Dr. Walter A. Maier II Called Home to His Eternal Rest

The Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier II, eldest son of Lutheran Hour founder Dr. Walter A. Maier, entered hospice care early in October, knowing that when he returned home it would not be to his earthly address. While visiting him in hospice on October 8, 2019, President of the Indiana District, the Rev. Dr. Daniel Brege, presented Dr. Maier II with a plaque honoring his 70th anniversary in pastoral ministry. He had originally planned to present it to him at the Indiana District Pastors’ Conference taking place this past week. Instead, at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, October 24, Dr. Maier II entered through the gates of heaven, called home into the arms of his Savior.

Born on June 24, 1925, Dr. Maier II attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, where his father served as a professor, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Exegesis and Systematics in 1948. A year later, he received a Master of Arts in Classical Languages from Washington University in St. Louis. On September 11, 1949, his father ordained and installed him at Faith Lutheran Church, a rural congregation in Elma, New York, where he met his future bride, Leah M. Gach. They were married in 1951 and had two sons, Walter III and David.

Dr. Maier II later served a suburban congregation in Levittown, Pennsylvania (Hope Lutheran Church, 1954-1960), then an urban church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Hope Lutheran Church, 1961-1965), where he could teach religion and Greek classes at nearby Concordia College. He then accepted a call to Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS), which was located in Springfield, Illinois, at the time. While teaching at the seminary in Springfield, he completed two degrees from the seminary in St. Louis, a Master of Sacred Theology in 1967 and a Doctor of Theology in 1970. Both degrees were earned in Exegetical and Systematic Theology.

Having joined the CTS faculty in 1965 (which would move to Fort Wayne 10 years later, becoming known as CTSFW), he taught New Testament Exegetical Theology full time at the Seminary for the next 35 years, until 2000. For the next 13 years, he taught Greek readings part time, until formally retiring in August of 2013. After his retirement, the Rev. Dr. Charles A. Gieschen, Academic Dean at CTSFW, wrote of his former professor and colleague: “His rapid-fire lecture style, his faithfulness to the biblical text and his attacks on the Historical Critical Method contributed to his popularity as a speaker in the LCMS and his advancement in rank to associate professor (1968) and professor (1973)” (“Dr. Walter A. Maier: A True Servant of God.” For the Life of the World 17, no. 4, December 2013).

Besides his many “spiritual sons” from his 48 years of teaching at CTSFW, Dr. Maier II and Leah’s two sons also followed in their father’s footsteps, studying at the Seminary where their father taught. The Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier III now serves as Professor of Exegetical Theology at CTSFW and the Rev. Dr. David P.E. Maier is President of the Michigan District. “My father has been a wonderful teacher and example for me all my life,” Dr. Maier III explained to Dr. Gieschen for the 2013 article. “He has shown me what it means to be a father, pastor, professor, scholar and churchman, that is, a true servant of God, one motivated and empowered by Christ.”

Alongside his years in the parish and as a seminary professor, Dr. Maier II served in various positions in the Eastern and South Wisconsin Districts; as Chairman of the Department of Exegetical Theology, Academic Dean, Vice-President, and Director of the Distance Education Program Leading to Ordination(DELTO) at CTSFW; as a vice-president of the LCMS from 1973-1995; and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, in 1999.

In 1996, while chairing the Seminary’s 150th anniversary committee, Dr. Maier II wrote the following in the January–April Issue of Concordia Theological Quarterly: “From the time the first classes were taught in the parsonage of St. Paul’s Lutheran church in Fort Wayne, in October of 1846, until the present, when the seminary occupies a beautiful campus of two hundred acres near the St. Joseph River, this ‘school of the prophets’ has served as God’s instrument in preparing over four thousand men for the ministerium of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. It has also, through its graduate and extension programs, assisted in the advanced theological education of many pastors through the years. These are great blessings from, and grounds of profound gratitude to, the Lord of the church. These are many reasons for the seminary and the church to rejoice during the current celebratory period.”

So, too, we give thanks to God for the great blessings we have received even as we mourn the passing of His servant, Dr. Maier II, while also rejoicing that he has been called home to his eternal rest. “This week, CTSFW and our Synod lost a faithful pastor and vigorous theologian,” said CTSFW President, the Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast, Jr., another former student and colleague of Dr. Maier II. “For seven decades Dr. Maier dedicated himself to the study, teaching, and proclamation of God’s Word. Few are blessed with the length and breadth of service to our Lord demonstrated by Dr. Maier. But even more importantly, the Maier family mourns the loss of a faithful and loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and brother. With Advent just around the corner, the entire CTSFW community prays with the Maier family as we all anxiously await our Lord’s coming and that day when we will be reunited with all the saints in heaven.”

