News & Resources

The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

2024 Holy Land Trip

Join ILT Professor Mark Mattes on a transformative expedition to the Holy Land from May 11-20, 2024! 🌍

This exceptional opportunity allows you to explore the Holy Land if it’s always been a dream of yours! The cost is $4,695 per person (double occupancy), with air from Chicago and airport transfers from Des Moines, Iowa. This price includes travel, entrance fees, food, and the tour bus.

Discover the wonders of Jerusalem, including the Church of the Redeemer, Israel Museum, Temple Mount, Western Wall, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and the Pool of Siloam. We’ll also visit Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, St. Anne’s Church, the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, Masada, and Qumran.

Our journey continues to the Sea of Galilee, Bethsaida, the Jordan River, Korazin, Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Nazareth, and Mount Carmel. 🏞️🙏

This trip will strengthen your faith and bring the Bible to life. Please join us on this incredible adventure!

For a brochure, contact Mark Mattes directly at

Email Dr. Mattes

The Fall Numbers Are In

This week, Tuesday (9/5) was census day for the fall semester at ILT. The official census report shows a total of 129 students. This is the total head count for both ILT’s Christ School of Theology (seminary and graduate school) and Christ College (undergraduate).

The good news is that ILT continues to see growth. The total fall head count, 129, is up from 117 last fall. The Christ School of Theology went from 95 to 101. Christ College went from 25 to 29. This growth comes at a time when higher education generally and seminaries specifically are in a state of decline. God continues to bless ILT through its students. We give thanks to God for his blessings and pray that he will continue to bless the church by sending people to be pastors.

Here is the census report for fall 2023.

Download Report

Our Students Need YOUR Help

Every year, ILT raises money to support our students. Financial concerns continue to be one of the biggest challenges which students face as they try to complete their education. The money in the financial aid fund goes directly to the students who have the greatest financial need. Money should not be the only reason why students, who have a genuine call from God to serve his church, do not study at ILT.

Currently, financial aid covers about $1,200 for each student, depending on their program. This typically covers the cost of one course for every ministry student who qualifies. We try to keep the tuition cost low and students do not take out loans for their tuition. ILT students graduate with no debt. For us to continue to do this, we need your help. If you gave $1,200, you would be supporting one student this semester. If you gave $25, your money will go directly to students to support them. Please consider giving a gift, knowing that this gift will help provide the future generation of pastors.

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Back to School 2023

Classes resumed at ILT on Monday August 21. This is the beginning of ILT’s 13th fall semester. Much has changed for ILT students and faculty over the last 13 years. The inclusion of additional and expanded programs gives students many more options when it comes to completing their educational goals. Students now can complete undergraduate degrees as well as seminary and post graduate programs.

While registration is not closed and the head count number may still change some, here is what we can say about the student body at the end of the first week of classes.

Christ School of Theology
The Christ School of Theology is ILT’s Seminary and Graduate School. This semester there are 94 students taking courses at the Christ School of Theology. Thirty-two (32) are students who are working toward some ministry degree or certification. These students are working in congregational ministry or chaplaincy. Some are Master of Divinity students, some are taking the set of Lutheran classes, and some are going to serve in military chaplaincy. Fifty-six (56) of these students are working on graduate work after their master’s degree. These students are working on STM, Doctor of Ministry, and Ph.D. programs.

Christ College
Christ College is ILT’s Undergraduate School. This semester there are 30 students at Christ College. These students are taking classes toward an associate or baccalaureate degree, a certificate, or as continuing education. There are currently 16 A.A. and B.A. students, four of whom are on the pre-seminary track and planning to become pastors. There are also 10 Pastoral Ministry Students who are taking classes while they serve their home congregations.

Partnership with ILT
We will say more about the student numbers when they are finalized after census day. Our continued growth is important, because the mission of ILT is to provide training for pastors and teachers of the church. We are doing this, and we continue to grow. This growth, however, means that ILT needs more partners to support the financial needs of the students. One of the major issues for students is the cost of education. We keep tuition as low as possible and we make every effort to ensure that our students do not graduate with debt. To this day, no student has gone into debt to pay tuition.

