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´╗┐Title: American Lutheranism - Volume 2: The United Lutheran Church (General Synod, General - Council, United Synod in the South)
Author: Bente, Friedrich, 1858-1930
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "American Lutheranism - Volume 2: The United Lutheran Church (General Synod, General - Council, United Synod in the South)" ***

should note that, despite remarks in the Preface, the
planned vols. 3 and 4 never appeared in print. Volume 1

American Lutheranism
The United Lutheran Church
(General Synod, General Council, United Synod in the South)
St. Louis, Mo.


American Lutheranism will appear in four volumes, this present second
volume to be followed by the first, dealing with the early history of
Lutheranism in America.

The third volume will present the history of the Ohio, Iowa, Buffalo,
and the Scandinavian synods.

The fourth volume will contain the history and doctrinal position of the
Missouri, Wisconsin, and other synods connected with the Synodical

As appears from this second volume, our chief object is to record the
facts as to the theological attitude of the various Lutheran bodies in
America, with such comment only as we deemed necessary.

As to the quotations from the _Lutheran Observer_ and other English
periodicals, we frequently had to content ourselves with retranslations
from the German in _Lehre und Wehre_, _Lutheraner_, etc.

Brackets found in passages cited contain additions, comments,
corrections, etc., of our own, not of the respective periodicals quoted.

If errors, no matter of whatever nature they may be, should have crept
in anywhere, we here express our gratitude for corrections made.

Further prefatory and introductory remarks will accompany Vol. I, which,
_ Deo volente_, will go to the printers forthwith.

F. Bente, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

May 28, 1919.


THE UNITED LUTHYERAN CHURCH.................1-11
THE GENERAL SYNOD.........................12-175
Doctrinal Basis...............................32
Basis Interpreted.............................40
Union Letter of 1845..........................58
Christian Union...............................63
Theology Reformed.............................68
"American Lutheranism"........................89
Definite Platform Controversy................101
Position of District Synods toward Platform..111
General Synod's Attitude toward Platform.....117
York Convention..............................123
Secessions and Separations...................130
Influential Theologians......................136
Missouri's Influence.........................153
Explanatory Statements of Doctrinal Basis....158
Restatement of Basis.........................161
Actual Conditions............................166
Un-Lutheran Practise.........................170
THE GENERAL COUNCIL......................176-227
Synods Composing the Council.................176
Charles Porterfield Krauth...................181
Other Representative Theologians.............187
Subtile Unionism.............................195
The Four Points..............................198
Akron-Galesburg Rule.........................202
Interdenominational Fellowship...............204
Attitude toward Lodges.......................207
Other Aberrations............................212
Liberalistic Trends..........................220
Equivocal Doctrinal Attitude.................224
THE UNITED SYNOD SOUTH...................228-243
Doctrinal Basis..............................229
Un-Lutheran Practise.........................234
Tennessee and Holston Synods.................236
Common Service...............................241

The United Lutheran Church.


1. Origin of the New Body.--On April 18, 1917, at Philadelphia, the
Joint Quadricentennial Committee, appointed by the General Synod, the
General Council, and the United Synod in the South to arrange for a
union celebration of the Reformation, decided that the merging of the
three affiliated general bodies would be "the fittest commemoration and
noblest memorial of the four-hundredth Reformation Jubilee." Accordingly,
the presidents of these bodies, being present, were requested to form a
joint committee, which should prepare a constitution for a united Church
and present the same to the three general bodies for their consideration,
and, if approved, for submission to the District Synods. The
constitution, framed by the committee, was in the same year adopted by
all of the three general bodies, the General Synod, which, in 1820, had
been founded for the express purpose of uniting all Lutheran synods in
America, being the first to assent to the Merger during its session at
Chicago, June 20 to 27, 1917. The various District Synods also having
approved of the union and having ratified the constitution, the Merger
was consummated at New York City, November 15, 1918. Dr. F. H. Knubel, a
member of the General Synod, was elected President of the new body--
"The United Lutheran Church in America." Of the total number of
Lutherans in America (63 synods, 15,243 congregations, 9,790 pastors,
2,450,000 confirmed and 3,780,000 baptized members) the United Church
embraces 45 synods, 10 theological seminaries with 46 professors and 267
students, 17 colleges, 6 academies, 3,747 congregations and
mission-posts, 2,754 pastors, almost 1,000,000 baptized members, and
758,000 confirmed members, the General Synod contributing 364,000, the
General Council 340,000, and the United Synod in the South 53,000. The
United Church is the second largest Lutheran body in America, the
Synodical Conference outnumbering it by only about 50,000 confirmed
members. The merged bodies will continue to exist legally until no
property rights are imperiled. In 1919 it was decided to consolidate the
_ Lutheran_, the _Lutheran Church Work and Observer_, and the _Lutheran
Church Visitor_. The new church-paper will be _The Lutheran_, with Dr.
G. W. Sandt as editor-in-chief.

2. Refusing to Enter the Merger.--The United Lutheran Church,
according to the _ Lutheran_, "has inaugurated a new era of progress for
our beloved Lutheran Church. . . . Three names have gone down, but a new
and greater name has arisen from their ashes." This, however, was not
the view of the Iowa and Augustana synods, though both indirectly,
through their connection with the General Council, had for years been in
church-fellowship also with the General Synod, hence, consistently might
have entertained scruples to join the Merger no more than the Council.
When, at Philadelphia, October 25, 1917, the General Council passed on
the Merger, Dr. M. Reu, the representative of the Iowa Synod, was the
only delegate (advisory) who voted against it. Pointing especially to
the fact that the General Synod, at its last convention in Chicago, had
elected as president a man [Dr. Geo. Tressler] who was publicly known to
be a Mason of a high degree, Dr. Reu warned against the union, as it
would practically mean the abandonment of the Council's position on
pulpit- and altar-fellowship, as well as on the lodge-question. The
_Kirchenblatt_ of the Iowa Synod: "It is apparent that the influence of
the General Synod on the General Council has paralyzed the practical
principles of the fathers, and that the contemplated Merger is
tantamount to an anulment of these principles, as far as the official
practise of this new church-body will come into question. And yet, just
this life, the ecclesiastical life and practise of the ministers and
congregations, is the mirror in which the real confessional attitude may
be seen. We [Iowa] owe much to the General Council, and will always
remember this gratefully, but now our roads separate and we must part.
American [?] Lutheranism [?], [tr. note: sic] which the General Synod
has always stood for, and which has had its adherents also in the
General Council, especially among its nativistic representatives, will
control also the new church-body. This, according to our understanding,
means that a far-reaching influence of a Reformed nature will manifest
itself, especially with respect to church-practise and the attitude
toward all manner of societies and antichristian lodges." (_Lehre und
Wehre_, 1917, 521. 572.)

3. Withdrawal of the Augustana Synod.--For more than a decade prior to
the Merger the current within the Swedish Augustana Synod had been
running against the General Council. Accordingly, to the Augustana Synod
the contemplated union was an occasion rather than a cause for refusing
to join the movement and for severing her connection also with the
Council. Indeed, at the convention of the General Council at
Philadelphia, October 25, 1917, all of the Augustana representatives had
cast their votes for the new organization. At her last convention, June
8, 1918, however, the Synod, in spite of the most strenuous efforts on
the part of the delegates of the General Council to draw her into the
union, passed the resolution: "_Resolved_, That the Augustana Synod does
not at this time see its way clear to enter the proposed merger of the
United Lutheran Church in America, but declares itself in favor of a
federation of Lutheran church-bodies in North America." A subsequent
resolution severed her connection with the Council. The reasons advanced
by the Augustana Synod for her action were not of a doctrinal or
confessional nature, but rather pertained to the interest of her
peculiar work among the Swedish population of our country. Yet the
course chosen by the Augustana Synod was, at least part, the result also
of the secret fear that the new body would rapidly sink to the level of
the doctrinal and practical laxism of the General Synod. Warning against
the Merger, the _Lutheran Companion_, of the Augustana Synod, wrote: "We
must hold ourselves aloof from spiritual fellowship with such churches
or denominations, some of whose factors advocate and defend lodgism,
dancing as a pastime for the young people under the auspices and
sanction of the church, etc." (_L. u. W._, 1917, 522.) Disappointed on
account of the withdrawal of the Augustana Synod, the _Lutheran_, of the
General Council, commented: "The Augustana Synod has subordinated unity
of faith to unity of race. This is as un-American as it is un-Lutheran,
and the day of its real Lutheran union is thereby indefinitely postponed.
. . . We are persuaded that this separation was willed by man and not by
God, though we also believe that He will, in the end, overrule it for
good. . . . The Augustana Synod has missed its opportunity; it has
limited the sphere of its influence; it has placed synodical and social
interests as a clog in the wheel of the Lutheran Church's progress as a
whole, and set the Church back a generation or more to start afresh on
the pathway to its ultimate goal. . . . Lutherans are now to be fenced
off into social groups to be known as the Swedish, the Norwegian, the
German, and the English divisions of the Lutheran forces in this
country." (_L. u. W._, 1917, 522; 1918, 329 ff.)

4. Attitude of the Ohio Synod.--Though representatives also of the
Ohio Synod served on the Joint Quadricentennial Committee in order to
arrange for a union celebration of the Reformation together with the
representatives of the General Synod, the Council and the United Synod
South, the official organs of the Ohio Synod were severe in condemning
the Merger. The _Lutheran Standard_, August 4, 1917: "There are chiefly
two practical differences that keep us apart, namely, that concerning
altar- and pulpit-fellowship and that concerning the lodge. Concerning
the first point the constitution [of the Merger] has nothing to say
whatever. Relative to lodge-membership, the general body will have only
advisory power." The _Kirchenzeitung_, of the Ohio Synod, May 12, 1917:
"The great and glorious work of Dr. Krauth in the Council has been
nullified. The General Synod's practise of fraternizing with the sects
will prevail. What is sound and good in the Council will crumble; the
proposed union is a great victory for the lax portion of the General
Synod and a pitiable defeat for the Council. Indeed, we shall be told
about the 'salt' that the Council may be in the new body, but that is an
old, old game, which cannot fool people any more. And this to celebrate
the Reformation Jubilee! Would that Luther could return and with the
thunder of his scorn shatter this celebration of his work! Where
unionism has its jubilee, all true Lutherans turn away in sorrow and
anger." (_Luth. Witness_, 1918, 406.) However, considering that pulpit-
and altar-fellowship, where-ever justified, clears the way for all other
external unions, and that Ohio representatives served on the
Quadricentennial Committee for a union celebration of the Reformation,
the above criticism, warranted though it be, will hardly be viewed as


5. Doctrinal Basis.--The Constitution of the United Lutheran Church
provides: "Article II: Doctrinal Basis. Section 1. The United Lutheran
Church in America receives and holds the canonical Scriptures of the Old
and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and as the only
infallible rule and standard of faith and practise, according to which
all doctrines and teachers are to be judged.--Section 2. The United
Lutheran Church in America accepts the three ecumenical creeds; namely,
the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian, as important testimonies
drawn from the Holy Scriptures, and rejects all errors which they
condemn.--Section 3. The United Lutheran Church in America receives
and holds the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a correct exhibition of
the faith and doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, founded upon
the Word of God; and acknowledges all churches that sincerely hold and
faithfully confess the doctrines of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession to
be entitled to the name of Evangelical Lutheran.--Section 4. The
United Lutheran Church in America recognizes the Apology of the Augsburg
Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Large and Small Catechisms of
Luther, and the Formula of Concord as in the harmony of one and the same
pure Scriptural faith."--"Article IV. Section 2. Any Evangelical
Lutheran synod applying for admission which has accepted the
Constitution with its Doctrinal Basis, as set forth in Article II, and
whose constitution has been approved by the Executive Board, may be
received into membership by a majority vote at any regular convention."

6. Further Confessional Statements.--Among the other sections of the
Constitution expressing directly or indirectly the confessional and
doctrinal attitude of the new body are the following: "Article VI:
Objects. The objects of the United Lutheran Church in America are: . . .
Section 1. To preserve and extend the pure teaching of the Gospel and
the right administration of the Sacraments. (Eph. 4, 5, 6; the Augsburg
Confession, Art. VII.) Section 2. To conserve the unity of the true
faith (Eph.4, 3-16; 1 Cor. 1, 10), to guard against any departure
therefrom (Rom. 16, 17), and to strengthen the Church in faith and
confession. Section 3. To express outwardly the spiritual unity of the
Lutheran congregations and synods, to cultivate cooperation among all
Lutherans in the promotion of the general interests of the Church, to
seek the unification of all Lutherans in one orthodox faith, and thus to
develop and unfold the specific Lutheran principle and practise, and
make their strength effective."--"Article VIII: Powers. . . . Section
6: As to the Maintenance of Principle and Practise. The United Lutheran
Church in America shall protect and enforce its Doctrinal Basis, secure
pure preaching of the Word of God and the right administration of the
Sacraments in all its synods and congregations. It shall also have the
right, where it deems that loyalty to the Word of God requires it, to
advise and admonish concerning association and affiliation with
non-ecclesiastical and other organizations whose principles or practises
appear to be inconsistent with full loyalty to the Christian Church"
[weak and misleading, if Freemasons and similar lodges are meant; the
more so, as quite a number of the clergymen in the Merger are lodgemen];
"but the synods alone shall have the power of discipline" [conflicts
with principle of unity in doctrine and practise].--"Article III.
Section 7. In the formation and administration of a general body the
synods may know and deal with each other only as synods. In all such
cases the official record is to be accepted as evidence of the doctrinal
position of each synod, and of the principles for which alone the other
synods are responsible by connection with it." This section, according
to which the new body assumes responsibility only for the official
doctrine and practise of the District Synods as such, but declines to
answer for what the congregations, pastors, and laymen may teach and
practise, unduly limits the responsibility for false doctrine and
practise, conflicts with the Scriptural rule of Christian fellowship,
and stamps the United Church as unionistic.--"Article VIII: Powers.
Section 5: As to Doctrine and Conscience. All matters of doctrine and
conscience shall be decided according to the Word of God alone." [What
of sections 2, 3, and 4 of Article II on Doctrinal Basis?] "If, on
grounds of doctrine or conscience, the question be raised as to the
binding character of any action, the said question shall be referred to
the Commission of Adjudication. Under no circumstances shall the right
of a minority be disregarded, or the right to record an individual
protest on the ground of conscience be refused."--"Article XII:
Commission of Adjudication. Section 1. A Commission of Adjudication
shall be established, to which shall be referred, for interpretation and
decision, all disputed questions of doctrine and practise, and this
commission shall constitute a court for decision of all questions of
principle or action arising within the United Lutheran Church in America,
and which had been properly referred to it by resolution or by appeal of
any of the synods. . . . Section 4. The consent of at least six members
shall always be necessary for a decision." According to this article,
unanimity in questions of doctrine and practise is not required--a
violation, once more, of the principle of Christian unity!

7. A Legislative Body.--Among the doubtful paragraphs of the
Constitution are also the following: "Article III. . . . . Section 6.
Congregations representatively constituting the various synods may elect
delegates through their synods to represent them in a general body, all
decisions of which, when made in accordance with the Constitution,
_bind_, so far as the terms of mutual agreement make them binding, those
congregations and synods which consent to be represented in the general
body."--"Article VIII: Powers. Section 4. If synods have had due and
legal opportunity to be represented in the conventions of the United
Lutheran Church in America, they are _bound_ by all resolutions that
have been passed in accordance with this Constitution; but each synod
retains every power, right, and jurisdiction in its own internal affairs
not expressly delegated to the United Lutheran Church in America."--
"Section 7: As to Books of Devotion and Instruction, etc. The United
Lutheran Church in America shall provide books of devotion and
instruction, such as liturgies, hymn-books, and catechisms, and no synod
_without its sanction_ shall publish or recommend books of this kind
other than those provided by the general body."--"Article XIV: Synods.
Section 1. No synod in connection with the United Lutheran Church in
America shall alter its geographical boundaries _without the permission_
of the general body." According to the sections quoted, the United
Lutheran Church is not a mere advisory, but a legislative body.

8. Relations with Non-Lutherans.--According to the _Lutheran Church
Work and Observer_ the question of cooperation with other than Lutheran
bodies is left open by the constitution of the United Lutheran Church.
Construed in its historical context, this means that the United Church
tolerates, and does not disapprove of, fraternal intercourse with the
sects. The Constitution provides: "Article VI: Objects. The objects of
the United Lutheran Church in America are. . . . Section 7: To enter
into relations with other bodies in the unity of the faith, and to
exchange official delegates with them."--"Article VIII: Powers.
Section 1: As to External Relations. The United Lutheran Church in
America shall have power to form and dissolve relations with other
general bodies, organizations, and movements. To secure uniform and
consistent practise, no synod, conference, or board, or any official
representative thereof, shall have power to independent affiliation with
general organizations and movements." Does this and the preceding
section refer also to non-Lutheran movements, organizations, and bodies,
such as the Federal Council, of which the General Synod was a member? In
the _Lutheran Church Work and Observer_, January 3, 1918, Dr. A. Pohlman
suggested that the "Merger idea be enlarged so as to include all
Protestant denominations, in order to get better known in America,
increase our prestige and influence, and take a more decided interest in
the affairs of the world." "We can well afford," says he, "to rub out
some of those things which conceded to be secondary." More contact with
the other denominations would obliterate much of the "foreign" from our
Lutheranism, and make us an "American Lutheran Church."


9. Actual Position of the New Union.--The Merger did not come as a
surprise, for the uniting bodies, being of a common origin, had for a
long period occupied essentially the name position as to doctrine and
practise, exchanged delegates, and cooperated in various ways. Nor was
it accompanied by any essential change in the doctrinal or practical
attitude of any of the synods and congregations now constituting the new
body. Yet it will be admitted that, by merging, the General Synod,
constitutionally, made a confessional stride forward, while, as to their
official attitude toward Lutheran practise, the United Synod in the
South, and especially the General Council, took a step backward. For the
level and measure of the new Union will naturally be that of the most
liberal of the united bodies, _viz._, the actual present, practical as
well as doctrinal, position of the synods which constitute the General
Synod. According to the Preamble of the Constitution the object of the
Merger was "to make the inner unity, which we" [the official bodies as
such] "have with one another manifest in common confession, defense, and
maintenance of the faith, and in united efforts for the extension of the
Kingdom of God at home and abroad." However, the new Union was not the
result of any discussions of, and subsequent agreements and settlements
in, any doctrinal or practical differences. The "inner unity" of the
merging bodies themselves, especially of the General Synod, never was a
real agreement in the truth, but rather an agreement to disagree with
respect to Lutheran doctrines and practise. The United Church was not
born of real inner Lutheran unity of the spirit, but of the desire of
external union, in spite of the lack of real doctrinal agreement. The
Merger is in more than one way a concession to the original unionistic
spirit of the General Synod. Especially the absence, in the Constitution,
of a paragraph directed against pulpit- and altar-fellowship with
non-Lutherans, and of a definite and satisfactory statement pertaining
to antichristian societies, cannot but be viewed as an _ex professo_
lowering of the Lutheran standard to the laxism always prevailing in the
General Synod. The real doctrinal and confessional position of the
United Lutheran Church, apart from the merits and demerits of its
Constitution, is, in the last analysis, not so much determined by its
official declarations as by the actual conditions prevailing in its
synods and congregations. The real standpoint of a Church is not the one
written and subscribed to on paper, but which manifests itself in her
actual teaching, life, and practise. Judged, then, by what the merging
bodies actually were immediately prior to their union, the real United
Lutheran Church in America is not nearly on a par with what its
doctrinal basis would seem to warrant. G. A. Tressler, the former
president of the General Synod, said in the _Lutheran_, November 7,
1918: "My hope and wish is that, as far as the United Lutheran Church
is concerned, it may merge our best and submerge the rest." What of this
"best"? And what is "the rest"? The history of the three merging bodies
will tell.

10. National Lutheran Council.--According to Article VI, Section 3 of
the Constitution, it is the object of the United Lutheran Church "to
cultivate cooperation among all Lutherans in the promotion of the
general interests of the Church; to seek the unification of all
Lutherans in one orthodox faith." The ultimate goal of the United
Lutheran Church self-evidently is the organic union of all Lutheran
synods and congregations of this country as "The Lutheran Church in
America," or, at least, "The Federated Lutheran Church in America." "The
National Lutheran Council," organized September 6, 1918, in Chicago, is,
no doubt, viewed by many as a stepping-stone to, and a means for the
attainment of, this end. The United Lutheran Church, says the
_Philadelphia Seminary Bulletin_, "is but part of a larger movement in
the direction of Lutheran unity and activity for which we thank God and
take courage. Illustrations of this are: The National Lutheran
Commission for Soldiers' and Sailors' Welfare, The National Lutheran
Council, and the proposed Central Lutheran control of all American
Lutheran Foreign Missions." (1919, 2, p. 4.) The objects of the National
Lutheran Council are: statistical information; publicity in all matters
that require common utterance by the Lutheran Church; representation of
our Church in its relation to entities outside of itself; dealing with
the problems arising out of war and other emergencies; the solution of
problems arising from social, economic, intellectual, or other
conditions, or changes affecting religious life and consciousness; the
fostering of true Christian loyalty and the maintenance of a righteous
relation between Church and State as separate entities with correlated,
yet distinctly defined functions; provision through the National
Lutheran Commission for the spiritual welfare of the people who are
living and working in the 24 "War Production Communities," part of which
work is to be done in cooperation with other denominations; to serve in
solving the problems of the Lutheran Church in European countries where
the war has upset political, social, and religious conditions; to adjust
matters on the Home Mission field, in order to restrict and stop
destructive competitive church-work; to discourage, ignore, and abandon
public polemics among Lutherans; to prepare a statement defining the
essentials of a catholic spirit as viewed by the Lutheran Church. With
the exception of the Synodical Conference (always wary of entangling and
unionistic alliances), practically all of the Lutheran synods in America
are connected with the National Lutheran Council. (_L. u. W._, 1919, 86
ff.) A meeting of the presidents and representatives of various Lutheran
bodies, culled by the National Lutheran Council and held in Chicago,
March 11 to 13, 1919, adopted a number of statements on reconciliation,
absolution, the means of grace, justification, faith, conversion and
election. However, these declarations, though, as far as they go,
apparently not in dissonance with the Lutheran confessions, cover
neither all the doctrines controverted in our Church, nor all of the
disputed points involved in the doctrines dealt with at Chicago. With
respect to lodgism the Conference resolved: "We promise each other that
it shall be our earnest purpose to give a fearless testimony, and do our
utmost to place our respective church-bodies in the right Christian
position in this matter." (_Lutheran_, March 27, 1919.) The results
attained by the Conference will be referred for approval to the bodies
represented: United Lutheran Church, Joint Synod of Ohio, Iowa Synod,
Buffalo Synod, Augustana Synod, United Danish Synod, Norwegian Church,
Free Church.

The General Synod.


11. Discouraging Beginnings.--The oldest Lutheran synods of America
are the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, organized 1748; the New York
Ministerium, 1786; the Synod of North Carolina, 1803; the Joint Synod of
Ohio, 1818; the Synod of Maryland and Virginia, 1820; and the Tennessee
Synod, 1820. They embraced about 35,000 members, over one-half of them
belonging to the Pennsylvania Synod. On October 22, 1820, at Hagerstown,
Md., four of these synods organized as the "General Synod of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America," with David
Kurtz of Baltimore as president. According to its preamble the
Constitution was adopted by the following synods: "The German
Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Pennsylvania and the neighboring States,
the German and English Evangelical Lutheran Synod in the State of North
Carolina and the bordering States, the Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium
in the State of New York and the neighboring States and countries, and
the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland, Va., etc." (_Proceedings,_
1829, 49; 1839, 47.) The Pennsylvania Synod was represented by 5 pastors
and 3 delegates, the New York Ministerium by 2 pastors, the North
Carolina Synod by 2 pastors, and the Maryland Synod by 2 pastors and 1
delegate. Since 1811 C. A. Stork (Storch) and especially Gottlieb Shober
(Schober, a Moravian, serving Lutheran congregations) of the North
Carolina Synod had been prominent among the promoters of the general
body. The "Mother Synod" of Pennsylvania, which at the same time was
planning a union with the Reformed, took the initiative in the movement.
At the convention at Harrisburg, 1818, they declared it "desirable that
the various Lutheran synods should stand in closer connection with each
other," appointed a committee to prepare a feasible plan of union, and
invited the different synods to send representatives to her next meeting
in Baltimore, 1819, where the contemplated Lutheran, union was the
principal topic of discussion. A tentative constitution, drafted by
Shober and a committee of the Pennsylvania Synod, was approved with 42
against 8 votes and published over the signatures of its officers,--
the so-called _Planentwurf_, which, in a somewhat modified form, was
adopted 1820 at Hagerstown as the Constitution (_Grundverfassung_) of
the General Synod. At the first regular convention of the new body, held
at Frederick (Fredericktown, Friedrichstadt), Md., in October, 1821,
twenty delegates were present, representing the synods of Pennsylvania,
North Carolina, and Maryland-Virginia. It was a beginning fraught with
discouragements. Owing to religious indifference, the rationalistic New
York Ministerium had immediately permitted its connection to lapse, till
resumed in 1837. The Tennessee Synod violently condemned the new body as
hierarchical, and because its constitution did not so much as mention
the Bible and the Augsburg Confession. The Ohio Synod, which, in 1819,
after a discussion of the _Planentwurf_, had approved of the formation
of a General Synod, now stood aloof, because a number of her ministers
denounced its Constitution, not for confessional reasons, but because of
its alleged hierarchical features. (Graebner, _Geschichte_ 1, 701.) In
1823 the Pennsylvania Synod declared her withdrawal on account of the
union planned with the Reformed, and because some of her congregations,
fearing infringements of their liberties, protested against the
connection. It was due chiefly to the exertions of S. S. Schmucker, then
but twenty-five years of age, that the second regular convention, 1823,
in Frederick, was held, the newly organized West Pennsylvania Synod
forming the third body required by the constitution.

