Whether you are a Nerd, Into Yoga or are Straight and want to be a Gay Ally, there’s a Club for You at Concordia, Portland, by Pr. Rossow

Our Concordias are a mess. Over a year ago we reported that several faculty members at Concordia – Chicago had signed a petition in support of liberal terror bomber and humanist educator William Ayers. Now we learn that there is a Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Concordia, Portland. These are actions that are a clear affront to Jesus and his Gospel.

Here is a link to the page on the Concordia – Portland site that lists their various clubs. Concordia – Portland is putting more “liberal” into the phrase “liberal arts” than the LCMS has in mind with its colleges and universities. Lest you think the club is intended to discuss the unbiblical nature of the gay life or to help gays confess their sinful behavior, we will publish an article later this week from the student newspaper that makes it clear that the club was not formed around the Biblical approach to homosexuality.

While we are at it, this is an odd club to have for a Christian University that is dedicated to transforming society, as their mission statement asserts. Apparently they are not transforming society according to the Judeo-Christian ethic. Also while we are at it, what sort of misunderstanding of the doctrine of the two kingdoms is it for a Lutheran university to state that their goal is to transform society? I have read the conclusion of the Bible and it reveals that things are not going to end well for society. God is allowing society to slowly and steadily unravel before he pulls the rug out from under it on judgment day. The role of a Lutheran university is to train church workers and people for other vocations who understand subtle doctrines like the two kingdoms and to send them out into the world to practice their vocation according to the Gospel and do good works that others may see them and give glory to our Father in heaven.

Here is a little more food for thought concerning our universities. I would love to see our universities expand and grow beyond the training of church workers but at almost every turn this tack seems to be failing. (Concordia – Meqon may be the one shining exception.) We seem to have entered this vicious cycle of expanding the curriculum so that we can bring in more students for more tuition so that we can bring in more money so we can expand the university. I wish it could work but hardly any of our universities are demonstrating that they can work this plan and still remain parochial. Instead we get the kind of garbage described above. We hope President Harrison will note this unchristian behavior at Concordia-Portland and in good time deal with it.

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.


Whether you are a Nerd, Into Yoga or are Straight and want to be a Gay Ally, there’s a Club for You at Concordia, Portland, by Pr. Rossow — 70 Comments

  1. Mrs. Hume,

    I agree that the faculty is the key. There is no reason that we cannot find good confessional faculty in all the disciplines. If we cannot find the faculty, we do not open the department.

    We have enjoyed 7-8 years of peace and harmony in our church and day school and the key has been that we committed to hiring or calling only those staff members who are in sync with Confessional Lutheranism.


  2. The faculty sponsor Dr. Kunert was also involved in something that Concordia sponsored that is definitely weird. Kunert teaches biology. Who knows what’s going on in that classroom. Another CP prof was there whose speech looks like it could have bent toward some “incarnational” weirdness. This is for all you “Shack” lovers out there!

    life journey! pfff. lame.

  3. @mbw #17
    > I would love to see our universities expand and grow beyond the training of church workers


    The Concordias I am aware of train very few church workers.
    So, your wishes are already granted.

  4. @Rev. William Orr #33
    But there are several that should be closed.

    Portland, Bronxville, Selma, Saint Paul and Ann Arbor

    Why close these? Combination of low enrollment, redundancy, and high property values.

    Selma is our “historically black institution”, where we were making a difference before e_ca, etc. ever thought of “diversity” (or invested it with strange meanings).
    Is it as far “off the rails” as a Lutheran school as some of these others?

  5. @helen #54
    I would have no problem of closing any of those mentioned. Selam sent their school choir up this direction last year–to an ELCA congregation in the area. None of the LCMS churches in the area knew anything about their coming until one pastor read about it in a local newspaper. Makes me wonder why I would want to support Selma!

  6. @Rev. Roger Sterle #55
    Had the el_a congregation supported Selma?

    Perhaps I have a little more interest because I know Selma grads.
    They, at least, are proud that LCMS helped them develop higher education before it was generally available to blacks in the South. Have we’ve paid too little attention to Selma?
    But, of course, more attention, supervision and support might have made a difference in any of our Concordias.

  7. @helen #57
    I don’t know if the elca congregation supported them or not. Could be some of the students at Selma are from the town where this happened. It does not diminish the fact that an LCMS institution did not contact any LCMS congregations in the area and there are several that would have been as large if not larger as the elca congregation!

