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Built on the Rock

Meet the Speaker

Pastor Jakob will be fresh back in Europe for the Corpus Christi conference after two years of studies in the US, the PhD-program at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. He is a pastor in the Mission Province of Sweden and serves on the faculty of Lutheran School of Theology (Församlingsfakulteten) in Gothenburg. Jakob is married to Ingrid, and they have four children (age range 6-12). He has a history in Corpus Christi as well, as one of its founders, its first chairman, and as one of its biggest fans.


Jesus warns us that if our houses are not built on the rock, they will not stand the test of rain, floods, and winds (Matt. 7:24ff.). Many of us feel troubled and anxious about the things going on in Europe at the moment. The war in Ukraine is a nightmare, but the foundations of Western society have been crumbling for decades. The “flood” seems to be here already. It is alarming, but the good news is that it is not (yet) too late to have the house built on the rock (rebuilt, perhaps, for some).A renewed attention to the words of Jesus is the starting point. And it will be the starting point for the plenary sessions at Corpus Christi as well. We will attend to Jesus’ words, specifically through the lenses of the apostle Peter’s life. The name Peter means “rock” and Jesus referred to what Peter had just confessed when he said, “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18)Can we see from Peter’s own life what it means to be built on the rock? He certainly had his ups and downs. And what does it mean for the Church to stand safe and protected from the gates of hell, “even when steeples are falling,” as we will be singing in this year’s theme hymn (LSB 645)? What is so important with the confession of Peter, and of all the apostles and prophets? Why is the Lutheran Confession important for us today?

Session 1: The Word
Session 2: The Cross
Session 3: The Church

Rev. Tapani Simojoki from England with routes in Finland speaks on a three part presentation: Confessing Christ to unbelievers and members of other religions, Confessing Christ to Evangelicals and Charismatics, Confessing Christ to Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox

A little more about this series:

Even though Europeans live in a culture profoundly shaped by Christianity, confessing Christians are a small minority in almost every corner of the continent. To many, Christian beliefs seem increasingly strange, and Christians encounter incomprehension and even open hostility. Among Christians, confessional Lutherans who want to remain faithful to the Word of God are a tiny minority of that tiny minority. How do we confess Christ faithfully in this situation? How do we encounter unbelievers, Muslims, and others who reject the Christian faith altogether? How far can we co-operate with other Christians in confessing Christ? How much do different denominations of Christianity matter? What does it mean to confess Christ to Christians from other churches?”

Fear Not

Meet the Speaker

Pastor Preus earned his Masters of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana and his PhD in Historical Theology from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He lives with his wife, Jenny, and their eight children in Brasov, Romania, where he serves on the theological faculty of the Livonia Lutheran Project, based in Riga, Latvia. You may read about it here. He also serves as assistant pastor and church planter in Brasov, as well as recruiter and mentor to new and upcoming pastors in the lower Balkan and Mediterranean subregion. Before going to Romania, he was pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Billings, Montana (2011–2015) and missionary, church planter, and professor at Seminario Concordia, “el Reformador,” in Santiago, Dominican Republic (2015–2021).


“Fear not!” Thus says the Lord, in various contexts, several hundred times throughout Scripture. What does this mean? We are accustomed to answering this question in the form of Luther’s Small Catechism: “We should fear and love God…” But this approach appears to complicate the problem. Which is it? Should we fear (and love), or should we fear not? And then we have the words of St. John: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

The plenaries will help us resolve this apparent contradiction, first, by asking some personal questions. What are you afraid of, and why? Second, we will compare “fear” as it relates to psychological definitions and categories and as it is used in the Bible. Finally, we will explore some key biblical texts that help us deal with the real fear we experience every day. In each case, the distinction between “fear” and “fear not” has to do with our relationship with God and how we worship him. Are you a son or a slave? That is the question. For the sake of God’s Son and by virtue of your baptism, God has made you a son. “Fear not.” Jesus’ words bring us peace, forgiveness, and clarity. And that is what makes all the practical difference.


Truth and Love Plenary Sessions

Meet the Speaker

Pastor Wolfmueller is author of all things Lutheran. Our speaker is very active in several Lutheran podcasts and has his own YouTube channel with – among other things – a weekly Bible study. He and his wife Keri live with their four children in Aurora, Colorado, USA, where he serves as pastor of Hope Lutheran Church. Having received his Masters of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft Wayne, IN, he now travels the web and the world and we are happy to welcome him to Gothenburg, as well. Check out his blog (https://wolfmueller.co/) if you want to get to know him and his multifaceted work in advance.


The plenaries will develop from our theme verse Eph 4:15: “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” What does Paul teach in the Letter to the Ephesians about our love-filled truth-speaking? How does it contribute to our Christian maturity and to the life of the church? After this central texts of the Old and the New Testament will be covered and questions like the following will be treated: How does the devil set truth against love? How does the Lord remarry the two? In what way do the ten commandments shape true Christian love? What can we learn from martyrs who confessed their faith in the face of extreme suffering? All of this will lead us to looking at how truth and love are united in their most glorious expression – Christ on the cross.

