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Conrad Emil Lindberg

Conrad Lindberg
Conrad Emil Lindberg

Professor of theology, 1890-1930

Conrad Emil Lindberg was born in Jönköping, Sweden, on June 9, 1852. His first college education was in the gymnasium of his native city. In 1871, Lindberg came to the United States and attended Augustana College and the Theological Seminary. He graduated from the seminary and was ordained on June 28, 1874. However, the Augustana Synod urged him to enroll in the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia to continue his studies.

Immediately after graduating in 1876, he was offered a position at the Swedish Lutheran Church of Minneapolis, but declined, as he wanted to stay close to city life and an outlet for further education. Therefore, Zion Church in Philadelphia became his first pastorate position. In 1879, Lindberg accepted the call from Gustavus Adolphus Church in New York City. There, he was a very successful preacher and leader for Swedish immigrants. He helped build a beautiful church through his fundraising efforts. Lindberg was elected president of the New York Conference of the Augustana Synod and served in this capacity for 10 years. When Lindberg arrived on the East Coast, very few churches were organized and thriving. Through his leadership and mission work, he helped organize and create many congregations. For his efforts, he was recognized as a leader of the Swedish Lutheran Church in the East.

In 1890, Lindberg was elected unanimously as a professor of theology at Augustana College. While working at the college, he served a chairman and secretary of the theological faculty. He used both Swedish and English in his lectures, and taught classes on systematic theology, hermeneutics, apologetics, dogmatics, ethics, liturgics, and church polity.

Lindberg wanted higher standards for the seminary curriculum, a goal which he successfully achieved. He convinced the Synod to eliminate the "minimum course," the length of the seminary course was raised, in 1896, to three years, and by 1897 ordination was denied to anyone not completing the seminary program.

In 1893, Lindberg was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Muhlenberg College, the leading Lutheran college in the East. He was also honored by the King of Sweden, who made him a Knight of the Royal Order of the North Star in 1901. This honor was conferred by the Right Reverend K. H. G. von Schéele, Bishop of Gotland.

In 1899, Lindberg was elected Vice President of the Augustana Synod at the synodical convention at St. Paul, a position to which he was re-elected four times. The Board of Directors of Augustana College and Theological Seminary considered Lindberg for the presidency of the college in 1900, but elected Gustav Andreen. However, Lindberg was made vice president of Augustana College in 1901, and served as acting president during the absences of President Andreen.

Lindberg contributed greatly to church literature, newspapers, magazines, theological reviews, and journals. He wrote a total of 14 books. His principle work was a textbook about dogmatics, which won recognition from reviewers and educators from both the United States and Sweden. When deanships were established in 1920, Lindberg was promptly asked to be dean of the Seminary. Lindberg died during the summer of 1930 after 40 years as a teacher in theology. He was remembered as a great preacher, a strong leader, and an inspiring teacher.