An Open Letter to the Members of Lutheran Church-Canada from the President of Concordia University of Edmonton

EdmontonEditor’s Note – I received this “Open Letter” and am posting it for information’s sake in the ongoing discussion about Concordia University in Edmonton.  The Open Letter is from Dr. Gerald Krispin, the university President.

Dear Friends of Concordia,

I pray that everyone in our synod, and indeed all those who faithfully confess our Lord Jesus Christ, reflect upon our need of a Saviour from sin, death, and damnation as we journey through the season of Lent. Concordia as a whole is also preparing for Lent, which also includes me. And this year, I feel there is much to repentant of. I specifically need to ask the Church for forgiveness as one who belongs to its ministerium. That request needs be put into a context, however.

The article in the Canadian Lutheran has made its readers in our church aware of Concordia’s decision to no longer identify itself as a religious institution. More on that below. But in the first place, I need to present the following, even as it addresses what is in essence an accurate report of what transpired over the past few years in the Governance and direction Concordia has taken. These changes go as far back as 1978, when Concordia began operating as a primarily government funded institution. I understood little of our funding when I first became a faculty member at Concordia in 1987. However, after being appointed President some 20 years later, our Board Chair at that time and his successor alerted me to issues of accountability to the government that had been critically neglected. I don’t want to rehearse the whole process here, but ultimately, I sought to have Concordia achieve a state of operations that would pass scrutiny by Alberta’s Auditor General; this included good governance, fiscal controls, and transparency.

It is here that I fear that I lost sight of the following: I was both a Pastor in the Church and the President of a publicly funded College (University). While in many instances I would assume one role or the other, and sometimes both, I did not realize that holding both offices could lead to the kind of conflict of interest that has caused such consternation as the Canadian Lutheran article intimates. For example: in ideal circumstances, I had drafted the Mission/Vision/Values Framework that celebrated everything that I believe a confessional Lutheran university should be. I articulated that conviction publicly at the June 2014 LCC Convention in Vancouver. I did so in my role as Pastor, but also with the belief that I could do so as Concordia’s President. But recently, circumstances have become less than ideal.

From May to November of 2015 the Board wrestled with the following reality: of the 26 post-secondary institutions in Alberta, only Concordia lacks support from a third “leg” (in this case, any substantial support from the church). What if one of the two legs on which we balance were to be cut? Concordia would fall. I presented the Board Executive with options at the November 13 meeting and stated that our only hope of getting funding outside of government and tuition would be to present ourselves as non-religious institution. Businesses, corporations, and in most provincial governments do not support religious entities. A motion was drafted to take this to the full Board.

Now, as a Pastor in the church, I would have fought this motion (that I myself made) tooth and nail! I should have pointed back to my commitments to the Church and the promises made in 2014. But I could not act as a Minister in our Church in this situation; I am the President of Concordia with a fiduciary duty to faculty, students and staff, and accordingly, I had to leave my pastoral side behind and do what’s best for Concordia. In a sense, to avoid a conflict of interest, I had to recuse the pastor in me and let only the President speak. As Pastor, I should have spoken to the church; but I didn’t, and I know this blind-sided the church. President Bugbee can legitimately say he did not see this coming and had no warning whatsoever. Rightly, all the odium of the decision as felt by the Church falls on the President and Board of Concordia. However, while the President of Concordia stands by his decision, it is Pastor Krispin who does need to repent of having reneged on promises and assurances given only months before. I am truly and sincerely sorry that this has grieved a number of members in our church to the degree that their anger has led them to unwarranted conclusions. I can say with all sincerity that there was no long-term, pre-conceived plan or plot to lead Concordia in a path that disconnected us from our “ecclesiastical bond.” But in November 2015 there was a decision, and it has offended brothers and sisters within the Body of Christ. I am responsible. I have sinned against those who put their trust in me as a Pastoral leader of Concordia. And for this I ask forgiveness.

As a final note, I also recognize that for some this will not be sufficient. The reason I know that this will not be sufficient by some is that they will not acknowledge that the President of Concordia can and needs to be separated from the Pastor; and I fear even my sincere asking for forgiveness will be dismissed as disingenuous as a result. Consequently, and as I have been made aware that I have lost “all credibility” within Lutheran Church-Canada, I have asked President Bugbee to remove my name from the Clergy Roster of Lutheran Church-Canada. As of February 11, 2016, only the President of Concordia remains.

In a way, for me, this article is therefore a fare-well to the church in which I was a Pastor and Teacher for the past 33 years. And in a little over a year, I will also leave Concordia as President. But there will be Concordia that has a solid connection to its past and the prospect of a future as Concordia University of Edmonton.

This, despite the nay-saying of several posts in the on-line world. I want to emphasize that Concordia remains much as it was before November 27, 2015. We have daily chapels and festive events that feature our choirs and ensembles. All these are Concordia’s heritage and tradition in the most positive sense of that word. After all,

“For nearly a century Concordia University of Edmonton has been a part of a growing Edmonton and an important educational institution in the province of Alberta. Concordia was the realization of a dream of German Lutheran immigrants who valued education highly; with the help of Lutherans from the Missouri Synod, Concordia was established in 1921 in the tradition of Lutheran universities [going all the way back to the University of Wittenberg].