12. From the Early Proceedings.--The report of 1823 closes as follows:
"On bended knees, and with hearts filled with holy emotion, the brethren
then united with the Rev. J. G. Schmucker in a most impressive address
to the mercy-seat of Christ, in an acknowledgment of the gratitude for
the past blessing of the great Head of the Church, and in humble
supplication for the future guidance of His Holy Spirit. And when they
had sung an hymn, they separated to return to their several abodes."
(8.) Regarding the withdrawal of the Pennsylvania Synod, the resolution
was adopted: "Resolved, That it is with feelings of deepest regret that
we learn from the minutes of the Synod of Pennsylvania that they were
induced by peculiar circumstances, for the present, to recede from an
institution which they aided in establishing, and which they still
profess to regard as proper and highly beneficial to the interests of
the Church; but that this Synod entertain the highest confidence in
their brethren of Pennsylvania, and confidently trust that they will
without delay resume their connection with the General Synod." (5.)--
The "Address of the General Synod to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
the United States," added to the Minutes of 1823, remarks: "Whilst the
General Synod, with due deference to the judgment of this respectable
Synod, cannot divest themselves of doubt as to the expediency of the
temporary recession of the Pennsylvania Synod from the general union of
the Lutheran Church, they rejoice that in the very act of withdrawing
they declare their unaltered conviction of the propriety and utility of
such a union, and intimate that their recession shall continue only
until the prejudices against the General Synod shall in some measure
have subsided. But, most of all, the General Synod rejoiced in the
measures which have already been taken by the brethren west of the
Susquehanna, among whose churches these prejudices do not exist, to
return to the general union of the Lutheran Church." (11.)The minutes of
1823: "Several delegates were absent in consequence of indisposition,
but a representation of a majority of the synods in connection with the
General Synod being present, the brethren, in reliance on the guidance
of the Holy Spirit, proceeded to business." (4.) With respect to the
fears expressed by Tennessee that the establishment of a General Synod
would endanger both the Lutheran and American liberties, the "Address"
of 1823 states: "The brethren of this Conference [Tennessee], as well as
individuals in some other sections of the United States, have heretofore
doubted the utility of the General Synod; but it is hoped their
apprehensions will be dissipated when a few years of experience shall
have demonstrated its utility, and when maturer reflection on the nature
of our constitution shall have convinced them that, if ever our Church
at large should so far degenerate as that a majority of any future
General Synod should not only be so void of common Christian integrity,
but so destitute of every sentiment of probity and honor, as to wish
those evils which have been feared, still even then the attainments of
them would, in our happy government, be physically and civilly
impossible." (14.) Repudiating the charge of the Tennessee Synod that
the object of the General Synod was an amalgamation with other
Protestant denominations, and urging the Carolina and Tennessee Synods
to cover their doctrinal differences by charity, the "Address" continues:
"Whilst the General Synod disclaim the intention which has perhaps,
through want of better knowledge, sometimes been attributed to them,
namely, to form a union of different denominations, one object at which
they aim certainly is to prevent discord and schism among the different
portions of the Lutheran Church. It is therefore with much pleasure that
they perceive that the Carolina Synod adopted measures at their last
session to bring about, if possible, a reconciliation with several
brethren [Tennessee Synod], who had seceded from them. And the General
Synod cannot forbear recommending to both parties the exercise of that
charity, toleration, and forbearance which were so illustriously
exemplified in the life of our divine Redeemer, and urging on them the
impressive declaration of His Apostle: 'Follow after charity'; 'Charity
suffereth long and is kind,' 'seeketh not her own, is not easily
provoked'; 'charity beareth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
things.' Therefore we beseech you, brethren, by the mime of our Lord
Jesus Christ, 'that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be
perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.'"

13. Vigorous Growth Following Disappointments.--During the period of
1831 to 1864 a large number of district Synods joined the General Synod.
The Hartwick Synod, organized 1830 in Schoharie Co., N.Y., by seven
pastors who had separated from the New York Ministerium in order to
satisfy more fully their craving for revivals, was admitted by the
General Synod in 1831; in 1908 it merged in the New York Synod. The
South Carolina Synod, organized 1824, entered the General Synod in 1835.
The New York Ministerium returned 1837. The Synod of Virginia, organized
in 1829 by eight ministers and two lay delegates and confessing the
Unaltered Augsburg Confession, was admitted by the General Synod in 1839.
The Synod of the West, embracing Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and
Missouri, of which Wyneken was a member till 1845, was organized in 1835
and united with the General Synod in 1840. In 1846 this body was divided
into three parts; one called the Synod of the Southwest, located in
Kentucky and Tennessee, another called the Synod of Illinois, located in
the State of Illinois, and the third retaining the name of the Synod of
the West, located in Indiana.(_Proceedings_, 1848, 47.) The East Ohio
Synod, since 1836 a separate English branch of the Ohio Synod, united
with the General Synod in 1841. The East Pennsylvania Synod, founded
1842 by nine ministers withdrawing from the Pennsylvania Ministerium,
who advocated the use of the English language, revivals, and greater
liberty in the form of worship, was received by the General Synod in
1842. The Allegheny Synod, organized 1842 by ministers and congregations
of Western Pennsylvania, united in 1843. The Southwest Virginia Synod
was also admitted in 1843. The Miami Synod was organized 1844 in Ohio
and joined the General Synod in 1845. The Illinois Synod, a descendant
of the Synod of the West, was organized 1846 and joined the General
Synod in 1848. When, in 1867, this Synod was dissolved, the greater
part amalgamated with the Illinois District of the Missouri Synod. The
Wittenburg Synod, organized 1847 in Ohio, was admitted 1848. This body
was led by Ezra Keller and S. Sprecher, professors of Wittenberg
College, Springfield, O. The Olive Branch Synod of Indiana and adjacent
parts was organized in 1848 and received into the General Synod in 1850.
In 1894 the Middle Tennessee Synod united with the Olive Branch Synod.
Its device is an olive branch upon an open Bible; its motto: "In
necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas." The
Pennsylvania Synod reunited with the General Synod in 1853. The Texas
Synod, organized 1851 by Rev. Braun (sent by Dr. Passavant) and eight
ministers from St. Chrischona, joined the General Synod in 1853, the
General Council in 1868, and in 1895 the Iowa Synod as its Texas
District. The Synod of Northern Illinois, organized 1851 by English,
German, Norwegian, and Swedish ministers in Illinois, Iowa, and
Wisconsin, was also admitted in 1853. The Pittsburgh Synod, the
so-called "Mission Synod," whose policy was largely shaped by W. A.
Passavant, was organized in 1845 and admitted by the General Synod in
1853. In 1867 it joined the General Council. The Kentucky Synod and the
Central Pennsylvania Synod, which was organized in the year 1855, joined
the General Synod in 1855. The Synod of Northern Indiana, organized 1855,
the Synod of Iowa, organized 1852, and the Synod of Southern Illinois,
organized 1856, were received in 1857. In 1897 the Synod of Southern
Illinois united with the Synod of Central Illinois as Synod of Central
and Southern Illinois. The Melanchthon Synod was admitted in 1859; the
Franckean Synod, organized 1837, and the Synod of Minnesota, organized
1860, in 1864. The Minnesota Synod joined the General Council in 1867
and in 1872 the Synodical Conference.

14. Secessions and Accessions.--The title "General Synod" was for the
greater part of her history descriptive of, not what the General Synod
was, but what she desired to become. In a letter to Solomon Henkel,
dated January 23, 1826, Henry Muhlenberg remarks: "Of the seven Lutheran
synods only three belong to the General Synod, and yet its
representatives assume the name 'The General Synod of the Lutheran
Church in the United States'!" In 1829 there were 74 ministers in the
synods connected, and 123 in the synods not connected, with the General
Synod. In 1834, of 60,971 Lutheran communicants the General Synod had
20,249 and the Ministerium of Pennsylvania 26,882. In 1860 the Lutherans
in America numbered 245,000 communicants, about two-thirds of whom
belonged to the General Synod, then embracing 26 district synods with
1,313 pastors and 164,000 communicants. The following decade, however,
marked a heavy decrease. Owing to unguarded resolutions with respect to
the Civil War, the Southern Synods withdrew, and in 1863 organized the
General Synod South. In 1866 the oldest and strongest synods seceded and
immediately formed the General Council. The consequent numerical loss
was more than 200 pastors and 76,000 communicants. After these reverses
a number of smaller synods acceded to the General Synod. In 1867 the
Susquehanna Conference, formed in 1845 and belonging to the East
Pennsylvania Synod, organized as Susquehanna Synod and resolved to unite
with the General Synod. Susquehanna University, at Selinsgrove, is
located in her bounds. The Synod of Kansas, organized in 1868 by
ministers and laymen in Kansas and Missouri, was received 1869. Midland
College and the Western Theological Seminary are upon its territory. The
German Wartburg Synod united 1877. It had been organized 1875 by the
German Conference of the Synod of Central Illinois formed at the
dissolution of the Illinois Synod in 1866 by ministers who remained
loyal to the General Synod, among them Severinghaus, the editor of the
_Lutherischer Kirchenfreund_. The _Kirchenfreund_ was succeeded by the
_Lutherischer Zionsbote_, established in 1896 as a joint organ of the
German Wartburg and Nebraska Synods, representing at the same time the
German interests of the entire General Synod. The German Nebraska Synod
was organized in 1890 and admitted by the General Synod in 1891. Its
congregations are located in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, and
the Dakotas. The Wartburg and Nebraska Synods received a part of their
ministers from Breklum and Chrischona. As to pulpit- and
altar-fellowship and lodge-membership, the Wartburg and Nebraska Synods
have not been as liberal as the English Districts of the General Synod.
The Rocky Mountain Synod, embracing the territory of Wyoming, Colorado,
and New Mexico, was organized in 1891; the California Synod in 1892. The
New York Synod was admitted in 1908. In 1859 seven English pastors,
withdrawing from the New York Ministerium, formed the Synod of New
Jersey. Again in 1866, on account of the withdrawal of the Ministerium
of New York from the General Synod, fifteen ministers separated and
organized the Synod of New York. In 1872 both united as Synod of New
York and New Jersey. This body, in 1908, merged with the Hartwick,
Franckean, and Melanchthon Synods, thus forming the present Synod of New
York. Prior to the Merger in 1918, when the whole Lutheran Church in
America embraced 2,450,000 confirmed and 3,780,000 baptized members, the
General Synod ranked third in size among the general bodies. It reported
474,740 baptized members, 364,000 communicants, 1,857 congregations,
with 1,426 pastors. Apart from a number of benevolent institutions and
colleges, the General Synod maintained theological seminaries in
Hartwick, N.Y.; in Gettysburg, Pa.; in Springfield, O.; in Selinsgrove,
Pa.; in Atchison, Kans.; in Lincoln, Nebr.; in Breklum, Germany. In 1825
S. S. Schmucker was elected professor of Gettysburg Seminary. He served
till 1864. The school was opened in September, 1826, with ten students.
In 1830 E. L. Hazelius entered as second professor. In 1833 he was
succeeded by Charles Philip Krauth, who served till 1867. Among the
succeeding professors were H. I. Schmidt, 1839-43, Hay, Brown, C. F.
Schaeffer, C. A. Stork, Valentine, Richard, Singmaster. The General
Synod supported foreign missions in Liberia and India. "Father" Heyer, a
scholar of Helmuth, was the pioneer American Lutheran missionary in
India. The chief periodicals are _The Lutheran Quarterly_ (now Vol. 42)
and the _Lutheran Church Work and Observer_. The _Lutheran Observer_,
which merged into the last named organ in 1916, was established in 1831
by Morris and edited by B. Kurtz from 1833 till 1861.


15. Object Not Unity, But Union.--In the _Lutheran Observer_,
January 2, 1863, H. Harkey wrote: "Some say that unity must precede
union. But the Bible demands that we unite. Hence those who magnify
these differences [among Lutherans] and endeavor to keep us separate are
the greatest sinners in the Church." This has always been the view of
the General Synod: union, irrespective of doctrinal differences. But,
while striving after true unity in the Spirit is always and everywhere
of divine obligation, external organic union is not an end _per se_
divine. And while efforts at organic union, even at their best, always
remain a matter, not of Christian duty, but of Christian wisdom and
liberty, all endeavors at union which disregard the divine norm of
Christian fellowship are anti-Scriptural. At the organization of the
General Synod, however, the sole ambition was to unite the whole
Lutheran Church in the United States in a well-organized and imposing
body. The object was not unity, but governmental union. Dr. Valentine
said in 1905: "Though the primary object of its organization was not
confessional, but practical, looking to fellowship and cooperation on
the basis of acknowledged Lutheran standing, the General Synod at once
placed a positive Lutheran basis under its practical work." (_Luth.
Cycl._, 193.) The fact is that the question whether the uniting bodies
were truly Lutheran and in doctrinal agreement was neither asked, nor
investigated, nor presupposed, but simply ignored. W. M. Reynolds said
in 1850: "The constitution of the General Synod does not present a
system of doctrine, a confession of faith. On the contrary, this
constitution itself confesses that it was drafted 'only for purposes of
government and discipline,' and expressly denies the right 'to any
General Synod to make changes in matters of faith which in any way might
burden the consciences of brethren.'" (_Lutheraner_, April 30, 1850.)

16. Conceived in Indifferentism.--Unionism and indifferentism mark the
character of the General Synod from its very beginning. And how could
this have been otherwise? The un-Lutheran spirit of the General Synod
was not so much acquired as inherited. The Pennsylvania Synod, while
promoting the Pan-Lutheran union, was at the same time planning a union
with the Reformed! In 1819 and 1822 resolutions were passed to this
effect. And before this, in 1792, the same Synod had adopted a
constitution in which the Lutheran Symbols were not even mentioned. One
of the reasons for severing her connection in 1823 was the fear that the
General Synod might prove an obstacle in the way of the contemplated
Lutheran and Reformed union. In the New York Ministerium Socinianism
ruled supreme. Quitman, for twenty-one years its president, permitted
rationalists only in his pulpit, and in 1814, with the consent of his
synod, he published a catechism denying the deity and atonement of
Christ. F. C. Schaeffer, of New York, in a letter to the convention at
Baltimore, 1819, urged the Pennsylvania Synod "to leave nothing undone
that might serve, in a proper way, to bring about a union of the
different Lutheran synods in the United States." But in the same breath
he proceeds: "It is also desirable that another object, of gravest
importance, should be duly considered--a closer union between the
Lutheran and Reformed churches in our States. In this laudable and truly
evangelical cause our brethren in Germany [Prussian Union, 1817] have
set us an excellent example . . . as the Lutherans and Reformed in
Germany are united in one Evangelical Church, and are no longer
separated as different churches, but form one fold, the true Germans in
America will, in this respect, try to imitate the Germans in Germany."
(Spaeth, _C.P.Krauth_, 1, 323.) In North Carolina, where the
rationalistic Catechism of Velthusen was used, conditions were no
better. Shober, of the North Carolina Synod, who served on the committee
appointed for the drafting of the _Planentwurf_, and exerted himself to
the utmost in the interest of the Lutheran union, was a Moravian, who,
though serving Lutheran congregations, harbored Reformed views and
reveled in the prospective dawn of the grand union of all Protestant
denominations, to which, according to his views, the General Synod was
to serve as a stepping-stone. Accordingly, the aim of the General Synod
neither was, nor could be, confessional unity, but, _ad intra_, a mere
external organic union, irrespective of doctrinal differences, and _ad
extra_, a unionistic intercourse with the Reformed and other Protestant
denominations. And throughout its history this has remained the
paramount object of the General Synod. In accordance with this policy
she has made concessions in both directions, as required by expedience
and the circumstances, to doctrinal laxism as well as to Lutheran
confessionalism, the latter especially during the last decades. Union
was always the primary, true unity hardly ever even a secondary
consideration. The plan, however, of sacrificing, in a merger with the
Reformed, its own identity as an independent Lutheran body was never
directly adopted by the General Synod. It was, partly, in this interest
that, in 1862, at Lancaster, the General Synod resolved "that as the
erection of Union Churches is not always productive of Christian union
and brotherly love, but rather of strife and contention, we recommend to
all our ministers and people to build no more such churches." (18.) In
its address of 1823 the General Synod "disclaimed the intention to form
a union of different denominations." (12.) If by "union" they meant a
merger, then the General Synod throughout its history has remained true
to the declaration of 1823. For, though always encouraging some sort of
union with all evangelical denominations, the General Synod as such has
never taken a stand in favor of an amalgamation with these bodies.


17. Features of the Constitution.--The charge of Romanism, made
especially by the Tennessee Synod against the General Synod, was not
without foundation. The _Planentwurf_ of 1819 provides: "Until, however,
the formal permission and consent has been granted by the General Synod,
no new established body shall be recognized among us as a ministerium,
and no ordination performed by it as valid." This section was omitted in
the constitution adopted 1820. The _Planentwurf_ of 1819 furthermore
provides: "The General Synod has the exclusive right, with the consent
of a majority of the special synods, to introduce new books for general
public use of the churches, as well as to make emendations in the
liturgy." (Graebner, _Geschichte_, 1, 691 f.) This section was embodied
in the constitution of 1820. According to Article III, Section 2, of the
Constitution adopted in 1820, the General Synod reserves for itself the
right of approving all such books and writings "as a catechism, form of
liturgy, collection of hymns, or confession of faith," proposed for the
use of the church. "No synod," the section prescribes, "and no
ministerium connected with the General Synod shall therefore publish for
public use any new book or writing of the kind mentioned without
previously having submitted a complete copy to the General Synod, and
heard her opinion, or criticism, or advice in the matter. Whenever the
General Synod shall deem it proper, they may propose to the special
synods and ministeriums new books or writings of the kind mentioned
above for general or special public use. The special synods and
ministeriums also shall duly heed a proposal of this kind, and if any
one of them should not consider such a proposal appropriate, it is to be
hoped that the reasons will be given to the next General Synod, in order
that they may be entered in the minutes of the General Synod."
(_Proceedings_, 1829, 51.) In the amended constitution of 1835, Article
III, Section 2, eliminating the objectionable features, reads as
follows: "Whenever the General Synod shall deem it proper or necessary,
they may propose to the special synods or ministeriums new books or
writings, such as catechisms, forms of liturgy, collections of hymns for
general or special public use in the church. Every proposal of this kind
the several or respective synods may duly consider; and if they, or any
of them, shall be of opinion that the said book or books, writing or
writings, will not conduce in the end proposed, they may reject them,
and adopt such liturgical books as they may think proper."
(_Proceedings_, 1839, 48.) The first report to the General Synod on the
state of the Gettysburg Seminary begins as follows: "In presenting to
the _Supreme Judicatory of the Lutheran Church in America_ an account of
the progress of the institution so recently founded," etc.
(_Proceedings_, 1827, 13.) The constitution of 1829, framed and adopted
for and recommended to the District Synods, provides for the expulsion
and punishment of congregations that refuse to submit to the resolutions
of Synod as follows: "If a congregation heretofore connected with a
Synod should refuse to obey the resolutions of that Synod or the
precepts of this formula [constitution], it shall be excluded from the
connection with that synod as long as its disobedience lasts, and
without special permission from the president neither any other synod
nor a Lutheran pastor or candidate shall serve her." (_Proceedings_,
1829, 30.)

18. Doctrinal Features.--The _Planentwurf_ states: "The General Synod
has no power to make or demand any changes whatever in the doctrines of
faith adopted heretofore among us." In the constitution of 1820, Art.
III, Sect. 2, this was amended as follows: "But no General Synod shall
be allowed . . . to introduce such alterations in matters appertaining
to the faith, or to the mode of publishing the Gospel of Jesus Christ
(the Son of God and ground of our faith and hope), as might in any way
tend to burden the consciences of the brethren in Christ." (1829, 51;
1839, 48.) Interpreted historically, this section was evidently intended
to make the General Synod safe, not indeed for loyal Lutheranism, but,
on the one hand, for evangelicalism over against Unitarianism and, on
the other hand, for confessional indifferentism and doctrinal freedom
with respect to the distinctive doctrines of the Evangelical
denominations. A. Spaeth remarks: "The Radicals, or New-measure men, who
in their generation had not heard the Gospel preached and the faith of
the Church taught according to the pure Confession of Augsburg, might
look upon any attempt to go back to that Confession and to stand by it
as an 'alteration, and tending to burden their consciences.'" (1, 334.)
It was to serve the same indifferentistic purpose when Article III,
Section 5, declares: "The General Synod may give advice or opinion when
complaints shall be brought before them by whole synods, or
congregations, or individual ministers concerning doctrine or
discipline. The General Synod shall, however, be extremely careful that
the consciences of the ministers be not burdened with human laws, and
that no one be oppressed by reason of differences of opinion on
non-fundamental doctrines." (1829, 52; 1839, 49.) The original reading
of this section, as adopted 1820, omits the clause "on non-fundamental
doctrines" found in the constitution published in the minutes of 1829,
thus granting absolute doctrinal freedom. (Graebner, 708.) For the words
"human laws" the amended constitution of 1835 substitutes "human
inventions, laws, or devices." (1839, 49.) Dr. Spaeth: "As the bulk of
the confessional writings of the Lutheran Church was classified by the
leaders [Schmucker, Kurtz, etc.] with 'human inventions, laws, and
devices' or, at the very best, with 'non-fundamental doctrines,' any
pastor or professor might feel perfectly safe in throwing overboard the
mass of these symbolical books and their contents without fear of having
to answer for it." (334.) Article III, Section 8, evidently intended to
satisfy the craving for a closer union with the Reformed and other
Evangelical bodies, reads as follows: "The General Synod shall . . . be
sedulously and incessantly regardful of the circumstances of the times,
and of every casual rise and progress of unity of sentiment among
Christians in general, in order that the blessed opportunities to
promote concord and unity and the interests of the Redeemer's Kingdom
may not pass by neglected and unavailing." (1839, 50; 1829, 53.)--
According to Article III, Section 2, quoted in the preceding paragraph,
the General Synod claimed the right to propose to the special synods not
only catechisms, forms of liturgy, and collections of hymns, but also a
confession of faith. Appealing to this section, S. S. Schmucker, in
1855, claimed that he was within his constitutional rights in urging the
General Synod to substitute the Definite Platform for the Augsburg
Confession. Spaeth: "It was, with a good show of justice, claimed by the
American Lutheran side in the General Synod that the very constitution
of the body entitled it to make a new revision even of the Augsburg
Confession!" (335.) It was in keeping with these principles as well as
the conditions then prevailing in the Lutheran synods that the
constitution adopted at Hagerstown contained no confessional basis
whatever, not even a mere reference to the Augsburg Confession. Shober,
probably in order to obviate the charges of the Tennessee Synod, made an
effort to have a recognition of the Augsburg Confession incorporated in
the constitution, but failed. That the omission was intentional is
apparent also from the fact that the General Synod maintained its
silence in spite of the vigorous protests of the Tennessee Synod and her
refusal to join the general body, especially for the reason that neither
the Bible nor the Augsburg Confession was mentioned in its Constitution.
"With this constitution before him," says Spaeth, "the editor of the
_Lutheran Observer_, Dr. Benjamin Kurtz, in Baltimore, was right in
stating the case after this manner (_Lutheran Observer_, April 16, 1852):
'We admit that the General Synod never formally or by express resolution
repudiated or abandoned the doctrinal basis (as laid down in the
Augsburg Confession and the Catechism of Luther).' But did it ever
either formally or tacitly profess belief in that basis? What necessity
is there for a body formally to repudiate or abandon what it never
received or adopted? It is a notorious fact that the symbolic basis had
been abandoned in the Church, to a very great extent, before the General
Synod was called into existence, and at its organisation special pains
were taken to guard against all possibility of its future imposition
upon the Church. In defining the doctrinal position of the General
Synod, the manifest intention was to give to each other, and to
establish for posterity, a pledge that the doctrinal basis should never
be allowed to interfere with their consciences." (335f.)


19. Serving, in a Way, the Lutheran Church.--Apart from the name there
was nothing of genuine Lutheranism in the constitution of the General
Synod. "The name," said Dr. Mann in 1855, "is the most important
characteristic of the General Synod." "Hatte man," he continues, "dem
Leib die Knochen und die Eingeweide und das Herz herausgenommen, so
konnte man in den leeren Balg hineinschieben, was man wollte, und der
Name Lutherisch blieb ja." In a letter dated April 15, 1857, he said of
the General Synod: "Wer kann dieses mark- und kraftlose Ding, dieses
verwaschene, um jeden individuellen Zug gekommene Gesicht der
lutherischen Kirche gerne sehen?" (Spaeth, _W. J. Mann_, 174. 180.) C.
P. Krauth declared in 1845: "It cannot be denied that the name Lutherans
in this country simply states an historical fact without giving in any
case a sure index to the views, feelings, or practises of those who bear
it." (Spaeth, _C. P. Krauth_, 1, 119.) Yet, even the mere name, the mere
empty skin of Luther, was not without some value. It served as a
constant reminder of the lost crown, and kept numerous Lutherans from
joining the sects. The union of Lutherans into a general body gave a
standing to the Lutheran Church among the denominations, and thus, in a
way, strengthened the Lutheran consciousness. It diminished the
threatening danger of a merger with the Reformed in Pennsylvania and
with the Episcopalians and Presbyterians in North Carolina. And by
inserting the confession of "Jesus Christ as the Son of God and ground
of our faith and hope" into its constitution, the General Synod may also
have acted as a check on the inroads of Socinianism. Furthermore, the
General Synod created a certain interest in the Lutheran Church of
America abroad, especially in Germany, and roused her energies at home.
In 1825 the General Synod established a theological seminary at
Gettysburg, Samuel S. Schmucker being its first professor, with a free
dwelling and a salary of $500 for the first year. In the same year it
was "resolved that an agent be sent to Europe without delay, in order
to receive contributions in moneys and in books for the use of the
Seminary; and that our beloved and honored colleague Mr. Benjamin Kurtz
be such agent." (8.) The minutes of 1827 report that Kurtz had collected
$12,000. (27.) In 1837 Schmucker made a similar tour in America,
collecting from Congregationalists and others $14,917 for the Seminary
Fund. Only if Gettysburg will nourish, said I. Oswald in the Seminary
Report of 1837, "we can expect that the Gospel-trumpet will be blown
from the Wittenberg in America with the result that the Germans who have
settled in the various States and are scattered in our extended
countries (some of whom are famishing for lack of knowledge, and by
reason of circumstances are outcasts of the church) will hear and come
to adore the Lord in His holy mountain." (1837, 61.) In every direction
the General Synod developed a lively activity. In 1842, the year of the
Muhlenberg centennial jubilee, the General Synod made strenuous efforts
to raise a fund of $150,000 for its charitable institutions. (1841, 53
ff.) "What is this sum," it was said, "for a church numbering 100,000
members and more than 25,000 families? It amounts to only $1.50 for each
member, and not even $10 for every family!" In 1857 the General Synod
resolved: "That the churches in connection with the General Synod be
recommended to observe our regular ecclesiastical festivals in
commemoration of the fundamental facts of our religion, _viz._:
Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, and Whitsunday, in the
hope and persuasion that by the divine blessing they will be found to
be, as they have often proved, occasions of reviving to our
congregations." (32.) In 1866 the resolution was added: "That it be
recommended to the ministers and churches in our connection to celebrate
the thirty-first of October in each year in commemoration of the
commencement of the Reformation." (42.) In 1879, the three hundred and
fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Luther's Catechism, the
General Synod resolved that we "reaffirm our appreciation of Luther's
Smaller Catechism as the best manual of instruction preparatory to
church-membership." (39.) In the same year the resolution was adopted:
"That in view of the fact that 1880 will be the semicentennial of the
Augsburg Confession, every pastor of the General Synod be requested to
preach on that subject on or near the twenty-fifth of June in that
year." (40.) The General Synod organized the "Parent Educational
Society" for assisting ministerial students; the "Central Missionary
Society" for domestic missions; the "Foreign Mission Society" for work
in India; and established a "Pastors' Fund," a book company, etc. The
General Synod was always on the alert to draw Lutherans in all parts of
the country into her circles. Thus, _e.g._, when, in 1839, the Saxons
had arrived in Missouri, the General Synod passed the resolutions: "1.
That a special committee be appointed to open a correspondence with the
companies of Lutherans recently arrived in the United States from
Germany, and represented by Dr. Charles Vehse and others, and the Rev.
Mr. Stephan; 2. that the committee write in the name of the General
Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States, giving a
sketch of the history and objects of this body, with any other
intelligence which they may think it important to communicate, and
requesting of Dr. Vehse and the Rev. Mr. Stephan and their respective
associates any information which they may think proper to make relative
to their own history, their present situation, and their future
prospects." (19.)

