Rev. Dr. Nathan Jastram, chair of the theology department at Concordia University, Wisconsin submitted the following comment on yesterday’s post about concerns at the campus. We thank Dr. Jastram for taking the time to respond and to do so in such an informative and gracious manner.
Even in light of his helpful response, I am still concerned that our Concordias have grown too large and mostly for financial reasons. When I attended Concordia, Seward in the late 1970’s, every single professor that I had from the science to the art department was a Concordia graduate. It was not perfect, but I had the sense there was a high level of control that the president was able to exercise over the faculty. What has changed?
Again, we thank Dr. Jastram for joining in the discussion and assuring us that the theological faculty is committed to confessional Lutheran theology. Here is his comment.
I am the chair of the Department of Theology and Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin. I want to thank the anonymous former adjunct philosophy instructor, “Ron,” for his concern for pure doctrine and integrity at LCMS universities, and in the same spirit invite him to set aside whatever doctrinal differences he may have with the pure doctrine contained in the Lutheran Confessions so that he could become a member of the LCMS.
The concerns that “Ron” has of CUW come from many years ago, and are quite unspecific. The major charge is that he was favored in the hiring process because he had a degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. The implication is that if one favors a candidate with a degree from a particular institution, then one also must favor the doctrinal aberrations of that institution. This is a logical fallacy, and it is surprising to see someone with a doctorate in philosophy make such a mistake.
CUW is committed to the “inerrancy of the Bible, men only as pastors, and all the standards of the early ecumenical creeds,” just as “Ron” is. Not only that, but we are also committed to the Lutheran Confessions and teach according to the doctrinal resolutions of the LCMS. The administration takes its responsibility to supervise teaching seriously. The theology faculty includes only ordained LCMS pastors who are deeply committed to Scripture and the Confessions. Although some non-Lutheran Christians are hired to teach in other departments, all promise not to advocate anything contrary to LCMS teaching.
I do not doubt that mistakes are made by professors or students as they struggle to understand the Word of God. We are all sinners and saints at the same time. Orthodoxy is in a continuous struggle against heterodoxy. By God’s help, CUW will continue to be a place where students learn the truth of Scripture and the Confessions.