Concordia University Texas

Started by Birkholz, November 09, 2022, 03:37:26 PM

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Jim Butler

Quote from: D. Engebretson on April 19, 2023, 09:15:21 AM
Aside from physical ownership, one area that would be deeply impacted, from my perspective, is how church work preparation is handled.  If they are no longer subject to the ecclesiastical oversight of the Synod, then the Synod would also not be obligated to automatically accept their graduates into church work positions.  Instead, they would have to go through the process of colloquy as any graduate would do if they graduated from an institution outside the LCMS. That would mean additional course work above what they already completed.  I wonder if anyone would therefore go to Concordia-Texas to be a rostered worker in the LCMS knowing that ahead of time.  But, then, perhaps they wish to phase themselves out of that area.

It is for this reason that I wish CTX would have waited until the convention this summer before making this move.

From reading through Board of Directors minutes, it looks as if they will be proposing to dissolve the Concordia University System and introduce a new structure which will effectively spin off the remaining universities. However, their theological departments will be accredited by the Synod for church work purposes.

Unfortunately, the actual proposal hasn't been made public yet. But from reports in the BOD minutes,  that seems to be the direction they are going.
"Pastor Butler... [is] deaf to the cries of people like me, dismissing our concerns as Satanic scenarios, denouncing our faith and our very existence."--Charles Austin

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

#31
Quote from: Michael Slusser on April 18, 2023, 10:41:55 PM
Not a happy scene.

One sentence in the letter strikes me:
QuoteThe CTX BOR's actions come as the BOD's 7-03 Task Force has been working with our universities on a proposal to strengthen them in governance and in ties to the Synod and to its life-giving doctrine and practice.

That seems to me to say that without their relationship with LCMS leadership, Concordia Texas will be cut off from true doctrine and the life it gives. That seems like a fairly drastic kind of excommunication. Can the LCMS leadership really do that?

Peace,
Michael

I think that some denominational colleges that go independent re-present themselves as pan-Christian or Evangelical,  which would signal changes in the doctrine of the Sacraments.  That might be what is behind the board's wording.

Baylor University is a Texas example. Was Baptist but now presents as pan-Christian.

D. Engebretson

Quote from: Jim Butler on April 19, 2023, 09:38:08 AM
Quote from: D. Engebretson on April 19, 2023, 09:15:21 AM
Aside from physical ownership, one area that would be deeply impacted, from my perspective, is how church work preparation is handled.  If they are no longer subject to the ecclesiastical oversight of the Synod, then the Synod would also not be obligated to automatically accept their graduates into church work positions.  Instead, they would have to go through the process of colloquy as any graduate would do if they graduated from an institution outside the LCMS. That would mean additional course work above what they already completed.  I wonder if anyone would therefore go to Concordia-Texas to be a rostered worker in the LCMS knowing that ahead of time.  But, then, perhaps they wish to phase themselves out of that area.

It is for this reason that I wish CTX would have waited until the convention this summer before making this move.

From reading through Board of Directors minutes, it looks as if they will be proposing to dissolve the Concordia University System and introduce a new structure which will effectively spin off the remaining universities. However, their theological departments will be accredited by the Synod for church work purposes.

Unfortunately, the actual proposal hasn't been made public yet. But from reports in the BOD minutes,  that seems to be the direction they are going.

Considering how diverse our Concordias have become, with programs ranging widely throughout the medical field, technical fields, etc., this probably makes sense.  Our greatest interest, as a church body, is in church worker training/education/preparation.  The old days when the president was a called worker have also largely passed. I would hope, were this to happen, that the respective institutions would respect the theology/religion departments as being subject to synodical oversight, especially as they choose faculty and design their programs.  I would also hope that the chapel programs would remain consistent with our standards of worship. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Pastor Bob Pase

As a resident of TX, it saddens me deeply that CUT has gone against clearly-stated Bylaws.
But if they want to go, let them ... as long as they take 100% of debt with them. 

Dave Benke

I'm in agreement with RD and Brian on the "life-giving doctrine and practice" phrase.  Its centralized authoritarian framework is about as anti-Missouri Synod as could be imagined.  It's guaranteed to polarize, screaming power and control as the underlying motives.

At the same time, I'm not sure, to Jim Butler's point, what actually changes with the 7-03 committee new way of organizing and orchestrating the colleges.  What I have taken from it so far is that the changes are designed to keep the national denomination away from future lawsuits such as the one they're facing as a result of the closing of Portland, while continuing the national level's involvement in leadership succession and other mattered and continuing to own the property in case of closure.  I hasten to add I don't have any inside info on what's finally coming out. 

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Steven W Bohler

"In keeping with the objectives and the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod, the Board of Directors of Concordia University System shall ...(i) have authority, after receiving the consent of the Board of Directors of the Synod by its two-thirds vote and also the consent of one of: the appropriate board of regents by its two-thirds vote, the Council of Presidents by its two-thirds vote or the Concordia University System Board of Directors by its two-thirds vote, to consolidate, relocate, separate, or divest a college or university."
------------------------------------------------------------------


From the 2019 Synod Handbook (Bylaw 3.6.6.4 on pages 131-132).  It seems to me that while the CTX BOR may certainly request separation, they do not have the authority to bring it about themselves; that would be up to the Board of Directors of the Concordia University System (after receiving consent from 2/3 of the synod BOD).  So the CTX BOR seems to have jumped at least two steps in the process.