20. Exaggerated Estimates.--After what has already been said, the
following evaluations of the General Synod will be received with a grain
of salt. In the "Pastoral Letter" of the General Synod, written in 1831
by David F. Schaeffer, we read: "No church had to contend with so great
difficulties as we have overcome by the help of God. As the English
language is the language of our fortunate country, the untiring
endeavors of our fathers to retain the knowledge of the German language
among the youth were futile. Many who spoke German were not able to read
this language. The consequences of this state of affairs were pitiable.
The religious books of the parents were of no use, and in many cases
true piety was gradually lost as well as the love for our Zion. In the
mean time some Christian denominations who held their service in the
English language were ardently endeavoring to promote the interest of
religion and the growth of their churches. But the God of an Arndt,
Spener, Francke, and of many other renowned founders and benefactors of
our Church still lives. In this most critical moment, when our Church,
which is distinguished for the simplicity of its service, the purity of
its doctrines, and the excellency of its church-discipline, was about to
sink into oblivion, just at this important moment the General Synod was
brought into existence, and through this body the Theological Seminary
and College grew up which now are in efficient operation and in a
flourishing condition. Now our children may be instructed in all the
different branches of the sciences by pious and well-trained teachers of
our faith. Now, by our Seminary, the Church may be supplied with learned
and pious preachers, who are able to instruct their hearers in both
languages. And from this institute they will always go forth as
brethren, inspired by the same spirit and led by the same principles."
(_Proceedings_, 1831,22.) In 1857, Krauth, Jr., defending the General
Synod, said: "She is the offspring of a reviving Lutheranism, born in
the dawn that followed the night which fell upon our Church in this
land, when the patriarchal luminaries of her early history had set on
earth to rise in heaven. When the General Synod came into being,
Rationalism still was in the ascendant in Europe. The names of Gabler
and Bretschneider, of Wegscheider and Roehr, were names which had been
held high in honor in the Lutheran Church in Germany. That Church had
become what such men might have been expected to make her. Where their
influence prevailed, she had become rotten in doctrine, destitute not
only of the power of godliness, but even of the decencies of its forms,
and ready, at the command of a royal devotee of Dagon, for a conjunction
which she once would have regarded as the adding of a scaly tail and
fishy fin to the fair bust of woman; but the bust was as fishy as the
tail now, and they were frozen into happy conjunction. But this was not
the Lutheranism which the General Synod desired to plant and perpetuate
in the New World. When the Lutheran Church looked around her in her
adopted land, she saw ignorance of her principles and prejudices of
every hue prevailing against her. When she looked to her native land,
all was thick darkness there. What was there on this side of the
Atlantic or beyond it to inspire hope? Why not abandon the experiment as
a thing foregone, and yield to the process of absorption into
surrounding sects? It was at this crisis that the life of the Church
displayed itself in the formation of the General Synod. The formation
was a great act of faith, made, as the framers of her Constitution
sublimely express it, in reliance 'upon God our Father, in the name of
our Lord Jesus Christ, under the guidance and direction of the Holy
Spirit in the Word of God.' The framers of that Constitution should be
as dear to us as Lutherans as the framers of our Federal Constitution
are to us as Americans. When the General Synod became completely
organized by the acknowledgment of the doctrinal Articles of the
Augsburg Confession as a standard of faith, it was the only voluntary
body on earth pretending to embrace a nation as its territory, and
bearing a Lutheran name, in which the fundamental doctrines of
Lutheranism were the basis of union. The General Synod was a
declaration, on the part of the Lutheran Church in America, that she had
no intention of dying or moving, that she liked this Western World and
meant to live here. And she has lived and waxed stronger and stronger,
and the General Synod has been a mighty agent in sustaining and
extending her beneficent work, and is destined to see a future which
shall eclipse all her glory in the past. Heaven pity the fate of the man
who looks upon the General Synod as having been a curse to the Church,
or an inefficient worker in it--who imagines that Lutheranism would be
stronger if the General Synod were weaker, or that truth would be reared
upon the ruins of what she has been patiently laboring for nearly forty
years to build." (Spaeth, 1, 383.)

21. Spaeth, and Jacobs on the General Synod.--After referring to the
unionistic, rationalistic, and Socinian degeneration in the Pennsylvania
and New York Ministeriums prior to the organization of the General
Synod, A. Spaeth continues: "With this powerful influx of rationalism,
and with the tendency of the remaining positive elements of our Church
to assimilate and unite themselves with the surrounding 'Evangelical
Denominations,' there was evident danger for the Lutheran Church in
America of losing her historical connection with the fathers, and
surrendering the distinctive features for which they contended, and as a
religious society becoming simply a member of the Reformed family. At
this point of threatening disintegration and dilapidation, the first
steps were taken toward the establishment of the General Synod, which
was certainly an honest effort to improve the state of affairs, to
gather the scattered members of our Lutheran Church, and to preserve her
as such on this Western Continent. Viewed in this light, the formation
of the General Synod was 'an offspring of reviving Lutheranism,' as Dr.
Krauth called it. But the difficulty and danger arose from the fact that
two conflicting and irreconcilable elements tried to unite in it with a
sort of compromise, the one, latitudinarian, un-Lutheran, unwilling or
unable to prize the treasures of the Mother Church of the Reformation,
and overanxious to exchange them for Puritan legalism and Methodistic
'new measures'; the other, conservative, holding on to the inheritance
of the fathers, and hoping almost against hope to bring the Church back
to their good foundation. If the former element succeeded in keeping out
of the General Synod's original constitution any direct and outspoken
reference to the historic confession of the Lutheran Church, the latter
might have thought themselves secure in the provision which denied to
the General Synod the power 'to make or demand any alteration whatever
in the doctrines hitherto received by us.' But the first-named party, at
the outset, had the popular sympathy on its side; it was the 'American'
over against the 'foreigner'; it was aggressive, and had the advantage
of having able and determined leaders, and thus, during the first
twenty-five years of the General Synod's history, easily ruled the day,
while the Lutheran consciousness of the second party slowly awoke from
its slumbers, and those that were to be its leaders on the day of battle
were quietly maturing from boyhood into manhood." (1, 320.) H. E.
Jacobs, endeavoring to view the origin of the General Synod in its
historical context, writes: "The General Synod must be regarded as a
very important forward movement, and its influence as beneficial. It
necessarily was not without the weaknesses that characterized the
Lutheran Church in America at that time. One who ignores the entire
historical development will find much to criticize and condemn, when
examined from the standpoint of what is demanded by consistency with
accurate theological definitions and clear conceptions of church polity.
But he will find just as much that incurs the same judgment in the
proceedings of the synods that united to form it. The faults peculiar to
each synod were lost, while only the common faults of them all remained.
The General Synod was a protest against the Socinianizing tendency in
New York and the schemes of a union with the Reformed in Pennsylvania
and with the Episcopalians in North Carolina. It stood for the
independent existence of the Lutheran Church in America, and the clear
and unequivocal confession of a positive faith. It failed, as its
founders in the several synods had failed, in specifically determining
the contents of this faith. It was not ready yet, as these synods were
not ready, to return to the foundations laid by Muhlenberg and his
associates, and from which there had been a general recession from
twenty-five to thirty years before. Lament defects as we may, the
General Synod saved the Church, as it became anglicized, from the
calamity of the type of doctrine which within the New York Ministerium
had been introduced into the English language." (_History_, 361 f.)


22. First Statement on Doctrinal Position.--The "Address of the
General Synod to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States"
of 1823 contains the following reference to the doctrinal attitude of
the General Synod: "An acquaintance with the history of the Christian
Church in the past ages, as well as a knowledge of her present condition
throughout the world, establishes the fact that mankind are prone on
this subject to fall into contrary extremes; some maintaining that if
our external conduct be correct, it matters not what we believe, and
others contending that as long as our creed is sound, the Church has
little to do with private deportment. But the principle which the
General Synod conceive to be taught in Scripture, and which they would
recommend to the Church at large, is this, that we should view with
charity, and treat with forbearance, those who have fallen into an
aberration of non-fundamental importance either from the faith or the
practise of the Bible and the Augsburg Confession; and on the other
hand, that we are bound 'not to eat with a fornicator, or a covetous, or
an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner,' but to 'put
away from among us such wicked persons,' and that 'a man that is an
heretic,' who denies a fundamental doctrine, a doctrine essential to the
Christian scheme, we are in like manner bound 'after the first and
second admonition to reject.'" (14.) A fair analysis of this document
yields the propositions: The General Synod receives the Bible and the
Augsburg Confession. It distinguishes between fundamental and
non-fundamental doctrines and aberrations from both. It holds that some
of the doctrines of the Bible are not fundamental. It also holds that
some of the doctrines of the Augsburg Confession are not fundamental. It
enumerates neither the doctrines of the Bible nor of the Augsburg
Confession regarded as non-fundamental. It defines fundamental doctrines
as doctrines essential to the Christian scheme, hence, non-fundamental
doctrines as not essential to the Christian scheme. Indirectly it admits
that a doctrine essential to the Lutheran scheme is not necessarily a
fundamental doctrine or a doctrine essential to the Christian scheme. It
admits the inference that not all of the doctrines of the Augsburg
Confession are essential to the Lutheran scheme. It denies that all the
doctrines of the Augsburg Confession are essential to the Christian
scheme. It holds that non-fundamental aberrations from the Christian
scheme are not subject to church discipline. It also teaches that denial
of some of the doctrines of the Augsburg Confession is not a matter of
church discipline. In brief, the General Synod, according to the Address
of 1823, held that there are errors subject to discipline, while others
are not, but defined and enumerated neither the former nor the latter.
It failed to draw a line of demarcation between the doctrines which may,
and which may not, be denied with impunity. Indeed, the Constitution
adopted 1820 speaks of "Jesus Christ as the Son of God and ground of our
faith and hope." (Art. III, Sec. 2.) Possibly, however, the General
Synod was not ready in 1823 to enforce the ban on Socinianism. That the
sentiment against it was hardly as pronounced as is frequently assumed,
appears also from the fact that the General Synod, in 1825, appointed a
committee to prepare a hymn-book, liturgy, and a collection of prayers,
in the English language, "adhering particularly to the New York
Hymn-Book and German Liturgy of Pennsylvania as their guides." (11.) The
New York Hymn-Book referred to was Quitman's and the Pennsylvania
Liturgy the one of 1818, both tainted with rationalism. In the
resolutions, however, adopted in the same year with respect to the
Gettysburg Seminary, Jesus is confessed as "God over all, blessed
forever." (5.) And the Pastoral Letter of 1829 declares that the Church
is in need of a confession of faith in order to protect herself against
the Socinians. (17.)

23. Gettysburg Subscription Limited.--At the time of organization of
the General Synod, Samuel S. Schmucker and F. C. Schaeffer of New York
apparently occupied a relatively advanced confessional position.
According to a letter of Schmucker, dated Princeton, February 20, 1820,
they had promised each other to labor with all earnestness that the
Augsburg Confession should be raised again from the dust, and that every
one subscribe to its twenty-one articles, and declare before God, by his
subscription, that they agree with the Bible, not _quatenus_, but
_quia_. (Singmaster, _Dist. Doct._, 44.) In 1826 Schmucker wrote, in
defense of the Lutheran doctrine of the Person of Christ: "Only lack of
insight and of clearness of intellect can mislead an honest opponent to
impute a contradiction to the doctrine when it denies that the glorified
body of Christ has the properties and is subjected to the laws which we
call properties and laws of matter." (_Lutheraner_, April 12, 1852.)
When, in 1825, the statutes for the government of the Seminary at
Gettysburg were adopted, it was at the instance of Schmucker, the first
chairman of the faculty and for nearly forty years a teacher at the
Seminary, that the General Synod declared "that in this Seminary shall
be taught in the German and English languages, the fundamental doctrines
of the sacred Scriptures as contained in the Augsburg Confession of
Faith," and that any professor may be removed "on account of error
fundamental doctrines, immorality," etc. (5.) Article I, Section 2, of
the Constitution of the Seminary, drawn up Schmucker and adopted by
Synod, states that the Seminary is designed "to provide our churches
with pastors who sincerely believe, and cordially approve of, the
doctrines of the Holy Scriptures as they are fundamentally taught in the
Augsburg Confession." Another article requires every professor-elect to
publicly pronounce and subscribe the following declaration: "I believe
the Augsburg Confession and the Catechisms of Luther to be a summary and
just exhibition of the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God." And
when Schmucker, September 5, 1826, was inducted into the "professorship
Christian theology," D. F. Schaeffer, who delivered the charge, said:
"As the Lord has signally favored our beloved Church, as her tenets are
Biblical, and her veriest enemies cannot point out an important error in
her articles of faith, no more than could the enemies of the truth at
the Diet of Worms prove the books of the immortal Reformer erroneous,
therefore the Church which entrusts you with the preparation and
formation of her pastors, demands of you (and in her behalf I solemnly
charge you) to establish all students confided to your care in that
faith which distinguishes our Church from others. If any should object
to such faith, or any part of it, or refuse to be convinced of the
excellence of our discipline, they have their choice to unite with such
of our Christian brethren whose particular views in matters of faith and
discipline may suit them better. I hold it, however, as indispensable
for the peace and welfare of a Church that unity of sentiment should
prevail upon all important matters of faith and discipline among its
pastors. Hence I charge you to exert yourself in convincing our students
that the Augsburg Confusion is a safe directory to determine upon
matters of faith declared in the Lamb's book." (Spaeth, 1, 336.)
Accordingly Dr. Jacobs interprets the Gettysburg pledge as follows: "It
was a pledge to a distinctively Lutheran position. Such an affirmation
could never have been enforced in the proposed Lutheran-Reformed
seminary which the ministerium [of Pennsylvania] had had in mind. It
could not have been exacted of those who believed the confession to be
in error on those points which divide the Lutherans from the Reformed.
In justice, however, to those who might seem to have been acting a false
part in making this affirmation while they believed the confession to
contain errors, it must be stated, on the other hand, that the full
force of the declaration was not so clearly apparent in a period
directly following one when, as we have seen, the greatest living
theologian of the Lutheran Church in America could distinguish no
difference between the Augsburg Confession and the formularies of the
Church of England." This interpretation appears to be in agreement with
the solemn charge of Schaeffer, according to which the pledge refers to
that faith which distinguishes our Church from others." However,
Schmucker and his successors viewed the phrase "fundamental doctrines of
the Word of God" as a restriction, limiting the subscription to the
doctrines confessed by all evangelical denominations, thus eliminating
from the pledge distinctive Lutheran doctrines. And the historical
correctness of this view has never been satisfactorily refuted.
Schmucker declared time and again: "The Augsburg Confession was not to
be followed unconditionally; its binding force was expressly limited to
the fundamentals. The professor's oath expressly limits our pledge to
the Augsburg Confession to the fundamental doctrines of the Scriptures."
He wrote: "After the abandonment of the General Synod, in 1823, by the
Synods of Pennsylvania and New York, that body was chiefly sustained by
the zeal and activity of younger men, in connection with a few beloved
fathers who remained with us. At the very next meeting of the General
Synod, in 1825, I had the pleasure, as well as honor, to introduce, for
the first time in the history of that body, the recognition of the
Augsburg Confession. At that time there were none amongst the friends of
the General Synod who did not reject several tenets of the Augsburg
Confession, such as private confession and absolution, as we all still
do. Accordingly, the assent to the Augsburg Confession, expressed in the
statutes for the Theological Seminary presented by me, was a _qualified_
one; it should and was intended to bind only to the _fundamentals_ of
the Scriptures as taught in the Augsburg Confession. The language was
well understood then, and was deemed clear and satisfactory; it has
always been interpreted in the same way since, except by some, of late,
whose predilections would incline them to find in it, if possible, some
support for their more rigidly symbolic views." (Spaeth, 1, 338.) In the
_Evangelical Review_, April, 1851, Schmucker declared: The General Synod
established her theological seminary "not for the purpose of teaching
the symbolic system of the sixteenth century,--for her leading members
had all relinquished some of its features,--but, as her Constitution,
adopted in 1825, explicitly declares, to prepare men to teach, not all
the doctrines or aspects of doctrine in the Augsburg Confession, but the
'_fundamental_ doctrines'; and not those aspects of doctrine which might
be considered fundamental peculiarities of that Confession, but 'the
fundamental doctrines _of the Scriptures_' those aspects of doctrine
which Christians generally regard as fundamental truths of the Word of
God. The symbolical books of the General Synod and the seminary at
Gettysburg are the Bible and the Augsburg Confession, as a substantially
correct exhibition of the fundamental truths of the Bible. To this the
professorial oath of office in the seminary adds a similar _fundamental_
assent to the two Catechisms of Luther. For the professors to inculcate
on their students the obsolete views of the old Lutherans contained in
the former symbols of the Church in some parts of Germany, such as
exorcism, the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the
Eucharist, private confession, baptismal regeneration, immersion in
baptism, as taught in Luther's Larger Catechism, etc., would be to
betray the confidence of those who elected them to office, and to defeat
the design of the institution." (Spaeth, 1, 338 f.)

24. Doctrinal Statements from 1829 to 1835.--The Pastoral Letter of
the convention of the General Synod in Hagerstown (Haegerstadt), 1829,
contains the following statements: The object of the General Synod is
not to introduce absolute uniformity also in non-essential doctrines;
such a unity did not exist in the early Christian congregations; it is
sufficient to adhere to the fundamental tenets of the Reformation; every
teacher and layman is entitled to use his Bible without being bound by
any human confessions; the General Synod merely demands acceptance of
the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel as taught in the Augsburg
Confession, and leaves everything else unlimited; but she does not agree
with those who absolutely reject all confessions of faith; the Church is
in need of a confession in order to protect herself against the
Socinians; most of the confessions, however, have lost themselves into
minute (_spitzfindige_) and doubtful dogmas, and thus encouraged the
spirit of superstition and schism, and naturally must continue to do so,
the longer, the more; in every one of the different orthodox
[evangelical] denominations, frequently, indeed, in the same
congregation, there are persons who differ as much in their opinions as
the confession of their Church differs from that of other Churches;
accordingly, there is no reason why synods bearing the name of Luther
should not unite with the General Synod, though differing in their views
as to non-fundamentals; the General Synod has no power to call members
of individual synods to account for aberrations in doctrine or life; the
most it can do is to admonish such a synod to investigate the matter;
however, a synod refusing to demand orthodoxy in fundamentals can be
expelled from the General Synod; in brief, the four synods now
constituting the General Body are so many independent ecclesiastical
jurisdictions, united only in order to promote brotherly love, and to
combine their forces in the execution of such things as are of general
benefit, and which no individual synod could perform. (16.) "The General
Synod therefore," says the letter of 1829, "only demands of those who
are connected with her that they hold the fundamental doctrines of the
Gospel as they are taught in the Augsburg Confession, and leaves all
other things unlimited." "Why, then," the letter continues, "should not
all those synods of our country that bear the name of our immortal
Luther, and have always yet retained the chief traits of this sublime
Reformer, be united by the tender bond of the General Synod,
notwithstanding the different opinions which they may entertain in; some
points which do not touch the foundation of the Augsburg Confession?"
(16.) It was in accordance with the sentiments expressed in this letter
when the General Synod at the same convention in Hagerstown adopted for
its district synods a constitution with a form of licensure and
ordination containing the questions: "Do you believe the Scriptures of
the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and the only infallible
rule of faith and practise?" "Do you believe that the fundamental
doctrines of the Holy Scriptures are taught in a manner substantially
correct (wesentlich richtig) in the doctrinal articles of the Augsburg
Confession?" (43. 45.) Prior to 1864 the General Synod as such, however,
was not in any shape or manner committed to the Augsburg Confession
constitutionally. In 1835, when the Constitution was amended, Synod as
such remained non-committal. The doctrinal basis then adopted and
embodied in the Constitution does not mention the Augsburg Confession.
It reads as follows: "All regularly constituted Lutheran synods holding
the fundamental doctrines of the Bible as taught by our Church, not now
in connection with the General Synod, may at any time become associated
with it by adopting this Constitution and sending delegates to its
convention, according to the ratio specified in Art. II." (_Proceedings_
1839, 49.) Evidently this deliverance, though marking an advance over
the Constitution of 1820, intentionally omits a direct reference to the
Augustana. Till 1864, then, the exact constitutional basis of the
General Synod as such was not the Augsburg Confession, but the
indefinite phrase: "the fundamental doctrines of the Bible as taught by
our Church." All other confessional deliverances of the General Synod
till 1864 may be summarized as follows: The fundamental doctrines of the
Bible, _i.e._, the doctrines in which all evangelical (non-Socinian)
Christians agree, are taught in a manner substantially correct in the
doctrinal articles of the Augsburg Confession.

25. "A Solemn Farce."--The doctrinal basis of the General Synod, prior
to 1864, is limited in more than one way. It does not embrace all of the
Lutheran symbols. It includes only the twenty-one doctrinal articles of
the Augustana. It binds only to the fundamental articles of the Bible.
It presupposes that fundamental articles are such only as are agreed to
by all evangelical Churches. It leaves the question whether all of those
twenty-one articles of the Augsburg Confession are to be regarded as
"fundamental doctrines of the Bible" undecided. It adopts the articles
of the Augsburg Confession regarded as fundamental, not simply and
absolutely, but merely as substantially correct." On the question of the
ordination form of 1829 Krauth, Jr., commented in 1857 as follows:
"What, then, is that question? We reply, in general: First, that the
subject of her general affirmation is not the Book of Concord as a
whole, but simply and purely the Augsburg Confession. Secondly, that not
the entire Confession, but only the twenty-one articles of it which
treat of doctrine, are specified in the affirmation. Thirdly, that only
so far as these articles embrace _fundamental_ doctrines does she make
an affirmation. Fourthly, that of these she affirms that they teach the
doctrines in a correct manner, and defines the correctness as a
_substantial_ one." (Spaeth, 1, 386.) J. L. Neve explains: "They
[General Synod] considered what the Lutheran Church has in common with
the other churches, and looked upon this as the fundamentals of
Christianity, while the characteristic peculiarity of the Church of
Luther, her special inheritance, was set aside as non-fundamental and
unessential." (_Geschichte_, 90.) Accordingly, the General Synod, prior
to 1864, did not subscribe to the distinctive doctrines of the Lutheran
Church, but only to the doctrines held in common by the evangelical
churches of Protestantism. Charles Philip Krauth, who was styled a
Symbolist and Old Lutheran by the latitudinarians, declared in 1850, in
his address before the General Synod at Charleston: "The terms of the
subscription [to the Augustana] are such as to admit of the rejection
of any doctrine or doctrines which the subscriber may not receive. It
is subscribed or assented to as containing the doctrines of the Word of
God substantially; they are set forth in substance; the understanding
is that there are some doctrines in it not contained in the Word of
God, but there is no specification concerning them. Every one could
omit from his assent whatever he did not believe. The subscription did
not preclude this. It is at once evident that a creed thus presented is
no creed; that it is anything or nothing; that its subscription is a
solemn farce." (Spaeth, 1, 370.)


26. Authentic Explanation of Doctrinal Basis.--In his _Popular
Theology_, published for the first time in 1834, S. S. Schmucker wrote:
"The General Synod of the Lutheran Church has adopted only the
twenty-one doctrinal articles, omitting even the condemnatory clauses of
these, and also the entire catalog of Abuses corrected. No minister,
however, considers himself bound to believe every sentiment contained in
these twenty-one articles, but only the fundamental doctrines.
Accordingly, the pledge of adoption required at licensure and ordination
is couched in the following terms . . .: 'Do you believe that the
_fundamental_ doctrines of the Word of God are taught in a manner
_substantially_ correct in the doctrinal articles of the Augsburg
Confession?' The Lutheran divines of this country are not willing to
bind either themselves or others to anything more than the fundamental
doctrines of the Christian revelation, believing that an immense mass of
evil has resulted to the Church of God from the rigid requisition of
extensive and detailed creeds. . . . We can see no sufficient warrant
for any Christian Church to require as a term of admission or communion
greater conformity of view than is requisite to harmony of feeling and
successful cooperation in extending the kingdom of Christ. . . . Had the
early Protestants endeavored to select the principal and fundamental
doctrines of Christianity, required a belief of them from all applicants
for admission into their ranks, and agreed among themselves that
discrepance of views on matters of non-fundamental nature should neither
be a bar to ecclesiastical communion nor fraternal affection, they would
have saved the Church from the curse of those dissensions by which piety
was in a great degree destroyed and on several occasions the very
foundations of Protestantism shaken." (Edition of 1848, 50 ff.) In 1850,
attacking Reynolds in the _Lutheran Observer_ on account of his
defection from American Lutheranism, Schmucker stated: From the very
outset the General Synod had abandoned the distinctive Lutheran
doctrines, and nevertheless retained the Lutheran name; in spite of his
deviations from the Lutheran symbols he, with perfect right, could call
himself a faithful Lutheran. (_L._, 6, 139.) Schmucker, "the most
authentic interpreter of the Constitution of the General Synod and that
of its theological seminary," never identified the "fundamental
doctrines of the Bible" with the twenty-one articles of the Augsburg
Confession. According to him the fundamentals are obtained by striking
from the Augustana everything that is objectionable to any Evangelical
Church and retaining the remainder as the substance of Protestantism.
All of the fundamental doctrines, Schmucker declared, are contained in
the ecumenical creeds; everything else is trans-fundamental, not
required by the General Synod for Christian union and communion. In his
sermon at the convention in Winchester, 1853, Schmucker maintained that
the essential, fundamental doctrines in which the General Synod demands
agreement, are "the cardinal doctrines of the Reformation, the points of
agreement between the different creeds of the sixteenth century,"
distinctive doctrines being points of non-essential, non-fundamental
difference. According to Schmucker the General Synod's motto,
"Uniformity in fundamentals and charity or liberty in non-fundamentals,"
never meant anything else than uniformity in the doctrines in which the
evangelical denominations agree, and liberty with respect to distinctive
tenets, also those of Lutheranism. In his _Lutheran Manual_ of 1855
Schmucker wrote: "The founders of the General Synod were men of
enlarged, liberal, and Scriptural views of the kingdom of Christ.
Convinced of the gradual abandonment of the whole mass of symbolical
books in Germany, as well as from the personal examination of them, of
their want of adaptedness to the age, they regarded it as the grand
vocation of the American Church, released by Providence from civil
servitude, to reconstruct her framework, assuming a more friendly
attitude toward sister churches, and so organizing as to promote
Scriptural union among Protestants, and to bring up our
church-institutions to the increased light of Biblical study and
Providential development. This enlightened, this millennial attitude of
the founders of the General Synod, the writer can confidently affirm,
from personal knowledge, having been well acquainted with the greater
part of them, and having been present at Baltimore in 1819, when the
formation of the Synod was, after ample discussion, resolved on; and at
Hagerstown, in 1820, when the Constitution was formed. But the
Constitution speaks for itself; for it invested the General Synod with
power to form a new Confession of Faith, and new catechisms, suited to
the progress of Biblical light and the developed views of the Church.
Subsequently it was believed that the necessities of the case would be
best met by the retention of the Augsburg Confession, on account of its
importance as a link in the chain of historical Christianity, and by
prescribing its _qualified_ adoption, _viz_., as to the fundamental
aspects of Scripture doctrine. . . . It is an incontestable fact, which
can easily be established, that the original standpoint of the General
Synod, whilst controlled by the Pennsylvania Synod, was rejection of the
binding authority of the old confessions. This is undeniably proved by
their not even naming the Augsburg Confession in their Constitution, by
their declining even a qualified recognition of it, and by their
inserting a clause expressly giving authority to the General Synod to
form a confession of faith; yea, even going further, and giving the same
authority to each District Synod also. (See the original Constitution,
Article III, Section 2.) It seems to me no intelligent and unprejudiced
mind can resist this conclusion as to their doctrinal standpoint, whilst
I and others who were present know it to have been as above stated." In
his manuscript notes Schmucker says: "It is worthy of constant
remembrance that during the first four centuries, under the immediate
pupils of the inspired apostles and their successors, the voice of the
universal Church under the whole heaven was that nothing more than
fundamental agreement should be required for communion in the Christian
Church and Christian ministry. Not a single orthodox church practised
differently. All required assent only to the several ecumenical
confessions, the so-called Apostles' and the Nicene Creeds. . . . No,
the practise of binding the conscience of ministers and members to
extended creeds, containing minor points, on which men in all churches
and all ages have differed and ever will differ, and thus splitting up
the Body of Christ without His authority, is, and must be, highly
criminal. The fathers who founded the General Synod all considered the
recognition of fundamentals as sufficient, and here, in this free
country, determined to return to the practise of the earlier and purer
centuries of the Church. These fathers were Drs. J. G. Schmucker, George
Lochmann, C. Endress, F. W. Geissenhainer, Daniel Kurtz, H. A.
Muhlenberg, P. F. Mayer, H. Schaeffer, and D. F. Schaeffer, Rev. Gottl.
Shober, and Rev. Peter Schmucker, with their younger colaborers, Drs.
Benjamin Kurtz, S. S. Schmucker [Charles Philip Krauth?]. [tr. note: sic]
Holding this opinion, they did not introduce any recognition, even of
the Augsburg Confession, into their original Constitution in 1820. But
at the third meeting, in 1825, they adopted certain resolutions for the
foundation of the theological seminary and statutes for its government,
and bound its professors to the fundamental doctrines of Scripture as
taught in the Augsburg Confession. They thus returned to the principles
and practise of the earlier and purer centuries of the Church, when the
influence of the Savior and His inspired apostles was more sensibly felt
in the Church." (Spaeth, 1, 342. 337. 354.)

