Reporter — Prague conference draws Lutheran leaders from 20 countries

By Albert B. Collver III

By the close of an Oct. 4-7 theological conference in Prague hosted by the LCMS president’s office, many of the 71 Lutheran leaders attending from 20 countries said they appreciated that opportunity to encourage and support mutual conversation and exchange of ideas for promoting confessional Lutheranism where they serve.

For instance, Rev. Alexey Streltsov, rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Siberia, said, “Such conferences are truly needed if we want … authentic world Lutheranism to survive in the 21st century. We cannot just sit back and observe how things deteriorate in the world around us. Sharing with each other how we can continue to be faithful in the proclamation of the Gospel in the present context is important if we want … our beloved Lutheran church not to fall prey to the alien winds of today’s aberrations.”

Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church commented, “Such conferences are especially important to us who live at the end of the earth, because they turn the virtual brotherly fellowship into real fellowship.”

Lutheran leaders at the conference came from the following countries: England, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Sweden, Norway and the United States.

Dr. Jaromír Neumann, chairman of the Luther Society in Prague, officially greeted attendees who gathered under the conference theme of “Lutheranism in the 21st Century” and provided an introduction on the Reformation in Prague.

Plenary speakers who addressed challenges and opportunities for Lutheranism included the following: LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison; the Rev. Dr. Michael Albrecht, senior editor of Logia and pastor of St. James Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn.; the Rev. Dr. Charles Evanson, a theological educator for the LCMS Office of International Mission; the Rev. James Krikava, an Evangelical Lutheran Synod pastor and former missionary to the Czech Republic; the Rev. Dr. Makito Masaki, president of the Kobe Lutheran Seminary in Japan; the Rev. Dr. Darius Petkunas, a docent on the theology faculty at Helsinki University in Finland; the Rev. Dr. Stanislav Pietak, bishop emeritus of the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Czech Republic; the Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, dean of International Studies at Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS), Fort Wayne, Ind., and director of theological education for the LCMS Office of International Mission; the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, president of the Fort Wayne seminary; the Rev. Dr. Jobst Schone, bishop emeritus of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Germany; Rev. Fredrik Sidenvall, rector of L.M. Gymnasium in Gothenburg, Sweden; and Streltsov.

Although this was the first international theological conference hosted by the LCMS president’s office, it followed in the tradition of the Klaipeda Conferences previously sponsored by CTS in Fort Wayne. That made it the ninth international theological conference in the Synod within recent years.

The conference in Prague was hosted in cooperation with the Rev. David Jurech, interim superintendent of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Czech Republic and the Luther Society.

Quill noted that this is the first time the Fort Wayne seminary had worked in partnership with the LCMS president’s office and the LCMS Office of Church Relations.

“President Harrison’s very presence [at the conference], plus his bold and positive presentation made it clear to all that the LCMS is committed to supporting a vigorous international confessional Lutheran movement,” Quill said. Harrison’s presentation was on a “Vision for World Lutheranism.”

Harrison also preached on Matt. 17:1-8 for a conference worship service. His sermon was titled “They saw no one but Jesus.” A video of his sermon is below:

Prague is not known as a Lutheran stronghold and might seem to some as an odd choice for the conference venue until one recalls the history of Central Europe.

The Hussite and Utraquist movements, which began in the Czech lands, preceded the Reformation in some ways. Jan Hus, a priest and professor in Prague, was burned at the stake in 1415 for teaching against indulgences and for his teaching that the Lord’s Supper should be distributed in both kinds.

It was reported that as Hus was being burned alive, he said, “Today you are burning a goose, but out of my ashes will be born a swan whom you will not burn.”

“Hus” in Czech means “goose.” The “swan” born from Hus’s ashes was Martin Luther, who almost exactly 100 years after Hus’s death posted the 95 Theses, beginning the Reformation.

The Czech people were sympathetic to the Lutheran Reformation. But unfortunately, the Reformation in Prague was eliminated in the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 during the Thirty Yearss War, which culminated in the execution of 27 nobles, some of whom were Lutherans. The Silesian parts of the Czech Republic and Poland also adopted the Lutheran Reformation early on and faced persecution similar to Lutherans in Prague.

Reflecting on that Lutheran history in the Czech lands, the Rev. Dr. David Birner, interim co-executive director of the LCMS Office of International Mission and first-time conference attendee observed, “The [conference] was an outstanding theological, cultural and historical experience. We met in a part of the world that is steeped in Reformation history.”

The conference drew a number of other participants who had not previously attended one, including Lutherans from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Japan.

