PILGRIMAGE Concordia Theological Seminary
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(800) 481-2155 (260) 452-2155 Admission@ctsfw.edu
DEAN OF STUDENTS
Rev. Thomas Zimmerman Tom.Zimmerman@ctsfw.edu
Rev. John Dreyer John.Dreyer@ctsfw.edu Rev. Neil Ray Neil.Ray@ctsfw.edu
Praying the Catechism A
By Prof. John T. Pless beneficial exercise for men contemplating theological education is to learn how to pray the Catechism. Edmund Schlink spoke of modernity as that time when “dogmatics had become largely a playground for the subjective originality of speculative piety, a period in which Christians generally forgot how to pray through their Catechism” (The Theology
of the Lutheran Confessions, p. 36–emphasis
Rev.Andrew Yeager Andrew.Yeager@ctsfw.edu
mine). Schlink’s words call us back to something that ought to characterize a confessional Lutheran seminary. Namely, seminarians should remember how to pray through their Catechism.
Marsha Zimmerman Marsha.Zimmerman@ctsfw.edu
Unbuckled from the content and rhythm of the Catechism, theology too easily degenerates into religious speech about self or philosophical assertions about an unknown god. The Catechism itself establishes the contours for our speaking of God, for it anchors us in what God says and does. Genuine theology is always confessing, speaking in the presence of God the words that God has spoken to us. Creativity in theology is the blight of the church. Our aim is not creativity but faithfulness to God’s speaking and doing.
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Volume Fourteen, Issue Three
The Formula of Concord would come to call the Catechism “a Bible of the Laity, in which everything is summarized that is treated in detail in Holy Scripture and that is necessary for a Christian to know for salvation” (FC-SD Epitome I:7, Kolb/Wengert, p. 487). The Commandments,
Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, drawn from the Scriptures form the core of the Catechism. Luther adds Baptism and the Lord’s Supper anchoring both in the words of Jesus that institute them, unpacks their benefits and tutors us in how faith receives the gifts. In time Luther would also insert a short form of confession between Baptism and the Sacrament of the Altar. Our duty “to thank, praise, serve and obey” (First Article) is given concrete form in the daily prayers and the table of duties appended to the Catechism. God’s Law (Ten Commandments) Catechism continued on page 3
Developing an Educated Layperson e Importance of the Master of Arts Program at CTS
By Adriane A. Dorr he church is in great need of faithful, pious, educated laypeople. She needs pastors and deaconesses, vicars and interns, but she also needs Lutheran doctors, Lutheran chocolatiers, Lutheran landscapers and Lutheran cowboys.
Lay theological study is critical to the health and vitality of the church. Formative understanding of God’s Word and of the Lutheran Confessions, of the church’s history and the great heroes of the faith by laypeople is one of the church’s greatest blessings. An educated laity judges its pastors by the very words of Christ. It reminds the church of its past. It allows its deeply-rooted Scriptural truths to determine its future. It trusts and believes. It is watchful, on guard, alert. It calls out false doctrine when it sees it, prays for forgiveness when it is wrong, strengthens those called to serve. The church depends upon educated laypeople. “They all say, ‘The ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion,’” C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity. “I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means ‘the science of God,’ and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available.”
laypeople with a deep and profound thirst for the holy things of God. The Master of Arts degree at Concordia Theological Seminary offers a kind of theological formation uniquely suited to just that kind of layperson. For the person who desires to understand the faith and the church; for the academic who wants to teach or to study in depth, the seminary’s M.A. Program opens before them a world of resources— faculty, community, worship—second to none. At CTS, professors eat lunch with students, invite them over for supper, visit them in their homes and personally invest time in their spiritual growth and development. Faculty care for and about each student. Theological discussions amongst peers are as robust as they are in the classroom. They take place over hot wings, during a pingpong battle and in between studies. And at the heart of it all, students gather daily around God’s Word and Sacraments, praying the creeds and liturgy, unified in confession and belief. Learning side-by-side— with peers and pastors—about the faith from the very words of Christ Himself has a formative, life-altering impact. Each of these unique aspects of the program equips students to be of benefit to the church. Some students become teachers, some
Those interested in lay theological study are the very people who are not satisfied with pat answers, who want those clear and accurate ideas about Christ that Lewis describes. They are armchair theologians, eager to know more, understand fully, explain better, speak clearer. These are the kinds of people that Lutheran pastors want in their congregations, their Bible studies and on their Board of Elders. These are the kinds of people that Lutheran deaconesses want teaching Sunday School, serving on Ladies’ Aid and assisting with childcare:
scholars, some stay-at-home mothers, some magazine editors. All of this, then, leads to a simple question: Do certain aspects of theology or history intrigue you? Do you love being Lutheran? Do you simply wish to have a deeper understanding of the faith, of worship, of doctrine, of what it means to be Lutheran? Contact an Admission Counselor at Concordia Theological Seminary at either Admission@ctsfw.edu or 800-481-2155. Visit the campus. Talk with professors. Attend chapel. Go to class with students. Stay until your questions are answered. Pray for discernment. The mysteries of the faith are profound, but not so deep that faithful laypeople cannot
understand them. The M.A. Program at Concordia Theological Seminary is the program that, for laypeople, answers those questions, fills that void, gives structure to a questioning chaos and provides the church with educated, wellspoken and thoughtful Lutheran doctors, Lutheran chocolatiers, Lutheran landscapers and Lutheran cowboys. Adriane Dorr is a 2010 graduate of the M.A. Program at CTS and the Managing Editor of The Lutheran Witness. (email@example.com)
For the person who desires to understand the faith and the church; for the academic who wants to teach or to study in depth, the seminary’s M.A. Program opens before them a world of resources—faculty, community, worship— second to none.
