Speakers and responders addressed the challenges to Lutheran seminaries as 43 church leaders and educators from 21 countries met at the International Lutheran Council (ILC) World Seminaries Conference from March 29 to April 1 in Pretoria, South Africa.
The ILC is a worldwide association of confessional Lutheran churches, including The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
Setting the theme for the conference, Dr. Reinhard Slenczka, a theologian from Germany and past rector of Luther Academy in Riga, Latvia, said the central challenge to theologians in a confessional church is “to listen to God’s Word and to follow our Lord as He sends us to all nations.”
Speaking on specific challenges were Dr. Paulo Nerbas, president of the Igreja Evangélical Luterano do Brasil, institutional; Dr. Nelson Unwene, past president of The Lutheran Church of Nigeria, cultural; Dr. Joshua Siromony, principal in charge of Concordia Theological Seminary in Nagercoil, India, ecumenical; and Dr. L. Dean Hempelmann, executive director of the LCMS Board for Pastoral Education, theological. Invited to the conference were two faculty members from each ILC church body that has a seminary, plus representatives of ILC church bodies without seminaries. Several invited guests from non-ILC church seminaries also were invited to participate.
“The papers, contacts and friendships afforded by this conference help to nurture relationships among ILC churches and seminaries in the ILC and to support the development of confessional Lutheran theology,” said Dr. Samuel Nafzger, executive director of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations.
The conference was supported by a grant from the Marvin M. Schwan Charitable Foundation. Similar conferences were held in 2001 and 2004.
Posted April 27, 2007