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July 2012, Vol. 1.3


Board of Directors

Barry G. Anderson, Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court Dennis Bielfeldt, Vice President of Academic Affairs and founding President, Institute of Lutheran Theology Paul Erickson, Entrepreneur/Investor, Sioux Falls, SD Debra Hesse, Family Farmer, Moses Lake, WA Hans J. Hillerbrand, Professor of Religion, Duke University Mark Richardson, Interim Service Coordinator, Augustana District, LCMC; Associate Pastor, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Hutchinson, MN Fred Schickedanz, Real Estate Developer, Calgary, Alberta Kip Tyler, Senior Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Master, Omaha, NE, and Chair of the Board



Rev. Fred Baltz President Dennis Bielfeldt, Ph. D Executive Vice President Doug Dillner, Ph.D Registrar, Associate Academic Dean Rev. David Patterson, M.Lib. Director of Congregational Services & Library Director Rev. Douglas Morton Vice President of Administration, Asst. Librarian Rev. Tim Swenson Student Life, Religious Life


Contents the Word at Work p3 Did Luther Abandon the Great Commission?

Dr. Frederick W. Baltz

p4 New Initiative: Congregational Point of Contact (CPC)

Constance Sorenson

p5 Pastoral Ministry Today: Can the Pastor Truly Be the Theologian for His Congregation?

Rev. Timothy Rynearson

p6 Masters of Sacred Theology Degree Offers a Chance to Study Deeply

Dr. Dennis Bielfeldt

p7 Student Spotlight

Rev. Lou Hesse

p8 Good and Bad Ways to Think About Religion and American Politics Dr. Robert Benne p9 Insights on Ethiopia

Constance Sorenson DTC Coordinator, Church Relations Rev. Eric Swensson International Partners Tom Sandersfeld Development Marsha Schmit Communications Penny Patterson Bookkeeping Nia Haynes General Clerical  Colleen Powers, Paul Murrin Library Clerks                  

Rev. Kip Tyler

p10 Roanoke College’s Center for Religion and Society named in honor of Dr. Robert D. Benne p11 Using the ILT Website

Dr. Doug Dillner

p12 So Just What is ILT? Pr. David Patterson

p13 Beloved Community: The Confessional Church in the Post-Modern World

Dr. Paul Hinlicky

p15 Institute of Lutheran Theology Talking Points for Chapel and Student Life

Rev. Timothy J. Swenson

Marsha Schmit - Managing Editor Robert Murrin - Editor Charles Kulma - Graphic Design and production Institute of Lutheran Theology 910 4th Street, Brookings, SD 57006 Phone: 605-692-9337 • Fax: 605-692-1460 Web Site:

Did Luther Abandon the Great Commission? By Dr. Frederick W. Baltz, ILT President With a schedule that seems busier than ever, I treasure opportunities to sit down and read a book. It is especially exciting when the book is a well-written volume that really enlightens me on important issues. I have been reading one of those lately: The Story of Evangelism by Robert G. Tuttle. Tuttle tells the story of Gospel outreach masterfully, placing it against the background of world history. I recommend the book, but with one caveat. Professor Tuttle is mistaken about Martin Luther. Tuttle says several times that Luther, like Calvin, believed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) was only for the apostolic generation. On this, he and others have been misinformed. Anyone who has read much Luther knows that one must be careful not to base too much on one statement alone. But did Luther really make such a statement about the Great Commission? Commenting on Psalm 82:4, he cited Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creatures.” Luther then added: “since then, however, no one has had this general apostolic command” (italics mine) (Commentary on Psalm 82, LW 13:64). On the basis of this statement, numerous writers have reported that Luther believed evangelizing was limited to the apostolic age. In “Was Luther a Missionary?” (Concordia Theological Quarterly, April-July 1985), Eugene W. Bunkowske helps us understand Luther’s actual point here: Luther means that preachers of the Gospel since apostolic times have been called by congregations, which was not the case for the Twelve who were sent directly by Christ. It was only this direct call that was unique to the first generation. Luther did not believe the church’s mission of evangelizing had ended with them. Bunkowske marshals much evidence, including many statements by Luther that demonstrates without question that the great reformer had a deep concern for world mission. I will cite three of these Luther statements from Bunkowske’s article: “It is necessary always to proceed to those to whom no preaching has been done, in order that the number of Christians may be greater.” (Sermon on the Second Book of Moses—Allegory of the Twelfth Chapter) “The Gospel is not to be kept in a corner but should fill the whole globe.” (Die ersten 25 Psalmen auf der Koburgausgelegt 1530)

“The Lord will give the Word, so that there will be a great host of evangelists.” (c.f. WA, VIII:12) To these we might add Luther’s explanation of the Second Petition of the Lord’s Prayer in the Large Catechism, remembering that this book was meant to help pastors lead congregations. Luther writes: “All this is nothing else than saying: Dear Father, we pray, give us first Thy Word, that the Gospel be preached properly throughout the world (italics mine); and secondly, that it be received in faith, and work and live in us.” If you do not already own Luther’s Prayers compiled by Herbert Brokering, I advise you to invest in it. As you read his prayers you will notice that more than once Luther asks God to “convert and control.” That is, to convert those whose hearts will be open to the Kingdom of God, and to control the rest with the power of the sword for the good of all. Martin Luther’s intellect and energy were directed toward reforming the church. That was how it had to be in the sixteenth Century. His high regard for evangelical outreach would take hold in later generations of Lutherans, beginning with missionaries like Mattaus Ziegenbalg, who took the Gospel to India. We must not fail to recognize that the legacy of Luther does indeed include what we call evangelism. This must not be overshadowed by the better-known aspects of his career as a reformer. His great concern for the Gospel, coupled with our contemporary society comprised of millions who profess no faith in Jesus Christ, makes evangelizing a very Lutheran thing to do. Not that Luther is the last word on this; Jesus Christ is, of course. But Luther would surely be prodding us to get the job done if he were here today. Evangelism does not belong to Baptists and other Evangelicals. Preceding them all was Luther, with his vision of a world in which the Gospel was preached with power everywhere, at home and in other lands. Lift up that legacy in your own life and in your church! ILT is committed to instill passion for evangelical outreach in every student.

"The godly rejoice when the Gospel is widely spread, many come to faith, and Christ's kingdom is increased in this way." -- Quoted in E. M. Plass, What Luther Says, St. Louis: CPH, 1959, page 959


New Initiative: Congregational Point of Contact (CPC) Dear Pastor; I am excited that the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) is initiating a new multipurpose grassroots initiative, ILT Point of Contact, to help our goal of raising up a new generation of confessional pastors and church workers. Could you please identify a “Point of Contact” in your congregation?

This person would: 1.

Be the contact person for continual prayer support for ILT in its endeavors to educate people in the Word of God.


Communicate information to you and your congregation regarding ILT’s upcoming events, seminars, and class offerings, as well as special needs and opportunities. A special Point of Contact page on ILT’s website shows information on our courses and provides print-outs and bulletin inserts, which will make his or her job easy.


Be a part of a local chapter of Point of Contact people who will help organize, set up, and publicize area and regional ILT meetings/seminars as well as any benefi ts or fundraising efforts.


Communicate to ILT any needs or requests the congregation may have.

If you have someone in your congregation you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, please contact me at: csorenson@ or call me at 949-770-1895. Thanks for your cooperation in equipping the saints and feeding His sheep by spreading His Word. His, Constance Sorenson


Pastoral Ministry Today: Can the Pastor Truly Be the Theologian for His Congregation? By Rev. Timothy Rynearson I was given the above question to consider for this newsletter. I think the answer is “yes,” but, of course, there is much to think about concerning the question. First, what is a theologian? Second, how does a parish pastor relate to the role of a theologian? Finally, is the pastor the theologian of the congregation?

domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

For the last few years, I have been teaching Introduction to Greek for the Institute. The word “theologian” means a person who speaks about God. Although the word is based on Greek, it is not found in the New Testament. It is a word that was invented later by the church to refer to those who study and proclaim God’s Word. In our day and age, it most often refers to those professionals who spend their time trying to understand who God is and what he has done for us. They are looked upon as the scholars in Christianity.

Of course, the only way to do that is to study and practice. Pastors need to be prepared to fully do the task set before them. That is why the Institute is not only focused on God’s Word, but also on how to share that Word in many and various ways.

So is a parish pastor a theologian? I have served as a pastor for twenty-seven years and have never really thought of myself as a theologian. My role is to bring the true Word of God in a variety of situations. A pastor brings God’s comfort and his direction in the hospital, at the nursing home, in the parish, and in the community. I do this with my words, but also with my presence. As the apostle Peter wrote, “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not

Rev. Timothy Rynearson graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, M.Div., S.T.M., and serves as Pastor of Peace and Redeemer Lutheran Churches, Brookings and Flandreau, SD. He is Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at South Dakota State University, Greek Instructor for ILT, and this fall (2012) will be teaching in the Pastoral Theology Department. Pastor Tim and his wife Ruth have two children, Sara and Michael.

As a Pastor cares for the flock, he certainly is concerned about God’s truth being proclaimed and is always looking out for those who would lead the flock astray. In that way, he does work as a theologian, making sure nothing but the truth is taught to God’s people, truth proclaimed in worship and lived out in the world. This is not merely an academic pursuit, but one that is faced each day by all who have been called into God’s kingdom. The pastor is there to lead to places of refreshment, to guide in the paths of righteousness, to support in times of trial, to prepare others for facing the enemy, and finally, to be there as people are called to live with God forever. So, yes, the pastor is a theologian who, in his daily life, brings the Word of truth to people.

Finally, I think I am going to change my original answer. For all of God’s people are called to be in God’s Word daily, to think about what He has done for them and how they may serve Him. Like the Bereans, we are all meant to see if what we hear is in accordance with God’s Word. The pastor is the lead theologian, but he is not the only one. We are all in this together. We are all called to be theologians—people who live and speak God’s Word.

"True preachers must carefully and faithfully teach only God's Word and must seek its honor and praise alone. In like manner, the hearers must say, 'We do not believe in our pastor; but he tells us of another Master, One named Christ. To Him he directs us; what His lips say we shall heed. And we shall heed our pastor insofar as he directs us to this true Master and Teacher, the Son of God. " - Quoted in E.M. Plass, What Luther Says, St. Louis: CPH, 1959, page 1119.


