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Elowsky appointed first Fuerst Professor of Historical Theology

New endowed chair supports scholarly excellence

The Board of Regents for Concordia Seminary, St. Louis recently appointed  Dr. Joel Elowsky as the Frank and Valerie Fuerst Professor of Historical Theology.

This new endowed chair position has been established to support a high level of scholarship regarding the history of the church and Christian theology.

Elowsky, a professor of Historical Theology and dean of Advanced Studies, is the first occupant of the Fuerst Chair. He will be formally installed during the Seminary’s 184th academic year Opening Service, which is set for 10:30 a.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 26.

Frank and Valerie Fuerst of El Dorado Hills, Calif., wholly believed in endowments as a way to provide gifts for the future. The couple was able to plan and manage the blessings God had given them for just that purpose, to the benefit of Concordia Seminary and its mission to prepare future pastors, deaconesses, missionaries and other leaders for the church.

Even after both these faithful servants were called home to be with their Savior, their praise for God resounds in the generous legacy they left behind.

“We thank God for the Fuersts’ generosity and foresight in planning this estate gift to Concordia Seminary. It is such an encouragement to us as we carry out our Gospel mission,” said Dr. Thomas J. Egger, Concordia Seminary president. “This is our first endowed faculty chair in the area of historical theology. In these days of rapid cultural change, it is essential that future church workers be resourced with the wisdom and perspective that comes from the study of history.”

Elowsky also serves as the director of the Center for the Study of Early Christian Tests and coordinator of International Seminary Exchange Programs at the Seminary. He was selected as the first Fuerst Chair because of his interest and expertise in early church studies and the history of exegesis, and his renowned work as an author and editor of numerous books, articles and series.

A faculty member since 2014, Elowsky has been part of the ecumenical group Evangelicals and Catholics Together, participating in dialogues between evangelicals and the Vatican, including delivering a paper on Scripture and Tradition at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the Vatican in 2010. He is a board member of the China Academic Consortium and has been a member of the North American Patristics Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. He also serves as president of the Institute for Classical Christian Studies, and has lectured extensively in Africa on behalf of Concordia Seminary as a researcher and lecturer for the Center for Early African Christianity.

“Acquainting our students with their spiritual forebearers in the faith has been and will continue to be a focus of my ministry of teaching, writing and preaching here in the United States and abroad,” Elowsky said. “I am honored and humbled to be named the first occupant of this endowed chair. I’m sure the Fuersts would have agreed with this ancient Mafa proverb from Africa: ‘Even when your father is old, you can still stand in his shade.’ My hope is that I can have a small part in helping the next generation stand in the shade of our common fathers and mothers in the faith. This endowment helps make this hope a reality. I thank God for the Fuerst family and their faithful generosity in endowing this chair.”

The Fuerst Chair is one of 13 endowed professorships currently at the Seminary.

About Concordia Seminary

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit