Author Topic: Seminex in Print  (Read 3748 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #60 on: December 20, 2021, 07:43:03 AM »
In the CTQ January/April 2010 issue, Dr Lawrence Rast Jr.wrote an article entitled:
J.A.O. Preus: Theologian, Churchman or Both?

He states that the 1975 Anaheim Synodical Convention gave LCMS President Preus
the authority to declare vacant the office of any district president who should ordain
a non-certified (Seminex) candidate. There were 8 DPs who ordained Seminex
candidates & President Preus only removed 4 of them.  This led to an outcry from some
conservatives who began efforts to find an replacement for President Preus.  In the
1977 convention Preus was returned to office. By the 1981 nomination cycle, Preus
surprised some and refused to allow his name to stand for re-election.

My sense, Dave, is that one of the reasons the conservative United List is called the United List is because they are not united. This example you cite would stem from the roots of that formation.

There are different kinds of conservatives in the LCMS as demonstrated at that time by the variety of publications calling for changes in the LCMS. You had Christian News, Affirm, the Lutheran Clarion, etc. that illustrated the different types of conservatives and their uneasiness with one another. That phenomenon is still present but diminished, I think. Preus was burned out by the competing  politicians by 1981. I had him for a class on Chemnitz in the late 80s or early 90s. He would sometimes reminisce about the war years. His chief nemesis was "the liberals."
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Dave Benke

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #61 on: December 20, 2021, 08:33:24 AM »
In the CTQ January/April 2010 issue, Dr Lawrence Rast Jr.wrote an article entitled:
J.A.O. Preus: Theologian, Churchman or Both?

He states that the 1975 Anaheim Synodical Convention gave LCMS President Preus
the authority to declare vacant the office of any district president who should ordain
a non-certified (Seminex) candidate. There were 8 DPs who ordained Seminex
candidates & President Preus only removed 4 of them.  This led to an outcry from some
conservatives who began efforts to find an replacement for President Preus.  In the
1977 convention Preus was returned to office. By the 1981 nomination cycle, Preus
surprised some and refused to allow his name to stand for re-election.

Sounds like another chapter for the book. 

One of the historical features of the LCMS through the years is selective bloodletting.  The example of one, or a few, is sufficient to please many to most and tamp down those who run too close to the boundaries.  So four of eight was sufficient, and the Seminex grads, down the line a few years, ended up in what became the ELCA.

 In terms of the outcome for Jack Preus, it should be noted that his support for a successor went to.............Ralph Bohlmann.  Meaning that most likely he had had enough of those to his right and selected someone he wanted to succeed him; those to his right then ran their candidates and lost for the next decade, until they rallied around Al Barry and won a true squeaker in 1992.

Dave Benke

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #62 on: December 20, 2021, 09:20:37 AM »
Also interesting would be historical profiles of certain congregations that left the LCMS during those years. I knew several, and was later interim pastor for two terms at one of them. It was one of the finest congregations I have ever served. It went to the ALC in 1976, had then came into the ELCA. Some founders of the congregation were still around and it had something of the "old Missouri" structure even well into the ELCA years. I liked it there - 2 years in one term, later almost 3 years in a second term, - and if you can imagine it - it seems the congregation liked me, although we did not always agree on things. I miss them, especially during holiday seasons.

Remember that the title "Seminex" is about a seminary.  The results in the field had to do with the use of a specific bylaw or convention resolution that placed district presidents who placed and ordained graduates from Seminex under suspension.  When those eight (?) presidents went ahead, they were removed from office.  In various districts that produced the next step, which was leaving the Missouri Synod in support of their district presidents.  Two districts dramatically affected were New England and Atlantic.  Not five years prior, the Atlantic District had been divided into New England, Atlantic and New Jersey.  New England President Robert Riedel (a predecessor of mine at St. Peter's Brooklyn) and Atlantic District President Rudy Ressmeyer (grandson of Franz Pieper) were ousted, and 60-70 congregations left with them.  The seminex graduates ordained and placed in most cases left as well, although there was a way for the congregations and pastors who didn't leave to come through that situation, I believe with an interview of some kind.  My consiglieri for most of my time in the Atlantic District (ie First Vice President), Chip Froehlich, was a Seminex grad who stayed with the LCMS. 

