Meet the 101 Team

Who Are Those People?

Don’t let the long list of contributors and titles intimidate you. People with many different backgrounds and positions contributed to Lutheranism 101—from presidents to pastors to professors to parents. Some of us have advanced degrees; some of us don’t. Some of us are lifelong Lutherans; some of us aren’t. Be assured that at some point all of us were once right where you are now: wondering about this thing called Lutheranism. We learned by attending worship services, asking questions of our pastors, and reading the Bible, among other things. You can do the same!

Our Contributors

General Editor

Scot A. Kinnaman is a senior editor at Concordia Publishing House. Prior to coming to Concordia, he served as pastor for Lutheran congregations in Illinois and Michigan. He  is author of the book Worshiping with Angels and Archangels: An Introduction to the Divine Service (Concordia, 2006), the general editor of Lutheran Book of Prayer (Concordia, 2005), Treasury of Daily Prayer (Concordia, 2008) and regularly writes on the subjects of worship and Lutheran culture at Blog My Soul.

Assisting Editor

Laura L. Lane has been a member of the editorial team at Concordia Publishing House since 2003. A graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, she has a masters of theology degree and has worked on numerous titles for the adult consumer and church professional markets, including The Lutheran Study Bible (Concordia, 2009).


Rose E. Adle earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Valparaiso University and a master’s degree in deaconess studies and systematic theology from Concordia Seminary.

Adle interned in Caracas, Venezuela, and later she served as a deaconess at the Center for Hispanic Studies in St. Louis, Missouri, and at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Now as a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom, her diaconal background finds expression in loving service to her family. She is also active in their congregation, where she helps with the youth group, sings in the choir, and visits the home bound.

Charles P. Arand graduated from Concordia Seminary and served as pastor of St. John’s, New Minden, Illinois, and St. Luke’s, Covington, Illinois until 1987. Since 1989 he has served on the faculty at Concordia Seminary, where he holds the Waldemar A. and June Schuette Chair in Systematic Theology and serves as chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology. He translated the Apology of the Augsburg Confession for the Kolb-Wengert edition of the Book of Concord (Fortress) and has written many articles and several books on related topics. Dr. Arand is currently devoting most of his research time and writing to the topic of First Article theology, with a particular emphasis on the stewardship of creation. Much of this has been influenced by his work on Luther’s catechisms and a desire to develop Lutheran themes of creation in an American context.

Gary M. Arp earned his bachelor of divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois. Rev. Arp has served at Our Savior Lutheran Church, El Dorado, Arkansas, and St. John Lutheran Church, Crossett, Arkansas; Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Clarinda, Iowa; and St. John Lutheran Church, Waverly, Iowa. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Iowa District West, and as district president of Iowa District East. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Ernest Bernet graduated summa cum laude from Concordia, Portland, and received an MDiv from Concordia Seminary and an STM (thesis: Luther on Sanctification). He has served as a parish pastor in Seattle, on staff at the library of Concordia Seminary, and is currently serving a parish in Texas. He also serves on the Texas District Commission on Prayer and Spiritual Formation and is currently working toward his doctor of theology degree in Lutheran spirituality at Australian Lutheran College.

Scott A. Bruzek is senior pastor at St. John Lutheran Church, Wheaton, Illinois. He is a graduate of Stanford University, Concordia Seminary (St. Louis), Cambridge University, and Princeton Theological Seminary. While serving two parishes during sixteen years in the ministry, Pastor Bruzek has also taught at colleges and seminaries, served often as a guest lecturer and chaplain, written several articles, done mission work twice in Russia, and supervised more than one hundred interns, many of whom now serve in the Church. Of particular interest to him now is drawing postmodern people into the fullness of the Church’s incarnational life using elements of the ancient catechumenate.

David J. Bueltmann is president of the Central Illinois District and has written many articles for district and synodical publications. While serving as district president, he has also started a mission church and serves as the district business manager. In the past he has been a school bus driver, a substitute teacher, the executive director of Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ, and a camp director. His greatest joy is sharing the Good News about Jesus with all with whom he speaks.

Kent J. Burreson is an associate professor of systematic theology and dean of the chapel at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. He teaches courses in systematic theology (doctrine) and liturgy and worship. A graduate of the doctoral program in liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Burreson wrote a dissertation examining the historical development of Lutheran baptismal rites during the Reformation era. He has a strong interest in the development of liturgical practice in all periods of Church history as well as in the theological meaning of what is said and done in worship. He served on the liturgy committee for the development of Lutheran Service Book. Prior to his call to Concordia Seminary, he served as a pastor in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Allan R. Buss is the senior pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Belvidere, Illinois, and first vice president of the Northern Illinois District of the LCMS. He has attended Lutheran schools his whole life, including Concordia University Wisconsin, and Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne. He considers it a joy and privilege to be a part of what God is doing through His Church. His passions include preaching, leadership, pastoral care, and teaching those who are interested in knowing more about Jesus and life in His Bride, the Church. Some of his greatest joys have come from service to the Church at large, including district and synod.

