Author Topic: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced  (Read 115827 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #300 on: May 05, 2020, 01:57:22 PM »
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

John, is there a reason the requested consolidation could not go forward?
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therevev

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #301 on: May 05, 2020, 01:58:48 PM »
Rather than consolidating the districts I would be in favor of increasing the number of districts but decreasing the over all support staff and mission facilitators employed by the districts. I think the relationships possible between ecclesiastical supervisors and pastors/congregations in bloated/large districts is nearly useless.
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Mark Brown

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #302 on: May 05, 2020, 01:59:10 PM »
I would normally be 100% on the curmudgeon side regarding "vision".  I think the vast majority of vision statements are crap.  I wouldn't bother coming up with one, because I tend to think you can only capture the good ones in hindsight. That Bonhoeffer quote is one I have taped to my desk and quote it all the time.  And as I said above, any "vision" requires the buy-in of those it is pitched to.  I can perfectly see "preach the gospel in season and out" as a Dale one.

All that said, what you are talking about under the label vision is something deeper that we all feel. The big verse that gets quoted is in Proverbs for a reason. "Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (Prov. 29:18 ESV)".  Or I find the NLT interesting, "When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful. (Prov. 29:18 NLT)"  Notice that acceptance in there.  It is essentially about the left hand kingdom, life in this world and under the law. And things such as Synod are largely left hand kingdom things. But there is a place for prophetic vision or divine guidance.  The Lord rules over both the right and the left.  Our very curmudgeon-ness about "vision" might simply be the fact that we have been so long without it we don't really know what it is. And we are probably as likely to come up with "we want a king, like everyone else" as we are to find divine guidance. But it is Bill Belichick, after Drew Bledsoe his All-Star QB came back from injury, saying, "no, that guy (Tom Brady) is my guy".  It's Steve Jobs saying things like "people don't know what they need until you give it to them."  It is that intuition that this is the guy I want to be in a foxhole with.

So, if I was putting on all hubris and breaking all my personal rules, I'd say something like "Time to cross the Jordan".  You want to stay on this bank, fine, but you have no part in us.  You don't think its prudent at this time, fine, but we are going. We've come here by grace, and grace will see us home. Will you cross with me?   
 

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #303 on: May 05, 2020, 02:16:41 PM »
Again, Mark, with Peter I’d ask: crossing the Jordan to where? To do what? “I’ll let you know when you get there” works for God—think Abraham; no so much with us!

Now, if it’s God’s vision shaping us, the vision in the Scriptures, the vision that He sets before us, isn’t that exactly what the AC sought to capture, to confess. Here is how God views the Church! Let’s not confuse the accidental/incidental with the stuff that makes us be who we are. I’m down with that. Is that what you mean by crossing the Jordan?

Points of tension Missouri needs to address: allowing “closed communion” to be a stand-in for the much more difficult practice that the Confessions witness; grounding in the Word a must for any who will hold the office, yet not confusing that with any specific way of achieving such grounding; restoring in some way the office of love amongst us in its fullness so that in every local community mercy/love and faith/word are both full blast; restoration of living communities of prayer (Eucharist is glorious; glad to see it restored; but what’s happened to our prayer life? To the Daily Office? The Litany?); oh, and duh, coming to terms with a LIVELY appropriation of the heritage that is neither the repristination of some golden age NOR the wholesale jettisoning of the Gospel riches God has blessed us with in liturgy and hymnody. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: pastoral malfeasance when a Lutheran pastor doesn’t share with his people the joy of singing: “Lord, Thee I Love” and the comfort it brings! :) Signed, curmudgeonly yours...
« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 02:24:41 PM by Weedon »

Harry Edmon

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #304 on: May 05, 2020, 02:21:48 PM »


Secondly, the Missouri District DP is on the board but doesn't get a vote.  No problem, John Wille is the elector anyway, who is also a DP from my childhood home district.  Thirdly, the chairman of the Board is Rev. Todd Peperkorn, who is known to me.  Fourthly, there is a Paul Edmon on the board.  The person who began this thread was a Harry Edmon.  Are Harry and Paul related?



