Monday, July 11, 2016

“Upon This Rock: Repent, Confess, Rejoice”

Yesterday it was my honor and privilege to deliver an essay to the 66th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod meeting in Milwaukee. A number of folks have asked if I might post it, a very humbling matter. And so, knowing all of the document's limitations, I place it here for those who might find some modest value in it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

LCMS Presidential Elections—Updated

The announcement today of the re-election of the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison to a third term as president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod ( led me back to a post I made in July 2013. In that post I tracked the results of LCMS presidential elections over the course of Missouri's "modern" history, 1973 to present (I use 1973 as the date, because in that year the LCMS changed its nomination procedure).  With the disclaimer that this is a first run through and I need to do some further fact checking, here are the results showing the top two vote getters.

1973 - New Orleans
1st ballot, JAO Preus 606, WIliam Kohn 340. 1,055 total votes.  57.44%
1975 - Anaheim 
No presidential election
1977 - Dallas
2nd ballot, JAO Preus 596, Charles Mueller 330.  1,083 total votes.  55.03%

1979 - Saint Louis
No presidential election
1981 - Saint Louis
4th ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 722, Charles Mueller 338.  1,110 total votes.  65.04%

1983 - Saint Louis
1st ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 844, Lloyd Behnken 95.  1,079 votes.  78.22%

1986 - Indianapolis
1st ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 576, Robert Sauer 447.  1,029 total votes. 55.97%

1989 - Wichita
1st ballot, Ralph Bohlmann 589, Robert Sauer 433.  1,124 total votes.  52.40%

1992 - Pittsburgh
4th ballot, Alvin Barry 580, Ralph Bohlmann 568.  1,148 total votes.  50.52%

1995 - Saint Louis
1st ballot, Alvin Barry 754, Richard Kapfer 290.  1,162 total votes. 64.88%

1998 - Saint Louis
1st ballot, Alvin Barry 657, Glen O’Shoney 343.  1,161 total votes.  56.58%

2001 - Saint Louis
4th ballot, Gerald Kieschnick 600, Dean Wenthe 582.  1,182 total votes.  50.76%

2004 - Saint Louis
1st ballot, Gerald Kieschnick 653, Daniel Preus 391.  1,237 total votes.  52.78%

2007 - Houston
1st ballot, Gerald Kieschnick 644, John Wohlrabe 514.  1,231 total votes.  52.31%

2010 - Houston
1st ballot, Matthew Harrison 643, Gerald Kieschnick 527.  1,170 total votes.  54.95%

2013 - Electronic balloting (Saint Louis)
1st ballot, Matthew Harrison 4,262, David Maier 1,906.  6,432 total votes.  66.26%

2016 - Electronic balloting (Milwaukee)
1st ballot, Matthew Harrision 3,507, Dale Meyer 2,257. 6,157 total votes. 56.96%

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wuthnow on Polls

I've always enjoyed the work of Robert Wuthnow. His book, The Restructuring of American Religion, has played a formative role in my thinking about The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod in the second third of the twentieth century.

And so when a friend tipped me off to his piece on religious polling, I had to take a look. I found this paragraph to be particularly gripping.

  • "As polling gradually gained popularity, it became increasingly lucrative, prompting significant expansion of a for-profit commercial industry as well as interest at universities.

I think you might find the remainder of the article engaging.  You may find it at at the following link: 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Rev. Dr. Alfred O. Rast

Digging through some family history materials, I found the following biography of my grandfather, Pastor A. O. Rast. It seems to have appeared in the newsletter or bulletin of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bristol, Connecticut around the time of his death.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dedication of the Wayne and Barbara Kroemer Library at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne

Dedication of the Wayne and Barbara Kroemer Library at CTS–FW   
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2015

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Students, faculty and guests from all over the world filled the chapel and the library for the dedication of the Wayne and Barbara Kroemer Library on the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS–FW), Fort Wayne, Indiana, on January 22, 2015. The day began with prayer in Kramer Chapel and moved to the library where CTS–FW President Lawrence R. Rast Jr. opened the doors and led the crowd into the completed expansion. The expanded library complex allows for all volumes owned by the Seminary to be housed in one place and opens up additional areas for group and individual study. Click here to view a video of the dedication.

The guests of honor were Wayne and Barbara Kroemer of Zionsville, Indiana, who are longtime friends of the Seminary and very instrumental in the completion of the expansion. “We saw that this would be an opportunity for us to give back for the spiritual growth we feel we experience at the Seminary and to God for His many blessings. We are so pleased that many other donors felt as we do and that this beautiful and amazing library has been completed,” said the Kroemers. “There are no greater places in the Lutheran Church to support than it’s seminaries as this is where the future lies. This new, first-class building is a shining star for the Fort Wayne Seminary and will be an asset that keeps giving to the students and professors here in the years ahead.”

“Building a structure of this magnitude certainly requires the generous gifts of our donors and we are most thankful for their selfless giving. Just as important, it shows their deep commitment to supporting the continued formation of servants of Christ on the CTS–FW campus,” commented Rast. “The resources now available in the Wayne and Barbara Kroemer Library will serve to enhance the formation of future church workers as they prepare to teach the faithful, reach the lost and care for all.”

The building, its books, meeting spaces and electronic resources are available for use by alumni, theologians and laypeople. “Professional church workers of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in need of a resource not locally available may find our extension service of benefit. Through this service, we extend our circulation and reference services to those who serve our congregations and schools,” explained the Rev. Prof. Robert V. Roethemeyer, CTS–FW director of Library and Information Services. “The library can also be a destination for church groups looking for a reflective place for a retreat. Reserve one of the large group rooms in the library and punctuate your retreat with worship time in Kramer Chapel.”

To learn more about the Wayne and Barbara Kroemer Library and the resources it offers, go to  or phone 260-452-2149.      

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Service of Worship and Praise - The Reverend A. O. Rast 40 Years in the Ministry 1924-1964

My first cousin once removed recently posted a picture of my grandfather (his great grandfather) on Facebook and pointing out how cool it was. Right he was (and is)! Here is what he posted:

Of all the coincidences, at just about the same time I had stumbled across the bulletin to the service celebrating Grandpa Rast's 40th anniversary in the ministry. I promised my cousin I would post it, so here it is.