Paul J Cain is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, and headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School. He also serves as Wyoming District Worship chairman and editor of Liturgy, Hymnody, & Pulpit Quarterly Book Review. A graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Rev. Cain has previously served Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Green River, Wyoming, and Trinity Lutheran Church, Morrill, Nebraska.

Terry Cripe is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois. Desiring further New Testament study, Pastor Cripe attended Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, where he earned his ThM degree. He served St. Peter Lutheran Church in Harbourton, New Jersey, for fourteen years. He then accepted the call to be mission developer of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Defiance, Ohio. He currently serves as president of the Ohio District of the LCMS.

Stewart D. Crown is the pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, California, where he has served the congregation and worked in campus ministry. He also supervises third-year seminarians in a one-year internship. Having served Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Marshfield, Wisconsin, he returned to campus work at Stanford, realizing his concern for student ministry that was formed by campus pastors at Valparaiso University and Concordia University Wisconsin. Rev. Crown attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, and was granted an MDiv; he went on to earn an STM in Old Testament studies at Concordia.

H. R. Curtis serves as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Worden, Illinois, and Zion Lutheran Church in Carpenter, Illinois. Pastor Curtis has also served as visiting lecturer in exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and adjunct professor of theology at Concordia University Chicago. While attending Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, he also gained the master of arts degree in classics from Washington University.

Rebekah Curtis makes food, cleans up messes, and writes sporadically. She vaguely remembers receiving a BS in education from Concordia University Nebraska and an MA from Concordia Seminary. Rebekah reports that she and her husband have five children, all above average.

Randy Duncan is the pastor of Living Word Lutheran Church in Plymouth Township, Michigan. He is a graduate of Concordia, Ann Arbor, and received his MDiv from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, where he majored in missions and systematic theology. He has been a missionary church planter among the Gypsy population of North America and has planted churches in Cote d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa, among the Krahn tribe. Randy became the founding missionary of a mission society named POBLO (People of the Book Lutheran Outreach), which is dedicated to communicating the Gospel and planting Christ-worshiping communities among Muslims in North America and throughout the world.

John G. Fleischmann has been pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, East Moriches, New York, since 1991. He holds a BA in church music (Concordia College, Bronxville) and writes hymns and musical arrangements for use in the parish setting. John has served as an adjunct professor at Suffolk County Community College. He also designed the initial curriculum for the Romans class in the Atlantic District Diaconate Training Program and is still one of the instructors in the program. He presently serves as circuit counselor for the East End of Long Island.

Dan Paul Gilbert serves as president of the Northern Illinois District. He previously served as a parish pastor at St. Paul in Readlyn, Iowa, and Cross in Yorkville, Illinois. His interests include missions (both North American and international), the Spanish language, the new Lutheran Church in Norway, family, reading, and travel. He is a graduate of Concordia Teachers College (now University) in Seward, Nebraska, and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

Jill Hasstedt, DCE, serves as director of family ministry at Zion Lutheran Church in Belleville, Illinois. She is a recipient of the Master DCE Award from the Lutheran Education Association and currently serves on the LCMS Board for District and Congregational Services. She is also a KINDLE associate and has worked extensively with LCMS national youth gatherings. Mrs. Hasstedt has a bachelor of science degree from Concordia University Nebraska, and an MA from the University of Illinois, Springfield. She has served congregations in Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, and Illinois. Jill’s mission is “to develop, implement, and nurture systems that encourage faith connections with God’s people in families so that Jesus becomes the center of every heart and home.”

John Hellwege Jr. is the pastor at  Emmaus Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri. He previously served the congregations of Grace Lutheran Church in Platte Center, Nebraska, and St. Peter Lutheran Church in Humphrey, Nebraska.. He has served as adjunct faculty at Concordia University Nebraska. He is presently serving as adjunct faculty at Concordia University Wisconsin, St. Louis Center, and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He has taught classes in both theology and philosophy. Rev. Hellwege has a PhD in historical theology from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Michael L. Keith is a graduate of Concordia University College of Alberta and Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He has served as the pastor of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada, since his graduation from the seminary. He serves as a vice president and on the Board of Directors of the Central District of Lutheran Church—Canada. He also serves on the Committee for Missions and Social Ministry Services of Lutheran Church—Canada. Pastor Keith was not born and raised in the Lutheran Church. He became a member of a congregation of Lutheran Church—Canada after studying theology and becoming convinced of the biblical faithfulness of the church body. He rejoices each day in the forgiveness, life, and salvation he has received for the sake of Jesus in Holy Baptism.

