One Day Conference on “Militant Secularism”

ACNA Conference posterWe invite you to attend a one day conference on a topic of profound relevance to the church’s ministry in the modern world:

“Militant Secularism: Its Cause, Cost, & Cure”

Featuring two speakers from the Lutheran Church and two representing the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the open conference is a prelude to a regular meeting of the ecumenical dialogue between ACNA, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and Lutheran Church–Canada.

The conference takes place on Thursday, 16 October 2014, at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, who are hosting the subsequent ecumenical meeting. There is no charge for admission, though a free will offering will be taken to cover the cost of lunch. Please pre-register by contacting the seminary by  e-mail ( or phone (905-688-2362) .

Please advertise this event in your congregation or institution with this poster.


9.30am      Matins

10.15am    Greying Canadians & Americans Today: Products & Victims of the 1960s (John Stephenson)

11.15am    Break

11.30am    She’s Gone, Boy … She’s Gone (Donald Harvey)

12.30pm Lunch

1.30pm Jesus as Culture Warrior? A Cross-shaped Strategy for Being Church in a Hostile Culture (Joel Lehenbauer)

2.30pm Culture of Want, Culture of Ruin? (Jonathan Riches)

3.30pm Break

4.00pm Panel Discussion, Q&A

4.45pm Evening Prayer



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Seminaries Sunday 2014

TimothyTrain yourself for godliness;
for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come”
(I Timothy 4:7b-8; 2014 seminaries theme).

Lutheran Church–Canada no longer designates a specific day “Seminaries Sunday”, but encourages her congregations to remember the two seminaries with prayers and offerings. You may wish to observe it in conjunction with an Education Sunday in September, remembering the opening of our academic year. We encourage you to use the propers appointed for the day, but you may also choose to make use of the seminaries’ joint theme verse (above). Liturgical resources and a bulletin cover / insert are available for your use here. You may encourage offerings towards the seminaries’ operating budgets through your congregational offerings, or request special envelopes by contacting the seminaries directly.

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“Train Yourself for Godliness” (Sermon for the CLTS Opening Service 2014)

The following sermon was preached by CLTS President, Revd Dr Thomas Winger, at the seminary’s Opening Service on 7 September 2014. The text was the theme verse shared by LCC’s two seminaries this year:

Train yourself for godliness;
for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way,
as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (I Tim. 4:7b-8).

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

The two letters of Paul to Timothy and his one letter to Titus—collectively labelled the “pastoral epistles”—are “pastoral” in more than one sense. On the one hand, while most of Paul’s letters were written explicitly to whole churches, these were addressed to pastors, colleagues of Paul in the ministry and subordinates under his episcopal direction. He was giving them their “marching orders”. But they are also “pastoral” in the sense that they express the deepest heart-felt longings of St Paul for the dear flock in the places where they served. St Paul had left Ephesus in a hurry, his lengthy three-year ministry there cut short by a riot amongst the townspeople (Acts 19:23–20:1). Vienna Ephesus Museum: Lead Idol of Artemis EphesiaThe silversmiths who made their living forging miniature images of the great goddess Artemis were feeling pain in their posterior pocketbooks as St Paul’s Christian proclamation stole ever more territory from the goddess. They stirred up a great crowd that pressed down the streets until it surged into the 25 000-seat Great Theatre—and perhaps they thought Paul could simply be done in by mob justice. But the city magistrate intervened, saving Paul’s neck, but sending him prematurely packing.

Ephesus: Great TheatrePaul’s pastoral anxiety for the church left behind by his hasty and unwanted departure is evident from the opening paragraph of the letter he delivered to Timothy, whom he also left in Ephesus. Timothy’s mission was to deal with certain mischievous troublemakers within a church that had only narrowly escaped the wrath of her pagan neighbours. For certain men were teaching a “different doctrine”, devoting themselves to “myths and endless genealogies” (I Tim. 1:3-4)—the first reference to the kind of speculative nonsense and “old wives’ tales” that crop up again in our text from chapter four. These men thought of themselves as “teachers of the law” (I Tim. 1:7)—perhaps they came from a Jewish background and persuaded the Ephesians that they knew the Hebrew Scriptures better than Paul. But they didn’t know how to use that Law, and laid upon the Ephesian laypeople a burdensome set of rules by which they suggested they could draw themselves closer to God. Paul had dealt with two of them previously—Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom he “handed over to Satan” (I Tim. 1:20)—, but their followers seized the opportunity of Paul’s absence to infiltrate the church again. Unlike the passionate pastoral heart of Paul, their consciences had been “seared”, cauterised and scarred so that they felt neither remorse nor compassion for the flock they were leading astray. As if on the stage Vienna Ephesus Museumof that Great Theatre, they put on an hypocritical mask of piety, feigning concern for the people’s souls and making pompous display of their moral perfection. They preached against marriage, and dictated what kinds of food they could and couldn’t eat, suggesting that their bodies were their enemies and that true godliness could be achieved by beating them into submission.