27. "Lutheran Observer" Interpreting Basis.--Apart from its coarseness
and fanaticism, especially during the thirty years' editorship of Dr. B.
Kurtz, the _Lutheran Observer_ has throughout its existence, from 1831
to 1916, always been an essentially correct exponent of the original
doctrinal and confessional attitude of the General Synod. Consistently a
General Synodist cannot disown the _Observer_ without renouncing the
General Synod itself. Now, according to the _Observer_, the General
Synod has always stood for unity in essentials, or fundamentals, and
liberty in non-fundamentals, understanding by fundamentals those
doctrines only in which Evangelical Christendom is agreed, and by
non-fundamentals distinctive tenets, also those of Lutheranism. Quoting
from Dr. S. Sprecher's inaugural address at Wittenberg College,
Springfield, O., the _Lutheran Observer_, October 26, 1849, declared
that Lutherans [of the General Synod], in adopting the confessions, "do
not bind their conscience to more than what all evangelical Christians
[denominations] regard as fundamental doctrines of the Bible. We are
bound to believe only that the sublime plan of the Gospel is taught in
the Augsburg Confession. This is the position held by the General Synod
and by the American Lutheran Church in general, and this seems to have
been the position also of the Church in the earlier and purer days of
the Reformation." (_L._, 6, 57.) In 1860 the _Observer_ declared that
the General Synod was organized on the basis of a compromise with
respect to doctrines of minor import, such as the doctrine of the Lord's
Supper, of the power of Baptism and of absolution. _Observer_, April 8,
1864: "We ought to be one in the doctrine of faith which embraces the
fundamental doctrines of Christianity, while we should practise love
with respect to other things. By fundamental doctrines we understand
such and such only as are necessary to make a man a true child of God.
. . . Who can be a Christian and deny the essence and existence of God,
Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the atonement, the doctrines of repentance
and faith in Christ, the necessity of justification before God and of
sanctification of the heart, or the moral law as the rule of life, the
doctrine of immortality and our future destination? These doctrines,
which are essential to faith and Christian life, are fundamental and
ought to be received by the heart and practised, while all other
doctrines may be necessary more or less in order to perfect the
Christian character and render it more symmetrical, but do not strike
the heart of true religion." (_L. u. W._, 1864, 154.) _Observer,_ March
12 and 19, 1869: "The doctrinal basis of the General Synod demands
adoption of the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God as taught in
the Augsburg Confession, but she has never determined which doctrines
she regards as fundamental and which not. Formerly she was satisfied
with the general judgment of the Protestant world with respect to the
fundamental articles of Christianity . . ., but during the last decade
the question was extensively discussed: What is fundamental? We see no
reason why the General Synod could not and should not supplement her
basis by a definition and enumeration of the fundamental doctrines. . .
. According to the universal judgment of the Church the doctrinal
opinions in which the orthodox Protestant Churches differ are not
fundamental, but non-fundamental doctrines. Whether God's decree of
election is absolute or conditional; whether the corruption of the
fallen nature of Adam was propagated or only the guilt of his sin was
imputed to his descendants; whether the atonement is universal or
limited to the elect; whether justification occurs by the imputation of
the righteousness of Christ to believers or by the imputation of faith;
whether the presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper is bodily or
spiritual; whether the receiving of body and blood is by faith or by the
mouth, is limited to believers or extends also to unbelievers; whether
the church government is participated in by laymen or limited to the
ministers; whether the Scriptural principles on this matter establish an
hierarchy or democracy--these and many other questions are differently
answered by different Protestant denominations, but without objectively
destroying the ground of faith or subjectively the essence of faith. .
. . In short, the doctrinal views which still separate the Protestant
churches are not fundamental." (_L. u. W._, 1869, 121.)

28. Krauth on "Fundamentals Substantially Correct."--The essential
correctness of Schmucker's and the _Observer's_ interpretation of the
General Synod's doctrinal basis was acknowledged also by Charles
Porterfield Krauth. "The very life," said he, "the very existence of the
General Synod depends upon the distinction between fundamentals, in
which agreement is required, and non-fundamentals, in which liberty is
granted." And while his father had condemned the confessional basis of
the General Synod as a "solemn farce," Krauth, Jr., in 1857, declared:
"Let the old Formula stand and let it be defined." In the _Missionary_,
April 30, 1857, Dr. Krauth explained: "The doctrinal basis of the
General Synod, then, was designed to be one on which, without sacrifice
of conscience, brethren differing in non-fundamentals might meet. It is
a basis which, on the one hand, neither by expression nor by implication
charges error upon any part of the doctrinal articles of the Confession,
but as far as it touches the question at all, expresses or implies the
very opposite; a basis, therefore, on which brethren who receive the
Confession without reservation can rest, but which, at the same time, on
the other hand, defines its position only as to what is fundamental,
leaving entirely untouched the questions whether non-fundamental
doctrines are taught in the Confession, and whether, if taught, they are
taught in a manner substantially correct. Furthermore, in using the word
'substantially' to qualify the term 'correct,' in the affirmation as to
fundamentals, the General Synod meant not to decide, but to leave
untouched the question whether, as to its very letter as well as in its
essentials, the Confession is a correct exhibition of Scripture
doctrine. The position, in effect, implied this: Brethren may differ as
to whether the non-fundamental doctrines as well as the fundamental
doctrines are correctly stated in the Confession. Let them differ. We
make no decision whatever as to that point. Both agree as to
_fundamentals_; therefore fundamentals only shall be the object in this
subscription. We affirm of them that they are taught correctly in the
Confession. Of the non-fundamentals we affirm nothing and deny nothing.
Neither their reception nor rejection has anything to do with this
basis. But brethren differ on another point. Some receive the very
letter of the Confession on all points of doctrine; others, who receive
it to the letter on most points, receive it only as to its main drift on
a few. Let, then, that which is apart from the substance be left out of
view, and be the subject neither of affirmation nor of denial. Let us
make the affirmation simply on the _substantial_ correctness of the
Confession, for on that all are agreed. Here, too, shall be the same
absolute freedom to _receive_ what is apart from the substance as to
_reject_ it." Dr. Krauth proceeds: "The basis of the General Synod,
then, does not imply that non-fundamentals are falsely taught, or that
the correctness of the Confession on fundamentals is _merely_
substantial. The questions which touch non-fundamentals, or matters
apart from the substance, are _simply waived_ and left undetermined.
Thus interpreted, the most devoted friend of the Confession, in all its
parts, as well as he who is compelled to make a reservation as to some
portions, can freely use the Formula. It was the best basis possible,
under all the circumstances, and we are therefore satisfied with it."
"If, when the General Synod affirmed that the _fundamentals_ were
correctly taught, she had declared or implied that the non-fundamentals
were incorrectly taught, no Lutheran who believed that the Augsburg
Confession is sound on _all_ the doctrinal points it touches, or who
believed that none but fundamental doctrines are set forth in the
Confession, could have received the Formula. She satisfied herself,
therefore, with an affirmative about fundamentals, making neither an
affirmation nor denial in regard to non-fundamentals. She left the
synods in absolute freedom in non-fundamentals, freedom to doubt, to
reject, or to receive them." "So also when she declared that the
fundamentals of Scripture-doctrine are taught in a manner
_substantially_ correct, she neither declared nor implied that they were
not taught in a manner absolutely correct, but ... as all who believe
that they are set forth in a manner _absolutely correct_, believe,
necessarily, that they are taught in a manner _substantially_ correct;
for that which is absolute embraces that which is substantial and
something more; she simply makes an affirmation, so far as two classes
(if thinkers are agreed, affirming nothing and denying nothing as
regards that in which they differ, but having absolute freedom to doubt,
reject, or receive that which goes beyond the substance, and embraces
the minutiae of the form. The man who has a quarrel with this position
of the General Synod has a quarrel not against something incidental to
her, but against her very life. For on this position, expressed or
implied, rested, and continues to rest, the ability of our General Synod
to have a being." (Spaeth, 1, 402. 399. 401. 395 f.) According to Krauth,
then, there was constitutional room in the General Synod for Schmucker
and Kurtz as well as for Walther and Wyneken; room for all who accept
the fundamental doctrines in which evangelical Christians agree, but
deny the distinctively Lutheran doctrines, and room also for men who
confess all doctrines of the Lutheran Symbols. As late as October 29,
1863, Krauth declared in the _Lutheran and Missionary_ that there was
nothing in the Basis of the General Synod to bar even the Missouri Synod
from entering it with the whole mass of confessions in her arms. (_L. u.
W._, 1863, 378.) Dr. Krauth overlooked the fact that a Lutheran who
adopts the symbols _ex animo_, and does not merely carry them in his
arms, is serious also with respect to the confessional damnamuses with
which a unionism and indifferentism, as required by the General Synod,
is absolutely incompatible. In 1901 the _Lutheran Quarterly_ said: "The
damnamuses at the conclusion of several of the articles of the Augsburg
Confession are inconsistencies . . . fundamental contradictions with the
positive sense of the Confession." (359.) The _Quarterly_ could have
said, and probably wanted to say, that these damnamuses are fundamental
contradictions with the doctrinal basis of the General Synod. In
complete agreement with Krauth, the _Observer_ wrote September 11, 1903:
"The General Synod affirms and emphasizes what is universal in
Lutheranism, and leaves the individual at liberty, within this generic
unity, to receive and hold for himself whatever particularities of
Lutheran statement may commend themselves to his acceptance. The only
liberty denied him is that of forcing the particular upon his brethren
who are content to rest in the full acceptance of what is universal in
Lutheranism. It allows the same liberty in practise." (_L. u. W._, 1903,


29. Early Attitude.--The unionism which prevailed in all Lutheran synods
since the days of Muhlenberg was freely indulged in also by the General
Synod during the whole course of her history, in various ways,
especially in the exchange of fraternal delegates and the fellowship of
pulpit and altar. In 1825 the General Synod published with great
satisfaction a letter received from Dr. Planck, of Goettingen, stating:
Though there was in Germany no hope for a union of Protestants and
Catholics, the sectarian hatred between the Lutherans and the Reformed
had abated, indeed, disappeared, inasmuch as a complete union of them
had been effected in Prussia, Hesse, Nassau, the Palatinate, Baden;
these "reunions" had been brought about under conditions which
guaranteed their permanence, since both parties had convinced themselves
that there was no difference of views among them with respect to the
foundation of faith, and had agreed that the difference which might
still exist with respect to some points of the Lord's Supper could no
longer be a hindrance to their unity of faith and spirit; this union,
inasmuch as the parties no longer regarded themselves as divided, really
existed in all Protestant states of Germany, even where, as yet, it had
not been acknowledged formally. (24 f.) According to the Proceedings of
1827 "the Synod was gratified by the deep interest evinced by this
letter [of Dr. Planck] in the affairs of our Church in the United
States, and received the good wishes of its distinguished author with
grateful feelings. The corresponding committee was directed to answer
this communication." (5.) It was in keeping with the spirit of Planck's
letter that the minutes of 1827 furthermore recorded: "The following
gentlemen were present and [were] admitted as advisory members . . .:
The Rev. Mr. Helfenstein, of Philadelphia, as delegate from the Bible
Society in that city; and Rev. Mr. van der Sloot, as delegate from the
General Synod of the German Reformed Church." (5.) "Resolved, That the
General Synod of the Ev. Lutheran Church in the United States regard
with deep interest the exertions of the American Tract Society, and
recommend the design of said society to the churches under their care;
to give it their aid by the formation of auxiliary societies, and such
other means as have been recommended by the parent institution." (7.)
"Rev. Mr. Hinsch appeared and presented to this body the minutes of
the German Reformed Synod, and received a seat as an advisory member,
whereupon it was resolved that an equal number of the minutes of this
Synod be sent to the Synod of the German Reformed Church." (8.) "The
subject of publishing a new hymn-book in the German language, adapted to
the joint use of Lutheran and Reformed Churches, was now taken into
consideration. After some discussion it was resolved that as the joint
hymn-book for the Lutheran and Reformed Churches now in use is
introduced in a large number of our congregations, as it is possessed of
considerable merit, and as the introduction of a new one would be
attended with much expense to our congregations and confusion in worship,
therefore the General Synod deem it inexpedient to publish or recommend
the introduction of a new one in the churches under their care." (11.)
"Rev. N. Sharrets was appointed as delegate to the Synod of Ohio, and
the Rev. B. Kurtz and Rev. J. Schmidt as delegates to the German
Reformed General Synod." (12.) _Proceedings_, October, 1829: "Resolved,
That a committee be appointed to report on the proceedings of the German
Reformed Synod." (6.) "The delegates of the German Reformed Synod, the
Revs. Brunner and Beecher, were cordially received as advisory members."
(4.) The constitution adopted 1829 for the District Synods provides:
"Ministers, regular members of other synods or of sister churches
[sectarian denominations], who may be present or appear as delegates of
such bodies, may be received as advisory members, but have no vote in
any decision of the Synod." (31.)

30. Exchanging Delegates, Pulpits, Ministers.--In 1847, in a letter to
Ph. Schaff, W. J. Mann describes the relation of the General Synod to
the Methodists and Presbyterians as a "concubinage" with the sects.
(Spaeth, _W. J. Mann_, 38.) The extent, nature, and anti-Lutheran
tendency of this unionism appears from the minutes of the General Synod.
At Hagerstown, 1837, a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian, a Reformedist, and
a Methodist were received as advisory members. Two Lutheran ministers
preached in the Reformed church, two others in the Methodist church, and
Dr. Patton, of the American Education Society, in the Lutheran church.
At Baltimore, 1848, delegates of the General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church and of the Dutch Reformed Church were received as
advisory members. (5.) The minutes of the German Reformed Synod were
received and submitted to the examination of a committee. (9.) Delegates
were appointed to the Presbyterian and the German Reformed Church. (11.)
At Charleston, 1850, delegates were appointed to the German Reformed,
the Presbyterian, the Cumberland Presbyterian, and the Congregational
Church. It was also resolved that "the minutes [of the General Synod] be
sent to the Congregational Association of New Hampshire, to the Assembly
of the Cumberland Presbyterians, to the Constitutional Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church, and to the Synod of the German Reformed Church."
(28.) At Dayton, O., 1855, sixteen sectarian ministers were seated as
advisory members. (7.) At Reading, 1857, the Committee on Ecclesiastical
Correspondence reported: "With the General Assembly of the Presbyterian
Church we have now been in correspondence for twelve years, and every
interchange of delegates only strengthens the conviction expressed at
its commencement, that it 'would draw more closely the bonds of
Christian union, and so level the mountains and elevate the valleys of
sectarianism as to prepare the way of the Lord in His coming to
millennial glory.' We rejoice to-day to greet a delegate from that large
and influential body of Christians, and tender to him our Christian
salutations and brotherly love." (41.) At Pittsburgh, 1859, where
fourteen sectarian ministers were invited to seats in the convention,
the same committee stated: "The most interesting point to which your
committee would call the attention of the General Synod is the prompt
and cordial response of the Northern Provincial Synod of the United
Brethren (Moravian) to the overture for correspondence made to them at
our last meeting in Reading. Like ourselves, they acknowledge the
Augsburg Confession as their common bond of union, and have, ever since
the commencement of the last century, sustained a peculiar and intimate
relation towards our Church. It is only by discipline and forms of
church-government that we are separated, and we trust that the step
which has now been taken will draw us still more closely together, and
tend to our mutual edification and progress in Christian activity as
well as in brotherly love." (30.) At Lancaster, Pa., 1862, the delegate
to the German Reformed Church reported "that he was most kindly received
by that body, and was charged by the same to return its cordial
salutations to this Synod, with the hope on the part of our German
Reformed brethren that the present fraternal correspondence between our
Churches, twin-sisters of the Reformation, may never be interrupted. The
President of that body was appointed as delegate to this Synod, and we
rejoice to see him present with us now and taking an active interest in
our proceedings." (64.) The delegate to the Moravian Church declared
that "he takes great pleasure in stating that the fraternal greetings
which he was charged to convey to the brethren with most cordially
reciprocated, and the earnest desire expressed that the correspondence,
so auspiciously begun between the two bodies, might be continued." (64.)
At Lancaster it was also recommended to the District Synods that with
respect to the Reformed, Presbyterian, and other Churches they adopt the
rule: "Ministers and members in good standing, desiring to pass from one
of these bodies to the other, shall, upon application to the proper
body, receive a certificate of their standing." (16.) In accordance with
this rule the _Lutheran Observer_, May 17, 1867, advised Lutherans
moving West to unite with sister denominations until a Lutheran
congregation should be established at the place. (_L. u. W._ 1867, 182.)
At York, Pa., 1864, where sermons were delivered by Lutheran ministers
in eight sectarian churches, S. S. Schmucker, delegate to the German
Reformed Church, reported that "an invitation was given him to address
the Synod, and that the feelings of Christian fellowship which he took
occasion to express were cordially and liberally responded to by the
presiding officer of the Synod." (31.) Dr. Sprecher, then President of
the General Synod, said in response to the address of the delegate from
the Presbyterian Church who had spoken of the unity of all Christians,
and assured the convention of the sympathy of his brethren with its
work, that he was happy to see that the time of exclusiveness of the
different denominations had passed by, and that the Church was becoming
more liberal in its views in granting greater liberty in nonfundamental
articles. (_L. u. W._ 1864, 220.)

31. Exchanging Delegates, etc., Continued.--At Fort Wayne, 1866, where
delegates were appointed to the German Reformed Synod, the Presbyterian
Church, the Moravian Church, and the Evangelical Church Union of the
West, S. Sprecher, delegate to the Presbyterian Church, reported that he
was most cordially received, that the fraternal greetings of this body
were most heartily responded to by the moderator of the Assembly, and
that "on your delegate's quoting, in his address, the Article of the
Constitution of this General Synod, inculcating the duty of Christian
union, as one of the earliest instances, if not the very first, of an
ecclesiastical body's formally expressing such sentiments on this
subject, he was pleasantly interrupted by a hearty expression of
applause." (36.) In the minutes of the convention held at Washington,
1869, we read: "Dr. Gordon, the delegate from the Reformed (Dutch)
Church, then addressed the Synod. The address was characterized by a
truly earnest and Christian spirit, and by assurance of a hearty purpose
to cooperate with us in every noble effort for the glory of God and the
salvation of men. His allusions to Romanism were especially timely and
truthful. The President responded in an address, happily conceived and
forcibly expressed. On motion it was resolved that the overtures of the
corresponding delegate of the Reformed Church concerning the proposed
convention for the formation of church union and cooperative agency
against a common foe be submitted to a committee to report during the
present sessions of Synod." (26.) The delegate of the Presbyterian
Church addressed the Synod "in a very pleasant and appropriate address.
His kind expressions of good will and sympathy and Christian love were
warmly responded to by the President." (27.) The delegate to the German
Reformed Church reported: "An opportunity was granted to your delegate
to present the Christian salutations of our General Synod, to which the
President of their body responded in a warm, fraternal, and most fitting
manner." Delegate to the Presbyterian General Assembly: "My intercourse
with the brethren of the General Assembly was peculiarly pleasant and
satisfactory." (13.) The delegate to the "Unitas Fratrum" (Moravians)
stated "that he was most cordially received by the brethren. There is
something of the simplicity and love of primitive Christianity about
them that renders their assemblages charmingly attractive. The spirit of
the Master was evinced in all their doings. Their discussions of some
points of church-practises, diverging from their accustomed order, were
spirited and thorough, but conducted in the scope of the Pauline
sentiment: 'Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in
honor preferring one another.'" (34.) The General Synod declared: "Our
principles not merely allow, but actually demand, fraternal relations
with all Evangelical Christians, and especially with other Lutheran
bodies in this country." (68.) At Canton, O., 1873, where Lutheran
ministers preached in ten sectarian churches, the following letter of
greeting from the United Brethren was read: "Our conference and Church
duly appreciate every mark of good feeling and regard of sister
denominations towards us, and admire the spirit which prompts it, which
says, 'We are brethren,' 'We are one.' We are glad to note that the
sharp corners of denominational antagonism are wearing away, that the
watchmen are seeing eye to eye, that Christians can labor side by side
in the common cause and in the same altars, and meet at the same
communion, and each rejoice in the other's success. We also remember,
with the utmost pleasure, the intimacy of some of the eminent men of
your connection with the fathers of our connection,--instance Dr. Kurtz
and W. Otterbein,--and trust that the sacred mantle of brotherly love
which the fathers possessed may fall upon the sons to many generations.
We rejoice in the marked tendency to fraternal union among the
evangelical churches of the United States, and are hopeful that we may
get near together in all the essentials of Christian oneness. We take
great pleasure in appointing a fraternal messenger to your general
meeting at Canton, O." (34.) At Carthage, Ill., 1877, delegates were
appointed to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, the
Reformed (Dutch) Church, the Reformed (German) Church, the National
Council of the Congregational Churches, the United Presbyterian Church,
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the Provincial Synod of the Moravian
Church, the United Brethren in Christ, and to the Evangelical Synod of
the West. (26.) At Altoona, Pa., 1881, the following letter was
received: "The Presbyterian Church greets, in the name of Christ, her
twin-sister, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, born in the throes of the
same spiritual reformation, sharing in common a glorious protesting
history, marked with glorious deeds and names dear alike to both, a
common glorious heritage, kindred symbols and polity, and a work for
Christ side by side. May grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ be with all your ministers and congregations."
(54.) At Omaha, Nebr., 1887, thirty ministers of the General Synod
preached in 18 sectarian churches, etc. Similar facts are recorded in
the minutes of the General Synod down to its last convention in 1917.

32. Altar-fellowship Practised and Encouraged.--At Hagerstown, 1837,
after a sermon delivered by Dr. Bachmann, "the brethren, united with
many followers of Christ, of our own as well as of sister-churches,
celebrated the Lord's Supper." (3.) At Philadelphia, 1845, the General
Synod "cordially approves of the practise, which has hitherto prevailed
in our churches, of inviting communicants in regular standing in either
church [Lutheran and Reformed] to partake of the Sacrament of the Lord's
Supper in the other, and of the dismission of church-members, at their
own request, from the churches of the one to those of the other
denominations." At York, 1864, and at Fort Wayne, 1866, the report of
the Liturgical Committee was adopted, which contained the resolution
"that on all subjects on which difference of doctrinal sentiment
exists" (_e.g._, the distribution formula in the Lord's Supper),
"Scripture-language, suited to either or both views, is to be employed
without comment." (1864,26; 1866,23.) The result was that the union
distribution formula was embodied in the Communion liturgy. The
_Observer_, July 21, 1865, calling upon all Lutherans to join the
General Synod, said: "And even if we, as Luther and the Reformed
ministers at Marburg, do not think alike on the presence of the Lord in
the Lord's Supper, let us have love to those who are in error, and pray
God that He would enlighten them. What an offense to see so many
thousands of intelligent and pious Lutherans live together like Jews and
Samaritans though they all confess [?] the doctrines of the immortal
Reformer and want to be disciples of Him who said: It will be one flock
and one Shepherd." In 1868 the _Observer_ reported that at Findlay, 0.,
Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists,
Weinbrennerians, and United Brethren celebrated the Lord's Supper in the
Presbyterian Church, and adds: "That was a celebration of the Lord's
Supper in the true spirit of the Gospel." (_L. u. W._ 1868,95.) In 1894
a conference of General Synod pastors in, and in the vicinity of,
Pittsburgh published, in substance, the declaration: "We have open
communion, and invite to it all members of the Evangelical Protestant
Churches." (_L. u. W._ 1895,58.) Till 1899 the Communion formula of the
"Ministerial Acts" of the General Synod contained a general invitation
to all members of other Churches in good standing or to all who love the
Lord Jesus. (_Luth. Quarterly_ 1909,33.) Though followed by a marked
decrease in the indiscriminate invitation to the Lord's Supper, the
omission of 1899 implied neither a criticism nor the abolishment of the
un-Lutheran practise. In 1900 Pastor Butler wrote in the _Evangelist_
that he agrees with the brethren who make the Lord's Supper a communion
with the Low and High-Church Episcopalians, the Methodists, Baptists,
Presbyterians, Congregationalists, etc. "It is men of Dr. Storr's type,"
says Butler, "who, of all others, commend Christianity to thoughtful
and devout people who care but little for the tweedledum and tweedledee
shadings of truth, which divide the religious world." (_L. u. W._ 1900,
246.) Dr. Valentine, in the _Lutheran Cyclopedia_ of 1905: The General
Synod "enacts no restrictive law against fellowship in pulpit or at
altar, but allows to both ministers and members the freedom of
conscience and love in this matter." (195.)

