by Laura J. Seaman
It is very important that in large Siberian territories our pastors be thoroughly trained theologically,” said the Rev. Alexey Streltsov, rector of Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) in Novosibirsk, Russia. “They must preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments correctly, because the salvation of their people depends on it. So that’s why we … are so serious about how we prepare pastors and teachers for the Church.”
Formal pastoral education in the LCMS begins within the walls of our seminaries and impacts Lutheran church bodies around the world. Thanks to a special grant 15 years ago, Streltsov was able to study at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., and afterward was called to be the rector of the newly established LTS in Novosibirsk, where he has been serving since 1997.
“My education at the seminary formed my theological vision, character and understanding,” he said. “It also provided me with the hermeneutical key to Scripture, the Confessions and the totality of theological expression.”
Global Seminary Education is a key component of training, equipping and preparing servants of the Church for LCMS partner churches around the world. LCMS partner churches have more than 20 seminaries globally that teach and nurture pastors in Lutheran theology, in order that they can serve in their local church bodies with Word and Sacrament.
In partnership with the two LCMS seminaries in the United States, professors have traveled to places including Siberia, South Africa, India, Latvia, Argentina, Kenya, Lithuania, Chile and many other countries to instruct and advise students in confessional Lutheran theology.
The Rev. Dr. Timothy C.J. Quill, director of Global Seminary Education for the LCMS Office of International Mission, said there is still a need for Western missionaries in the 21st century. He said, “Everywhere I travel bishops, seminary presidents, faculty and pastors are pleading with the LCMS to (1) send qualified professors to teach at their seminaries and (2) make it possible for the brightest and best (the next generation of teachers and church leaders) to study at our
two seminaries in Fort Wayne and
Pastors like Streltsov who are being trained by LCMS seminary professors, domestically or abroad, are able to serve their native lands with proper preaching and teaching of the Law and Gospel. The LCMS has had such an impact on the seminary in Novosibirsk and, Streltsov said, “Russian Lutherans have found their identity, which is allegiance to the Lutheran Confessions.”
“My education at the seminary formed my theological vision.”
–Rev. Alexey Streltsov
Lutheran theology speaks beyond our cultural understandings, and the world is becoming attuned to that reality. That means LCMS mission fields are changing, and the focus is shifting to the emerging churches that are discovering their Lutheran identity. When these churches seek out the LCMS for guidance toward clear proclamation of the Gospel, it is in a position to help provide training and encouragement to them as their churches mature and grow.
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