May 2023

May 2023

Our Concordias

You may or may not be aware that over the course of our history, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod have established a number of institutions of higher education, including two Seminaries. Concordia Seminary is located in St. Louis, MO, and Concordia Theological Seminary – from which I graduated – is in Ft. Wayne, IN. St. Catherine in Edmonton, AB is a sister seminary.

The seminaries educate men to be Pastors and women to be Deaconesses. In addition to our two Seminaries, we started several colleges. Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, IL – from which I graduated – and Evangelical Lutheran Teachers Seminary in Seward, NE were started to educate teachers for our very large and widespread system of parochial (mostly K-8) schools.

My school is now Concordia University Chicago, and “Seward” has become Concordia University Nebraska, and there are now Concordia Universities in places like Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and Texas. Those schools make up the Concordia University System (CUS). In recent years, schools in Winfield, KS, Bronxville, NY, Portland, OR, and Selma, AL have closed.

Our seminaries are in good shape, except that we need more men who are open to becoming Pastors. When I graduated seminary in 1985, there were over 100 graduates in my class, and about 200 more from St. Louis. This year, both seminaries graduated a total of eightysomething men. Over 50 congregations who applied for a graduate did not get one because there were not enough.

The Concordia colleges that have become Universities not so much. The Teachers Colleges shifted from exclusively training teachers to becoming full-service institutions, and now they offer a wide variety of degree programs. The idea was that Lutherans who did not want to become teachers could go to a Lutheran college, which seemed like a good idea at the time, and maybe it was.

Selma closed because it had about 160 students, and you could count the number of church work students on one hand. Portland and Bronxville had been plagued by bad theology for years, and a lot of us think it was not a bad thing that they closed. With fewer LCMS congregations on the east and west coasts, and more airplanes in the sky…Concordia Chicago is a short drive from O’Hare.

When I arrived at CTCRF in 1977, the Theology Department was a train wreck. I did not send my first child there. We sent her to CUW (Wisconsin). By the time the next two were ready to go to college, Chicago had fixed that problem, and today it is probably our strongest Concordia. Concordia Texas wants to go out on their own, and Wisconsin is dealing with a “woke” outbreak..

We live in a turbulent world, and the turbulence always creeps into the Church. These are difficult times, and difficult times for our Concordia University System. Our Concordias will certainly be an item discussed at the LCMS Convention this summer. When your children are ready for college, give Our Concordias a look, and keep them in your prayers and your charitable giving.

In Christian Service,

Pastor Anderson