC) have mature pastoral formation/sem processes, students, graduates, and pastors available, BUT I cannot imagine how we would handle a flood of 400 plus immediate needs - and associated pastoral transfers. I'm not sure LCMS could, without serious disruption.

I look at my engagement with LCMS's SMP/Deacon evolution the last decade and have two thoughts. First the trials of birthing such pastoral formation efforts are not trivial nor easy, and certainly not instantly available this month. It takes many years. Over a decade with the active and engaged support of two centuriy old Seminaries and Professors and libraries ... and SMP isn't quite there yet. Secondly I am thankful for that history, as it does show how it can be done, and for the infant results emerging as available to respond. Even the M Div/MTS dual track AALC system is heavily dependent on years of watching these LCMS struggles, and adapting

This is not easy and it spills over far beyond the LCMC/CORE challenge. LCMS is not so big that even she can ignore the reality. We in The AALC just keep receiving, one church here, one servant there, at a time, and pray most earnestly to the Lord of the Harvest.

400-1000 is a lot of burden to lay on the impending baby boomer demographic already looming. Some say its just a move over by the pastor with congregation, but the truth is that the musical chair vacancy illusion will "stop the music,' and provide a wake up cal to cold water as things unfold. MHO

TV
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 04:27:27 PM by TVerinus »
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Timotheus Verinus

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2010, 04:39:36 PM »
I'll add to the thread for questions if anyone wishes, the 10 year pay as you go path experiences, I took.

I have studied:

With mentors, (including retired sem profs)
And side classes from non-sem schools.
In a regional "House" with several professors, some active pastors (what I call church basement seminary)
With Seminary Professors (CTS/FW) in their DELTO distance ed program.
With Video Conferencing formal MTS classes (ALTS)

I obviously have some opinions, and have classmates that transferred to brick and mortar (ex:CSL) who have provided me with comparison feedback.

Any questions please feel free to ask.

TV

TAALC Pastor

Evangel

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2010, 07:11:23 PM »
Moved this over here from "The thread for info on churches voting to leave the ELCA & all follow-up."

On the other hand, LCMS, AFLC, and WELS have excellent places of pastoral formation and they (well at least the LCMS and AFLC) have been open to being utilized by other Lutheran bodies...  Orthodox Lutheran Seminaries are available.

Quite true.  Do realize that, unless something has changed most recently, it would be the graduate division via the MA (or PhD) that would be open to folks of denominations that are not in fellowship with the LCMS, not the MDiv.

Yes, but that should pose no problem. One would expect that if someone from LCMC, for example, came to the LCMS seminary in St. Louis, they would get the MA, but their coordinating committee anad colloquey committee would accept this as in fact an M.Div equivalent. The training would be there, the internship would have to be worked out through their own associations.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler

Critical Mass for a seminary on the mission field is usually about 10 students.  Now that means a professor may teach every course the students take, or may bring in a retired pastor for a month or two, or whatever they can get.  The students might have to work as well.  That is not a bad thing.

That doesn't get you the nice dining hall, or the pretty chapel, or the museum...err library. ( Give them LOGOS Silver with Luther Works, the Concordia Electronic Library and a few other things... they'll save a lot of $$0 Have 3-4 pastors of good teaching and mentoring skills and you can still do it.

As my deacons are known to adapt - the purpose of all ceremonies is to give people what they need to know about Christ.  The adaption here - the purpose of all seminaries is to prepare men to give the people God calls and marks/will mark as His what they need to know about Christ.

WIll it produce scholars in ivory towers?  Possibly, but that isn't its goal.  Its goal is to produce men ready for the pastorate, and ready to proclaim Christ that His people may reflect HIs glory to a world hid in darkness.

There are two organizations that have appeared in the last 4 years or so.  The Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) and the Beyond the River Academy (BTRA).  BTRA got up and running first and has had a few dozen students, including a half dozen or so now pastors like me (I'm from the first class of BTRA students).  BTRA has a charter not to provide MDiv degrees but to train and certify experienced laypeople to be pastors.

ILT has something like a dozen people in an MDiv program that has just completed its first year.  They have also rolled out a pastoral certification program somewhat similar to BTRA - I think I've heard they have a number of people in that program as well.

Since the LCMC requirement for Ministry is an MDiv "or equivalent", the combination of the BTRA program or ILT's pastoral certification program plus years of life experience have been considered the "or equivalent".

I pretty sure that all three of these options are open to potential pastors in LCMC, NALC, or any other Lutheran church body that would wish to use them. 

{new material} TV, I'd compare BTRA to the regional "House"/church basement seminary with some technology to make it do-able largely on-line.  ILT is probably more like the DELTO program run by a seminary with sem profs doing the teaching on-line.
Mark Schimmel, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, LCMC
Priddy, TX
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ACXXIII, "Your majesty will graciously take into account the fact that, in these last times of which the Scriptures prophesy, the world is growing worse and men are becoming weaker and more infirm."

Jim Butler

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2010, 07:46:47 PM »
Since this seems to be of interest to many, I thought we could discuss it here.

Lutheran CORE presentations I've attended here in Western New York offered some interesting solutions for the short term that I think are very creative when it comes to pastoral education.

First thing mentioned was that the new church will be too small to invest in "bricks & mortar", so alternatives have to be found.