This is where we need your help. ILT has a financial aid fund to support our financially challenged students and congregations. Please consider becoming an ILT partner and supporting your future pastor by donating to this fund. Currently, about $70,000 of tuition is paid out of this fund every semester. This means we need to raise about $140,000 a year to support these students. Your contributions will go to ensure that there are pastors in the future and that those pastors do not live under the unnecessary burden of student debt.

Click on the buttons below for more information about how you can support our students or please contact Joel Williams by emailing him at

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Why Suppport ILT

NALC Lutheran Week

Since 2012, the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) has each year convened a group of younger theological, historical, and biblical scholars prior to “Lutheran Week,” which includes the NALC convocation. Formerly known as the “Younger Theologians,” the group is now known as “Theologians for the Church.” Participants gather to reflect on topics in theology, support each other, and discuss the relevance of theology for the current Lutheran situation in North America and the world.

ILT has been represented at this gathering over the years. This year at the NALC Lutheran Week in Oklahoma City, Dr. Thomas Jacobson, Assistant Professor of History, was in attendance and has been a participant from the beginning. Thomas Thorstad, current Ph.D. student at ILT, also participated.

This year, participants discussed the theme “God the Father Creates…In His Image.” Each member reflected on a particular biblical passage in light of their area of specialty. We are grateful for ILT’s continuing contribution to the field of Lutheran theology through this organization.

Written by Rev. Thomas Jacobson,
Ph.D. Assistant Professor of History

ILT’s Assistant Professor Shares His Experience

Today’s News & Events is a message from Kevin Swift, an Assistant Professor at ILT, who attended our first Theologian in Residence event this summer during Graduation week.

“This summer ILT held its first Theologian in Residence event. I attended and am happy I did. I’m thankful to all who were so gracious to me during that week. I very much enjoyed meeting ILT board members and staff, touring the library, eating the delicious meals provided, and even having a couple late-evening drinks with Dr. Bielfeldt and a few board members. Those were all very valuable, secondary benefits.

The primary purpose of the event was the time to converse with and get the guidance of the event’s two theologians, Dr. Bielfeldt and Dr. Hackmann, to ask them about AI (a topic of the event’s theme) and any other topic that interested me. For example, I had time to discuss my current learnings on 20th-century theology with Dr. Hackmann and confirm that I was understanding the progression of thought in the early 1900s. I was also able to grill Dr. Hackmann and Dr. Bielfeldt on the event’s topic: naturalism, theism, and AI. Those latter conversations I recorded, and we’ve put them up on YouTube. I hope you’ll check them out and find them as engrossing as I did.”

Check it out here:

Kevin Swift | MS
Assistant Professor

ILT Receives the Lutheran Bible Institute of California Library and Archive

This week the ILT Library received the remainder of the library and archive of the Lutheran Bible Institute of California from the Grand View University Theology Department. This collection consists of 32 boxes of books (primarily in the areas of Biblical theology, Lutheran theology, and Lutheran history) and 51 boxes of archive documents related to the life of LBI California and the history of the LBI movement across North America. These books will be added to the ILT library collection in the coming months where they will continue to fulfill their intended purpose to bring sound biblical teaching to congregations, pastors, and theologians from a Lutheran perspective. The archive will be preserved in ILT’s North American Lutheran Archive where it will document the role of the Lutheran Bible Institute movement in the realignment of North American Lutheranism for future generations of church historians.

