I made it back from Fort Wayne and the 2012 Symposia Series. Between the very slow snowy drive to the Fort Wayne airport and the circuitous route home, I’m thankful I made it back in one day (if you call getting home at 3 a.m. one day). Chicago was snowed in with all the flights from FWA canceled, so I had to fly to Dallas, and then to Seattle. The flight out of Dallas was way overbooked, with them paying some people to wait until the next day to travel. Since I’m an airline pilot, I can ride in the cockpit (for free) on just about any U.S. carrier, which is what I thought I’d be doing. You don’t want to ride in the jumpseat on a 737 – absolutely no leg room, the seat is hard as a rock with a straight up and down back, and that’s the good seat (there’s two on a 737 – the other jumpseat is directly behind the captain’s seat and it doesn’t even have knee room). But in Joel Osteen-like divine providence, what he calls God’s faaaa-ver, not only did I get on the plane, there was one first class seat that was inexplicably open. Nice! Some other selfless pilot, I think he was an American pilot, let me sit in first class and he took the jumpseat. Thanks to United Airlines, Skywest Airlines, American Eagle, and American Airlines for allowing me to ride along.
The Symposia, as always, were excellent. The Exegetical Theology Symposium featured Doctors David and Peter Scaer, Dr. Charles Gieschen, Dr. Richard Bauckham, Daniel Johansson, Dr. Arthur Just, and a panel discussion moderated by Dr. William Weinrich. I don’t know why some people skip the panel discussions, because they’re really good, with people asking questions that often need to be asked.
Dr. Richard Bauckham, the renowned Professor from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, had a two-part presentation on Jesus and the eyewitnesses which was quite interesting. His recent book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, sold out in the bookstore. He was autographing the book for people who had one, but I opted instead to hear Dr. Just’s presentation. Note to sem: Don’t run concurrent presentations and autograph sessions.
The Symposium on “The Lutheran Confessions: Justification in a Contemporary Context” featured Dr. Larry Rast, Dr. Scott Murray, Dr. Naomichi Masaki, Dr. Erik M. Heen, Dr. David Scaer, Dr. Christopher J. Malloy, Dr. Gordon Isaac, Prof. Roland Ziegler, and Dr. Jack Kilcrease, as well as a panel discussion.
Dr. Malloy, a Roman Catholic, spoke on the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification from a Catholic perspective. He definitely seemed a bit nervous, and who could blame him? He managed to make it through though and effectively survived the barbs that Dr. David Scaer tossed his way.
Dr. Jack Kilcrease’s presentation on “Atonement and Justification in the Theology of Gerhard Forde: A Contemporary Context” was way over my head, but then, I knew it would be. I read Dr. Kilcrease’s blog, Theologia Crucis, which is often pretty deep – a good workout for the theologically-challenged.
Especially enjoyable was Dr. Gordon L. Isaac’s presentation on “Justification in the Finnish Luther School.” He was the Reformed theologian of the bunch, but he sounded awfully Lutheran to me. I even saw him in Vespers on Thursday and the Itinerarium on Friday. His speaking style was very engaging.
Early Wednesday morning I attended the sectionals, which are shorter exegetical papers delivered in 25 minutes or less. I bumped into Rev. Dr. Al Collver in the hallway before they started. It turns out that he met our daughter down in Haiti a couple of days earlier, and was showing me photos of her on his iPhone. She attends the same church in Milwaukee where Dr. Collver was vicar. He posted a photo of Paige and her group on the Witness, Mercy, Life Together blog.
Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller presented a paper on “Paul’s Preaching in the Book of Acts: Law and Gospel in its Context.” Pastor Wolfmueller oozes the Gospel. They pretty much had to drag him out of the room to get him to quit talking. He’s an underutilized LCMS treasure. Then imagine my dilemma as I had to decide between Pastor Jonathan Fisk and Pastor Burnell Eckardt, since they were both presenting at the same time. I opted for Pastor Eckardt, since I can dial up Pastor Fisk any time on the internet, although I was able to catch some of the fallout from Pastor Fisk’s presentation later on. Pastor Eckardt spoke about “Genesis 1 as Hermeneutical Pattern,” which was quite enlightening.
I was highly disappointed that I managed to miss the Higher Things get together. I wish the sem would advertise the ancillary events a little better, even if they aren’t officially sponsored by the seminary.
All in all, a great two Symposia. Maybe next year they can have it when it’s warm! One of these years it’s going to get blizzarded out. More to follow tomorrow.