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Reformation Lecture Report-2018

Reformation Lecture Report-2018

Reformation Lectures 2018The fifty-first annual Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures were held at the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, Mankato, Minnesota, on October 25–26, 2018. These lectures are sponsored jointly by Bethany Lutheran College and Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. This year there were three presenters. The first presenter was the Rev. Dr. John M. Brenner of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin. The second presenter was the Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast, Jr. who is the sixteenth president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and professor of American Christianity and American Lutheranism. The third presenter was the Rev. Craig A. Ferkenstad, secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

This year the theme of the Reformation Lectures was “Evangelical Lutheran Synod: Three Perspectives.” The first lecture, given by Dr. John Brenner, was entitled “ELS: A WELS Perspective.” The second lecture, given by Dr. Lawrence Rast, was entitled, “ELS: A LCMS Perspective.” The third lecture, given by the Rev. Craig Ferkenstad, was entitled, “ELS: An Introspective.”

This year the theme of the Reformation Lectures was “Evangelical Lutheran Synod: Three Perspectives.” This theme centered in the one hundredth anniversary celebration of the reorganization of the ELS in 1918, and its relationship with the other church bodies in the Synodical Conference. The first lecture, given by Dr. Brenner, was entitled, “ELS: A WELS Perspective.” In this essay there was a discussion of the relationship between the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), a sibling relationship. The mutual counsel and advice between the synods has been advantageous for both synods. This fellowship is a wonderful blessing. The second lecture, presented by Dr. Rast, was entitled, “ELS: A LCMS Perspective.” This essay points out that the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) was an important big sister to the ELS in its early years. Both the Norwegian Synod and the reorganized synod received considerable support in their infant years from the LCMS. The break in fellowship with the LCMS was tragic for the ELS. The third lecture, given by the Rev. Ferkenstad, was entitled, “ELS: An Introspective.” As a native son the essayist indicated the synod’s positive contributions to the world, and at the same time, pointed out its weaknesses. He showed the unique flavor of the ELS.

The complete lectures will be published in the March issue of the Lutheran Synod Quarterly.

Reformation Lectures 2019

Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary is pleased to announce this year’s Bjarne W. Teigen Reformation Lectures, October 31–November 1, 2019.

You can register online here!  This link also includes a downloadable Reformation Lecture poster.

This year’s theme is:

Lutheran Preaching Through the Centuries

  • Preaching in the Reformation—Dr. Paul Robinson
  • Preaching in the Nineteenth Century—Dr. Thomas Kuster
  • Preaching Today—Prof. Paul Wendland

The lectures will take place at Bethany Lutheran College, S. C. Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, Mankato, Minnesota, beginning October 31 at 10:30 a.m.


New School Year—New Professor at Bethany

New School Year—New Professor at Bethany

Proksch-InstallationBethany Lutheran Theological Seminary began its new school year with an opening service in Good Shepherd Chapel on August 27, 2018. Prof. Timothy Schmeling conducted the liturgy and the Rev. Larry Wentzlaff delivered the homily on 2 Corinthians 5:14–21, focusing on the doctrine of justification and the public ministry, the ministry of reconciliation. On the basis of Christ’s redemptive work the whole world has been justified or declared righteous in Christ. The Rev. Wentzlaff pointed out that this message is brought to all people through the means of grace by the ministry of reconciliation. This is the purpose of the God-given office of the public ministry. Those in this office will proclaim the message of salvation in Jesus Christ our Savior. Also at this service, the Rev. Nicholas Proksch was installed as professor at Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. He will teach the New Testament courses at the seminary and the Greek courses at the college. Pres. John Moldstad conducted the rite of installation.

The teaching staff for the seminary this semester is as follows: Adolph Harstad, Brian Klebig, Nicholas Proksch, Timothy Schmeling, and Gaylin Schmeling. Professor Harstad is teaching homiletics; Professor Klebig is teaching communication; Professor Proksch is teaching in the areas of New Testament and hermeneutics; Professor Timothy Schmeling is teaching Old Testament and homiletics; and Professor Gaylin Schmeling is teaching courses in dogmatics and homiletics.

Student_Body_2018-2019The seminary enrollment this year numbers seventeen. There are five seniors, six middlers, five juniors, and one special student.

Prof. Nicholas Proksch Joins Faculty

nicholas-prokschBethany Lutheran Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that the Rev. Nicholas D. Proksch has accepted the divine call to serve as Professor of New Testament at the seminary. He will assume his new role at the seminary in Fall 2018.

Prof. Proksch brings unique experience to the seminary faculty, having served as a pastor at an historical ELS congregation (River Heights Lutheran Church, East Grand Forks, Minnesota), a home mission congregation (Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Holland, Michigan), and as a college professor (Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota). In addition, he is a published translator, having contributed to the expansion of Luther’s Works: American Edition.

He holds an M.Div. from Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary; and a B.A. in German from Christ College of Valparaiso University. He and his wife, Becky, live in Mankato with their four children. God bless his work among us teaching the next generation of pastors for the ELS.

2018 Commencement

2018 Commencement

Sem_Graduation-2018The Commencement Service for Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, which included both the assignment of calls and graduation of students, occurred on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. in Trinity Chapel. The Rev. David Thompson served as preacher, Pres. Gaylin Schmeling served as liturgist, the Rev. Herbert Huhnerkoch represented the Board of Regents, and Mr. John Baumann was the organist. The sermon was based on Hebrews 12:1–3 with the theme “The Joy and Cross of Christ.” In the sermon, Pastor Thompson spoke of the crosses through which the called servant is driven to the means of grace, Word and Sacrament. These means of grace strengthen one to carry out the Lord’s ministry. Then Pastor Thompson pointed out the wonderful joy of the ministry, offering comfort for this life and hope for the life to come.

At the seminary commencement service, Dr. Michael Smith was honored for his sixteen years of service at the seminary. He has accepted a call to teach at Asia Lutheran Seminary, Hong Kong. Dr. Smith has distinguished himself as a New Testament professor and has received his Ph.D. in biblical studies. He has taught the Greek New Testament classes at Bethany Lutheran College, the New Testament courses at the seminary, and has served as guest lecturer in international seminaries of our fellowship. We thank the Lord for the wonderful blessings He has bestowed upon our seminary through Dr. Smith.

Graduates from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree were Noah Thompson and Christian Walz. Noah Thompson was assigned as pastor of River Heights Lutheran Church (East Grand Forks, Minnesota), and Christian Walz was assigned as pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Indianola, Iowa).