Shawn L. Kumm attended both public and parochial schools before entering the pre-seminary program and studying literature and biblical languages at Concordia College (University) in St. Paul, Minnesota. Following graduation from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Pastor Kumm served as campus pastor to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois. He now serves as pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Laramie, Wyoming.

Naomichi Masaki teaches dogmatics, Lutheran Confessions, Luther studies, and liturgics at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he also serves as supervisor of the master of sacred theology program. His interests lie in the theology of Martin Luther and the nineteenth-century Confessional Revival in Germany and Sweden.  Born in Kobe, Japan, and raised there as a son of a Lutheran pastor and evangelist, Masaki spent one year in Norway attending Rødde Folkehøgskole, studied social work and counseling at Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan (BA and MA), and received theological and pastoral training at Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne (MDiv and STM), and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (PhD). Masaki has served the Board for District and Congregational Services and the Liturgy Committee of the Lutheran Hymnal Project of the LCMS.

Benjamin T. G. Mayes, a lifelong Lutheran, grew up in a pastor’s family and received God’s rich grace in the context of a small congregation. Educated both inside and outside of LCMS schools, including a year of post-graduate study abroad in Germany, he is now a pastor in the LCMS and has a PhD in historical theology from Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Besides serving as an editor for professional and academic books at Concordia Publishing House, he is involved with ministry in the urban setting of  St. Louis, Missouri.

Heather Melcher is a certified director of Christian education with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in psychology and a master of parish education degree. In addition to staying home full time with her two young sons and occasionally helping her husband on their farm, she writes, presents workshops, and is developing a Christian resource Web site.

Herbert C. Mueller Jr. prepared for the ministry in the LCMS system, graduating from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Rev. Mueller has served the Lord as pastor of three parishes in Illinois before being elected Southern Illinois District President February 1994.

President Mueller served on the Synod’s Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support from 1998 to 2007 (chairman, 2004–7). In 2004 he began serving on the Concordia Pulpit Resources Advisory Committee and has also served in the past on the Synod’s Colloquy Committee and the Program Committee for the Council of Presidents. In 2010 Rev. Mueller was elected as First Vice President of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Scott R. Murray is interested in missions, having been a mission developer in North America and a teacher in international mission fields. He served as the vice chairman of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the LCMS and on the board of the Lutheran Education Association of Houston. He is presently the vice president of the Luther Academy and an editor of Logia. He writes a daily e-mail devotion, Memorial Moment, that reaches subscribers all over the world, and is the host of the weekly radio program Dying to Live. He is the author of numerous journal articles and the book Law, Life, and the Living God (Concordia, 2003). In 2010 Dr. Murray was elected as Fifth Vice President of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Timothy Pauls currently  serves as a pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Boise, Idaho. A lifelong Lutheran and resident of the Pacific Northwest, Timothy is the author of several books, devotionals, magazine and journal articles, and especially enjoys writing to communicate the truth of God’s Word and demonstrating its significance in daily life.

John T. Pless is assistant professor of pastoral ministry and missions at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, where he also serves as director of field education and editor of the Seminary magazine, For the Life of the World. Prior to joining the faculty, he served as campus pastor at University Lutheran Chapel at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and prior to that he served on the staff at the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University. He is a graduate of Texas Lutheran College, Sequin, Texas (BA), and Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio (MDiv). He entered the LCMS by colloquy at Concordia Theological Seminary.

Prof. Pless is the author of Handling the Word of Truth: Law and Gospel in the Church Today; A Small Catechism on Human Life; Word: God Speaks to Us; Confession: God Gives Us Truth; Luther on the Care for the Sick and the Dying; and two chapters in Lutheran Worship: History and Practice. With Matthew Harrison he is editor of Women Pastors? The Ordination of Women in Biblical Lutheran Perspective. He served on the Agenda Committee for Lutheran Service Book. He is book review editor for Logia and a member of the editorial council of Lutheran Quarterly. A regular lecturer at various conferences both in the United States and overseas, Prof. Pless coordinates the seminary’s annual “Mercy Mission Expedition to Madagascar” in partnership with the LCMS Board for World Relief and Human Care. He serves as copresident of the International Loehe Society, and he is a member of the LCMS Committee on the Sanctity of Human Life.

