Dieter Leutert: A defining personality for Friedensau

30. Nov. 2023 / Campus Living

Dieter Leutert is undoubtedly one of the very special personalities who shaped the Friedensau Preachers' Seminary and later the Friedensau Theological Seminary during the period of divided Germany. His linguistic talent, both in the spoken and written word, will remain unforgotten to those who sat in his lectures, listened to his sermons or read his articles. Exciting and trenchant in his speech, he knew like no other how to point out the subtleties of the German language. His intellect flashed in his lectures when he spoke about historical or contemporary personalities or developments. We could ask him anything; he was prepared to talk about topics that others avoided. As a master of pedagogy, he always knew how to captivate his listeners. When he once made the somewhat flippant remark that he could talk about nothing for ten minutes, it was a direct prompt for the next "colourful evening". He parried masterfully and spoke impressively for ten long minutes about nothing!

His student turned his life upside down

What would have become of him if he had continued to teach history and other subjects to secondary school pupils as a young teacher with a party badge in Karl-Marx-Stadt, the former and present-day Chemnitz, in the early 1950s? But there was a student with whom he fell in love in a flash and who completely changed his life. It was through Ingrid that he came to know and love the Adventist Church. Even before his baptism, he heard that there was a seminary for preachers in Friedensau. I want to learn all about that, he thought.

Headmaster brings him to Friedensau

But by this time, Walter Eberhardt, who had been in charge of the seminary since its reopening, had already noticed him and decided: "I'll bring him to Friedensau". So, Dieter Leutert became one of the youngest teachers in Friedensau at the age of just 25. That was in 1954! A few years later, he got to know the professional practice of a pastor in Leipzig and Schwerin, but from 1965 until his retirement, Dieter and Ingrid Leutert left their mark on Friedensau in their stylish and refined manner.

He looks back at his time in Friedensau with gratitude

"Of course," Dieter Leutert would now object in typical Leutertian rhetoric, "I wasn't the only one." And in conversation today, he looks back with gratitude at his colleagues in Friedensau, from whom he benefited greatly: Siegfried Lüpke, Hermann Kobs, Wolfgang Kabus ... and then he lists them one by one. "It was a great stroke of luck," he summarises, "to be blessed with these personalities. I can only thank God for that. "

We learned to love our church communities and God's mission

Perhaps it was the special political situation that helped to shape these years in a distinctive way. But it took people with a broad horizon who not only taught their students, but also imparted knowledge for life. We learned to use our minds and make our own decisions. We learned how to deal with people who think differently appropriately, especially with other Christians. We also learned to think politically as Adventists and at the same time to love our churches and God's mission.

My wish for Friedensau

Ingrid and Dieter Leutert have lived in Berlin since their retirement. Even now, in their old age, they still take an active interest in Friedensau. Every year they visit the place of their many years of work several times. "My wish for Friedensau," says the elderly "Leu", "is that God may bless it and that it may be preserved for us."

Johannes Hartlapp

Bild der THH Friedensau
Bild der THH Friedensau
Dr. theol. Johannes Hartlapp, lecturer in church history at the ThHF
Photo: ThHF | Michael Bistrovic