John Tietjen, pivotal Lutheran figure, dies

Worked for Lutheran unity
John H. Tietjen, a seminary president who led a mid-1970s revolt of moderates against fundamentalists in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and contributed to a three-way merger of Lutheran bodies in 1987, died at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, after a long struggle with cancer. He was 75.

His death on February 15 came only four days shy of the 30th anniversary of the 1974 exodus of students and faculty, including Tietjen, from the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The next day, classes of Concordia Seminary in Exile (Christ Seminary-Seminex) began at Saint Louis University and at Eden Seminary in Webster Groves, Missouri.

The split widened within the LCMS, resulting in the formation of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) in 1976 by ex–Missouri Synod members, Tietjen among them. He later joined the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which he helped to create.


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