In the interest of transparency - Paul Edmon is my oldest son.  He is on the staff (not faculty) at Harvard University and attends First Lutheran Church in Boston.  I am retired from the staff (not faculty) at the University of Washington and attend Messiah Lutheran Church in Seattle.

Paul takes his position seriously and does not share anything with me from executive sessions of the Board of Regents.  Anything I have posted on this site about the seminary and the process have been public information.
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James J Eivan

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #305 on: May 05, 2020, 02:35:04 PM »
Rev Hannah:
The way you and other Atlantic District Pastors cry sectarianism and heresy hunters rather than address the SPECIFICS of what you disagree with along with the incessant snark negatively portraying synodical leadership and convention decisions is what prompted my much delayed response. Much if all of the sectarian/heresy hunting is dissing belief/practice once mainstream in synod ... and part of my catechism training. 


Predict who may be selected... and let it rest.  In all fairness, your direct participantion over the past day in the presidential selection snark has been minimum  ... so please do not feel that this post is directed at you personally.
But isn't it a bit disingenuous for all the attention to be placed on CSL and CUP and absolutely nothing said or even worse snarkly speculated on the accreditation issues in your own backyard ... furthermore the snark is feed by one who could speak authoritatively on CCNY if not so preoccupied with snark and speculation outside the backyard.

Mark Brown

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #306 on: May 05, 2020, 03:00:00 PM »
Again, Mark, with Peter I’d ask: crossing the Jordan to where? To do what? “I’ll let you know when you get there” works for God—think Abraham; no so much with us!

Now, if it’s God’s vision shaping us, the vision in the Scriptures, the vision that He sets before us, isn’t that exactly what the AC sought to capture, to confess. Here is how God views the Church! Let’s not confuse the accidental/incidental with the stuff that makes us be who we are. I’m down with that. Is that what you mean by crossing the Jordan?

Points of tension Missouri needs to address: allowing “closed communion” to be a stand-in for the much more difficult practice that the Confessions witness; grounding in the Word a must for any who will hold the office, yet not confusing that with any specific way of achieving such grounding; restoring in some way the office of love amongst us in its fullness so that in every local community mercy/love and faith/word are both full blast; restoration of living communities of prayer (Eucharist is glorious; glad to see it restored; but what’s happened to our prayer life? To the Daily Office? The Litany?); oh, and duh, coming to terms with a LIVELY appropriation of the heritage that is neither the repristination of some golden age NOR the wholesale jettisoning of the Gospel riches God has blessed us with in liturgy and hymnody.

What you've more or less put there is the "to where".

I asked a question on a different thread in this same vein.  Could you get 3000 congregations to sign onto establishing and fully funding: 1 sem, 1 undergrad institution, 1 publishing house and one hymnbook/Agenda?  Could you add missions?  It was grounded in the original questions that Walther was answering in Church and Ministry.  What does it mean to be the church? And grounded in the early much simpler constitutions.  Instead of having at least three churches, each protecting their own turf, while watching each decline and be much less than what The Church is supposed to be, would it not be better to establish some institutional unity if smaller?  To clearly answer some questions?  To act as a church instead of a collection of para-church ministries picking and choosing?

Use Closed Communion as a point.  Everyone has gone their own way.  Recently I've defined what mine looks like in an attempt to be honest with myself and why I think it is a defendable place. But my definition assumes the liturgy.  I've been to LCMS churches where what I think makes things defensible are all absent from the service.  Crossing the Jordan?  Agreeing to practices that we will collectively adhere to, or agreeing to part ways.

