This is a preview of a documentary I am currently working on about a divide in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in the 1970′s.
On February 19, 1974, students and faculty at the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s St. Louis Concordia Theological 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.