Catechism continued from page 1
theology–the speaking of the true words about God received from The Catechism itself establishes the contours Him. Faith confesses Christ. Love for our s peaking of God, for it anchors us in hands on the gifts that we have been given to the neighbor. We what God says and does. remain students. Listen to Luther, “I am also a doctor and a preacher, Genuine theology is always confessing, just as learned and experienced as speaking in the presence of God the words all of them who are so high and mighty. Nevertheless, each that God has spoken to us. morning and whenever else I have Creativity in theology is the blight of the time, I do as a child who is being taught the catechism and I read and church. Our aim is not creativity but recite word for word the Lord’s faithfulness to God's speaking and doing. Prayer, the Ten Commandments, Theology for Luther is not an the Creed, the Psalms, etc. I must academic exercise but a life that is still read and study the catechism lived in the promises of God and and I also do so gladly” (Preface to the Large Catechism, under the cross that puts to death the old man driving us back to Kolb/Wengert, p. 380). Luther’s practice is not beneath those who Christ alone. God is not the object of our theological inquiry but the would study theology today. subject. He does the verb of salvation. Creation, redemption and brings us to see our sin. The Gospel of the triune God is embodied in the Apostles’ Creed. Faith calls on the Father in the words His Son has given us to pray (Lord’s Prayer). Faith receives the gifts Jesus designates in Baptism, in the word of absolution, and with His body and blood in the Supper. Lives made holy by the Spirit are lived in the “holy orders” of congregation, community and home. The Catechism is geared to repentance, faith and holy living.
sanctification are His works. We are on the receiving end without “any merit or worthiness of mine” (SC II:2, Kolb/Wengert, p. 354). Praying the Catechism locates us in the pattern of His giving, our receiving His gifts and the fruition of His gifts on our lips and in our lives. Paul exhorted Timothy to “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 1:13). This is what we are given in the Catechism, “the pattern of the sound words … in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” This pattern guides us in the study of
Prof. John T. Pless serves as Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions and Director of Field Education at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Contact him at John.Pless@ctsfw.edu or 260-452-2271.
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November 3--6, 2011 www.ctsfw.edu/CAC
The End Times: Lutheranism, Millennialism and Revelation
Dr. Charles A. Gieschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Exegetical Theology, Academic Dean; Associate Editor of CTQ
Dr. Gieschen is one of the Synod’s foremost scholars on the Book of Revelation and has written many exegetical works on this last book of the Bible including “Sacramental Theology in the Book of Revelation,” Concordia Theological Quarterly 67 (2003), and “Baptismal Praxis and Mystical Experience in the Book of Revelation.” “Paradise Now: Essays on Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism,” ed. April D. DeConick, 341-354, SBL Symposium Series 11, Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006.
In addition to holding membership with the prestigious Society of Biblical Literature, Dr. Gieschen serves as Associate Editor of Concordia Theological Quarterly, the theological journal of Concordia Theological Seminary.
Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr., PhD.
CTS President; Professor of Historical Theology
With Dr. Rast’s commanding knowledge of the Pietism and Lutheranism of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Academy will explore such Lutheran ﬁgures as Joseph Seiss and S. S. Schmucker and learn the contours of Millennialism as it inﬁltrated American Lutheran identity in ages past. Dr. Rast has written many academic works on the subject, including “Pietism and Mission: Lutheran Millennialism in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” Concordia Theological Quarterly 64 (2000), no. 4:295-318.
Meet with your brothers and sisters from the colleges around the country. Share your goals and aspirations with your Admission Counselor.
As our guest, there is no charge for you to attend CAC/PAC or the Good Shepherd Insitute Conference. You may ﬁll out this form and return it to the Oﬃce of Admission at Concordia Theological Seminary, 6600 N. Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46825 or you may register online at www.ctsfw.edu/CAC. Please register me for (please check one):
Christ Academy College Phoebe Academy College The Good Shepherd Institute Conference, November 6–8, 2011.
