Proposed Resolutions: Committee 5, Seminary and University Education (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

July 11th, 2013 Post by

On to Committee 5. Feedback on proposed resolutions from any of the seven floor committees should be sent to the respective committee chairman by tomorrow, if possible. (Note: My comment on 5-04 has been revised since original posting.)

For reference:

Today’s Business
Convention Workbook
2010 Handbook

5. SEMINARY AND UNIVERSITY EDUCATION (TB, pp. 100-25)

5-01: To Encourage Continued Faithful Witness by the Concordia University System

President to appoint task force to strengthen confessional Lutheran identity of our Concordias. Very important.

5-02: To Support and Encourage Participation in Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support Initiative

PALS program for new pastors and their wives. Will pass.

5-03: To Establish an SMP Oversight Committee

President to appoint an oversight committee for the SMP program. Could help.

5-04: To Continue and Strengthen the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program

Notes concerns regarding program–e.g., admission criteria, academic standards–raised by overtures (5-21, 5-22, 5-28) and SMP Task Force Report. Retains SMP program. SMP Oversight Committee (see Res. 5-03) to address concerns. Would seek to limit use of SMP to specific situations (not to add staff to large churches), but puts off any action until the next convention, which is disappointing. Still, this resolution will be opposed by those who want looser program. See SMP Task Force Report (and CSL response).

5-05: To Amend Bylaws Regarding Boards of Regents and Concordia University System Board

CUS BOD members would need to have specialized qualifications in areas such as theology, education, finance, law, etc. Initial full-time theology faculty appointments would need approval of CUS BOD (moved from another bylaw). Schools would need to show that they are actively working to preserve Lutheran identity and to support the objectives of Synod. Could be controversial. Liberals want the colleges to be more independent and free of Synod control.

5-06: To Revise Bylaw 3.10.5.6 re College and University Faculties

Revises policies regarding faculty appointment, conduct, and termination–e.g., a faculty member removed from Synod is removed from the faculty also. Could be controversial.

5-07: To Thank God for the Affiliation of Concordia University Wisconsin and Concordia University Ann Arbor

Will pass.

5-08: To Establish a Standard for Continuing Education of Pastors

To “hold pastors accountable” for continuing education, as though that can only come through a formal program? No thank you. This resolution is fraught with potential for misuse. And I’m big on continuing ed.

5-09: To Revise Bylaw 3.10.5.5.2 re Election Process for College and University Presidents

Parties meet at beginning of process about expectations. CUS President participates as guest in the election.

5-10: To Amend Bylaw 3.6.6.5 re Procedure to Consolidate Colleges/Universities

CUS BOD replaces COP as a decision entity in procedure to consolidate, relocate, separate, or divest a school.

5-11: To Amend Bylaw 3.10.4.7.3 re Appointment of Seminary Faculty

Initial appointments to seminary faculty will need majority approval of SP, BNM chairman, and COP chairman.

5-12: To Encourage, Promote and Support the Recruitment of Hispanic and Spanish-speaking Students and Faculty, into Church Work Professions

All in favor, say “.” It will pass.

5-13: To Encourage the Recruitment of the Highest Caliber Candidates for Pastoral Ministry

What are the criteria for regarding someone to be “of the highest caliber among his peers”?

5-14: To Conduct a Study of the Alternate Routes to the Pastoral Ministry

President appoints task force to study the eight non-M.Div. routes to pastoral ministry, make recommendations.

Next time: Committee 6, Administration and Finance.






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  1. Carl Vehse
    July 11th, 2013 at 12:01 | #1

    5-12: To Encourage, Promote and Support the Recruitment of Hispanic and Spanish-speaking Students and Faculty, into Church Work Professions
    All in favor, say “Sí.” It will pass.

    Can we all say, “Quota system recruitment” in Spanish.

    5-13: To Encourage the Recruitment of the Highest Caliber Candidates for Pastoral Ministry
    What are the criteria for regarding someone to be “of the highest caliber among his peers”?

    Criteria? We ain’t got no criteria. We don’t need no stinkin’ criteria!

    Besides, under the President’s Report, Part 2-Marching Orders (2013: Today’s Business, p. 24):

    “Another possible suggestion would be to prepare a resolution encouraging the best and brightest of our young men to prepare for seminary.”