33. Other Forms of Unionism.--In his pamphlet _The General Synod and Her
Assailants_ J. A. Brown writes: "The General Synod was to aim not only
at union among Lutheran synods, but to be 'regardful of the
circumstances of the times, and of every casual rise and progress of
unity of sentiment among Christians in general, in order that the
blessed opportunities to promote concord, and unity, and the interest of
the Redeemer's kingdom may not pass by neglected and unavailing.' This
she has done by entering into correspondence with other denominations,
and joining in general efforts to evangelize the world. She has
cooperated with the American Bible and Tract Societies, and
Sunday-school Union, and like agencies, and excited the contempt of her
enemies by these 'unionistic efforts.' But it is believed she thus
secured the approval of God and of His true Church, of whatever name."
(24.) At Frederick, 1831, the Sunday-school Society of the General Synod
appointed Dr. Hazelius and the treasurer of the society to publish
German Sunday-school books and tracts in connection with a committee of
the Reformed Sunday-school Society. (29.) At Baltimore, 1833, a
committee was appointed to report on the advantages or disadvantages of
a union between the Reformed and Lutheran Churches. At Hagerstown, 1837,
the General Synod adopted the report of their committee stating with
respect to the proceedings of the East Pennsylvania Synod: "The
proceedings contain a resolution to be concerned as much as possible
about a closer union with the Church of Christ, and that a complete
union of the Evangelical Lutheran and of the Evangelical Reformed
Churches would have the most blessed results." (10.) At the same
convention the "Foreign Mission Society of the Evangelical German
Churches in the United States" was founded, which, however, did not
prove a success, having a temporary existence only. According to its
constitution, the Society was to embrace all churches or individuals of
German descent agreeing with the constitution and making an annual
contribution. (39.) Moravians and Reformed were among its officers. The
letter addressed in the interest of this Society to the Reformed and
other German Churches, inviting them to cooperate, states: "It is our
ardent desire that the German Church as such be united in this matter....
Because union in this as well as in all other matters is desirable for
the sake of peace, of Christian fellowship, and of true piety,... we,
therefore, cordially invite you, dear brethren [of the Reformed Churches,
etc.] to cooperate. It matters not who leads the way, as long as he is
in the right way." (44.) Synod resolved "that the invitations [to join
the Foreign Mission Society] which had been extended to all German
Churches without exception, suggest an appropriate admonition that,
being convinced that we all are brethren in Christ, our sectarian
divisions should be forgotten, and that they offer an occasion for the
brotherly cooperation of two Churches which are so close to each other
by national descent, similarity of doctrine, geographic neighborhood,
and matrimonial relationship." (13.) Synod furthermore declared "that
according to the meaning of this Synod the plan which is adopted should
include a connection with the American Board of Commissioners for
Foreign Missions." (13.) At Chambersburg, 1839, B. Kurtz presented a
resolution in reference to some plan for a union of effort in the
Foreign Missionary field with "our brethren of the German Reformed
Church." (33.) At the same convention the Foreign Mission Society
proposed organic union with the German Reformed. At Philadelphia, 1845,
the General Synod approved of the Reformed publications of the American
Tract Society, as also of those of the American Sunday-school Union, and
of the extension of the former's operations to the German population. At
New York, 1848, the Evangelical (Union) Synod of the West was invited to
join the General Synod. The same convention resolved that they "regard
with great pleasure the successful operations of the American Tract
Society, among the destitute population of our land, and will cheerfully
cooperate with them as opportunity may offer." (23.) A similar
resolution was adopted in 1864, at York. (_L. u. W._ 1864,284.) At
Dayton, 0., 1855, the General Synod declared its undiminished confidence
in the American Sunday-school Union, and cordially commended it to the
support and hearty cooperation of all churches. (23.) In 1859 (March 23)
the _Olive Branch_, edited by Dr. S. W. Harkey, stated that many
congregations connected with the General Synod were still using the
union hymn-book. Throughout its history ministers of the General Synod
served both Lutheran and sectarian congregations. (_L. u. W._ 1880,190.)
In 1863 Harkey proposed a union of all Lutherans in America on the basis
of the fundamental Christian doctrines, _i. e._, the doctrines held in
common by all evangelical Protestants, including the doctrine of the
divine obligation of the Sabbath which the Augsburg Confession rejects.
(_L. u. W._ 1863,91.) Reporting Dr. Crosby's statement with respect to
the differences of the old and new-school Presbyterians, "We can agree
to disagree," the _Observer_ exclaimed: "Oh, that the intolerant
dogmatists of the Lutheran Church would have attained such a degree of
Christian love and common sense!" (July 12, 1872.) In 1857 the
arch-unionist Philip Schaff wrote in _Rudelbach-Guericke's Zeitschrift_:
"To us America seems to be destined to become the phenix grave of all
European churches and sects, of Protestantism and Romanism." The General
Synod was certainly not a slacker in contributing her bit to fulfil this


34. Overtly Renouncing Lutheranism.--In 1845, at Philadelphia, the
General Synod appointed a committee to address, in a letter, the
Evangelical Church in Germany, in order to defend herself against
alleged detractors of her Lutheranism. But the signers of this letter,
Schmucker, Kurtz, Pohlmann, Morris, and H. I. Schmidt (then professor
in Hartwick Seminary), while believing that they were serving this
purpose, in reality made an unreserved confession of the General Synod's
complete apostasy from the Lutheran faith and Church. The letter states:
The General Synod requires only essential agreement in doctrinal views,
strict conformity being impossible in America. Peace can be maintained
only by an eclecticism, which adheres to essentials and passes over
non-important matters. Accordingly, the position of the General Synod is
not that of the Old Lutherans, but of the Union Church in Germany. "Now,
as to our doctrinal views, we confess without disguise, indeed, confess
it loudly and openly, that the great majority of us are not Old
Lutherans in the sense of a small party [Breslauer], which in Germany
bears this name. We are convinced that, if the great Luther were still
living, he himself would not be one of them." "In most of our
church-principles we stand on common ground with the Union Church of
Germany. The distinctive views which separate the Old Lutherans and the
Reformed Church we do not consider essential; and the tendency of the
so-called old Lutheran party seems to us to be behind our age." "The
great Luther made progress throughout his life, and at the end of his
career considered his work unfinished." The General Synod, the letter
continues, agreeing with Luther and the symbols in all essential points,
was endeavoring to complete his work. "The peculiar view of Luther on
the bodily presence of the Lord in the Lord's Supper has long ago been
abandoned by the great majority of our ministers, though some few of the
older German teachers and laymen still adhere to it. Regarding the
nature and meaning of the presence of the Lord in the Supper, liberty is
allowed as in the Evangelical [Union] Church of Germany. The majority of
our preachers believe in a peculiar presence and in a peculiar blessing
of the Lord, but of a spiritual nature only." "Nevertheless, we are
Evangelical Lutheran.... We believe that we may, as honest men, still
call ourselves Lutherans." The letter continues: Instead of organizing a
separate Evangelical [Union] Church, as it exists in Germany, ministers
coming to America should unite with the General Synod. They must,
however, not come with the purpose of remodeling the American Lutheran
Church according to European standards, which would but lead to failure,
strife, and separations. Similar attempts had been made by German
brethren through the _Kirchenzeitung_ [in Pittsburgh] and in Columbus
Seminary, with the result that the paper was losing its support and the
seminary was now suspended. (_Lutheraner_ 1846,43 f. Spaeth, 1, 330-348.)
This blunderful letter was published in Germany in the _Zeitschrift fuer
Protestantismus und Kirche_, Vol. 11, No. 4, Schmucker, Kurtz, and Morris
being personally present in Germany to defend the letter. Loehe remarked:
"We hope that they will carry the conviction from Germany that a time has
arrived different from the one when Kurtz first preached and collected in
Germany." (_Kirchl. Mitteilungen_, 1846,48.) A consequence of the letter
was that, in 1846, four ministers (Kunz, Wier, Isensee, and Meissner, who
immediately organized the Indianapolis Synod, which, however, had a
temporary existence only) left the Synod of the West, declaring that they
could no longer continue their connection with the General Synod because
in her letter she had publicly confessed that she had abandoned a part of
the Lutheran doctrine long ago. (_Lutheraner_ 1846,11.)

35. Letter Never Disowned by Synod.--The letter of 1845 is a frank
confession and adequate expression of the spirit of unionism then
prevailing in the General Synod. Indeed, several years later (1852, 1856),
H. I. Schmidt, who had signed the letter, expressed his belief in the
Lutheran doctrine of the Lord's Supper, and Dr. Morris declared the
letter "the greatest blunder" ever committed by the General Synod. The
General Synod as such, however, has never criticized, renounced, or
withdrawn the letter. Moreover, in 1848, at New York, the letter, in a
way, received official recognition by the General Synod. (19. 20. 50.)
In his _Denkschrift_ of 1875 Severinghaus explains: "Even if this letter
should have expressed the views of the great majority, it is,
nevertheless, only the testimony of a committee, which indeed was never
disavowed by the General Synod, but which can have no greater
significance than was given it by the authority of the committee of that
time." But Severinghaus continues: "Besides, it is _still_ true that the
majority among us are not old-Lutheran, and that, in general, we occupy
common ground with the Union Church of Germany in most of our
church-principles." The truth is that the leaders of the General Synod,
in 1845, did not occupy higher, on the contrary, even lower ground than
the Lutherans in the Prussian Union. They were not merely unionists,
but Calvinists, Puritans, and Methodists, openly defending Reformed
errors and practises. While the greater portion of the Prussian Union
retained the Lutheran doctrines and usages, the great majority of the
General Synod had sacrificed everything specifically Lutheran:
doctrines, liturgy, Scripture-lessons, church-festivals, customs, robes,
etc. Loehe declared in 1863 that the General Synod was a Union Church,
more so than any in Germany.

36. Actions in Keeping with Letter.--A number of subsequent actions of
the General Synod were in perfect agreement with the compromising letter
of 1845. At New York, 1848, the General Synod resolved "that Profs.
Reynolds, Schmidt, and Hay be a committee to correspond with the
Evangelical Synod of the West, for the purpose of establishing fraternal
intercourse between them and this Synod, and also with a view to the
union of all parts of the Evangelical Church in the great work of
preaching the Gospel to the German population of the West, and with a
reference to the organization of all parts of our Church in this country
upon a common basis." (23.) At Dayton, 0., 1855, the committee (W. J.
Mann and S. W. Harkey), appointed to open a correspondence with the
Evangelical Church Union of the West, report "that they addressed a
letter to the Synod named, which was favorably noticed in their
proceedings, and a delegate appointed by them to meet with us at this
time." Harkey was appointed as delegate to their next meeting. (15.) At
Pittsburgh, 1859, the delegate to the same body stated: "I wrote to that
body, expressing the very deep interest which we feel in their union.
The communication was very fraternally received and a delegate appointed
to meet us at this convention of General Synod, who is now present."
(32.) At the same convention the committee on Ecclesiastical
Correspondence remarked: "You were pleased to hear Mr. Dresel's
[delegate of the Evangelical Church Union of the West] statements by
which you are assured of the near relationship of the body which he
represents to the Lutheran Church generally. They, too, recognize the
Augsburg Confession as a part of their confessional basis, although they
have modified it by the admission of the Heidelberg Catechism and other
Reformed Confessions to equal authority, standing as they do upon the
basis of the United Evangelical Church of Prussia and other parts of
Germany. It is not our business here to criticize the action of the
State authorities in Germany by which that Union was established, or of
our brethren who found themselves in this country sympathizing with the
Church in which they had there been reared. It was enough for this body
to be assured that these brethren are of an evangelical character,
holding the great doctrines of Protestantism, and zealously laboring for
the diffusion of Christian knowledge and unfeigned piety among their
countrymen, especially in the great valley of the Mississippi. Although
distinct in doctrinal position and church organization, our relations to
them here are of the most interesting character, and you will be pleased
to hear of the progress which they are making in various departments of
Christian labor." (30.) At Washington, in 1869, the delegate to the
Evangelical Church Union of the West reported: "These brethren are
earnestly at work in the Master's cause, and in full sympathy with our
General Synod. Hoping that our fraternal relations may grow stronger
each revolving year," etc. (29.) In 1857 and 1859 the same cordial
attitude was assumed toward the Evangelical Church Diet (Kirchentag) in
Germany, a letter, in behalf of the Diet, having been received from
Bethmann-Hollweg, then Secretary of ecclesiastical affairs in Prussia.
(_Proceedings_ 1857,21.24; 1859,32.37.38.) In 1909 the General Synod
approved of the admission (in 1907) of the _Vereinslutheraner_ within
the Prussian Union into the "Allgemeine Evangelisch-Lutherische
Konferenz." (22.) Siding with the Evangelicals, the _Lutheran Observer_,
October 9, 1863, declared: "The Evangelical Union of the West forms a
wholesome balance against the old-Lutheran tendency of the Missouri
Synod." (_L. u. W._. 1863,379.) It was, therefore, not in dissonance
with the traditions of the General Synod, when, as late as 1909, the
_Lutheran Evangelist_ proposed a union of the General and Evangelical
Synods, maintaining that General Synodists and Evangelicals were
natural allies. (_L. u. W._ 1909,180. 421.)


37. "Father" of Evangelical Alliance.--At Chambersburg, Pa., 1839, the
General Synod passed the resolution "that the thanks of this Synod be
presented to the American Society for the Promotion of Christian Union
_for this acceptable present_." The present received by the members of
Synod was Schmucker's "Appeal to the American Churches" or "New Plan of
Apostolic Protestant Union." The purpose of this book was to promote
union among the Protestant denominations on the basis of the ecumenical
confessions. It proved to be a powerful factor in the movement which
resulted in the organization of the Evangelical Alliance. Schmucker
himself, together with Kurtz and Morris, attended the "World's
Convention" at London in 1846, where they united with 800 ministers of
50 different denominations in founding the Alliance, which assumed the
motto: "_Unum corpus sumus in Christo_," Schmucker, in particular being
feted as the "Father" of this union. Naturally enough also the General
Synod took a lively interest in the Alliance, though it was not a union
of churches or of representatives of churches, but of individual
Christians who were in sympathy with its aims. In 1869, for example, the
General Synod "resolved that the delegates to the World's Evangelical
Alliance, appointed at Harrisburg, be continued with the addition of
Rev. S. Sprecher, D. D., and Rev. S. S. Schmucker, D. D." (64.) At the
international conferences of the Alliance the General Synod was
regularly represented, also at its last convention in 1914 at Basel. On
a local meeting of the Alliance in 1902, at Easton, Pa., the
_Lutherische Kirchenblatt_ (General Council) reported, in substance, as
follows: "More than 60 delegates were present: Baptists, Methodists,
Congregationalists, Evangelicals, Free Baptists, Lutherans (General
Synod and General Council), Mennonites, Moravians, Presbyterians,
Episcopalians, Reformed, Reformed Presbyterians, and United
Evangelicals. Resolutions formulated by a committee, of which Dr.
Alleman of the General Synod was a member, were unanimously adopted
according to which members of one congregation may be received by
another in a manner 'that no question of church-polity or doctrine need
ever arise.' It was furthermore resolved that in smaller cities and
country congregations union services be held throughout the state."
(_Observer_, Dec. 26, 1903.) The following nine articles, which
Schmucker viewed as a sufficient basis for every kind of Christian union
and cooperation, were adopted by the Alliance at London: "1. The divine
inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures. 2. The
right and duty of private judgment in the interpretation of the Holy
Scripture. 3. The unity of the Godhead and the trinity of Persons
therein. 4. The utter depravity of human nature in consequence of the
fall. 5. The incarnation of the Son of God, His work of atonement for
sinners of mankind, and His mediatorial intercession and reign. 6. The
justification of the sinner by faith alone. 7. The work of the Holy
Spirit in the conversion and sanctification of the sinner. 8. The
immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, the judgment of
the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, with the eternal blessedness of the
righteous and the eternal punishment of the wicked. 9. The divine
institution of Christian ministry, and the obligation and perpetuity of
the ordinance of Baptism and the Lord's Supper."

38. "Apostolic Protestant Union."--The plan of Christian Union hatched
by Schmucker and recommended by the General Synod is delineated in a
report presented 1848, at New York, by the Committee of Conference on
Christian Union appointed at the previous session of the General Synod,
as follows: "The kind of union to which this body was disposed to invite
the several evangelical denominations, and in which she felt it a duty
and a pleasure to lead the way in hope of virtually healing the 'Great
Schism' of Protestantism, is also definitely delineated by the following
portraiture: 'The design to be aimed at shall be not to amalgamate the
several denominations into one church, nor to impair in any degree the
independent control of each denomination over its own affairs and
interests, but to present to the world a more formal profession and
practical proof of our mutual recognition of each other as integral
parts of the visible Church of Christ on earth, as well as our
fundamental unity of faith and readiness to cooperate harmoniously in
the advancement of objects of common interest." (11.) "An article was
prepared in which, after a glance at the solemn injunction of the Savior
and His apostles to preserve unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,
the nature and extent of the union prevailing in the primitive churches
was delineated as consisting of the following features: a. unity of
name; b. unity in fundamental doctrines, whilst diversity in
nonessentials was concealed; c. mutual acknowledgment of each other's
acts of discipline; d. sacramental and ministerial intercommunion; e.
convention of the different churches of the land in synod or council
for mutual consultation or ecclesiastical regulation." (12.) "In
contrast with this picture of primitive union, the present deplorable
divided and conflicting state of the Church was delineated.... In hope
of removing the principal evils of these denominational divisions, your
committee projected a scheme of Christian union based (in the following
four preliminary principles for the guarantee of the rights of
individual conscience and denominational religious liberty: 1. This plan
must require of no one the renunciation of any doctrine or opinion
believed by him to be true, nor the profession of anything he regards as
erroneous; nor does the accession of any denomination to this union
imply any sanction of the peculiarities of any other. 2. It must concede
to every denomination the right to retain its own organization for
government, discipline, and worship. 3. It must not prevent the
discussion of the points of difference between the several associated
denominations, but only require that it be done in the spirit of love.
4. It must either in all or at least some of its features be applicable
to all evangelical, fundamentally orthodox [non-Unitarian] churches, and
each denomination may at option adopt any or all of its features." (12.)
The plan of union offered in accordance with these principles by
Schmucker and the committee embraces the following features: 1. Adoption
of the nine doctrinal articles of the Evangelical Alliance. 2. Regular
interchange of delegates between the supreme judicatories of the several
denominations. 3. Cooperation of the different associated churches in
voluntary societies, notably such as Bible, Tract, Sabbath-school and
Foreign Mission Societies. 4. The more extensive use of the Bible as a
textbook in theological, congregational, and Sunday-school institutions.
5. Occasional free sacramental communion by all whose views of duty
allow it. 6. A general, stated anniversary celebration and smaller state
celebrations, also representation at the ecumenical conventions of the
Evangelical Alliance. (12.) The report concludes: "This plan was sent by
your committee in the form of a proof-sheet to about fifty of the most
distinguished and influential divines of ten different denominations,
and these not only returned letters expressing their substantial
approbation of the plan, but nearly all of them united with your
committee in sending it out over their own signatures as an overture of
Christian union, submitted for the consideration of the Evangelical
denominations in the United States." (13.)

39. Endorsed by the General Synod.--"According to the conception of
prominent leaders," says Dr. Jacobs, "the General Synod was nothing more
than the realization of Zinzendorf's dream of 1742, which the coming of
Muhlenberg had so quickly dissipated." (_History_, 304.) But judged by
its minutes, what Jacobs limits to its "prominent leaders" is true of
the General Synod as such. Synod certainly did not discourage Schmucker
in his union schemes. In 1839, at Chambersburg, the General Synod was
immediately interested in his "Plan of Apostolic Protestant Union." The
committee appointed in the matter recommended "that Synod approve of the
several features of the union plan, and submit it for serious
consideration to its District Synods." (19.) A following convention
appointed Schmucker, Krauth, and Miller as a Committee of Conference on
Christian Union to confer with similar committees and prominent
individuals of different denominations "on the great subject of
Christian Union." At New York, 1848, Synod resolved that the report on
Christian Union be adopted, and the Committee on Christian Union be
continued." (15.) At Charleston, 1850, the Committee of Conference
remarked in its report: "As the general principles of the Apostolic
Christian Union, _adopted by this body_, were fully detailed in our last
report, it is deemed unnecessary to enlarge on them in this place."
(21.) Schmucker continued his efforts till the year of his death, 1873,
when again he made an appeal to the General Synod "for an advisory union
among all Evangelical denominations" as an "additional aid to the
promotion of the designs of the World's Evangelical Alliance." (53.) The
committee to whom Schmucker's letter and his printed appeal was referred,
recommended the resolution: "Resolved, That while this General Synod
approves of the ends contemplated by the appeal, and commends the
fraternal spirit of its author, yet it does not deem it necessary for
the present to take any further action towards Christian union than that
which is already upon record." (53.) Schmucker's ideas concerning
Christian union, however, were not abandoned by the General Synod.
Moreover, in a way, his plans materialized in the Federal Council,
consisting of about 30 Protestant bodies, at the organization of which,
in 1905, the General Synod was represented by Wenner, Remensnyder,
Grosscup, and Bauslin. (_L. u. W._ 1906, 33.) Theologically the Federal
Council does not even measure up to the ideals of Schmucker, inasmuch as
it reduced the nine points of the Evangelical Alliance, which Schmucker
viewed as essential, to the meager confession of "Jesus Christ as their
divine Lord and Savior," which even Unitarians will not hesitate to
subscribe to. Besides, Seventh-day Adventists, Christians, Friends, and
other bodies tainted with Unitarianism are even now connected with the
Federal Council. In 1909 the General Synod "heartily endorsed the work
of the Federal Council." (115.) In 1917 Synod adopted the report of its
delegates to the Council which said, in part: "It was a great privilege
to have participated in this historic council. As the federation idea
originated in the United States in the mind and heart of a learned and
devout Lutheran, Dr. Samuel S. Schmucker, it was a great joy and
satisfaction to see and participate in this consummation of Dr.
Schmucker's hope of all Protestant bodies in council and cooperation in
the one common task of propagating the kingdom of God in society and
throughout the world." (27.) The ultimate aim of the Federal Council
evidently is an amalgamation of all Protestant Churches. And there are,
even now, General Synodists who are ready to countenance this
eventuality. In the _Christian Herald_, December 12, 1917, Dr. J. B.
Remensnyder spoke of the essential unity of Protestantism separated
only by minor differences, and of "the practical possibility of a larger
union,--one world-wide Protestant Church of Christ," to be brought about
by mutual surrender of secondary differences. "It will not come about,"
says Remensnyder, "by one denomination insisting absolutely on its
doctrinal type." In the _Lutheran Church Work and Observer_, May 23,
1918, p. 7 f., a General Synod pastor wrote: "With forms of religion and
denominational differences we have nothing to do.... Let each one have
his own faith, his own light and hope." "There come moments when we
forget our differences and our various labels, when we arise above the
partial, the individual, and sectarian, when a common impulse drives us
headlong into the arms of trust and general comradeship...."


40. Championing Reformed Doctrines.--Wherever Lutherans unite with the
Reformed, the former gradually sink to the level of the latter. Already
by declaring the differences between the two Churches irrelevant, the
Lutheran truths are actually sacrificed and denied. Unionism always
breaks the backbone, and outrages the conscience, of true Lutheranism.
And naturally enough, the refusal to confess the Lutheran truth is but
too frequently followed by eager endorsement and fanatical defense of
the opposite errors. This is fully borne out by the history of the
General Synod. As the years rolled on, the Reformed lineaments, at first
manifesting themselves in unionism, came out in ever bolder relief. The
distinctive Lutheran doctrines of the Lord's Supper, the person of
Christ, Baptism, absolution, infant faith, the means of grace, the
Sabbath, abstinence, separation of State and Church, etc., were all
rejected and assailed by the most prominent leaders of the General
Synod. And the unionistic spirit, with which also the most conservative
within the General Synod were infected, paralyzed the courage of the men
who, in a measure, saw and loved the light, and should have been bold in
confessing the truth and uncompromising in defending it against the
opposite errors. In 1831, in deference to sectarianism, the publication
of the _Lutheran Observer_ was transferred to Baltimore, with Dr. Morris
as editor, because it was feared that the Presbyterians might take
offense at the title "Lutheran" if, as was originally planned, it was
published at Gettysburg with the professors as editors! It was in the
interest of eliminating the specific Lutheran doctrines that, in 1845,
at Philadelphia, a committee (Schmucker, Morris, Schmidt, Pohlman,
Kurtz) was appointed to formulate and present to the next convention an
abstract of the doctrines and usages of the American Lutheran Church, on
the order of the Abstract requested in 1844 by the Maryland Synod, in
which the Lutheran doctrine of the Real Presence was rejected. The
report was made at Charleston, S. C., 1850, but "laid on the table, and
the committee discharged from further duty." (27.) In 1855 a bold effort
was made to abandon the Augsburg Confession in favor of the notorious
Definite Platform, from which all specifically Lutheran doctrines had
been eliminated in order to open the way officially for the tenets
peculiar to Reformed theology. Some of the fanatics were not even
willing to tolerate Lutheran doctrine in the General Synod. When in 1852
the Pennsylvania Synod resolved to reunite with the General Synod, and
called upon all Lutherans in America to follow her example, the
_Observer_, December 21, 1852, published a declaration stating that the
Augsburg Confession taught the real presence of the body and blood of
Christ in the Lord's Supper and several other things, which were
rejected by almost all of the friends and promoters of the General
Synod, and that it was sinful to unite with Lutherans who adhered to
such doctrines. (_Lutheraner_, Dec. 21, 1852.) Former members of the
North Illinois Synod declared in the _Observer_ of January 20, 1860: "We
do not believe in the bodily presence, baptismal regeneration, the
ceremonies of the mass, and in similar nonsense." (_L. u. W._ 1860, 93.)
As late as 1896 the Allegheny Synod refused to ordain a candidate
because he did not hold that the Sunday was of divine institution.
(_L. u. W._ 1896, 281.)

41. Sailing under False Colors.--Foremost and boldest among the Reformed
theologians within the General Synod were S. S. Schmucker and B. Kurtz,
who nevertheless insisted on sailing under the Lutheran flag. Brazenly
claiming to be the true representatives of Lutheranism, they at the same
time assailed the Lutheran and defended the Reformed doctrines with
ultra Calvinistic zeal and bigotry. They opposed the adoption of all the
Lutheran symbols (especially of the Formula of Concord), as well as the
unqualified subscription to the Augsburg Confession, because they were
imbued with the Reformed spirit and absolute strangers to, and enemies
of, everything distinctive of, and essential to, true Lutheranism.
(_L. u. W._ 1866, 21.) In his _Popular Theology_, published for the
first time in 1834, Schmucker says: "But whilst the Reformers [Luther
and Zwingli] agreed in rejecting this papal error [transubstantiation],
it is much to be regretted that they could neither harmonize among
themselves as to what should be substituted in its stead, nor consent to
walk together in love, when they could not entirely accord in opinion....
Alas! that men, distinguished so highly for intellect, and chosen of God
to accomplish so great a work, should betray such a glaring want of
liberality toward each other; that, having gloriously cooperated in
vanquishing the papal beast, they should turn their weapons against each
other, for a point not decided in Scripture, and therefore of minor
importance!" (Edition 1848, p. 297.) With respect to the presence of
Christ in the Lord's Supper, Schmucker, in his _Popular Theology_,
distinguishes between the substantial, the influential, and the
symbolical presence and the bald symbolical representation. Then he
continues: "After a protracted and unprofitable struggle, the Lutheran
Church has long since settled down in the happy conviction that on this,
as on all other subjects not clearly determined by the inspired Volume,
her sons shall be left to follow the dictates of their own conscience,
having none to molest them or make them afraid. In the Lutheran Church
in this country each of the above views has some advocates, though the
great body of our divines, if we mistake not, embraces either the second
or third." (305.) Also in his _Portraiture of Lutheranism_ (1840)
Schmucker maintained that the Lutheran Church no longer demands the
acknowledgment of the real presence in the Eucharist, Luther himself,
toward the end of his life, having admitted that he had gone too far in
this matter.

