The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The life, times of a churchman

Preus recounts details of hierarchy, politics

On the heels of an autobiography of Herbert W. Chilstrom ("Chilstrom by the book," October 2011), the ELCA's first presiding bishop, comes one from David W. Preus, who implemented significant theological and ecumenical principles during his 14-year tenure as president of the former American Lutheran Church.

Preus' book, Pastor and President: Reflections of a Lutheran Churchman (Lutheran University Press), has little of the personal family and emotional details of the Chilstrom tome. In fact, it reads much like a textbook. Yet it provides fascinating details of church in-fighting and policy minutia that presaged the ELCA's formation, underlining Martin Luther's description of Christians as "simultaneously saint and sinner" and providing a refreshingly honest view of how political the religious hierarchy can be.

Pastor and presidentHe unsparingly details the dissolution of friendly relations between the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and ALC, concluding that he was saddened but realistic that the Missouri Synod couldn't live with more moderate theological philosophies.

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