  2. Joe Strieter
    July 11th, 2013 at 12:06 | #2

    Hey, hey hey! Check out Resolution 5-05. Among other things, it increased the number of regents for each institution to 25 (it was increased to 17 at the 2007 Convention, several of which were appointed). Do we really need 25 regents on each board? It will be like herding cats, fer cryin’ out loud. There’s lots of other changes as well, but if nothing else, this change should be amended-out. Sheesh! I think Parkinson wrote one of his famous laws about the collective intelligence (and effectiveness) of a committee being in inverse proportion to the number of members.

    Here’s the proposed language:

    “3.10.5.2 The board of regents of each college and university shall consist of no more than 25 voting members.”

  3. Carl Vehse
    July 11th, 2013 at 12:17 | #3

    @Joe Strieter #2: “Do we need 25 regents on each board. It will be like herding cats, fer cryin’ out loud.”

    Joe, you’re not listening. PR, Pt. 2, TB, p. 23: “Write proposals that seek to maintain and strengthen the Lutheran identity of our universities… We must do whatever it takes to maintain and strengthen Lutheran identity.”

    Well… except for applying ecclesiastical supervision, such as when our university officials allow godless perversions to be promoted on campus. :-(

    So we end up with a FDR-Court-Packing Redux.

  4. Joe Strieter
    July 11th, 2013 at 12:48 | #4

    @Carl Vehse #3

    Your points are well taken, and to the point, as usual.

    I thought of FDR’s scheme back in 2007 when I just voted “NO”. It occurred to me this time as well. Maybe 50 members would be better?

    Yeah, that old “ecclesiastical supervision” bugaboo. But, as much as I admire Pres. Harrison, I have to admit that I have not read the P.R. mea culpa and all that. Perhaps another Parkinsonism might be that ecclesiastical supervision is in inverse proportion to the number of ordained pastors serving in administrative posts, (thus out of pastoral ministry)?

  5. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 11th, 2013 at 14:07 | #5

    “5-13: To Encourage the Recruitment of the Highest Caliber Candidates for Pastoral Ministry What are the criteria for regarding someone to be ‘of the highest caliber among his peers’?”

    During a 1981 interview with this magazine, tears came as he talked about a young student who came to him while he was president of Concordia Theological Seminary (1962-1969), then in Springfield, Ill.

    Because of poor grades, the young man was threatened with dismissal. “But he said to me, ‘I know I’ll never be a great theologian or a great leader. But all my life, all I’ve ever wanted to do is be a pastor of a small parish. That’s really what I want.’”

    Wiping his tears, Preus finished, “And that’s what he is.”

    J. A. O. Preus II
    ‘Remember Your Leaders…’
    The Lutheran Witness
    October 1994

  6. Michael
    July 11th, 2013 at 14:28 | #6

    Keep in mind in the districts report they can say whatever they want about a man even if it is false and a man cannot defend himself or they could do the opposite. No doubt men are accepted who shouldn’t be just as men are rejected who should be accepted. How much can 1 interview tell you? What about the districts who only look at experience? I’m not sure a fit can be determined until their is evidence to determine this and I don’t think 1 interview can determine this.

  7. July 11th, 2013 at 14:31 | #7

    >>”Would limit use of SMP to specific situations (not to add staff to large churches).”

    As a member of the floor committee I think it is important to note that the Res. 5-04 does not actually change this.

    If you are referring to lines 28-30 on page 104, that is simply part of a directive from the 2013 convention to the proposed SMP Oversight Committee “to address the concerns enumerated below and propose appropriate action to the Synod President by 2015, for action at the 2016 convention.”

    Other than making this one of the concerns to be studied for the next convention, Res. 5-04 would not in the interim limit SMP to specific situations, or the practice of using SMP to add staff to large churches.

    I was very surprised to learn that only 24% of current SMP graduates or vicars serve in a congregation “that is economically challenged (e.g. few people, remote location, etc.),” which I had assumed was the rationale for the SMP program.

    In contrast, 66% of current SMP graduates or vicars serve as “staff pastor in a multi-pastor church.” This includes two congregations I know of with a regular senior pastor and three or four assistant pastors — all SMP, all who served as vicars of and therefore were largely trained by the senior pastor under whom they serve.

    This is really a new model for training pastors, the “in-house” model used in many non-denominational mega-churches. My concern is that because these SMP pastors cannot move to another congregation they are very beholden to the senior pastor, who also trained them, and in many cases initially selected them for the SMP program. If circumstances should arise regarding the senior pastor that they need to address, their status and dependent relationship with him would limit their ability to do so. It seems to me like an unhealthy situation, which is often found in many non-denominational churches that prepare their pastors “in-house,” but that we haven’t really had before.