Since then, Concordia has evolved to become one of Edmonton’s best smaller university and professional degree granting institutions; it is a university committed to academic excellence in teaching and research; and it has become a university that annually welcomes nearly 2000 students from the Edmonton Capital Region, from around Canada, and from over 40 countries from around the world. Concordia is a university that values its history and traditions. And it is a university that knows that it is this history that provides a solid foundation for its future.”

The words within the quotation marks above are the preamble that introduces the recently passed Mission and Vision statement for Concordia found on our website. These words highlight that where we came from has a bearing upon who we are today, but also where we are going tomorrow. Most importantly, they are also the framework for our Mission and Vision statements:


Concordia University of Edmonton is a community of learning grounded in scholarship and academic freedom, preparing students to be independent thinkers, ethical leaders, reflective servants in their occupations, and citizens for the common good.


Concordia University of Edmonton will be recognized nationally and internationally for its graduates’ knowledge, skill, integrity, and wisdom.

There are many reasons why I personally, and the Board at my request, chose these words for our current Mission and Vision statement. As a preliminary explanation to our Concordia community, I wrote the following after the November 27 Board meeting: “Essentially, the not insignificant words removed [from our previous statement] are “Christian faith” after the first comma in the Mission, and the word “academic” was added before “freedom”.  Both are important, as I contend that the latter ensures the continuation of the former, while our Academic Freedom vouchsafes the fundamental right of professors to maintain their academic (and religious/faith) positions; but faculty are now also able to exercise their academic freedom without circumscription or qualification. … I presented these changes to the Board within the context of the Board’s fiduciary obligations, as well as their duty of care for the employees of Concordia and their duty of loyalty to the institution itself. This Board of Governors took all these obligations and duties very seriously and voted [to approve the changes] accordingly.”

Concordia’s faculty and staff have since met for a Town Hall on December 15 to discuss the reasons and the implications of these changes. I think it well to summarize for Concordia’s supporters, alumni, and friends what stood behind this move in the face of so many well-meaning, heartfelt and sincere appeals to maintain the status quo.

Several years ago I wrote a short brief to the Ministry of Advanced Education of the Government of Alberta with the title: “The Status Quo is Not an Option.” It was a time when our government funding was being reduced and I and my administration were forced to implement further cuts to our staff and programming. By that time I had been president for a little over six years and had (over those years) been compelled to let some 58 employees of Concordia go in order to maintain a balanced budget. These cuts are not just a number: they were colleagues and long-time friends. Most left with the sad understanding that they were being sacrificed so that Concordia as a whole would have a future; others left in disbelief and despondent, unable to fathom why they and not someone else was terminated. It is never easy, and anyone who has been compelled to dismiss a valued and trusted employee for no other reason than the bottom line knows how horrible this feels. Yet even with the cuts, the financial stresses were only relieved temporarily. In real terms, Concordia’s fiscal picture has looked rather dire over the past six years.

In fact, during these last years (and actually going back nearly four decades earlier), Concordia has received only notional support from the Synod or its members. But that is fully understood by all of us at Concordia in light of all the needs within the church, from the needs of the seminaries to International Missions, District Outreach, and local parish ministry. In light of this I personally keep in mind Jesus’ praise of the widow’s mite, valued not for its amount but the spirit in which it is given. In other words, I want to be very clear that I appreciate greatly and value each and every gift that has ever come to Concordia from the members of our church and remain very grateful; but we are few in a very small church, and the needs of Concordia have long outgrown the capacity of LCC to support its operations. For this reason, Concordia has received government support to varying degrees over the years: that government funding currently stands at $12.5 million, or 47% of our operational income. The remainder is drawn from student tuition, fees, and some services sold to our students and the community. In point of fact, during 2015, Concordia received under $30,000 in gifts from the synod, churches, and individual donors combined in the face of a $27 million dollar operational budget. The status quo is not an option.

To cut to the chase, when all is said and done, the changes made at Concordia are about fiscal and human resources to operate and maintain the work of Concordia. The $27 million dollar annual operational budget supports 500+ full and part-time employees, and serves close to 1800 students. But political and economic circumstances have changed in Alberta.  For example, recently the Minister of Education indicate might initiate a review of funding for students in private schools in the K-12 system.  He suggested that such schools might consider a different business model; I was personally informed that “private religious schools” in the post-secondary system should not take funding for granted going forward in a stressed Alberta economy.

Furthermore, time will tell what the Adult Learner Review (as a post-secondary system review) will mean for the Independent Academic Institutions (i.e. the private faith-based universities) in terms of their place in the post-secondary landscape in Alberta. It goes without saying that I as President and the Board as a whole need to evaluate any risk, potential or real, and make decisions that provide for Concordia’s future. Such is our fiduciary obligation, but more to the point, our duty of care and of loyalty to past and present students, faculty and staff, and the heritage to which we are obligated. It is for this reason that the decision was made on November 27 to cease presenting Concordia to the government and the public as a religious institution. To be blunt: this decision was made in order to maintain the funding that we are currently receiving and to establish the conditions that ensure Concordia’s sustainability. Adequate resourcing remains a primary concern.

