Trip Report: Lutheran Theological Seminary, Tshwane, South Africa
27 February- 15 March 2015
Prof. John T. Pless
I was pleased to return to South Africa to teach a two –week senior course on “Dogmatics Through the Church Year” for eight students (and a few occasionally auditors) at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa. The course worked through each of the major seasons and days of the Christian calendar looking at the historical development and the doctrinal themes of each season and festival day. Hymnody and liturgical practices were also examined but the major focus was on doctrinal preaching growing out of the lectionary. Each student received and used a copy of Preaching from the Whole Bible by Bo Giertz.
In addition to the Giertz book, I brought along twenty copies of Henry Hamann’s book, On Being a Christian for the students and nine copies of the Voelz Greek grammar for use by Enoch Macben’s Greek class. A number of new volumes were brought along for the LTS Library as well. I want to record my thanks to individuals and congregations for their generous donations. These gifts enabled me to furnish students and seminary with these books.
While in South Africa, I also brought greetings from LCMS President Matthew Harrison at the installation of the new bishop of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (LCSA), Bishop M.A. Maragelo on Sunday, March 1 at Salem. Approximately 600 people attended this festive, five-hour long service.
I preached at the LTS morning chapel service on March 3 and taught two Bible classes on apologetics for the Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Pretoria. I was also attended a braai hosted by Pastor Jacob Corzine for the campus ministry. Under Pastor Corzine’s leadership the campus ministry continues to grow and develop. It was good to have the opportunity to consult with two of our students who are going graduate work in theology at the University of Pretoria. It was a pleasure to have Dr. Gary Zieroth (St. John Lutheran Church, Chaska, MN USA) as a teaching colleague on this trip. The two of us hosted a braai for the seminary students and their families on March 12.
The seminary faces ongoing challenges but is moving ahead in the confidence that God will provide. This year the seminary is filled to capacity with eleven new students (juniors) all from South Africa. Ties between the seminary and the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSISA) are being strengthened. Dr. Karl Böhmer and Pastor Jacob Corzine are serving as adjunct instructors and providing valuable assistance to Dr. Weber. As I have said many times, LTS is strategically located to serve the cause of confessional Lutheranism in Africa. It deserves generous support from those of us in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
I am grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Weber for their hospitality for the first few days of my stay in Pretoria and to Pastor Corzine for opening his home to me for the remainder of the time. This trip would not have been possible without the donation of an airline ticket from Trinity Lutheran Church in Great Falls, Montana. I am deeply grateful to Trinity congregation and their pastor, Rev. Gerald Paul for their bountiful support.
God willing it, I will return to LTS in August for another two-week course and a retreat with pastors from the FELSISA on “Preaching the Law Today.”
Prof. John T. Pless
Concordia Theological Seminary
Fort Wayne, IN USA
18 March 2015