Robert C Schultz’s response to the Gay/Lesbian Ordination Resolution

ThTheologians,ThTh this week comes from Robert C Schultz. It’s not directly linked to my Seminex narrative, although Bob himself indirectly is. Bob’s a retired ELCA pastor living in Seattle. He’s contributed before to our Sabbatheology series. Like me he has Missouri Synod roots. We’ve been friends since seminary days in St. Louis in the early 50s. His seminary class (’52) was loaded with hotshots. Besides Bob there was Richard Koenig, Martin Marty, Ralph Zorn, Ken Mahler, Ed Krentz, Ken Kraemer, Don Meyer, Bob Clausen [Bibfeldt co-conspirator!], Warren Rubel and others I can’t remember since they were, after all, three years “ahead” of me (class of ’55).Bob was indirectly linked to Seminex, I say, though some may dispute that. He may even dispute it; I’ve never asked him. That all depends on what one thinks Seminex really was. My take puts Bob in a “godfather” role. After sem graduation he went to Erlangen Germany–on Jaraslav Pelikan’s recommendation–and there learned how to do “law and Gospel theology without the verbal inspiration hangup.” Did his doctorate on the role of the “L&G” axiom in Lutheran theological history, came back into the LCMS a couple years later and started the “L&G” reform movement within the LC – MS as a prof at Valparaiso University (VU). That reform movement is itself worth an essay or two, maybe even a book someday.Suffice it to say for now that VU in the late fifties was where “L&G” theology was happening. Bob Bertram was already on the scene there, I joined a bit later. By presidential edict a department of “theology” replaced “religion,” and a new undergraduate curriculum came to be. The three of us were the junta (others say cabal) that put the pieces together. Nowadays it’s called “Crossings.”The lingo of “L&G” was old hat in the LCMS. Missouri’s founding father Walther had made it the fundamental hermeneutic for theology and practice in his seminary teaching. In later Missouri, however, it became a “doctrine” that was then added to the list of other “true” doctrines–to be believed and taught. Schultz jarred LCMSers–within his own English District, and from that base elsewhere in Missouri–by restoring “L&G” as a hermeneutic, and then putting it into practice vis-a-vis the manifold confusions of L&G in our denomination. He’s been doing it ever since, subsequently in the LCA from several venues, and still in retirement from Seattle as you’ll see below.In the 60s and early 70s that tradition, i.e., the distinction between law and gospel is a hermeneutic, not a doctrine, eventually gained prominence at Concordia Seminary, not only with Bertram’s and my appearance on the seminary scene, but also through the increasing flow of VU graduates who came to Concordia as sem students. In the year that Seminex happened there were more “Valpo” students in the seminary student body than there had ever been before, many in student leadership positions. They were articulate “L&G” theologians in the student deliberations that lead to the moratorium, that led to…., that led to …., that eventuated in Seminex.Schultz doesn’t know that I’m doing this preface to his piece. Depending on whether or not he’s had breakfast, he may not be amused when he sees it. But willy-nilly he’s a piece of Seminex’s history. When I get back (next week, d.v.) to some more Seminex memoirs, I hope to touch on the L&G hermeneutic in the mix there.Peace & Joy!
Ed Schroeder