It remains to be seen if I and the Board will be found on the right side of history with this decision, even as history has disclosed the fate of many Canadian faith-based institutions that preceded us down this path: Waterloo Lutheran University which is now Wilfred Laurie University; McMaster, which began in 1887 as a Baptist university and became public in 1957; Concordia in Montreal, which merged two long-standing Christian institutions: the YMCA based “Sir George William” and the Roman Catholic “Loyola University” in 1972; the University of Winnipeg, which until 1967 was the Presbyterian/Methodist  “United College”; St. Francis Xavier, the jewel of the Roman Catholic university system, became a public university only recently;  and the list could go on. Admittedly, there are some very successful faith-based institutions that remain across the country. Yet they remain because the circumstances allowed for affiliations and federations with larger universities (e.g. the Kings University College at Western or St. Thomas Moore in Saskatoon). But Alberta has no history of such affiliations/federations. Rather than federation, university colleges such as Augustana (formerly Camrose Lutheran College) have simply been assimilated and absorbed into the University of Alberta. Others, like Redeemer in Ancaster, ON or Trinity Western in BC have to charge tuition of over $25,000 per year; even in Alberta, despite the government grant, institutions such as the King’s University (Reformed) charge $13,000 to an ever dwindling student body, and this despite getting over 30% operational funding support from their denomination. To repeat, Concordia, even at the height of synodical support, never received more than .6% of its operational funding needs.

I was once asked, “Gerald, how can you keep Concordia going the way of Augustana?” This decision is part of that answer. We did not think assimilation with the University of Alberta to be an option. It would mean a loss of identity, history, and opportunity. We believe this decision retains all three. As I stated above, the term “Academic Freedom”, a term much used (and abused) in the post-secondary world allows Concordia’s faculty and all who work here to continue to confess their faith, celebrate Concordia’s distinctiveness, and acknowledge our history. That said, I am not so naïve as to think that this changes nothing; and it would be disingenuous for me to state that it will be business as usual at Concordia. While in point of fact nothing has changed yet, it will. That’s the experience of all the institutions mentioned above. I suspect Concordia will end up very much like them, as well. It may take a generation, perhaps two.

But Concordia will be here in a generation; it will be here providing an educational environment that encourages respectful sharing, discussion and debate, including its continued engagement with the Christian faith. With significant foresight, Concordia has created its own Institute of Christian Studies and Society. This Institute has the mandate to develop and enhance informed connections among the academic world, various branches of Christianity, other religions, local communities and society at large. The Institute will facilitate research, study, and discussion of Christian Studies and societal issues across academic disciplines and to the public arena. The Institute will ensure the maintenance of Concordia’s commitment to its heritage and will define our connection to practical matters in Christianity and other religions, particularly in relation to ethics, societal affairs, and current events. We continue to have daily chapels in conjunction with the Seminary; we continue to employ an LCC pastor as part-time chaplain; as an institution that has historical ties to Bach and Buxtehude, not to mention Luther, we have musical events that celebrate that heritage and will continue to do so. But all this exists in a very different Concordia than the one I arrived at in 1987. And that is so because the status quo was not an option; the Board and I have had to make a very difficult decision.

Let me close with an analogy: as a community of faith, and as a liturgical people, we Lutherans have just come through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany and are approaching Lent. In my house that means a festively decorated house, Advent Devotions, anticipation of Christmas, warm feelings, wonderful hymns, and a joy in the knowledge that we are anticipating Him who comes to us with the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation. After January 6, the decorations were taken down, the tree is gone, and the festive atmosphere dissipates. It all seems so sterile, empty, and in some ways very sad. But really, nothing has changed. For Jesus did come; He is God with us; and because God is with us,  it is what we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths as the baptized people of God that remains no matter how the world changes around us; no matter how an institution changes; and no matter how our church and its structures change. For He has promised to be with us, no matter what, to the very end of the age.


An Open Letter to the Members of Lutheran Church-Canada from the President of Concordia University of Edmonton — 32 Comments