  8. Carl Vehse
    July 11th, 2013 at 15:07 | #8

    Floor Committee 5 members:

    Chairman: Dale Sattgast (SD);
    District Presidents: Vice chair: Timothy Scharr (SI); David Stechholz (EN); Allen Anderson (RM);
    Synod Vice-President: Paul Maier (MI);
    Voting Ordained Ministers: Kevin Vogts (SD); Roger Gallup (NI); Paul Alms (SE); Kevin Golden (MO); George Borghardt, III (NI); Steven Briel (MNS);
    Voting Layman and Layladies: Christian Kopff (RM); Andrea Pitkus (NI); Carol Hack Broome (CNH);
    Advisory Commissioned Minister: Jane Obersat (TX).

  9. July 11th, 2013 at 16:03 | #9

    Rev. Kevin Vogts:
    As a member of the floor committee I think it is important to note that the Res. 5-04 does not actually change this.
    If you are referring to lines 28-30 on page 104, that is simply part of a directive from the 2013 convention to the proposed SMP Oversight Committee “to address the concerns enumerated below and propose appropriate action to the Synod President by 2015, for action at the 2016 convention.”
    Other than making this one of the concerns to be studied for the next convention, Res. 5-04 would not in the interim limit SMP to specific situations, or the practice of using SMP to add staff to large churches.

    Wow, Kevin, thank you for pointing this out! I had not noticed that when I read over this resolution. I had assumed, that since we had an SMP Task Force this triennium, we would be ready to act at THIS convention. But now you’re saying this resolution only kicks the can down the road until 2016, at which time it MIGHT be acted on! Here I thought we would be ready to make the “Specific” more specific already now! Well, I still think that. Your floor committee, or one of the delegates, ought to propose to fix that, so that THIS convention can resolve to limit the SMP program sooner rather than later.

  10. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 11th, 2013 at 16:17 | #10

    “5-06: To Revise Bylaw 3.10.5.6 re College and University Faculties

    Revises policies regarding faculty appointment, conduct, and termination–e.g., a faculty member removed from Synod is removed from the faculty also. Could be controversial.”

    “5-09: To Revise Bylaw 3.10.5.5.2 re Election Process for College and University Presidents

    Parties meet at beginning of process about expectations. CUS President participates as guest in the election.”

    When the Concordia Theological Quarterly of the Ft. Wayne seminary published an essay it attributed to Dr. John Johnson, now president of Concordia University Chicago, it refused to publish a retraction and apology when Professor Nathan Jastram, chairman of the theology department of Concordia Wisconsin, in great detail documented the fact that almost the entire essay was plagiarized. Jastram’s honesty and courage killed any chances of him getting elected president of the Ft. Wayne seminary.

    “GREATEST LUTHERAN FACULTY ON EARTH”
    Christian News
    June 6, 2011

  11. July 11th, 2013 at 16:27 | #11

    Just so you all know, SMP’s can move and move anywhere. It is a myth that they cannot move. By policy, they can move within the district with the DP’s permission and by policy they can move to another district with both DP’s approving. So, in the end, how is that any different than a normal pastor? It is not. The SMP program is a joke.

  12. July 11th, 2013 at 16:58 | #12

    >>I thought we would be ready to make the “Specific” more specific

    I think a lot of people must have misread it the same way, taking those lines as an action by the convention, not a topic for further study. That’s the only reason to explain why some people in favor of SMP are very upset about this resolution (yes, I’ve been getting your letters and emails!), because this resolution actually does not in any way change or limit SMP.

    The district presidents are asked to “not approve specific ministry sites which could reasonably be expected to support a general pastor or sites where a minister of religion–commissioned could fulfill the duties,” but it is left as a subjective determination without objective criteria, and “the respective district president remains responsible for determining the appropriateness of the specific ministry” so it is really more of a recommendation rather than a requirement.

  13. helen
    July 11th, 2013 at 18:11 | #13

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #11
    The SMP program is a joke.

    No, it’s not funny!

    @Carl Vehse #1
    Criteria? We ain’t got no criteria. We don’t need no stinkin’ criteria! –Rick
    [Well, actually, and unwritten], we don’t want any more stubborn German Lutherans… you know, the kind who actually believe Scripture, read the Confessions and prefer a Lutheran liturgical service.

