Concordia Seminary

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Concordia Seminary
Seminary 3-05-08.jpg
Concordia Seminary on March 5, 2008
AffiliationLutheran Church–Missouri Synod
PresidentRev. Dr. Dale Meyer
Academic staff
27 (full time)
Location, ,
United States

Concordia Seminary is a seminary associated with the Lutheran Church and located in Clayton, Missouri. The institution's primary mission is to train pastors, deaconesses, missionaries, chaplains, and church leaders for the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). The current president of the seminary is the Rev. Dr. Dale A. Meyer. The provost and chief academic officer is the Rev. Dr. Douglas L. Rutt.

Concordia Seminary is the third oldest Lutheran seminary (Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, established in 1826, being the oldest, and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary founded in 1830, being the second oldest), and one of the largest seminaries in the United States. Founded in 1839, the seminary initially resided in Perry County, Missouri. In 1849 it was moved to St. Louis, and in 1926 the current campus was built. Concordia shares the duty of clerical training for the LCMS with Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The St. Louis institution was at one time considered the "theoretical" (academic) seminary of the LCMS while Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne was considered the "practical" seminary, although those distinctions are no longer widely recognized. Concordia Seminary currently offers a Master of Divinity degree leading to ordination, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Sacred Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The seminary is considered theologically conservative. It does not train women for ordination as pastors, however it does offer a program by which women may be rostered as deaconesses (a category of "ministers of religion" within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod). It promotes historical-grammatical[1] interpretation of the Bible. It is an accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Radio station KFUO-AM 850 had its studios on the seminary campus until they were relocated to the LCMS International Center, although the station continues to use a transmitter tower on the campus. For many years the nationally broadcast Lutheran Hour originated from this LCMS radio station.

The Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus[edit]

The Chapel of St. Timothy & St. Titus

Dedicated on November 15, 1992, the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus serves as the house of worship for the Concordia Seminary community. Aside from the primary worship space the chapel building also contains a choir practice room, one classroom, the dean of chapel's office, the housefellow's quarters, and a chapel that is used primarily for small worship services and for worship practice.


Concordia Seminary Library has the capacity to house 250,000 volumes and to seat over 300 people, providing study space for divinity students and carrels for graduate students and scholars. The book collection numbers over 245,000 volumes. Included are the personal libraries of many of the founding fathers of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and its theologians, including C. F. W. Walther. A copy of the 17th-century Calov Bible that was owned by Johann Sebastian Bach is also in the collection.[2]

Luther statue[edit]

Luther Statue

Located next to Founder's Hall, the Luther Statue was originally dedicated at the former site of Concordia Seminary on Jefferson Avenue in St. Louis in 1903. In 1926, when the present campus was dedicated in Clayton, the statue was relocated to the new campus site. The statue is an exact replica of one that exists in Worms, Germany. The statue in Germany is located where Martin Luther made his famous speech, "Here I Stand", at the Diet of Worms.

Luther Tower[edit]

Part of the historic campus including Luther Tower

Luther Tower was designed by architect Charles Klauder and was completed in 1966. It stands 156 feet (48 m) tall. At its base is a small chapel, the Chapel of the Holy Apostles. Its crown contains a 49-bell carillon. The bells are dedicated to the memory of all Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod pastors. The largest bell weighs 2.5 short tons (2,300 kg) and the smallest weighs 17 pounds (7.7 kg).

Concordia Historical Institute[edit]

The Concordia Historical Institute is the Department of Archives and History of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. The Institute is located on the Concordia Seminary Campus. The building includes a reference room for patrons, a conference room, two levels of museum exhibit space and two stack areas for storage of the collections. The stack areas are maintained at a constant temperature and humidity to preserve the resources. The Institute also maintains two historic sites in Perry County, Missouri, publishes the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, and assists districts and congregations of the Synod in preserving their historical records.

Concordia Park[edit]

Concordia Park is located in the DeMun Neighborhood on the grounds of Concordia Seminary. The City of Clayton has leased this passive 1.5-acre (0.607 ha) park from Concordia Seminary since 1992. It consists of several hills and trees. Benches and tables are provided for visitors.


Concordia has varsity basketball and tennis teams, but are not affiliated with any league. It also offers club sports including golf and soccer. Known as the Fighting Preachers, the basketball team schedules games with other independents as well as with some NCAA Division III teams. There is a longstanding rivalry with the other LCMS seminary, Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Concordia had won every game in that rivalry for 24 years (as of 2008).[3]

The basketball team plays in the Eldon E. Pederson Fieldhouse. The fieldhouse was originally an airplane hangar on an airbase in Kansas. In 1949 the seminary purchased it, disassembled it, and re-erected it on the campus. At one time it served as the practice court of the NBA's St. Louis Hawks and as the home court for the ABA's Spirits of St. Louis.[3]

The Seminex controversy[edit]

Concordia Seminary became a focus of national media attention in 1974 when 45 of its 50 faculty members, together with the vast majority of students, processed off campus to form a rival institution known as Seminex, or Concordia Seminary in Exile.[4] The procession protested the suspension of the seminary's president, John Tietjen, who faced charges from the conservative Synodical president, Jacob Preus, of allowing the teaching of false doctrine. More specifically, the charges alleged that Tietjen had permitted the teaching of historical-critical methods of scriptural interpretation, rather than upon exegetical principles that consider scripture to be the inerrant word of God (see Biblical inerrancy). Seminex was never very successful, due mostly to its difficulties placing graduates in ministerial positions. Seminex suffered a gradually declining enrollment over the course of the late 1970s. The last St. Louis commencement was held in May 1983. Seminex continued to exist as an educational institution at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago campus through the end of 1987.

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ James Voelz,What Does this Mean? (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1997)
  2. ^ "Bach Bible". Concordia Seminary. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  3. ^ a b O'Neil, Dana (July 7, 2008). "Eutectics, Preachers face off in unknown St. Louis hoops". ESPN. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Tietjen, John H. (1990). Memoirs in Exile: Confessional Hope and Institutional Conflict. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. p. 212. ISBN 0-8006-2462-9.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°38′18″N 90°18′41″W / 38.6382°N 90.3113°W / 38.6382; -90.3113