One participant of past conferences said that although he expected to see the same people in Prague as before, he was pleasantly surprised to experience the 2011 conference “invigorated by fresh voices.”

Rast, who was installed Sept. 11 as president of CTS, said that although he had been to other similar theological conferences, “this one seemed to have its finger on the pulse of future opportunities.

“I am confident we can keep the momentum going,” he said.

The momentum continued after the conference with the installation of the Rev. Tony Booker as pastor of the English-speaking Lutheran congregation in Prague. Several conference attendees participated in that service. (Click here for more information)

A number of those at the Prague conference already are asking about when its papers will be published and are inquiring about the theme for the next conference.

It is hoped that such conferences will further strengthen the voice of confessional Lutheranism worldwide.

The Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III is the LCMS director of Church Relations — assistant to the president. He was among those who delivered plenary presentations at the Prague conference.

Posted Oct. 19, 2011

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


Reporter — Prague conference draws Lutheran leaders from 20 countries — 6 Comments

  1. Will the following presentations by Missouri Synod officials at the Lutheran Theological Conference in Prague be posted on the LCMS website or some Missouri Synod blog site?

    1. “Lutheran Fellowship in the 21st Century,” by Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III (Director of Church Relations—Assistant to the President, LCMS)

    2. “A Vision for World Lutheranism,” by Rev. Matthew Harrison (President of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod)

    3. “A Vision for Theological Education in the 21st Century,” by Rev. Dr. Timothy C. J. Quill (Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Dean of International Studies, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne)

    4. “Pastoral Formation in the 21st Century: The Pedagogical Implications of Globalization,” by Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast (President, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne)

  2. Might I suggest it might be more advantageous for our President to be more focused on our own mess. We are in doctrinal and practical disarray and it will kill us if we do not clean it up.

  3. I thought Reporter had reporters writing for it rather than presidents’ assistants and such.

  4. The Reporter actually has a choice from a number of articles related to the conference trip to Prague, which were written by various members of the Missouri Synod group.

    From Witness, Mercy, Life Together:
    Installation of Rev. Tony Booker at Saint Michael’s in Prague
    Lutheran Theological Conference in Prague Group Photo
    Prague Conference and Vespers — First Day
    Brief Tour of Saint Michael’s in Prague

    From The ABC3s of Miscellany:
    Prague conference draws Lutheran leaders from 20 countries
    Installation of Rev. Tony Booker at Saint Michael’s in Prague
    Prague Conference Concluded
    Lutheran Theological Conference in Prague Group Photo
    Prague Conference and Vespers — First Day
    Prage Conference Schedule and Map
    Tranovsky of Slovakia Lutheran Witness 1980
    Prague Conference Map
    Brief Tour of Saint Michael’s in Prague
    Prague Photos
    Prague Conference — Lutheranism in the 21st Century
    Prague Orloj or the Prague Astronomical Clock

    From Mercy Journeys:
    Before and After – Travel: Glamour and Reality
    Pathetic Communist Era Film Has a Nice Defenestration Scene at the End!
    Defenestration: When God closes a door, he opens a window
    Defenestration as an Act of Frustration
    Defenestration – My Most Recent Favorite Word
    The Prague Beheading of Protestant Nobles – 1621
    Live Web Cam of Prague – Charles Bridge, Castle, St. Vitus
    More info on the Castle
    Brief Video on the Orlik Castle, Residence of the Nobles who ruled my Czech Ancestors
    Thoughts and Details on the Czech Quest to Find My Vondrak Relatives
    Sermon at the International Lutheran Conference in Prague
    Another great interview with Czech Mayor Soukup, of the Vondrak home town, Kralova Lhota, Czech Republic
    Czech Mayor: “My mother’s sister married a Vondrak”
    The Lutheran Princes of my Bohemian Ancestors
    The History of the Orlik Castle – Region of the Vondrak Family
    Stare Sedlo from the Air – With St. Prokob and the Cemetery
    Photos from the Church Yard of St. Prokob in Stare Sedlo
    The Church of my forebears: St. Prokob in Stare Sedlo, Czech Republic
    Walked up to the Address I had from 1856, and found family!
    Kepler – A Lutheran in Prague
    Bethlehem Chapel – Pulpit of Jan Huss
    St. Vitus Cathedral Flying Buttresses et al
    Just a few photos of St. Vitus taken today in Prague
    Prague: The Lutheran Executions of 1621

    From Rastaman Vibrations:
    Saint Joanna in Prague
    Steve Jobs in Prague

  5. @Carl Vehse #4 That’s quite a list … but I am talking about reporters, not participants. That doesn’t mean a reporter has to go, but at least he/she could talk to a number of participants.

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