42. Moses Stuart's Declaration.--Referring to the statements quoted from
Schmucker's _Popular Theology_, Prof. Moses Stuart of Andover said in
the _Bibliotheca Sacra_ of 1844: "I should not do justice to the
Lutheran Church of recent times if I did not say that many within its
precincts have loudly called in question the old doctrine of Luther and
his compeers and successors in respect to consubstantiation [real
presence]. The battle has been fought of late with great power; and
scarcely a doubt remains that the more enlightened of the Lutherans are
either renouncing his views, or coming to the position that they are not
worth contending for. In this country such is clearly the case. Dr. S.
S. Schmucker, the able and excellent exponent of the Lutheran theology
in this country, in his work, called _Popular Theology_, has told us
that they are 'settled down in the happy conviction that on this, and on
all other subjects not clearly determined by the inspired Volume, her
sons shall be left to follow the dictates of their own conscience,
having none to molest or make them afraid.' The great body of Lutheran
divines among us, according to the same writer, doubt or deny the
corporeal or physical presence of Christ in the elements of the
Eucharist. It is not difficult to predict that ere long the great mass
of well-informed Lutherans, at least in this country, will be
substantially united, in regard to this subject, with the other Reformed
Churches." (Spaeth, _C. P. Krauth_, 1, 115.)

43. Reformed Attitude of the "Observer."--Commenting on B. Kurtz, editor
of the _Lutheran, Observer_, Dr. Spaeth says: "For years and years he
was indefatigable in his coarse and irreverential, yea, blasphemous
attacks upon what was set forth as most sacred in the Confessions of the
Lutheran Church. The loyal adherents of the historical faith of the
Augsburg Confession were denounced as 'resurrectionists of elemental,
undeveloped, halting, stumbling, and staggering humanity,' as priests
ready 'to immolate bright meridian splendor on the altar of misty, musky
dust,' men bent on going backward, and consequently, of necessity, going
downward!" Every distinctive doctrine and usage of Lutheranism was
ridiculed and assailed, in the _Lutheran Observer_, by Kurtz and his
theological affinities. In its issue of June 29, 1849, C.P. Krauth, in
an article on the question of Christ's presence in the Eucharist, wrote:
"From this high position [of the Lutheran confessions, held by some
Lutherans in America] there are almost all shades of dissent and
descent, not only to that which is popularly called the Zwinglian, and
of which the _Lutheran Observer_ may be considered the exponent, but yet
lower to that which we may call, for want of a better name, Socinian."
(Spaeth I, 162.) A few weeks prior (June 8) Kurtz had declared that in
the 60 Lutheran congregations in Maryland not 30 American-born members
could be found who knew what "bodily presence" in the Lord's Supper
meant, much less believed in it. The more the free-thinking, practical,
and common-sense people the United States got acquainted with this
doctrine, the less they would take to it. The same was true of other
obsolete doctrines, such as baptismal regeneration. (_Lutheraner_,
October 30, 1849.) In January of 1854 the _Observer_ announced that an
old manuscript had been discovered in Germany, according to which
Luther, shortly before his death, retracted his controversy against the
Sacramentarians. (_Lutheraner_ 10, 108; cf. 2, 47.) In November of the
same year the _Observer_ declared that Profs. Heppe and Ebrard had
proved that the doctrine of the Lutheran Church on the Lord's Supper was
not the one of Luther, but that of the later Melanchthon. (_Lutheraner_
11, 71.) Anspach, coeditor of the _Observer_, stated in its number of
November 12, 1858: "Difference of opinion concerning the Sacraments is
tolerated in the General Synod, and although there are some among our
brethren who believe in the real presence of our Savior in the Lord's
Supper in a higher sense than others, they nevertheless hold that this
takes place in a spiritual and supernatural manner." (_L. u. W._ 1859,
30.) In its issue of June 29, 1860, the _Observer_ protested: "We can
never subscribe to the errors of the Augsburg Confession.... Let a
separation take place. Let those who are able to swallow the errors of
the sixteenth century, which have long ago been hissed from the stage,
rally around the banner: 'The true body and the true blood of Christ in
a natural manner in the elements,' and on the back side: 'Regeneration
by Baptism and priestly absolution essential to true Lutheranism'! This
is the theology of the symbolists. This papistical theology we cannot
and will not subscribe to in America. For it is a theology which is not
drawn from the Bible, but from the Roman Bible." In 1861 the _Observer_
remarked that the Missouri, Buffalo, and other Old Lutherans practise
ceremonies and adhere to doctrines which are as odious to many of us as
those in vogue in the Roman Church. (March 8.) Two years prior the
_Observer_ had blasphemously scoffed at the Lutheran Communion Liturgy
as "altar antics." (_L. u. W._ 1860, 31.) _Observer_, February 12,
1864: "Christ is at the right hand of God in heaven. How, then, can we
speak of Christ's body and blood as present in the Sacrament since no
such body did exist for these 1800 years, never since His ascension into
glory?" (_L. u. W._ 1864, 125.) November 7, 1862: "But who exercises
faith in infant baptism? Not the child, but the father or the sponsor,"
etc. (_L. u. W._ 1862, 373.) In 1904 the _Observer_ denied that a child
believes and is regenerated by Baptism. (_L. u. W._ 1904, 471.)
According to the _Observer_ of 1901 a man may become a true Christian
even without any knowledge of the Gospel and of Christ. (_L. u. W._
1901, 306.) _Observer_, March 27, 1868: "God's Book is a total
abstinence book, and God's Son never made intoxicating wine." In 1867
the _American Lutheran_ (published by the Hartwick Synod and later
merged with the _Lutheran Observer_), teaching the baldest Zwinglianism,
maintained that Baptism is a mere sign and seal of membership in the
visible Church on earth and no more regeneration itself than the
sign-board "Hotel" is itself the hotel. (_L. u. W._ 1867, 125.) The
_Lutheran Evangelist_, merged in 1909 into the _Observer_ and always
disowning every doctrine distinctive of Lutheranism, stated January 20,
1899: The pastors of the General Synod are too sensible to believe "so
foolish a dogma as infant faith." (_L. u. W._ 1899, 27.) The same paper
had declared in 1892: "They are bad Lutherans who do not view the
Sabbath as commanded by God. If the Augsburg Confession had been written
in our day, it would have delivered no uncertain testimony with respect
to the divine obligation of the Day of the Lord." The _Lutheran Church
Work and Observer_, the official organ of the General Synod, wrote
September 12, 1918: "The General Synod has always stood on the side of
temperance.... Almost all her ministers have been abstainers and
advocates of total abstinence. They have ever aligned themselves with
the temperance forces of the country to put the American saloon out of
business." The first resolution in favor of the temperance cause,
referred to in the minutes of the General Synod, was adopted in 1831 by
the Hartwick Synod. (9.)

44. General Synod Involved as Such.--In spite of its noncommittal policy
as to doctrine, the General Synod also as such has not been able to
conceal its distinctively Reformed complexion. The letter of 1845 admits
and approves of the fact that Luther's doctrine of the bodily presence
of the Lord's Supper had long ago been abandoned by the great majority
of the ministers of the General Synod. It was the Reformed theology,
taught in the books of Schmucker, in the books of Kurtz, in the
_Observer_ edited by Kurtz, and in the _Hirtenstimme_, published by
Weyl, against which Wyneken protested in 1845, at Philadelphia. But his
appeal for true Lutheranism over against Reformedism impressed the
General Synod merely as funny (spasshaft), and his motion in the matter
was tabled. Wyneken was compelled to sever his connection with a body
whose every prominent feature was Reformed. The confessional Resolution
adopted 1864 at York rejects, as will be explained later, the Lutheran
doctrines of the real presence, absolution, and the Sunday. The minutes
of the General Synod contain frequent resolutions in favor of the
sectarian views of the Sabbath, total abstinence, the introduction of
the Bible into the State schools, etc. At New York, 1848, Synod declared
"that we heartily approve of the 'New York City Temperance Society,
organized on Christian principles,' and believe it to be the only system
of operation that will be ultimately successful and triumphant; that we
commend this Society to the attention of the Synods in connection with
this body, and to our churches generally, and urge them to prosecute
this great and philanthropic enterprise upon the Christian principles
adopted by this Society." (8.) At Harrisburg, 1885, the resolutions were
adopted "that we do hereby declare our belief in the divine authority of
the Christian Sabbath as a day of sacred rest and religious instruction
and worship of Almighty God; that we recommend to the respective Synods
of the General Synod that they take such action from time to time as
shall lead to more frequent and earnest appeals from all the pulpits of
our Church upon this all-important subject; that with uplifted hands to
that God who is the Father of us all we unceasingly implore that the day
be hastened when all the earth shall be freed from the power of sin, and
when life shall be one universal Sabbath to the ends of the earth."
(69.) (_Proceedings_ 1848,44; 1853,28; 1864,45; 1883,46; 1887,61; etc.)
In 1854 T. N. Kurtz of Baltimore published a "Lutheran Almanac,"
featuring on its title-page the pictures of Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin
as "those great Reformers," and listing as "great theologians of the
Lutheran Church" also the names of Herder, Paulus, Ammon, Bretschneider,
Wegscheider, Gesenius, Roehr, etc. (_Lutheraner_ 10,15.) This is a
true-to-life picture of the General Synod in her palmiest days--
Zwinglianism, Methodism, Rationalism being the most protruding features.

45. Verdict of Contemporaries.--In his pamphlet _The Distress of the
German Lutherans in America_, Wyneken said with special reference to the
English part of the General Synod: "They have totally fallen away from
the faith of the fathers. Though enthusiastic over the name 'Lutheran'
and zealous in spreading the so-called 'Lutheran' Church, they, in a
most shameful and foolhardy manner, attack the doctrines of our Church
and seek to spread their errors in sermons, periodicals, and newspapers,
notably the doctrines of Baptism and the Lord's Supper and the connected
important doctrines of grace, of the two natures in Christ, etc. ...
Besides, they are ardent advocates of 'new measures' and altogether
Methodistic in their method of conversion." In 1845, after severing his
connection with the General Synod on account of its refusal to renounce
the Reformed doctrines and usages advocated by Schmucker, Kurtz, and
Weyl, Wyneken denounced the General Synod as "Reformed in doctrine,
Methodistic in practise, and laboring for the ruin of the Church, whose
name she falsely bears." (_Lutheraner_ 1845,96.) In a letter to Walther,
dated December 11, 1844, Dr. Sihler wrote: "Our main enemies here in
Ohio are not only the Methodists, but also the false brethren, the
so-called General Synod, which, as generally known, is decidedly
Reformed in the doctrine of the Sacraments, and in its practise
decidedly Methodistic." Again, in 1858, Sihler branded Kurtz, Schmucker,
and others as "open counterfeiters, Calvinists, Methodists, Unionists,
and traitors and destroyers of the Lutheran Church." (_L. u. W._ 1858,
137.) The _Lutheran Standard_, October 27, 1847, declared: "History has
already recorded it for posterity that the General Synod is not an
Evangelical Lutheran body, inasmuch as it fails to adhere to just those
doctrines by which the Evangelical Lutheran Church differs from other
denominations. History declares that the General Synod has expressly
and without disguise renounced the distinctive doctrines of Lutheranism,
and at the same time declared herself in favor of Union and Methodistic
practise." (_Lutheraner_ 2,56; 4,46.) The _Evangelical Lutheran_,
published at Springfield, O., remarked that Schmucker and his compeers
were engaged in selling Reformed goods under the trademark of
Lutheranism. (April 9, 1868.) Dr. Mann, who himself for many years had
intimate connections with Philip Schaff, wrote in the _Lutherische
Zeitschrift_ of November 17, 1866: "It is the peculiarity of the
un-Lutheran party [of the General Synod] that it is essentially
committed to Reformed sentiments. Dr. Schmucker has long ago openly
confessed views which are in open conflict with the doctrines of the
Lutheran symbols, but harmonize with those of the Reformed confessions,
especially of the Zwinglian type. In this sense many of his publications
are written, and in this sense he has taught for many, many years in a
Lutheran seminary. He is inspired by a Zwinglian-Reformed spirit, and
has endeavored to imbue his scholars with it. It has never dawned on him
and them what is properly the Lutheran view of Christianity. He himself
has not the least sympathy for it." (Spaeth, _A. Mann_, 189 f.) In 1873
the _Lutheran Visitor_ in the South charged the General Synod with
fostering disloyalty to, and causing defections from, the Lutheran
Church by destroying the peculiarly distinctive marks of Lutheranism.
(_L. u. W._ 1873,94.)


46. "Justification by Sensation."--According to the Bible and the
Lutheran Church the divine measures for converting sinners are the
preaching of the pure Gospel and the administering of the unadulterated
Sacraments. "New-measurism," then, as the very term indicates, is a
human makeshift. Indeed, the Lutheran Church approves of all methods,
also new measures, which merely serve to bring the divine means of grace
into motion and men in contact with them. But it condemns all methods
and measures, new or old, which hinder or corrupt or eliminate the
divine means of grace. The new measures introduced by revivalism,
however, are just such corruptions of, and substitutes for, the divine
means of grace. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of
God"--of this truth New-measurism is a denial _in toto_. New-measurism
denies the Gospel-truth that God is already reconciled and has already
pardoned sinners. It denies that this pardon is freely offered in the
unconditional promises of God's Word and in the Sacraments, the seals
of grace. It denies that justifying and saving faith is the mere trust
in these promises of God. It denies that faith in these promises alone
engenders divine assurance of pardon. It mistakes, as C. P. Krauth put
it, justification by sensation for justification by faith. (Spaeth 2,
35.) It holds that one cannot be assured of grace without certain
peculiar sensations, emotions, and feelings in his heart. It denies that
faith is purely a gift of God, and teaches that man must cooperate in
his own conversion. It insists that special measures must be resorted to
in order to frighten men into doing their share of conversion, and to
produce the emotional and neurotic conditions which warrant assurance of
grace. As such measures it prescribes emotional appeals, shrieking and
shouting in preaching and praying, special prayer-meetings, the anxious
bench, protracted meetings, camp-meetings, etc. Revivalism brands men as
spiritually dead and unconverted who, like Walther and Wyneken, base
their assurance of grace, not on alleged feelings and spiritual
experiences, but on the clear and unmistakable promises of God in His
Word and Sacraments. New-measurism condemns and ridicules the old
methods of catechetical instruction, doctrinal preaching, and of
administering the Sacraments as spiritually ineffective and productive
merely of head Christianity and dead orthodoxy. "Jist git the spirit
started," said a Methodist to C. P. Krauth, "and then it works like
smoke." "Very much like smoke, I guess," answered Krauth. (1,67.)
Indeed, Pelagianists, who believe that conversion is a mere outward
moral improvement, effected by man's own free will; Romanists, who teach
that man can and must by his own efforts and works earn the grace of
God; Arminians and Synergists, who believe in man's ability to cooperate
in his own conversion and salvation; Calvinists, who, denying universal
grace, base their insurance on special marks of grace in their own
hearts and lives; Reformedists and enthusiasts, who deny that Word and
Sacraments are the only means of grace, collative as well as operative;
Pietists, who insist that the terrors of conscience must be of a
peculiar nature and degree, and that faith must be accompanied by a
happiness and a sanctification of a special kind and measure before a
sinner may fully be assured of his pardon and conversion,--they all may
be, and, in fact, naturally are, in sympathy with one or the other form
of New-measurism and revivalism; but Lutherans, who believe in a Gospel
of real pardon and power--never. If the Lutheran doctrine of grace and
the means of grace is Scriptural, then the work-nerve-and-emotion
Christianity of New-measurism is wrong, and _vice versa_. Not
Lutheranism, but Arminianism, Enthusiasm, and Reformedism are the
premises of revivalism. The fact that New-measurism was enthusiastically
hailed, defended, and extensively introduced by her leading men, is but
a further proof that the spirit then rampant in the General Synod was
not the spirit of Lutheranism.

47. Lutherans Vying with the Fanatics.--The pietism and unionism of
Muhlenberg and his colaborers was the door through which, in the days of
Wesley and Whitefield, revivalism had found an early, though limited,
entrance into the Lutheran Church. And in the course of its history the
General Synod was zealous in cultivating and developing the evil
inheritance of their fathers. It sounds like a warning against the
threatening contagion when D. F. Schaeffer, in the Pastoral Letter of
1831, admonishes: "Let us faithfully adhere to the Word of God and
follow its precepts unswervingly; let us not follow after those whose
enthusiastic behavior is more apt to promote disorder and confusion than
true edification. Against such we would warn in a most friendly manner,
even if they be never so beloved. As Lutherans we admonish you: 'Be ye
therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as
Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and
a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.'" (25.) But the General
Synod herself had already opened the door for, and encouraged, the
movement. According to Chapter XVI of the constitution adopted 1829 for
the District Synods, the annual Special Conferences were to meet for two
days, especially in order "by practical preaching to awaken and convert
sinners and to edify believers." (41.) In the following year the
Hartwick Synod was organized, in order more fully to satisfy the craving
of their members for revivals. At the convention of the General Synod at
Frederick, 1831, a committee reported that the Hartwick Synod, having
unanimously voted to join the General Synod, was divided into two
conferences which were to meet as often as possible, and whose chief
business it was "by earnest and practical sermons to awaken and convert
sinners, and to encourage and edify Christians." (9.) At Baltimore,
1833, the Ohio Synod was censured for certain utterances against the
"new measures" adopted within the General Synod. Finding revivalism in
the Hartwick Synod not advanced enough, a few of its members, in 1837,
organized the Franckean Synod, in order to press "new measures" to the
extreme. On the Hartwick Synod the withdrawal acted as an impulse for a
greater activity in the same direction. At Chambersburg, 1839, a
committee reported on the meeting of this synod held in 1838: "We take
particular pleasure in remarking that the proceedings of this Synod,
especially the statements contained in the annual address of its
President, afford the most satisfactory evidence that this Synod is
decidedly in favor of revivals of religion. Protracted meetings have
been held in various parts, and the Lord has especially blessed them;
from which we have reason to believe that true and undefiled religion
is more and more abounding within its limits. All the religious
operations of the day, such as Tract Societies, Temperance Societies,
etc., etc., enjoy the hearty support of this Synod." (13.) The minutes
of the General Synod, of the District Synods, the _Lutheran Observer_,
etc., soon began to teem with reports on revivals, visitations,
outpourings, refreshing showers, etc. (_L. u. W._ 1857, 27.) At the
convention of the Maryland Synod in Frederick, 1842, Harkey proposed the
publication of the _Revivalist_, a monthly to be devoted to the history
and defense of revivals, revival intelligence, the best measures and
means of promoting and managing revivals--a plan which Synod declined as
"inexpedient." At the same convention B. Kurtz, the advocate of the
wildest revivalism, succeeded in having a committee appointed to draft a
minute expressive of the views of Synod in regard to "new measures." The
report was discussed for two days, when it was referred back to the
committee, and at the next meeting of Synod the committee was excused
from further consideration of the subject. (Spaeth 1, 111.) As late as
1876 the _American Lutheran_ declared that the great majority of the
pastors and congregations of the General Synod favored revivals; that
they managed them on the lines of those conducted by Moody and Sankey;
that some of the congregations employed sectarian preachers for
protracted meetings. (_L. u. W._ 1876, 182.) When, in 1877, the
_American Lutheran_ merged into the _Observer_, Dr. Conrad solemnly
promised to continue defending revivalism. (_L. u. W._ 1877, 60.) In
1908, referring to revivals still occasionally reported in the
_Observer_, the _Lutherische Herold_ remarked that this sort of
enthusiasm, formerly the rule in the Eastern and Central States, had as
yet not nearly died out, _e. g._, in the General Synod congregations of
Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. (_L. u. W._ 1908, 322.) Down to 1918
occasional revivals were held or participated in by congregations and
ministers of the General Synod. Several years ago Rev. Bell cooperated
in a revival conducted by Billy Sunday in Toledo, etc. According to
_Church Work and Observer_, November 9, 1916, the General Synod church
at Gettysburg, Pa., conducted a joint revival with Presbyterians,
Methodists, and United Brethren.

48. "The Lever of Archimedes."--In the revival agitation which swept
over America in the decades following 1830 practically all of the
English Lutheran churches (the German churches, in part, stood aloof)
caught the contagion in a malignant form and in great numbers. While
even Prof. J. W. Nevin, Schaff's colleague at Mercersburg, in his book
_The Anxious Bench_ (1844), antagonized the extravagances of a movement
which was germane to his own church, Lutherans such as Schmucker, Kurtz,
Harkey, Passavant, and many others, became extremists in practising,
and fanatics in advocating, "new measures" as the most needful and only
effective methods of accelerating and deepening conversion and reviving
the Lutheran Church. Vying in their wild extravagances with the most
fanatical of the sects, Lutherans, in not a few places, condemned as
spiritually dead formalists, head and memory Christians, all who adhered
to the sound principles and old ways of Lutheranism. (Gerberding, _The
Way of Life_, 197 ff.) S. L. Harkey, himself a fiery New-measurist,
describes a revival held in connection with the convention of the Synod
of the West, in 1839, as follows: "In an instant every soul in the house
was upon the knees, and remained there weeping and praying for mercy."
"The whole congregation became more or less moved. The place became
truly awful and glorious, and it seemed that the time had come when a
decided effort must be made upon the kingdom of darkness, and that under
such circumstances to shrink from the task and, through fear of
producing a little temporary disorder, to refuse to go heartily into the
work, would have been nothing short of down right spiritual murder." "At
one time during the meeting it was found necessary to invite the
mourners to withdraw from the church and remove to the parsonage that
the synod might have an opportunity to proceed with the transaction of
business before it." (Neve, 97.) Dr. Kurtz wrote in the _Observer_ of
November 17, 1843: "The so-called 'anxious bench' is the lever of
Archimedes, which by the blessing of God can raise our German churches
to that degree of respectability in the religious world which they ought
to enjoy." (Neve, 95.) The _Lutheran Observer_ of March 21, 1862, while
defending revivalism and misrepresenting the "symbolism" of the
Missourians as the doctrine according to which one is saved by the
Sacraments _ex opere operato_, without repentance and faith, condemns
the Lutheran system of baptizing, catechizing, confirming, communing at
the Lord's Supper, etc., as Romanism and Sacramentalism, as unbiblical
and not at all the religion of Christ and His apostles, as fundamentally
wrong and utterly ineffective, and disgusting also to Lutherans, as
soon as they were enlightened by the Spirit of God. The _Observer_
continues: The success of Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and even
of the Congregationalists among the Germans is due to revivals. "The
Lutheran Church in Germany and in this country is in need of religious
revivals. Nothing else will save them." (_L. u. W._ 1862, 152.) In 1900,
reporting numerous conversions in consequence of revivals held in
congregations of the General Synod, the _Observer_ remarked: "If half a
dozen of our best preachers would turn evangelists--no greater blessing
could come to our Church." (_L. u. W._ 1900, 179.) The _Lutheran World_,
January 17, 1901: "In our own General Synod any of our churches came to
look upon the Catechism as unfriendly to vital piety, and they cast it
out. Today even there are still those among us who oppose and resist the
use of the Catechism under the false notion that it is the enemy of
practical religion. Their idea of religion is the Methodistic notion.
Fitness for church-membership, according to their view, comes through
the pressure and appointments of the big meeting. Sinners must come to a
bench for mourning, or they must stand up in the congregation, or they
must hold their hands, or they must send in their card asking for the
prayers of the church. Human devices and appointments are fixed on as
requisites for having a genuine conversion and being filled with the
Spirit of God. This is Romanism in disguise." (_L. u. W._ 1901, 54.)

49. Reports on Revivals.--To what an extent over a long period revivals
were indulged in by the congregations of the General Synod appears from
its minutes. The Committee on the State of the Church reported in 1857:
"Revivals have been enjoyed in every quarter, many souls have been added
to the Lord, and whilst the congregations have thus been largely
increased, there is every reason to anticipate that the addition thus
secured for the ranks of the ministry will not be a small one." (30.) In
1859: "The most extensive and powerful revivals of religion ever known
among us have been enjoyed by a very large number of our churches during
the past two years." (59.) In 1864: "Frequent and extensive revivals and
numerous additions to the Church are reported by the brethren." (55.) In
1866: "Many of our churches are rejoicing in special seasons of grace,
refreshings from on high, revivals of religion, in which sinners are
converted, whilst God's people are awakening to new life." (42.) In
1869: "Revivals of religion have been quite general during the year, and
many have been born into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ." (59.) In
1875: "In most of the synods there have been seasons of special extended
quickening. Large numbers have professed conversion. In some instances
hundreds have been added to a single church in a twelvemonth." (23.) In
1848 the Synod of Western Virginia reported: "Almost all our churches
have been blessed with revivals of religion. In some upwards of one
hundred persons have professed to have passed from death unto life; in
others seventy-five, in others fifty, and in some not so many." (45.) In
1859: "The two institutions, Roanoke College and Wytheville Female
College, have also been blessed with gracious visitations from on high,
which resulted in the conversion of a number of students in both
institutions." (53.) The Virginia Synod, in 1859: "We have shared to
some extent the great revival blessings which God has poured out upon
the land." (51.) The New York Ministerium, in 1850: "The churches
generally are in a state of prosperity, and many of them have been
favored with special visitations of the Holy Spirit." (31.) In 1859:
"The great revival has had its influence upon our churches; many have
been added to our number, and the vital piety has increased." (61.) The
Synod of West Pennsylvania, in 1850: "Interesting revivals of religion
have occurred since the last General Synod in different places." (29.)
In 1853: "The influences of the Holy Spirit have descended as the dew
upon the labors of most of them, whilst there have been refreshing
showers in the case of many. Revivals are known to have been enjoyed by
eight of the pastoral districts within the last two years. This number
embraces nearly half of the charges of the Synod. Some of these gracious
seasons were of great power, resulting in the hopeful conversion of many
souls, and furnishing a number of students having the ministry in view."
(28.) In 1859: "Nearly all the churches have enjoyed revivals of
religion more or less extensive; conversions have been numerous." (49.)
In 1864: "In some pastorates there have been special awakenings, and
many have been added to the Church of Christ." (55.) In 1871: "Many of
the churches have been blessed with precious seasons of refreshing
grace." (44.) East Pennsylvania Synod, in 1850: "Many sections of the
Church have been blessed with special visitations of the Spirit of God."
(32.) In 1862 the Synod of Central Pennsylvania reported: "In mercy God
poured out His Spirit upon a number of the charges and congregations,
and many souls professed conversion; and although the sad effects of the
war are, in this Synod, clearly seen in her churches, still we are happy
to state that much good has been accomplished." (45.) In 1871: "There
have been extensive awakenings in several of our pastorates, and there
is a steady and commendable progress in spiritual attainments
generally." (47.) The Hartwick Synod, in 1853: "Precious seasons of
refreshing have been vouchsafed to its churches. The Lord is in the
midst of His people, making glad their hearts with the tokens of His
presence and His love." (30.) In 1862: "Although there have not been,
within the past three years, revivals so numerous and so extensive as in
the two years previous, yet seasons of refreshing have been enjoyed on
the part of many of the churches, and such progress made as to evince
the Lord's presence and blessing." (41.) In 1804: "In several of our
churches the Lord has graciously revived His work, believers have been
quickened into higher life, and sinners have been converted." (57.) In
1871: "Many of our congregations have enjoyed special seasons of grace,
and large accessions to the Church have been the result." (44.) In 1859
the Alleghany Synod reported: "Extensive revivals have been enjoyed and
a large number of members added." (52.) In 1862: "The Synod has had some
precious revivals of religion in many of its congregations. In many
respects the Synod has prospered in vital piety." (42.) In 1869: "Some
of the charges have made large additions, as results of religious
awakenings, during the past winter." (58.) The Melanchthon Synod, in
1859: "Extensive revivals of religion have been enjoyed in many of the
congregations, and large additions have been made to the membership."
(58.) In 1862: "The churches within the bounds of this Synod enjoyed
extensive revivals during the first two years after the last meeting of
the General Synod, at which time the rebellion, so disastrous to both
State and Church, took place and blasted many of our most cherished
enterprises, and laid low many of our fondest hopes. During the past
year, accessions to the Church within our bounds have been comparatively
few, revivals of religion rare, whilst there has been a marked decline
in vital godliness." (46.) In 1869: "During the past year quite a number
of revivals of religion have occurred." (59.) The Synod of Kentucky, in
1859: "Some of our charges have enjoyed revivals of religion, which
greatly refreshed both ministers and people, and considerably increased
our numerical strength." (57.) The Maryland Synod, in 1859: "Extensive
revivals have been enjoyed by many of the churches." (49.) The Synod of
New Jersey, in 1862: "Our body has an existence of only one year. Yet we
have enjoyed revivals of religion." (42.) In 1869: "A number of revivals
of religion have been reported." (61.) In 1871: "Several of our churches
have enjoyed seasons of special religious interest and revival." (48.)
The Franckean Synod, in 1869: "Practical religion has been well
sustained. Several precious revivals have been enjoyed." (62.) In 1871:
"Synod is engaged with more or less success in establishing and
unfolding a true religious life in the membership of the Church of God
as the grand object of being, endeavoring to promote revivals of
religion." (48.) The Susquehanna Synod, in 1869: "This Synod is in a
prosperous condition. During the past year, and, more particularly,
during the past winter, extensive revivals of religion were enjoyed and
large numbers of souls hopefully converted to God and added to the
Church." (62.) In 1871: "There has been a large increase in the
membership, mostly through judiciously conducted protracted meetings and
catechization." (48.)

