Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary began its new school year with an opening service on August 24 in Good Shepherd Chapel. Dr. Thomas Kuster, basing his message on the account of the calling of the first disciples recorded in Luke 5:1–10, urged students to turn their full attention, this school year, to studying their main tool, the Means of Grace, for their future calling of “catching men.” On the shore of the Lake of Gennesaret, Dr. Kuster pointed out, our Lord observed his future disciples washing and mending their nets, their main tool for serious commercial fishing. After the Lord showed his power by the miraculous catch, he called them to “catch men,” and they left their nets to follow him. The main tool for their new calling, “catching men,” is the Word of God, and its visible forms, the holy Sacraments—the Means of Grace. This “net” is made up of two strong interwoven strands: objective justification and our Lord’s institution. The seminary curriculum focuses attention on Word and Sacraments from multiple perspectives: those of Biblical, Doctrinal, Historical, and Practical Theology. At the shore of the Lake of Gennesaret, there was a time for fishing and a time for washing nets. Seminary is an important time to give full attention to preparing one’s nets, the Means of Grace, for the future calling of “catching men.”
The teaching staff for the seminary this year is as follows: Thomas Flunker, Adolph Harstad, Thomas Kuster, Dennis Marzolf, Michael Smith, and Gaylin Schmeling. Professor Flunker is teaching Hispanic outreach; Professor Harstad is teaching in the areas of Old Testament, counseling, and homiletics; Professor Kuster is teaching communication; Professor Marzolf is teaching hymnology; Professor Smith is teaching in the areas of New Testament, hermeneutics, and homiletics; and Professor Schmeling is teaching courses in church history, dogmatics, and homiletics.
The seminary enrollment this year numbers eleven. There are five vicars, two seniors, two middlers, and two juniors. The vicars are Matthew Behmer at Peace Lutheran Church (North Mankato, Minnesota) and Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, Minnesota); Jeffrey Hendrix at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Indianola, Iowa); Joshua Mayer at Redeeming Grace Lutheran Church (Rogers, Minnesota); Daniel Ruiz at Hope Lutheran Church (Leander, Texas); and Andrew Soule at Norseland Lutheran Church (Saint Peter, Minnesota) and Norwegian Grove Lutheran Church (Gaylord, Minnesota). Also we have one student in the Master of Arts in Lutheran Theological Studies program.