By Andrew Kneeland
The Free Lutheran Schools offered two courses in it’s January-term as continuing education for students, pastors, and lay leaders.
Pastor Brian Pearson, who serves in chaplaincy ministry, taught “Pastoral Care at the End of Life” at the Free Lutheran Seminary, aiming to train and equip pastors, lay leaders, and seminarians on this important aspect of pastoral ministry. It isn’t fun to dwell on end of life matters, but perhaps no aspect of pastoral ministry is more memorable or significant.
“Pastoral care at the end of life is something you wish no one needed,” seminarian Kevin Hall said, “but you hope every single person who needs it has it. No one likes death, but I look forward to the opportunities to carry the much-needed message of the cross into those situations.”
Pastor Pearson reminded students that the people you serve won’t necessarily remember the things you say, but they will remember what you did. As they navigate the murky waters of failing health, important medical decisions, and stressful family dynamics, a faithful and loving presence is often more meaningful than offering a tired cliché or verbose prayer.
The end of life is no light issue. But God delights in His children coming home (Ps. 116:15).
Dr. Jonathan Strand was also a guest lecturer last week, offering a three-day course entitled, “Luther, Athens, and Geneva: The Right Place of Reason in Reformation Theology.” Strand took students on a systematic walk through history, examining the reformers’ understanding of reason and teaching how reason can be used more effectively to articulate and proclaim the Gospel.
It’s important, Strand taught, to utilize reason correctly. It should never be placed above Scripture, but rather used alongside. Reason and logic were created by God and have many benefits! Reason can provide a logical structure to a presentation of the Gospel, it can remove the excuses of an unbeliever, and can give a better understanding of reality and a person’s need for forgiveness.
Dr. Strand examined the Lutheran Confessions as well as the writings of various Reformation leaders, including Martin Luther, to evaluate their opinions and positions on the use of reason.
Dr. Strand, a graduate of the Free Lutheran Seminary, is a professor of philosophy at Concordia University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Kneeland, a student at AFLTS, serves as Student Life and Services Coordinator for AFLBS.