Profiles in LCMS Presidential Leadership

What can we learn from past LCMS Presidents?

Issues Etc has interviews with Dr. Martin Noland, Dr. Lawrence Rast, Dr. John Wohlrabe, Dr. Paul Zimmerman and Dr. Ken Schurb on the need for LCMS Presidents to have a theological mind and pastoral heart. They talk about a variety of Presidents of the LC-MS, including Walther, Wyneken, Pfotenhauer, Preus and Barry.

  • C.F.W. Walther with Dr. Martin Noland of Trinity Lutheran-Evansville, IN
  • Friedrich Wyneken with Dr. Larry Rast of Concordia Theological Seminary-Ft. Wayne, IN
  • Friedrich Pfotenhaur with Dr. John Wohlrabe of Concordia Lutheran-Geneseo, IL
  • J.A.O. Preus Jr. with Dr. Paul Zimmerman, author of “A Seminary in Crisis”
  • A.L. Barry with Dr. Ken Schurb of Zion Lutheran-Moberly, MO

It’s well worth a listen — a transcript is available here.


About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Profiles in LCMS Presidential Leadership — 8 Comments

  1. I would be keenly interested in seeing a contrast between these men and synodical presidents John Behnken, Oliver Harms, Ralph Bohlmann, and Gerald Kieschnick. Not that all these men are alike in every way, but specifically how their “leadership” (for lack of a better ecclesiastical term) differed in many ways from the presidents featured in these interviews.

    By the way, this was a great – and timely – feature. We would do well to learn from the example of those who have gone before us. Brave pastors with hearts for proclaiming the Gospel to uncharted and dangerous territories, and unwavering in their confession. They weren’t just confessional; they confessed. May we be emboldened by their example and become Grandpa’s Church once again!

  2. Friedrich Wyneken, in his 1860 Synodical address, said:

    God has put into our hands His “sword,” i.e. His holy, eternal Word, especially His saving Gospel. Through the Word, He has led us back to Luther’s writings. And through Luther’s writings, He has led us to the chief article of justification in particular. And He raised from the dead the proven commanders-in-chief of our spiritual fathers and has placed them at the head of our army. We have not been called to amateurish ecclesiastical bungling and blundering, to present from beautiful paragraphs well-enumerated orders for ecclesiastical government. We have not been called to drill and train well-dressed honor guards with pretty uniforms-in whose revolutionary tiny machinations today’s religious faith seeks and finds most of its special satisfaction and edification. We have not been called to haul together building stones for the empty space of an empty-headed, wavering church of the future… However, as we well know, everything hinges upon the following fact: that the article of justification be and retain its place correctly in this arena. This is what diferentiates between those who merely strike in the air and are warriors of the devil, and those who are true Christians and warriors of God [1 Cor. 9:26].

    “At Home in the House of My Fathers,” p412-3.

  3. @Rev. Clint K. Poppe #4

    “We have not been called to haul together building stones for the empty space of an empty-headed, wavering church of the future…” I would add–“NO! We are the stewards of that future’s grandfather’s church!”

    Johannes (forward to the past!!)

  4. I found these interviews to be very informative and well done. It’s a new day, and we need to be ready to be open to what God is calling the LCMS to do in this new age.

    How better can we see God’s work among us than by seeing what He has done for us and through us in the past. Anyone who is thankful for the work God has been doing through the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod should hear the above referenced interview and/or read the transcript. This is excellent reading for the time leading up to convention.

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