Author Topic: Seminex in Print  (Read 5058 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Seminex in Print
« on: December 16, 2021, 07:53:48 AM »
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Dave Benke

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2021, 08:45:49 AM »
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2021, 09:04:05 AM »
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

I suppose the statement makes sense if you see the debate about the role of Scripture in Lutheran theology as a prelude to the breakup of the ELCA, which has been the other significant event.
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Jim Butler

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2021, 11:08:42 AM »
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It would be interesting to see if he references CN in anyway. But I'm not going to buy the book to find out.

I think one could argue that the LCMS conflict of the 70s was a watershed event in American Lutheranism. For the LCMS, it began a generation of infighting and political intrigue that still continues (e.g. the United List dominance in our conventions). As for the ELCA, Carl Braaten has argued that the Seminex faculty had a profound impact on LSTC, and the ELCA as a whole, taking them further into liberal Christianity than they would be otherwise. I've sometimes wondered if the ELCA would exist as it does today if the AELC had not been involved. In that regard, Berger's thesis could be correct.

I greatly enjoyed reading Tietjen's memoir about the conflict. I really wish that Jack Preus had written a memoir from his perspective as well as some others who were involved. I think there are lots of stories from that era that have never been told and, sadly, never will be.
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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2021, 11:21:31 AM »
I recall a commentary indicating that it was the first time in church history (or recent history) that the liberal faction broke away from the conservative group. Other breakaways, like in the ELCA, has been the conservatives breaking away from those they believe are too liberal.
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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2021, 11:28:35 AM »
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It would be interesting to see if he references CN in anyway. But I'm not going to buy the book to find out.

I think one could argue that the LCMS conflict of the 70s was a watershed event in American Lutheranism. For the LCMS, it began a generation of infighting and political intrigue that still continues (e.g. the United List dominance in our conventions). As for the ELCA, Carl Braaten has argued that the Seminex faculty had a profound impact on LSTC, and the ELCA as a whole, taking them further into liberal Christianity than they would be otherwise. I've sometimes wondered if the ELCA would exist as it does today if the AELC had not been involved. In that regard, Berger's thesis could be correct.

I greatly enjoyed reading Tietjen's memoir about the conflict. I really wish that Jack Preus had written a memoir from his perspective as well as some others who were involved. I think there are lots of stories from that era that have never been told and, sadly, never will be.


Another trajectory that would have changed American Lutheranism were those working at uniting the three major Lutheran bodies in the U.S. Our joint work on LBW and in LCUSA. Fellowship that had been established with the ALC. That was a trajectory, too; that may have heightened the LCMS squabbles.


I am certain that the loss of those who formed the AELC removed the moderating influence from the LCMS and it became more conservative. I'm not sure that those AELC folks were more theologically liberal than the LCA folks. What they did do was to push the ALC, who had been holding out for a tri-Lutheran fellowship/unity, to recognize that it was impossible. The conservative faction in LCMS would never let that happen.


The ALC president at the time, David Preus, was not in favor of the new church, but agreed to go along with it if that's the direction the church body took.


Just before the ELCA formed in 1988, there was the first breakaway, with a few ALC congregations forming TAALC. It was mostly over omitting "infallible and inerrant" in the ELCA constitution that had been in the ALC constitution. Such departures weakened the conservative influence within the ELCA.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2021, 11:32:18 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Charles Austin

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2021, 11:34:33 AM »
I covered the Missouri Synod split, both as a secular journalist and as one working in Lutheran Church communications, that is, a church journalist. While it was a major, and I guess traumatic event for many Lutherans, you might have been surprised to see how little the rest of the world cared.
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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2021, 12:13:18 PM »
Looks like an important and helpful work for those interested in American Lutheranism.

https://www.cph.org/p-35190-seminex-in-print-a-comprehensive-bibliography-of-published-material-and-selected-archival-resources-for-historical-research.aspx

One would think the best source for the bibliography would be/have been the Christian News storage facility and archives, not so?  The first sentence of the blurb stuck out for me:  Nothing has shaken American Lutheranism more than the conflict within the Missouri Synod in the early 1970s.  Agree or disagree? 

