The staff and faculty of The American Lutheran Theological Seminary are highly trained and experienced professionals. They are dedicated to serve our student body and the Lord's Church.
Our three goals are to:
- Provide Christ-Centered and Cross-Focused training for the future pastors of The American Association of Lutheran Churches
- Provide sound biblical education for the laity of our member congregations
- Be a beacon of light and a source of biblical education for the secular world
The Rev. Dr. Jordan Cooper, ALTS President
The Rev. Dr. Jordan B Cooper has served as a parish pastor, college campus minister, and professor. He received his first call to Hope Lutheran Church in Brighton, Iowa in 2012, and then pastored Faith Lutheran Church in Watseka, Illinois from 2014 to 2018. He was then called to campus ministry at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where he currently lives with his wife, Lisa, and two children: Jacen, and Ben.
Reverend Jon Holst, Administrator
Rev. Jon Holst is the pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Lutheran Church in Jurupa Valley, CA. He was ordained and installed at St. Luke’s on July 23, 2017. Pr. Holst earned his BA in Music in 1996. He went on to complete Multiple Subjects and Education Specialist teaching credentials, additional studies in classical Greek, an MA in Humanities where his thesis was entitled The Impact of the Lutheran Reformation on the Development of German Sacred Music in the Renaissance and Early Baroque. He earned his MDiv in 2017 with a concentration in Biblical and Theological Studies.
Pr. Holst married Karen (nee Johnson) in 1995 and has been blessed with two daughters, a granddaughter, and a grandson to date. In addition to preaching, teaching, and administering the sacraments, his professional interests include the importance of the liturgy for teaching and confessing the faith, and the organic development of Church music as distinct from secular music as part of the Church’s ethos. For fun, Pr. Holst enjoys Cowboy Action Shooting and playing flamenco guitar (which he plays for Karen’s dance classes).
Mrs. Bonnie Ohlrich, Executive Assistant, Registrar
The Rev. Dr. Jordan Cooper, ALTS President
Rev. Cooper began teaching at the American Lutheran Theological Seminary in 2016 in the area of Systematic Theology. He has taught the following courses: Doctrine I, Doctrine II, Apologetics, Lutheran Confessions I, and Lutheran Confessions II. After four years of teaching, he was elected as the Seminary President. In this role, he connects with potential students and guides the vision of the Seminary in connection with the leadership of the American Association of Lutheran Churches.
Along with his calling in the seminary, Dr. Cooper is the Executive Director of the non-profit theological education ministry Just and Sinner. He hosts a podcast, oversees a Lutheran publishing house, and runs a YouTube channel with over 30,000 subscribers. He also remains actively involved in campus ministry where he serves as a Pastoral Associate at the G.K. Chesterton House at Cornell University.
Rev. Dr. Cooper has earned the following degrees:
- Ph.D. South African Theological Seminary, 2018. Dissertation: A Defense of the Lutheran Scholastic Theological Method and Critique of Radical Lutheranism.
- Was awarded the Frederick Buechner Award for Excellence in Writing for this dissertation.
- M.A. South African Theological Seminary, 2017. Thesis: A Defense of the Orthodox Lutheran Doctrine of God’s Law and Critique of Gerhard Forde.
- M.Div. American Lutheran Theological Seminary, 2016.
- M.Th. Wittenberg Institute, 2012. Thesis: An Evaluation of Early Patristic Soteriology in Light of the New Perspective on Paul.
- B.A. Geneva College, 2010. Major: Biblical Studies.
“From Plato to Christ” (Book Review). Sapientia: A Periodical of the Carl F. Henry Center for Theological Understanding. (2022).
“The Fullness of Deity in Bodily Form: A Lutheran View of the Incarnation.” Modern Reformation (2020).
"Luther Contra Scholasticos?" Modern Reformation (2020).
"The Use of Linguistic and Relational Ontology in Contemporary Lutheranism." Conspectus: The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary. no. 27 (2019).
"The Use of Classical Greek Philosophy in Early Lutheranism." Conspectus: The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary. no. 26 (2018).
“Predestination, Grace, and Free Will in the Thought of St. Prosper of Aquitaine and C.F.W. Walther: A Comparison and Evaluation.” LOGIA: A Journal of Lutheran Theology (2013).
“The Lutheran Doctrine of Original Sin in Light of Other Christian Traditions.” LOGIA: A Journal of Lutheran Theology. no. 4. (2013:13-20).
“A Lutheran Response to Justification: Five Views.” LOGIA: A Journal of Lutheran Theology (2012).
