Tietjen dies; sem president during controversy

Dr. John H. Tietjen, president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, through the early 1970s and prominent in the Synod’s doctrinal controversy at that time, died Feb. 15 at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, of complications from cancer.Tietjen

Tietjen, 75, was pastor emeritus of Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Worth, where his funeral was held Feb. 19, followed by interment at Greenwood Memorial Park in the Fort Worth area.

Tietjen was the seminary’s president from 1969 to 1974, when he was suspended by its board of control primarily on what was reported as “charges of malfeasance in performing the duties of his office and advocacy of false doctrine.”

His suspension led to a “walkout” from the campus of the majority of seminary students and faculty on Feb. 19, 1974 — 30 years ago — after which they formed Concordia Seminary in Exile (Christ Seminary-Seminex) elsewhere in the St. Louis area.

Tietjen was instrumental in formation of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, a group of about 400 Missouri Synod congregations that merged with the Lutheran Church in America and The American Lutheran Church to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1987. That same year, “Seminex” merged with the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.

Tietjen was elected to be the first bishop of the ELCA’s Metropolitan Chicago Synod in 1987, but resigned four months later.

A 1953 graduate of the St. Louis seminary, Tietjen accepted the call to the ELCA congregation in Fort Worth in 1989, shortly after Seminex was dissolved.

Dr. John F. Johnson, current president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, expressed the seminary’s sympathy and said, “While Dr. Tietjen’s years at Concordia Seminary were turbulent, we join in giving thanks to God for calling him to faith in Jesus Christ and for the eternal assurance this brings.”

Tietjen’s survivors include his wife, Ernestine, of Fort Worth; four children — Catherine Ann Tietjen of Weatherford, Texas; Mary Angela Mindrup, Olathe, Kan.; Sarah Eliza-beth Ross, Abilene, Texas; and Laurence John Tietjen, Town and Coun-try, Mo.; and seven grandchildren.

Posted Feb. 25, 2004

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