Vicar Blog Revived
As you may have noticed, I (Kurt) have not been diligent about updating the Vicar Blog. Sorry about that. I’m planning to change all that, though, buy regularly updating the blog (at least once a week). Each week I’ll write about what Bill and I are discussing in our classes so you can be aware of what we are leaning, ask questions, send some encouragement, or…anything else.
The Next Week:
Right now, however, we are in between classes. The next class doesn’t start until March 11th. So, since I’ve been so bad about updating the blog prior to now, I thought I’d spend the next week or so writing about the classes that we’ve already had to catch you up. We’ve had 6 classes so far, so be expecting 5 more blog posts in the next week or so. Why only five? I figured I’d go ahead and start right now. So, I’ll talk about our first class in this post right here…
SMP 101: The Church
Our first class was all about the church. In this class we studied the history of the church, the entire church, the Lutheran church, and the LCMS. We looked at movements like Pietism, Rationalism, and Liberalism and how these movements both effected the understanding of the church and created the denominations we see today.
The Formation of the LCMS:
One of the more interesting things for me was learning about the turbulent start to the LCMS. A group of Lutherans from Germany decided to move to the U.S. to escape the rationalism movement that had greatly influenced the Lutheran church in Germany. At the time, the Lutheran church had a top-down church structure; so even when pastors and church members didn’t agree with the changing teachings, they were being forced into it. So, this group felt they had to leave in order to stay true to teachings of the Bible.
They left under the leadership of Martin Stephan, a rather engaging and strong leader. However, shortly after arriving in Missouri Stephan was accused of immoral behavior worthy of removing his as both pastor and leader of the group, including misusing funds. The disposition of Stephan led to a crisis within the group. The people questioned the legitimacy of the emigration, the authority and calls of the pastors, their existence as a church. They also faced financial hardship due, in part, to the misappropriation of funds by Stephan. The people were also shunned by the neighbors and insulted regularly by the press.
This led them to closely examine the Scriptures for what the church is, how the church is structured, and how pastors are chosen. The result of this was the formation of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod with the first synodical president, C.F.W. Walther.
In addition to the history and definition of the church, we also discussed the pastoral ministry. We learned about ordination and the call. We studied the Biblical description of the pastor and how that affects us personally as men training to become pastors. We also discussed the functions of the pastoral office in the current day.
That pretty much sums up the first class. Obviously, there was a lot more depth to the 10 week class than I can go into in a blog post, but I think it gives you a pretty good idea of what the class was about.