Rev. Klemet Preus Called Home to Heaven, by Pr. Rossow

klemetThe brotherhood of our Lord’s shepherds has lost a beloved comrade. Rev. Klemet Preus died in the Lord today. He will be greatly missed by those of us still waiting for Jesus to take us home to heaven. In the meantime we shall keep our feet to the fire and use judiciously the staff the Lord has given us to tend the flock with the strictest words of the law and the sweetest words of the Gospel, as Klemet showed us how.

BJS owes a debt to Klemet. When we were nothing more than a blip in the internet cyberspace he and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway put us on the intraweb map by writing for us for the first couple of years.

Klemet is from the wonderful Preus’s of Missouri. His father Robert was the former president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana and his uncle Jacob served as the president of the LCMS. He has countless brothers, nieces, nephews and other relatives serving in the church, too many to recount here in this brief post.

Personally, I always thought that Klemet should be our synodical president but when Klemet asked me to support Matthew Harrison, that was the only word I needed to climb aboard that train. Sadly now, Klemet is gone.

He had so many left hand kingdom gifts and in addition was a profound theologian and pastor. He was one of those rare men who could stand firmly on the Word of God without compromise and yet make sure that the Gospel was always the better and final Word emanating from him. May we never lose the spirit of the Preus’s of Missouri. They have led us to the green pastures of the pure Word of God, our only hope for Life. Thankfully the fold is full of Preus’s. Klemet’s legacy lives on.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Rev. Klemet Preus Called Home to Heaven, by Pr. Rossow — 15 Comments

  1. Dear Pastor Rossow,

    Thanks for the good words about our good friend, Klemet! We will all miss him!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  2. My wife Linda and I had the pleasure of meeting Klemet at a Confessions Symposium in Fort Wayne. We were waiting around at the Cord-Duessenberg Museum in Auburn for the banquet and started talking with this gentleman. As the conversation processed, he introduced himself as Klemmet Preus and upon inquiry I was told that he was Daniel’s brother and Robert’s son. I remember remarking to Klem that I would have loved to have grown up around that dinner table as it would have been a seminary education in itself.

    I met Klem a few more times since then. He came to my congregation at Holy Cross in Kansas City a few years ago after writing his truly excellent book “Fire and the Staff”. He spoke to us and patiently signed autographs of those who had purchased his book before we sent him off to central and eastern Missouri.

    I also spent a wonderful evening at the Preus home in Plymouth, MN during a trip to the ACL conference one year. He wife was gracious in permitting the trampling hordes to wander around the homestead while Klem cooked up a storm on the grill. Hospitality was in their bones! I would have liked to have gotten to know him far better than I was able to.

    Klemet was a gracious man and a fine and faithful pastor to his flock. He always seemed to know that it was in the name of the Great Good Shepherd – our Lord Jesus Christ – that he served and he always seemed to be clear about the only authority he had was that of God’s holy Word and Sacraments as he provided the hands of Christ to his congregation and to the Synod.

    His book, “Fire and the Staff” is a treasure for Lutherans everywhere. His passing gives me the opportunity to read this fine book all over again. I have often quoted from the book the words of his Norwegian grandmother, “Lehr er liv” Doctrine is Life!

  3. @Rev. Richard A. Bolland #4
    “Fire and the Staff” should be required reading for ALL Lutherans, especially the seminarian students of our two seminaries. I was up at Sussex, WI a few years back attending the catechetical conference and picked up the book there at the CPH display. I mentioned to the person behind me that I understood the book was very good. She agreed with me. The woman was Jan Preus, Klemet’s wife. Pastor Preus was very unassuming and rather quiet, I thought. He sure wasn’t tooting his own horn at the conference. I also enjoyed listening to him on Issues,etc. The Church has lost a fine example of what it means to be Lutheran today. Doctrine is Life, indeed!

    In Christ,

  4. I worked with Pastor Preus many years ago at a mission congregation in Michigan. He was a fine man and a faithful servant. He will be dearly missed by family, friends, and the Church.

  5. @Diane #5


    I believe it was you who recommended “The Fire and the Staff” to me via a BJS posting some time back. Thank you! Rev. Klemet Preus’ book has been a tremendous blessing for me. And yes, it should be required reading at both seminaries.

  6. I have often wondered if Pr. Preus had any idea of the impact his books had on many of his readers’ lives. I guess he will know now. He was a layman’s pastor – simplifying the articles of faith in such a way as to make them readily understandable for even the newest Christian. My family was very blessed to hear many of his sermons. I thank God for the ways He used this faithful servant and shepherd.

  7. After reading Fire and the Staff, Pr. Preus felt like a friend. I agree, this book should be required reading for all Lutherans. Pr. Preus is now singing the Nunc Dimittis in heaven. Thank you, Pr. Preus. You have affected many lives.

  8. Pr. Klemet Preus was also the President of Higher Things a few years ago.

    Our congregation purchased copies of Pr. Preus’ Fire and the Staff for the members of our board of elders several years ago. It’s a great book.

    You might also try his newer book that is available, a collection of letters What They Need to Hear.

  9. LadyM :He was a layman’s pastor – simplifying the articles of faith in such a way as to make them readily understandable for even the newest Christian.

    And even for the densest of pastors… I’m glad his writings are still with us.

  10. Please allow me first to echo the sentiments above about Klemet’s book, The Fire and the Staff. We have far too many pastors who speak as if you can separate practice from doctrine. Klemet’s book, more than any other I can recall, drove home the point the church has always understood but in these recent days is often ignored or denied: Lex orandi lex credendi.

    In addition to Klemet’s theological and pastoral prowess he was also, like myself, one who enjoyed a great, dry red wine. One of my last conversations with him at a conference was a discussion on Chilean wines. A great theologian, a wonderful human being, and an informed consumer of wines, now that is my kind of pastor! He will be sorely missed.

  11. Pastor Rick Pettey :Klemet’s book, more than any other I can recall, drove home the point the church has always understood but in these recent days is often ignored or denied: Lex orandi lex credendi.

    Yes! As Klemet might plainly put it, you practice what you preach — or you eventually end up preaching what you practice.

  12. I had the good fortune to meet Pr. Preus at an event in Mankato, MN several years ago. Our church happened to be doing a study on The Fire and the Staff at the time. I remember the debates around one of the many challenging topics – the Spirit without the Word, and the Word without the Spirit. Some in the study couldn’t get their arms around the concept that they are inseparable.

    Check out the encore edition posted on Issues, Etc. with Pr. Preus fielding questions from the audience, it is a two hour tour de force that highlights his wit and incredible grasp of theology.

    Gods Blessings on the Preus family.

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