The most consequential conservative Protestant victory of the last 100 years was likely the battle to expel liberal theology from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. This week’s podcast looks at that battle and what lessons it holds for conservatives.
Concordia Seminary was the center of modernist theology in the LCMS, and its faculty ignored numerous denominational resolutions against their position. When a newly elected conservative leadership in the denomination suspended Concordia Seminary’s president, 90% of the faculty and most of the students walked out. The LCMS let them go and rebuilt the seminary from nearly nothing. The liberals created their own institution, the Concordia Seminary in Exile, or Seminex, which failed after only about a decade. Also, 200 liberal congregations left the LCMS and created a new, liberal denomination that ultimately merged with today’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
In this battle, the opposite of every similar episode to date, the conservatives won and the liberals departed, leaving the LCMS the conservative denomination we know today. This battle was a key inspiration for the similar conservative resurgence effort in the SBC.
Rather than studying institutional losers like Gresham Machen, today’s conservative Christians would be better served to study examples like Seminex where conservatives actually won.
Read about the Concordia-Seminex Affair on Wikipedia.
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