From the Worldwide Faith News archives

LCMS - All 35 districts schedule theological conferences

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 30 Dec 2002 11:40:44 -0800

The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
Board for Communication Services

LCMSNews -- No. 84
December 27, 2002

All 35 districts schedule theological conferences

By David L. Mahsman

The process that began in August with a "model theological conference" in
Scottsdale, Ariz., is continuing in all 35 of The Lutheran Church--Missouri
Synod's districts.

The Scottsdale conference was to be a model for district events as well as a
forum that would focus on what Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions teach
about church fellowship.  The districts are following up.

Eight already have held conferences on fellowship issues since the
Scottsdale event.  Most of the 35 districts have their conferences scheduled
for this year, though, with the last one currently set for January 2004 in
the Florida-Georgia District.

"The Scottsdale conference was a very good beginning; we were actually
talking to one another ... under Scripture and the Confessions," said Dr.
Samuel H. Nafzger, executive director of the Commission on Theology and
Church Relations (CTCR).

The idea began with a request by Synod President Gerald Kieschnick, who
asked the CTCR, in consultation with the Council of Presidents, to plan
conferences that would provide opportunity to discuss doctrinal issues that
are in dispute in the Synod.

Dr. David P. Scaer, professor of systematic theology at Concordia
Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., said that he took a positive view of
the Scottsdale conference "because it put the cards on the table."  Scaer is
a member of the CTCR and of the joint CTCR COP theological-conference
planning committee.

Another member of the committee, Florida-Georgia District President Gerhard
Michael, said that he is "hopeful and confident" that the conferences will
bring people together.

"My feeling is that speaking and listening -- with the emphasis on listening
-- helps [participants] understand other perspectives," Michael said.  He
said that those who attended Florida-Georgia District conferences on the
Lord's Supper in recent years, for example, "were drawn together" as they
studied and dialogued under the Word of God.

Nafzger said that the planning committee agreed at a Dec. 4 meeting in St.
Louis that there should be no more national conferences until after the 2004
Synod convention.  "We wanted to let this round [of conferences] play out,"
he said.

Nafzger added that he would like to see a three-year cycle of conferences,
beginning with a model conference on a topic like that in Scottsdale,
followed up by district conferences, then by gatherings at the circuit

Proposals will go to the CTCR and Council of Presidents for approval.  A
second conference in three years also will need funding.  The Scottsdale
conference, which cost $145,000, including travel, lodging and meals for
some 200 participants, was funded by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.


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