Nominations for CTS President

I was going to summarize the following call for nominations. But you might as well read the whole thing:

The Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe, President of the Seminary, has announced his intent to retire at the end of his current five-year appointment. Therefore, the Board of Regents of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, with the approval of the President of the Synod, seeks nominations for the position of seminary president. The deadline for nominations is April 8, 2011.

“Concordia Theological Seminary exists to form servants in Jesus Christ who teach the faithful, reach the lost, and care for all” (the Seminary’s mission). The duties and responsibilities of the president as the “spiritual, academic, and administrative head” of the institution are described in the Synod Handbook (Bylaw 3.10.4.6). The successful discharge of these duties and responsibilities in the service of the seminary’s mission requires that the man called to this office have the following qualifications and experience:

  1. He shall be an ordained clergyman of the Synod who has consistently and publicly demonstrated his commitment to the Holy Scriptures and the primacy of the Gospel in teaching and practice, his loyalty to the Lutheran symbolical books, and his dedication to the ministry of the Word and Sacraments.
  2. He shall have had pastoral experience in the parish, since the primary function of the seminary is training pastors to shepherd God’s people and preparing deaconesses to serve God’s people in the congregations of the Synod. He shall, therefore, be a good model for faithful pastors and deaconesses.
  3. He shall be a man who both understands and has demonstrated that our Lord’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) is as valid and urgent today as it was in the days of the Apostles. His experience will have included participation in congregational outreach ministries or worldwide mission efforts. It is desirable that he be a man who is sensitive to and appreciative of multicultural/mission work.
  4. He shall be able to communicate the seminary’s mission and to lead the faculty and staff. He shall have demonstrated competence and ability as a strategic thinker and administrator who can work effectively with the seminary’s Board of Regents.
  5. He shall be experienced and competent in fund-raising and able to interpret the seminary, its capacities, and its needs to individual donors, constituencies, and the community. Fund-raising will take a considerable amount of his energy and time, and he shall be willing and able to pursue this endeavor with joy.
  6. He shall willingly implement the centrality of worship in the life of the seminary community and is able to serve the spiritual needs of the community.
  7. He shall be an experienced theologian with a proven ability to understand and respond creatively and evangelically to theological issues in the seminary and the church. He shall have the academic background, educational experience, and vision to develop and guide efforts to ensure the superior quality of theological education in the seminary community, which the needs of the church require. To that end, he shall possess an earned academic doctorate in an area of theological study or a related field of study.
  8. He shall be a churchman who knows and understands the structure of the Synod and its history, especially as they pertain to the seminary and its governance structure.
  9. He shall possess personal leadership qualities that elicit the response, confidence, and cooperation of students, faculty, clergy, academic and ecclesiastical leaders, and benefactors of the seminary.
  10. He shall be a competent communicator who is able to articulate the Gospel clearly, candidly, and persuasively.

According to the Bylaws of Synod (3.10.4.6.2(a)), nominations for the President of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, may be put forward only by the following entities: congregations of the Synod, the Board of Regents of Concordia Theological Seminary, and the faculty of Concordia Theological Seminary. Individuals, including pastors, may not place names into nomination.

Please send nominations by April 8, 2011 to Janet Johnson, Secretary, Concordia Theological Seminary Board of Regents, 6600 North Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825-4996.

Okay, so nominations may be put forth by congregations, the Board of Regents and the faculty. For more on the transition, the seminary has this page here.


Comments

Nominations for CTS President — 22 Comments

  1. Mollie,

    Thanks for breaking the news of Dr. Wenthe’s retirement on your post the other day. We are very blessed to have you blogging here for the Brothers of John the Steadfast.

    TR

  2. FWIW,
    St. Paul’s, Brookfield, IL nominated the Rev. Dr. Daniel Gard and the Rev. Dr. Scott Murray last night at our voter’s meeting.

  3. I am thinking that those who get to make the choice will be looking for a man who has an earned doctorate. That takes away many who may have all the other qualifications. I would think they would look for someone whose dr. degree is in an area of theology first, and then some of the other disciplines: history, homiletics. I am praying this time around that none of the political tricks will be used again to get someone elected.

