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Monday, September 25, 2006 

Explaining Kurt Marquart, Sort Of

A while ago over at Cyberstones, Pastor David Peterson let his readers know that Professor Kurt Marquart was diagnosed with ALS. He started this post requesting that folks share their experiences of Professor Marquart with his readers.

The reason I’m bringing this up now is that I was trying to share my limited knowledge with somebody over the weekend. Because my experience is limited to a only few classes, I thought I would hit some of the highlights of that post that I thought mirrored my thoughts.

From Seminarian Chaz Lehmann:
I haven't had the pleasure of having Professor Marquart for class yet, but I met him in the hall one bright winter day. He smiled at the clear blue sky. It was about 15 degrees outside.He said, "The weather today is like a Calvinist sacrament. It reminds us of what we don't have."

From - Rev. Chris Patterson
(re. "decision" theology & in support of infant baptism): "A child needs to eat long before he can read a menu."
"Heresy always likes to dress up in the vestments of the historic Church."
(following his Monastic 'soup' story): "That kind of holiness makes himself a bloody nuisance to everybody else.""The ears of the people are holier than the mouths of the priests."(re. Calvin): "...Tries to dress up the same old raven with biblical-looking plumage.""Hatred is simply chilled and hardened anger."
"You can teach a monkey to do liturgy, but you can't teach a parrot to preach..."


From Rev. David M. Juhl
10/4/1999 - What is the recipe for Holy Water? Boil the hell out of it.
10/8/1999 - We install three things: Refrigerators, Televisions, and Pastors.
10/18/1999 - God created us to be happy in Him. (One of my favorite phrases)
10/29/1999 - Preaching is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
11/3/1999 - Calvinism is nothing but high-church Zwinglianism.
11/8/1999 - ((arguing against the) Sacramentarians on FC VIII) "Christ can't be at His Supper because He's detained in Heaven."
I would be remiss if I didn't mention a light-hearted Marquart moment. My Sem 4 year I took "Worship in Luther and the Confessions" from him. We watched video clips of the best and worst of worship in films, videos, etc. One particular video was an LWML Convention in the early 1990's that featured a "Lutheran rap" song, replete with wacky gestures including a knee slap. Our class went hysterical watching the silliness of a "Lutheran rap". When the laughter died down, Prof. Marquart said humbly with a glimmer in his eye, "Words fail me." That sent us reeling. Then he added, "What is this dog-like lifting of the leg?" I still smile and chuckle everytime I remember that moment.
All of these quotes do indeed show an intelligent and witty professor. But I’m afraid that’s all that shows.


My favorite response to Pastor Peterson comes from Reverend Jared Melius. This little story speaks volumes to the pastoral nature of Professor Marquart.

From Rev. Jared Melius
While at the seminary, our son Jonathan died suddenly. He was eight months old. That was almost three years ago now. So I sat down this evening and sifted through a couple hundred symphathy cards from that time looking for the one that was perhaps my favorite. I remember reading it several times over the course of a week or two. It was this short letter from Dr. Marquart:"Dear Friends, Please forgive the lateness of this card. Have been away a lot. If the good Lord has led you, like precious gold, through this Refiner's fire, you must be very special to Him. Few have endured what you have. He who is pure Love, and who has poured that love out upon us in His Son, ever bless and cheer and strengthen you in that same Son of His love! Kurt Marquart"In those difficult months, it seems that, in very few words, he put his finger on how my wife and I were hurting. It was like a crucible. We were regularly reminded that Jonathan was precious to God and that He was in Heaven. That was a comfort. But, Dr. Marquart reminded us that God still loved us, and demonstrates that love, even, and above all, during times of trial. I am indebted dearly to Dr. Marquart, for His writing, for His instruction, and also for this personal token. The good Lord cheer and strengthen him as he now passes, like precious gold, through a Refiner's fire of a different kind.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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