Dr. Maier’s funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 31st, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne (1126 S. Barr St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802). The viewing will be held both the day before at Hockemeyer and Miller Funeral Home from 2:00–4:00 p.m. and 6:00–8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30th, as well as an hour before the service at St. Paul’s on Thursday, October 31st, at 10 a.m.

Dr. Nordling in Nigeria

The last of our faculty travel highlights this week is actually the first: Dr. John Nordling, professor and Greek instructor for many of our summer Greek students, who taught beginning New Testament Greek in Nigeria for five weeks this past spring. His travels began before the end of our last academic year, from March 4–April 5.
Greek classes at the Jonathan Ekong Memorial Lutheran Seminary (JEMLS) in Obot Idim Ibesikpo, Uyo, AKWA Ibom State, Nigeria, began at 8 a.m., broke for chapel at 10 a.m. (Dr. Nordling also served daily as preacher for four out of the five weeks), and resumed until noon. Dr. Nordling taught a class of 50-60 students, in English. Though Nigerians know and speak dozens of tribal languages, English serves as the country’s unifying tongue.
In the afternoon, he taught a New Testament elective to a much smaller class of 15 or 20 second- and third-years. “The first one was Romans: very important for any Lutheran pastor,” Dr. Nordling said. “Then the pastoral epistles, Timothy and Titus. I gave lectures based on the Greek text. The third one was the Gospel of Matthew. I quizzed them to keep them honest. I’m a big one for quizzing, even here. That’s the only way to make sure that students are with you and engaged. I’m a great respecter of the Old Adam. Every day is a test.”
The seminary is located in a developing urban setting on the southeast corner of Nigeria, a part of the infamous Slave Coast, close to the ocean and the equator. Hazy with heat, humidity, and pollution, the large classroom was an open air room with no panes in the windows, located next door to a canal and noisy brick factory. Out the windows, factory workers shoveled sand in 90 degree weather. In the large room, many of the students couldn’t see the whiteboard, the inked words faint and far away. Dry-erase pens dried out quickly. “I became very covetous of markers,” Dr. Nordling admitted.
Dr. Nordling teaches Greek from the front of the room.
Outside of class, study at home was difficult due to a lack of electricity. “This is right on the equator. The sun comes down at 6 p.m. and goes down in an instant.” Without dependable lights, “It gets dark real quick.” To get the printouts he needed for each class, Dr. Nordling depended on Seminary Rector Dr. Michael Adoga, an old student and friend (“I was his doctoral father 8-9 years ago,” he explained), who would run to the print shop down the road each day. Dr. Nordling preached his chapel sermons directly from his computer to cut down on these runs.
Though daily Greek classes were composed of approximately 50 or 60 students, Dr. Nordling technically taught Greek to 80 students. Some of the missing were pastors who had to prioritize their pastoral responsibilities over study; others cut class as needed for travel back home on the weekends, though there was a cultural aspect to that as well. “Everything was kind of looser,” Dr. Nordling explained. “Education is not as intense there as I was making it. Part of the problem was me. The students were more laid back. Some of them just hadn’t had to learn the way I was trying to get them to learn. There was no flippancy, no disrespect, nothing like that; I didn’t have discipline problems. They respect authority. Every morning when I’d come in at 8 a.m., they’d all stand.” It was simply a matter of different cultural expectations.
He also began each Greek class by having the class sing the Lord’s Prayer. “They loved that, and were very good at it. They sang like only Africans can sing. The guys at the brick factory would sometimes look over.”
JEMLS is the seminary of the Lutheran Church of Nigeria (LCN), an LCMS partner church and member of the International Lutheran Council, an association of confessional Lutheran church bodies. Begun in a rural clan in 1936, the LCN now has approximately 80,000 baptized members (50,000 communicant members), served by 72 active pastors. The president of the synod, called an archbishop, is The Most Rev. Christian Ekong, a descendant of the pioneering father of the LCN after whom the Jonathan Ekong Memorial Lutheran Seminary was named.
Chapel service at JEMLS; the Lord’s Supper was celebrated during the Lenten season.
JEMLS is also located in what Dr. Nordling called the Christian part of the country, with very little Muslim influence. The story is different in the north. During those few times Dr. Nordling watched local television (his hosts put him up at a hotel with three generators, and though power cut off frequently it came back quickly), he heard reports of Christians killed by Muslim marauders. “You have Christian farmers up there,” he said, describing the tensions in the region. “It’s kind of like the range wars in the Wild West. They’re more nomads. They would break into the farms and sometimes they would kill people. They had herds and stuff. They were kind of competing for land.”