50. Reports on Revivals (continued).--In 1869 the Synod of New York
reported: "Some of the congregations have been visited with special
showers of divine grace, and, as a consequence, large additions have
been made to its membership." (58.) The English Synod of Ohio, in 1853:
"There are but few congregations in connection with our Synod but what
have, during the past year, enjoyed greater or less manifestations of
the Spirit of God in the conversion of sinners." (34.) The East Ohio
Synod, in 1859: "In all of our churches most precious seasons of grace
were enjoyed. The Spirit of God 'came down like rain upon the mown
grass,' and righteousness flourished in all our borders." (52.) In 1862:
"The state of religion is healthy. The past few years have been marked
with the gifts of the Divine Spirit, and, while sinners have been
converted to God, the professed people of Christ have been stadily [sic]
growing in spirituality and church-love." (43.) In 1869: "We have had
many precious seasons of revival during the past year, and large
accessions to the number of those who shall be saved." (59.) In 1871:
"Many precious revivals of religion have been recorded, and large
accessions have been made to the churches." (45.) The Olive Branch
Synod, in 1853: "Almost all the churches connected with this Synod,
during the year, enjoyed precious revivals of religion." (37.) In 1859:
"Many of them have enjoyed refreshing seasons from the presence of the
Lord, by which they have become much strengthened and encouraged."
(54.) In 1862: "The churches are, with few exceptions, in a prosperous
condition. Some of them have enjoyed seasons of refreshing." (43.) In
1871: "A number of charges have had precious seasons of revival,
resulting in large additions to their membership. The state of religion
in our churches is more favorable than it had been in the few years
previous." (46.) The Miami Synod, in 1859: "Revivals have been enjoyed
in almost every charge, and large numbers have been brought to the
knowledge of the truth." (52.) In 1871: "Several of them have enjoyed
special seasons of grace." (45.) The Synod of Iowa, in 1859: "Some of
the churches have been visited by revivals of religion, and there a more
healthful state of piety is seen." (58.) In 1862: "The most extensive
revivals of religion ever known among us have been enjoyed during the
past winter. Our laity are becoming more of a praying as well as a
working people. A deeper tone of piety exists among us. There is more
heartfelt and prayerful longing for the gracious outpouring of the
blessing of God, and more earnest efforts are being put forth for the
conversion and salvation of souls. It is therefore our decided
conviction that at no former period of our brief history have we been so
fully and generally awakened to our great mission in this distant West
as at the present." (46.) The Synod of Northern Illinois, in 1859: "Our
Swedish and Norwegian brethren are very active, and a living practical
Christianity is making powerful progress among them. During the last two
years extensive and powerful revivals have been enjoyed by many of the
churches connected with this Synod." (54.) In 1871: "A number of
refreshing seasons of divine grace has been enjoyed during the past two
years." (47.) The Synod of Northern Indiana, in 1859: "In the last two
years many of its churches have enjoyed revivals of religion." (57.) In
1862: "Many precious revivals of religion have been enjoyed." (44.) The
Wittenberg Synod, in 1859: "During the past two years our churches have
enjoyed the special visitations of the Holy Spirit and the number of our
members has been greatly enlarged." (52.) The Synod of Illinois, in
1859: "Many of the churches have enjoyed refreshing seasons from the
presence of the Lord, and vital piety is advancing." (53.) The Synod of
Southern Illinois, in 1862; "Some of our congregations have enjoyed
refreshing showers from the presence of the Lord, during the last
winter, and are in prosperous condition." (46.) In 1864: "Amid all
these hindrances, some of the churches have been revived by gracious
outpourings of the Spirit." (59.) In 1869: "Although new elements of
wickedness, such as rationalism, pantheism, etc., are making their way
into our midst, yet Christians are awake to their baneful influences
and are setting themselves against them." (61.)

51. Coming to Their Senses Gradually.--New-measurism was resorted to by
the General Synod in order to revive the dying Church. The true cause of
her apathy, atrophy, and decay, however, was not diagnosed correctly. It
was the prevailing confessional indifference, religious ignorance, and
the neglect of Lutheran indoctrination by catechization, especially of
the young. Dr. Hazelius, himself a revivalist, as early as 1845, pointed
out the real cause and cure. "The attachment of the Church"--said he--
"has been weakened so much that the causes of this alarming fact have
frequently been made the subject of inquiry in our churchpaper
[_Observer_], and we are sorry to say that among all the causes
assigned, we have missed the one which is at the root of the evil,
_viz._, the remissness of many of our pastors in the religious
instruction of youths." (Wolf, _Lutherans in America_, p. 484.) If this
was the disease, it stands to reason that a cure could not be brought
about by the quack methods of New-measurism, by exciting the nerves and
emotions, but only by enlightening the mind and moving the will by the
Word of God. Pastor Loehe, presenting in _Kirchliche Mitteilungen_ of
1843 a description of revivals and camp-meetings in America, remarked:
"They intoxicate themselves with spiritual drinks which are worse than
whisky." (Nos. 2 and 5.) Indeed, Methodistic revivalism has been found
wanting, and worse than wanting, everywhere. In a Lutheran congregation
it must necessarily result in a total annihilation of whatever there
may be left of true Lutheranism.--The inoperativeness of revivalism was
occasionally admitted also by its friends within the General Synod. At
New York, 1848, regretting the decrease in the number of theological
students, the Executive Committee of the Parent Education Society
stated: "This subject becomes more painful when we consider that since
1842, when the Church at large was blessed with extensive revivals of
religion, the number of beneficiaries has diminished constantly until
the present time, whilst there has been no corresponding increase
perceptible in the number of theological students who sustain
themselves. During the same time there has been no corresponding
increase in the benevolence of the Church in any other direction; on the
contrary, the contributions of the whole Church for all benevolent
purposes may now be easily covered by the annual charities of a single
congregation in this city." (64.) But the ministers and congregations of
the General Synod were slow in coming to their senses. It was one of the
symptoms pointing in the right direction when, in 1864 at York, the
Committee on the State of the Church reported: "It is a hopeful sign of
substantial growth and prosperity in the Church that the time-honored
custom of catechization is coming more and more into favor with the
pastors. This means of preparing the baptized children of the Church for
an intelligent profession of faith in Christ and the privilege of
communicant membership, had, in many places, fallen into neglect on
account of the frequent abuse to which it had been subject in the hands
of those who employed it as a mere formal mode of introducing the young
to the communion without any evidence of piety; but we believe it is now
becoming more and more a means of conversion and salvation to our rising
membership." (1864,55.) At Altoona, 1881, the same committee presented
the following report, which Synod adopted: "Ministers, from every
quarter, report with delight that catechization is regularly practised
and grows in favor. We are foolish to throw away this noble heritage. It
affords, as nothing else, an opportunity for the children of the Church
to become professing Christians. The pastor can train, educate, and
indoctrinate them through it. By its help our churches, every year, can
have a healthful growth, and not depend alone upon special seasons, or
revivals of religion. We, therefore, may expect in the future still
larger accessions--accessions which, trained by a godly and devoted
ministry, should be, not nominal, but living Christians, understanding
the great truths and doctrines of the Word of God." (60.) In the
following decades, as related, revivals decreased rapidly within the
General Synod. A thorough and permanent cure of the Methodistic
infection, however, can be effected only by the doctrine of grace, the
Gospel of unconditional pardon and truly divine power, as taught by the
Lutheran Church.


52. A Misnomer.--Essentially Americanism signifies liberty of thought,
speech, press, and assemblage, based on democracy and national
independence, religious freedom and equality being its most precious
gem. Lutheranism, therefore, standing, as it does, for the complete
separation of State and Church, as well as liberty and equal religious
rights for all, is inherently American; while the Reformed confessions,
inasmuch as they advocate religious intolerance, civil legislation
favoring their own religious tenets, etc., are in conflict with the
principles of American freedom. A Reformedist, in order to become a true
American, must sacrifice some of his confessional teachings, while the
Lutheran symbols are in need of no purging to bring them into harmony
with American ideals. Indeed, in the atmosphere of American liberty the
Lutheran Church, for the first time in her history, on a large scale was
able to develop naturally and normally by consistent practical
application of her own innate principles, without any corrupting or
dwarfing coercion on the part of the State whatsoever. Yet the very man,
Dr. Walther, who did more than any other theologian in America towards
the building up of a Church at once truly Lutheran and truly American,
was stigmatized by S. S. Schmucker and his compeers as a "foreign
symbolist," neither Lutheran nor American. But the brand of American
Lutheranism proposed and propagated by the leaders of the General Synod
was, in reality, a counterfeit American Lutheranism. The new school
movement, headed by Schmucker, Kurtz, and Sprecher, and constantly
prating "American Lutheranism," was essentially Calvinistic,
Methodistic, Puritanic, indifferentistic, and unionistic, hence nothing
less than truly Lutheran. From his professor's chair and in the press
Schmucker denied and assailed every doctrine distinctive of Lutheranism.
In every issue of the _Observer_ B. Kurtz ridiculed and attacked what
was most sacred to Luther and most prominent in the Lutheran
Confessions. In this he was seconded by Weyl in _Lutherische
Hirtenstimme_ and other publications in the General Synod. Thus, while
professing and pretending to Americanize the Lutheran Church, the
leaders of the General Synod, in reality, were zealous in denaturing,
corrupting, and inoculating it with views and ways prevailing in the
Reformed churches ever since the days of Zwingli, Bucer, Calvin, and
Wesley. The coryphaei of the General Synod, in order to impart to the
Lutheran Church, as they put it, "the warmth of Methodism and the vigor
of Presbyterianism," disemboweled their own Church of heart and lungs,
and filled the empty skin with sectarian stuffings. American
Lutheranism, according to Schmucker, was not Lutheranism in sympathy
with American institutions and the English language, but abolition of
the Lutheran symbols and rejection of the Lutheran doctrines
(absolution, real presence, baptismal regeneration, etc.) in favor of
the corresponding Reformed tenets and the nine articles of the
Evangelical Alliance. Reynolds said in a letter of January 7, 1850: "The
fact is, there is a large body of men in our Church who have no
knowledge of her history, no sympathy with her doctrines, no idea of her
true character, and whose conception of the Church is that of a kind of
mongrel Methodistic Presbyterianism, and of this party Drs. S. S.
Schmucker and Kurtz are the coryphaei." (Spaeth 1,179.) In 1873 _Lehre
und Wehre_ wrote: "So-called American Lutheranism is but a new edition
of Zwinglianism, which, in a dishonest fashion, appropriates the
Lutheran name. The more one agrees with Zwingli and disagrees with the
16th century Lutheranism, the more genuine an American Lutheran he is."

53. Spirit of the Movement.--The true inwardness of the "American
Lutheranism" with which the General Synod was infected from its very
birth, and which reached its crisis in the Definite Platform of 1855,
was revealed in all its nakedness by the _American Lutheran,_ a paper
into which the _Lutherische Kirchenbote_ of Selinsgrove, Pa., had been
transformed in 1865. Its standpoint is characterized by _Lehre und
Wehre_ as being beneath that of the _Observer_ "the hollowest so-called
American Lutheranism, a concoction of rationalism and sentimentalism."
(1865,61.) When Prof. Sternberg, a fanatical anti-symbolist (opponent
of the Lutheran Confessions), had been removed from Hartwick Seminary,
the _American Lutheran_, June 22, 1865, wrote: "The days when
compromises with and concessions to symbolism were made are passed. If a
clash between symbolism and American Lutheranism is unavoidable within
the General Synod, the sooner it comes, the better it is." (_L. u, W._
1865, 253.) In its issue of July 20, 1865, the _American Lutheran_
published a number of letters in which the hope is expressed that the
day was near when the Lutheran Church in America would shake off the
yoke of symbolism and step forward, recognized by the great Protestant
world. "The attempt"--the correspondent continues--"to live in one and
the same house with the symbolists is useless. We thank God that we have
a paper which says in its first year: No compromise any longer with
symbolism! Hallelujah! May the whole Church hear it." (_L. u. W._ 1865,
277.) Revealing both its ignorance and animus, the _American Lutheran_,
Rev. Anstaedt then being the editor, said in its issue of January 24,
1867: "The difference between the symbolists [Lutherans true to their
Confessions] and American Lutherans is a radical one, going down to the
innermost heart of Christianity and involving eternal interests, the
salvation and hope of immortal souls. The _American Lutheran_ believes
that religion is a personal and individual matter, while the symbolist
believes that it is but a congregational matter. Their articles of faith
are: 1. All men are born in sin. 2. The Church must redeem us from sin.
3. The Church consists of the priests and the Sacraments. 4. The priests
have the power on earth to administer the Sacraments and to forgive
sins. 5. The Sacraments have in themselves the power to save. 6. Baptism
regenerates the child. 7. The Lord's Supper nourishes the seed implanted
in Baptism. 8. Hence man is not saved by the individual experience of
something, but in a mass. I know that our symbolists will say that this
is slander. But I affirm that it is a sincere and honest presentation of
the matter.... The advocates of symbolism probably have never been
converted, or they have backslidden again. This is a severe judgment. So
it is. But must we not judge them by their fruits? How many souls have
been converted by these symbolists? Go into their congregations and
speak to their members on religion; what do they know of it? In 19 out
of 20 cases their members, when awakened, seek Christ in other churches.
We have held back too long with our testimony. I fear that by our
negligence souls have gone to hell. And what have we won by our
pusillanimity? The advocates of symbolism have grown and become more
impudent by their success." (_L. u. W._ 1867, 88.) In a subsequent issue
the same paper, after boldly defending the baldest Zwinglianism,
remarked with respect to the symbolists that, in a way, their success
involved a certain blessing, inasmuch as they would serve as "an
ecclesiastical sewer into which sooner or later the dead formalism, the
cold, heartless ritualism, and the lager-beer Lutheranism of this
country would find its way." (_L. u. W._ 1867, 125.) Even the _Lutheran
Observer_ was censured by the _American Lutheran_ for becoming too
conservative. (_L. u. W._ 1875, 375.) But the difference was one of
degree only. In its issue of October 3, 1873, the _Observer_ charged the
Germans and Scandinavians, because of their adherence to the Lutheran
Confessions, with sectarian presumption, enmity against other
Christians, foreign bigotry, dead orthodoxy, cold dead faith, etc. "The
position," the _Observer_ continued, "which these bigots assume in our
enlightened land of churches, where the Lord Jesus is more universally
honored than in any other country of the world, is ridiculous.... For
while these short-sighted men set themselves against the liberal and
enlightened spirit of the General Synod and against the times and the
country in which they live, other churches annually lead away thousands
of their most intelligent members." (_L. u. W._ 1873, 375.) Enmity
against Lutheranism--such was the spirit of the counterfeit American
Lutheranism championed by Schmucker and his compeers. Nor is the
assumption warranted that this spirit died with its early protagonists.
In 1885 Dr. Butler characterized the Americanization of Lutherans in the
_Lutheran Observer_ as follows: "It is a great mission of the _Observer_
to open the blind eyes and to convert our Teutonic people from the
fetters of its language and customs to the light and to the liberty of
this Bible-loving, Sabbath-keeping, water-drinking, church-going and
God-fearing country." (_L. u. W._ 1885, 120.) As late as 1906 the
_Observer_ wrote: The General Synod is in possession of the American
spirit in the greatest measure. It is her mission to inject this spirit
into the Lutheran Church in America. This spirit embraces: adoption of
the English language; acknowledgment and toleration of the lodges;
fellowship with the sects. "The American spirit is that of fellowship.
Failure to be American in this is sure to bring us into ridicule and
even disrepute with the mass of the best Christian people of the land."
(_L. u. W._ 1906, 229.)


54. Now or Never!--Believing that the Lutheran Confessions, though not
an authority above, or alongside of, the Bible, are doctrinally in
perfect agreement with the Word of God, Walther, Wyneken, Sihler,
Craemer, and others, since 1840, boldly, aggressively, and victoriously
unfurled the banner of Lutheran confessionalism. Gradually, though
timidly and rather inconsistently, the same spirit began to enter, and
manifest itself in, some of the Eastern synods. A conservative tendency
was developing and increasing. Especially since the return of the
Pennsylvania Ministerium in 1853 the number of the so-called
conservatives in the General Synod, who refused to go all the lengths
with Schmucker and Kurtz, was materially strengthened. Among these New
School men the powerful growth of confessionalism in the West and the
silent increase of the conservatives in the larger Eastern synods
gradually began to cause alarm, fear, and consternation. They first
despised and ridiculed the movement as chimerical and utterly futile in
America, then feared, and finally hated and fanatically combated what
they termed "foreign symbolism." They felt the fateful crisis drawing
nearer and nearer. To be or not to be was the question. Nor was there
any time to be lost in protecting the General Synod against what they
regarded as the Western peril. "Now or never!" they whispered. Indeed,
Schmucker and his friends had long ago decided that a new confessional
standard was needed. As early as 1845, at Philadelphia, the General
Synod had appointed Schmucker, Kurtz, Morris, Schmidt, and Pohlman to
formulate and present to the next convention an abstract of the
doctrines and usages of the American Lutheran Church on the order of the
Abstract requested by the Maryland Synod, in 1844. And though, in 1850,
at Charleston, the report of this committee was laid on the table and
the committee discharged from further duty (27), Schmucker did not
abandon the idea of substituting a new "American Lutheran Creed" for the
Augsburg Confession. Moreover, the conviction of the dire need of an
American restatement of Lutheranism grew on him in the same proportion
as confessionalism swept the West and threatened the East. His
brother-in-law, S. Sprecher, was of the same opinion. In 1853 he wrote:
"I hope that this unhappy condition of the Church will not continue
long, and that the churches of the General Synod will do as the churches
of the Augsburg Confession did in 1580--exercise their right to declare
what they regard as doctrines of the sacred Scriptures in regard to all
the points in dispute in the Church. I do not believe that the present
position of the General Synod can long be maintained; it will either
result in the Old-Lutheran men and synods gaining the control of the
General Synod, and reintroducing those doctrines and practises of the
symbols which the churches in this country and everywhere ought to
abandon and condemn, _and say that they do;_ or the friends of the
American Lutheran Church must define what doctrines they do hold, and
what they do reject, and refuse to fraternize with, and to make
themselves responsible for, and to give their influence as a Church in
favor of, men and doctrines and practises which they hold to be
anti-Scriptural and injurious to the spiritual kingdom of Christ. I do
not see how we can do otherwise than adopt the Symbols of the Church, or
form a new symbol, which shall embrace all that is fundamental to
Christianity in them, rejecting what is unscriptural, and supplying what
is defective. _A creed we must have_, or we can have no real church
union, and we must have a catechism which shall be a standard in the
catechetical instruction of our children, in which there shall be no
doctrines which we do not want our children to believe, and which shall,
notwithstanding, be thoroughly orthodox, so that our children may be
made strong in the faith of the Gospel in these times of doctrinal
looseness and confusion. As long as the General Synod regards with equal
favor, and is ready to receive, the Old Lutheran as well as the American
Lutheran Synods, the symbolical men have a vast advantage, and they, no
doubt, regard it as a triumph when the General Synod, meeting after
meeting, continues to hold out its arms to every Lutheran synod, and
recommends as heartily the reviews and institutions which are laboring
to upturn its present foundations, as it does those which are known to
hold the sentiments which it has hitherto fostered." (Spaeth 1, 347.)
Five months before the readmission of the Pennsylvania Synod, Sprecher
declared: "I fear there will be divisions, no matter what course is
taken. As to the hope of gaining over the Symbolic Lutherans, I consider
it altogether delusive. If they ever join the General Synod, it will be
with the hope of controlling it eventually into their own views and for
their own purposes." (353.) Thus, realizing the giant strides which
Western confessionalism had already made, and the steady growth of the
conservative element in the East, and, at the same time, fully
understanding that Lutherans loyal to their Confessions would give no
quarters to a counterfeit substitute of Lutheranism, Schmucker, Kurtz,
Sprecher, and others decided on a _coup d'etat_ in order to force the
issue, to create a test-question, to separate the parties, to eliminate
the "symbolists," and thus forever to make the General Synod immune
against genuine Old School Lutheran confessionalism and safe for their
own mongrel Puritanic-Calvinistic-Methodistic-American Lutheranism.

55. Casting Off the Mask.--In the early part of September, 1855, leading
ministers of the General Synod received a pamphlet: "Definite Platform,
doctrinal and disciplinarian, for Evangelical Lutheran District Synods;
constructed in accordance with the principles of the General Synod."
Spaeth: "The new Confession came without a confessor. It appeared as an
anonymous document, proving by that very fact that the men who concocted
it were not called by God to lead the Church on this Western Continent
to a better, fuller, purer conception and statement of the faith of the
Gospel than that of the Fathers." However, it was not long before
Schmucker was generally known to be its author. Soon after its
publication Krauth, Sr., wrote: "My colleague don't disclaim the
authorship, so that it has a daddy." Ten years later Schmucker wrote:
"Although my friend Dr. Kurtz and myself passed it in review together,
and changed a few words, every sentence of the work I acknowledge to
have been written by myself." (Spaeth 1, 357.) Besides a brief Preface
the Platform contains two parts: 1. "Preliminary Principles and the
Doctrinal Basis or Creed to be subscribed"; 2. "Synodical Disclaimer, or
List of Symbolic Errors, rejected by the Great Body of the Churches
belonging to the General Synod." Part II was not to be individually
subscribed to, but published by Synod as a Disclaimer of the symbolical
errors often imputed to her. (Second edition, 2. 6.) Its chief object,
as appears from the Platform itself, was to obviate the influences of
confessional Lutheranism coming from the West, notably from the Missouri
Synod. The Preface begins: "This Definite Synodical Platform was
prepared and published by consultation and cooperation of ministers of
different Eastern and Western synods, connected with the General Synod,
at the special request of some Western brethren, whose churches desire a
more specific expression of the General Synod's doctrinal basis, being
surrounded by German churches, which profess the entire mass of former
symbols." (2.) Part I expresses the same thought, stating that the
"American Recension of the Augsburg Confession," as Schmucker called the
Platform, had been prepared "at the special request of Western brethren,
whose churches particularly need it, being intermingled with German
churches, which avow the whole mass of the former symbols." (4.)
Furthermore, according to the Platform, Lutherans who believe in private
confession and absolution should not be admitted into the General Synod;
and Part II makes it a point to state: "By the old Lutheran Synod of
Missouri, consisting entirely of Europeans, this rite [private
confession, etc.] is still observed." (25.) Accordingly, in order to
check the progress of the Missouri Synod's Lutheranism, a more specific
declaration of the General Synod's basis was deemed indispensable. In
the interest of truth, they claimed, it was necessary to specify,
without hesitation and reservation, the doctrines of the Augsburg
Confession which were rejected, some by all, others by the great
majority of the General Synod. To satisfy this alleged need of the
Church, the Platform was offered to the District Synods with the
direction, for the sake of uniformity, to adopt it without further
alterations and with the resolution not to receive any minister who will
not subscribe to it. Thus, in publishing the Platform, Schmucker and his
compeers cast off the Lutheran mask and revealed the true inwardness of
their intolerant Reformed spirit--a blunder which served to frustrate
their own sinister objects. The reception which this document met was a
sore disappointment to its author. In the commotion which followed the
publication of the Platform the conservative element was strengthened, a
fact which, a decade later, led to the great secession of 1866, and
gradually also to the present ascendency of the conservatives within the
General Synod, and the subsequent revision of its doctrinal basis,
completed in 1913. H. J. Mann wrote in 1856: "The Platform controversy
will, in the end, prove a blessing. The conservative party will arrive
at a better understanding. In ten years Schmucker has not damaged
himself so much in the public opinion as in the one last year." (Spaeth,

56. Viewed Historically.--In explanation and extenuation of the Platform
blunder Dr. Mann remarked in 1856: "The more thoroughly we investigate
the history of the Lutheran Church of this country, the better we will
comprehend why all happened just so. No one is particularly guilty; it
is a common misfortune of the times, of the conditions." (Spaeth, 175.)
H. E. Jacobs explains: "The ministers, in most cases, did not obtain
that thorough and many-sided liberal culture which a college course was
supposed to represent, and this was felt also in their theological
training. ... It may serve as a partial explanation of the confusion
that prevailed that there was not a single professor of theology in the
English seminaries in the North who had obtained the liberal training of
a full college course, except the professor of German theology at
Gettysburg. The controversy connected with the 'Definite Platform,'
prepared and published under a supervision characterized by the same
defects, may be more readily understood when this in remembered."
(History, 436.) The explanation offered by Dr. Jacobs might be
reenforced by the report of the Directors of the Seminary in 1839: "It
is to be regretted that the students generally spend so short a time in
theological studies. But few attend to the full course of studies as
laid down in the Constitution. The average time of the stay of the major
part is only about two years. Thus the theological education of those
who go out from the Seminary is necessarily defective." (23.) C. A.
Stork admitted with respect to the students at Gettysburg, notably the
scholars of Prof. J. A. Brown (since 1864): "It is true, our young men
did not know Lutheran theology thoroughly; on many minor points they
were cloudy." (Wolf, _Lutherans_, 371.) Howbeit, explanation does not
spell justification. Nor is it correct to view the Definite Platform as
a mere derailment, a mere incidental blunder, of the General Synod. It
was, on the contrary, the natural result and full development of the
indifferentistic and unionistic germs which the General Synod inherited
and zealously cultivated during the whole course of its history. Dr.
Neve: "If Schmucker and his friends had not made this mistake, now
condemned by history, others would surely try to do so now. These men
therefore have rendered our Church a service. We have learned much from
their mistake." "Sic non canitur"--such indeed is the lesson which
Lutherans may learn not only from the Platform movement, but also from
the greater part of the history of the General Synod.