In Defense of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful: On the Loss of Transcendence and the Decline of the West. Ithaca, NY: Just and Sinner, 2021.
Union with Christ: Salvation as Participation. A Contemporary Protestant Scholastic Theology Volume 6. Ithaca, NY: Weidner Institute, 2021.
Prolegomena: A Defense of the Scholastic Method. A Contemporary Protestant Scholastic Theology Volume 1. Ithaca, NY: Weidner Institute, 2020.
Liturgical Worship: A Lutheran Introduction. Watseka, IL: Just and Sinner, 2018.
Lex Aeterna: A Defense of the Orthodox Lutheran Doctrine of God’s Law and Critique of Gerhard Forde. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2017.
Hands of Faith: A Historical and Theological Study of the Two Kinds of Righteousness in Lutheran Thought. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2016.
Baptized into Christ: A Guide to the Christian Life. Watseka, IL: Just and Sinner, 2016.
The Great Divide: A Lutheran Evaluation of Reformed Theology. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2015.
Christification: A Lutheran Approach to Theosis. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2014.
The Righteousness of One: An Evaluation of Early Patristic Soteriology in Light of the New Perspective on Paul. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2013.
"Does God Forgive Past, Present, and Future Sins at the Moment of Conversion? A Lutheran Perspective," in The Cleansing Flood. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock (upcoming).
“Obedientia Christi Activa: The Imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience in the Lutheran Tradition and Scripture,” in Justification. Theological Essays from the Weidner Institute. Ithaca, NY: Weidner Institute, 2021.
Encyclopedia of Martin Luther and the Reformation. Edited by Mark Lamport. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017.
Rev. Dr. Cary G. Larson, M.Div, D.D., D.M.
Presiding Pastor of The AALC
Rev. Dr. Larson is the 5th Presiding Pastor of The American Association of Lutheran Churches, elected at the 28th General Convention on June 23, 2022. Previously, Dr. Larson served as the Assistant Presiding Pastor and the Assistant to the Presiding Pastor. Dr. Larson was the keynote speaker at the 2021 TAALC Pastor’s Conference, a presenter at The AALC Hold the Line Conferences, and the 2021 TAALC Youth Conference.
Dr. Larson served as the first called pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church of Waseca, Minnesota (2010 to present). Founded in 2009, Christ the King Lutheran had grown from 45 to 300 baptized members during his call. Previously, Dr. Larson was called to two rural congregations in southern Minnesota, Le Sueur River Lutheran, and Vista Lutheran, from 2006 to 2010. Dr. Larson was ordained into the Office of Word and Sacrament on June 18, 2006 by the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Before ordained ministry, Dr. Larson served as a commissioned officer in the U. S. Navy and retired as a Commander (O-5). He worked in various fields of disciple and industry including an instructor for the University of Minnesota Extension Service specializing in youth development and volunteerism, an Information Technology manager for corporations such as The Toro Company, Wam!Net, Skyline Display and Jostens, and founded and owned his own IT business.
In 2020, Dr. Larson received a Doctor of Ministry with an emphasis on evangelism from The Institute of Lutheran Theology, Brookings, South Dakota. His doctoral thesis, “Keeping the Fort – The Reclamation of Boys and Men in the Church,” focused on understanding the current environment for evangelizing men while relying on the Lutheran Confessions as the means to call men back to the church.
Dr. Larson and his wife, Connie (Sommers), live near Waseca, Minnesota, on a 150-year-old Minnesota farmstead. They have three daughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. He enjoys a passion for rural living and agriculture.
Dr. Larson has earned the following degrees:
- D.D. - American Lutheran Theological Seminary, 2022
- D.M. - Institute of Lutheran Theology, 2020
- M.Div. - Luther Seminary, 2006
- B.S. - University of Minnesota, 1985
Cary_Larson@taalc.org - 507.461.1513
Curtis E. Leins, M.Div., Th.M., M.A., Ph.D., D.D.
The Rev. Dr. Curtis E. Leins was ordained as a Lutheran Pastor by the North Carolina Synod of the Lutheran Church in America on June 11,1978. He served as a parish pastor of Lutheran congregations in Lexington, NC; Fayetteville, NC; Goldsboro, NC; and Wilmington, DE. Pastor Leins planted or helped to plant congregations in Elkton, MD; Cherry Hill, MD; Wilmington, DE; Lynchburg, VA; and Shrewsbury, PA. Leins served as a Military Chaplain (Major) in the Maryland State Guard (Defense Force). Also, he traveled extensively, and helped to provide pastoral oversight for 80 congregations and pastors worldwide.