Paul’s response in our text is on first blush quite straightforward. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (I Tim. 4:4). Timothy is to teach the Ephesians that such things as wife and family, house and home, food and drink, are the good gifts of God, and that we ought to acknowledge this by accepting them with thanks to our heavenly Father. But then he adds a word of instruction that hints at something more sinister going on: “for it is made holy by the Word of God and prayer” (I Tim. 4:5). If these were just “things” that were good in and of themselves, then there would be no reason to bless them, to invoke the holy Word of God over them, to pray for God to make them holy. No, these words strike our ears as somewhat alien, calling to mind Old Testament rituals that took profane or unclean things and made them holy; they evoke exotic images of exorcism and defence against dark arts that seem so foreign to our modern world. But this is precisely what’s going on. For these Ephesian false teachers weren’t simply teaching a different lifestyle, an ancient version of veganism or the joys of the single life. In fact, Paul admits that “bodily training is of some value” (I Tim. 4:8)—and in view of my daily cycle up the escarpment and Dr Stephenson’s regular trots over to the Brock weight room, our faculty are hardly going to disagree. The Telegraph diet, “Eat less, move more”, is darn good advice. No, the problem is that these false teachers were witting or unwitting agents of dark forces in a much more sinister plan. For “the Spirit expressly states that in the latter times some will fall away from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons” (I Tim. 4:1).

Now, while I’m sceptical of fad diets I would hardly call quinoa salads the spawn of Satan. You see, it’s not really about the food. Paul is opening Timothy’s eyes to what’s really driving these false teachers. The evil spirits are cunning. They know that it’s possible, yes relatively easy, to turn weak Christians away from God by curving them in on themselves. Paul had written to Timothy that the Law is indeed good, if it is used lawfully (I Tim. 1:8); but these false teachers were teaching their own laws, not God’s, and were teaching them not as a means to repentance for sinners but as a means to elevate themselves higher than others, to draw themselves closer to God by making themselves cleaner and more perfect. And that’s the cunning plan of the deceptive spirit called Satan: to draw us away from our total reliance on the grace of God towards a seemingly pious process of self-improvement.

What seems so innocent on the outside turns out to be the visible evidence of a far more dangerous spiritual war. As Paul would later write to the same Ephesian congregation: “For our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual [forces] of evil in the heavenly [places]” (Eph 6:12). Such a dark, spiritual battle cannot be won by picking one food over another. It calls for intense spiritual exercise, training the spirit as an athlete hones his body and equipping the soul as soldiers arm for war. Paul writes, “Train yourself for godliness.” The verb “train”, as our students learnt at our retreat last week, is Γύμναζε—from which we get the word “gymnasium”, which appears in the very next verse as “bodily training” (I Tim. 4:8). It’s an image that would have been familiar and striking to his Ephesian audience, as to any citizen of an ancient Greek city. Ephesus was home to three grand “gymnasiums”—training grounds for athletes and gladiators who performed γύμνος “naked” for crowds of spectators in the Ephesian stadium. These weren’t your typical office boys going to the gym to work off their beer bellies; these were professionals for whom their upcoming competition could very well be a matter of life and death. We might think more of the year-long physical training that precedes an assault on Mt Everest, where dozens die every year because their bodies still aren’t fit enough. And yet Paul says, such “bodily training is [only] of some value”, while “godliness is of value in every way” (I Tim. 4:8).