Future and Hope Plenary Sessions

Meet the Speaker

Rev. Kurt Reinhardt was born and baptized in Ottawa, Canada. As a child he often thought of being a pastor. But it wasn’t until after University that he finally decided to go to Seminary. He said, “At the seminary my mind and heart were more fully opened up to the truth of the Gospel and all that it meant for me. Here I also came to appreciate the sacramental life of the Church as the high point of God’s gracious working out of salvation in my life.”

Rev. Reinhardt has a wife and 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls) ranging in age from 9 to 19. They tend a large garden behind the parsonage and keep laying hens in the garage beside the house. In March 2017 Rev. Reinhardt suffered a stroke and although he has faced many challenges, he says “God in His mercy through the prayers of His people has restored my body and mind while working great wonders in my soul through this time of loving Fatherly discipline.”


These questions and more will be addressed during the plenary sessions: What are some of the causes of human hope and why does it always fail? What’s the difference between “I hope?” and “I hope.” Who alone can turn “I hope?” into “I hope.” How does my past give me hope of a future? How does hope of a future give me hope in the present? How does God use the trials of life to build up genuine hope in me? Why should all the trouble in the world cause me to get my hopes up?

In Christ Alone Plenary Sessions

Meet the Speaker

Rev. Esko Murto is a graduate of Helsinki University (Master of Theology) and of Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft Wayne (STM). After being in different positions of church leadership in Finland, especially as senior pastor of St Mark Lutheran Church in Helsinki (2010-2015), he now is Professor for Systematic Theology at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catherines, Canada. As his newly-wed wife is from Germany, it is deemed appropriate to call him a globetrotter.


Who is Jesus Christ? In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 16, Jesus asks his disciples “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The answers were different and varied back then. And so they are today. The character of Jesus at the same time interests and confuses people. Some are inspired by him and others reject him – but even in their rejection, they can’t help being somehow fascinated by him. The world may ask, but it will never truly comprehend who Jesus Christ is.

Then the Lord asks: “But who do you say I am?” In the plenary sessions we will pursue the answer to that question. Who do we say that the Son of Man is? The answer to this is not revealed by “flesh and blood” but by the Father in heaven. To find the answer, we will look into the promises God has given to his people through the ages concerning the coming messiah. We will study what Jesus says about himself. We will ask: where is Christ today and what is his will and purpose for us? Through these questions we are also led to rediscover the message of the Lutheran reformation, now celebrating its 500th anniversary, with the same central question: Who is Jesus and what is his will concerning us? Who do we say that he is?

Scripture Alone – Jesus Christ comes to us in His word, in the word of the prophets and of the apostles  (Rev. Torkild Masvie)

Questions that will be treated: If the Bible, and only the Bible, is the inspired word of God, infallible and inerrant – How do I know it is? What is the purpose? What about the difficult passages, and the tension with what is taught in secular science and history?

Grace Alone – The salvation brought to us by Jesus Christ is solely dependent on Him and not on us (Rev. Tapani Simojoki)

Questions that will be treated: What role does grace play in our salvation and what role does it play in our Christian lives? Everyone agrees on the necessity of God’s grace, but what for? How do you make passive (recipients of God’s grace) Lutherans active?

Faith Alone – Living justified apart from the works of the law (Rev. Daniel Brandt)

Questions that will be treated: Where does the Bible teach that we are saved through faith alone in Christ, and what does this mean? Doesn’t it matter how we live? Is faith the one good work WE must do? Also: The teaching about justification through faith alone was opposed during the time of the reformation – what about today?

Session for Theologians – (Various Theologians)

The fourth and final in-depth session is aimed at theology students and young theologians. There will be an introduction to the various topics with a discussion afterwards. The discussions will emphasize how the topics can relate to our life in faith and service.

Thus Says the Lord! Plenary Sessions

Meet the Speaker

Pastor Jonathan Fisk from the U.S. will be our plenary-speaker. He is the host of Worldview Everlasting, author of the book BROKEN: 7 “Christian” Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible. Here is a review from Amazon.com: Best book I have ever read (after the Bible, of course)! It is wordy, but well worth it. A must read.


Many are saying things today. Clever things. Crazy things. Things that make you “feel good”. Things that make you confused. But not only men are saying things. There is One, who spoke not only so that the whole universe came into being, but also so that men became able to speak, hear and understand. And He spoke to us, in an understandable way, so that we would know Him as He is. The absolute Truth. “Thus says the Lord!” proclaimed the prophets. The Lord! And He speaks! He is as relevant as ever. If we listen, what is He actually saying? Nothing else matters!

Life in Christ Plenary Sessions


Rev. Kurt Reinhardt is the plenary speaker. Our mortal lives on earth calls us to convictions, to decisions, to actions! And yet, life becomes fundamentally different when given by Christ – an eternal life to be lived out in a dying world. In what way gives the life in Christ meaning to our ordinary lives?