After 35 years of parish ministry, in 2013, Dr. Leins accepted a call to serve as the National Home Mission Developer of The American Association of Lutheran Churches. That same year, he was elected to serve as the Assistant Presiding Pastor of The AALC. In 2014, Dr. Leins was called to serve as the Presiding Pastor, National Bishop, of The AALC. His terms of service ran from 2014-2022.
Dr. Leins began teaching at the American Lutheran Theological Seminary in 2010. His specific field of study is Church History. Dr. Leins has taught a number of courses for ALTS: Church History Overview, Early Church History, History of the Reformation, History of Christian Worship, TAALC History and Polity, Introduction to the New Testament, Theological Prolegomena, Doctrine I & Doctrine II, and Introduction to N.T. Greek.
After completion of his terms as Presiding Pastor of The AALC, Dr. Leins accepted a call to serve as Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation of ALTS.
Dr. Leins has earned the following degrees:
- Ph.D. - Temple University, 1991. Church History (with distinction).
- M.A. - Temple University, 1988. Religious Studies.
- Th.M. - Duke University, 1984. Church History.
- M.Div. - Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, 1978.
- Teaching Fellowship: Pastoral Care and Counseling.
- B.A. - Lenoir-Rhyne College, 1974. Double Major: Philosophy and Sociology. Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
Leins, Curtis. Lutherans and Catholics, First World Impasse, Third World Community. Washington, D.C: Library of Congress, 1991, 329 pp.
Leins, Curtis. “Communion Conflict: The Disagreement Discussion Between the ALC and the LCA During the Formation of the Lutheran Book of Worship,” Lutheran Theological Seminary Bulletin, (Fall, 1987): pp. 16-34. Reprinted with permission in:
Leins, Curtis. “Communion Conflict: The Disagreement Discussion Between the ALC and the LCA During the Formation of the Lutheran Book of Worship,” American Lutheran Theological Journal, (Vol.1, Issue 1: Summer, 2014): pp. 23-44.
The Rev. Dr. Curtis Leins married Deborah Ann (nee Kelley) Leins on September 1,1974. They have three sons: Robert, Peter, and Christopher. Dr. Curtis Leins may be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 410.441.0122
Rev. Dr. Chris Caughey
Rev. Dr. Chris Caughey is new to Lutheranism from the confessional Reformed world. He is serving his first call to a dual parish in rural Kentucky. He has taught church history for ALTS, and hopes to branch out into the field of biblical theology. He has taught a variety of courses at the undergraduate level, ranging from U.S. History and English, to Greek, Hebrew, NT Survey, Gospel of John, Church History, and Christ in the Old Testament. Though his dissertation was on six different puritans and the way they understood the Mosaic covenant, he is probably finished with puritans for a while. He has much to learn and explore about the history of Lutheranism, and when he has a sense of his new research interests, he will gladly let us know. His first love continues to be biblical theology, and he is fascinated by philosophy. He has also been a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Evangelical Theological Society.
Rev. Dr. Caughey has earned the following degrees:
- Ph.D., Trinity College Dublin, 2013. Dissertation: Puritan Responses to Antinomianism in the Context of Reformed Covenant Theology 1630-1696
- Was awarded the Latimer Trust Fund Research Funding for both 2011 and 2012
- Was awarded the Trinity College Arts & Social Sciences Benefactions Fund 2011/2012 to be research assistant to Dr. Crawford Gribben
- M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary in California, 2001
- B.A., Biola University, 1996. Major: Christian Education
Puritan Responses to Antinomianism in the Context of Reformed Covenant Theology 1630-1696 (To be submitted to Palgrave, 2024).
The Tale of Two Adams (MGK Press, 2012).
“Sketches in the Development of the Doctrine of Divine Justice in Reformed Theology” (Hendrickson, 2024).
“Παράβασις as the Key to Understanding the Purpose of the Addition of the Law in Galatians 3:19a” (Hendrickson, 2024).
“Antichrists and Rumours of Antichrists: Radical Prophecy in the Trans-Atlantic World, 1640-1660,” in Prophecy and Eschatology in the Trans-Atlantic World, 1500-1800, ed. Andrew Chrome (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
“History, Identity & the Recovery of the Reformed Confession” with Crawford Gribben in On Being Reformed: Debates Over a Theological Identity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
“John Bunyan and Variegated Antinomianism,” Bunyan Studies: A Journal of Reformation and Nonconformist Culture, Number 19(2015): 76-97.
