We Need Manly Men as Pastors, Not Sissies – Two Quotes from J. A. O. Preus, by Pr. Rossow

Over on the post about licensed deacons an anonymous commenter with the moniker “LCMS Quotes” has dropped a few more pertinent quotes from past synod president J. A. O. Preus asbout the need to screen applicants to the seminary.

Let me call attention to two things. One is that Preus laments that students were being admitted because of a lack of pastors. Sadly, the pressure on seminaries today is to have tuition income. Secondly, and not related, Preus rightly calls for manly applicants and not sissies, but note carefully that he also wanted men who could relate to the culture.

One more note, a personal one, every Preus I have known from the family tree of J. A. O. and his brother Robert, are both manly men and brilliant at relating to the culture. Here are the quotes:

I believe many of the troubles which plague theological seminaries today lie in their poor and inadequate admissions procedures. My father* used to say, “If you want to make a gentleman, you have to start with his grandfather.” Something of this is also true of a pastor as a man. If you admit a gang of sissies, perverts, misfits, and immature babies, you are going to have trouble making men out of them. And yet this is precisely what some seminaries have done and, with the shortage of ministers and the need for candidates, this is something that all seminaries are tempted to do. We need not only to be more careful in admissions, but we need to be more careful in retention. Lack of scholarship is not the only reason for which a man ought to be dropped. We need to look over our students to see how they relate with one another, how they come through to us, how they carry out their field work, their clinical pastoral education, and their internship assignments in relationship to their fellow men. We must never forget the fact that the seminary is the last remnant of monasticism, the last hermitage, the last city of refuge in a confused and tangled world. And yet it is not monks, hermits, fugitives we are called to send out into the world. We are to send men among men. We are to send men who, like Paul, can be “all things to all men, that they may gain some.”

Developing Students As Men Among Men
J. A. O. Preus II
President, Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois
January 14, 1968

*Minnesota Governor J. A. O. Preus (1883-1961)

Some years ago a member of Congress was proposing to have a change in the law whereby theological students could be given a year’s leave of absence from their seminary in order to serve in the Armed Forces. Nothing came of this proposal, but personally I am sorry that it did not. I see a large number of students on our campus who, I think, would be eminently benefited by a hitch in the Military. Likewise with experience in church government, civil government, business, industry, agriculture, public education, welfare service, the courts, and other areas. Seminaries must make every possible effort to encourage as broad a social relationship as possible for our students. We must get them cured of the idea that they come from pious Lutheran homes in pious Lutheran communities, go to pious Lutheran colleges and seminaries and learn to become pious Lutheran ministers, to return to pious Lutheran homes and serve as pious pastors of pious Lutheran congregations. There really never was a time when this was the case, but we in our romantic looking back to the golden age often think that there was. It is very plain that such a situation does not now exist, and there is no indication that this side of eternity such a situation shall exist. And yet seemingly a good number of people think that this is what theological education aims to do.

Developing Students As Men Among Men
J. A. O. Preus II
President, Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois
January 14, 1968

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