Masters of Sacred Theology Degree Offers a Chance to Study Deeply By Dr. Dennis Bielfeldt, Vice President of Academic Affairs Okay, so you have your M. Div. and have been preaching and teaching in your congregation, going to continuing education events when possible, and doing some reading when you are not too busy. This is good! But are you someone who is looking for something more? Do you want to be challenged more deeply? Do you have an idea for an article or a book that you want to develop? But you have your congregation, and you and your family love the community where you live. And there are still the bills to pay. You cannot leave and go to graduate school now, right? And if you could go, where would you go? North America has some great graduate schools, such as Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and the University of Chicago. But where would you go if you wanted to study Lutheran theology? Minneapolis, St. Louis, Chicago? They have Ph. D. programs, but you have to move there, or at least be in residence. Not all of them teach what you want to study. And they are pretty expensive. Moreover, how could one pursue studies at these places and still answer Christ’s call to shepherd a parish and to make a living for one’s family?

Lutheran Theology’s Masters of Sacred Theology is for you. If you have a M.A. or M. Div. in theology and want to do real graduate work without leaving home, then perhaps this degree is for you. Here is what you need to know

There are three general areas of study: Reformation Theology, Contemporary Lutheran Theology, and Issues in Science and Religion/Philosophy of Religion.

All ILT faculty in this program have Ph. D.s and extensive publishing records.

The program consists of one Graduate Methodology course, five graduate courses in areas of your choosing, and a Thesis of 12,000–20,000 words.

All courses are delivered in real-time and on-line. You give presentations and participate in seminars from your own home.

ILT’s library of over 35,000 volumes plus other reference material is at your fingertips.

• • •

Take courses on your own schedule. Total cost for the program is under $8,000 ILT also offers graduate course preparation in theological German.

Come and join our STM cadre, some students of which have already had seminar articles accepted for publication. Be part of a community of scholars while remaining in your parish. Call 605-692-9337 or email today to learn more about this exciting graduate school opportunity! We are still accepting students for the fall.

If you have ever thought about studying theology seriously, but have not had the opportunity, then perhaps the Institute of

Help ILT Bring Scholarships to our Students The Institute of Lutheran Theology has been awarded a $5,000 matching grant from Faith Community Church in Longmont, CO to provide academic scholarships to students in financial need. Please help us fully match this generous grant by donating to the ILT Scholarship fund.  You can donate to this fund by check or you can submit an eCheck or credit card donation by just going to our website and clicking on the “Donate Now” button in the upper right corner. 6

Student Spotlight By Rev. Lou Hesse I never intended to become a pastor, but sometimes the Lord has other plans. In one of my letters home from college, I wrote to my father that I would probably end up a corn, hog, and hay farmer in eastern Washington. That was partially correct. But if I had added “and also a pastor,” my father probably would have flown from Oregon to Iowa to find out what I had been drinking. I was raised in a devout LC-MS home, baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hillsboro, Oregon. Always fascinated by theological or historical questions, I have been involved in lots of reading and listening at theological gatherings. I was also always involved in congregational leadership and service in capacities ranging from head usher to congregational president to synod assembly voting member. My life changed when I was asked to serve on the ELCA sexuality task force. A “middle-aged, white lay male conservative who was not afraid to speak his mind” was requested, and my bishop thought of me. Rubbing elbows with theologians and pastors of all stripes, I found the work stimulating and the related studying fascinating, and all the while I was being prepared for something more. Also, at an LCMC District gathering in Audubon, Iowa, I heard a preacher on Galatians 2:19-20: “You are dead in trespass and sin—Christ is your life.” A lot of things changed that day. Shortly after I left the task force work and the ELCA, I received a phone call from former ELCA members who said, “Help

us form a new Lutheran congregation in Moses Lake.” We struggled but grew slowly, helped by old friends in the Word Alone movement. As this new congregation debated and discussed whom to call as a pastor, one of the members asked, “If we call you, Lou, would you do it?” “If you called me, I could never say no to that,” I responded. On May 18, 2010, I was called and on July 10, I was examined in front of the congregation by Dr. James Nestingen and Rev. George Putnam (LC-MS retired), and was ordained. In the fall of 2010, I began my studies toward an M.Div. at ILT. While somewhat unusual, this route to the office of Holy Ministry is well within the bounds of our Lutheran confessions. The flexibility of the high quality program and the collegiality of the staff and students have been a great blessing to me and (according to my parishioners) to my congregation. I believe the program that ILT is presenting represents an important contribution to the desire of congregations to have faithful pastors deeply instilled in Word and sacrament ministry, pastors who can hold their own in the intellectual and pastoral conundrums we are bound to face in our twenty-first century context. Theology is for proclamation. Sometimes that can get lost in the rarefied world of academia, where theology is done for the sake of theology. Hopefully, ILT remains firmly planted in both worlds—the world of rigorous academics and that of solid pastoral congregational vocation. ILT is my seminary of choice for furthering solid Christian proclamation. Rev. Lou Hesse is a bi-vocational farmer and pastor serving Living Word Lutheran Church in Moses Lake, WA, and a M.Div. student at the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT).

