Highlighting the Walkout

Started by PrTim15, February 19, 2024, 10:58:51 AM

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PrTim15

Any guesses about the ongoing emphasis on the Walkout on LCMS socials?

Jeremy_Loesch

I've seen five or six of my friends on Facebook sharing the photos provided by Concordia Historical Institute.  The Institute's brief write up goes along with the "company line", which doesn't bother me.  My dad graduated and was ordained in 1967, his father in law was on the staff and faculty of CSL, and Dad had strong opinions.  The CHI write up includes some lament for the experience and some thanksgiving for the ability to move forward and be involved in ministry for God and people. 

Some of my friends add their own commentary to the CHI stuff.  Some are more strident than others, some are more sorrowful. 

Jeremy 

PrTim15

This is a great post. My father did his MDiv upgrade from a BDiv in the shadow of the walking out in about 1976 or so. My family took the train from Flagstaff AZ to St. Louis, my sister and I were talking about it yesterday. It was pretty melancholy and quiet at seminary as I remember it as a young teenager. Riding up the arch was cool. Those were sad times.

Jeremy_Loesch

Thanks for sharing that Tim.  I approach the walkout primarily from an historical perspective.  I'm 50yo.  My dad was a lot closer to the event.  I wanted to add that I appreciated CHI's attempt at even-handedness.  There was no triumph- "We won! We saved the Bible!  We kicked those $%#%^ out!" nor was there any sense of tragedy- "How could they do that?! What have they wrought?!"

It was indeed a sad time.  A pastor in our circuit is a Seminex grad, a pastor of compassion, wisdom, integrity.  I believe that he still carries those days in his daily life.  He is probably going to speak at one of our circuit pastors meetings and we're going to look at the CSL journal that had a few articles in it.

Jeremy

Dan Fienen

#4
I was a Senior College senior 50 years ago. It was a traumatic time on the Senior College campus, I can only imagine what it was like on the campus of 801 or what would become Christ Seminary (Seminex). I'm currently reading the articles in the Spring (Vol. 97, No. 1) issue of the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly. They have three main articles, two from student who remained at 801 during the walkout and for the rest of their seminary time, and one from a student who walked out but later returned to the LCMS. The next (Summer) issue will have articles from two Springfield Seminary professors who taught at Concordia Seminary in the spring of '74, and articles from a Springfield student and Senior College student from those days. Not surprising these articles are generally sympathetic to the LCMS understanding of these events.

Reflecting back 50 years later, I do not regret the side I stood on or the stand I took, but likely would regret some things I said or did, if I remembered them. It was a fraught time. I do remember thinking that spring that both sides were at times lacking in love. It was (and for that matter, still is) easy to forget that those on the other side were our brothers in Christ, fellow sinners for whom Christ shed His blood and to consider that they were speaking and acting at least in part (as much as sinners can with the mixed motives of our sinfulness) out of sincere conviction and dedication to the Truth of the Gospel as they saw it.

An oft cited question thrown from the moderates who walked out or sympathized to us who supported those who remained was, "For God's sake, have you ever considered that you might be wrong?" The obvious implication was that we certainly had never considered that possibility because if we had we would have realized that we were, in fact, wrong and changed sides. I for one did consider that question, considered that I might be wrong, but after prayerful and careful consideration decided no, in the main the side where I stood was right. I have not been convinced otherwise since, although I regret some of what "my side" did during those days. I have also wondered if those on the "other side" ever honestly considered that question themselves. My impression was that they believed that their side was so obviously correct that there was no need to question otherwise.

50 years has past. Schism came, was endured, and where we all are today eventuated. As I said, I cannot and do not regret where I took my stand in those days, but I can regret some of the harsh words and harsh actions that were said and taken by me and those with whom I aligned myself. And I have come to better understand and even somewhat sympathize with those to whom I was opposed. We were all trying, mistaken as we might have been or still are, to serve our Lord and Savior the best we could. And at times that will still lead us into conflict. If conflict there be, may we do so in humbleness, recognizing our own fallibility as well as that of those we oppose, with respect for our fellow redeemed, and continuing concern for the truth of the Gospel and the furtherance of God's Kingdom in which God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen to enlist our poor service.