D. Engebretson

If it turns out that the Synod does not actually "own" the institution, I wonder if they can simply emancipate themselves legally, disregarding the Synod's handbook and bylaws? Above my pay grade, but maybe someone knows.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Benke

Quote from: D. Engebretson on April 19, 2023, 10:39:48 AM
If it turns out that the Synod does not actually "own" the institution, I wonder if they can simply emancipate themselves legally, disregarding the Synod's handbook and bylaws? Above my pay grade, but maybe someone knows.

I think property ownership is problematic for distancing the national church body, at least in general terms.  If I own the house and someone slips and falls, my insurance policy needs to be paid up, not my sister's. 

I've always felt that if the national denomination elects board members, then the national body is involved and committed.  And if the national lead officer (President) and another national officer (CUS) are on a three person panel that approves anyone for succession in a college (prior approval) then the national level has authority. 

Are those three things changing?  I have not seen the final proposal, but I am going to doubt it at present.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Dave Likeness

#38
It has been apparent for the past 40 years at least that
the Concordia University System is no longer strictly focused
on producing church workers for the LCMS.

Concordia University Wisconsin offers degrees for Nurses,
Pharmacists, Chemical Engineers, Industrial Engineers,
Computer Science, Paralegals to name just a few.

Concordia University Seward, Nebraska is perhaps the
most productive in graduating Lutheran School teachers,
and Directors of Christian Education

Bottom Line: The times are a changing.
.

Dan Fienen

A Lutheran University can have pure doctrine and be centered around God's saving grace without having a direct connection to the LCMS. It's like a company can produce safe and effective products without having the Good Housekeeping Seal or be certified by the Underwriters Laboratories. Its that GH and UL have known standards and are trusted. If CUT wants to go off on their own they could maintain the highest standards of Lutheran teachings but they would not have the LCMS vouching for what is taught. As was mentioned before, that especially is a concern if they want to continue to prepare LCMS church workers.


That leaves aside such concerns as ownership of the physical plant and any accumulated debt.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

John_Hannah

Just how many church worker students does CUT have? What is the percentage? I suspect that it is less than 3-5%.

It has been a long time since the Concordias were primarily producers of pastors and teachers.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

PrTim15

The governance certainly needs to change. LCMS can't be out on CUPortland and in on CTX.  Stands to reason that the current litigants at Portland are watching this closely. What a sticky wicket.

peter_speckhard

The question becomes whether or not the teaching that goes on is handing down knowledge apart from faith. Of course any online explication of the Confessions can do that. But Lutheranism isn't doctrine divorced from faith and life, and there is no Christianity apart from the concrete, living, breathing sacramental community called the church.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Quote from: peter_speckhard on April 19, 2023, 02:11:02 PM
The question becomes whether or not the teaching that goes on is handing down knowledge apart from faith. Of course any online explication of the Confessions can do that. But Lutheranism isn't doctrine divorced from faith and life, and there is no Christianity apart from the concrete, living, breathing sacramental community called the church.

I was reflecting on Psalm 19 just this morning,  which begins with the word of creation and goes on to describe the perfect word of the Lord. In our doctrine and confession these are fully compatible and the mission of a Lutheran university would do its students great service presenting the two together for any topic of study. How to do that and maintain it contrary to changing culture and financial challenges?

D. Engebretson

#44
Quote from: John_Hannah on April 19, 2023, 12:54:51 PM
Just how many church worker students does CUT have? What is the percentage? I suspect that it is less than 3-5%.

It has been a long time since the Concordias were primarily producers of pastors and teachers.

Peace, JOHN

It seems hard to find statistics in this area, but I did notice that in 2014 CSP reported only 9% of their students as being enrolled in church work programs, compared to 21% just 10 years prior in 2004.  I suspect this is somewhat typical for many of the Concordias, and may be lower now 7 years later.  CUW boasts (at least as of 2021) the largest number church work candidates at 224, and the largest pre-seminary program at 61 candidates.  Combined that would represent only about 9% of its undergraduate students overall. 

Many of our Concordias, for years, have been developing non-church work programs in all kinds of diverse fields to offset this decline and in order to remain viable as an institution.  A few years ago I taught on online upper level theology course at CSP and out of the original 20 students I had, not one was a church-work student.  And some where not even churched, or possibly even Christian. 

None of our Concordias can keep up with the demand for church workers.  I'm sure there are a number of reasons for this, including the burden of cost and low pay upon graduation, but I think there are other cultural issues at play, as well.  The world has changed.  For example, we know, statistically speaking, that the number of processed Christians has dropped over the years and the number of unaffiliated and those identifying as "none" has risen.  The pool from which we might draw is not nearly as deep or wide.  This impacts all of our Concordias. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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