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History of Lutheranism in America: 1940 – Present

Instructor: John Brenner

The past several decades have seen explosive changes in the American Lutheran landscape—doctrinal controversy, mergers and dissenters, expansion and contraction. Key doctrinal issues during this period include fellowship, the authority of Scripture, church and ministry, the role of man and woman, human sexuality, the Charismatic Movement, etc. In this course we will examine these developments with a special focus on the Intersynodical Controversy between the Wisconsin and Missouri Synods which resulted in the breaking of long cherished fellowship between the two synods, the dissolution of the Synodical Conference, and the founding of the CLC. We will explore the developments in the Missouri Synod which led to the Seminex walkout, the formation of the AELC, and ultimately, the founding of the ELCA in 1988. We will consider the ALC merger of 1960, the LCA merger of 1962, and the rise of a number of new Lutheran synods. We will study the rapid expansion of WELS home and world missions, the growth of area Lutheran high schools, changes in the WELS ministerial education system, and other developments in the life of our synod. The founding of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference will be seen as an historic milestone. Our discussions will be based on primary sources and the best secondary sources available as we try to determine the causes, underlying reasons, and unifying principles behind these developments in Lutheranism in America.

Advanced Degree Program(s): STM
Area of Study: Church History
Summer Quarter Credits: 3
Tuition: $400
Course Number: CH5363
Course Credits: 1.0
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