  1. This reads like a direct persecution of the Christian Faith by the Government on all Schools who take part in Government funding . The real problem seems to be stewardship and a informed Church . The President has and had a duty to inform the Church and its Governing Body at all levels of communication with the Government and the changing field of funding . I would suggest all communication and decisions by the board that did not inform the Church Governing body are thrown out as being illegal . If one man was the President of the University an entity of LCC and was also the Church representative for LCC as the authority of the Church he was in fact in breech of duty in not providing the full report to the LCC in every step in the process of disassimilation and thus this was and is a theft of Church Property and the University Board should be held accountable . Kind of like the men and the talents . The Lord wants a return . Harsh words but to be a representative of the Church and also the President of the Churchs University is not an easy task . It appears administration was not a forte of the university and the Church has not raised up an administrator to do the Lords Work as the President of the University . A Pastor is not always an administrator or is he . Sad no Mad no . Fix it in prayer and lets move forward with the Lord . Be a Lutheran . A Lutheran University . Celebrate the lives and work of all who have been educated at Concordia and rebuild as a International Lutheran University . Advertised as so . Amazing the Church is growing Internationally yet the University does not seem to be a part of that growth . Simply Administration as a gift to the Church . If Possible Cut the Government Funding replace the Board the President and pave the way to the future with a renewed duty to inform the Church . If the Government of Alberta has funded for how many years and the Board and the Church built for so many years how does their finding provide ownership and or dictating how the University is governed . The Government demands for ownershio and dictating is a direct challenge to the Church and is in fact persecution in the most blattant way and should be addressed as so . That is what is sad and is not addressed as a problem in this letter but simply a matter of fact point . That is what is sad . Equip your Saints . A call to prayer on these things of administration . Lord Show us the Way .
    As an after thought . A University uses words like Alumni . This comes to mind as we celebrate Concordia University and the Heritage of the Lutheran Church in Canada . A good history and a review and celebration of the Alumni and their contribution to Gods work the Work of His Church and Laymen in the Canadian Albertan and International Catholic Faith as Laymen and Saints of the Church.

    In further thought although Concordia University is in Alberta there is a funding flow problem that needs to be addressed . Concordi University could be asked are you representing the interests of Lutherans for all of Canada and the International Lutheran Community and all those who wish to be part of our community in the education of their children . If this is the case funding should flow through the federal Government through a chain of funding through the collection of property taxes by municipal governments across Canada in all provinces that support Lutheran Communities . The problem seems to be funding abilities that have been downloaded to the Privinces . We are LCC a church founded through the LCMS . Some things to consider as we contemplate without regret the situation and challenge presented to us in the events at Concordia University . Thank You .

    LCC Lutherans are a small tribe in the family of faith with in the diversity of the Canadian and International Community . Catholic Christ thorough out the World . We cannot allow funding situations to stop the mandate in the foundations of our University representing the interests of the Church .

    Jesus said I am with you always even unto the ends of the age ask of it and it will given unto thee .


  2. In his letter President Krispin stated in various places:

    I was both a Pastor in the Church…
    I did so in my role as Pastor…
    Now, as a Pastor in the church, I…
    I had to leave my pastoral side behind…
    I had to recuse the pastor…
    As Pastor, I should have spoken to the church…
    it is Pastor Krispin who does need to repent…
    put their trust in me as a Pastoral leader of Concordia…
    they will not acknowledge that the President of Concordia can and needs to be separated from the Pastor…
    I was a Pastor and Teacher for the past 33 years…

    When, on April 16, 2007, Concordia announced Krispin as its new president, there was no mention of him also receiving a Divine Call as a pastor of some Lutheran congregation in the Edmonton, Alberta, area.

    Is Pres. Krispin’s self-reference as a “Pastor” come from his own view or from some other LC-C understanding?

  3. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    It is difficult to evaluate this situation, without having the relevant governing documents at hand: LCC Constitution, LCC Bylaws, LCC Articles of Incorporation, LCC convention proceedings, CUE Constitution and Bylaws, CUE Articles of Incorporation, CUE board minutes, Province of Alberta related statutes, and Commonwealth of Canada related statutes, etc. It is also difficult to evaluate this situation without having the relevant financial reports in hand.

    What is true for the LC-MS and its related CUS schools may not be true for LCC and its related CUE.

    I think it should be beyond debate that the specific interest of any Lutheran church in having and supporting a college is, first and foremost, in training parochial school teachers, deaconesses, parish musicians, pre-seminary students, and other church-worker students.

    The Lutheran way to do that is for future church-workers to have courses both in those specific church vocations and in the liberal arts. The 17-4 issue of LOGIA explained how that was done historically and how it can be done today: (see especially my article on “The Lutheran Mind and Its University”).

    The Lutheran college/university may also offer courses, programs, and degrees that are not directed toward church-work. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the specific interest of the church is not lost, obscured, or corrupted; and as long as church-worker students can afford their education..

    You need to realize that there are people at our Lutheran universities who disagree with my last three paragraphs. They do not think that church-worker vocations and programs should be a priority at our universities/colleges, and frankly, they would rather get rid of them. I am not making this up. Certainly not all of the Lutheran university people feel that way, but they are there, in various percentages, at many of our schools.

    A number of years ago a highly ranked administrator at one of our CUS schools took exception to a brief LOGIA FORUM article that I authored, in which I reminded Lutherans that training of church-workers should be the highest priority in their universities. (I think he was referring to this issue: – pages 71-72, but I am not sure). That administrator told me I would “never teach or work at a CUS with that sort of attitude” and he would make sure of it.