Good and Bad Ways to Think About Religion and American Politics, continued from page 8 straight line from core to policy: protection of nascent life, decent support for those among us who cannot participate in the economy and religious freedom. Most Christians ought to be able to support policies aligned with those concerns, but even then, policy-making is ambiguous. So, the religious factor in politics ought generally to be indirect, yet important. I also propose that, for the most part, the church should act indirectly in the political sphere, for its own good. If the church really is the church, it will produce well-formed lay people—as well as lay-led voluntary associations—who will make the journey from core to policy in their lives as individuals

(voters and politicians) and as participants in voluntary associations. One serious Christian senator is worth a thousand statements by churches. Yet, there are times when churches must speak and act directly, but those should be well-considered and rare. Let them model good ways to involve themselves in political life. Robert Benne is Director of the Roanoke College Center for Religion and Society and author of Good and Bad Ways to Think about Religion and Politics (Eerdmans, 2010).


Good and Bad Ways to Think About Religion and American Politics By Dr. Robert Benne Faculty Member, ILT Could you ever imagine that an American government would order Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. not to use Christian rhetoric to fuel the Civil Rights movement of the fifties and sixties? That is precisely what some militant atheists, secularists, and even religious leaders want to have happen today. These folks are what I call “separationists,” those who believe that religion-based moral values ought to have no place in public discourse or policy-making. While most of them merely disapprove of such an interaction of religion and politics, others are so hostile to religion—especially conservative Christianity—that they would formally prohibit it. Separationists come in different varieties, all of which provide examples of how not to think about the relation of Christianity to the political sphere. There are the militant atheists—Dawkins, Dennett, Harris—who find religion so dangerous they seem to want it banished legally from public life. Others—not so militant—want religious people to drop their religion-based moral values when they enter the political sphere. They want only secular, rational, and purportedly universal values to enter the public square. They consider religion so parochial and irrational that it will likely lead to some form of theocracy if it has its way in the public sphere. For example, they are appalled that religious people have effectively supported policies that limit abortion and wrongly charge that such actions are a violation of the separation of church and state. The First Amendment does indeed prohibit the establishment of a specific institutional form of religion (separation of church and state), but it guarantees the free exercise of religion, which historically has led to the lively involvement of Christian individuals and organizations in political life. Separation of church and state is quite a different matter than interaction of religion and politics. Moreover, limiting Christian activity to the private sphere violates serious Christian belief, which affirms that God is active in all facets of life and that Christians are obligated to follow his will in them. Separationism goes counter to the Constitution, American history, and serious Christian conviction. But separationists do smell out a second bad way to think about religion and politics, which I call fusion. Fusion happens when core religious beliefs are so wedded to a particular political


ideology or set of public policies that they become nearly identical. Then we have religionized politics and politicized religion. Like separationism, fusion comes in different varieties. Some is intentional, as when religious people firmly believe that their core beliefs mesh perfectly with a certain brand of politics. This was the case with the great theologian, Paul Tillich, who once wrote that “socialism is the only possible system from a Christian point of view.” Some conservative Christian writers have come close to fusing Christianity and capitalism. But most fusion is unintentional because Christians and their churches sense that melding Christianity and politics badly damages the transcendent, universal claims of their faith. Politicizing their faith tends to reduce the Gospel to human work and narrow its scope to those of a particular political persuasion. Fusion destroys the radicality and universality of the Gospel. Yet too many Christian churches unintentionally fuse their faith and their political persuasion. They unconsciously draw a straight line from their core beliefs to specific ideologies and public policies. The liberal Protestant churches all advocate liberal political policies; they are the left wing of the Democratic Party at prayer. Those conservative churches that address political issues—not all of them are “political”—advocate a conservative political agenda; they pray with the Republican Party. One suspects that the political tail is wagging the religious dog. There is a better way, which I call “critical engagement.” This approach assumes that the movement from core Christian beliefs—the incomparability of every human life, salvation through Christ and not through politics, concern for the poor— traverses a number of steps before it gets to specific policies. Those steps include one’s political philosophy, social location, gender, assessment of the current situation, religious intensity, and ordering of important values, among others. At each step, Christians of good will and intelligence can differ. So the trajectory is a jagged one; there are no “Christian” policies. However, there are some policies—for example, racist ones— that so obviously violate core values that they have to be ruled out as permissible policies for Christians to support. Many of these kinds of policies emerged as the Nazis took power in Germany, and the right thing to do was to protest them. Thankfully, we live in a country where such wicked policies are rarely proposed. Rather, we grapple with much more ambiguous ones, which makes the movement from core to policy uneven. Even though the trajectory is jagged, serious Christians carry those core convictions into the political fray. They may not be sufficient to come to a decision on policies, but for those Christians they are necessary. Sometimes they are even dominant. I argue that three concerns move with a relatively Continued on page 7

Insights on Ethiopia By Rev. Kip Tyler The following article is presented as a “case study” for International Partners, our new initiative for educating pastors and church workers in developing nations. It illustrates how we are talking about a two-way street: we have a lot to offer, and they have a lot to teach us as well. We are in dialogue to see what such partnerships in theological education might look like.

Mark Vander Tuig, Service Coordinator for LCMC, and I went to the Mekane Yesus seminary in Addis Ababa, the mother seminary of all the regional seminaries in Ethiopia. We met professors and students, and even had a cup of macchiato in the outside commons. We saw their classrooms (they desperately need more because of the increasing number of students), the library (they desperately need more books and resources), and their music school, which teaches musicians in contemporary Christian music to elevate their skills.

I arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on April 23 at around 9:00 p.m. The next day, at an International Theological Conference hosted by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, I presented on capacity building as it related to leadership development in the church. I had a great opportunity to talk about the Institute of Lutheran Theology and how it is a blessing to our congregation, and I made an invitation to talk with the Mekane Yesus leadership about the possibility of a relationship developing between them and ILT. I brought books on church leadership and was given the opportunity to present one to each of the regional seminary presidents.

I spoke with them about the Institute of Lutheran Theology and our congregation’s role as a Designated Teaching Center. They are very interested in beginning conversations with ILT to see what kind of partnership can be established. They are in need of professors and were excited about the possibility of ILT developing a PhD program in the future. They were also receptive to continuing a conversation about how ILT and Mekane Yesus seminary might partner. Severing their relationship with the ELCA has caused a ten thousand dollar drop in resources for the Mekane Yesus seminary, professors to stop visiting from the ELCA, and scholarships for PhD candidates at ELCA seminaries to disappear. Some students who have gone off to be trained in ELCA schools have come back challenging Biblical and Confessional orthodoxy. They are very concerned about this.

At the conference, we heard the General Secretary of the Mekane Yesus church lay out their strategic master plan, which called for sharing the Gospel with thirty million people within five years. The plan was simple: each current person in Mekane Yesus would witness to one person during the course of the year, and then again the next year while those they already witnessed to would do the same, repeated for five years... 30,000,000 would be reached. He asked the leaders of Mekane Yesus if this was possible, and they all responded with a resounding YES! If we said such a thing in the US, would we have a resounding yes or... deafening silence? Over the next five years, their goals are to train four hundred thousand lay ministers with basic Bible knowledge in their respective areas, thirty PhD and two hundred MA students for their seminaries, twelve thousand pastors and sixteen thousand evangelists (basically preachers), and one thousand pastors in mega-church leadership. They are going to host conferences that will build leadership for six million members, two million youths, and two million women. They are going to train two million small group leaders, form one million small groups, and disciple four million people. They will conduct three to six month training for pastors and evangelists to increase their skills and for church workers in their respective fields.

The issue, as with most third world countries, is Internet reliability. DVDs are, at this time, an interesting possibility for them. They were interested in their professors participating in teaching through ILT. They are worlds ahead of U.S. seminaries in training evangelism, discipleship, and mission to the Muslim world. We also told them about LCMC, who we are, how we are structured, and how congregations and districts might partner with them. They are very excited about the possibilities at hand with ILT and LCMC. I am sure they would welcome a relationship with the NALC as well. The Lord knows where all this is going, and we are just beginning to learn what the Lord has in store. Rev. Kip Tyler is Senior Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Master in Omaha and Chair of the Board of the Institute of Lutheran Theology. Pastor Tyler was invited as one of the speakers at the recent Mekane Yesus conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

By 2018, they plan to build 5,000 churches (200 in the urban areas and 4,800 in the rural areas), impact seven million members in tithing, and launch income generating projects. They plan to send fifty missionaries to the unreached nations of the world.




Roanoke College’s Center for Religion and Society named in honor of Dr. Robert D. Benne Salem, Virginia’s Roanoke College’s Center for Religion and Society will be renamed the Robert D. Benne Center for Religion and Society in honor of the leading theologian, scholar and professor who directed the center since its founding in 1982. Benne, a prominent fi gure in Lutheran ethics and social thought, has authored over two hundred articles and ten books, most dealing with Christianity and society. At Roanoke, Benne was the JordanTrexler Professor of Religion and chairman of the department of religion and philosophy for eighteen years. The Benne Center for Religion and Society sponsors speakers and programs to bring Christian religious and moral perspectives to contemporary challenges. It carries out the conviction that the most important human decisions, both public and private, benefi t from informative dialogue across the disciplines. Benne has taught, written, and lectured widely in the area of religion and society. His books include: Wandering in the


Wilderness - Christians and the New Culture (1971); Defining America - A Christian Critique of the American Dream (1974); The Ethic of Democratic Capitalism - A Moral Reassessment (1982); Ordinary Saints - An Introduction to the Christian Life (1988 and revised second edition in 2003); The Paradoxical Vision - A Public Theology for the Twenty-first Century (1995); Seeing is Believing - Visions of Life Through Film (1998); Why Bother? A Whole Vision for a Whole People (1999); Quality with Soul - How Six Premier Colleges and Universities Keep the Faith with Their Religious Traditions (2001), and Reasonable Ethics - A Christian Approach to Society, Economics, and Politics (2005), and Good and Bad Ways to Think about Religion and Politics (2010), which was reviewed in the spring of 2011 by The Weekly Standard. (Photo) Roanoke President Mike Maxey with Dr. Robert Benne and his wife, Joanna

Using the ILT Website By Dr. Doug Dillner, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Registrar & Director of Information Technology

As the Webmaster, I thought it would be good to give you a “hitchhiker’s guide” to our website. So if you would like to sit by your computer while you read this article, we can “stroll the site” together. It is easiest to think of our front page ( as being divided into fi ve sections: top, bottom, left side, center, and right side. Along the top is the main menu, where you can jump to:

About Us


Mission and Vision (what we are all about)

How to Apply (please do join us)

Newsletter (get the recent and past editions)

Online or Residential (we are an ONLINE school of theology)

Letter from the President (a word from the boss)

Financial Aid (yes, we have money to give-away)

FAQ (it may even have your question in it!)