In many ways LBI and ILT share a lot in common. The Lutheran Bible Institute movement – beginning over a century ago – was dedicated to the sound teaching of the Bible at a time when more secularized views of Scripture was becoming widespread. This same commitment is exemplified in ILT’s vision statement, “Centered in the Word of God and the Cross of Christ, ILT students will be grounded in the Bible, rooted in the classical Christian tradition, understand the contemporary cultural horizon, and think critically in the proclamation and advancement of the Gospel.” In the same way, ILT shares with the LBI movement a commitment to bring together the many voices of the classical Christian tradition from a Lutheran perspective in conversation and common cause. As Ray F. Kibler III, Ph.D. (former president of LBI California and historian of the LBI movement) wrote, “LBI was pan-Lutheran from its inception and expected each student and faculty member to remain loyal to the Lutheran church body in which they held their membership. But above this, they were to hold ultimate loyalty to all that the Bible revealed… LBI stood as a witness to renewal not only to Lutheran church bodies but also within Lutheran bodies,”1

We, at the Institute of Lutheran Theology, honor the generations of faculty and alumni of the LBI movement who committed their lives to preserving, promoting, and propagating the faithful teaching of Scripture, renewal of the Church, and the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole world. In receiving this trust, we renew our commitment to continue the path that they have trod. We give thanks to the Lord for the stewardship of the people of the LBI movement and ask his continued blessing as we continue that stewardship.

1Kibler, Ray F, III. “The Lutheran Bible Institute and the Augustana Synod.” Lutheran Quarterly 24, no. 1 (Spr 2010): 97–117.

Fall Semester Begins August 21!

The new academic year at ILT is quickly coming. The fall semester begins on August 21. There is still plenty of time to register for courses. If you are thinking about getting a degree or certificate from ILT, please contact us. We are offering about 60 courses to students this fall. There are plenty of opportunities for you to learn from our expert faculty. Even if you just want to take one class about a topic that interests you, there are many options from which to choose.

Students are also participating in doctoral level research, teaching assistants, practicums, and internships. There are many things going on for students at ILT this fall. Please join us and learn from the best in the field. Learn about things that you have always wondered about.

To Learn More: Contact Joel Williams

ILT’s Christ School of Theology is offering the following courses this fall:

  • Koine Greek
  • Lutheran Biblical Interpretation
  • Pentateuch and Histories (Genesis through 2 Kings)
  • Epistles and Formation of the New Testament
  • Isaiah
  • A Secular World
  • Proclamation in the 21st Century
  • History of Christian Thought II: The Reformation
  • Christology
  • Church, Spirit and the Two Kingdoms
  • Twentieth Century Theology
  • The Lutheran Confessions
  • The Christian Doctrine of Atonement
  • Luther’s Concept of Freedom
  • Pastoral Care I
  • The Teaching Shepherd
  • Theology and Practice of Worship
  • Homiletics I
  • Faith, Knowledge and Reason
  • Ethics in a Lutheran Perspective
  • Theological German
  • Methodology and Approaches to Graduate Study
  • Theological Methods

ILT’s Christ College is offering the following classes:

  • Biblical Hebrew I
  • Principles of Biblical Interpretation
  • New Testament Theology and History
  • Life and Theology of Moses
  • Life and Theology of David
  • Latin I
  • Academic Research and Writing
  • History of Western Civilization I
  • Systematic Theology I
  • History of the Post-Reformation Christian Church
  • Religious Movements in North America
  • The Age of Orthodoxy
  • Foundations of Mathematics
  • Introduction to Western Philosophy I
  • Pastoral Care
  • Lutheran Worship
  • Proclaiming God’s Word
  • Christian Education for the Parish

Title Change & Introducing New Scholar

Here at ILT’s Christ School of Theology, we have had the privilege and pleasure of working with three professors and scholars that have each heretofore had the title of “Ph.D. Fellow.” They are Dr. Paul Hinlicky, Dr. Mark Mattes and Dr. Dennis Ngien. All three are frequently published scholars in their particular areas and have worked extensively with our Doctoral students and candidates through teaching and mentoring. Their excellent work has been a critical factor in the expansion and development of our Doctoral programs.

A hearty welcome to Dr. Andrea Vestrucci! We are adding one new scholar and researcher to this illustrious team starting on July 1, 2023. His name is Dr. Andrea Vestrucci and he hails from northern Italy. Not only is he one of a very small number of ordained Lutheran pastors in Italy, but he holds two Ph.D. degrees and is a renowned scholar in Luther’s theology, computational metaphysics, and AI and Ethics. He has a current appointment at the University of Bamberg, Germany and will be teaching PTE 842, “Luther’s Concept of Freedom for the Christ School of Theology” in the Fall of 2023.

