Purpose

The degrees offered by the Graduate School are configured to support the Mission Statement of Concordia Seminary, viz., to provide for the church and, through the church, for the world, both clergy and lay scholars of the highest level of competence, to bear witness to the truth and to the Gospel of God. Development of and modifications to any programs are designed to further the mission detailed by this statement.

The motto of the Graduate School is “Addressing Contemporary Issues with the Historic Christian Faith.” Therefore, the Graduate School of Concordia Seminary does not provide secular programs of learning that attempt to consider problems and issues in a purely humanistic way, unrelated to the revelation of God, the Gospel, and the Christian faith. Rather, the Graduate School offers its students opportunities to grow in their abilities to apply rigorous scholarship to contemporary issues within the context of creedal Christianity as it has been confessed throughout the ages. The requirements of the particular degree and the student’s area of interest will orient these opportunities to consideration of Biblical evidence, confessional evidence, systematic theological deliberations, historical theological developments, or practical theological considerations.

I.       The Graduate School functions:

    A.      To give qualified Seminary graduates, pastors, and lay men and women an opportunity to acquire the content and method of theological scholarship, under the guidance of a faculty motivated by reverence for the Scriptures as the Word of God and loyalty to the Lutheran Confessions;

    B.      To provide the opportunity for qualified individuals to acquire advanced credits and degrees in theology or religion for increased effectiveness in their professional activities;

    C.      To serve as an instrument in developing effective leadership for the church in doctrine and practice; and

    D.      To serve as a theological research center for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

II.    Within the framework of their respective programs (M.A., S.T.M., or Ph.D.) and in terms of understanding, skills, and at­titudes, students in the Graduate School pursue the following objectives:

    A.    Understanding

      1.      To develop a greater awareness of the comprehensive nature and the scope of Christian theology—a discipline both related to and different from academic disciplines:

        a.      As a proper field for further academic specialization;

        b.      As the continuing task of the Christian community in light of its total heritage; and

        c.      As the responsibility of trained and qualified individuals in the service of the Christian community.

      2.      To develop a greater understanding of the various theological disciplines and how they relate to each other.

      3.      To develop an understanding of current concerns and emphases in the total academic and ecclesiastical community.

      4.      To develop a greater understanding of the nature of theological concepts and the function of theological formulations in the life of a Christian community.

      5.      To develop an understanding of the emphases and concerns expressed in the theological traditions of the Christian church, with special reference to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

        a.      On the M.A. level, stress is laid primarily on general comprehension of Biblical and doctrinal theology.

        b.      The S.T.M. program is directed toward the development of special competence in one area of a theological discipline as that area relates specifically to the discipline as a whole and generally to the disciplines.

        c.      The Ph.D. program is directed toward specialization in one area of a theological discipline as that area relates specifically to the discipline as a whole and generally to the disciplines.

    B.    Skills

      1.      To develop greater ability for independent inquiry in theological questions.

      2.      To master the bibliographical resources required for research.

      3.      To develop increasing skill in applying responsible methods to research.

      4.      To develop increasing ability in articulating and communicating the results of theological research.

      5.      To develop the ability to discover, and apply to current situations and problems, new relationships among theological concepts and formulations.

    C.    Attitudes

      1.      To grow in gratitude for God’s self-disclosure in the Scriptures and for the Holy Spirit’s continuing guidance of the church’s worship, proclamation, and instruction through the centuries.

      2.      To develop a more humble submission to the authority of the divine revelation.

      3.      To develop an increasing sense of responsibility for retaining and transmitting the heritage of truth committed to the church.

      4.      To strengthen the willingness to serve the church both in its general and its specialized tasks.

      5.      To develop a stronger sense of loyalty to the traditions of the Lutheran church as they are found in its Confessions (applicable in the case of Lutheran students only).

Especially suited to study in the Graduate School of Concordia Seminary is the student whose commitment is in keeping with the motto of the Graduate School (“Addressing Contemporary Issues with the Historic Christian Faith”), whose goal is the application of rigorous scholarship to contemporary issues within the context of creedal Christianity as it has been confessed throughout the ages for the sake of engaging and advancing the “Great Tradition.” Graduate students need not be Lutherans or members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, but they will be exposed to and challenged to interact with the insights and approaches of evangelical Lutheran theology.