One of the common complaints among the Christian community in Nigeria is the underreporting of the violence. “I saw stuff on Facebook that wasn’t in the news,” he said. “I think there were several hundred people killed while I was there. It’s like it didn’t even happen. It’s just a common thing.”
CTSFW’s connection with JEMLS is through her loyal sons, one of whom is the Rev. Charles Wokoma, LCMS Missionary to West Africa. Born in Africa, Rev. Wokoma received his MDiv from CTSFW in 1997 and has since served in both nations. In September of 2013 he accepted a call to Africa as a theological educator. He works tirelessly at JEMLS, and teaches and preaches at local congregations each week.
“He’s very supportive of confessional Lutheranism, liturgical Lutheranism,” Dr. Nordling said of Rev. Wokoma. Christianity in Africa tends toward Pentecostalism, which emphasizes the importance of personal and spiritual experiences over the centrality of God’s promises in His Word (promises which are kept regardless of personal feelings). Speaking in tongues and faith healing are commonly associated with the experience-based movement. Rev. Wokoma is ashamed of the troublesome theology that plagues the nation, and determined to train pastors who are loyal to the confessions. In chapel services he insists on serving as the celebrant so that he can demonstrate and teach the blessings of closed communion and the importance of fellowship under the same confession.
Left to Right: JEMLS Rector Rev. Dr. Michael Adoga, Missionary Rev. Charles Wokoma, Dr. John G. Nordling
Rev. Wokoma also assisted in Dr. Nordling’s class nearly every day, helping to keep the students focused and engaged. And when Dr. Nordling worried that he was not reaching his students as well as he did with his summer Greek students here in Fort Wayne, Rev. Wokoma was quick to reassure him. The students had already learned a lot more Greek from this class than they had in the entire history of JEMLS.
There were also the exceptional students, who thrived on the Greek training and went above and beyond both in and out of class. Several of the fourth-year students helped Dr. Nordling call on students for translation and composition; another, Rev. David Imuk, was the reason that he even came to teach at JEMLS in the first place.
In 2015, Dr. Nordling came to Nigeria for the first time to teach a very small class of about ten laymen—successful businessmen wondering if they ought to become pastors. He also met a bright, young pastor named Rev. Imuk, who he discovered had learned Greek on his own. His questions about the text were pointed and clear. During his second trip to Nigeria in 2016, Dr. Nordling asked Rev. Imuk if he would like to study Greek at CTSFW. “I asked him if he wanted to come and his eyes lit up.”
Through donations, they gathered enough money to bring Rev. Imuk to America for summer or fall Greek. However, the US embassy rejected his applications for a visa twice, for no discernible reason. Dr. Nordling wrote letters, to no avail. With only the fees for the failed attempts to show for it, they decided they were not defeated, though perhaps redirected. “I talked to the archbishop, Rev. Christian Ekong,” Dr. Nordling continued. “’If Mohammad can’t come to the mountain, then the mountain has to come to Mohammad.’” Since Rev. Imuk couldn’t come to America, Dr. Nordling asked if he could come to Nigeria instead.
Archbishop Ekong made it happen, carving out the time in the seminary’s schedule. Instead of coming for 10 weeks at a time, they decided to schedule Dr. Nordling for two trips: five weeks for this trip (his third time in the country), then another five in the spring of 2020. As to Rev. Imuk: “He became my grader and daily tutor—and so probably ended up learning Greek far better by my coming to Nigeria than if he had had the opportunity to study with me in Fort Wayne.”
Rev. Imuk plans to continue working with students on vocabulary during the intervening year, in preparation for Dr. Nordling’s return next spring. CTSFW assisted by sending blank flashcards to JEMLS through Rev. Wokoma, when he came to the LCMS Convention in July.
“All said, it was very rewarding. I’m glad I did it,” Dr. Nordling concluded. He admitted that it was both the hardest he has ever worked as a pastor, but also the most rewarding—made possible by many, from Archbishop Ekong, Dr. Adoga, missionary Rev. Wokoma, to Rev. Imuk, to name only a few. Deep thanks are also due to the donor who sent the mountain to the West African coast: Mr. Gerald Schultz of Rathdrum, Idaho, whose material support brought this intensive Greek course to pastors and seminarians in Nigeria.
Dr. Nordling with JEMLS leadership and about two-thirds of the Greek class on the final day. Of particular note is Archbishop Christian Ekong sitting in the center. To his left is Rev. Gary Schulte, Area Director of LCMS Missions, West and Central Africa; and to his right is Dr. Nordling. Rev. David Imuk is standing to the right of Nordling, and Rev. Charles Wokoma is standing on the far left of the first standing row.

Thanks be to God for His generous gifts, for the confession we share with our brothers and sisters in Christ overseas, for His promises to every nation and generation. May He continue to bless those seminaries built on the rock of His firm and unchangeable Word, as they work in Christ to train pastors to serve as undershepherds for His flock, and deaconesses to serve as His hands of mercy.