  4. There is no way that any man can have all the qualities listed. When it comes down to it, a number of these items become subjective.

    I do not like at all the qualification in Point #7 that one must have an earned doctorate.

    I think of someone like Prof. John Pless who had no need nor maybe even wished to obtain an earned doctorate. Yet, this man is one of the smartest theologians I know. He is well read and can articulate just about anything. I am sure, he does not want to be a president, but it does go to show a PhD does not mean everything.

    Maybe, parish life means more than sitting in school or in some cases, leaving behind the flock to pursue academic pursuits for individual gain. Maybe, that is a thought.

    You have an esteemed faculty to assist for larger efforts or statements. I understand the great quality of professors that a seminary must have to prepare men and women for a challenging ministry, but do not think it takes the likes of a man who holds a PhD to figure out who can be brought in to maintain this superior quality.

    Is the LCMS more concerned about degrees than finding an articulate theologian, who is passionate, level-headed, well connected, possesses an awareness, has been involved in missions and many other qualities?

    Frankly, I do not know every pastor in the LCMS, but have met a number of them. There is one man who sticks out in my head as meeting every qualification but an “earned PhD.” He is Rev. John Fiene of Zionsville, IN.

  5. I think Rev. Dr. William Weinrich would be an outstanding choice. Perhaps his chances of being nominated by congregations will be hindered by his recent stint in Latvia.

  6. I don’t have a probelm with the Seminary president having an earned doctorate since he will oversee doctoral programs. It would be beneficial for him to know the greuling process from the students’ end and, also, I believe it’s forbidden to hand out a degree higher than the one you actually possess.

  7. Given the desired qualifications, I would say that it is a pretty fair bet that the man chosen will be one who is currently on the faculty of either CSL, or CTS.

    Just a guess.

  8. @Matthew Gunia #11
    Matthew I am still not understanding your reasoning, since as I stated it is the institution that is awarding the PhD or ThD. Do you have an example of am instance where those at an institution stated that such must be the case??

  9. @Matthew Gunia #11
    Yet, having a non-PhD/ThD as the head of the institution would cause the doctorates awarded to have less prestige.

    I don’t follow this either.
    However, someone who doesn’t have an earned doctorate is probably going to collect an honorary somewhere, and [sorry] I don’t think that would be a good thing.
    Pless may be as capable as a PhD; he’s a relatively young man and can earn one.

    Kurt Marquart surely was the equal of any “doctor” and probably superior to many. I think most of our [earned] PhD/ThD’s would agree. He had an “honorary” he didn’t believe in using, as you all know.

  10. I’m not understanding why it’s so controversial that the head of the seminary which awards doctorates must hold an earned doctorate. The Semiary stands with a foot in two worlds, one is the world of the church in which, I agree, it’s not really important what credentials you hold, so long as you can do the job. But, on the other hand, the Seminary stands in the world of academia in which credentials and “being published” are highly important. In fact, in the eyes of the academic world, if you don’t hold an earned doctorate and/or aren’t getting published frequently, you’re not viewed as being very important. Of course there are exceptions, like John Pless, but the exceptions don’t make the rule.

    If the head of an academic institution doesn’t hold the proper “credentials,” then the entire institution loses credibility. Many of us would be suspect of a grade school in which the principal never finished high school. Many of us would be nervous about a hospital in which the head of surgery is a nurse. The same is true with the seminary. The man in charge has to represent the highest of academic and theological excellence. A man without a doctorate simply doesn’t fit the bill.

  11. Matthew,

    You are wrong on a number of levels. The sole purpose of a seminary ought to be to serve the church in producing pastors and deaconcess, without any concern for its standing in the academic world.

    John Pless is not the exception. There are far more that have more than the ability to hold a PhD, but for many reasons sought not to get one.

    The LCMS in some corners thinks more highly than it ought of those who hold a PhD. When did that degree ever make a man faithful? Do you prefer that Fort Wayne has a man with a PhD from Fuller Seminary or one similar? When did that degree ever make a man wiser than another. PhD’s are great, do not get me wrong, but not the end all to a good theologian or leader.

