By the grace and with the neverfailing help of God, we recently completed the first semester of the current academic year — a bit later than we had anticipated according to our tentative calendar because of a variety of special circumstances which the Lord in love had permitted us to bear (and to share) as His dear children for our ultimate good and blessing (Hebrews 12:6ff.). Nevertheless, we chose to extend the term rather than to take the easier alternative of devising shortcuts and making accommodations in course content. That would have been a sacrifice of quality that we are not willing to make.
This past semester, two full time students and one part time student pursued with diligence and Gospel-motivated enthusiasm the theological studies prescribed for them in our seminary curriculum — Jason A. Mabe, now of Oak Forest and a part-time student, taking three second year courses two evenings per week primarily with Pastor Robert Lietz as his professor, and David J. Mensing and Daniel P. Mensing, both full-time students, taking a full load of sixteen credit hours in the first year curriculum with the undersigned as their professor. Without exception, their academic work across the board was excellent, all of them earning a 4.0 average in their courses and making their instructors’ efforts a joy in the Lord!
Our full-time students completed the first semester of Dogmatics I (the nature and concept of Theology almost through the doctrine of Holy Scripture) and of New Testament Greek (I), Introduction to the Holy Scriptures (New Testament Text and Canon), New Testament Isagogics (a general survey of the content of the New Testament books, first half), Theological Hermeneutics (principles of Bible interpretation), and Ecclesiastical Latin (a second year course since they had passed German by proficiency). They also participated in a practicum or internship in the local congregation. Our second year part-time student completed Dogmatics II (the first part of Christology), Old Testament Isagogics (first half), and the Ecclesiastical Latin course.
In the second semester, the coursework for the first-year students will include the second semester of Dogmatics I (through Pneumatology), New Testament Greek (II), Introduction to the Scriptures (Old Testament Text and Canon), New Testament Isagogics (to conclusion), Exegesis (interpretation of selections from Luke and I Peter), and Ecclesiastical Latin. The second year student will complete Dogmatics II, Old Testament Isagogics, and Ecclesiastical Latin. Moreover, all of the students will continue to gain practical experience in their on-going internship.
As usual, all to the glory of God and enabled by His grace, our seminarians continue to do outstanding work in all of their subjects, as well as in the practical application of the doctrine which they have learned both in their own lives and in the local congregation. With praise to the Lord, each and every student continues to show himself to be “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (II Timothy 2:15).
We have been joined this year by Mr. Jim Bielefeldt of St. Mark’s in Sauk Village, Illinois, as an auditor. While auditors usually just sit in and take notes, not being responsible for completing assignments or taking exams since they are not enrolled for credit, Brother Bielefeldt has been a “full participant” in all the first year courses, completed every assignment, and wrote every examination. We are keeping a record of his progress and of his performance in the event he officially matriculates into the program, in which case he can be granted credit for work satisfactorily completed. The addition of Mr. Bielefeldt to our assembled classes increases our broad based discussions and, of course, our mutual edification as we exhort one another with the Holy Scriptures.
May the Lord of the Church continue to bless abundantly our humble efforts to the praise of His grace to train well-prepared candidates of the Ministry for the future of our Conference and its congregations; and may it be His will to grant health and strength to both instructors and students as they carry out their arduous tasks to His glory, but above all steadfastness in His Word and faith in the face of trial, temptation, and Satan’s efforts in these latter days to destroy us, that still we may finally overcome and obtain the victory. For that IS His gracious and good will!
—Professor David T. Mensing