Text Books & Ordering

Accreditation Plan (our current status and plan)

Registrar’s Page

Programs (MDiv, STM, PMC, AMC, etc.)

Add-Drop Form

Faculty and Staff Directory (who’s who in the zoo)

Tech Support

Course Registration Summer Fall

The Moodle Campus (where the teachers and students post materials) Catalogs & Handbooks (need the recent Course Catalog?) Library Resources Academic Calendar (what is happening and when)

Congregations Become a DTC (Designated Teaching Center—join us in education) Hosting an Intern (how else can they get their, “feet wet”?)

Bookstore (along the bottom is another link so that you can order books other than text books here and we get a share of the profi t—easy way to donate to ILT!)

Along the sides we have our calendar, subscriptions area, and links to past Chapels, as well as links for donations, Facebook, and the Forum.

The center section we use for posting news. This is the most dynamic area (next to the registration links). It might be nice to make this your homepage in your browser. Well, there you are. I pray this roadmap will help you navigate your way around. If you have any questions/comments/suggestions, please contact me:


So Just What is ILT? By, Pr. David Patterson Director of Congregational Services So just what is the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT)? You would be amazed how many times we are asked that question. People look at all the programs we offer (Master of Divinity; Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, Religion, and Theology; Master of Sacred Theology; Professional Pastoral and Associate in Ministry Certificates; and congregational education through our Word at Work program and Bible Academy) and they’re confused. "Are you a seminary?" No, a seminary is a school, run by a denominational body, for the specific purpose of creating pastors and teachers for that body. "Are you a Bible College?" No, a Bible college is a school that provides Christian education specifically to the laity or for pre-seminary studies. So, just what is ILT? We describe ourselves as an independent Lutheran center for theological education, but that doesn’t answer the question. You see, ILT just does not fit into some easy category. Understanding ILT might be easier by asking a different question. Rather than trying to explain what we are, let me try to explain for what purpose we exist. That question is much easier to answer: ILT exists for one and only one purpose, for the equipping of the Priesthood of Believers. The Institute of Lutheran Theology began its life as the House of Studies for “Word Alone” and was created to address the lack of Biblical and Theological knowledge within congregations. These issues within congregations have been seen by many as the underlying cause for the current fractured state of North American Lutheranism. ILT grew out of the desire to bring solid Biblical and confessional teaching to the Priesthood of Believers. Everything that ILT does is toward that one end. ILT has a Word at Work program for congregations where individual short-term courses are offered to lay members who have limited time, but desire to take seriously their hope to serve as members of the body of Christ and seek to be equipped to do so. ILT has a Bible Academy certificate program for those within your congregation who seek to ground themselves in the Word of God; to not only learn about the Bible, but learn how to study it deeply and teach it effectively. ILT offers professional certificate programs to individuals called to serve their congregations and are seeking the education to serve their congregation well. ILT offers graduate programs for the educating of pastors and teachers so that they might in turn go and equip their congregations for the work of ministry. ILT offers its programs using the latest, real-time, virtual classroom


technology (where you see and interact with your professor and classmates), because it allows us to bring the best minds in Lutheran Scholarship directly to the local congregation, rather than removing the student from the congregation. ILT partners directly with congregations that hold us accountable to our vision and mission. We rely upon the support of individuals and congregations in order to ensure that we do indeed equip the Priesthood of Believers. The Institute of Lutheran Theology does many things, but exists for only one reason. ILT educates pastors and teachers who are called by the Holy Spirit through the local congregation, who are formed as pastors and teachers by the Holy Spirit through the local congregations, and who are continuing to seek further education as they faithfully pursue their call from the Holy Spirit to the local congregation. ILT educates and equips local congregations in partnership with pastors and teachers so they might be prepared for the work of ministry which is theirs as the Priesthood of Believers. This is what ILT has committed itself to do. This is what we are. We, at the Institute of Lutheran, Theology are servants of Jesus Christ dedicated specifically to the building up of the body of Christ – where it is – through world class Biblical and Theological education. “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