We are still sinners in a sinful world. As such we still have conflict, discord, disagreement, and hurt. We see this in our churches and between our churches. Much as we may think those we oppose and who oppose us are wrong, we need to consider unless proven otherwise that they are acting in support of the Gospel as they understand it and are fellow sinners for whom Christ shed His blood.

As a nation, conflict and discord has flourished these past years. It is important that we keep a sense of perspective. If we think that discontent and discord in America has never been this bad, political wrangling this extreme, or civil, social, or cultural divides this deep, think back 163 years. Yet it is important for each of us to remember, that those on the other side of the aisle whom we oppose, no matter how wrong we believe they are, are our fellow Americans. In most cases, they are speaking and acting out of sincere concern for our nation, and in the belief that what they stand for is for the good of our nation. A bit of humbleness would be good for all.

Whether we are embroiled in conflict in the Church or Nation, let us reflect on these words from Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." Let us strive to bind up wounds more than cause more wounds in Church and in Community.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Dave Benke

The basic reason for the outflow of Seminex conversation in the Missouri Synod is timing.  It's 50 years later.  Think of the 50th Anniversary Alumni event at Concordia St. Louis this October.  Having attended this past October, there were a few folks there who were no longer in the LCMS and hadn't been for some time, like 45 years or so. 

The era is passing from before us in terms of first person narratives.

Secondly, it's an opportunity, as Dan and Tim indicate, to reflect on what's happened since emotions were fraught and it seemed as though everything was on the table all the time.  What was lost and what was gained along the way?

50 years ago there were a lot more Lutherans running loose in America, weren't there?  Let's guess there are 30% less Lutherans now than then. Plus, there were 210 million Americans there, as opposed to 335 million now.  So 37% more people.  What that meant to me then was that it could be expected that I could serve 40 years or more in a congregational setting that could give me opportunity to shepherd a flock and be compensated upon ordination.  Is that still the case?  We've "lost" a significant amount of people. Without "losing" numbers of congregations anywhere near that percentage level. Why?  How?

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

John Mundinger

Quote from: Dave Benke on February 19, 2024, 02:23:27 PM50 years ago there were a lot more Lutherans running loose in America, weren't there?  Let's guess there are 30% less Lutherans now than then. Plus, there were 210 million Americans there, as opposed to 335 million now.  So 37% more people.  What that meant to me then was that it could be expected that I could serve 40 years or more in a congregational setting that could give me opportunity to shepherd a flock and be compensated upon ordination.  Is that still the case?  We've "lost" a significant amount of people. Without "losing" numbers of congregations anywhere near that percentage level. Why?  How

There is merit in thinking that we are called to be faithful, not called to be successful.  However, the statistics that you cite suggest that the Great Commission did not inform the motivations of those on either side of the schism.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

RDPreus

I was away in college (CSP) during the walkout, so I missed the excitement.  Many of the children of the faculty majority (later Seminex) were my friends.  I don't recall that the controversy adversely affected our friendships.  My siblings and I were friends with children of Tietjen, Weyermann, Werberig, Scharlemann, Bill Danker, Bertram, Krentz, Constable, Lueker, Sauer, Habel, and a few others.  We all lived on campus.  We played together.  It was a great place to live.  We owned the campus.  It was our neighborhood. I got married and graduated from college the year after the walkout, my father was called to be president at CTS in Springfield, and so ended that part of my life.  As I recall, the only St. Louis seminary prof who lived on campus before the walkout and still lived there a year later was Martin Scharlemann.  He took a lot of hits from old friends who judged him severely, but I saw him as an honorable man.

My opinion then and now is that the faculty majority thought that they would get sympathy from around the synod by walking off and engaging in "Operation Outreach."  They miscalculated.  Most Missourians were unsympathetic to their cause.  They lived in an echo chamber.  After they left, reality set in.  Now, fifty years later, as we look at these events as history, we often miss the role that old fashioned hubris played in the drama.  While the faculty majority thought it was a really big deal and a crisis for the church that John Tietjen got fired, most Missourians didn't much care.

Charles Austin

Pastor Preus:
most Missourians didn't much care.

