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Seminex: Memories of a Church Divided, A Documentary by Tim Frakes

Hey all you Lutherans out there. I’ve finally finished Seminex: Memories of a Church Divided, A Documentary by Tim Frakes. It’s a project I’ve been working on for more than a decade. I had no budget for this production. Nothing. It’s all a labor of love, because this is story that needs to be told. Here is a preview. Special thanks go out to the Concordia Historical Institute in St. Louis and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago for their help in collecting materials and making folks available for interviews.


Order a DVD of the full, 42 minute documentary today for $19 with a donation to our Indigogo campaign to raise funds for our next documentary, God’s Glory, Neighbor’s Good: The Story of Pietism. Simply click on this link, which will take you to the God’s Glory, Neighbor’s Good: The Story of Pietism, Indigogo site. Look for the bright pink “Contribute Now” button and be sure to select the perk for the Seminex documentary. I will personally ship you a DVD.

On February 19, 1974, students and faculty at the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s St. Louis Concordia Seminary marched through the campus – out the doors of an institution, church body and well established educational system – and into self-described exile. This story begins in the 19th Century when a new method of Biblical interpretation known as the “historical-critical method”, tore many Protestant churches apart. Were Adam and Eve real people? Was Jonah actually swallowed by a fish? Or, did ancient authors reflect their own historical situation when addressing the people of their time and place?

For Missouri Synod Lutherans, the full impact of these theological debates and culturally conservative verses more modern world views came to a head decades after other church bodies had divided and drifted apart. The debate ruptured the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at a time of vast American cultural and social upheaval: Viet Nam, the Civil Rights movement and Watergate.

For many students, faculty, administrators and Lutherans throughout North America, the events in St. Louis took a personal toll. The walkout would divide families, split congregations and have a lasting impact on the future of the church.

Interviews include John H. Tietjen, Herman Otten, Gerhard Bode, the grandson of Jacob Preus, author and historian Jim Burkee, and dozens of Seminex faculty and students.

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