Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary began its 72nd academic year with an opening service in Good Shepherd Chapel on August 21, 2017. Dr. Timothy Schmeling delivered the homily on Genesis 12:1–8, focusing on Father Abraham as a Model for Seminarians. Drawing on the life of Abraham, Prof. Schmeling illuminated the temptations to pride and doubt in the holy ministry. He noted that the continual swing of the pendulum between hubris and self-loathing marks human life ever after the fall. This spiritual disorder comes from our repeated attempts to anchor our being in the shifting sands of our own character and accomplishments. Only Christ and his righteousness, credited to us through his holy life and death, can bring calm and stillness. Not only that, only he can give us true confidence in the Lord and the power to do all things through him. Prof. Schmeling then explained that just as the Promised Messiah guided Abraham through his sojourn, Christ will do the same for us. He will be with us in all the trials of the public ministry and in the burdens of life. He, who alone could offer himself on the holy mount so that we might have life for all eternity, could never leave us nor forsake us in this present sin-stricken reality. Now, as in Abraham’s day, God claims you and me as his own so that other people may experience his blessings through us. As we go about our daily lives, we find people who are hurting. At such times, God calls us to pray on their behalf like Abraham prayed for Sodom and Gomorrah. He wants us to plant our altars in their midst and comfort them with the Gospel of forgiveness. The God of Abraham wants to befriend them and serve them through us. Abraham was indeed a blessing for all nations through the promised Messiah.
The teaching staff for the seminary this semester is as follows:
- Thomas Kuster (communication)
- Nathan Nass (multi-cultural studies)
- Timothy Schmeling (Old Testament, symbolics, homiletics)
- Michael Smith (New Testament, hermeneutics, homiletics)
- Gaylin Schmeling (dogmatics, homiletics)
The seminary enrollment this year numbers fourteen. There are two vicars, one senior, five middlers, five juniors, and one special student. The vicars are Noah Thompson at St. John’s Lutheran Church (Frankenmuth, Michigan) and Christian Walz at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Indianola, Iowa).