Dear Friend of ILT;
Last week an email was sent to you asking for your feedback concerning the name ‘ILT-Christ School of Theology’. The ILT Board will meet next week and discuss changing the name we brand publicly from ‘Institute of Lutheran Theology’ to ‘ILT - Christ School of Theology’. (Some of you might recalls that ILT has since its beginnings used ‘Christ School of Theology’ to refer to its graduate school.) Our Board shall also choose then between two options on a logo upgrade. We invite you to give us important feedback on the naming and logo issues before the board meeting. Let us explain.
First of all, ILT cannot go away from our Lutheran identity. Institutional policy requires that the board, administration, and both the graduate school and certificate school faculty are Lutheran and have ministry experience. Those who make the decisions about ILT’s direction and curriculum must all be Lutheran. This will not and cannot change.
The reason for branding ‘Christ School of Theology’ and employing a new logo should be understood as part of outreach. Just as your congregation must put its best foot forward with a sign out front and a logo of some kind on your letterhead and promotional materials, we do, too. A congregation needs new members to be healthy and a school has an even greater need to recruit new students.
We have discovered that our Master of Sacred Theology program and Doctor of Ministry program are just as popular with pastors of other denominations in the Reformation tradition as they are with Lutherans. We think if we made a few changes we would draw even more.
Our staff has been discussing this for a while and in reflecting on it Tim Swenson put forward that it is about more than gaining new students. It is also about outreach, and not just our seminary, but the promulgation of Lutheran theology.
Simply stated, Lutheran theology is too good to be kept as a Lutheran secret. In our outreach, we want to remove the barriers that stand between all other Christians and the best of our theology: the theology of the cross, the Reformation Solas, the two kingdoms doctrine, and the ’simul.’ As Tim observed, "Only the Hutterites and the Mennonites, parts of the radical Reformation, carry forth their founders' names. Lutherans were given their name by their opponents. Our theology is pure Christian theology because it is the Scriptural and Apostolic tradition stripped of the accretions accumulated over the centuries of man-made conditions. The rest of Protestant theology is merely ’political’ reductions of Christian theology to fit certain schemes. ILT desires to draw in those so ’politically reduced’ and give them Christian theology straight up and unadulterated."
Therefore, please weigh in. We understand why this rebranding might be a cause for concern. In many organizations these types of changes are not for the better but for the worse. This change is not meant to be a change in who ILT is, it is simply a change for outreach purposes.
In your reply let us know which logo you would choose and what you think about ‘ILT-Christ School of Theology’. Nothing but our brand name is changing, and that is strictly an adaptation for marketing our post-MDiv. programs. Our M.Div. and P.M.C. programs will continue to be taught pure Lutheran theology by 100 percent Lutheran faculty. ‘Institute of Lutheran Theology’ shall remain the legal name of our entity. Our mission stays the same; any changes are made only to help us to further it.