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In this second episode of the 2023-24 academic year, hosts Rev. Micah Glenn and Dr. Ben Haupt are joined by Professor of Systematic Theology Dr. Joel Okamoto. Okamoto shares why he is often seen wearing shoes and how he became a pastor after studying engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Theology. The trio also dive a discussion about the Augsburg Confession. Okamoto says he is sometimes asked to summarize or simplify the church’s creeds and confessions. They “summarize these things: First of all, they lay out the key features of the Christian narrative, the Christian story of God and Creation, from God making all things to the life of the world to come,” Okamoto says. “Not everything in it, but … God made all things, redemption through Jesus Christ, His return and judgment, the Holy Spirit, the church, Resurrection, eternal life. If you depart from living according to that story, you’re not Christian. … The Augsburg Confession, its distinctive, doctrinal articles are all confessing that the righteous will live by faith, if you want to sum it up.”

Okamoto shared this advice for people considering vocational ministry: “Speak with other Christians, that’s what I did, especially those who prize truth over consolation. Get their perspective and their prayers. That helped me.”

“Under the Fig Tree” is a video and audio podcast of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. New video and audio episodes are added weekly each Monday during the academic year. “Under the Fig Tree” can be found on YouTube, the Seminary’s Scholar site ( and most podcast platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Those interested in vocational ministry are invited to learn more about Concordia Seminary at or by contacting the admissions team at [email protected] or 800-822-9545.


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Laity; Ministers; Future Seminarians; Future Deaconesses

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