St. Louis sem to host theological symposium

“Lutheran Ecclesiology for the Third Millennium: Beyond Walther” is the title of the 19th Annual Theological Symposium, to be held Sept. 23-24 at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

The American Lutheran understanding of what it means to be the church has been shaped by theological heritage and an ambiguous relationship with American culture, according to symposium planners.  As a result, the insights of C.F.W. Walther and Wilhelm Loehe, 19th century figures of American Lutheran ecclesiology, “do not adequately answer the questions posed to Lutheran ecclesiology today.”

This year’s symposium continues the theme of ecclesiology begun at the 2007 event when presenters from outside the Missouri Synod helped participants understand the culture and wider church in which LCMS pastors serve.  This year’s event deals with the same topic, but within a specific Lutheran context.

The event is open to parish pastors, district and Synod officials, seminary and Concordia University students and faculty, and interested lay people.  One CEU is available to each attendee.

Main presenters will be:

  • Dr. William Schumacher, dean of theological research and publications and mission associate professor of historical theology, who will discuss “Understanding our Roots — Continuity and Discontinuity.”

  • Dr. Robert Kolb, mission professor of systematic theology, who will address “The Church and her Mission: Toward a Missional Ecclesiology.”

  • Dr. Joel Okamoto, associate professor of systematic theology, who will explore the identity of a church and its relationships to other churches in his paper titled “The Church and the Churches.”

The symposium will conclude with a panel of presenters discussing “The Shape of the Church: What Does All This Mean for the Organizational Shape of the Church on the Local and Transparochial Level?” as they respond to questions submitted by the audience.

Attendees also are invited to stay after the symposium to take part in Witness Workshop 2008, Sept. 24-25 at the seminary.  In four sessions, the workshop will explore “Planting Churches: Paul’s Plan.”  Dr. A.R. Victor Raj, mission professor of exegetical theology and assistant director of the Institute for Mission Studies, will present the apostle Paul as missionary, church planter, and mission theologian, based on Acts and the Letters of Paul.

Registration for the symposium is $110 and does not include meals or lodging.  There is an extra registration fee for the Witness Workshop.

For more information about either event, contact the seminary’s Office of Continuing Education and Parish Services at (314) 505-7486 or  Or, visit the seminary’s Web site at

Posted May 15, 2008

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