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Annual Theological Conference and Plenary Sesssion
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Annual Theological Conference Update
18 March 2014
Rev. Jeffrey Ahonen, Superintendent;
Rev. Dr. Kent Heimbigner, Legate;
Rev. Joshua Sullivan, Recording Secretary; Rev. Gregory Schultz, Bursar;
Rev. Eric Stefanski, Dean of Communications; Rev. Paul Rydecki, Dean of Education;
Rt. Rev. James Heiser, Dean of Missions; Rev. Andrew Eckert, Dean of Pastoral Care;
Rev. Anthony Oncken, Dean of Pastoral Recruitment
The Tenth Annual Theological Conference and Plenary Session of The Augustana Ministerium will be held August 12–14, 2014 at Divine Savior Lutheran Church in Niwot, Colorado. The theme for this year's conference is:
With the full authority that was given to him by Christ to “go and teach all the nations,” the Apostle Paul proclaimed the doctrine of Christ to Jews and Gentiles in as many places as he was given opportunity. The Book of Acts relates various opportunities Paul was given to preach the Word, beginning always in the synagogue with the Jews, whose knowledge of the true God was still incomplete, and then proceeding to the Gentiles who didn’t know the true God at all. On one occasion, in Athens, St. Paul’s conversations in the synagogue and marketplace resulted in an extraordinary invitation to address the idol-worshipers gathered at the Areopagus, that is, Mars Hill. He addressed them with boldness and with candor, but without rancor or hostility. He addressed their idolatry directly, drawing from his knowledge of their religious beliefs and using them as the starting point for his proclamation of the unknown God who was, even then, making Himself known to them and calling them to repentance. He taught the doctrine of Christ plainly, proclaiming the resurrected Christ and the coming judgment, knowing full well that his words would be perceived as foolish by the Athenian philosophers. Indeed, his address was cut short by the continuing unbelief of most (but not all!) of his hearers.
Pastors are called, not only to teach the Gospel and
administer the Sacraments to their flocks, but also to “go and teach”
as many as the Lord gives us opportunity to teach, so that they may
become members of Christ’s flock, or so that they may be rescued from
some pernicious doctrine that threatens their souls. As Lutheran
pastors who seek to imitate St. Paul’s pattern of sound teaching, we
can learn much from the apostle’s Mars Hill moment, both from the
respectful-but-authoritative manner in which he addressed the Athenians
and from his decision to highlight some obvious flaws in their own
thinking and beliefs as he proclaimed the unknown God to them.
The essays at this year’s conference are intended to assist Lutheran pastors as they “proclaim the unknown God” to various groups of “religious” people who either do not know the true God at all (i.e., to those who adhere to non-Christian religions), or whose knowledge of Him is impaired by adherence to false doctrine. Each essay will suggest some specific flaws in the beliefs and practices of a given group that can be used as starting points for a respectful-but-authoritative proclamation of the truth.
Rev. Brett Balfour: A Mars Hill Moment with the Jews
Rev. Dr. Kent Heimbigner: A Mars Hill Moment with the Mormons
Dr. Adam Francisco: A Mars Hill Moment with the Muslims
Rt. Rev. James Heiser: A Mars Hill Moment with the Mars Society
Rev. Todd Wilken: A Mars Hill Moment with the American Evangelical / Spiritual-but-not-religious Person / Lutheran in Name Only
Hotel information will be available in the near future.
Rev. Paul A. Rydecki,
Dean of Education
The Augustana Ministerium
Member of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America (ELDoNA)
Pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Make checks payable to:
c/o The Rev. Gregory J. Schultz, Bursar
1314 S. Cattleman Dr.
Milliken, CO 80543