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Theological Symposium Addresses Confessional Unity

“Identifying Authorities: The Limits of Theological Diversity and Confessional Unity” is the title of the 14th Annual Theological Symposium to be held Sept. 23-24 on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The Symposium will include analysis of the growing diversity in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), illustrations of its impact and concrete proposals for change.

“As a church committed to biblical theology as expressed through the Lutheran Confessions, how do we remain faithful to that calling amidst increasingly diverse contexts?”commented Dr. Andrew Bartelt, vice president for academic affairs and professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary. “Are there forces at work among us beyond Scripture and the Confessions that function as ‘tertiary authorities’ and become the lenses through which we interpret both Scripture and our Confessions? Building on the work of last year’s Theological Symposium, we will continue to focus on the theological dynamics that both unite and threaten to divide our church today.”

Major presentations for the event include “By Which Authority: Diversity in the Midst of Unity” by Dr. Bartelt; “Applying the Confessions to Issues They Did Not Envision” by Dr. Charles Arand, associate vice president for academic affairs and professor and chairman of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; and “Theological Eyes: The Authorities Between Us and the Scriptures/Confessions” by Dr. Patrick Keifert of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. Additional sectionals also will be offered and, in a new practice, Symposium participants will be invited to take part in one of three working groups to be formed by Concordia Seminary faculty members in the areas of practical, systematic and exegetical theology.

Other presentations include “Reaching Back to the Early Church” by Dr. William Weinrich, academic dean and professor of historical theology, patristic studies, New Testament and systematic theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.; “Reaching Out to American Evangelicalism” by Dr. Glenn Nielsen, associate professor of practical theology and director of vicarage at Concordia Seminary; and “Reaching In to Historical Missouri Synod” by Dr. Ken Schurb, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Moberly, Mo.

Following the symposium, Dr. Victor Raj, mission professor of exegetical theology and assistant director of the Institute for Mission Studies, will lead an evangelism workshop titled “In a World of Gods, Why Jesus?” on Sept. 24-25.

The Symposium will be held in the Seminary’s newly-renovated Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium, featuring state of the art seating, lighting and multi-media capabilities.

Parish pastors, district and synodical officials, Seminary and Concordia University students and faculty, and interested laypersons are all welcome to attend. One CEU is available for attending the Symposium, and .5 CEU is available for attending the post-symposium workshop.

For information and/or registration information, contact the Office of Continuing Education and Parish Services at (314) 505-7123; or visit the Seminary’s Web site at