Since our entire district Praesidium left the denomination, Jack Preus was left to find an interim District President somewhere else, and one of the district board pastors, Hank Koepchen, said yes.  Eventually we had a district convention and elected Ron Fink to serve.  The national denomination did basically nothing for us in that period - I had been elevated by circumstance to serve on the District board.  We were pretty much set adrift, with every subsidized congregation remaining and all of the top membership/donation congregations leaving.  Ron spent years doing triage among those of us who were left, and was a wonderful healer and consoler.

Anyway, I wonder whether what happened "on the ground" is considered part of the Seminex saga.  It certainly should be.

Dave Benke

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My understanding was that those who wanted to "get" Herman Otten -- and so devised the requirement for congregations to only call those who were on the synodical roster (and then tried to utilize that requirement ex post facto, which was denied by the synod's appeal system) -- found that their new rule was used against them in regards to the Seminex graduates. 

Terry W Culler

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #63 on: December 20, 2021, 09:47:45 AM »
it has seemed to me that whenever the LCMS elected a "conservative" president, it didn't take too long before the more "conservative" factions to turn on him.  It then leaves the question of just what would satisfy the more "conservative" factions and the only thing I can think of is a split in which some would leave and some stay.  That would be a great shame for all sorts of reasons but the one that stands out for me is the fact that Missouri can, because of its size, speak for conservative Lutherans in a public way which those of us in smaller denominations cannot.  The ELCA gets far more public notice than even Missouri, but if Missouri were to break up again the conservative Lutherans in this country will be so fractured our positions will receive no public notice.
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Dave Benke

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #64 on: December 20, 2021, 11:20:14 AM »
it has seemed to me that whenever the LCMS elected a "conservative" president, it didn't take too long before the more "conservative" factions to turn on him.  It then leaves the question of just what would satisfy the more "conservative" factions and the only thing I can think of is a split in which some would leave and some stay.  That would be a great shame for all sorts of reasons but the one that stands out for me is the fact that Missouri can, because of its size, speak for conservative Lutherans in a public way which those of us in smaller denominations cannot.  The ELCA gets far more public notice than even Missouri, but if Missouri were to break up again the conservative Lutherans in this country will be so fractured our positions will receive no public notice.

I think you're right, and I think that's why whoever gets put in the top spot or spots tends to be forced toward something like the middle in an attempt to be able to speak for a wider swath.  That's really for whoever ends up as the leader. 

Dave Benke

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #65 on: December 20, 2021, 11:46:32 AM »
it has seemed to me that whenever the LCMS elected a "conservative" president, it didn't take too long before the more "conservative" factions to turn on him.  It then leaves the question of just what would satisfy the more "conservative" factions and the only thing I can think of is a split in which some would leave and some stay.  That would be a great shame for all sorts of reasons but the one that stands out for me is the fact that Missouri can, because of its size, speak for conservative Lutherans in a public way which those of us in smaller denominations cannot.  The ELCA gets far more public notice than even Missouri, but if Missouri were to break up again the conservative Lutherans in this country will be so fractured our positions will receive no public notice.

Church politicians are still politicians.  So it should not come as a surprise that, once elected, they often disappoint the more ideological of their supporters by acting in a "political" fashion.  But that is precisely what happens.

Charles Austin

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #66 on: December 20, 2021, 12:06:29 PM »
Pastor Engebretson writes:
We passed an ELCA church out in the country the other day. I found myself wondering whether this country church strongly identifies with the ELCA urban ethos.
I comment:
I think the ELCA "identifies," if that is a proper word, with the larger ethos of the United States, which means rural, urban, inner city and suburb. We have many small-town and rural churches. But those churches do not exist in isolation, either as churches or as part of our country. Their people go to or move to cities. "City" people move to suburbs or small towns. We need to be constantly aware that our particular geographic ethos is not the whole nation, let alone the whole world.
As for what local churches do, that depends upon the church and the pastor. As pastors we are obligated by our constitutional mandates to strengthen the local congregation's connection with the Synod and the ELCA. Some are diligent about this; some are not.
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Chuck

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #67 on: December 20, 2021, 01:59:08 PM »
The "slow motion schism" is still in motion, at least into the NALC, and I would suspect the LCMC as well.  It's a couple of dozen churches a year, but it continues.
Don't think anybody's trying to write any sort of scholarly history yet, though Mark Granquist mentions it briefly in his history of American Lutheranism.