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e Oﬃce of the Holy Ministry By Rev. Andrew T. Yeager
“It is indeed not we who can preserve the Church. Nor was it our ancestors, and it will not be those who come after us. But it has been, is now, and shall be the One who said, ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” – Dr. Martin Luther1
ask, “What has God called me to do? What has God made me to be?” Article V of the Augsburg Confession calls our Office the “Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and Administering the Sacraments.” Such has the Pastoral Office been from the time of Christ, and such will the Pastoral Office be until the end of this world–simply put, to give people Christ.
ermann Sasse, a pastor who held faithfully to the Holy Scriptures and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church in the mid-twentieth century, often described his work as “the lonely way.” For him, the world had become increasingly godless, despising the Word of God and the church’s preachers.
The Lord desires that in our sermons and confirmation classes, our adult instruction and sick visits, our board meetings and voter’s assemblies, we preach nothing but the crucified and risen Christ. Christ alone is our content, our message. As Sasse says, “He [the Lord] desires through the simple preaching of this Gospel and through the unpretentious Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Holy Supper to build the church on earth as the Body of His Son.” If all of this is the Lord’s beginning, His calling and ordaining, His commissioning, then God shall sustain and preserve the Pastoral Office until the end of the age. Sasse points out that, as God’s grace was good for the ancient church, for Luther and the Reformers, so it shall be for us: “There is no moratorium on grace. His Word shall not return void” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Today it might be said that not many in our nation seek to destroy the church–at least in an overt sense. Nevertheless, the church is faced with increasing apathy among its people, declining membership and giving, a faltering piety, materialism, the postmodern worldview taught in schools which stands contrary to a Christian view of the world and a populace which turns to the alternative secular methods for self-betterment instead of to the Means of Grace for help in their lives. On the books, the church is losing. Her pastors are no longer looked to for counsel and advice. All of this begs the question, “What is the church to do?” Is it time for the church to throw off her confession, her marks, her liturgy, in order to save herself? What should the church’s pastors be doing about all of this?
Those who hold the Pastoral Office are bound by their confession. Preaching Christ, baptizing and administering Holy Communion to the Lord’s people are the chief tasks of the Pastoral Office. This is comforting in that we are freed from imposing our own agenda on the church or attempting to boost our own egos. Confessing Christ alone saves us from conceit and from craving spiritual power. It is Christ who saves the church, for the church is Christ’s and not ours. If preserving the church were up to us, our future indeed would be grim. If it were up to us, we would be robbed of all hope and courage and would sink the church into false doctrine and ultimately end the church’s life.
The church’s pastors ought not run to the voice of their insecure hearts for the answer, “What am I to do?” Rather, they should first
The Lord desires that in our sermons and confirmation classes, our adult instruction and sick visits, our board meetings and voter’s assemblies, we preach nothing but the crucified and risen Christ. Christ alone is our content, our message.
Thanks be to God that He is raising up a new generation of pastors who are rooted deeply in the faith of the church of Christ and who make their confession in the Lord who, by His suffering and death, rising and ascending, has accomplished all things in our place and on our behalf. Thanks be to God that the content of their message is Christ, no more, no less. Rev. Andrew T. Yeager serves as an Admission Counselor and Director of Christ Academy at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. He can be reached at Andrew.Yeager@ctsfw.edu or 260-452-2178.
WA 54.470, Quoting Matthew 28:20.
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InSIde ThIS ISSue: Praying the Catechism
Developing an Educated Layperson The Office of the Holy Ministry
CTS Admission Counselor Tours he Admission Counselors of Concordia Theological Seminary will be traveling throughout the United States to meet with men who are considering the vocation of pastor and women who are considering the vocation of deaconess. Please check to see when there will be a counselor in your area and contact him if you would like to set up a visit.
Rev. Neil Ray
Rev. John Dreyer
Sept. 12–16 Oct. 3–7
Southern Indiana Texas
Oct. 31–Nov. 4
Nov. 28–Dec. 2
Sept. 19–23 Oct. 3–7
Nov. 28–Dec. 2
Rev. Andrew Yeager Sept. 19–23 Sept. 26–29 Nov. 14–18 Dec. 5–9
Southeast Michigan at Concordia University Ann Arbor Northern Illinois at Concordia University Chicago Michigan Ohio
Please visit our website (www.ctsfw.edu) for more information regarding these upcoming on-campus events:
Prayerfully Consider Visit: October 20–22, 2011 Christ Academy/Phoebe Academy College: November 3–6, 2011 Good Shepherd Institute: November 6–8, 2011 Prayerfully Consider Visit: March 22–24, 2012