Kolb.R.A. About R.Feldmais
ROBERT A. KOLB, S.T.M., Ph.D., Litt.D., Litt.D. professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, Director of the Institute for Mission Studies
In the last years of his life I experienced the blessing of conversing with Roberts Feldmanis for several hours on at least three occasions. He projected the peace of God and the joy of serving his people through the proclamation of the Gospel that had filled his life. He spoke not at all of the experiences of suffering and persecution that he had endured in what he called “Uncle Joseph’s graduate school,” to which he was sent after his professor and two fellow students in headed for doctoral work in church history were eliminated by execution or exile at the hands of the Soviets. Instead, he took pleasure in speaking of his students in the program of theological education to which he had given life and spirit in the final decades of Soviet control. He recalled struggling to bring a Lutheran consciousness and a realization of the blessings of the Lutheran tradition to his first congregation and the joy of cultivating future pastors in that tradition and consciousness. Above all, I remember his sense of thanks and delight on the day of one visit because he had just heard a report from the area in India where Latvian missionary work had gone on under his supervision more than a half century earlier. He described with glowing eyes what the Latvian church had been contributing to the outreach of the Gospel in India. Then he reminisced about his visit to India in 1938, when he served as Latvian delegate to the World Missionary Conference in Tambaram, near Madras, in that year.
Roberts Feldmanis realized that it is impossible to be a “confessional” Lutheran without being a confessing Lutheran. He confessed his faith throughout his life with quiet boldness, always eager to share his faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, who had become one of us in order to die and rise again to restore us to the family of the heavenly Father. His confession continues as we learn from his life how the Holy Spirit has put to use human beings like us to spread his Word for the salvation of many.