    He kept his promise so far. But that is okay–really it is! I see my peers to be, not university professors, but Lutheran pastors, Lutheran parochial school teachers (I am CU-RF 1979 in Elementary Ed), Lutheran parish musicians (I am CU-RF 1979 Director of Parish Music), Lutheran deaconesses, etc. These dear people are my personal friends, co-workers, colleagues, and beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. They are the people who convinced me to enter the ministry, and they are the people who have supported me with their prayers and encouragement all along the way. How could I ever turn my back on them?

    Sometime back in 1994-1995, I sent a letter with “Sixteen Questions” to the LC-MS Board of Directors with regard to the re-incorporation of the LC-MS universities. I am sure I could have done a better job in communicating my concerns, but my main concern was that the capital assets of the LC-MS in its university campuses had been transferred to a corporation that was not accountable to the church. My concern was ignored by that board.

    After a couple of conventions changed the makeup of that board, they finally realized that there was a serious problem here, in that there were no reversionary clauses for those capital assets. Treasurer Thomas Kuchta spent much of his tenure (2001-2010) working on that problem. Today, thanks to Kuchta’s work, I believe all of our CUS schools have reversionary clauses, so that if one of those schools decide to leave the LC-MS or “go secular” that the property, building, equipment, and capital assets of all sorts will revert to the LC-MS.

    University and seminary presidents have, in the past, often complained about how synod does not support them financially. That is not true. The LC-MS lets them use the capital assets which it has acquired over a 170 year period in each place. THIS IS A HUGE DEAL!!! If those universities or seminaries had to lease or rent those properties, buildings, equipment, and were not holders of long-term-interest-bearing-assets-acquired-long-ago, they would go broke in a month.

    The LC-MS also lets them recruit students from their congregations and schools, advertise in all of its communication vehicles, and get access to congregations and donors for funding. The LC-MS even does funding directly, such as the “Joint Seminary Fund” and “For the Sake of the Church” (see ).

    Can the LC-MS afford to support ten universities across the US? Can it afford not to? In my opinion, if each campus can keep the specific interest of the church, i.e., training of church-workers, its top priority and make that affordable for those students, then we can afford to support all ten. Why would we not?

    Percentage of church-workers in the student population is not the only determining factor, but it is one. Some schools will have more church-workers simply because they are in closer geographical proximity to a larger population of students from LC-MS elementary and secondary schools. That is no reason to consider as “second-rate” those geographically far away. Being from the West Coast, I understand the challenges of Lutheranism on the West Coast (Irvine, Portland) and East Coast (Bronxville)and in the South (Selma).

    As to CU Edmonton, where it goes from here remains to be seen. . . .

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  4. In Canada all higher education is funded and ,therefore, controlled by the government. The Catholics are having the same problem. Note also Alberta’s dictates to all educational institutions about sexual distinctions. Beware! There is no free education.

  5. Naïveté. Why does this story put me in mind of Edith Wharton’s “The house of mirth?” A tiny church accepts huge sums of money from someone, thinking perhaps it is earnings from an investment, or just a gracious gift of public largess. Then, no, a day of reckoning arrives and her fortune is lost, slipped right through her splayed fingers. Sad, but so foolish that it throws her into Solomon’s House of mirth. And now, her ruinator tells the world exactly, step-by-step, how he stole her university. A fools tale.

  6. Where all education is “free”, there is no freedom of education.

    Can the Lutheran University and the Catholic Universities survive when the government is paying the tuition to all universities except them?

    BTW This is what Berne Sanders is proposing – free education at public universities only.

  7. We need to learn how to repent better.

    “I am sorry you are offended by the action I’m not sorry I’ve taken.” I’ve done this more times than I can count, and I thank God for those loved ones in my life who called me on it and called me to a true repentance.

    President Krispin acknowledges that “I should have spoken to the church; but I didn’t, and I know this blind-sided the church.” So of what does he repent? “I am truly and sincerely sorry that this has grieved a number of members in our church to the degree that their anger has led them to unwarranted conclusions.” He does not repent of blindsiding the church, just that he has grieved the church by blindsiding her. He has not expressed contrition or repentance for his actions, he has repented only of the consequence of his actions.

    I do not think that President Krispin’s confession is disingenuous, as he fears many will take it. I believe that he deeply regrets the consequences his sin has brought about in others. But it is my hope that someone closer to him, someone to whom he will listen and not dismiss as “piling on” or “opportunistic,” will call him to a repentance of his actions, actions he has admitted were in error but of which he has not repented. I have been blessed to receive such truth in my life when I needed to hear it. I pray that my brother in Christ will receive that truth, as well.

  8. “I am the President of Concordia with a fiduciary duty to faculty, students and staff, and accordingly, I had to leave my pastoral side behind and do what’s best for Concordia. In a sense, to avoid a conflict of interest, I had to recuse the pastor in me and let only the President speak. As Pastor, I should have spoken to the church; but I didn’t… However, while the President of Concordia stands by his decision, it is Pastor Krispin who does need to repent of having reneged on promises and assurances given only months before.”

    From the WebMD Mental Health Center webpage on Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder):

    Dissociative identity disorder is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality states that continually have power over the person’s behavior…. As each personality reveals itself and controls the individuals’ behavior and thoughts, it’s called “switching.”

