How do the Lutheran Confessions shape the life of the church? This topic will be addressed by the Twelfth Annual Theological Symposium, titled “Courageous Confession: Shaping the Life of the Church,” to be held September 18-19, 2001 on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Seven plenary speakers will present sections of the Book of Concord and address issues ranging from the impact of the Confessions in the sixteenth century to the Lutheran confessional dynamic today.
“It is very important to understand that we don’t shape the Confessions; the Confessions shape our proclamation,” commented Dr. John Oberdeck, director of Continuing Education and Parish Services at Concordia Seminary. “How that proclamation is made over time takes into consideration cultural changes, but the content stays the same.”
The changing theological and denominational landscape raises questions about contemporary confessional proclamation. This symposium will provide answers. Through confessional study and theological leadership, speakers and participants will work toward a better understanding of the role of the Confessions in shaping the life of the church.
On Tuesday, September 18, the symposium will begin with an analysis of the role of the creeds in shaping theological thought. Dr. Charles Arand, associate professor of systematic theology and chairman of the department of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, will present “The Creedal Matrix for Thinking Theologically.”
Participants also will engage in confessional study by applying the Confessions to the church and the world at large. Dr. Jack Preus III, professor of theology and president of Concordia University, Irvine, will emphasize this universality in a presentation titled, “The Augustana as a Model for Confessing the Gospel of Christ and the Catholicity of His Church.”
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, one of the finest defenses of the Christian faith ever written, will be applied to contemporary proclamation. Dr. David Lumpp, professor of theology and chair of the department of theology at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn., will present “The Apology as a Model for Theological Argument.”
The doctrinal position of the historic Lutheran church, found in the Book of Concord, has a strong mission emphasis that is often overlooked. Dr. Detlev Schulz, associate professor and chairman of pastoral ministry and missions at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., will address this issue in his presentation, “The Lutheran Confessions and Church Formation Worldwide.”
On Wednesday, September 19, there will be open sectionals. Papers may be submitted to the Office of Continuing Education and Parish Services, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105 for review.
Following the sectionals, plenary speakers will present three more sections of the Book of Concord and apply them to contemporary proclamation. Dr. James Nestingen, professor of church history at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, will present “The Smalcald Articles as a Model for Confessing in the Public Square.” Paul Robinson, assistant professor of historical theology will present “The Catechisms as a Model for Mission Proclamation.” Dr. Robert Kolb, mission professor of systematic theology and director of the Institute for Mission Studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, will present “The Formula as a Model for Discourse in the Church.”
A post-symposium workshop titled, “Confessing Christ Contextually,” will be offered on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, September 19-20, by Dr. Victor Raj, mission professor or exegetical theology and assistant director of the Institute for Mission Studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The workshop will explore four models from the mission of St. Paul that address the challenges presented by cultural differences today. While the theology and mission of the church never change, aspects such as values, world views and spiritualities do. Proclamation must be shaped to address changing life situations with the timeless theology of the Confessions.
Pastors, seminary and Concordia University system students and faculty, and interested laypersons are all welcome to attend. For information and/or registration, call the Office of Continuing Education and Parish Services at (314) 505-7105; firstname.lastname@example.org.