    Besides, under the President’s Report, Part 2-Marching Orders (2013: Today’s Business, p. 24):
    “Another possible suggestion would be to prepare a resolution encouraging the best and brightest of our young men to prepare for seminary.” –Rick, quoting.

    We already do that, for seminary or college teaching. And then they are “too Lutheran” for our Concordias! (I could name three, but I’m sure there are others.)

  14. Rev. Steven W Bohler
    July 11th, 2013 at 18:27 | #14

    @“LC-MS Quotes” #10

    Which article, from which issue of the CTQ? ANd from whom was it plagarized?

  15. John Rixe
    July 11th, 2013 at 18:48 | #15

    @Rev. Steven W Bohler #14

    Dr Strickert and Quotes have excellent documentation in this thread

    http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=27441

  16. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 11th, 2013 at 18:55 | #16

    “Hermeneutics in Thomas Aquinas: An Appraisal and Appreciation”
    Concordia Theological Quarterly 45 (July 1981): 223-232.

    “Six of its nine pages were verbatim quotations, without quotation marks or citations, plagiarized from an article by T. F. Torrance, ‘Scientific Hermeneutics according to St. Thomas Aquinas,’ Journal of Theological Studies 13 (1962): 259-289.”

    Nathan R. Jastram, quoted in Christian News, November 1, 2010.

    John F. Johson, M.A., Ph.D., Th.D.
    Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas (B.A. 1970); Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Nashville, Tennessee (M.Div. 1973); Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas (M.A. 1974); Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri (Th.D. 1978); St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri (Ph.D. 1982); assistant to the pastor, Grace (Lutheran Church in America), Fort Worth, Texas (1973-74); associate pastor, St. John, Ellisville, Missouri (1974-77); president, Concordia College, St. Paul, Minnesota (1989-90); president, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri (1990-2004); president, Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Illinois (2004- ).

    Concordia, St. Louis and Concordia, Chicago academic catalogs

  17. Carl Vehse
    July 11th, 2013 at 20:09 | #17

    @Rev. Steven W Bohler #14,

    If you’re interested, it might be worth comparing John Johnson’s Ph.D. dissertation, The Significance of the Plotinian Fallen-Soul Doctrine for an Interpretation of the Unitary Character of Augustine’s View of Time (Saint Louis University, 1982, 245 pages) with the Ph.D. dissertation of Richard Gabriel Byrnes, The Fallen Soul as a Plotinian Key to a Better and Fuller Understanding of the Character of Time and History in the Early Works of Saint Augustine (Fordham University, 1972, 542 pages).

    The first 11 pages of Byrnes’ dissertation can be seen for free here.

  18. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 12th, 2013 at 04:54 | #18

    Concordia University Chicago President Dr. John F. Johnson has announced that he will step down from the presidency on Aug. 16. The announcement coincides with the 10-year commitment Johnson made to the university’s Board of Regents at the beginning of his tenure.

    LCMS District President Rev. Dan Gilbert, who chairs the university’s Board of Regents, said the search process for Concordia’s eleventh president will take at least a year. In the meantime, an interim president will be named.

    CU Chicago President to Step Down
    The Northern Light
    26 Years Sharing News about Missouri Synod Lutherans at work in Northern Illinois
    New Starts New Believers
    Vol. 27 No. 4
    July/August 2013

  19. Luvable Lutheran
    July 12th, 2013 at 09:48 | #19

    To second the points Pr Vogts has made, and provide some additional context… It’s the understanding that a number of SMP graduates are serving in “ministry contexts,” which include youth ministry or roles that could be served by a DCO, DCE, etc. Others are in contexts which could be better served by a general pastor. As Pr Rossow points out, a number of SMPs can move to different congregations. However, there are some limitations on SMPs, such as their inability to serve as voting delegates at synodical conventions, etc. Also for congregations with tighter budgets, several have reported congregations calling SMPs instead of regular pastors. Somehave indicated there is also at least one SMP student who lives within 10 miles of one of the seminaries. Reports state that a residential based education is better for these men and also for the church as a whole. There is quite a bit of information in the Convention Workbook and Today’s Business to digest.

  20. July 12th, 2013 at 22:55 | #20

    @Rev. Kevin Vogts #7

    Kevin, based on your comments here, I have revised my comments on 5-04 up in my column.

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