While [Jesus] was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 12:46-50

Prof. Pless in South Africa

Earlier in the summer, Prof. John Pless (Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions as well as Director of Field Education) was in Tshwane, South Africa, teaching an intensive course at the Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS). From July 28–August 9 he taught a class of 25 students, finishing out a five course series based on the five volumes of “Commentary on Luther’s Catechisms” by Albrecht Peters. Residential LTS students along with pastors and lay preachers from various South African Lutheran bodies attended the series on how to teach, preach, and provide pastoral care based on each section of the Lutheran Confessions.

He first began teaching this advanced catechetics series in February and March of 2017. “I appreciate the continuity I have with these students,” Prof. Pless wrote in a report following the final class. “It is especially heartening to have a solid core group of pastors and lay preachers who return for each offering.”

For three hours each morning, Prof. Pless covered the fifth volume of Peters’ commentary, teaching about Confession and Absolution as well as the daily prayers and the table of duties in the Small Catechism. He used his newest book, “Luther’s Small Catechism: A Manual for Discipleship,” as a supplement. Donors from the United States provided both books for the students.

In addition to teaching, preaching in chapel, and visiting colleagues and local pastors, Prof Pless noted a particular undertaking nearing completion at LTS. “Certainly a highlight of this trip was to watch the daily progress being made on the library expansion and renovation, a project supported by the St. Philip Lutheran Mission Society.” The St. Philip Lutheran Mission Society is made up of CTSFW alumni, who first visited LTS in the spring of 2008 as students. Now pastors, they raise financial aid for the institute to support the promotion of confessional Lutheran theological education in Africa through LTS.

“It is such a blessing to be able to partner with LTS-Tshwane on this project,” explained the chairman of the society, Rev. Chris Maronde, associate pastor at St. John in Decatur, Indiana, and doctoral student at CTSFW. “The express mission of the Saint Philip Lutheran Mission Society has been to support the seminary in any way we can, although this is the first capital project we have ever undertaken.

“As Philip didn’t travel to Africa but sent the Ethiopian back to his home, so Saint Philip Lutheran Mission Society is made up of pastors (all CTSFW alums) and donors in the United States who support the training of native pastors, who will travel back to their homes all over Africa with the saving proclamation of Christ and Him crucified.

“Our primary method of aid is tuition support, but it has been very satisfying to see a ‘brick and mortar’ project travel from conception and fundraising to construction. It is also humbling to the board to see this mission society, still very young, be the driving force in the construction of a building thousands of miles away.”

Many challenges delayed the project for several years, but construction finally began in the spring; the dedication is scheduled for September 7, two days from now. The expansion of the facility had been overdue for many years, and will more than double the space for holdings, allowing many books to be brought out of storage and into student’s hands. The previous rector of the seminary, Dr. Weber, asked the society to take on the project, and the current rector, Dr. Winterle, saw it through to construction. “We enlisted the help of many in the United States,” Rev. Maronde went on, “particularly by partnering with the Rocky Mountain District of the LCMS (who is providing funding to equip the building with necessary amenities), and a grant from a Lutheran organization in Texas. Without our own donors and these other organizations, this library would not be under construction.”

Prof. Pless plans to return to LTS in March of 2020 to teach “The Psalms in Pastoral Theology,” followed by another Confessions course in August. “I am grateful to the congregations and individuals whose gifts have enabled me to travel to South Africa and bring books for our students,” he noted in his report. “As long as we can find funding for these trips, I am willing and eager to come to South Africa twice a year.”

You can learn more about the St. Philip Mission Society at www.splms.org. To learn more about the seminary in Tshwane, go to www.lts.ac.za.

Dr. Schulz at the Nagercoil Seminary

First up in our faculty travel highlight week is Dr. Detlev Schulz, whose credentials include many of CTSFW’s international and mission departments. He is Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions, Dean of Graduate Studies, Director of the PhD in Missiology Program, and Co-director of International Studies. This summer Dr. Schulz visited the India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC) from August 11–16.

He spoke at the Pastors’ Refresher Course, a retreat hosted by Concordia Theological Seminary, Nagercoil, under the theme: “The Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace (Eph. 4:3).” The retreat itself took place over two days, from the 14th to the 15th, while the rest of his time in India was spent consulting with the faculty on curricula and colloquy matters. Dr. Schulz was asked to assist in their theological education by helping to map out the Lutheran emphasis in their Bachelor of Divinity program, as well as to discuss the role of the Nagercoil seminary in the IELC colloquy process.

President Suviseshamuthu and Principle Christudas (here pictured standing on either side of Dr. Schulz) extend their warmest greetings to CTSFW. Founded in 1932, the seminary of the IELC is also currently being beautifully restored to its original self.