    Some people with dissociative disorders have a tendency toward self-persecution…. Some describe this feeling as being a passenger in their body rather than the driver. In other words, they truly believe they have no choice.

  9. I read this as trying to use a common concept in the business world of “wearing different hats.” It sounds to me like he’s saying, “Wearing my president’s hat, I made the right decision; but wearing my pastor’s hat, I need to repent.”

  10. @Mrs. Hume #10

    So the college has gained the world and lost its soul.

    Many of our Concordias have lost their souls; whether they have “gained the world” ??? [I have yet to read repentance from their administrators….]

  11. @Carl Vehse #2

    Dr. Krispin’s ministry as a parish pastor predated his arrival at Concordia. If I recall, it was at a congregation in the interior of British Columbia. Until 11 February of this year, he remained on the clergy roster of LCC.

  12. I have seen only one other really thoughtful comment here as to the situation that has developed at Concordia University . We are told from scripture to equip our Saints . I wonder is this the real issue displayed here . Look at how our Synod has handled these issues and how long it will take for our community to come togther in a meeting . Without wanting to repent or judge or confess maybe we need to actually look at ourselves and our community of faith . It was a great thing for our forefathers to establish the University . Maybe a good History lesson is in order . Love one and other speak the truth in love . Also create in me a clean heart oh God and reknew a right spirit with in me . To discuss what can be done in a clear loving manner . Without conviction but as a utilization of our gifts and the word of God correctly spoken regarding law and gospel . We can do this . May the President hear these words from the Synod to the University to the President of LCMS as well since for so many years this was our body of faith . Let us ask these questions and with faith move . As a faith without works is dead so also are we but luke warm or hot . Yes we all have a confession in every aspect of life . So we look for the perfection in the Lords words if you Love Me Keep my Word and Love your Neighbour as Yourself . So in love in the Lords word and name let us look seek knock and do . The Lord has time and so do we . Love . Amen . What is and what was and what shall be at the University . 🙂

  13. What would happen in the United States to our Lutheran Universities if the government fully funded and paid all tuition at all universities except for those who taught religion or didn’t follow the LGBT agenda?
    That is what Edmonton is facing. Get the facts.

  14. More and more I feel the community of faith becoes a underground Church reminiscent of the people in the former Soviet Union .My hope is the President is discerning this commentary but I some how doubt it . A car stuck in the mud spinning tires . Yes who is reading the letter from the President of the University . He has to be in the moment on the real world . We are in need of advisors in Religious and Human Rights law . The University ownership and course for the future will be determined and who knows indeed may already be set . So do we get angry or seek council in the Word . Yet who is our community of faith . Is it but a few people yes and over a huge expanse of Canada . Conference meetings over distances and those who are indeed working on this issue of governance and ownership . Worrying about any action by the Government with in the parameters of our mission statement at the Universty may indeed have been done to reflect the nature of the beast we could call Rome . So pray study the word let go of anger or fear and trust the word . Psalm 51 helps me most days . I alone am not the Church I am but one voice my words are mine but the Lords words are the Lords . I cannot control anyone . I feel sorry for the President of the Synod and the University . Yet God will show the way the truth and the Life . SLowly as we are the Church we will come to terms and agreement even if it is to disagree . How our forefathers managed to build the University says a lot . Simpler times . Perhaps we could become a University without computers or technology allowed and this would cure all of the problems . An idea and may be worthy of research . 🙂 Smile be Happy Love one and other . Imagine only books allowed printed no mass communication snail mail only . No more problem Hmm ! 🙂

  15. Alberta must look at government funding differently than other provinces as I attend a Catholic affiliate college of the provincial university which is government funded and retains its Catholic identity fully. They advertise it and it permeates everything at the school.

  16. @Josh K #17

    Alberta has some of those schools as well. St. Stephen’s College comes to mind; it began as a Methodist College, and now bills itself as offering an “ecumenical theological education.” it is affiliated with the University of Alberta, and is located on the campus. As I understand it, the school is operated by the (public) U of A, which is, of course, funded by the province. From the perspective of the provincial government, stand-alone faith-related universities are a different kind of entity, much more vulnerable to the vagaries in the political winds.

  17. Keep up the good work Josh . 🙂 So why not a Lutheran School . If the Pastor gone President has gone rogue what is the language from Great Grand Pa’s day that says heythen forgive the President but tell him . Fix it . Now ! What if . I remember being persecuted by a government body to have the judge say to the official shame on you Mr Inspector fix it make it right . He did and we worked together to do so 🙂
    Is this a wake up call to ur generation to pay more attention to the elders and governance of our Synod and the Synod to Equip it’s Saints in a more brotherly fashion . Hmm ! Forgive one and other as i have forgiven You . 🙂

  18. I have maintained that higher Christian education, and seminary education in particular, should go directly through the churches themselves and not through a university. This would avoid a lot of these pitfalls

