Forum to offer `wake-up call to Lutherans`

Prominent scholars from several Christian traditions are expected to issue a strong “wake-up call to Lutherans” at a two-day forum sponsored by the Concordia Seminary Institute on Lay Vocation in St. Louis.

“Lutherans have slept long enough,” said the Institute’s Director, Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto, referring to statements by President Theodore Roosevelt and evangelist Billy Graham, who had both called Lutheranism the “sleeping giant” of American Protestantism.

Titled “Called to Engage the Postmodern World — The Lutheran Voice in Contemporary America,” the forum will feature scholars from The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical denominations.  The event will be held Nov. 3-4 on the seminary campus and will be open to the public — no tickets will be issued.

The conference is designed to highlight the urgent need for Lutherans to witness their faith and offer their pragmatic theological insights in the midst of ever-changing values in contemporary America.

“For too long, Lutherans have been sitting on the sidelines and have allowed others to dominate the discussions concerning society, culture, politics, and government,” Siemon-Netto said.  “Church leaders and scholars from outside the Lutheran church are urging us to let our Lutheran voice be heard.  I hope this forum provides a first step in that direction.”

The forum will feature keynote speakers, respondents, and question-and-answer sessions.

Keynote speakers and their topics will include:

  • Dr. Mark A. Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, “The Need for a Lutheran Perspective on Christianity and Politics.”

  • Dr. Robert L. Rosin, professor of historical theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, “Lutherans Engaging the World: Time to Plant Apple Trees.”

  • Dr. Harold O.J. Brown, the John R. Richardson Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, N.C., “Where Is Luther When We Need Him?”

  • Father Gregory J. Lockwood, professor of systematic theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis, “Lutherans and Catholics — Joined Against Postmodern Confusion?”

  • Dr. Robert Benne, founding director of the Center for Religion and Society, Roanoke College, Salem, Va., “Sunset or Dawn?  The Lutheran Calling to Public Life in America.”

Those who will offer official responses to the keynote presentations include:

  • Dr. Charles P. Arand, professor and chairman of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

  • David Neff, editor of Christianity Today magazine.

  • Dr. Paul Rorem, Benjamin B. Warfield Professor of Medieval History at Princeton Theological Seminary and editor of Lutheran Quarterly.

  • Dr. James W. Voelz, dean of faculty and professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

The forum will begin with a vespers service at 5 p.m. on Nov. 3 in the seminary’s Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus, with seminary President Dale Meyer preaching.  The forum will conclude at noon on Nov. 4.

For more information, call the seminary at (314) 505-7009 or visit its Web site at

Posted Sept. 19, 2006

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