Students at commencement

Meet the Faculty

Patrick R. Keifert

Patrick R. Keifert

Professor and Olin S. and Amanda Fjelstad Reigstad Chair of Systematic Theology

  • Ph.D. (University of Chicago)
  • Ordained (ELCA)
  • M.Div. (Christ Seminary-Seminex)


Patrick Keifert was named an instructor in systematic theology at Luther Seminary in 1980 and was made associate professor in 1986. He has also been an adjunct professor at the School of Law, Hamline University, St. Paul, since 1984.

His teaching experience began at Christ Seminary -- Seminex where he was a teaching assistant in 1976-77 and instructor in systematic theology in the summer of 1980.

Ordained in 1978, Keifert served Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chicago (interim, 1977-78; assistant pastor, 1978-80); and was interim pastor at Lord of Life Lutheran church, Renton, Wash. (summer, 1982) and Trinity and Hope Lutheran Churches, Cody and Powell, Wyo. (summer, 1983). He also served Galilee Lutheran Church, Roseville, Minn., in 1985.

Keifert is currently President and Director of Research of Church Innovations Institute, a church related non-profit seeking to "innovate your church's capacities to be missional." He has been general editor, Journal of Law and Religion, and served on the editorial boards of Word & World and dialog.

He earned a B.A. degree in 1973 from Valparaiso (Ind.) University, where he was a Christ College Scholar, and an M.Div. degree from Christ Seminary-Seminex in 1977. He received the Ph.D. degree from the Divinity School, University of Chicago in 1982, and has done additional study at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Tubingen in Germany.

He has been guest and adjunct faculty at several schools of theology, including Tuebingen, Germany, Stellenbosch, South Africa, and Vancouver School of Theology, Canada. He has been the recipient of the Fulbright-Hays Travel Grant, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Language Grant, and the Franklin Clark Frye Post-doctoral Fellowship. His books include: Welcoming the Stranger: A Public Theology of Worship and Evangelism (1992), Worship and Evangelism: A Pastoral Handbook (1990),  People Together, a small group manual set (1994), Talking About our Faith (1999),  But Is It All True (2006),  We Are Here Now (2006), and Testing the Spirits (2007).


HT 0801 50LUTHERAN CONFESSIONAL WRITINGS Spring Semester 2015-2016

A study of the confessions of the Lutheran Church as set forth in the Book of Concord. The documents of the reforming movement, viewed in the historical settings, are explicated in the light of their witness to the centrality of the gospel of justification by faith. Consideration is given to the contemporary importance of this witness for the life and mission of the Lutheran Church in a post-secular age. A central question of the course focuses on what it means to confess today in ecumenical engagement, in culturally diverse situations and interfaith contexts, and how that confession is shaped by those contexts.

SG 0405 01LEADING CHRISTIAN COMM IN MISSION Spring Semester 2015-2016

This course introduces students to the complex realities of forming and leading Christian communities in a pluralist era. Students engage biblical and theological traditions for understanding the triune God's mission in the world and how this shapes the church's missional identity and leadership. Insights from sociology help students interpret persons and communities similar to and different from them for the sake of witness and service. Through attending carefully to specific Christian communities and their contexts, students develop imagination, practices, habits, and skills for faithful and innovative public leadership. This course has a significant contextual component. Contact instructor for details.

SG 0601 50 C3VOCATIONAL FORMATION-LEARNING LDR ISpring Semester 2015-2016


CD 1639 01LAW AND GOSPEL Fall Semester 2015-2016

An examination of the theological, biblical, and pastoral dimensions of the law-and-gospel distinction and how that distinction informs the task of interpreting and confessing Christ in a changing world. Law and gospel is introduced as a fruitful hermeneutical expectation. The theological, confessional, and existential aspects of the law-and-gospel distinction are introduced and examined--including the various uses of the law and the wide range of gospel proclamation. Special attention is given to the complexities of the law/gospel distinction in relation to pastoral ministry.


COHORT 1 FOR SG0601-01

SG 0601 01 C2 50VOCATIONAL FORMATION-LEARNING LDR IFall Semester 2015-2016

COHORT GROUP 2 - ONLINE FOR SG0601-01. This ONLINE COHORT GROUP is for students who are unable to attend a residential cohort group. This group will meet ONLINE every Monday from 9:30-11:00am. Students in this cohort must be local in order to attend COHORT DAY ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11. DISTRIBUTED LEARNING STUDENTS will register for this course in J-TERM/SPRING.

ST 0425 01TRIUNE GOD AND WORLD-JESUS SAVIOR Fall Semester 2015-2016

This course provides instruction and practice in theologically-based practical reasoning for ministerial contexts, including a comprehensive, coherent presentation of the articles of faith, and cultivating theological imagination in view of communities and neighbors through current questions, challenges to faith, and awareness of diverse contexts. Each class will focus on a particular article of the creed or related Christian doctrines for the practices of ministry. Focus: Jesus the Savior

View new and notable publications from our faculty.

Faculty Publications