  19. My thoughts are we have had a University .DO we invite Lutheran Young Poeple from across Canada and Internationally to come and study in our community . Is the University equated as not a Provincial University but a University for Lutheran Canadians and Members through out the World . The Church needs workers in all disciplines if we are as a Church to recogognize the value of the community of faith in our comings and goings . All different gifts and skills all trained in the Word but professionals in different vocations. Too long have and not respected this .I wonder did our great grand pa’s think this way in the founding of the University ? Have we in our generation my 59 years lost that ? Questions of History . :)Bearing this burden speaking the truth in love encouraging one and other here in these comments . Amen 🙂

  20. In retrospect considerung the journey to even this limited understanding to date . Our family of six children with only one parent working outside of the home tithed and worshiped . The opportunity for us children to go to university was very iited and even non existent . In fact we where told it would not be possible. Amazing and in the meantime we gave to the Church learned worshiped taught and where taught Gods Word . We lived it in thought word and deed and sinned as all do . Yet in our Church we owned a University and according to the Presidents letter many Universities had their foundation on the Church . It seems like a few generations where lost somewhere . Extreme Church Growth the Boomers . We invested in Gods Bank we invested in Missioanry work we where trained ambassadors for Christ on our communities . We invested in Lutheran Life each month in life insurance policies . Mother made quilts for refugees and bandages for lepers and assembled care packages for the poor and less fortunate . We studied and heard the Word of God each day . Universities are a very good thing . I believe my life changed remarkably many years later in life in my 30’s when I attended night school Seminary School . The Book of Romans and Dr Grothe . Christian Doctrine , Church Growth , The book of Luke and James and a great course called Christians Helping hurting Neighbours . Later I studied on line with In Touch,org as no more night school courses where offered at our Seminary . So I received two diplomas from the Baptists . It was good as my brother was dying of Cancer at the time and standing on the outside of a community that just couldn’t seem to understand me or that I had some how grown up in the faith by some miracle . They did not want to hear me and I was told people are afraid of you . So marginalized yet believing fully in the heart of faith God was with me as promised all of my life in scripture . Vocation . I ad become a Millwright Industrial Mechanic my God Father a Lutheran was the Plant Manager at our local Genera Motors plant . Nothing was for free you had to earn through grades and study to advance yet family connections and acceptance by reference where common . All of that gone now . Human right has over come the Law of God and people are marginalized as always . Education has come from a passion to learn more to think of higher things by being idealistic in the word and living not as everyone else but as a confessing Christian who sins regularily and is in need of a Saviour . So Education yes Universities can be good but often are not available especially to the poor . Yet Universities can be very useful . Later when studying theology it was deternmined I did not have the education to be a Theologian but I could be given a library card and I could read all the books in the Seminary Library that interested me and spoke to my desire for knowledge , I think this is the problem of today . We need better librarians and libraries not kept by companieds like Google etc but by the Church administered kept according ot the Word of God that believe in the unchanging word of God . Yes we need less instant communication and less cell phones and texting and more of a connection to God and not the whims and desires of a rapidly communicating world lost in the lint of it’s own navel . We need the Word in everyones hands clearly simply . The word has been on my heart and ind in every step of my education and development . Education has not made me smarter and if proper would have made me more humble . Yet this is often not the case . As I grow older I understand the words of Solomon the increase in Wisdom knowledge gives and increase in grief this is most truly so . Yes it would be good if our Synod where to take back our Universities and even establish new ines based in the Law and Gospel of the Word of God , Yet the Lord says the meek shall inherit the earth . The Poor the sick the under dog and the weak shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven . So actually everything is perfect . Some had households where University was a given and education was a given for generations and some tended the fields built the factories and the cars and priduced the food we eat and drink . All are loved by God and He is with all who believe .So it is morning here and a night of rest has given a new day which the Lord has made . Let us rejoice and be glad in it . Psalm 51 and the Lords Prayer a smile and hope through faith that our run will find us loved always trusting in the Word of God knowing it using it and walking in faith always . Amen . Stewardship says if we have a University we must manage it . We must be thankful for all people all trial and tribulation for in these things we find growth . 🙂

  21. Just a warning dear friends, be careful how you speak regarding this topic. Yes, the Rev. President Krispin has put out this letter. Yes this is all the information most of you have on this. No this isn’t a surprise. Already from my American friends I have seen the big assumptions and declarations. As an American pastor who has been in the LCC for the past four years I have seen this issue growing throughout my short tenure, but it has been an issue for much longer. It is reflective, however, of the similar situation in the LCMS universities, of which I have more than a passing familiarity. Also as the circuit counselor of one of the circuits very close to the university I can tell you that the school has been a topic of concern within many of our circuits for many years. I even suggested that perhaps we should sell the school before this sort of thing happened (I have suggested the same thing regarding most of the LCMS “university” system) Nevertheless, there is much more going on than meets the eye in this situation and trust me when I say that there are we in the LCC are trying to address this within our own congregations, circuits, districts, et al., even while we also are dealing with a major financial crisis. So I would request that the majority of your words on this issue would be devoted to prayer rather than commentary, and that you look to address the concerns within the LCMS because what you are seeing happening here will soon be your issue even as what is happening there is becoming ours. Blessings in Christ.

