- Reformation Lectures
By BLTS on July 9, 2018
Bethany 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.
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By BLTS on April 17, 2018
The 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).
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By BLTS on October 31, 2017
The fiftieth annual Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures were held at the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, Mankato, Minnesota, on October 26–27, 2017. These lectures are sponsored jointly by Bethany Lutheran College and Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary.
This year there were three presenters. The first presenter was Prof. Em. Erling Teigen of Bethany Lutheran College (BLC) in Mankato, Minnesota. Prof. Em. Teigen has served BLC since 1977. He received his A.A. from Bethany Lutheran College (1960), B.A. from the University of Minnesota (1962), B.D. (M.Div) from Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary (1966), and M.A. in philosophy from the University of Minnesota (1978). He served Evangelical Lutheran Synod parishes in East Grand Forks and Apple Valley, Minnesota. Since joining the BLC religion faculty, he has taught courses in philosophy, dogmatics, American Lutheran history, Luther, and the Book of Concord. He has served on the Doctrine Committee of the ELS, as well as numerous other boards. He was editor of the Lutheran Sentinel from 1975–82, and a founding editor of Logia for which he remains an editorial advisor and contributing editor. He has presented papers at various pastoral conferences, Lutheran Free Conferences, and has published articles in the Concordia Theological Quarterly, Lutheran Synod Quarterly, the proceedings of the Pieper Lectures and the Congress on the Lutheran Confessions, as well as Logia. Prof. Teigen presently serves as the BLC Archivist and editor of Oak Leaves. Prof. Teigen has been a member of the Reformation Lectures Committee since 1978, and has served as a moderator and reactor for the lectures several times. In 2004, he presented a lecture on J. A. Ottesen of the Norwegian Synod for this lecture series which received an award from the Concordia Historical Society. In 2000, his translation of Letters from Leipzig, Sigurd Christian Ylvisaker’s letters to his family while studying in Leipzig from 1907–10, was published by BLC. He and his wife Linda live in Mankato.
The second presenter was Dr. Erik Herrmann, associate professor of Historical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, and director of the Center for Reformation Research. He received his Ph.D. from the same institution in 2005 in Renaissance and Reformation Studies. Before being called to the faculty, he was an assistant pastor at Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri. His areas of interest and research include the history of biblical interpretation, with a particular focus on Martin Luther and the Reformation period; history of medieval and Reformation/early modern Europe; twentieth-century interpretations of Martin Luther and his theology; and the history of American Lutheranism. His most recent publications are in The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther, and The Annotated Luther. He is married to Aliesha (née Ave-Lallemant). They are blessed with five children: Augustine, Constansa, Mathias, Tobias, and Elspeth.
The third presenter was the Rev. James Langebartels of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Rib Lake, Wisconsin, and Zion Lutheran Church, Ogema, Wisconsin. Pastor Langebartels was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crete, Illinois. He attended Northwestern College (1977) in Watertown, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (M.Div., 1981) in Mequon, Wisconsin. He also received an S.T.M. in exegetical theology (2008) from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, at the same service in which his son Matt received his M.Div. He and his wife, Shirley (née Marten), were married at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Tomah, Wisconsin, in 1978. Their marriage has been blessed with four children, all of whom attended Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Michigan, and Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota; two also graduated from WLS. John (Julie) owns Cornerstone Roofing in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin; Peter (Ann) teaches at St. Markus Lutheran School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Matt (Hannah) serves as a WELS pastor in Tucson, Arizona, and Rebekah (Neil) Birkholz supports her husband in Beijing, China. Jim and Shirley have also been blessed with eleven grandchildren. Pastor Langebartels