A historical Ph.D. dissertation that I think would be very interesting would be an explanation (or even oral history) of how the Synod went from a relatively simple, compact and concrete idea of itself as exemplified in the early constitutions (quote inserted below) to what it became.  How did a synod where its expected duties were basically: CPH, Seminary and its feeders, Uniform Worship Resources, Missions decide to cut loose many of these functions and pick up a whole bunch of others?  How did we adopt a para-church form of organization after being founded as a church organization?

And the follow on, not at all historical, question would simply be: what is a simple, compact and concrete idea of itself that the majority of the current confederation would sign onto?  For example, could you get 3000 congregations to sign onto establishing and fully funding: 1 sem, 1 undergrad institution, 1 publishing house and one hymnbook/Agenda?  Could you add missions?

Quote
I. Reasons for forming a synodical organization.
1. The example of the Apostolic Church. (Acts 15:1-31.)
2. The preservation and furthering of the unity of pure confession (Eph. 4:3-6; 1 Cor. 1:10) and to provide common defense against separatism and sectarianism. (Rom. 16:17.)
3. Protection and preservation of the rights and duties of pastors and congregations.
4. The establishment of the largest possible conformity in church government.
5. The will of the Lord that the diversities of gifts be used for the common good. (1 Cor. 12:4-31.)
6. The unified spread of the kingdom of God and to make possible the promotion of special church projects. (Seminary, agenda, hymnal, Book of Concord, schoolbooks, Bible distribution, mission projects within and outside the Church.)

Rob Morris

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #307 on: May 05, 2020, 03:50:36 PM »
Rev Hannah:
The way you and other Atlantic District Pastors cry sectarianism and heresy hunters rather than address the SPECIFICS of what you disagree with along with the incessant snark negatively portraying synodical leadership and convention decisions is what prompted my much delayed response. Much if all of the sectarian/heresy hunting is dissing belief/practice once mainstream in synod ... and part of my catechism training. 


Predict who may be selected... and let it rest.  In all fairness, your direct participantion over the past day in the presidential selection snark has been minimum  ... so please do not feel that this post is directed at you personally.
But isn't it a bit disingenuous for all the attention to be placed on CSL and CUP and absolutely nothing said or even worse snarkly speculated on the accreditation issues in your own backyard ... furthermore the snark is feed by one who could speak authoritatively on CCNY if not so preoccupied with snark and speculation outside the backyard.
Starting to feel like we have wandered into a Lewis Carroll poem:

For the Snark’s a peculiar creature, that won’t

Be caught in a commonplace way.

Do all that you know, and try all that you don’t:

Not a chance must be wasted to-day!
- The Hunting of the Snark

But maybe that is apropos: "do all that you know and try all that you don't" might be an apt summary of the last half-century of American Christianity.

NGB

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #308 on: May 05, 2020, 04:01:13 PM »
Going back to the discussion about merging the two seminaries, one thing I've never understood is the assumption that Fort Wayne is the obvious choice to be closed and St. Louis the obvious choice to remain open. Is it just nostalgia and institutional loyalty? I can't pretend to be unbiased, but it still seems to me that an outsider would recommend the opposite—that the two seminaries merge and move to Fort Wayne.

As Mark Brown pointed out earlier, the cost of living in Fort Wayne is substantially lower than in Clayton. According to this site, the cost of living in Clayton is twice that of Fort Wayne. This affects not only the students but also the congregations that subsidize them and the faculty and staff that run the seminary. Cheaper cost of living=lower salaries for the employees. Additionally, even if the synod could sell the Fort Wayne campus for a profit, the proceeds from the sale would be vastly lower than the proceeds from the sale of the Clayton campus. The Fort Wayne campus also, while not being nearly as pretty as Clayton's, is three decades newer, which should in theory mean lower maintenance costs (how true that actually is, I don't know).

