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CLTS to welcome Finnish scholar for 2015-2016

March 24, 2015 No Comment
Rev. Murto Esko

Rev. Murto Esko

ST. CATHARINES, Ontario – Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (CLTS) has announced that they will be hosting a visiting scholar during the 2015-2016 academic year in St. Catharines. Rev. Esko Murto, of Helsinki, Finland will be joining the seminary community during that year.

This is the third in a sequence of visiting scholar arrangements. Rev. Juhana Pohjola of Helsinki was in residence at CLTS from January 2011 to June 2012 while completing his doctoral dissertation, contributing to the community via preaching and occasional teaching. Rev. Dr. Wilhelm Torgerson, a Canadian-German well-known to members of Lutheran Church–Canada, joined the CLTS community in August 2011 and continues to serve a full load of classes. His first two years were supported by a grant from the Marvin M. Schwan foundation.

Rev. Murto is a young pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF). The church was officially formed in 2013, though the origins of the group date back to 1999. The ELMDF emerged out of the state church of Finland, which bars the ordination of anyone who opposes female ordination and which is increasingly moving towards acceptance of homosexual marriage. Today the ELMDF counts 30 congregations throughout Finland.

“It is important that we offer brotherly support within the Lutheran community to those who struggle to confess the truth in such circumstances,” a CLTS release explains. “Rev. Murto’s time in Canada will give him crucial insights into the inner workings of an independent confessional Lutheran church body and seminary that he can bring back to Finland. LCC President Robert Bugbee is delighted to approve Rev. Murto’s Canadian sojourn to the mutual benefit of our churches.”

The release further notes that Rev. Murton will bring unique insights into sharing the Gospel in the “increasingly post-Christian north Atlantic culture that we in Canada share with our Nordic cousins.” Rev. Murto’s Master of Theology (from the University of Helsinki) was on the theology of C.S. Lewis and his Master of Sacred Theology (from Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne) focused on Martin Luther’s view of the devil.

Rev. Murton will teach the seminary’s Confessions, dogmatics and missions courses in the 2015-2016 academic year, in the wake of Rev. Dr. William Mundt’s retirement. Consequently, the seminary will delay hiring a replacement faculty member for one year.

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