Kurt Rolland attended Concordia Seminary, receiving a master of arts in Exegetical Theology. Kurt has a passion and desire to share this lost perspective with fellow Lutherans.

Douglas L. Rutt is a graduate of Bethany Lutheran College (A.A.), Minnesota State University (B.S.), and Concordia Theological Seminary (MDiv and PhD). He has served as a missionary to Guatemala, Central America, where he was involved in church planting and theological education, and as a parish pastor at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. James, Minnesota, and St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Truman, Minnesota. He was also the area secretary for Latin America/Caribbean with LCMS World Mission. He currently serves  on the faculty of Concordia Theological Seminary. He has written several articles on mission history and practice and is currently the editor of the Communicator, the regular newsletter of the Lutheran Society for Missiology. Dr. Rutt also serves as a consultant and liaison for LCMS World Mission to Latin America. He is called upon regularly to consult and speak on mission issues throughout the United States and Latin America. Currently he is the chairman of the board of Lutheran Bible Translators.

Leopoldo A. Sánchez M. was born in Chile and raised in Panama. He has worked with local churches in Venezuela and San José, California, focusing most of his time on theological education. As a doctoral student, Leopoldo
Sánchez was the recipient of a three-year grant from the Hispanic Theological Initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts, a program for the development of Hispanic faculty in the fields of theology and religion. He received his Ph.D. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Sánchez has been teaching systematic theology at Concordia Seminary since 2004 and was appointed director of the Center for Hispanic Studies in 2006.

Peter J. Scaer graduated from the Concordia Theological seminary and earned his PhD at Notre Dame. While finishing his graduate work, he served as a parish pastor at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Arcadia, Indiana. He is the author of , The Lukan Passion and the Praiseworthy Death, Sheffield Press. In 2000, he was called to teach New Testament at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

Peter A. Speckhard graduated from Concordia Seminary and worked as a missionary at large before accepting a call to Faith Lutheran Church in Green Bay, where he continues to serve as senior pastor. He also serves as associate editor of Forum Letter and has written articles and reviews for Touchstone, First Things, and the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.

Scott Stiegemeyer is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Rev. Stiegemeyer’s first call was to be an admissions officer for the seminary, which he did for three years. Next he served as pastor to Concordia Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was a circuit counselor for five years of that time. He was cohost for a weekly talk show on Christian radio called Let’s Talk about Jesus. He returned to the seminary to be the director of admissions. Most recently, he has returned to parish ministry, serving Redeemer Lutheran Church in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Cynda Strong is an English teacher at Lutheran High School in Springfield, Illinois. After years of teaching her students how to write, Cynda started seeking publication of her own work. Her first picture book, Where Do Angels Sleep? was published by Concordia in 2007. Her Arch Book, The Resurrection, was released in 2010. Cynda has been published in several magazines, Bible studies, Portals of Prayer, and anthologies.

William H. Tucker is the senior pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in San Antonio, where he has served for eight years. Bill attended Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. His major was theological languages (Greek, Hebrew, Latin, German, and French). From there he attended Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he graduated with a master of divinity degree.

Gene Edward Veith Jr. is currently a professor of literature, a college administrator, and a writer. He has written more than a dozen books on Christianity, culture, and the arts. He has a PhD in English literature. He and his wife have three children and live near Washington DC.

Larry M. Vogel has been associate executive director of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Prior to that he served for twenty-eight years as a parish pastor in Queens, New York City, and in the Camden-Pennsauken, New Jersey area of greater Philadelphia. He loves to think and write about urban and cross-cultural mission and ministry, the evangelical and catholic richness of Lutheran theology, and the church’s worship as it creates and sustains faith and spills over into hope and love.

James Wetzstein is associate director of Valparaiso University’s Institute of Liturgical Studies, serves as university pastor at Valparaiso University, and has an active liturgical design consulting practice. He serves on the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) Architural Advisory Council, as an advisor to the Center for Liturgical Art at Concordia University Nebraska, and on the Board of Directors of South Shore Arts in Munster, Indiana. Agnus Day, the creation of Pastor James Wetzstein, is the only lectionary-based comic strip on the planet. Each week, Rick (the one with the dark nose) and Ted discuss one of the assigned readings from the Common Lectionary. Their conversation drives at a point and sometimes sparks a laugh.

Roland Ziegler teaches systematic theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. A native of Germany, he came to Fort Wayne in 200o, after being a pastor in Konstanz. His special interests are the Lutheran Confessions, Luther studies, and the topic of prolegomena.