Concordia Seminary is located in Clayton, an inner-ring suburb on the western border of St. Louis. The institution's primary mission is to train clergy for the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS).
Concordia Seminary is the oldest seminary of the LCMS. Founded in 1839, the seminary initially resided in Perry County, Missouri. In 1849 it was moved to St. Louis, and in 1926 the current campus was built. It is currently the largest Lutheran seminary in the United States. Concordia shares the duty of clerical training for the LCMS with Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The St. Louis institution was at one time considered the "theoretical" (i.e., academic) seminary of the LCMS while Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne was considered the "practical" seminary, although those distinctions are no longer widely recognized. Concordia Seminary currently offers a Master of Divinity degree leading to ordination, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Sacred Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The seminary is considered theologically conservative, as it does not train women for ordination, and also promotes a Historical-Grammatical interpretation of the Bible. It is an accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Seminex Controversy
Concordia Seminary became a focus of national media attention in 1974 when 45 of its 50 faculty members, together with the vast majority of students, walked out to form a rival institution known as Seminex, or Concordia Seminary in Exile. The Seminex walk-out was undertaken in protest of the suspension of the seminary's president, John Tietjen, who faced charges from the more conservative Synodical president, Jacob Preus, of allowing the teaching of false doctrine. More specifically, the charges alleged that Tietjen had permitted the teaching of Historical-Critical Methods of Scriptural interpretation, the focus of which is primarily upon the process of canon-formation with reference to historical and social context, rather than upon Scripture as the inerrant word of God (see Biblical inerrancy).
As stated above, Concordia Seminary has since returned to its former status as the largest Lutheran seminary in America. As of October 2004, enrollment stands at 827 students.