A small quibble...
Actually, the number of congregations withdrawing from the ELCA the past couple of years has been 10-13, not "a couple of dozen."
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Charles Austin

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #68 on: December 20, 2021, 03:17:31 PM »
I heard of one church in the ELCA that withdrew last year because it wanted to call its Pastor without any input from the Synod. That is, it wanted to “hire“ a pastor, whether or not that Pastor was on the ELCA roster or had synodical endorsement.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

MEKoch

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #69 on: December 20, 2021, 03:18:12 PM »
About 50 congregations have applied to join the NALC at this time.  Some are ELCA, LCMC, and very other bodies or independent congregations.  The attitude of ELCA bishops varies widely.  Some bishops have employed very heavy-handed measures including legal actions.  Some bishops simply bid the leaving congregations God's peace. 


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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #70 on: December 20, 2021, 03:29:29 PM »
I heard of one church in the ELCA that withdrew last year because it wanted to call its Pastor without any input from the Synod. That is, it wanted to “hire“ a pastor, whether or not that Pastor was on the ELCA roster or had synodical endorsement.
What do you think the ELCA would have done about it had the congregation gone through with their plan but not withdrawn from the ELCA? 

Charles Austin

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #71 on: December 20, 2021, 03:57:22 PM »
Peter:
What do you think the ELCA would have done about it had the congregation gone through with their plan but not withdrawn from the ELCA?
Me:
If they called a pastor not on our roster, I suspect they would’ve been suspended. It’s happened before. And perhaps later they might’ve been expelled.
If they call an ELCA pastor without the sentence signing off on it, I don’t know what might’ve happened.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Jim Butler

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #72 on: December 20, 2021, 04:03:23 PM »
I heard of one church in the ELCA that withdrew last year because it wanted to call its Pastor without any input from the Synod. That is, it wanted to “hire“ a pastor, whether or not that Pastor was on the ELCA roster or had synodical endorsement.

How do you know that they merely wanted to "hire" a pastor and not actually call him/her?

Are you saying that if a congregation calls without the input of its synod, then the call is not valid?

If an ELCA congregation calls a pastor on the ELCA roster without the bishop's/Synod's input can that congregation be removed from the ELCA? If that pastor accepts the call, can s/he be removed from the ELCA?
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #73 on: December 20, 2021, 04:45:02 PM »
it has seemed to me that whenever the LCMS elected a "conservative" president, it didn't take too long before the more "conservative" factions to turn on him.  It then leaves the question of just what would satisfy the more "conservative" factions and the only thing I can think of is a split in which some would leave and some stay.  That would be a great shame for all sorts of reasons but the one that stands out for me is the fact that Missouri can, because of its size, speak for conservative Lutherans in a public way which those of us in smaller denominations cannot.  The ELCA gets far more public notice than even Missouri, but if Missouri were to break up again the conservative Lutherans in this country will be so fractured our positions will receive no public notice.

Since the Walkout years, the LCMS has remained highly charged politically. From Preus to Harrison, presidents courted Herman Otten's support and then turned away from him after the election. This outraged Herman who then went on the attack and had little positive to say, usually supporting a rival. This bred an atmosphere of deep bitterness and suspicion among the politically minded.

Herman is now gone. What or who will fill the vacuum?
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Charles Austin

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Re: Seminex in Print
« Reply #74 on: December 20, 2021, 05:25:18 PM »
Pastor Butler, on another snipe hunt:
How do you know that they merely wanted to "hire" a pastor and not actually call him/her?
Me:
Blended language. They saw "call" as "hire," that is, "we pay him, we own him."

Pastor Butler:
Are you saying that if a congregation calls without the input of its synod, then the call is not valid?
Me:
I'm saying that is contrary to our usual procedures, some of which are spelled out in synodical and constitutional constitutions. The bishop is supposed to have some say over who is pastor in that synod.

Pastor Butler:
If an ELCA congregation calls a pastor on the ELCA roster without the bishop's/Synod's input can that congregation be removed from the ELCA? If that pastor accepts the call, can s/he be removed from the ELCA?
Me:
Probably not. But maybe. I did one interim where a pastor had been called against the advice of the bishop, but being a nice guy, he let it happen. Five years later, when the pastor had nearly destroyed the congregation, the synod had to clean up the mess. That pastor was then on leave from call for three years and, having refused additional training or mentoring, was dropped from our rolls. 
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns could’ve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.