Well, my year of vicarage is almost over. In two weeks I will be heading back to St. Louis to begin my last year of seminary.
I have learned a lot this year. One thing I have learned is how divisions within our church body are threatening to tear it apart.
Anyone who knows me knows how very conservative and confessional I am. I am Lutheran for a reason…IT IS RIGHT! But even my firm convictions and conservative ideaology have not shielded me from the St. Louis stigma.
If you are reading this and know anything about either of the seminaries, you know what I am talking about. It is assumed that St. Louis grads are rampant liberals bent on changing the church and ripping up the Confessions, while it is also assumed that Ft. Wayne grads are intent on taking us back to the dark ages of the church and snuffing out the light of the Gospel once and for all.
This kind of prejudice may not be held by everyone, but it is certainly prevalent in subtle ways in many grads from both of our esteemed seminaries. I even had a pastor tell me that he would no longer take vicars from St. Louis because they did not know what it meant to be Lutheran. I have heard other pastors say that they would never take a Ft. Wayne vicar out of fear of being turned in to the doctrinal gestapo.
The same is true with congregations looking for a Pastor. Some refuse to take one from one seminary because of ignorant assumptions about which one is more “Lutheran.”
It saddens me to think that I would be overlooked or looked down upon because my formation as a pastor took place in the wrong geographical location.
All I ask is that anyone who reads this and is a Lutheran in the Missouri Synod would think before they say something negative about either seminary. Both of the seminaries produce excellent and faithful ministers and servants of God’s Word. Both produce liberals and poor excuses for a holder of the office of the Holy Ministry. Both are human institutions through which God works to supply His Church with men to serve Her.