Me:
You are still whistling past the cemetery. The hundreds of congregations that left cared. Facebook postings today report on the continuing pain and trauma felt by people involved, including the children of the professors.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands who stayed in the LCMS cared, just not enough to take certain kinds of actions. They kept their heads down and went on.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

RDPreus

Quote from: Charles Austin on February 19, 2024, 05:08:45 PMPastor Preus:
most Missourians didn't much care.

Me:
You are still whistling past the cemetery. The hundreds of congregations that left cared. Facebook postings today report on the continuing pain and trauma felt by people involved, including the children of the professors.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands who stayed in the LCMS cared, just not enough to take certain kinds of actions. They kept their heads down and went on.


You may be right.  The fact remains that most Missourians didn't much care.

Dan Fienen

Quote from: Charles Austin on February 19, 2024, 05:08:45 PMPastor Preus:
most Missourians didn't much care.

Me:
You are still whistling past the cemetery. The hundreds of congregations that left cared. Facebook postings today report on the continuing pain and trauma felt by people involved, including the children of the professors.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands who stayed in the LCMS cared, just not enough to take certain kinds of actions. They kept their heads down and went on.

Many people from all sides of the controversy suffered loss and hurt, not just those from the Seminex tribe. Tell me, do you waste much sympathy for the losers in the ELCA schism of 2009? If Seminex succeeded in taking over Missouri as they figured they would, would you be wasting any sympathy for the losers who would have lost family, positions, their churches, and suffered pain and trauma? Or would you figure that they deserved it for being wrong and standing in the way of God given progress.

It has been said that the winners write the history. That may have been true at one time, but no longer. For 50 years the losers of 1974 have been trying to write the history of that time with them as the tragic heroes and those they sought to overcome and subdue or cast out as the evil oppressors, enemies of all that was good and virtuous, and enemies of God. Many have bought into that narrative. It is your official accepted history. 

You had, as it were, a ring side seat as a working journalist and associated with LCUSA. You personally knew many of the people in the ring. I also had a ring side seat as a Senior at the Senior College. Don't try to tell me that I am ignorant of what actually happened in that time, or should accept your caricatures of those you despised at the time and have never revisited your judgment as objective truth on your word as an impartial journalist. You were and are no more impartial than I was or am.

Yes, I do consider and regret the unnecessary hurt and trauma suffered by many on the Seminex side. As I posted earlier:

QuoteReflecting back 50 years later, I do not regret the side I stood on or the stand I took, but likely would regret some things I said or did, if I remembered them. It was a fraught time. I do remember thinking that spring that both sides were at times lacking in love. It was (and for that matter, still is) easy to forget that those on the other side were our brothers in Christ, fellow sinners for whom Christ shed His blood and to consider that they were speaking and acting at least in part (as much as sinners can with the mixed motives of our sinfulness) out of sincere conviction and dedication to the Truth of the Gospel as they saw it.
You apparently have no regrets for the trauma suffered by those on the side you did not support but despised. You seem not to be at all willing to consider that any of them even suffered any trauma.

So be it. You have your history, I have mine. The facts are still being explored and discovered. Even at 50 years it is too soon for history to begin to render impartial judgment.

It was a traumatic time and many suffered for supporting what they believed was the truth, in support of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as they understood and believed it, and many from all sides said and did things that were unreasonable and unnecessarily hurtful. Much happened that should be regretted.

But in the end, I do not regret the side on which I stood and not because it was the side that in the end prevailed. I stood on what I believed and believe was the truth and for the good of God's Kingdom. I regret that the battle was so destructive for all concerned.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

If that is true, Pastor Preus, and I don't think it is, but if it is true, then "most Missourians" have a rather terrible view of Church and a very perverse attitude towards being a member of a fellowship of Christians.
I guess I have a higher view of "most Missourians" than you do.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

Terry W Culler

And Rev. Austin proves Pr. Fienen's Point
"No particular Church has ... a right to existence, except as it believes itself the most perfect from of Christianity, the form which of right, should and will be universal."
Charles Porterfield Krauth

Matthew Borrasso

"Too often we attack or defend before we have genuinely understood." - Anthony Thiselton

PrTim15

https://www.csl.edu/2024/02/president-egger-offers-reflection-on-50th-anniversary-of-the-walkout/

This is a good piece.  The list of profs is alot of guys i had in late 80's. I grieve the connection and community guys had in Senior College. That education was best for ever.

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