Dave Benke

It is the most significant event for two reasons:

1) It inaugurated the "Boomer Peace", an interim that we've all been living under right up until today, which the biggest rule is that we will not collectively make resolutions on our life together that have actual impact. That fight was considered so devastating that crippling the institution as a coherent body and fostering the attitude of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes was preferable.  And that generation continues to white-knuckle that peace and keep a lid on any conversations of significance.

2) It alerted the progressive hierarchies of all mainline institutions that both: a) the actual congregations were not with them and b) they could lose if the crisis was forced. Learning the lesson of the early warning, they all adopted slow-roll revolutions from the top-down, boiling the frogs.

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2021, 12:39:17 PM »
I covered the Missouri Synod split, both as a secular journalist and as one working in Lutheran Church communications, that is, a church journalist. While it was a major, and I guess traumatic event for many Lutherans, you might have been surprised to see how little the rest of the world cared.

I wouldn't be surprised by how little the world cares. Most Americans didn't care. I don't think it made anyone's top 10 list of important news stories of the 70s. Heck, I grew up in Kansas City just four hours by car from St. Louis. I never heard anything about it. It wasn't on the local news. It was buried in the pages of the Kansas City Star/Times. I don't remember it even being mentioned in our church. I remember showing up at St. Paul's College High in Concordia, MO in the fall of 1975 and hearing all of these pastor's kids talking about it and asking which "side" I was on. I had no idea what they were talking about.

But while the world may have cared little, it still had a profound impact on Lutheranism in America and certain portions of the LCMS. New England lost about a third of its churches, and many more split.  I've met laypeople  who lost friends over it. Some families even split over it. I've spoken with pastors who went one way while guys they had known since they were freshmen in high school went the other; their sadness was profound. I can say that the New England District has never really recovered from that. It's kinda sad. I've met people who voted to have their churches leave the Synod in those days, but when I asked them what the actual issues were, they actually have no idea, but their pastor thought they should leave, so they did too.
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Dave Benke

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2021, 12:53:38 PM »
I covered the Missouri Synod split, both as a secular journalist and as one working in Lutheran Church communications, that is, a church journalist. While it was a major, and I guess traumatic event for many Lutherans, you might have been surprised to see how little the rest of the world cared.

I wouldn't be surprised by how little the world cares. Most Americans didn't care. I don't think it made anyone's top 10 list of important news stories of the 70s. Heck, I grew up in Kansas City just four hours by car from St. Louis. I never heard anything about it. It wasn't on the local news. It was buried in the pages of the Kansas City Star/Times. I don't remember it even being mentioned in our church. I remember showing up at St. Paul's College High in Concordia, MO in the fall of 1975 and hearing all of these pastor's kids talking about it and asking which "side" I was on. I had no idea what they were talking about.

But while the world may have cared little, it still had a profound impact on Lutheranism in America and certain portions of the LCMS. New England lost about a third of its churches, and many more split.  I've met laypeople  who lost friends over it. Some families even split over it. I've spoken with pastors who went one way while guys they had known since they were freshmen in high school went the other; their sadness was profound. I can say that the New England District has never really recovered from that. It's kinda sad. I've met people who voted to have their churches leave the Synod in those days, but when I asked them what the actual issues were, they actually have no idea, but their pastor thought they should leave, so they did too.

I agree with this.  Other people really didn't care, and most likely still don't, in fact now "couldn't care less."  But we care, and beyond the local/regional losses and changes there were repercussions in the way Lutherans work and act to this very day. 

My take on it is that had the other Preus won the day back in the day, that is David and the centrist upper Midwest-strong Scandinavian ALC, Lutheranism might have turned out differently and maybe, just maybe, not be headed down the trail that leads in 2030 to having been drawn and quartered in size in that time period.

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Dave Likeness

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2021, 01:03:47 PM »
The Seminex event was an intramural battle over the direction of Concordia
Seminary, St. Louis.  The orthodoxy of the faculty was questioned and the
majority of professors decided to walk out to start their own seminary.

It then got complicated when graduates of Seminex were called to LCMS
parishes.  It got 8 District Presidents on the hot seat for allowing it.  This
led the LCMS President to fire 4 of the 8 District Presidents.    Eventually
Seminex went out of business and their professors went to other Lutheran
non-LCMS seminaries.

Bottom Line: A large majority of those involved in the Seminex event have
now passed away.  CPH might be surprised how few folks will spend $40
to relive the past events of Seminex.
 

