It seems a lifetime ago when this college student surveyed the Seminary scene in the Synod and found one Seminary limping along after a mortal wound and another preparing to be uplifted from its home and transported to a new campus in an earlier hometown but at the expense of a wonderful college and a whole structure of theological education in our Synod. It seems a lifetime ago and it almost was... St. Louis survived and has regained its preeminence in Synod (at least in terms of size) but Ft. Wayne has flourished in her new digs and has shed all the vestiges of the old put down of a "practical" seminary for those not, ah, academically gifted. Both campuses have had their troubles and trials but my home and the place that will always bear the warmest of spots among my homes, is the campus at 6600 North Clinton Avenue. The faculty that taught me has mostly gone (a few retired, most called home). The faculty there now includes classmates and some younger guys who were still in high school when I was in my first parish. They are talented group and share a dedication to the Lord and to the Church that has helped shape many men into fine Pastors. For many years one of my first professors has led the school; his pastoral heart and patient wisdom have served the school very well. And tomorrow we will know who will follow him. I can only pray that whoever it is, he will mirror the campus where the chapel is the center of everything -- architecturally, educationally, and liturgically. Thank you, President Wenthe, and God bless the man whom the Church elects as the next President of Concordia Theological Seminary...
Until the Anaheim Convention in 1975
closed Concordia Senior College,
the Springfield Seminary was not on
equal footing academically with the
St. Louis Seminary. The "System"
was suppose to send future pastors
to the Senior College and then St.
Louis. Our Synod is the loser now
that we have seminarians at both
Sems who enter with no theological
background. At the present time
both Sem faculties have great profs.
Anonymous, the big loser of the Synod is that now over 1/3 of future pastors are not even studying at the seminary! They are using alternative routes.
Oh, anonymous, too, what was St. Matthew's theological background before he started his seminary instruction with Jesus? and so many others...
Actually, as a State School guy and son of a PK, I find I have been consistently disappointed with the "system" guys. The theological training was vapid, the philosophic training lacking, and even concerning the languages there wasn't much. Moreover, there was no testing, no crucible to their beliefs. At a State School, I had to defend my beliefs and understand them more and more - there was depth, I couldn't just assume, I had to defend.
And I didn't have 30K+ debt going into the Sem. Right now, I would sincerely advise anyone who wishes to be a pastor to simply go to a college with a good Campus Ministry program - learn theology from the pastor and parish there - and get a solid Liberal Arts foundation in college.
Excellent majors are:
It will be cheaper, you'll be more well rounded, and when the profs at the Sem bring up linguistic points or historical context, you won't be lost.
I have been disappointed with the
Pastors Kids who went into the
parish ministry. They believe that
inherit the pastor's alb and stole
by divine right and go into the
family business with a know-it-all
Future doctors take pre-med courses
and future lawyers take pre-law
courses. Future pastors need to take
pre-Seminary and theological courses.
I cannot say much about what a person ought to do today since I have not been a undergrad on a synodical campus for more 35 years and the old system of feeders to the Senior College provided what I believe to be a premier environment to prepare young men for the ministry. That said, I do not see how you could enter seminary without Greek, Hebrew, and either German or Latin. Wherever you went to get this, it would well serve your seminary time...
Attention Rev. Weinkauf
The Apostle Matthew knew Hebrew and
Greek before he began his Seminary
with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
In fact he could probably write and
speak the Biblical languages better
than any professor at St. Louis or
Fort Wayne Seminary. As a former
tax-collector he could handle parish
administration without any courses
I took great exception when I was in the Seminary in the early 80's and the professors looked down and made derogatory comments on the 4-year pre-sem program at the Concordias, instead of the gymnasium 'system'. A year of Greek and a year of Hebrew, plus the worship and sociology classes were pretty adequate in my book.
Not many students felt the call in Jr. High, and going to high school for the 'system' was getting to be prohibitively expensive. The professors did themselves no favors, and probably was a big factor in the pastor candidate shortage in the middle 80's.
Presently, there have been controversies on the Concordia colleges, and tuition costs are terribly high. I think it would be wise for the LCMS to forgo the various colloquy programs, and establish a Biblical Languages program for seminarians who do not go through the Concordia colleges that would take a extra year to the four-year program the seminaries currently have. There should be more efforts by the congregations to adopt seminarians and help cover their costs.
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