Avoiding silly myths and endless genealogies, sifting through words to determine what is of God and what is of men, is serious work. Being equipped for this spiritual battle takes knowledge. The training that leads to godliness—the right reverence for a holy God—is Vienna Ephesus Museum: Temple of Artemis Modelhard work. Our world is as much the domain of demonic warfare as Ephesus of Asia was, even though her grand temples no longer grace our skylines. If we were to continue Paul’s line of thought, we might say that this seminary is a kind of spiritual gymnasium, a place where we drill our students over and over in the skills they need to be prepared for the deadly game they’re entering. Our students don’t always understand the need for this or that skill—what’s with Greek and Hebrew verb conjugations and the four alpha-privative adverbs of the Chalcedonian Christological definition? As we know from experience, our students’ appreciation for the spiritual discipline of daily chapel attendance seems inversely proportional to the length of the year—in other words, the busier they get, the more often they play truant. This is the devil’s plan. When we’re under the greatest spiritual testing, when our souls and bodies are weary, he draws us away from the very place where we can find help. He closes our ears to God’s Word and our mouths to sacramental nourishment.

Paul’s admonition to Timothy runs completely counter to this tragic human tendency: “If you put these instructions before the brethren, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, being continually nourished on the words of the faith and of the good doctrine which you have followed so closely” (I Tim. 4:6). You can put nothing before the people of God unless you yourself continue to be fed by the Word of God and your bodies and souls nourished by the living Body and Blood of Christ. For it’s in maintaining this connection to Him, the spiritual Champion, that you find your triumph in the spiritual battle. You see, if I were to say that your knowledge of Greek and Hebrew itself could defeat the devil, you’d not only be in serious trouble … but I would be as guilty of conjuring dangerous and ungodly spiritual pride as those ancient false teachers of Ephesus. The spiritual training of devotion to God’s Word and sacraments, fasting and prayer, self-examination and confession, thanksgiving and hymn singing has nothing to do with making yourself into spiritual warriors who can stand up to the devil alone. It’s about putting yourself into Christ. It’s not so much about wearing the uniform of His team, but of wearing Him. When TMW140731-071-4x6Paul rejoices to the Ephesians in the armour of God, calling upon them to take up the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness and the shield of the faith (Eph. 6), he’s simply telling them that Christ’s own weapons will protect them. We who have been baptised into Christ share in His victory because we go with Him. He didn’t look much like a champion. When He hung naked on the cross, the crowds didn’t marvel at the ripple of His muscles, but scoffed at His seemingly helpless and shameful state. But bodily strength was of no value in that fight. By His submission to death He defeated it. Striding forth from the grave, He tramped upon death like a war horse crushing puny foot soldiers beneath its mighty hooves. And God the Father declared His victory by lifting Him up far above Everest’s lofty peak, far above the heavens, far above the demons duking it out behind the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). And through our Baptism into Him, we are there with Him, together with Mel Murray and all the saints worshipping with the heavenly host, safe from harm, ready and waiting for the salvation ready to be revealed at the last time, prepared with a discipline that has promise not only for this life but also for the life to come (I Tim. 4:8). Amen

Photos: (c) 2014 Thomas M. Winger
(Ephesus, Turkey; and the Ephesus Museum in Vienna)

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New Volume of Lutheran Theological Review Released

Lutheran Theological Review is an annual journal published by the two seminary faculties of Lutheran Church–Canada. It provides a forum for our professors and pastors to publish their research, and for the seminaries to provide resources and to stimulate the minds of our pastorate and laity. Free copies are sent to every pastor in LCC, and paid subscriptions are available.

In public service to the church we also provide the full text in pdf format on our website. Click here to download volume 26, the latest issue. It contains:



Healing in the Divine Service
Kurt A. Lantz

Lectures on the 2nd Letter of St Paul to Timothy: “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect”
Jobst Schöne

The Shape of the Pastoral Ministry—Past, Present, and Future
Thomas M. Winger

Book Reviews

Canadian Churches and the First World War
Richard A. Beinert


Will There Be Faith without Widows? (Luke 18:1-8)
Kurt A. Lantz


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Kleinig Spiritual Disciplines Lectures: Updated Links

We’ve been able to track down a recording of the first lecture in the series that Dr Kleinig presented to our seminary retreat. Here is the updated list:

1. The Practice of Receptive Piety
(our recording failed, but you can listen to the Michigan 2013 version here)

2. The Practice of Receptive Prayer

3. The Discipline of Self-Examination

4. Discipline of Vigilance in Spiritual Warfare: Part 1, Part 2

5. Questions and Answers

Note: Dr Kleinig presented seven lectures on this topic–including three not presented to us–at the Michigan District Pastors’ Conference in 2013. Video recordings are available here:

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Opening Service 2014

CLTS Opening Service 2014Seminary President, Dr Thomas Winger, declared the official opening of the thirty-ninth academic year before the 60 worshippers gathered in the chapel for the Opening Service, this past Sunday, 7 September 2014. The service centred around the joint seminaries theme for this academic year 2014-15, “Train yourself for godliness” (I Timothy 4:7).