Faculty Addition and Advancements

Opening Service begins in less than a week, on Monday, September 9, at 10 a.m. in Kramer Chapel. The start of the 174th academic year at CTSFW will include the installation of a new faculty member: the Rev. Prof. Adam Koontz, who began his service as Assistant Professor of Exegetical Theology on August 1st. Prof. Koontz attended school as an undergrad in his home state of Pennsylvania before receiving his Master of Divinity from CTSFW. He served as pastor at Mount Calvary in Lititz, Pennsylvania, during which he planted Concordia Lutheran Mission in Myerstown. A doctoral candidate in New Testament and Early Christianity in the Department of Religion at Temple University, Philadelphia, he and his wife Jen have returned to his alma mater in Fort Wayne with their six children.

“It’s honestly completely different coming here as a professor instead of a student—except that in both cases I arrived in the middle of summer and spent a lot of time in the library as soon as I got to campus,” Prof. Koontz explained. “As a student, I was excited but didn’t fully understand the importance of the teaching that happens at the Seminary. As a faculty member, I’m excited again but know full well that what we teach here matters more than anything.”

Prof. Koontz will teach courses related to the New Testament, beginning with Gospels 1 and Greek readings. In the winter and spring quarters, he will teach lecture courses on Paul, his specialty. “The faculty is very excited to welcome Rev. Koontz to our midst,” said Academic Dean, the Rev. Dr. Charles A. Gieschen. “He brings both expertise in the Pauline Epistles and fine recent pastoral experience that will be a blessing to our students. He’ll also,” he added, “bring down the average age of the faculty.”

Additional changes were made to the faculty earlier this summer, when the Board of Regents took action at their May meeting to advance both the Rev. Dr. Peter J. Scaer and the Rev. Dr. Naomichi Masaki from the rank of Associate Professor to the rank of full Professor. “It’s nice to have my title shortened by four syllables,” Dr. Peter Scaer pronounced. “But, more seriously, it’s a time to reflect on my service, and to offer thanks for such a wonderful place as CTSFW. There isn’t a better place to study and teach theology. And at a time when the world so desperately needs Christ, it’s an honor to be a part of what’s happening here in Fort Wayne.”

“I am truly humbled by this advancement, deeply thankful to the board and the administration for their trust and recognition,” said Dr. Masaki. “Still, far greater confidence comes from the Lord who has called me to this beloved seminary. It remains my utmost joy and privilege to serve Him alongside my dear colleagues He brought together as a team.”

Both professors have distinguished their teaching with service here as well as abroad in many countries and across continents, traveling overseas to teach at seminaries and theological schools partnered with CTSFW. You can learn more about the service and accomplishments of our faculty at www.ctsfw.edu/faculty. To watch Opening Service on September 9 at 10 a.m. (EDT), go to www.ctsfw.edu/Daily-Chapel or www.facebook.com/CTSFW where it will be streamed live.

Synod Convention: Impact on CTSFW

The 67th Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) came to a close in Tampa, Florida, on July 25, 2019, but not before the committees and representatives from congregations across Synod made an impact on both Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW), and our sister seminary, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (CSL). This year, CSL joined CTSFW to create a joint booth in the convention hall, demonstrating the collegiality between the seminaries and reflecting the reality that, though we are two distinct institutions, sharpening each other as iron sharpens iron, we exist for the same Church and mission: that the Lord of the harvest may send more laborers into His harvest.

A number of resolutions passed at the 2019 LCMS Convention in regards to the seminaries and pastoral formation. Of specific note are:

6-01 To Support and Participate in the Comprehensive Church Worker Recruitment Initiative
A collaborative effort between Synod, seminaries, Concordia Universities, and district presidents to encourage all to identify and foster future workers for the Church.

6-02 To Promote Residential Seminary Education as the Preferred Option for the Preparation of Men for Pastoral Ministry
Besides recognizing residential seminary education as the preferred path for pastoral formation, the resolution commended the recommendations of the 13-03 Task Force to the Pastoral Formation Committee (PFC) for evaluation and appropriate follow up.

6-03A To Enhance the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program
This directs the PFC to enhance the curriculum and standards of the SMP Program, review the program for optimal timing for vicarage and ordination, and report to the joint seminary boards of regents in 2020, who will then prepare an overture to Synod regarding timing. In addition, the Council of Presidents will draft guidelines and training to enhance the mentoring and supervision of SMP pastors in coordination with the PFC. Finally, all districts are encouraged to provide funding for SMP students as needed.

6-04 To Support, Encourage, and Expect Continuing Education for all LCMS Pastors
That the PFC, in addition to providing this encouragement, should consider the establishment of a method to certify post-seminary continuing education programs and resources, and that these recommendations be reported to the 2022 Synod Convention.