That said, I personally don't like the idea of combining the seminaries, no matter which campus would be forced to close. It seems to me that you could save a decent chunk of money just by lowering the number of faculty members. In the 1919–20 school year, CSL had 383 students and 8 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 48:1. In the 2019–20 school year, CSL had 616 students (most of whom were non-MDiv students from what I can tell) and 32 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 19:1. If you even decided to meet in the middle of those two numbers and shoot for a student:faculty ratio of 33:1, you'd only need 19 professors, or 59% of the current faculty. Send the other 13 faculty back to the parish and see what the financial numbers look like then. With that reduction in numbers, it should also be easier to close Kirkwood and move the IC employees to the CSL campus, as Pr. Engelbrecht suggested.

CTS could also probably afford to lose a number of faculty members. According to this site, CTS had 301 students in the 2018–19 school year. With 29 faculty members, that's a student:faculty ratio of just over 10:1. I wasn't able to find CTS' enrollment numbers for the 1919–20 school year, but in 1895–96, it had 222 students and 5 faculty, for a student:faculty ratio of 44:1, close to that of CSL in 1919–20. Keeping with the 33:1 ratio, CTS should be able to get by with 10 faculty members. Send the other 19 back in the parish and see how the finances look. Or send any willing profs to overseas seminaries to train the next generation of pastors there. I know many of them already spend several weeks out of the year teaching in Africa, Asia, etc. (Alternatively, if CTS moved to the same 19:1 student:faculty ratio that CSL has, they could get by with 12 full-time faculty, 17 fewer than they have today.) What other uses you could put the Fort Wayne campus to, I don't know. It already hosts Worship Anew, a Christian radio station, and the headquarters of the AALC, but I'm sure someone could find a use for another empty dorm building.

Dave Benke

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #309 on: May 05, 2020, 04:12:07 PM »
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

I spoke about going back to the "old" Atlantic District model or, even better, the "old" Eastern District model on another thread - Valpo? - as a way forward for this part of the world. 

Overall, the beauty of an inter-Lutheran open-ended forum is that dialog can take place from a whole bunch of different perspectives and be respected, even when there are serious disagreements.

We've had wanna be moderators tee it up here throughout our history attempting to dictate who can talk about what where and when.  "You can't have an opinion about this - it's a Missouri Synod matter; stay out," that kind of thing.  It's an Inter-Lutheran Forum, as is the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau.  Purposely inter-Lutheran.  Purposely crossing various boundaries.  It's not only OK, it's viewed as appropriate.  (What we are actually very light on is large non-liturgical congregatons/pastors/leaders (not that the pastors or leaders are large, just the congregations)). 

Sometimes my belief is that the wannabe moderator folks have either had their own blog which gave them that ability, or run a larger site as a moderator or owner.  Schoolmarmish folks, controllers.

Dave Benke




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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #310 on: May 05, 2020, 04:25:42 PM »
Going back to the discussion about merging the two seminaries, one thing I've never understood is the assumption that Fort Wayne is the obvious choice to be closed and St. Louis the obvious choice to remain open. Is it just nostalgia and institutional loyalty? I can't pretend to be unbiased, but it still seems to me that an outsider would recommend the opposite—that the two seminaries merge and move to Fort Wayne.

As Mark Brown pointed out earlier, the cost of living in Fort Wayne is substantially lower than in Clayton. According to this site, the cost of living in Clayton is twice that of Fort Wayne. This affects not only the students but also the congregations that subsidize them and the faculty and staff that run the seminary. Cheaper cost of living=lower salaries for the employees. Additionally, even if the synod could sell the Fort Wayne campus for a profit, the proceeds from the sale would be vastly lower than the proceeds from the sale of the Clayton campus. The Fort Wayne campus also, while not being nearly as pretty as Clayton's, is three decades newer, which should in theory mean lower maintenance costs (how true that actually is, I don't know).