    What is wrong with a man who wanted to serve the Lord in the parish, not pursuing officially more studies. I know a man just south of me, who could and should be at the seminary teaching either Hebrew or Greek, but has instead spent his many years in the parish and does not hold a PhD. The same holds true for Rev. Steven Briel the head of one of our new synod boards or his brother-in-law, Klemet Preus. Both are brillant, but do not hold a PhD. They would make more than a fine seminary president.

    I grew up in the Wisconsin Synod, before attending Fort Wayne and am often critical of the WELS as not having enough pastors and professors who hold a PhD. However, in the LCMS, there is this attiude by some, that the degree somehow makes one better.

    Pastors are to serve God’s people. We have seminaries to train these very men. If we put a person in a position of seminary president who does not hold a PhD, God bless that man in his duties. He has been a worthy servant in the parish. Who in either seminary who would be considered for president has served in the parish anytime recently? And this when the parish environment has changed faster than at any point?

  12. You are wrong on a number of levels. The sole purpose of a seminary ought to be to serve the church in producing pastors and deaconcess, without any concern for its standing in the academic world.

    If the only thing the seminary did was to train pastors, then it would not be important that it’s teachers have proper academic credentials. Simply call men with a gift to teach, and end the teaching process with a certification from the Synod. The problem is that our seminaries offer academic degrees. These degrees are recognized outside our church body. Because of this, it is important that those who teach in these degree programs are properly credentialed, and that means that the president really must have an earned doctorate.

  13. David,

    Not sure if you are a pastor or layperson, but I am a pastor who graduated from one of our seminaries. I am aware of all that you said. No need to explain that to me.

    Both seminaries offer PhD programs. Therefore, place professors in positions within these programs that have PhD’s. That should not be a problem. Not sure, how this affects the office of president. The main reason seminaries exist is to train pastors and pastors receive an M Div, not a PhD. Therefore, a president who holds an S.T.M still has a degree higher than an MDiv, which is the most basic of theological degrees.

    Again, the president should be compatent to speak on behalf of the seminary as an articulate and faithful theologian. As stated above, the president does not certify the candidate, the faculty and institution does. Maybe, we ought to bring in Rev. Rolf Preus who does not have a PhD, but there is not a finer theologian out there.

    Finally, if you are a pastor, you know that pastors are under heat all over the place. And I am not talking about pastors who are jerks and bring things upon themselves. All the academic prestige by the next president will do nothing, if he does not empathize with future candidates for the Office of the Holy Ministry.

    The only encouragement I received as did our class of 07 was do not screw up when you get out, because it hurts our reputation. That came from the president and his sidekick. That is not what I would expect from a person who ought to be encouraging not warning. We need a president, who like Robert Preus related to his students. Yes, he held a PhD, but more to the point, he was loved and respected by the men.

  14. To the best of my knowledge, Rev. Karl Barth, a former DP, did not have an earned doctorate in a recognized academic subject (I think he had a D.Min. or D.D., but correct me if I’m wrong), nor did he hold the rank of professor in any seminary, when he was elected as Pres. of CSL. He did an excellent job and built that lovely chapel. I say let’s open the window on these nominations and see who flies in.

  15. Nathan Raddatz :
    I think of someone like Prof. John Pless who had no need nor maybe even wished to obtain an earned doctorate. Yet, this man is one of the smartest theologians I know. He is well read and can articulate just about anything. I am sure, he does not want to be a president, but it does go to show a PhD does not mean everything.
    blockquote>

    I concur. Just to contrast, I have a PhD, but am neither male, nor a pastor (just to be clear, no desire to be either). FWIW

    Luvable Lutheran

  16. @Nathan Raddatz #17
    Finally, if you are a pastor, you know that pastors are under heat all over the place. And I am not talking about pastors who are jerks and bring things upon themselves. All the academic prestige by the next president will do nothing, if he does not empathize with future candidates for the Office of the Holy Ministry.

    All his “empathy” will not pay the rent for seminarians left without a call.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.