The Concordia University System (CUS) is a mess from the standpoint of hiring faculty, program expansion and confessing the faith to the world. Money and growth have been placed above confessional integrity.
As we reported last week, an internship at Planned Parenthood (an abortion mill) was advertised as a part of the curriculum at Concordia, Chicago. I therefore found it ironic that the synod sent out a solicitation today via email for LCMS congregations to have a CUS Sunday on April 27.
Like many congregations we stopped recognizing these special Sundays years ago so we won’t be doing anything for CUS Sunday just as we don’t do anything for Armed Forces Sunday, Valpariaso Sunday, LLL Sunday, LWML Sunday, etc. For that matter we don’t have a Brothers of John the Steadfast Sunday either. If we were in that practice however, this might be the year that we would skip CUS Sunday given how our universities are out of fiscal control and out of confessional control.
For sure our Concordias do many things well. In general, the theological departments are in good shape and speaking of Concordia, Chicago, we have several teachers on our Day School staff from River Forest and are very pleased with them. As a matter of fact, our parish constitution that we rewrote a few years ago requires that we hire (call) only rostered teachers onto our staff, which means they must come from a system school. (By the way, classical education is a fine alternative and in many such schools there are excellent teachers which come from outside the CUS system and yet are confessional Lutheran. I know of a Lutheran school on the east coast with many fine teachers from Hillsdale College in Michigan and other fine schools outside the system.)
But with all the good things at our Concordias come some disgusting things that are just not acceptable. Since I have been in the Chicago suburbs for the last twenty years most of my examples are from our local Concordia but there are also issues at other Concordias. The examples that come to my mind include Concordia, Portland tolerating the unscriptural teachings of Dr. Matthew Becker for years (women’s ordination being chief among them), the recent issue with Planned Parenthood at Concordia Chicago and of course the example of the faculty members of Concordia, Chicago signing the Bill Ayers petition a few years ago. (click here for more on this story.)
As I pointed out in the posts I wrote on this a few years ago here on BJS, it was not just a matter of supporting Bill Ayers the former terror bomber, but worse still was the fact that the petition was pagan and humanistic. It is not acceptable that we have professors, teaching at Concordias, representing our institutions, who profess humanism, paganism and false doctrine.
Another example I am painfully aware of is the case of one of the former principals who served our parish. It does not involve the drama and distaste of abortion mills, heretical theological professors, and petitioners in favor of pagan humanism but it is nonetheless just as troubling. Several years ago, before he was our principal, he decided to get his masters in education and since he was a faithful, confessional Lutheran he decided to get it from Concordia, Chicago. Much to his dismay, he completed the entire course work without ever having a LCMS professor and having had only one Lutheran professor and he was a liberal ELCA guy.
Why are there so many examples of programs and professors like this in our Concordias? The opinion of many of those who have wrestled with this over the years is as I said above – the idolizing of growth and money. In an effort to make money to keep so many universities and colleges afloat, our Concordias have resorted to adding programs and professors so fast that we do not have the ability to make and keep them confessionally Lutheran. I see why it happened and I even sympathize with the administrators who have led us to this place but it is detestable and needs to get cleaned up.
Since the Planned Parenthood debacle was discovered we have learned that it was just one student who did an internship and then somehow the abortion mill got on to the next internship publication list. I am glad to hear it was contained but you see, this is far bigger than just one internship. The issue is that there is a professor at Concordia that allowed this and so is most likely teaching pagan humanism to every student he comes in contact with. There were seven professors who signed the Bill Ayers petition. This is not an isolated problem. This is simply the tip of the iceberg. We have idolized money and growth in our CUS system beyond what we can control and supervise.
If you have been reading BJS on these matters you also know the story of the Kilcreases, Jack and Bethany. They are confessional, faithful Missouri Synod Lutherans with excellent qualifications for academia and yet they have not been able to get hired by our Concordias.
Oh for the days when the worst thing to come out of the CUS was a book like James Pragman’s text teaching the functionalist view of the ministry (Traditions of Ministry, CPH, 1983). At least Dr. Pragman, one of my professors and a gentleman for whom I have a lot of respect except for this particular matter, was within the LCMS fold and his questionable doctrine of the ministry was within the pale of what we could debate, discuss and amend as needed in the family of God. Now we have outright pagans teaching in the name of CUS and passing on who knows how much humanist trash and heathenism to students in the name of Concordia.
Speaking of my days at Concordia, Seward with James Pragman, as I recall there were no non-rostered professors in any of the departments. I never had a non-rostered professor. The argument is though, that we have needed to grow all sorts of satellite programs and the like in order to remain competitive and to make enough money to support the church worker programs. That is the death move. That is the moment of compromise and idolatry.
I am not faulting the people who sent out the invitation to have a CUS Sunday. They are only doing their job. I do hope however, that the irony is not lost on them and their supervisors and I do hope this situation can get cleaned up fast.