57. Platform Theology.--The Platform charges the Augsburg Confession
with the following alleged errors: Approval of the ceremonies of the
mass, private confession and absolution, denial of the divine
obligation of the Sunday, baptismal regeneration, the real presence of
the body and blood of the Savior in the Eucharist. Of the Augustana
eleven articles are mutilated and eight (the eleventh and the last
seven) entirely omitted. The following declaration takes the place of
the Eleventh Article: "As private confession and absolution, which are
inculcated in this Article, though in a modified form, have been
universally rejected by the American Lutheran Church, the omission of
this Article is demanded by the principle on which the American
Recension of the A. C. is constructed; namely, to omit the several
portions which are rejected by the great mass of our churches in this
country, and to add nothing in their stead." (11.) In all the articles
the condemnatory sections are omitted. Even the deniers of the Trinity
are not rejected. The Apostles' Creed is purged of "He descended into
hell." The Athanasian Creed is omitted. The rest of the Lutheran
symbols are rejected, on account of their length and alleged errors.
(5.) The Platform declares: "The extraordinary length of the other
former symbolic books as a whole is sufficient reason for their
rejection as a prescribed creed, even if all their contents were
believed to be true.... The exaction of such an extended creed is
subversive of all individual liberty of thought and freedom of
Scriptural investigation." (20.) Part II of the Platform, the
"Synodical Disclaimer," contains a list of the symbolic errors with
extracts from the Lutheran symbols, "which are rejected by the great
body of the American Lutheran Church," to wit: I. Ceremonies of the
mass (A. C., Art. 24; Apology, Art. 12). 2. Exorcism (Luther's
_Taufbuechlein_). 3. Private confession and absolution (A. C., Art.
11. 25. 28). 4. The denial of the divine institution and obligation of
the Christian Sabbath (A. C., Art. 28). 5. Baptismal regeneration (A.
C., Art. 2; Apology, Art. 9; Luther's Catechisms; Visitation Articles,
Art. 3). 6. The outward form of baptism (Large Catechism, Smalcald Art.)
7. Errors concerning the personal or hypostatic union of the two natures
in Christ (Form of Concord, Art. 8). 8. The supposed special
sin-forgiving power of the Lord's Supper (Apol., Art. 12; Catechisms).
9. The real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist
(A. C., Art. 10; Apol., Art. 7. 8; Smalcald Art., Art. 6; Small
Catechism; Form of Concord, Art. 7). According to the Platform,
believers in exorcism, in private confession and absolution, and in the
ceremonies of the mass should not be tolerated in the General Synod. To
believers in the real presence, baptismal regeneration, etc., liberty
was to be granted, provided that they regard these doctrines as
nonessential, cooperate peacefully with members rejecting them, and
adopt the Platform. Dr. Mann was right when he characterized the
Platform as "the emasculated Augsburg Confession." (Spaeth, 178.)

58. Spirit of "Synodical Disclaimer."--While the first part of the
Platform eliminates the distinctively Lutheran doctrines, the second
part emphatically condemns them and teaches the opposite tenets of the
Reformed Church. On exorcism the Platform remarks: "In the American
Lutheran Church it was never received, and is regarded as unscriptural,
and highly objectionable, under the most favorable explanation that can
be given it." (23.) On private confession and absolution: "How dangerous
the entire doctrine of absolution and forgiving power of the ministry is
to the spirituality of the Church and to the doctrine of justification
by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ, is clearly evident." "John
20, 23: 'Whosesoever sins ...' either refers to a miraculous power
bestowed on the apostles to discern the condition of the heart, and to
announce pardon of God to truly penitent individuals; or it confers on
the ministry, in all ages, the power to announce, in general, the
conditions on which God will pardon sinners; but it contains no
authority for applying these promises to individuals, as is done in
private absolution." (26.) On baptismal regeneration: "If Baptism is not
a converting ordinance in adults, it cannot be in infants. ... Of
regeneration, in the proper sense of the term, infants are incapable;
for it consists in a radical change in our religious views of the divine
character, law, etc.; a change in our religious feelings, and in our
religious purposes and habits of action; of none of which are children
capable." Regeneration "must consist mainly in a change of that
_increased_ predisposition to sin arising from action, of that
preponderance of sinful habits formed by voluntary indulgence of our
natural depravity, after we have reached years of moral agency. But
infants have no such _increased_ predisposition, no _habits_ of sin
prior to moral agency, consequently there can be no change of them, no
regeneration in this meaning of the term." "Baptismal regeneration,
either in infants or adults, is therefore a doctrine not taught in the
Word of God, and fraught with much injury to the souls of men, although
inculcated in the former Symbolical Books." (30f.) On the hypostatic
union: "The chief error on this subject is the supposition that the
human and divine natures of Christ, to a certain extent, interchange
attributes. This, in common with all other Protestant churches, we
regard as contrary to the Holy Volume." "The supposition that humanity
in any case acquired some attributes of divinity tends to give
plausibility to the apotheosis of heroes and the pagan worship of the
Virgin Mary." The Platform emphatically condemns the doctrine of Article
8 of the Form of Concord: "Hence we believe, teach, and confess that the
Virgin Mary did not conceive and bring forth simply a mere man, but
_the true Son of God_; for which reason she is also rightly called, and
_she is truly, the mother of God_. ... He consequently now, not only as
God, but _as man_, knows all things, is able to do all things. ... His
flesh is a true, vivifying food, and His blood is a true, vivifying
drink." (35f.) The Platform furthermore rejects the doctrine that the
Lord's Supper "offers forgiveness of sins," and "that the real body and
blood of the Savior are present at the Eucharist, in some mysterious
way, and are received by the mouth of every communicant, worthy or
unworthy." (38f.) The Platform declares: "During the first quarter of
this century the conviction that our Reformers did not purge away the
whole of the Romish error from this doctrine gained ground universally,
until the great mass of the whole Lutheran Church, before the year 1817,
had rejected the doctrine of the real presence." (40.) With respect to
the doctrine that the proper and natural body and blood of Christ are
received in the Lord's Supper, the Platform remarks: "Now we cannot
persuade ourselves that this is the view of a single minister of the
General Synod or of many out of it." (42.)


59. Champions of the Platform.--"The principal effect of the Definite
Platform," says Dr. Spaeth, "was to open the eyes even of the
indifferent and undecided ones, and to cause them to reflect and to
realize the ultimate designs of the men at the helm of the General
Synod. A storm of indignation burst against the perpetrators of this
attack on the venerable Augustana. Many men who were before numbered
with 'American Lutheranism,' and whose full sympathy with the movement
was confidently expected, had nothing but stern rebuke for it." (1,
360.) Howbeit, the Platform was not in lack of ardent defenders. To some
of the ministers it was not radical enough. Dr. Morris remarks:
"Extremely un-Lutheran, un-churchly, and even rationalistic positions
were assumed by some who defended the Platform." (Wolf, _Lutherans_,
364.) In the _Observer_, December 7, 1855, a correspondent maintained
that it was incorrect to speak of the Augustana as "our confession,"
since of Lutheran theologians not one in twenty was governed in doctrine
and practise by this Symbol. (_L. u. W._ 1856, 28.) In the following
year the _Observer_ published a protest of Rev. Kitz, censuring the
Platform for granting toleration to believers in baptismal regeneration
and the real presence. (_L. u. W._ 1857, 27.) At Gettysburg Seminary,
self-evidently, Schmucker zealously propagated his Reformed theology,
while his brother-in-law, C. F. Schaeffer, who had entered 1856, was the
exponent of a mild confessionalism. E. J. Wolf: "At Gettysburg, in the
same building, one professor in almost every lecture disparaged and
discredited the Confessions, while another one constantly inspired his
students with the highest [?] veneration for them." (_Lutherans_, 441.)
Jacobs: "The students were soon divided, but the gain was constantly
upon the conservative side." (_History_, 427.) But while thus at
Gettysburg conservative influences, in a measure, were counteracting the
Platform theology, Wittenberg Seminary, at Springfield, 0., the
theological center of the Western synods, was unanimous, decided, and
most advanced in its advocacy. Sprecher, the leader of "American
Lutheranism" in the West, wrote concerning the Platform: "It is the very
thing we have long needed in our Church; it will require every man to
declare that he is for or against us, and will secure our American
Lutheran Church against the insidious efforts of the Old Lutherans to
remodel her." "If the New School brethren do not soon decide whether
they will give the Church the positive form which it must take in this
country ere long, the Old School will decide it for them by making all
their synods stand on the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. I do not see
what difficulty can be in the way. If those five dogmas rejected [by the
Platform] are errors at all, they are very serious errors, and I do not
see why there should be so great a desire to be associated with those
who teach them. The difference between the Old School and the New School
party is of such a nature that they cannot agree except by being silent
or separate. If we did not intend to push this matter through, we should
never have agitated it at all." (Spaeth, 1, 359.) It goes without saying
that B. Kurtz acted the champion of the new confession. When, in 1855,
prior to the publication of the Platform, the Synod of Northern
Illinois, in its constitution, declared the Augustana and Luther's Small
Catechism a "correct" exhibition of the divine truth, Kurtz wrote in the
_Observer_: "This is certainly a tremendous leap backward to the
patriarchs of the American Lutheran Church. In this enlightened country
of free thought and action such high-churchism cannot long maintain
itself; its most peculiar fruit is bigotry, ostracism, strife, and
separation." (_Lutheraner_, Feb. 13, 1855:) In the same spirit Kurtz
edited the _Observer_ after the appearance of the Platform. In an issue
of January, 1856, he maintained that the Platform offered nothing new;
in the past every member of the General Synod had practised according to
its principles; now one merely was to do openly and honestly what
heretofore he had been doing with a _reservatio mentalis_. (_L. u. W._
1856, 64.) Several months later Kurtz published the list of rejected
errors of the Symbolical Books, and in a number of subsequent articles
supported the Platform, and, at the same time, attacked the distinctive
doctrines of Lutheranism, misrepresenting them in Calvinistic fashion.
(_L. u. W._ 1856, 140 ff.; 1857,61; 1862,152; 1917,375.) Nor did Kurtz
in the following years repent of, or change, his attitude. In the
_Observer_ of June 29, 1860, he declared: "We are qualified to formulate
a confession of faith not only just as well, but better than those who
lived three hundred years ago. We now have men in our Church who
understand just as much of the Bible and of theology as our fathers. If
this were not the case, we must be stupid scholars, a degenerated
generation." (_L. u. W_. 6, 252.) In the same year: "May those, then,
who are opposed to the progress backwards, to liturgies, to priestly
gowns, to bands, candles, crucifixes, baptismal regeneration, the real
presence, priestly confession and absolution, and all other phases of
the half-papists, stand firmly by the old _Observer_." (_L. u. W._ 1860,
318.) In the _Observer_, December 26, 1862, Kurtz said: Wisdom did not
die with the Reformers; nor would it die with the present generation.
Giant strides had been made in science, history, chemistry, philology.
The progress in astronomy enabled us to understand the Bible better than
our fathers. Geology taught us to explain the first chapter of Genesis
more correctly than a hundred years ago. Even if we were dwarfs compared
with the Reformers, with our increased advantages we ought to understand
the Bible better than they. A dwarf, standing on the shoulders of a
giant, can see farther than the giant himself. A confession of faith,
therefore, ought not to be like the laws of the Medes and Persians, but
subject to improvement and growing perfection. Luther and his colaborers
explained the Bible more correctly than any like number of their
contemporaries. But we do not believe that they understood it as well as
God's enlightened people of the present. Indeed, an intelligent
Sunday-school child has a clearer insight into the plan of salvation,
etc., than John the Baptist, the greatest of prophets. Is it, then, to
be assumed that since the middle of the sixteenth century no progress
was made in Biblical learning? (_L. u. W._ 1863, 92.) However, always
guided by expediency, and hence able also "to do otherwise," the
_Observer_, April 13, 1866, wrote: "We have all agreed that the
Unaltered Augsburg Confession is the only general platform upon which
all of us can stand. There are some among us, to the number of whom the
writer belongs, who have always believed and still think that an
American Recension of this venerable document, as presented in the
Definite Platform, would give us a faith more in harmony with the
Scripture. But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, the
greatest liberty compatible with the unity of true Evangelical
Protestantism. To make concessions within reasonable limitations we have
accordingly deemed our religious duty." (_L. u. W._ 1866, 185.) In its
issue of January 17, 1908, the _Observer_ again claims the liberty of
revising the confessions. (_L. u. W._ 1908, 90.) Self-evidently, the
_American Lutheran_ was in sympathy with the Platform. In 1873 it
declared its standpoint as follows: "We American Lutherans adopt the
Augsburg Confession only in a qualified sense, _viz_., as teaching the
fundamental truths of religion in a manner substantially correct, but
containing also some inaccuracies with respect to the Sacraments,
private confession, absolution, and the Christian Sabbath." (_L. u.
W._ 1873, 29.)

60. Opponents of the Platform.--S. S. Schmucker boasted with respect to
the Platform that all intelligent Americans were on his side. However,
his opponents proved to be much stronger and more numerous than he had
anticipated, though most of them were in essential agreement with his
un-Lutheran theology, merely resenting his intolerant spirit and public
assault on the "venerable Augustana." Among the men who fiercely
denounced the new confession was J. A. Brown, who also followed up his
attack with charges for Schmucker's impeachment at Gettysburg, and in
1857, with a book, _The New Theology_. Yet Dr. Brown's theological views
and the views of the Platform were not nearly so far apart as his
assaults on Schmucker seemed to warrant. Brown was a Reformed theologian
and just as determined an opponent of genuine Lutheranism as Schmucker
and Kurtz. Dr. Wolf: "Brown contended with might and main against what
he considered the revival of the Old Lutheran Theology." (370.) And
Brown's case was also that of F. W. Conrad (professor of Homiletics in
Wittenberg College from 1850 to 1855, and part owner and editor of the
_Observer_ from 1863 to 1898), who in 1855, when required by the
Wittenberg Synod to defend the Platform, resigned as professor and as
editor of the _Evangelical Lutheran_, stating that he, too, considered
the "errors" enumerated in the Platform as real errors, but was able
neither to find all of them in the Augustana nor to identify himself
with the intolerance of the Platform men. (_L. u. W._ 1856, 94.)
Occupying a unionistic position similar to that of Dr. Conrad, H. W.
Harkey, in his _Olive Branch_, published at Springfield, Ill., also
opposed the fanaticism of Kurtz, Schmucker, Sprecher, etc., but not
their Reformed theology, which, indeed, he shared essentially. (_L. u.
W._ 1857, 313; 1858, 28.) The man who disappointed Schmucker perhaps
more than any one else was his colleague Charles Philip Krauth, who made
no secret of his aversion to the Platform. In a letter to his son he
wrote: "The American Recension of the Augsburg Confession doesn't seem
to go down well. It has received many hard blows. ... A more stupid
thing could hardly have been originated. _Quem Deus vult perdere prius
dementat._ How will it end? I have thought, in smoke. But I have all
along had fears, and they are strengthened of late, that it will divide
the General Synod. It is said that my colleague is determined to press
the matter to the utmost. ... I regret exceedingly the injury which the
Church is sure to sustain. Mr. Passavant's idea of a paper in opposition
to the _Observer_ I approve. There ought to be an antidote to the
_Observer_ somewhere." In the _Observer_ of February 15, 1856, Krauth,
Sr., published nine reasons why he opposed the Platform; the chief
grievance, however, its Reformed theology, was hardly hinted at.
Krauth's plea was for peace and mutual toleration. "I feel deeply
solicitous that our prospering Church may not be divided," said he. "I
shall do all that I can to hold it together. I will pray for the peace
of our Zion," etc. His main argument against the Platform was that it
proscribed brethren who were received with the understanding that they
were to occupy a position coordinate with that of others, and asked
every symbolical Lutheran to withdraw or dishonor himself. (Spaeth, 1,
372f.) Pacification of the Church by mutual toleration--such was the
solution of the Platform controversy offered and advocated by his son,
Charles Porterfield. To this Krauth, Sr., agreed. April 2, 1857, he
wrote to his son: "I am decidedly of opinion that the General Synod
ought to do something effectual for the pacification of the Church. I
concur in the views you express, and believe, unless such views prevail,
the Church must ere long be rent into fragments. Whilst I am anxious for
such an agreement in regard to a doctrinal basis as will embrace all the
wings of Lutheranism in our country, I very much wish we could agree on
forms of worship in accordance with the liturgical character of our
Church, and erect a barrier against the fanaticism and Methodism which
so powerfully control some of our ministers and people." (380.) W. M.
Reynolds, in the _Evangelical Review_ which he had established 1849
(1870 succeeded by the _Lutheran Quarterly_), denounced the Platform as
a declaration of "separation from the whole Lutheran Church of the
past." "We trust," said he, "that no Lutheran synod will be beguiled
into the awful movement here so abruptly, yet so confidently proposed to
them--to revolutionize their whole previous history, and declare
separation from the whole Lutheran Church of the past, and all their
brethren in the present who hold to the faith of their fathers, 'the
faith once delivered to the saints.'" (360.) Reynolds, who publicly
renounced his former un-Lutheran views and withdrew his endorsement of
Kurtz, was hailed by many as the leader of the conservatives in the
General Synod. But, his confessional endeavors being vitiated and
neutralized by his fundamental unionistic attitude, he, too,
disappointed and failed the friends of true Lutheranism. He opened the
pages of the _Evangelical Review_ to both, liberals as well as
conservatives, to the advocates as well as the opponents of the Platform
and its theology. Reynolds stood for mutual toleration, and in
1864--turned Episcopalian. (_L. u. W._ 1857, 314; 1870, 156.) J. N.
Hoffmann entered the controversy with his "Broken Platform," and W. J.
Mann with his pamphlet "A Plea for the Augsburg Confession," according
to Spaeth "the strongest refutation of the Definite Platform." (_L. u.
W._ 1856, 75; 1857, 283.) Dr. Mann wrote, May 7, 1856: "If Schmucker had
not the _Observer_ as an ally, he would accomplish absolutely nothing.
As it is, however, the two gentlemen fabricate a public opinion,
supported by a multitude of uninformed members of the Lutheran Church.
The mass of all influential, well-meaning members, preachers as well as
laymen, whatever their views may otherwise be, are indignant at
Schmucker, Kurtz, _Observer_, and the whole Platform affair. I would not
be astonished if the matter should lead to a breach between us and the
General Synod. The consequence will be that involuntarily we shall be
brought closer to the strict Lutheranism, all the more so as the
Missourians of late seem to become milder." But Dr. Mann was rudely
awakened from his optimism when, in the following year, his "Lutheranism
in America: an essay on the present condition of the Lutheran Church in
the United States," was severely criticized even by Charles Philip
Krauth, in the _Evangelical Review_. And the result? "I have no desire
at all to make any further concessions to Old Lutheranism," Mann meekly
declared in a letter of April 15, 1857, in which he referred to the cold
reception and stern rebuke which his book had received by the press
within the General Synod. (Spaeth, 179 f.) Thus even the most
conservative men within the General Synod rendered the cause of true
Lutheranism but little service in the Platform emergency. Being in the
minority and without a clear insight into the nature of Lutheranism,
also without an organ, except, in part, the _Evangelical Review_, they
lacked the courage and seriousness to take a determined and open stand
against the corrupters and assailants of Lutheranism. They favored a
policy of silent, watchful waiting. H. I. Schmidt, who, in the
_Evangelical Review_, had defended the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord's
Supper, wrote in a letter dated February 4, 1853: "We Lutherans had
better keep perfectly quiet at the next General Synod, and say nothing
at all about 'Doctrinal Basis.' ... If all open conflict is avoided, our
cause will continue silently and surely to gain ground, and thus the
character of the General Synod will gradually be changed and righted."
(Spaeth, 1, 349.)

61. "Pacific Overture."--The storm caused by the Platform was hardly
brewing, when Old and New School men united in pouring oil on the
troubled waters. Instead of holding Schmucker to strict accountability,
41 prominent ministers and laymen published in the _Observer_ of
February 15, 1856, a "Pacific Overture," in which they "deprecate the
further prosecution of this controversy, and hereby agree to unite and
abide on the doctrinal basis of the General Synod, of absolute assent to
the "Word of God, as the only infallible rule of faith and practise, and
fundamental agreement with the Augsburg Confession." This document was
signed by such men as H.L. Baugher, M. Jacobs, M.L. Stoever, S.S.
Schmucker, Krauth, Sr., E.W. Hutter, T. Stork, C.A. Hay, W.H. Lochman,
M. Valentine, B. Sadtler, and J.A. Brown. The pledge of the "Overture"
involved the obligation of abstinence from newspaper controversy. Kurtz
did not sign the document, and Schmucker reserved for himself the right
of replying to Mann's "Plea," which he did in _American Lutheranism
Vindicated_. This book, according to the _Observer_, proves that the
Augustana does teach baptismal regeneration, the bodily presence of
Christ in the Eucharist, private confession and absolution, and denial
of the divine institution of the Lord's Day, and that all of these
doctrines are errors conflicting with the Scriptures. (_L. u. W._ 1856,
320.) Thus Kurtz and Schmucker, who had kindled the conflagration,
persisted in pouring oil into the flames, while the rest were shouting,
"Extinguish the fire!" H.I. Schmidt wrote from New York: "I can see no
use in signing that 'Overture'; the compromise which it proposes cannot
preserve the peace of the Church or prevent a disruption. Schmucker has
got up that 'Overture' simply because he was utterly disappointed in the
effect produced by his proposed Platform; because he saw that he had
raised a conflagration that was very likely to burn him up. And now,
after doing all he could to disrupt the Church, after getting up a
platform, the adoption of which would have expelled all of us
confessional Lutherans from the Lutheran Church; after laboring with all
his might to fasten the charge of serious errors upon our venerable
Confession, he very coolly comes forward and asks us to sign a
compromise, in which, forsooth, we are to declare the points of
difference between us to be non-essential.... No, indeed. Those points
are not non-essential: the Lutheran doctrine of the Sacraments is so
completely interwoven with our whole view of the scheme of redemption
and salvation, that concerning the Eucharist grows so directly and
necessarily out of the great doctrine of Christ's Person, that for me to
give up those doctrinal points alleged to be non-essential is to give up
all, to give up the whole Gospel. And what good would come of patching
up such a hollow peace? At the first favorable opportunity Schmucker
would break it, and even if he seemed to keep quiet, he would be
secretly and incessantly working and machinating against our side of the
house. And, what is more, the editor of the _Observer_ refuses to sign
the 'Overture'; he will keep his hands unfettered, to knock us on the
head right and left, as soon and as often as he pleases." Schmidt added:
"Not a soul here in New York is willing to touch the 'Overture.'"
(Spaeth, 1, 363.) But no determined action followed on the part of
Schmidt and the conservatives in New York who agreed with him.

62. Krauth, Jr., and Schmucker.--The fact that the conservatives failed
to take a decided stand against Schmucker and his Platform theology was
due, apart from their general policy of silent waiting, chiefly to
Charles Porterfield Krauth, who was in complete agreement with the
unionistic "Overture," and whose influence soon became paramount in the
General Synod. Krauth counseled mutual toleration. On January 1, 1856,
he had written to his father: "I have written down a few thoughts on the
'Platform,' but I do not know that I will ever prepare anything for the
press on that subject. My thoughts all have an irenical direction."
(376.) In the following year Krauth prepared a series of articles for
the _Missionary_ (published by W. A. Passavant in Pittsburgh), in which
he pleaded the cause of the General Synod, and defended and justified
its doctrinal basis, requiring subscription only to the "fundamentals"
of the Augustana as "substantially correct." Krauth insisted that, while
the Augustana must remain unmutilated and unchanged, liberty should be
granted to such as, _e. g._, deny the real presence in the Lord's
Supper. The Lutheran and the other churches of the Reformation, he
argued, agree as to the divine institution and perpetual obligation of
the Eucharist, the administration in both kinds, the necessity of a
living faith for enjoying its blessings, and the rejection of
transubstantiation and the mass. And securing these points of the Tenth
Article of the Augsburg Confession, Krauth continued: "Let the General
Synod allow perfect freedom, as she has hitherto done, to reject or
receive the rest of the article." (Jacobs, 431.) Spaeth remarks with
respect to the articles published by Krauth in defense of the General
Synod: "In looking over the articles, we do not wonder that the leader
in the Platform movement was willing to have, and actually proposed and
drew up, a compromise on the basis laid down there. For while the
articles kept the Confession intact in form, they abandoned it in fact.
They absolutely coordinated truth and error on the disputed points and
said: 'Tolerate us in holding the truth[?], and we will tolerate you in
holding the error.'" "There was evidently," Dr. Spaeth continues, "in
those days a singular approach between the leader of American
Lutheranism and Charles Porterfield Krauth, which even inspired the New
School men with a hope of ultimately 'seeing Charles right,' for whom
they personally had nothing but the kindest feelings. 'I think,' wrote
his father after the Reading Convention of the General Synod, 'you have
become pretty much of a favorite with Dr. S. S. Schmucker. He does not
think you so hard a Lutheran, and your zeal for the General Synod was
quite to his taste. I hope you will continue, as you have heretofore
done, to treat him with respect.'" (1, 409.) What Dr. Krauth objected to
was not so much the theology of the Platform as, on the one hand, the
intolerance which it demanded, and, on the other hand, the mutilation of
the venerable Augustana, the Magna Charta of Lutheranism. Also in the
controversy between J. A. Brown and Schmucker, in which the latter's
teaching on natural depravity, regeneration, and justification was
declared unsound, Krauth, Jr., defended his former teacher with the
result that the impeachment proceedings, contemplated at Gettysburg
against Schmucker, were arrested. (411.) Thus, as far as the leading
theologians were concerned, the commotion caused by the Platform ended
in an agreement to disagree.


63. For and Against the Platform.--Dr. E. J. Wolf, 1889: "The Platform
was indignantly and universally rejected by the Eastern synods." (365.)
Dr. