The fifty-first annual Bjarne Wollan Teigen Reformation Lectures were held at the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, Mankato, Minnesota, on October 25–26, 2018. These lectures are sponsored jointly by Bethany Lutheran College and Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary. This year there were three presenters. The first presenter was the Rev. Dr. John M. Brenner of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin. The second presenter was the Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast, Jr. who is the sixteenth president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and professor of American Christianity and American Lutheranism. The third presenter was the Rev. Craig A. Ferkenstad, secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
This year the theme of the Reformation Lectures was “Evangelical Lutheran Synod: Three Perspectives.” The first lecture, given by Dr. John Brenner, was entitled “ELS: A WELS Perspective.” The second lecture, given by Dr. Lawrence Rast, was entitled, “ELS: A LCMS Perspective.” The third lecture, given by the Rev. Craig Ferkenstad, was entitled, “ELS: An Introspective.”
This year the theme of the Reformation Lectures was “Evangelical Lutheran Synod: Three Perspectives.” This theme centered in the one hundredth anniversary celebration of the reorganization of the ELS in 1918, and its relationship with the other church bodies in the Synodical Conference. The first lecture, given by Dr. Brenner, was entitled, “ELS: A WELS Perspective.” In this essay there was a discussion of the relationship between the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), a sibling relationship. The mutual counsel and advice between the synods has been advantageous for both synods. This fellowship is a wonderful blessing. The second lecture, presented by Dr. Rast, was entitled, “ELS: A LCMS Perspective.” This essay points out that the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) was an important big sister to the ELS in its early years. Both the Norwegian Synod and the reorganized synod received considerable support in their infant years from the LCMS. The break in fellowship with the LCMS was tragic for the ELS. The third lecture, given by the Rev. Ferkenstad, was entitled, “ELS: An Introspective.” As a native son the essayist indicated the synod’s positive contributions to the world, and at the same time, pointed out its weaknesses. He showed the unique flavor of the ELS.
The complete lectures will be published in the March issue of the Lutheran Synod Quarterly.