Archive for April 2009


April 29, 2009

The Augustana Ministerium will hold its annual Theological Conference and Plenary at Trinity Lutheran Church 1715 S. Jefferson, Kearney, Missouri, from 1:00 Monday, May 11 through 12:00 Wednesday, May 13. Registration information, etc., and a housing offer follow the next three paragraphs.

Lately, some have tried to gainsay the topic for the conference, which covers issues of Confession and Absolution, Church Polity, Ecclesiastical Oversight, and the Practice of Communion Fellowship in a “Post-Synodical Age.” These folks try to argue that since synods still exist (and they’re still in them—as are most of ‘we’ in The Augustana Ministerium), the term “Post-Synodical” is somehow evil and threatening.

In all, their complaints remind me of the LCMS Council of Presidents and their great fear that LCMS pastors and laymen filling out the survey that some laymen put up at <; will somehow ‘corrupt the process’ of moving the LCMS into the future.

“Post-Synodical” simply refers to the FACT that no existing ‘synod’ has proven itself either completely trustworthy in all the materials it produces, nor able to produce what its parishes and pastors want and need. Because of that fact, we find independent publishing houses, etc., doing quite well (Repristination Press, Luther Press, Pax-Domini, Vox Visuals, and others), as well as pastors and laymen from several church bodies recognizing that they are in fellowship with those they’d probably ought not be and *not* in fellowship with those they’d ought to be. Our conference deals with these realities, helping those who attend to act faithfully within their context and to encourage others to do the same. In other words, as with all activities of The Augustana Ministerium, it is designed to preserve and promote Lutheran pastors and a distinctively Lutheran Ministry of Word and Sacraments to Lutheran congregations.

For basic information about the conference, please see:

To register, go to: <;

A schedule for the Conference is posted at:

To prepare for the conference, our Reading Lists are found at:

Lodging Information and Directions are given here:

There is also limited free housing available with members of Trinity Lutheran. If you would be interested in this, please contact Trinity’s pastor, the Rev. Drew Newman, who is also the Recording Secretary of the Ministerium, by using the Ministerium’s ‘Contact’ form.

What is The Augustana Ministerium? A full description can be found at <;, but, in brief, we are a pastoral association formed to preserve and promote Lutheran pastors and a distinctively Lutheran Ministry of Word and Sacrament to Lutheran congregations. We accomplish this through providing emergency relief for pastors in crisis and need; helping small congregations keep their faithful pastors, even though they are unable to pay a pastor a full-time livable wage, helping plant new confessional mission congregations and preaching stations; helping put ordained pastors who are without a call to serve in a particular place or are on CRM status back into ministry as pastors and teachers in the church; and establishing, publishing, and promoting such theological conferences, educational resources, and other materials and events as appear helpful for the meeting of our purpose. For 2009, it is our desire to provide over $50,000.00 in aid to pastors.

Please note that this conference is free for members of The Augustana Ministerium or The Augustana Confraternity. For others, the cost is $30. For membership information, please visit our website, <;.

Rev. Eric Stefanski
Dean of Communications
The Augustana Ministerium


Reading Lists for 2009 TAM Conference

April 22, 2009


Ecclesiastical Supervision in a Post-Synodical Age

J.A.O. Preus, The Second Martin (CPH, 1994), Chapter 6, “Chemnitz’ Superintendency”

The Epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch (Kleist translation)

Hans von Campenhausen, “Ecclesiastical Authority and Spiritual Power in
the Church of the First Three  Centuries” (Hendrickson, 1997)

Episcopacy—Lutheran-United Methodist Diologue II (Augsburg, 1991), esp. Todd Nichol, “Bishops in the Lutheran Tradition: The Book of Concord and Later Lutheranism” and George Bornemann, “The Role of the Lutheran Bishop”

Various Models of Church Polity and How They May/May Not Shape
 Ecclesiastical Supervision in a Post-synodical Age

Marquart, Kurt, The Church and Her Fellowship, Ministry, and Governance (Luther Academy [current publisher], 1990), esp. pp. 195–219

The Visitation Articles for the Electorate and Provinces of Upper Saxony” (1592). Available online at

Akin, Daniel, Perspectives on Church Government: Five Views of Church Polity (B&H Academic, 2004)

Church Fellowship in a Post-Synodical Age

Essential Readings for the Discussion (freely available online):
Preus, Rolf, “Church Fellowship and Closed Communion” (parish Bible study outline, taught January and February, 2007)

Preus, Rolf, “Making a Clear Confession in Muddy Waters” (Burnsville, MN, free conference presentation, January, 2009)

Stefanski, Eric, “Fellowship: What It Is and What It Implies” (chiefly for the section “My Sin in Kansas City”; presentation at St. Luke Ev. Luth. Ch., Richland Center, WI)

Stefanski, Eric, “Guilt by Association” (Burnsville, MN, free conference presentation, January, 2009)

Stefanski, Eric, “A Brief and Bluesy Response to ‘Muddy Waters’,” (a reaction to some assertions in Rolf Preus’s paper)
    not yet posted
The bases for the arguments in the Stefanski papers, above, can be studied in more depth by reading:
Marquart, Kurt, The Church and Her Fellowship, Ministry, and Governance (Luther Academy [current publisher], 1990), esp. pp. 39–77

Walther, C.F.W., Theses on Communion Fellowship with Those Who Believe Differently (CTS, Fort Wayne, 1990)

Elert, Werner, Eucharist and Fellowship in the First Four Centuries (CPH, 1966), esp. pp. 23–184

The Confessional for Pastors in a Post-synodical Age

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Life Together (Harper, 1976; Harper Collins, 2008), section on Confession and the Lord’s Supper (may be readable via Google Books)

Confession and Absolution Readings” (free file, .pdf format)

Schedule for Conference

April 22, 2009

The Daily Schedule for the 4th Annual Theological Conference and Plenary of The Augustana Ministerium is now available on our website, under the Annual Conference Information tab.


Rev. Eric J. Stefanski
Dean of Communications

More Readings for Conference

April 2, 2009

The Rev. Dr. Kent Heimbigner apprises us of the following readings in preparation for his section on “Various Models of Church Polity and How They May Shape Ecclesiastical Supervision in a Post-synodical Age” at the May 11-13 Theological Conference of The Augustana Ministerium:

Marquart, Kurt E. The Church and her fellowship, ministry, and governance.  Read esp. pages 195-219

“The Visitation Articles for the Electorate and Provinces of Upper Saxony” (1592).  available online at 

Akin, Daniel.  Perspectives on Church Government: Five Views of Church Polity.  (This book, written from various perspectives flowing out of the British Reformation, assumes something of the flavor of a polemic back-and-forth arguing about which polity is “the” Biblically correct one.  I assume the flawed presupposition of this argument will be obvious to us all, and that this exchange will nevertheless give us a useful look at the strengths and weaknesses of each approach to church polity).

Currently, this last book has only four new copies available at, but there are several used copies available there and elsewhere. Consult to search for copies on the internet, noting that if you give Bookfinder your zipcode it will customize your results so that you see the prices with shipping for a more accurate comparison.

To register for the Conference and Plenary, please visit our website and the entries available under the “Conference” menu.

Rev. Eric J. Stefanski
Dean of Communications