Beloved Community: The Confessional Church in the Post-Modern World By Dr. Paul Hinlicky Faculty Member, ILT When the foregoing title was suggested to me for this brief article, I was delighted to recognize three significant themes in my teaching at ILT: 1) a fresh approach to ecclesiology, 2) accompanied by a new appropriation of the Lutheran confessions, 3) necessitated by the traumatic experience Christianity is undergoing today in “post-modern” EuroAmerica. Let me lay these ideas out in reverse order. We are in an unprecedented spiritual situation – after Christendom. By “Christendom” I mean the Western civilizational order that arose more than a millennium ago with Charlemagne’s “new” Roman Empire, “new” because it would be “holy,” a “holy Roman empire” where the state existed in symbiosis with the papal church. Beginning with the Reformation, but decisively propelled onward by the Enlightenment, capitalism and colonialism and finally pushed over the edge by the German disasters of the 20th century, “Christendom” has been swept into the dustbin of history.  Yet the memory of the entanglement of the church with the state --obsessed as a result with secular concerns and backed by the secular sword to preserve its own cultural and institutional privileges-- has made Christianity noxious if not toxic to many contemporaries. Most of the college students I teach are as ignorant of Christianity as they are repelled from it by the secular litany that has been drilled into their heads, of Crusade, Inquisition and Holocaust – never mind that Hitler, Hiroshima and Stalin are secular products of our post-Christendom world! At the same time, many of us retain the Christendom assumption that culturally “we are all Christians,” who simply need to be “revived” or “reminded of our baptism” or brought “back to our senses.” Consequently we have no idea how now to proceed in this genuinely novel spiritual situation of widespread deChristianization. Lutheran confessionalism with its clarity on the difference and the relation between God’s secular and spiritual rule could be helpful here, but it depends on how we take “confessionalism.”

It would be easy to sweep all sorts of problems under the rug if we claim that the 16th century writings have binding force because (Latin: quia) they are the true exposition of the Word of God. However, distinctions have to be made. We need to be aware of what is doctrine and what is opinion. For instance, how many of us would hold to Mary as “ever virgin” as the Latin version of the Book of Concord states in the Smalcald Articles? On the other hand, people give dishonest lip-service to the Confessions when they say we subscribe in so far (Latin: quatenus) as they conform to the Word of God. This is just playing games. We could subscribe to Mein Kampf “in so far” as it conforms to the Word of God --to be sure, that would not be very far! The right way to renew Lutheran confessionalism in postChristendom is to relocate faithfulness, so to speak, to focus on our teaching and preaching in our own spiritual situation. We subscribe to the Confessions in order that we might confess the Word of God in the timely way needed in our own situation. If we make this move, we will become a theological church in the sense that we are always thinking the faith together in an ongoing process of critical discernment, testing the spirits to see whether they are of God. In an effort both to move beyond the demoralizing disputes about ecclesiology that descend from the sterile, old conflict between orthodox and pietist, and in order to articulate contemporary sighing for God’s Messianic shalom under the creeping claim of secularism to order all of life, I have introduced into Lutheran theology the terminology of Beloved Community. Most in North America will think of Martin Luther King, Jr. when they hear this, as indeed they should. But this expression goes back to the now forgotten theological philosopher, Josiah Royce, who created it to paraphrase the Apostle Paul’s ecclesiology. “Beloved Community” affirms that Christian salvation is not only personal but also social, restoration to the family of God.  “Beloved Community” can be grounded in the Lutheran doctrine of election in Formula of Concord XI, where the early Lutherans followed Ephesians to teach against speculation about double predestination that “God has loved us in the Beloved Son.” This love for us all in Christ is the proper object of divine predestination. The Beloved Community then is the divine purpose which links law and gospel properly in a purpose clause: God does the alien work of the cross in order to do His proper work, including us in His own Triune life of eternal love. The alien work of the cross is to destroy both the self-justifying isolation of the sinful self (as seen in Adam, who blames “this woman whom you gave me”) but also the false collectivities which isolated people grasp after for a secular salvation (our Continued on page 14


Beloved Community: The Confessional Church in the Post-Modern World, continued from page 13 “towers of Babel”). Isolation in our kind of society is practically an imperative of self-defense. We must understand this pastorally and tackle it with sensitivity. Isolation tries to fend off the cruelty and chaos of our degraded social relations in which the incessant commodification of all things dissolves what remains of the human into saleable parts. Isolation, however, is no solution and with the coming pressures economic, geopolitical and environmental we are about to endure, the desperate grasp of isolated people for community will find alluring some new and disguised collective egoism – for the devil never shows its face in the quite same way twice. Against this peril, I lift up Beloved Community as the social form of the doctrine of justification by faith alone on account of Christ alone – Who is the radical gift of God, known from the Scriptures alone. For Christ in the obedience by which he makes us righteous takes our place of isolation in His God-forsaken death on the cross. His solidarity with us there is the end of isolation, not only then for each believing individual and ending there – why, that would sustain our isolation! But He gathers us in this love and presents us together in the Spirit to the Father. Our mission of evangelization and the ministry of public prophecy are thereby laid out for us in these perilous times. We are to bring Christ to the isolated and in the Spirit form congregational life as a manifestation of Beloved Community; we are to network to make communions of such communions in a realignment of the remnants of orthodox Christianity in North America and beyond.

I will speak in much greater depth on these ideas in the lecture I present to the Lutheran CORE theological conference, August 14-16 in Golden Valley, Minnesota. I would love to meet you there! The Rev. Paul R. Hinlicky, Ph.D., is the Tise Professor of Lutheran Studies at Roanoke College and permanent faculty for the Institute of Lutheran Theology MDiv graduate program since 2010. He was ordained a Lutheran minister in 1978, served parishes in Virginia and New York before becoming Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology at the Protestant Theological Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, from 1993-99. He has served on the editorial council of dialog and Lutheran Quarterly, associate editor of Pro Ecclesia, a Book Review editor for the 16th Century Journal, editor of Lutheran Forum, 1988-1993. Married to Ellen nee Christiansen in 1974, their union has been blessed with a daughter, Sarah, 34, (Princeton Theological Seminary, PhD, 2008) who is Research Professor at the Ecumenical Institute in Strasbourg, France; and a son, William, 27, (BA in Theology, Roanoke College, 2008) who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and gave three semesters of volunteer teaching of English at the Protestant Faculty in Bratislava before returning to Roanoke College to pursue a second BA in Psychology.