That said, I personally don't like the idea of combining the seminaries, no matter which campus would be forced to close. It seems to me that you could save a decent chunk of money just by lowering the number of faculty members. In the 1919–20 school year, CSL had 383 students and 8 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 48:1. In the 2019–20 school year, CSL had 616 students (most of whom were non-MDiv students from what I can tell) and 32 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 19:1. If you even decided to meet in the middle of those two numbers and shoot for a student:faculty ratio of 33:1, you'd only need 19 professors, or 59% of the current faculty. Send the other 13 faculty back to the parish and see what the financial numbers look like then. With that reduction in numbers, it should also be easier to close Kirkwood and move the IC employees to the CSL campus, as Pr. Engelbrecht suggested.

CTS could also probably afford to lose a number of faculty members. According to this site, CTS had 301 students in the 2018–19 school year. With 29 faculty members, that's a student:faculty ratio of just over 10:1. I wasn't able to find CTS' enrollment numbers for the 1919–20 school year, but in 1895–96, it had 222 students and 5 faculty, for a student:faculty ratio of 44:1, close to that of CSL in 1919–20. Keeping with the 33:1 ratio, CTS should be able to get by with 10 faculty members. Send the other 19 back in the parish and see how the finances look. Or send any willing profs to overseas seminaries to train the next generation of pastors there. I know many of them already spend several weeks out of the year teaching in Africa, Asia, etc. (Alternatively, if CTS moved to the same 19:1 student:faculty ratio that CSL has, they could get by with 12 full-time faculty, 17 fewer than they have today.) What other uses you could put the Fort Wayne campus to, I don't know. It already hosts Worship Anew, a Christian radio station, and the headquarters of the AALC, but I'm sure someone could find a use for another empty dorm building.
Not sure that holds, though. By the same token, my mom once took a year off of college to teach. Without a teaching license she had something like 48 students in three grade levels at a school with no gym, cafeteria, or library, and in Michigan when going out onto the playground was a laborious undertaking for much of the year. She got reprimanded for taking the kids in groups to the public library ("It makes the Lutheran school look poor to the community,") and for lighting a candle to give focus and decorum to devotions ("It seems awfully Catholic.") So the old school way can be done. But should it?

Dave Benke

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #311 on: May 05, 2020, 04:27:09 PM »
Going back to the discussion about merging the two seminaries, one thing I've never understood is the assumption that Fort Wayne is the obvious choice to be closed and St. Louis the obvious choice to remain open. Is it just nostalgia and institutional loyalty? I can't pretend to be unbiased, but it still seems to me that an outsider would recommend the opposite—that the two seminaries merge and move to Fort Wayne.

As Mark Brown pointed out earlier, the cost of living in Fort Wayne is substantially lower than in Clayton. According to this site, the cost of living in Clayton is twice that of Fort Wayne. This affects not only the students but also the congregations that subsidize them and the faculty and staff that run the seminary. Cheaper cost of living=lower salaries for the employees. Additionally, even if the synod could sell the Fort Wayne campus for a profit, the proceeds from the sale would be vastly lower than the proceeds from the sale of the Clayton campus. The Fort Wayne campus also, while not being nearly as pretty as Clayton's, is three decades newer, which should in theory mean lower maintenance costs (how true that actually is, I don't know).

That said, I personally don't like the idea of combining the seminaries, no matter which campus would be forced to close. It seems to me that you could save a decent chunk of money just by lowering the number of faculty members. In the 1919–20 school year, CSL had 383 students and 8 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 48:1. In the 2019–20 school year, CSL had 616 students (most of whom were non-MDiv students from what I can tell) and 32 faculty members, for a student:faculty ratio of 19:1. If you even decided to meet in the middle of those two numbers and shoot for a student:faculty ratio of 33:1, you'd only need 19 professors, or 59% of the current faculty. Send the other 13 faculty back to the parish and see what the financial numbers look like then. With that reduction in numbers, it should also be easier to close Kirkwood and move the IC employees to the CSL campus, as Pr. Engelbrecht suggested.

CTS could also probably afford to lose a number of faculty members. According to this site, CTS had 301 students in the 2018–19 school year. With 29 faculty members, that's a student:faculty ratio of just over 10:1. I wasn't able to find CTS' enrollment numbers for the 1919–20 school year, but in 1895–96, it had 222 students and 5 faculty, for a student:faculty ratio of 44:1, close to that of CSL in 1919–20. Keeping with the 33:1 ratio, CTS should be able to get by with 10 faculty members. Send the other 19 back in the parish and see how the finances look. Or send any willing profs to overseas seminaries to train the next generation of pastors there. I know many of them already spend several weeks out of the year teaching in Africa, Asia, etc. (Alternatively, if CTS moved to the same 19:1 student:faculty ratio that CSL has, they could get by with 12 full-time faculty, 17 fewer than they have today.) What other uses you could put the Fort Wayne campus to, I don't know. It already hosts Worship Anew, a Christian radio station, and the headquarters of the AALC, but I'm sure someone could find a use for another empty dorm building.

These are on point comments.  In these days of actually noticing support staff "essential" workers, what about facilities, maintenance, and cleaning staff and those attendant property costs - two campuses vs. one.  There's a lot of budget in facilities.  Secondly, the way it's done in colleges is for adjunct faculty to do a lot of the basic teaching, and the professors to kick in at level 2 or 3.  With online learning, that would be a really big money-saver.  What if you shifted the internship/vicarage to the fourth year, had year one online, years two and three (for resident students this is) on campus and then out you go.  Big money-saver, no? 

The key is still pastoral and theological formation.  Here both Kloha and Rast stand out.  Doug Rutt certainly has good history in that regard as well in the mission field.  How to best organize the dwindled student body to hit the ground well-founded and with vocational passion - that's the organizational and institutional task.  Both seminaries talk about that a lot, from my involvement through the years, so they can figure it out together.

Your pro-forma doesn't include my tenure at St. Louis, 1968-73.  We had 200 in each class, plus grad students, at just the one seminary, and probably 150 more per class at Springfield.  The dorms were full, the staff was probably not that much larger than now.  Those who went out from say 1963 to 1973 went out at the height of both institutions in enrollment, I would think.   And had significant tuition subsidies.  And had low tuition room and board to begin with, because all the schools were being subsidized by the national church body.    Now we have maybe 40% of the enrollment we had in one class at St. Louis at both seminaries combined.  There was plenty of room for us then.  Why two campuses?   

Dave Benke

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #312 on: May 05, 2020, 04:31:25 PM »
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

John, is there a reason the requested consolidation could not go forward?

Inertia, stasis.   :)
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #313 on: May 05, 2020, 05:00:54 PM »
JAMES EIVAN, you speak only from your particular bias about the Atlantic District. For years, the Atlantic District has sought to re-unite with New England and New Jersey as we were before 1975 (or so).    :(

Alleluia! Christ is risen! JOHN (former Board of Directors member and current Circuit Visitor) HANNAH

John, is there a reason the requested consolidation could not go forward?

Inertia, stasis.   :)

While that may be true, I doubt that such was the stated reason for not pursuing consolidation.  So, what WAS the given reason(s)?  I would be interested in hearing also from Dr. Benke on this, as I assume that he was district president during at least part of the time you mentioned.

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Re: Nominees for Concordia Seminary President Announced
« Reply #314 on: May 05, 2020, 05:04:46 PM »
We need to remember the history of our two seminaries

Springfield/Fort Wayne under President J.A.O Preus was transitioning from a seminary
primarily for men who later in life decided to pursue the pastoral ministry. to one which
would eventually recruit the same guys as St. Louis.  J.A.O Preus upgraded the faculty
and brough in men with Ph.D's.

St. Louis started out as as seminary which attracted the men who went through the "System"
In some cases this included both high school, junior college,and later senior college.

Today, in the 21st century both our current seminaries are recruiting the same men
to attend their campus.  There no longer is any difference in the accreditation for both
seminaries.  One campus would be good stewardship for our financial resources.
Time will tell if St. Louis survives or Ft. Wayne survives.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 05:07:53 PM by Dave Likeness »