Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary began its new school year with an opening service on August 22 in Good Shepherd Chapel. On the basis of Jeremiah 6:16, Prof. Adolph Harstad spoke on
the theme of “Traveling Through the School Year.” This text says that in choosing “the ancient paths,” travelers find rest for their souls. Ancient roads were chosen for good reasons. They avoided dangers. They kept travelers “high and dry.” Their course took into consideration water and food supplies. They were “tried and true” as they headed for their destination. They afforded security, instead of the troubles and potholes that makeshift, short-cut roads might hold.
Jeremiah tells Jerusalem likewise to “ask for the ancient paths.” By this the prophet was speaking of the “road” that Abraham and the other faithful ancients walked in faith, the road that promised an Offspring that would come to bless all people. As Abraham walked this road, it was said of him that he “believed and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Genesis 5:16).
Seminary students are embarking on a “curriculum,” a term that means literally “a running course.” Students were encouraged to travel through this Scripture-based curriculum by first taking advantage of applying the ancient truths to themselves by personal meditation. Finding personal rest for our souls through the one who is the “Way” because of his perfect life, death, and rising—this comes first. Then the refreshed student-traveler will be in a position to help others find the “Way.”
The teaching staff for the seminary this year is as follows: Thomas Flunker, Adolph Harstad, Thomas Kuster, Michael Smith, and Gaylin Schmeling. Professor Flunker is teaching Hispanic outreach;
Professor Harstad is teaching in the areas of Old Testament and homiletics; Professor Kuster is teaching communication; Professor Smith is teaching in the areas of New Testament and homiletics; and Professor Schmeling is teaching a course in dogmatics.
The seminary enrollment this year numbers eleven. There are six vicars, three seniors, no middlers, and two juniors. The vicars are Nathanael Abrahamson at Abiding Shepherd Lutheran (Cottage Grove Wisconsin); Jesse DeDeyne at St. Paul’s Lutheran (North Mankato, Minnesota); Timothy Grundmeier at Holy Trinity Lutheran (Okauchee, Wisconsin); Peter Heyn at Christ and Living Word Lutheran Churches (Windsor and Petaluma, California); and Luke Willitz at Bethany Lutheran (Port Orchard, Washington). Matthew Moldstad began his vicarage at Peace Lutheran Church, Kissimmee, Florida, on January 1. This vicarage will continue until December.