The convention also passed Resolution 6-06, “To Give God Praise and Glory for Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne’s 175th Anniversary,” calling for the Synod to recognize and celebrate our 175th academic year, coming up in September 2020. The resolution recognized that CTSFW “was specifically founded to address two needs: a clear Lutheran confession coupled with a vigorous missionary effort,” that we are a “vibrant, Christ-centered theological community that engages and resources the church and world, domestically and internationally, with distinctively Lutheran teaching, practice, and worship,” and that we have continued to grow and thrive, “privileged to provide the church with nearly 10,000 pastors and missionaries who have served the Lord of the Church throughout the United States and world.”

The resolution also commended the seminary for the 100% tuition grant provided through the gifts God granted through His people, resolving that “the people of the church be commended for their support and encouraged to continue partnering with Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne in its mission to form servants in Jesus Christ who teach the faithful, reach the lost, and care for all.” The adoption of the resolution concluded with the delegates rising and singing the common doxology. You can read the full overture HERE.

“The Synod loves its seminaries, and we are blessed to have two robust, healthy, and sound seminaries,” the Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr., President of CTSFW, said in response to the passing of the resolution. “We have established the 100% tuition guarantee for our residential students because of your generosity. And while we continue to need your financial support and your help in raising up students, the future is exceptionally bright.

“And that’s truly what this resolution is about—the future. As difficult as it is for me as an historian to admit it, anniversaries are really about the future. For while they recognize what God has done, they are actually about what God will do.

“And what God will do is be faithful to His beloved children. He will strengthen and preserve them, for the Gospel promise is clear: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and He has promised to be with us always, to the very end of the age.”

Finally, the body elected two new board members along with the re-election of two incumbents. The Board members elected at convention are (with select quotes from their election bios):

Elected: The Rev. Dr. Korey D. Maas
Associate Professor of History, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI
“Greatly appreciating the church’s continual need for servants deeply grounded in Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, and who are especially ‘apt to teach’ and to ‘contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints,’ I would happily and humbly serve in support of the seminary’s mission to form such servants of Christ and His Church.”

Elected: Dr. Mark W. Meehl
Professor of Theology, Faculty Marshal, Concordia University Nebraska (CUNE)
“CTS in Fort Wayne has faithfully educated many of my pre-seminary and pre-deaconess students for parish ministry and other service in the church. I look forward, if this church body agrees, to serving as a CTS Fort Wayne regent, bringing to bear experiences in churches throughout the US, Nigeria, and Jerusalem…and my nearly three decades of teaching undergraduate students at CUNE for the good of CTS Fort Wayne and the church at large.”

Re-elected: The Rev. William M. Cwirla
Senior Pastor, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hacienda Heights, CA
“The stewardship of our two seminaries is among the most important tasks of the Synod as it supports the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world…CTSFW [is] a leading center of orthodox doctrine and evangelical pastoral practice.”

Re-elected: Mr. David L. Daniels
Business Owner, Daniels Woodcarving Co., Inc., Taylorsville, NC
“Over the years, I have seen firsthand and benefited from the seminary’s mission put into action—servants in Jesus Christ who teach the faithful, reach the lost, and care for all. I have had both a son and a daughter-in-law graduate from CTSFW. And I have received the gifts of God weekly from my pastors who were also students at CTSFW…As our culture becomes increasingly hostile to the Christian faith, it is important that our seminaries are well supported to continue their crucial work.”

To learn more about the convention, visit lcms.org/convention. This site contains video archives, online reports by the Reporter, along with more specific details, such as the Convention Workbook and all resolutions, minutes, and elections. You can read more about all the resolutions passed related to pastoral formation by going to lcms.org/conventions/resolutions and selecting the drop-down menu for #06 — Pastoral Ministry and Seminaries.

Pless at Seminário Concórdia in São Leopoldo, Brazil

Early in July, Professor John Pless gave a lecture on Law and Gospel in Confession and Absolution at the 8th International Luther Symposium at our sister seminary, Seminário Concórdia in São Leopoldo, Brazil. The seminary train ministers in one of our partner churches in Latin America, the Igreja Evangélica Luterana do Brasil, or Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil. Prof. Pless taught a course on “The Catechism: A Field Manual for Discipleship.” Two of his books, translated into Portuguese, were also featured at the symposium: “Manejando Bem a Palavra da Verdade” and “Palavra: Deus fala conosco” (“Handling the Word of the Truth” and “Word: God Speaks to Us”).

Like many of our faculty, Professor Pless has a full travel schedule, especially in the summer months. He attended this symposium in Brazil, returned in time to travel south to Tampa, Florida, for Synod Convention (where he also signed copies of his books—though in English this time—at the CPH booth close by the Seminary booth), and left from there to go to South Africa.

Prof. Pless spoke highly of the seminary in São Leopoldo (which is part of one of our partner churches in Latin America, ), from the depth of its theological education to the warm community of faculty and students. As always, we thank God for the partnerships we have with our sister seminaries across the world, and for our brothers and sisters from all nations.

Photos courtesy Filipe Schuambach Lopes of Concordia Seminary of São Leopoldo.

Call and Assignment Services: More Quotes

Here’s a behind-the-scenes insight into the news release that went out this morning: as social media manager for the CTSFW Facebook page, I took a lot of notes during both services to gather quotes. However, to keep the release at a manageable length, I ended up only quoting President Rast—but the rest are too good not to share. God has clearly and richly blessed our Synod with faithful pastors and leadership.


PREACHER: Rev. Steven Turner, President of the Iowa West District

“You see, as church workers—as deaconesses and pastors—there are times when you will fail. There are times when you will fall. And there are times when you will sin. And when you do, please remember this sermon, because Christ died to take away your sins. When you feel inadequate, when the words you say are misunderstood, when people react in unkind ways toward you, remember Christ has died. And this means the sacrifice was complete to cover all sins and that means it covers your sins and mine. That Christ was buried, that he was truly dead, and so are you. Because you died in the water of holy baptism. You were drowned and the new man has come alive. That old sinful person has been put to death, and the new person comes forth…”

“He’s alive today and he’s called us to be his servants and to live our lives every day in his grace and his mercy. Now I have no expectations that you will remember me tonight or even remember this sermon that was preached when you received your deaconess internship or your vicarage. But I am positive that you will remember the content of this sermon. Why? Because you’ll speak the content of this sermon every time you gather together in worship; every time you confess the creeds of the Church, because Jesus He died for your sins. And He was truly dead and buried. And He has been raised and He is really alive, which is why at Easter we can say, ‘Christ is risen!'”

Congregation: “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

DISTRIBUTION OF VICARAGE ASSIGNMENTS: Dr. Gary Zieroth, Director of Vicarage

107 of 122 applications–“15 congregations were available to receive a vicar but this year did not. And so we pray that the Lord of the harvest will send workers into his harvest field, as those needs within our Synod are met, not only for vicarage but also for calls as well.”

Note: Holy Cross in Moline, IL received their fiftieth vicar: Paul Marks.

At the conclusion: “And so there is no reneging or trading. What is said is done and what is done is said and so the Lord’s continued blessings as you go forth and serve the Lord.”

DISTRIBUTION OF DEACONESS INTERNSHIPS: Dr. James Bushur, Director of Deaconess Studies

“It is, of course, my privilege as Director of Deaconess Formation to announce internship assignments for our deaconess students. In my eight years serving as director of the program, I have learned at least one thing about my job: that is, the secret is finding good people to do your work for you. I have certainly been richly blessed in that regard…I want to certainly express my great appreciation to those who have made my burden a little bit lighter, my yoke a bit easier.”

“I certainly am deeply appreciative of Deaconess Rast’s persistence in bringing these internships to fruition. And finally I want to express my deep gratitude to the congregations, the pastors, and supervisors who are now receiving our interns and collaborating with us in the formation of our students. We certainly give thanks to God for their partnership with us in the Gospel, and pray that the Lord blesses their work.”

GREETINGS: Dr. Lawrence Rast, President of CTSFW

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to share this particular point in preparation for these future pastors and deaconesses as they prepare for their vicarages and internships. The vicars-elect and deaconess interns-elect now, we look forward to continuing to partner with you in your formation. It is just a delight to be a part of your lives.”

“As a historian my job is remembering, so that resonated well.”

“I continue to be amazed at the grace of God and the mercy that He demonstrates in concrete ways through our Lord Jesus Christ in continuing to raise up pastoral leaders and deaconess leaders for the congregations in mission of our Church…here’s the next generation. God is faithful and He keeps His promises.”


PREACHER: Rev. Terry Forke, President of the Montana District

“For all the fine education that you received in this place, these wonderful men could not make you shepherds; Jesus does that. Jesus does it. It is His work in you. Even now He is at work to prepare you to be the shepherd for the flock to whom you are sent. He will feed you. He will carry you. He will tend to all your needs. And He will speak through you. By the gift of His Holy Spirit your lips will be enabled to speak the holy Word of God in such a way that you never imagined it could be done by you. Of that you can be assured. The Shepherd heralds the Good News through you.”

DISTRIBUTION OF CALLS: Dr. Jeffrey Pulse, Director of Certification and Placement

“Greetings in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. First I’d like to thank President Forke for his words of encouragement and wisdom for these men prepared to go out into the harvest field to a place where there are many sheep without shepherds.”