served as a parish pastor from 1981 to 2015 at churches in Morenci, Hopkins, and Imlay City, Michigan. During his time there, he served for sixteen years on the Michigan District Constitution Committee. He translated numerous articles from the Quartalschrift for the anthology volumes of The Wauwatosa Theology (volumes 1–3, NPH, 1997); the first volume of The Complete Timotheus Verinus (NPH, 1998); the third volume (and portions of the first two volumes) of Adolf Hoenecke’s Evangelical Lutheran Dogmatics (NPH, 2003, 2009); Heinrich Schmid’s The History of Pietism (NPH, 2007); Luther’s Church Postils I–V (LW 75–79, CPH, 2013–16); assistant editor of Luther’s Sermons III–IV (LW 56–57, 2016–17); the four volumes of The Apology to the Book of Concord by Martin Chemnitz, Nicolas Selnecker, and Timothy Kirchner (first volume, CPH, 2018); and is currently translating Georg Mentz’s biography of Elector John Frederick the Magnanimous. Pastor Langebartels retired from full-time parish work in 2015 and moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to be closer to some of the grandchildren and to put more time into translating, and now serves as the part-time pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Rib Lake, and Zion Lutheran Church, Ogema, Wisconsin. His wife Shirley works as a librarian in South Milwaukee and Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
This year the theme of the Reformation Lectures was “Luther’s Three Treatises: The Reformation Platform.” The first lecture, given by Prof. Em. Erling Teigen, was entitled, “Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation.” In this treatise Luther demolishes the three walls of the Catholic church: 1. Temporal power has no jurisdiction over the church. 2. Only the pope can interpret Scripture. 3. No one can summon a church council except the pope. The second lecture, presented by Dr. Erik Herrmann, was entitled, “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church.” In this treatise Luther discusses the three captivities of the medieval church: 1. Communion in one kind. 2. Transubstantiation. 3. The sacrifice of the mass. He rejects the seven Roman sacraments and speaks of two: Baptism and the Bread (LW 36:124). The third lecture, given by the Rev. James Langebartels, was entitled, “The Freedom of a Christian.” Here Luther points out that the Christian man is a perfect lord of all, subject to none, and at the same time, the Christian is a perfect dutiful servant of all, subject to all (LW 31:344).
The complete lectures will be published in the March issue of the Lutheran Synod Quarterly.
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By BLTS on September 1, 2017
The registration for this year’s annual Bjarne W. Teigen Reformation Lectures is up and running.
For more information about this year’s theme, Click Here.
To download the flyer and register by mail, Click Here.
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By BLTS on August 31, 2017
Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary began its 72nd academic year with an opening service in Good Shepherd Chapel on August 21, 2017. Dr. Timothy Schmeling delivered the homily on Genesis 12:1–8, focusing on Father Abraham as a Model for Seminarians. Drawing on the life of Abraham, Prof. Schmeling illuminated the temptations to pride and doubt in the holy ministry. He noted that the continual swing of the pendulum between hubris and self-loathing marks human life ever after the fall. This spiritual disorder comes from our repeated attempts to anchor our being in the shifting sands of our own character and accomplishments. Only Christ and his righteousness, credited to us through his holy life and death, can bring calm and stillness. Not only that, only he can give us true confidence in the Lord and the power to do all things through him. Prof. Schmeling then explained that just as the Promised Messiah guided Abraham through his sojourn, Christ will do the same for us. He will be with us in all the trials of the public ministry and in the burdens of life. He, who alone could offer himself on the holy mount so that we might have life for all eternity, could never leave us nor forsake us in this present sin-stricken reality. Now, as in Abraham’s day, God claims you and me as his own so that other people may experience his blessings through us. As we go about our daily lives, we find people who are hurting. At such times, God calls us to pray on their behalf like Abraham prayed for Sodom and Gomorrah. He wants us to plant our altars in their midst and comfort them with the Gospel of forgiveness. The God of Abraham wants to befriend them and serve them through us. Abraham was indeed a blessing for all nations through the promised Messiah.