  22. @Steve #26

    I want to thank you for this post, Steve, and to echo some of your words: “No this isn’t a surprise. … I have seen this issue growing throughout my short tenure, but it has been an issue for much longer.” I have personally seen the issue growing over the course of more than 40 years. President Krispin’s letter seems to indicate that his sin has been the only one of importance in this matter. That is not true. It is just that he has been the only one to publish his confession. A share of the guilt falls on my shoulders, as well as on those of many, many others. From everything I have been able to see, that sin has been that we weren’t wise enough. And so, yes, I pray, for President Krispin, for Concordia, and for the Church–and for forgiveness for myself.

  23. Matt 10 -18 . We always knew we must trust the Lord we have been taught this simce birth .

    Comfort in Persecution
    …17″But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19″But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say
    …20″For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. 21″Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22″You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved
    …23″But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes. 24″A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25″It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!Fearing God Alone
    26″Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27″What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.……28″Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29″Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30″But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.…32″Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33″But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.34″Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35″For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW;…36and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.Take up Your Cross
    37″He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38″And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.…39″He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.40″He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41″He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.…42″And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
    Let us rest in the Word all we say is taught to us through it .Let us trust it live by it and by doing so live in the Lord .
    He said If you love me keep my word and you will live in Me and we will live in You . Confessing this is true . Amen

  24. At the risk of sounding callous, I frankly don’t see why this surprises anyone. Under the maxim that he who pays the piper calls the tune, I can’t understand why anyone would be surprised that a university which subsists on government money is being coerced by the government to do its bidding.

    This is exactly what is going to happen in the US, where the higher education system is entirely dependent (for a whole host of self inflicted reasons) upon government funding / financial aid / grants / loans / etc.– in fact, it has already begun with a number of smaller Christian colleges, where the Department of Education is quietly blackmailing conservative schools by withholding various necessities for federal benefits under false pretenses.

    There was a time when Christian colleges and universities were funded by their churches, rather than being a cobbled together mess of economic free markets and government aid. If we want to have authentically Christian colleges and universities which support and confess what our churches do, then the churches will need to support those schools with more than just lip service. It will require re-building the Christian schools into functional models that don’t need government support to survive or thrive, and perhaps the redirection of various synodical funds to priorities better than bureaucratic salaries, retreats, offices and committees.

    Any indignation over Christian colleges bowing to government pressure, when the churches have long abdicated their duty to the government for their support, strikes me as laughably sad… and demonstrative of how far the churches have fallen from their nobler heights.

  25. @Brad #28

    In point of fact, during 2015, Concordia (Edmonton) received under $30,000 in gifts from the synod, churches, and individual donors combined in the face of a $27 million dollar operational budget. The status quo is not an option.

    That’s 1/10th of one percent.

  26. The Government funds nothing your tax dollars do .
    It is interesting to try to understand the Presidents seat .
    I wonder how many Lutherans attend the University
    Then How many Lutheran Professors
    Then what Provinces Territories and Countries do these students come from
    Then I would ask is it possible to have a University in Alberta funded by tax dollars from across the country because this is our learning center for our National and International Church
    I would ask how does the University attract students is it the Lutheran Attraction the Christian Attraction
    Is it the Academics and the Courses that are offered
    After all I am not educated in the administration of a University
    Church Council and sitting on boards for Arts Councils is the nest of my education ‘Legislation Provincial and Federally
    What are the options have they all be tirelessly run through
    This for this that for that
    To assume laziness is just not fair or right
    Has ther ever been a campaign for students from across Canada or Internationally
    Did the University offer the courses people wanted
    Does it now
    So many questions
    I read the information on the University website and also the letter of confession
    I wonder is it a letter asking for help or simply a confession and just keep on doing the same thing
    I can’t believe a Pastor would say your our University is gone
    What is amazing is it has had so little attentio from the Synod
    I don’t remember a scholarship paper at Church or in the Lutheran Witness or anything
    Yet I maybe wasn’t looking
    You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
    I thank the President for actually confessing and sharing the problem and the opportunity for absolution
    Problems are good
    It means we are living and have something to pray about 🙂
    God’s blessing to all

  27. @John Rixe #29

    That’s 1/10th of one percent.

    And the value of the property and buildings, if the church, which built it, sold it?

    The Canadian schools have problems unique to Canada (although US is not far behind).
    If we really wanted a school for church workers, we’d keep one Concordia and sell off the other nine, starting with the liberal perimeter.
    Although half the Pastors I’ve had went elsewhere for their undergraduate education and probably were/are better for it.

    [It may keep them out of “the club” that decides who gets the plums, though.]

  28. Brothers and sisters, at the risk of stating the obvious, if you’re at all curious where the Christo-philosophy of “Sacramental Entrepreneur-ism” leads, look no further.

    Matthew 6:24
    “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    May God lead us to repentance and a sincere faith in the Son of God who died and gave himself for us. May He comfort those by His Spirit who turn from their sin and give them the hope of the Resurrection to eternal life.

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