Dr John R. Stephenson joined the seminary faculty in January 1989. When he entered retirement on 31 December 2022, he was the longest-serving teacher in the seminary’s history.

The annual joint meeting of the two LCC seminary governing boards on 14 February 2023 was an opportunity to celebrate his ministry and teaching career with a large number of church leaders and old friends present. The group gathered in the dining hall of Mt Carmel Spiritual Retreat Centre, Niagara Falls, for a roast beef dinner. Among the special guests were two of John and Bonnie Stephenson’s three daughters, Margaret and Theresa, whose appearance caught him with delighted surprise.

After dinner, seminary president Dr Thomas Winger led the “roast after the roast” with a slide show of historical photos from Dr Stephenson’s life in St. Catharines to entertain and honour the good doctor. Further tales and thanks were brought by board chairman Rev. Robert Krestick, LCC Synod President Timothy Teuscher, and LCC President Emeritus Rev. Robert Bugbee.

The honouree was then caught entirely by surprise as his sons-in-law, Revs James and Stephen Preus, stepped to the lectern to unveil a Festschrift produced for Dr Stephenson’s 70th birthday and honouring his scholarly career. Containing 25 essays written by colleagues and former students, the 408-page volume is headed by a hymn written by Rev. Kurt Reinhardt and set to music by Michael Thomas. As the evening drew to a close, the 42 gathered guests sang the new hymn and then raised a few glasses of wine to cheer the beloved pastor, teacher, and theologian.

More photos are available here.

Rev. Dr John Raymond Stephenson, a native of Hartlepool, England, holds a BA and MA from Oxford University (1974, 1982), a Diploma in Theology from Cambridge University (1975), and a PhD from Durham University (1983). He was ordained in 1985 and served Escarpment Lutheran Church, Lewiston, NY, before joining the CLTS faculty. He is the author of The Lord’s Supper and Eschatology in the Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics series, is the translator of Wilhelm Löhe’s Aphorisms Old and New, and has published more than 80 journal articles. He continues to teach at the seminary part time.

The Festschrift, Servant of Christ’s Church, is available through the print-on-demand service lulu.com in hardcover and softcover. An e-book version is in the works.

Festschrift Contents:

  • “Lord, Bless the Servants of Your Church” (hymn), by Kurt E. Reinhardt & Michael A. Thomas
  • “Early Christians of the 21st Century”, by Larry L. Beane II
  • “The Image and Likeness of God”, by Burnell F. Eckardt, Jr
  • “Baptismal Recognition and Admission to the Altar: An Attempt to Define the Relationship”, by Werner Klän
  • “The Blood of the Lamb: A Biblical Reflection”, by John W. Kleinig
  • “Martin Luther as Prophet: the Portrayal by Cyriakus Spangenberg”, by Robert Kolb
  • “Die Verkündigung der lutherischen Kirche als Antwort auf den schiitischen Islam. Erfahrungen aus der Arbeit mit christlichen Konvertiten aus dem Iran und Afghanistan”, by Gottfried Martens
  • “A Duelling Doulos: Pressing the Point”, by William F. Mundt
  • “Prophetic Typology in the New Testament”, by Edward A. Naumann
  • “Heavenly Support for the Servants of God”, by Jonathan Naumann
  • “Remonstrance in Subordination”, by David H. Petersen
  • “Ordination with the Word of God, Prayer, and the Laying on of Hands: Some Remarks on Martin Luther’s Ordination Agenda”, by Juhana Pohjola
  • “Justification and the Lord’s Supper”, by Rolf D. Preus
  • “Compliance ad absurdum: Some Spiritual Musings on the Lutheran Allergy to Political Activity in the Midst of Pandemania”, by Harold Ristau
  • “A Journey Well Taken: A Tribute of John Stephenson. Response to Ephraim Radner’s ‘Children of Cain: The Oxymoron of American Catholicism’”, by David P. Scaer
  • “Homily on the Holy Pascha and to the Newly Illumined, by Basil of Seleucia. Translation with Notes and Comments”, by William C. Weinrich
  • “Worship: It’s All about Justification; It’s Not All about Justification”, by Thomas M. Winger
  • “A Theological View of the Mysteries in St John’s Second Epistle”, by Roger C. Paavola
  • “Institution, Promise, and the Certainty of Salvation: A Survey of Luther’s Pro Veritate of 1518”, by Andrew J. Preus
  • “‘The Story of Uriah’ Remedied: Mortal and Venial Sins as a Useful, Gospel, and Lutheran Distinction”, by Stephen K. Preus
  • “Keeping It Real: God’s Real Presence in Preaching”, by Kurt E. Reinhardt
  • “John 21 and Three Anglican Divines”, by Jody A. Rinas
  • “An Analysis of French Lutheran Hymnals and the Lord’s Supper Hymns in Them”, by David P. Saar
  • “Familiarity Breeds Contemplation: An Historical and Practical Examination of Fixed Liturgical Rites”, by Paul Schulz
  • “Church Fellowship, Discipline, and False Applications”, by Kenneth J. Voege

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