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Over 500 Attend Theological Symposium at Concordia Seminary

More than 500 participants attended the 16th Annual Theological Symposium, “It Just Doesn’t Make Sense: Wrestling with God’s Will in a Tragic World,” held Sept. 21-22 on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Pastors, district and synodical officials, Seminary and Concordia University students and faculty, and interested laypersons were in attendance. The symposium explored the ways in which believers address questions regarding the nature and plan of God, and the responsibility of human beings in the context of evil’s onslaughts in the lives of people around the world.

One participant commented, “The responders were well-chosen, well-prepared and helpful.” Another said, “The topics were outstanding—they opened my eyes to the depth of the questions posed.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Dr. Douglas K. Blount, associate professor of philosophy and religion, assistant dean for ethics and philosophical studies and editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, began the presentations with “What’s at Stake? It Just Doesn’t Make Sense: Wrestling with God’s Will in a Tragic World.”

Another plenary session speaker, Dr. Henry L. Rowold, mission professor of practical theology at Concordia Seminary, offered the address “What Do You Say…When a Twin Towers or a Tsunami Happen?”

Dr. R. Reed Lessing, interim vice president for student life and associate professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary, presented “What Do You Say…When a Person Asks, ‘Pastor What Should I Pray For?’”

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, Dr. John H. Patton, professor of pastoral theology emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Ga., offered the address “What Do You Say…When You Ask, ‘How Do I Determine God’s Will for My Life?”

Dr. Glenn A. Nielson, professor of practical theology and director of vicarage at Concordia Seminary, presented the plenary summary, “What Have We Learned; What Issues Remain?” The summary was followed by sectional presentations.

Following the symposium, Dr. A.R. Victor Raj, mission professor of exegetical theology and assistant director of the Institute for Mission Studies, presented a workshop titled, “The Act of God and the Acts of God: Studies in 1 Peter.” The Sept. 21-22 workshop highlighted how human suffering engenders Christian hope and opens the door for Christian witness.

The 17th Annual Theological Symposium is tentatively scheduled to take place Sept. 19-20, 2006. For more information, contact Continuing Education and Parish Services, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105; 314-505-7123;