Processional candlesticks, donated by Dr Wilhelm Torgerson in thanks to God for his 70th birthday, were dedicated for their first use. When not being used in procession they will stand next to the lectern to proclaim visually, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105) and that “Jesus Christ is the Light of the world”—as we sang at the opening of Evening Prayer.

Within the worship service, various awards CLTS Opening Service 2014: Kramer award winnerswere bestowed on students for academic excellence.

CLTS Opening Service 2014: Family of Pastor Mel Murry (Emeritus Crucis)On behalf of the various districts of LCC, the seminary also presents an Emeritus Crucis (Veteran of the Cross) to a pastor for exemplary parish service. Sadly this year’s recipient, Rev. Milford (Mel) Murray, was called to his eternal home before the service was held. His widow Lorna accepted the reward on his behalf and his son Paul brought greetings to the worshippers.

The Seminary Guild and provided refreshments after the service.

An additional surprise for the first-year M.Div. students were gift bags of books purchased by Rev. Larry Ritter of Trinity Lutheran, Niagara-on-the-Lake. He was able to get some great bargains at the LCC convention in Vancouver in June and also able to convince enough friends to help bring them back on the plane. Money for purchasing the books was raised at a pig roast last June.

CLTS Opening Service 2014: Gifts from Trinity, NOTLConcordia Seminary students, staff and faculty are constantly encouraged by such thoughtfulness and by knowing its supporters continually remember the Seminary and its essential work of preparing servants for God’s mission in daily prayer.

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Seminary Retreat 2014, with Dr John Kleinig

CLTS Retreat 2014: Dr John Kleinig, The Spiritual DisciplinesMention “spirituality” or “spiritual discipline” to most believers and they probably imagine things they must do for God. Dr John Kleinig, guest presenter at Concordia’s Student-Faculty Retreat held 28-29 August at Mount Carmel Spiritual Retreat Centre, pointed out that spirituality begins first with receiving. Under the theme, “Train yourself for godliness” (I Timothy 4:7), students, faculty, and district pastors and laity from Ontario and Western New York learned about the practice of receptive piety and receptive prayer before moving on to more familiar topics of self-examination and vigilance in spiritual warfare.

Especially helpful was to see clearly identified the various tricks of the devil to rob CLTS Retreat 2014: Dr John Kleinig, The Spiritual Disciplinesbelievers of their confidence in Christ by getting them to keep looking at themselves and their practice of piety. Without meditation on God’s Word and prayer it is impossible to live godly and pious lives, yet a disciplined life of prayer and devotion is one of the more challenging areas of our faith life. Quoting Agathon in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Dr Kleinig concluded: “Every time a man wants to pray, his enemies, the demons, want to prevent him, for they know that it is only by turning him from prayer that they can hinder his journey. Whatever good work a man undertakes, if he perseveres in it he will attain rest. But prayer is warfare to the last breath.”

CLTS Retreat 2014: Dr John Kleinig, The Spiritual DisciplinesThe annual retreat provides an opportunity for the new students each year to start becoming more familiar with theological studies. The event was expanded this year to include others and 43 took part in the presentations, devotions and fellowship. Dr Kleinig is also author of Grace upon Grace and the Leviticus commentary in the Concordia Commentary series (CPH). He was also the recipient of a Festschrift volume, You, My People, Shall Be Holy, edited by seminary faculty Drs John Stephenson and Thomas Winger.