Second, basic subjects like Greek and Hebrew are the same regardless of the institution.  So a new seminary is not required for a good deal of the classes that would be offered.

It was mentioned that unlike the LC-MS, ELCA seminaries are not owned by the church.  According to the presenter, two seminaries, Luther and Southern, still have a number of orthodox professors on staff, and the seminary administrations are interested in working with NALC/CORE in creating a curriculum for orthodox students that would be approved by the new church.  (After all, as private institutions, their survival rests on filling the seats, and in good capitalist fashion, if this is what the market needs and they can supply it, it's the logical thing to do.)

In addition, there exist a number of orthodox seminaries.  I won't mention any names, but I believe there was one Methodist, two Anglican and one non-denominational suggested, where a "Lutheran Chair" could be established to provide for uniquely Lutheran content in those settings.

Another option being explored involved the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) and online courses.

I guess it boils down to this:  We're in a unique situation, and the old answers won't work (at least for the near term), so the committee really has to look outside the box in coming up with solutions for orthodox Lutherans.  I was impressed with the possibilities presented and increased my confidence in the many good people trying to bring forth a new Lutheran Church.

I'm seriously trying to stay away from posting. It takes too much of my time.

However, this is an issue that has been on my heart.

I want the NALC/LCMC to succeed. At our convention, we in the LCMS said that we want to support those movements.

I'd like us to open our seminary doors to NALC/LCMC students.

I know, traditionally we've done just LCMS students, but we did open our doors to students from the AALC before we were in fellowship. We might have to develop a more strictly academic MDiv for those students--e.g. vicarage after seminary which their church body would have to work with them on--and yes, we'd have to figure out how to handle women (they could be enrolled in our deaconess program at our seminaries which is a strong program or we could let them get a three year, academic MDiv and do what they want like Fuller, Gordon-Conwell, and other seminaries do).

But man, the impact we could have! And the impact the interaction of those students with LCMS people could have on us. I think it would really be a positive thing.

OK, other LCMS people, esp. Prof. Gard--could this be possible? Could we get creative and develop something like this to really support these fledgling bodies?
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

loschwitz

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2010, 08:10:14 PM »
JEButler writes that traditionally St. Louis has just done LCMS students.

Once upon a time, though, St. Louis provided training for members of the young Norwegian Synod.  This was back in the 1850s into the 1870s.  There was even a Norwegian professor on the faculty, first Lauritz Larsen and later Friedrich Schmidt. 

A number of pastors did come out of the program, and yet there was an undercurrent of friction.  During the Civil War the strongly Unionist Norwegians were unhappy with Dr. Walther's sympathy for the Confederacy and his support of slavery.    Friedrich Schmidt, of course, touched off the election controversy when he criticized Dr. Walther's crypto Calvinism.  The Norwegian connection pretty much ended in 1876 with the founding of Luther Seminary.  Nonetheless many years later the Norwegians returned and proceeded  to wreak havoc upon 801. 

Does Concordia really want these people back a third time?


Evangel

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2010, 08:31:38 PM »
I thought some connections were being built between ILT and Concordia SL - I don't know the extent of those connections though I recall Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto was on  the faculty listing at ILT.

A couple of years ago there were some representatives of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines at an LCMC event pitching their seminary to potential LCMC seminarians.
Mark Schimmel, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, LCMC
Priddy, TX
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Kforni

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2010, 10:06:47 AM »
The "house of studies" approach is an intriguing element in the mix of options for the emerging Lutheran church bodies.  The development of such a site (among various sites) in a predominately Hispanic - Latino context in the USA could go a long way in strengthening mission development in that rapidly growing demographic reality.  There could be a network of such houses, linked with more institutional and on-line theological education components, all contributing to the formation of orthodox, confessional, mission-focused Lutheran pastors.   A variation on this theme could be the use of existing houses or properties on appropriate seminary campuses. 

vicarbob

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2010, 08:08:32 PM »


BOB

When can we expect the ordination?

Peace, JOHN HANNAH

[/quote]

LONG>>>>>PAINFUL         STORY
Still a Pastoral Vicar

Daniel L. Gard

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2010, 08:36:31 PM »
The M.Div. at both LCMS seminaries has been restricted to men preparing for the pastoral ministry of the LCMS. Fort Wayne has hosted the AALC students for several years and was instrumental in bringing about fellowship between the two Synods. We have also trained many students from around the world at the request of their Church bodies.

One immediate option is the M.A.- students could be admitted to that in short order. Those credits could be applied toward a M.Div. when and if a path is developed. I think that it is possible to also open up the M.Div. to men preparing to be pastors. A number of protocols would need to be established (field work, vicarage, etc). Both of our seminaries are what they are confessional, conservative and orthodox Lutheran institutions.

Personally, I would like to see this but I have no real voice in the matter. Fort Wayne has always been the missional (to use a modern term) seminary and Dr. Dean Wenthe, our president, continues that tradition. If the emerging Lutheran bodies approached him, I am certain that he would do what he can. I suspect that the new Synodical President would also want to use our resources to encourage confessionalism.
.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 08:38:14 PM by Daniel L. Gard »

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Seminary Education for New Lutheran Church Bodies
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2010, 09:04:44 PM »
But Daniel could you allow our women seminarians?  Harvey Mozolak
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