Steadfast on Campus- So What Did Your Students Think of UNWRAPPED?

unwrappedHe began to walk away from the podium and said, “[You are] all damned sinners, one and all,” to which, the assembled college students rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation.

This is why confessional Lutheranism resonates with our college students. They are damned sinners. And, earlier in the morning during his homily, Pres. Harrison reminded them that Jesus came only for sinners.

Our confessions suggest that this proclamation of the Gospel is our greatest treasure: “The blessed proclamation, the Gospel, which proclaims the forgiveness of sins through the blessed Seed, that is, Christ, has from the beginning of the world been the greatest consolation and treasure to all pious kings, all prophets, all believers.” (Apology XII, Triglotta, p. 273) This treasure is for college students too. This treasure was most definitely unwrapped for our students last week in St. Louis.

I asked a few of the students who went with me to give some feedback. Here are a few of their comments.

“The conference never claimed, or showed, to be anything but confessional, historic Lutheranism. Christ-crucified and raised for our salvation was everywhere! Never did the conference digress into a church growth or ‘God loves your good works’ seminar. The speakers did not insult our intelligence as college students. They spoke in a scholarly way and presented us with scholarly evidence, and many of them were recognized experts in the fields they were presenting on. ” – Thomas Cowell

“Amidst a world of ravenous wolves, devourers of truth, we have found ourselves struggling in the heat of the ongoing battle for our very souls… This LCMS Christ- centered conference equipped us with the full armor of God, renewed us with a Spirit eagerly yearning to learn, and comforted us in the remembrance of who we are… To forget who we are, is to forget who He is and who He has made us to be. We are His people, and He is our God.” – Zach Viggers (I asked Zach for a quote and he gave me a paper…)

“The sectionals and plenary speakers were extraordinary, but praying the historic, reverent, Christ-centered liturgy three times a day with 400 plus college students in St.Francis Xavier was my favorite aspect of Unwrapped.” – Emily Smith

“The prayer services were amazing, and many of our students expressed to me how much they loved to see the beautiful music and liturgy and several of them told me that they would love to learn more about Lutheran liturgy in a future Bible study.” – Thomas Cowell

“I thought Unwrapped was a wonderful opportunity to learn about Lutheran beliefs and be in fellowship with other college congregations. The different sectionals and plenaries were constantly sparking discussion between students and many of these discussions have continued since the conference. The most wonderful part of the conference was that it continually pointed back to Christ no matter the subject.”—Lauren Petri

About Pastor John Wegener

Rev. John H. Wegener was born on September 22, 1974 in Ames IA a minute after the birth of his twin brother. He was baptized on October 6, 1974 at St. John Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Hubbard, IA where his father (The Rev. Thomas C. Wegener) served as pastor. He was confirmed in 1984 at Faith Lutheran Church of Waterloo, IA. He graduated from West High School in Waterloo and then attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA where he earned a B.A. in Graphic Design in 1997. In 2000, he began his studies at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN. He served as vicar at Emmaus Lutheran Church, in Fort Wayne from the summer of 2002 to the summer of 2003. He received his Master of Divinity from CTS in 2004. He was called to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Readlyn, IA and Immanuel Lutheran Church of Klinger, IA where he was ordained and installed on June 13, 2004. He served there until July, 2007 when he accepted the call to serve the campus ministry at College Hill Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa near the University of Northern Iowa. He was installed there on July 1st, 2007. John met Ms. Heidi M. Johnson while in college at the church where he now serves as pastor. They were married on August 8, 1998 at Grace Lutheran Church in Waterloo, IA. John and Heidi have four children: AJ, Aleah, Javan, and Michael.


Steadfast on Campus- So What Did Your Students Think of UNWRAPPED? — 3 Comments

  1. They are damned sinners.

    Let’s be clear:

    “Whoever believes in him is not condemned….” John 3:18

    “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

  2. Thanks, Carl.
    Perhaps I should have explained this better.

    Pres. Harrison did not suggest that believers were damned. Rather, that it was for sinners that Christ came, not the self-righteous.
    After completely destroying any self-righteousness with the preaching of the Law, Pres. Harrison gave us the sweetest thing in the world: Jesus came for YOU– you sinners. So I walked away with this thought: “Jesus came for me! I’m one of those damned sinners that Christ came to save with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.”
    By saying, “you are damned sinners,” he was saying, “you are the ones for whom Christ came and saved.”

    It reminded me of the word of our Lord when He said, “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13b). Or when St. Paul wrote, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15).

  3. @Rev. John Wegener #2

    @Rev. John Wegener #2

    The “damned sinners” reference is well put in the way of the Law. After all, part of the Holy Spirit’s job description (John 16:5-11) is to convict the world of sin. Well, our old Adam is part of the world and in need of daily drowning. By the working of the HolySpirit through the Word, we are not “under Law” but “under grace.” (Rom. 8:13, Gospel) So, our “damned” old Adam—sinful nature–is dying everyday until our Lord takes us “from this vale of tears” to eternal life in heaven. (Small Catechism, explanation of the sixth petition to the Lord’s Prayer) Till then, the Holy Spirit through the Word raises us each day to newness of life in Christ Jesus. (rom. 6:4-8)

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