“Antinomianism: Reformed Theology’s Unwelcome Guest?” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 33:2 (2015): 238-241.
Rev. Dave Spotts
Pastor Spotts was raised in a thoroughly secular home, but became a Christian as a high school student as a result of outreach from a neopentecostal congregation. Over the next several years, as he grew in knowledge and the grace of the Lord, he moved into leadership positions in different church bodies, gradually moving away from the human-centered and highly emotive theology of the Second Great Awakening into the Christ-centered theology of the Lutheran Reformation. Meanwhile, his interest in pastoral ministry, which had originally drawn him into studies of classical languages, grew during his tenure as a teacher.
After teaching Latin, Greek, and several other disciplines in a Classical and Christian school in West Virginia from 1995-2001, he moved into the internet classroom of a private secondary school, where he taught from 2001-2015, as well as spending several years at an internet-based Lutheran primary and secondary school from 2014-2017, teaching rhetoric and Great Books.
Having reached the Lutheran Reformation by 2007, after some time in a Missouri Synod congregation, Pastor Spotts colloquized into The AALC in 2010, then shortly afterward served a vacancy pastorate in Kentucky from 2010-11, followed by a parish in Illinois from 2011-2014. In 2014 he and his family moved to Columbia, Missouri to care for an aged family member. In Columbia, he planted the Wittenberg Door Campus Ministry as a missionary of The AALC. He serves in his position as a campus chaplain there, infiltrating the secular colleges and local University with the Gospel, especially reaching out to international graduate students, visiting scholars, and their families, mostly from countries which are closed to the Gospel.
Pastor Spotts has always been interested in bringing biblical and theological education to people who might otherwise not receive such training. This has encouraged him to pursue alternative methods of ministry, including his work in internet based distance education during its early days. He is increasingly interested in early Christian history and culture, and is currently working on a Ph.D. dissertation at the University of South Africa, pertaining to the earliest Christian liturgical understanding of baptism, prayer, and communion, evidenced in non-canonical writings from the first century.
He is also very interested in biblical exegetical theology, practical applied theology, and, of course, making New Testament Greek accessible to any interested learner. He has taught Greek at ALTS since approximately 2013, and has also developed and taught an alternative course, The Bible in Context, for those who need to prepare for hermeneutics but are not studying Greek. He has also taught the ALTS Church Administration course.
You can contact Pastor Spotts via text or voice at 573-355-0347, using WhatsApp at the same number, via email at WittenbergCoMo@gmail.com, or through his website www.wittenbergcomo.com, where many other resources are available for your benefit.
- Candidate - Ph.D. studies in Religion, University of South Africa
- MTS, American Lutheran Theological Seminary 2016
- MA, Ancient Greek Philology, distinguished by a "high pass," University of Missouri, Columbia 1995
- Bachelor of General Studies in Fine Arts, Communication, and Behavioral Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia 1987
Dr. Nathan Greeley
Nathan Greeley was born and raised in New Hampshire. Though he grew up highly involved in a local Baptist congregation, he ceased to be a part of any church for several years after completing high school. In his mid-twenties, however, thanks to divine grace, his interest in God was rekindled through reading philosophy. This led to a decision to pursue graduate studies in philosophy and theology. It also inspired him to explore different Christian traditions.
Attracted to liturgical churches with deep historical roots, Greeley was initially drawn to Anglicanism, and spent a few years as a member of an Episcopal church before perceiving that he needed to be in a body that prized sound doctrine and the authority of Scripture. This realization led him to embrace confessional Lutheranism, and he is now a member and elder at St. James Lutheran Church (LCMS), in Marion, Indiana.
Greeley’s academic interests extend to most areas of philosophy and theology. He is particularly focused on the areas of Christian apologetics, philosophical theology, medieval thought, and Christian ethics. His most significant influences, outside of the Bible, are St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and Johann Gerhard. In 2021, he published a primer on Christian apologetics with Just and Sinner, titled Christian Apologetics: A Lutheran Introduction. He is now working on a book on Lutheranism and virtue ethics.
One of Greeley’s focal points in his teaching is the need to equip laypeople in Lutheran congregations with resources to help them evangelize and respond to the many challenges that Christians face today from the surrounding culture. He is convinced that apologetics is more important now than it has ever been since the early centuries of the church. He also wants to encourage Lutherans to study and appreciate certain aspects of ancient and medieval thought, as he sees in classical modes of thought remedies for some of the problems that ail our contemporary culture.
- Ph.D. Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont Graduate University
- M.A. Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont Graduate University
- B.A. History, Worcester State University