Number of Concordia Signatures on Ayers Petition is Growing, by Pastor Rossow

As of our last count there were six Concordia Chicago (formerly Concordia River Forest) professors who had signed a petition supporting the Marxist-anarchist William Ayers. The count should be shrinking under the supervision of Dr. Johnson, the president of Concordia Chicago, but instead it is growing. There are now at least seven signatures from the Concordia faculty on the petition. For the petition click here and check out these signatures: #309, #588, #1285, #1474, #1499, #1589 and now #3909.

Ayers is the avowed fire-bombing radical from the 1960’s who is now “fire-bombing” culture and our Concordia faculty with his godless, pagan philosophy of education. The petition that our professors signed supports both him  personally and his philosophy of education. (Click here for our previous post on why these signatures are alarming.)

In his response to our request that these signatures be recanted Dr. Johnson said that the professors are within their academic freedom to sign such a petition. He also said that they should do so privately and not as a member of the institution. Apparently that is not happening because this latest signature, one full week after Dr. Johnson’s response, bears the name of our university. This reflects on each of us who are members of  the LCMS. Concordia University is not an independent institution. It is an institution under the control of the LCMS.

Supervision of doctrine and practice is one of the primary tasks of our pastors and presidents. There is a struggle over supervision going on in our synod and sadly there is an attitude of tolerance and openess on the highest level of supervision in our synod including the presidency of Concordia University, the presidency of the synod and the presidency of most of our districts. Dr. Johnson says there is no matter of supervision here because  these professors do not teach Ayers godless philosophy of education. That makes the matter quite simple then. If they do not support his philosophy of education, they should be quite willing to remove their names from the petition. Concerning our synodical president, I cannot remember hearing in any significant address or reading in any writing of his  any meaningful  call for  the kind of supervision of the Gospel that is  described in scripture. These are not evil men. They just simply do not care to ruffles feathers as Jesus, Paul,  John, (et. al.)  did when it comes to taking a stand for the purity of the Gospel.

Academic freedom is not the issue here. The issue is the Gospel. Academic freedom does not trump the Gospel. These signatures, no matter how much these professors became smitten with William Ayers as a professor, are a compromising of the Gospel. William Ayers is an unrepentant breaker of the fifth commandment and peddles a philosophy of education that is not built on  a Christian worldview of authority, service and duty but instead is built on a pagan, Marxist worldview of revolution, absolute freedom and defiance. It is outrageous that our professors of education would be allowed to endorse such a thing. Hopefully, as we did, you will contact the president’s office and let him know that this is not the kind of supervision that we want in our universities. Concordia’s phone number is 708/771-8300. Please let us know if you call and what sort of response you get.

Pastor Rossow

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Number of Concordia Signatures on Ayers Petition is Growing, by Pastor Rossow — 13 Comments

  1. Thank you for providing this information!
    My alma mater, too, has persons on this list, I plan to act accordingly.
    Too much leaven.

  2. Has the District President, Board of Regent members, Synodical President, OR ANYBODY said or done anything to indicate that this travesty is being addressed except to say that they are “within their academic freedom to sign such a petition?”

    As Gomer used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

    Concordia University Chicago needs to do another name change – let it be known as Ichabod University.

  3. Is there any person or philosophy a Concordia University Chicago Professor can support by petition which goes beyond the realm of academic freedom this administration will tolerate?

    I would like to see a comparison between some of the primary teachings of Luther and Ayers.

  4. This is much like the LCMS Council of Presidents and Commission on Theology and Church Relations having Leonard Sweet as their convocation speaker. I remember when I wrote to Dr. Nafzger expressing concern about it. He responded that the decision to invite the man had been unanimous and that they had not recieved any complaints about it.

    Silence implies consent in the LCMS.

  5. Thus, I suppose the following statement in the petition, “All citizens, but particularly teachers and scholars, are called upon to challenge orthodoxy” means it is okay to challenge Lutheran orhodoxy. Oh, I forgot, it is okay to challenge Lutheran orthodoxy in the name of decision theology, contemporary worship, praise and worship services, etc. etc.

  6. “All citizens, but particularly teachers and scholars, are called upon to challenge orthodoxy”

    So these LCMS professors are publicly stating that they are heterodox? Doesn’t that mean they lose their jobs?

  7. Helen,

    The LCMS handbook says that full time professors are to be Lutehran, if not they at least have to accept the teachings of the Lutheran church. The handbook is online at (This is at the LCMS site under Ministry areas, constitutional matters, handbook.) Its buried deep in the section on synodcal schools.

    Pastor Rossow

  8. What if the infamous education professor was an unrepentant National Socialist who had participated in terrorist acts against the United States government and threatened the lives of numerous individuals and then later ‘gotten off’ on a legal technicality? What if he had impressive theories about early childhood education but still held to particular racial theories? In fact, what if he exploited his position as an educator to teach his Nazi ideas in a subtle manner? What if a CU-C faculty member signed a petition in favor of this hypothetical professor?

    The fact is that Bill Ayers has not been demonized. He did take part in terrorist acts against the United States and threatened the lives of many people. He stated publicly since 2000 that he does not regret his actions but wishes he could have done more. These are facts. He does use his position as educator to promote Marxism.

  9. Wow – what an insightful comparison Dr. Phillips. Yes, signatures in support of either educator would be wrong and should be unnacceptable in our colleges.

    Ayers does promote Marxist ideas in his classrooms. It is scary to know that we have education professors who do not recognize this and a college president who refuses to do anything about it.

    Pastor Rossow

  10. This is late, but maybe it’ll irritate someone out there. I know of at least one Concordia “University” System President who espouses marxist views. He even quotes Marx and Freud from the pulpit in chapel.

  11. mutakallimun :This is late, but maybe it’ll irritate someone out there. I know of at least one Concordia “University” System President who espouses marxist views. He even quotes Marx and Freud from the pulpit in chapel.

    This is very, very late, mutakallimu, and you’ll probably never see this reply, but you should have named this university president.

    Does anyone know to whom mutakallimu might be referring?

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