"Yes, I hear the sermon; but who is speaking? The minister? No indeed! You do not hear the minister. True, the voice is his; but my God is speaking the Word which he preaches or speaks. Therefore I should honor the Word of God that I may become a good pupil of the Word." -- Quoted in E. M. Plass, What Luther Says, St. Louis: CPH, 1959, page 1125.


Institute of Lutheran Theology Talking Points for Chapel and Student Life By Rev. Timothy J. Swenson Greetings! I’m not here with a sermon but with three points of distinction that commend the Institute of Lutheran Theology to your consideration. These points of distinction are 1) the purpose of its theological education; 2) the embedded nature of student life at the Institute; and 3) the unique understanding of pastoral formation. First, let me begin with the purpose driving the Institute’s theological education. Chapel at the Institute reveals the purpose driving our theological education. Theology is for proclamation. Theology reflects upon yesterday’s proclamation. It ponders deeply upon the revelation that has been given us through the Incarnation and the witness of Scripture. Theology reflects on the past so it will bear a true witness to that revelation as its preachers deliver Jesus Christ in his person to the people today in their particular time and circumstance. ILT has staff, students, and friends preach the Word of God. Such preaching holds the Institute accountable to the purpose of its theological education. Second, I’ll address the embedded nature of student life at the Institute. Student life at the Institute is being lived out in congregations throughout North America. Our students aren’t forced to leave their home church setting in order to join a temporary collective. Instead, they remain in their congregations and the Institute delivers theological education to them. They remain embedded within the body of Christ where they have lived and worked. The Institute collaborates with their congregation and pastor. The students are accountable for what they’ve learned. The students have immediate opportunity to practice and hone their ministry skills learned in the classroom. ILT’s students are educated and trained within the crucible of

congregational life... within the body of Christ gathered and formed by Word and Sacrament. Now I’ve come to the third distinction commending the Institute of Lutheran Theology to your consideration: its unique understanding of pastoral formation. For a long time now institutions of pastoral formation have struggled to balance head learning and heart learning—the intellectual and the practical—the life of books and the life of prayer. Luther knew this struggle as well. In response, he described three rules, three forces that form and fashion a theologian. They are the rule of meditation, the rule of prayer, and the rule of struggle. Meditation is simply the theologian being so grasped by the Word of God in its external clarity that the would-­‐be theologian is internally clarified. Theologians thus come to know the truth about themselves and the truth about God. Prayer is simply what results when such truth is revealed. The theologian stands as a sinful, mortal creature before an almighty and immortal Creator. The theologian stands as a brother or sister to Jesus Christ before a benevolent Father. When such truth is revealed, one cannot help but pray. Struggle is simply the life of the theologian caught in the grasp of two realities. In faith, they have the reality of what is promised by the Word of God. Yet, by their flesh, they have the reality of what is experienced by reason and the senses. Theologians struggle to receive righteousness by the will of God being done unto them. This is their passive life beneath the Word. They struggle to achieve righteousness before their neighbors who by God’s will they are to serve. This is their active life before the world. The Institute resolves the intellectual vs. practical struggle by embedding its students in the crucible of congregational life. There, they are under the Word, caught up in prayer, and living the struggle daily. The Institute of Lutheran Theology bears these three distinctions. It delivers theological education for the purpose of proclamation. It embeds its students in the crucible of congregational life. It places its students in such a crucible so that the three rules which form a theologian—meditation, prayer, and struggle—are brought to bear. The Institute bears these distinctions to honor the words of Jesus, “He who hears you, hears me.” (Luke 10:16)


Institute of Lutheran Theology 910 4th St. Brooking, SD 57006

Non Profi t Org. U.S. Postage PAID Brookings, SD Permit No. 926332

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Christians hunger for the Word Of God. But churches across North America are starving for serious Biblical Study. When Christians seek to study the Bible, more often than not they must rely upon the work of others rather than studying the Bible directly. Scripture was not written to be the exclusive domain of scholars.Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written for the average person. Scripture was intended to be read and studied by all believers. The ILT Bible Academy is intended to bring Biblical Studies education out of the seminaries and back to the congregation. Using the time tested methods of the Lutheran Bible Institute movement, the Bible Academy is dedicated to equipping the Priesthood of All Believers with the tools to deeply study Scripture for themselves.

910 4th Street Brookings, SD 57006 605.692.9337 ph email

the Word at Work, the magazine of the Institute of Lutheran Theology, Summer 2012  

Did Luther Abandon the Great Commission? by Dr. Frederick W. Baltz, New Initiative: Congregational Point of Contact (CPC) by Constance Soren...

the Word at Work, the magazine of the Institute of Lutheran Theology, Summer 2012  

Did Luther Abandon the Great Commission? by Dr. Frederick W. Baltz, New Initiative: Congregational Point of Contact (CPC) by Constance Soren...