But in our board and faculty meetings during the week of June 12-17, we identified one detail about our work with these professors that we have decided to change. We noted that the title “Ph.D. Fellow” was not well understood regarding the role and qualifications of these important faculty members. Thus, after various suggestions as well as feedback from those involved, we decided to create a new title for these colleagues. As of July 1, 2023, all four of these colleagues will be officially appointed as “Distinguished Professor and Research Fellow” at the Christ School of Theology. This title represents in at least two ways their qualifications as well as what they will be undertaking with our students and faculty. “Distinguished Professor” because they have shown real excellence in their respective fields, both in teaching and mentoring. “Research Fellow” because they will be continuing to engage in research and publication in community and fellowship with the Christ School of Theology. We are more than grateful for their willingness to serve with us and wish them God’s blessings in our work together!

By Daniel Hackmann, Ph.D.
Professor and Academic Dean

Create Moments Like These With Your Support

Dear Friend,

Many of you have walked with us for the past ten years. Thank you for all your prayers and financial gifts. You have made the Institute of Lutheran Theology possible! There has never been an independent Lutheran seminary and graduate school in North America, and certainly not a school as large as your Institute of Lutheran Theology. Your generosity birthed us!

I won’t sugarcoat the present situation: It is grave. There are not nearly enough Lutheran pastors to fill Lutheran pulpits, and the situation is getting worse. Moreover, many now serving Lutheran churches seem to believe Niebuhr’s trenchant phrase: A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”

But at ILT we believe that humans are sinful, that God is both wrath and love, that God’s kingdom is other than our utopias, and that salvation is through the Cross of Christ. We teach these things to our students and instruct them how to proclaim passionately and clearly the free grace of God in Christ Jesus. We believe that being called to be a preacher and teacher of Christ Jesus is very serious business indeed, and that to serve God profoundly is the highest calling any of us could have.

ILT is growing. We should have over 105 students studying in our graduate programs this fall, with total enrollments of 135 or more. We have been accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) already for five years, and recently were awarded our first ten-year accreditation. Our seminary and graduate school – the Christ School of Theology – will submit its first comprehensive self-study for the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accreditation this fall.

While our students flock to us from mostly Lutheran church bodies, we are getting increasing numbers coming from other traditions as well. What unites our students is a conviction that God exists, that God causes creation and redemption to be, that our world is losing its transcendent moorings and moral compass, and that God in Christ can reconcile even this very fallen world unto Himself. There is no more exciting time to be a preacher and teacher of the Risen Lord! God continues to do great things today!

There are so many ILT students that I could tell you about. They are extraordinarily committed! As our students become effective teachers and preachers of the Word through their studies with us, so many lives are being changed. When you invest financially in ILT, you change lives not only now, but in generations to come, for teachers teach and preachers preach to one generation who teach and preach to the next. How many future people will hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be grasped by the Holy Spirit because of what we do today? How many lives will be saved? This is serious business indeed. But our students cannot possibly pay for the quality education they are receiving. Whether it be through financial aid, student scholarships, or supporting general operations, your financial gifts make it possible for faithful, courageous, and competent students to become pastors, teachers and professors of Christ and Him crucified. You are our partners and are therefore as important as ILT faculty and staff in producing the next generations of faithful Lutheran pastors and teachers.

We have secured a fiscal year-end gift of $25,000 if we can raise $75,000 by the end of June. Can you help us achieve this $100,000 June goal? All we can do is announce to you our need and wait for the Spirit to do the rest. He (and you) has always given us what is needed. If three of you gave $10,000, five gave $5,000, and twenty gave $1,000, we would have the $75,000! Know, however, that we appreciate any gift of any size! Maybe we can do better than $100,000, for our God is a God of surplus.

Dr. Dennis Bielfeldt, President


Learn More About How Your Support Helps ILT



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