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2021, 01:09:02 PM »
I covered the Missouri Synod split, both as a secular journalist and as one working in Lutheran Church communications, that is, a church journalist. While it was a major, and I guess traumatic event for many Lutherans, you might have been surprised to see how little the rest of the world cared.

I wouldn't be surprised by how little the world cares. Most Americans didn't care. I don't think it made anyone's top 10 list of important news stories of the 70s. Heck, I grew up in Kansas City just four hours by car from St. Louis. I never heard anything about it. It wasn't on the local news. It was buried in the pages of the Kansas City Star/Times. I don't remember it even being mentioned in our church. I remember showing up at St. Paul's College High in Concordia, MO in the fall of 1975 and hearing all of these pastor's kids talking about it and asking which "side" I was on. I had no idea what they were talking about.

But while the world may have cared little, it still had a profound impact on Lutheranism in America and certain portions of the LCMS. New England lost about a third of its churches, and many more split.  I've met laypeople  who lost friends over it. Some families even split over it. I've spoken with pastors who went one way while guys they had known since they were freshmen in high school went the other; their sadness was profound. I can say that the New England District has never really recovered from that. It's kinda sad. I've met people who voted to have their churches leave the Synod in those days, but when I asked them what the actual issues were, they actually have no idea, but their pastor thought they should leave, so they did too.

I agree with this.  Other people really didn't care, and most likely still don't, in fact now "couldn't care less."  But we care, and beyond the local/regional losses and changes there were repercussions in the way Lutherans work and act to this very day. 

My take on it is that had the other Preus won the day back in the day, that is David and the centrist upper Midwest-strong Scandinavian ALC, Lutheranism might have turned out differently and maybe, just maybe, not be headed down the trail that leads in 2030 to having been drawn and quartered in size in that time period.

Dave Benke

Back in 1984/85, Jack Preus spoke to my LCMS history class (you can find the video on the CSL website in the class on the walkout). He argued that Oliver Harms (and the Seminary majority) made the mistake of pushing ALC fellowship in 1969 when it was clear that many in Missouri were not in favor. He said Harms should have pushed off the decision until 1971 or 1973. Preus argued if Harms had done that, then he wouldn't have defeated Harms and things would have turned out quite differently. There would have been a split in Missouri, but it would have been along the lines of the small groups that had split already.

I've always wondered what would have happened if the LCMS had gone into fellowship with the ALC in the 1930s. I think we were very close, but things took a wrong turn. So many "What-ifs?" in history.
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Jim Butler

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2021, 01:12:02 PM »
The Seminex event was an intramural battle over the direction of Concordia
Seminary, St. Louis.  The orthodoxy of the faculty was questioned and the
majority of professors decided to walk out to start their own seminary.

It then got complicated when graduates of Seminex were called to LCMS
parishes.  It got 8 District Presidents on the hot seat for allowing it.  This
led the LCMS President to fire 4 of the 8 District Presidents.    Eventually
Seminex went out of business and their professors went to other Lutheran
non-LCMS seminaries.

Bottom Line: A large majority of those involved in the Seminex event have
now passed away.  CPH might be surprised how few folks will spend $40
to relive the past events of Seminex.

I'm wondering what the purpose of this book is. It isn't a history of the walk out, it's an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary information about it. I'm not sure who the books is aimed at. Some professional church historians and possibly some university and seminary libraries perhaps, but that would be about it.
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

Charles Austin

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2021, 01:14:38 PM »
If the “other Preus“ had prevailed, and If Bishop James Crumley of the LCA had prevailed, we would have quite a different ELCA.
So who prevailed? Looking back, I think it was a middle of the road/liberal and messy coalition desperate to keep the merger alive by giving the AELC And LCA progressives certain things that they wanted. I believe Dave Preus thought he could fix things after the merger, and Jim  Crumley doubted that, but didn’t want to scuttle  the whole merger process.
So everybody put on a happy face and went on with things..
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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2021, 03:10:06 PM »
I don't think the AELC was necessarily more liberal than the other merger partners, at least not at the time. In many ways they were probably more conservative. But what they imported was something they insist wasn't but really was Gospel reductionism. That is, they weren't so very progressive themselves, but they played and outsized role in steering and then disabled the brakes, so to speak, such that employing their hermeneutic inevitably and irreversibly nudged the church in a progressive direction on a frictionless surface to keep going.