“We see the One who is guiding the whole process. The Lord remains in control. And as we look out upon the whole Church we give Him thanks that we are part of this great and wonderful thing called the work of the Kingdom.”

“147 applicants made for candidates, which means there are currently 22 applications unused at this time. We do still have need in our Church for more men to enroll in our seminaries, prepare to be shepherds. Please keep this challenge in your prayers, as well as those congregations not receiving a candidate at this time.”


“Go then, take heed unto thyself and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made thee an overseer, to feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.”

President Rast (own words): “The Easter season is one of great celebration and joy and no day is more joyful for us as a community than call night as we prepare to send these marvelous servants of Christ out into His harvest field.”

GREETINGS: Rev. David Maier, President of the Michigan District and Chairman of the Council of Presidents

Ephesians 2:8-10: “Talks about grace and salvation; it says, ‘for we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.’ God saw this night. God saw you. God has brought you to this point. He has never left you or forsaken you, and He is not about to do that even now. And as we live in this Easter season, brothers, you are going to be able to take a particular message out to your people that is one of hope.”

GREETINGS: Rev. Matthew Harrison, President of the LCMS

“Let’s pray: we need pastors. And church workers. We’re so proud of all of you and so thankful for you. You are the answer to our prayers. You are the answer to a thousand prayers tonight. You. And the Lord has gone before you. He is already there. He knew full well you’d be coming there from eternity. He’s already got the folks lined up to hear your blessed words. He’s got them lined up for you to meet, to visit, to love, to share the Gospel with. To proclaim Jesus’ blessed resurrection. The Lord be with you.”


“But He does promise to be with you always; never to leave you or forsake you. And for that be thankful, as we are thankful for you and your commitment which you have shown over these years, now preparing to go forth. It is an honor to be your colleague.”

“It is a great thing to be a part of a community like this. There are few places like this in the world. I would say perhaps two: one in Fort Wayne and one in St. Louis. But what a blessing the seminaries of our church are as they commit themselves to their mission of preparing pastors and deaconesses, lay leaders and missionaries, for our Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and its partner churches and missions throughout the world. The work that is done touches the entire globe. And though we recognize that we need more pastors, we know at the same time, God the Holy Spirit is currently calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying future workers for his harvest field and we look forward to welcoming them to the campuses of our church.”

Finally, one of the best things about having such a late Easter this year? Almost every single pastor that had the opportunity to speak in the services declared that beloved refrain: “Christ is risen!”

“He is risen indeed!” the congregation answered every time. “Alleluia!”

Oberursel Visitors

L-R: Dr. Zieroth, Dr. Neddens, Dr. Barnbrock, Prof. Pless

Last week we had two professors from our sister seminary in Oberursel visiting our campus. From left to right: our own Dr. Gary Zieroth, visitor Dr. Christian Neddens, visitor Dr. Christoph Barnbrock, and our own Professor Pless. Dr. Neddens guest-taught Theological Ethics while Dr. Barnbrock guest-taught Catechetics. Dr. Barnbrock also preached in chapel on April 1.

Lutherische Theologische Hochschule (LthH) in Oberursel, Germany, is an LCMS partner seminary. We’ve had quite a number of seminarians study abroad in Oberursel, and our CTSFW faculty include LThH graduates as well–Dr. Detlev Schulz (you saw him in a post earlier this afternoon) received his MDiv from this seminary, as did Dr. Roland Ziegler.

After the visit, Professor Pless had this message to share with the CTSFW community:

“Our colleagues from Oberursel, Dr. Christian Neddens and Dr. Christoph Barnbrock, asked me to convey to you their appreciation and gratitude for your hospitality and conversation during their visit to CTSFW earlier this week. Their impressions of our seminary were very positive and they are eager to find ways to enhance the relationship between our two seminaries.”

Dr. Schulz: LCEA

On March 5, Dr. K. Detlev Schulz (Director of PhD in Missiology Program and Co-director of International Studies here at CTSFW) was in Himo, Tanzania, visiting St. Peter’s Seminary there together with the Bishop of the Lutheran Church of East Africa (LCEA).

Dr. Schulz is third to the right, standing to the left of Bishop Angowi of the LCEA (in purple). On the far left is missionary Rev. Jonathan Clausing, who teaches at the seminary. He and his wife Anita have nine children, and live in Moshi, Tanzania.

The LCEA is only 20 years old, the church body having formed in 1999. Much like our own CTSFW, students attend their seminary for four years before ordination. St. Peter’s Seminary’s location in Tanzania allows these men to remain close to their homes and the congregations that they will serve as they enter the ministry.