Recordings of Dr Kleinig’s lectures can be downloaded here:

1. The Practice of Receptive Piety
(our recording failed, but you can listen to the Michigan 2013 version here)

2. The Practice of Receptive Prayer

3. The Discipline of Self-Examination

4. Discipline of Vigilance in Spiritual Warfare: Part 1, Part 2

5. Questions and Answers

Note: Dr Kleinig presented seven lectures on this topic–including three not presented to us–at the Michigan District Pastors’ Conference in 2013. Video recordings are available here:

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Opening Service 2014

CLTS Opening Service 2013You are invited to attend the opening service for the 39th academic year at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, on Sunday, 7 September, at 4:00 p.m. The service will be held in the seminary’s Martin Luther Chapel, 470 Glenridge Ave., St. Catharines. If you cannot attend, please pray for the students as they begin their studies, for the seminary faculty that they may be faithful in their calling, and for God to raise up benefactors for our seminary whose gifts will ensure that this important work continues. For more information, please call 905-688-2362 x22 or e-mail

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Called to Glory: Rev. Dr Lowell Green


As noted below, Dr Green taught dogmatic theology at CLTS in the early years.


In Memoriam
East District
Lutheran Church–Canada


Rev. Dr. Lowell Clark Green, 88, a well-known Lutheran theologian and pastor, died on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He had a doctorate in theology from the University of Erlangen in Germany (1955) and wrote prolifically, publishing several books and scores of journal articles on the history of the Church and on theology. Perhaps his best-selling book is “Lutherans Against Hitler: The Untold Story” (2007). He taught in public universities and Lutheran Seminaries in the U.S. and Canada before retiring in the Buffalo, New York, area. Asteroid (12164) was named Lowellgreen in his honor by his son, an astronomer at Harvard University.

Rev. Green was parish pastor at churches in Texas, South Dakota, Minnesota, and the Chicago area in the 1950s and 1960s, and again in Buffalo in the 1990s. He went into teaching at Frederick College in Virginia (1967-1968) and Appalachian State University (1968-1978) in Boone, North Carolina. At ASU he taught in the history department, focusing on Renaissance and Reformation history. Dr. Green also taught at Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois, from 1978 to 1980, and at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, for several years starting in 1980. He travelled widely and spoke often at conferences. He was a self-taught pianist and organist who played as church organist for some years, including in the Buffalo area after retirement; after attending seminary, he studied under some leading Lutheran organists in the U.S. and Germany. For most of his life, Dr. Green moved from house to house with a large two-manual, 13-stop oak-wood Mason & Hamlin reed organ built around 1910 that he acquired from a church in the upper Midwest and that he enjoyed playing daily until well past the age of 80; it dominated his living room and intrigued all visitors.

Lowell Green was born on November 29, 1925 in Findlay, Ohio, to Clark Frederick Green and Gertrude Grace nee Kibler, and he spent his early years in the Bucyrus area of north central Ohio before moving with his family (also a brother and two sisters) to Greeley, Colorado, and then to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he graduated high school before graduating from Wartburg College (1946, English major) and Wartburg Seminary (1949) in Iowa. He married Violet E. Handahl (who died in 1980) in 1956 in Minneapolis, with whom he had four surviving children (Daniel, Katharine Olah, Sonja Link, and Barbara Savereide); along with five grandchildren (Andrew, Christopher, Jessica, Erik, and Laura); and his current wife Vilma K. Green of Buffalo, whom he married in 1989. He is also survived by his twin sister, Lois Hiller, of Laramie, Wyoming.

The funeral was held at his boyhood church, St. Paul Lutheran in Sulphur Springs (north of Bucyrus), on Friday, August 1, 2014. Dr. Green’s close colleagues from the Fort Wayne seminary, Pastor John T. Pless and Dr. Daniel Reuning, conducted the service; Dr. Reuning was organist for a special musical service that was designed by Rev. Green himself.

Dr. Green had a large collection of theological books spanning centuries, and these were donated at his request to the Valparaiso University Library; memorial donations to support his collection can be sent to the library (Christopher Center Library, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 46383; state “for Lowell C. Green Memorial Collection of Theology Books” in cover letter).

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds”  Psalm 147:3



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A New Firmament Above

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe crew arrived today to begin the massive task of replacing the seminary’s flat roof. In place since the building was completed in 1984, the roof has served well–but 30 years is beyond spec, and leaks have been regularly springing over the past few years.

The complete roof replacement was made possible by excess funds from a recent major gift that paid off the seminary’s accumulated debt. The donors earnestly desired the seminary to have a fresh start, well prepared for another thirty years of service to the church. Thanks be to God.

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