  8. @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #60
    Choirs usually go where they are wanted, in my limited experience.
    The request may come via a student, an individual donor or a congregation.

    If the local LCMS churches provided “none of the above” how would Selma know they would be welcomed? If any of you were on their list of supporters, you would no doubt have been contacted.

    It doesn’t take much of a contribution to most schools to get as much information about their program as you could wish for. Maybe more; I sometimes request that they not spend my money on stamps mailed back to me.

  9. @Helen #61

    It seems to me that the choir director would work with either DPs or circuit pastors to promote the choir trips and line up the congregations (I assume LCMS congregations). They could even line up congregational families for choir members to stay at overnight to help hold costs down.

    My experience with WELS choir trips are that communication of the college with the synod infrastructure seems to work pretty well. Choir trips are planned well in advance (6 – 9 months ahead of time) and everyone knows what is happening prior to the visit day(s).

  10. @Perry Lund #62
    That’s been my experience with choir trips, too.

    (But, having a Concordia in the neighborhood, perhaps I should know!
    They are now CTX : Concordia, Texas, which conveniently omits “Lutheran”.) 🙁

  11. @Pastor Tim Rossow #51

    This is exactly right. It’s not always the easiest thing to get LCMS members for some positions but it’s usually possible.

    We also need people to some people with money to give for particular projects.

    If you want a strong traditional Lutheran music program, then give toward that end. And make it known what you expect from your money.

  12. Perhaps I have missed something, but it is my understanding that all of our colleges, universities and seminaries are governed by boards of regents, which are elected at the convention. I also understand that these institutions are responsible for finding their own funding.

    Given these facts, how much real authority does the President Harrison really have to “fix” these institutions? What actions would be available to the Synod institution?

  13. As a resident of the suburbs of Portland, this, sadly, does little to surprise me. Too often, the cry goes forth to host and encourage such clubs under the banner of ‘academic freedom.’ And while this might make for a fine rallying point amidst any standard university environment (one which I would, in fact, encourage), do we not have a right to expect that our Concordias would uphold their moniker in things related to the Kingdom of the right?

    This attitude is very typically Portland, a city that insists on being the standard-bearer for the Zeitgeist to it’s continued detriment.

    Christ, have mercy!

  14. From the Gay, Straight Alliance website Mission Statement:

    “Why Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs Work”

    “GSA clubs provide a safety net for students during the coming out process. With a GSA club, youth break through the isolation to find support from peers and school staff. GSA clubs unite LGBTQ students, straight allies, and members of the school community who are committed to making schools safer and more accepting for LGBT students.

    GSAs draw on the courage of LGBTQ youth and the commitment of straight allies working in partnership to build bridges, improve school climates, and change school policies. Strong, well-supported GSAs can have a major impact on the education environment and possess the power to transform individuals, school cultures, and educational institutions.”

  15. If the LCMS wants to spend money on Higher Education, then it should close and sell most of the Concordias (per post #33). It should then use the money to build attractive campus student centers within walking distance of large public universities. Give the new building a cool, retro Prairie/Mission style look. The centers should comprise a chapel, a coffee house, a study center, and a dance floor. Yes, a dance floor. I have been to the McKinley Foundation near the University of Illinois many times. It is a cool place to hang out:


    They have a large gym area with a nice floor that is used by campus student groups for dancing (swing/salsa, etc.) It is a wholesome, non-threatening, non-alcohol way for students to meet other people for weekly lessons, dances, and for fellowship. I met my wife on a university dance floor, so it does work! If I were not already committed to the LCMS, I could have seen myself being drawn in to the other activities at that center.

    Far-fetched idea? The PCUSA doesn’t think so.

  16. Pastor R, I don’t understand how institutions that are part of or affiliated with our synod can go down such divergent paths. I can guess but it’s amazing how many of our fellow LCMS congregations, educational institutions, etc, are “different”; “different” in the sense that if I was a student at Concordia-Portland, I might not get the same education or message that I might get at, say, Concordia-Seward. Has it always been this way? As a kid, when we went to a LCMS church that wasn’t our home church, we always had the same liturgy from the TLH and readings for that Sunday would be the same as at home. When we would visit Concordia-Bronxville for the Reformation or Pentecost service, the liturgy and the sermon would be the same as at our home church. When we would visit my aunt and uncle on the other side of the world (crossing the Hudson to Jersey), there were no surprises; we knew what we would get. Now, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I always thought our synod was more centralized than evangelical denominations but I realize that is not case.

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