A Look Ahead on the New Seminary Year
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many
witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men,
who shall be able to teach others also.”
— II Timothy 2:2
This directive of the Apostle Paul to Timothy is the directive that is ours as theological professors in these latter days of sore distress. We are to commit to our students what was once committed to us, namely in particular, the pure doctrines of God’s precious Word, the teachings set forth by “the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20) in clear and certain sedes doctrinae (Bible prooftexts), correctly understood and sincerely embraced in the course of our own theological training and subsequent pastoral work. And this we are to do so that they, in turn, are able to teach them, first of all, “to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost [will have] made [them] overseers” when they are, God-willing, called into the pastoral ministry, but secondly then also to other “faithful men” who, in the future, may “desire the office of a bishop” (I Timothy 3:1) and need to be trained for such work (II Timothy 2:15).
It is therefore our “job description,” solemn duty, and great privilege, both moved and enabled by the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16; II Corinthians 5:14; I John 4:19; II Corinthians 3:6), to declare unto our students “all the counsel of God,” as St. Paul exemplified the fulfillment of this responsibility in his preparation of the pastors in Ephesus (Acts 20:27). And, since Scripture, and not merely church tradition, makes this a priority for us, thorough theological training is the fifth object of our Concordia Lutheran Conference according to its Constitution (Article III).
On Monday, August 26th, our seminarians, David J. Mensing of Oak Forest, Illinois, and Daniel P. Mensing of Tinley Park — full-time students thanks to the consecrated offerings of our people to support them — embarked upon their fifth and presumably final year of study in our theological curriculum, both of them carrying a class load of seventeen credit hours per semester, involving intensive academic work more typical of graduate study than of undergraduate work.
This year, the academic load includes two courses taught by Professor Lietz: Dogmatics V (Church and Ministry, Election, and Eschatology) and Comparative Symbolics (comparing the doctrine and practice of sectarian Christian churches and of non-Christian sects and cults with the true teachings of the Lutheran Church) — and two taught by Professor Mensing: Church History IV (the Lutheran church bodies in particular during the Twentieth Century and up to the present time) and Homiletics III (the construction, outlining, writing and delivery of sermons). In addition, Professors Lietz and Mensing are co-teaching Pastoral Theology (the practical application of Christian doctrine in the work of the Pastoral Office of the local congregation). All of these courses earn three credit hours per semester and meet three class-hours per week. Then there is also the Practicum or internship in the local congregation under the supervision of Professor Mensing (2 credit hours per semester).
Professor Lietz’s classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from nine o’clock until 12:30 p.m. in Oak Park. Professor Mensing’s classes meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from nine o’clock until noon and from three until four o’clock in the afternoon in Oak Forest. The co-taught Pastoral Theology class meets in Oak Park from 1:15 until 2:45 in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Practicum is fitted in at unscheduled hours with a Practicum Consult arranged for Saturday mornings as needed. Between these hours scheduled for seminary work, the professors schedule their congregational work, including instructional classes and meetings, and prepare for their seminary classes. Needless to say, it is a full day, seven days a week, for everybody.
We eagerly look forward to our students’ preaching during this fifth year, as they put to practical use virtually ALL of the knowledge they have been accumulating over the past four years and more, preparing and delivering with power textual, orthodox, and edifying sermons in the name of Jesus (in nomine Iesu) and with the help of God (cum auxilio Dei)! In the first semester, Mr. Daniel Mensing will preach at Peace and at St. Mark’s on the first Sunday of each month and at Trinity on the third Sunday. Mr. David Mensing will preach at Trinity on the second Sunday of each month and at Peace and St. Mark’s on the fourth Sunday. In the second semester, additional sermons will be preached in the midweek Lenten services. We ask our people to keep the students in their prayers, specifically concerning their preaching, that the Lord grant them joy and gladness in the undertaking of this great privilege and the chief duty of the pastoral office (II Timothy 4:2a)!
Finally, our people can look forward even now to the tentative schedule planned for the end of this final year of theological training: God-willing, final examinations will be held the week of May 19 through May 23, followed by a Special Pastoral Conference on May 29 and 30 for the exit colloquy of our students, and then the Graduation Service at Peace in Oak Forest on Sunday, June 1, at 4:00 p.m. with a dinner reception immediately thereafter. Our Conference brethren, as they are able, are cordially invited to attend the graduation festivities! Upon their graduation, the men will be certified candidates of the reverend ministry (c.r.m.’s), fit and prepared to undertake, at the call of the Holy Ghost, the Pastoral Office of a local Christian congregation. In the meantime, as they complete their remaining coursework, we ask all the brethren to beg the Lord’s continued blessings upon our joint work in this important endeavor to the praise of His grace!
— Professor David T. Mensing