Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary began its new school year with an opening service on August 22, 2016, in the Good Shepherd Chapel. The Rev. John Moldstad, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, delivered the devotional message for the occasion, centering his remarks on Matthew 20:20–28. In his message he urged all to assess our motives for service to the Lord, whether in the classroom as ones privileged to study for the ministry, as professors and administrators, or as dedicated Christians in our various vocations of life. In the text cited, Jesus speaks a strong message on how greatness in his kingdom does not come by way of the world’s standards in judging merit. It comes only through faithful service to other fellow sinners, done fully out love and thanks to the Savior, without any thought of reward. While we sinners fail in upholding this pure motive, we are spurred on to greater commitment to help others—which the ministry is all about—through the Savior himself who “came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” In conclusion, reference was made to the familiar citation from Dr. Luther in his 1 Peter commentary: “God could easily take away our breath and have us die as soon as we are baptized and have begun to believe, but he leaves us here so that we may do for others what he has done for us.” We pray that God fills our seminarians, our professors, and our administrators—all of us—with the attitude of gratitude as we are moved with humility in all of our activity.
The teaching staff for the seminary this semester is as follows: Adolph Harstad, Thomas Kuster, Allen Quist, Michael Smith, and Gaylin Schmeling. Professor Harstad is teaching in the areas of Old Testament and homiletics; Professor Kuster is teaching communication; Professor Quist is teaching apologetics; Professor Smith is teaching in the areas of New Testament, hermeneutics, and homiletics; and Professor Schmeling is teaching courses in church history and homiletics.
The seminary enrollment this year numbers nine. There are two vicars, two seniors, one middler, and four juniors. The vicars are Aaron Ferkenstad at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Frankenmuth, Michigan) and Kurtis Freimuth at Grace Lutheran Church (Vero Beach, Florida).