Full Text for An Address (Text)

THE SPRINGFIELDER April 1974 Volume 38, Number 2 An Address As tlclivered 37y Rlr. Walter llrzinn, 71zen~bcr of the Hoard fo~ Higher Edircntion of the L7rtIzernil Chzrrch-illlissouri Synod, on the occasio~l of thc irzaztgurrrtio~r of the 1Zev. Ilr. Robcrt I'rcus as yresi- r?clzt of Co~zcort?ia 'I'heotogical Scrninary on Seyte~? her 1 5, 1974. 'Thc 1'levc-renc.l h'lerlin l'ohl, Chairman of thc Doard for I-Iighei. 13ducntion, has a long-standing preaching engagement that pre-cmpts his time for- today. IIc has asked me to bring you his greetings :rind to I)c his rcprescntativc and that of the I3HE for this joyful occasion. I am sure that I speak for the board members nncl the staff ~vhen I tell you that you, Dr. P~CLIS, ;IS .c~ell as Concordia Seminary, Spring- field, its board, faculty, and students arc very regularly in our per- sonal prayers. We con71nit our individual and joint concerns regarding the training of pastors and servants of thc Cli~ircl~ to tlic Great Shepherd of the sheep. hila!, He entloiv !:ou, us, ;ind the wholc Church jvith ;ill cxtrn nleasurc of faith and understanding, ltccping us re~nillded that our role is to preach and teach ant1 baptize, leaving the fruitful incrcnsc of sucli faithful testinlony in EIis hands. Nonc of us, b!, ngreenlrnt, ever speaks for the whole board Sl)caliing as a mcmbcr ol- that group, ho~~cver, on the occasion of thc ina~~guration of j70ur new president, it is well that all of us be 11ii11dccl of our respective roles in thc Church. As thc Holy Spirit calls people, Hc also gathers tllenl into congregations for enlighten- ment, sanctifrici~tion, and keeping 117itll Jesus Christ in the onc truc faith. Congregations and pastors become members of S!lnotl following tllc cxample of thc apostolic Church and the better to sl.lai-c tlic tli\!ersjties of gifts for the con~rnon profit. Synod, in turn, divides itself into districts thc better for a walking together in service and to join ha11ds ill achieving local programs, a1.l the while administering ccntral prograllls through both central and local boards and officials. ^Tlius the 131-IE represents the Synodical central concerns of pro- ducing ]>asto.rs and teachers for the whole Church in 2 1 schools, thc' local boards being autono~nous in local administration within the constitution and its by-laws. Still spealting for inyseIf, the BHE as Synod's administrators, and in line nlitll the documeilts just mentioned, needs to look to the prcsi- dents of our schools as the defenders of the Church's doctrine, and to the faculties as the first line of defense of that faith. No other arrangement would make sense, for it is the Church in promulgation of its doctrine that owns and operates its schools to that clzrE and for that pztrpose. Moreover, the only source of doctrine and faith is the Holy Spirit as Hc expresses ~irnself in the errorless, verbally-inspircd canon. I, for one, know of no doctrine of faith produced by the mind of man, ant1 that includes man's reason, which in no way js a generat- ing source for doctrine. Doctrine, by definition, is exclusively iterated by Scripture which we call "Holy'' because our Lord and He alone speaks there. God's own Word is the "pure fountain," as Luther calls it, ancl "the only stantlarcl accortling to which, as the onlv test-stone, all dogn~as shall and must bc discerned and adjusted as t; ~vl~ether they are good or evil, right or n.rongH (FC, Epit., Intr.). 'Thus, what Got1 iterates in His I-lol\/ 1;1~01*tl, we reiterate in expressions iu~d ~~ntlerstandings c;~lled "con$essions" as they age, or "tloctrinal stnten.~ents and resolu- tions" 21s they express the conteniporary areas that ma! or 171cly not Ile in controversion. Thc doctrines ~vhich revel-berate and are .iterated tllrougkout I-Ioly Scriptures have th? Godhead as their exclusive a~itllor and, as such, are the exclusi\!c basis for .reiteration by the (cil credibility or profundity, 11ut vibrant, truc-ringing sounding boa~:tls resonating thc ~vorcls that 1.h~ Holy Spirit Himsclf put into tllcr'minds and n~ouths and pens of thc holy writers, words that have not changed, \rortls that we regard as "most certainly true." Thus, we I~CC'~ pastors and teachers thoroughly developed in the \Yort1 of God who call reiterate the basics that God has uttered again anc-l again as thc holy writers were moved by the Holy Spirit, applying then] to the current apostasy into which so man); church bodies have fallen. Missouri's glory has been that she has not succumbed to Protestant- ism's dishwater theology, but has held firmly and faithfully to the one true faith. i\/Iissouri's continuing glory will he her faithfulness to. her Lord and His l%'ord, for there is no other way. To that end the Church depends on you to furnish faithful pastors, thoroughly capable in today's sophisticated and worldly-wise society to teach and preach the ?Yard in all of its purity. It is to that end ;hat ;ve arc dedicated and to which we commit you and this school. h4ay thc Lord bless you and us and grant us His j>arclon and 13c;lce t.l.lnt passcs all human undel-standi~lg ancl lieel> us a11 \\;it13 lcs~ls (:lirist: in t1.i~ onc true faith. 11) c,Iosing 1 \-c,ould lilie to bring to your reinembrance that a Jltlntlrc(1 )c;lr-s ago my great-grandfatller ilid quite a job of st~ldcnt ~-ccr~iiti~~g, ;1111011g other things, ;ending no small nuniber of catechized cantlitlatcs from Genl~any to Springfield," \vliich at that ti~nc was 1ocatc.d in Ft. \Vayne and later in St. Louis. hloreover, it was Spring- fieltl who graciouslv honored my 01~11 father 2 5 vears ago. T rpcall also that at thc %&inam Delegate Svnod the soi~ited Dr. Graebncr of St. Louis pleaded with the convention to close thc Sliringfield seminary the bctter to concentrate Syr~od's seminar\: efforts at St. 1.ouis. I spoke to this ;IS :I dclegatc, pletlding that ire ~hou1.d he bettcr served with tn70 separate sernlnaries. That ccrtainl\ has turned out to be a n:isc positio11. What I am tying to say is that: ir,! personal connectio~~s nrith thjs school are considerahlc, ant1 I speak to \;ou from the fullness of in\- heart. I c.leepl!l appreciate \lour 11os~ital'it~-, and I irisl~ roil (;o(l's 'cl~oiccst blessings! IIe has promisrd to kccp us faithful it 1.c.c h~it lct Him, and Ilis lxon~iscs never fail. Thank >.OLI !