The teaching staff for the seminary this semester is as follows:
- Thomas Kuster (communication)
- Nathan Nass (multi-cultural studies)
- Timothy Schmeling (Old Testament, symbolics, homiletics)
- Michael Smith (New Testament, hermeneutics, homiletics)
- Gaylin Schmeling (dogmatics, homiletics)
The seminary enrollment this year numbers fourteen. There are two vicars, one senior, five middlers, five juniors, and one special student. The vicars are Noah Thompson at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Frankenmuth, Michigan) and Christian Walz at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Indianola, Iowa).
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By BLTS on May 16, 2017
The Commencement Service for Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, which included both the assignment of calls and graduation of students, occurred on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Trinity Chapel. Prof. Adolph Harstad 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 Romans 10:5–15 with the theme “It’s Better than Rocket Science and Brain Surgery, But Much Less Complicated.” Prof. Harstad explained from the words of Paul and Moses that both the Law and the Gospel are very clear and accessible to everyone. No one has to search above, below, or across the oceans to find either of them and learn what they mean. They are as close as our mouths and hearts when we speak and believe them. But Law and Gospel are also completely different from each other. Only one of them can bring God’s own righteousness to sinners condemned by the Law of Moses. The Ministry of the Gospel is not complicated. It consists of four things: God’s clear message of righteousness freely given through Jesus, a messenger with “beautiful feet” to deliver the message, an audience to hear it, and a “call” to proclaim it publicly. That’s not rocket science or brain surgery. It’s better and less complicated. The four men being assigned have the privilege of carrying out this wonderful work. They have “beautiful feet” as they run with God’s Gospel.
In this service, Professor Adolph Harstad was recognized for 26 years of faithful service to the seminary upon his retirement. He has led our seminary Old Testament studies and has distinguished himself as an author of several excellent commentaries.
Graduates from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree were Aaron Ferkenstad and Kurtis Freimuth. Aaron Ferkenstad was assigned as pastor of King of Grace Lutheran Church (Golden Valley, Minesota) and Kurtis Freimuth was assigned as pastor of Peace Lutheran Church (Kissimmee, Florida). Noah Thompson was assigned as vicar of St. John’s Lutheran Church (Frankenmuth, Michigan) and Christian Walz was assigned as vicar of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Indianola, Iowa).
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By BLTS on May 10, 2017
Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary held its annual Commencement Service on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. This annual service features both the Graduation of the students who have completed the seminary program, and the Assignment of Calls for pastoral candidates and vicars. This year two men graduated with M.Div. degrees: Aaron Ferkenstad and Kurtis Freimuth.
The assignments were as follows:
- Aaron Ferkenstad—King of Grace Lutheran Church, Golden Valley, Minnesota
- Kurtis Freimuth—Peace Lutheran Church, Kissimmee, Florida
- Noah Thompson—St. John’s Lutheran Church Frankenmuth, Michigan (under Rev. Jeff Luplow)
- Christian Walz—Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Indianola, Iowa (under Rev. Robert Harting)
We pray for God’s blessings on these men as they preach the Gospel to His flocks.
Posted in News
By BLTS on March 13, 2017
The seminary commencement service will be held on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. in Trinity Chapel. The Rev. Adolph Harstad will be the preacher, President Gaylin Schmeling will serve as liturgist, and the Rev. Herbert Huhnerkoch will represent the Board of Regents. The following will graduate from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree: Aaron Ferkenstad and Kurtis Freimuth.
Following the commencement service, there will be a reception in Honsey Hall honoring the graduates and Prof. Adolph Harstad for his 26 years of faithful service at Bethany Seminary on his retirement.
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By BLTS on December 6, 2016
Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Schmeling has accepted the divine call to serve as Professor of Old Testament, Symbolics, and Church History. He will assume his new role at the seminary in Fall 2017.
He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Theology and History at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota. Prior to that he was a parish pastor in Sebastian, Florida and served his vicarage in Ukiah, California. He holds a Ph.D. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri; an M.Div. from Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary; and a B.A. from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minnesota. He and his wife, Annette, live in Mankato with their two children. God bless his work among us teaching the next generation of pastors for the ELS.
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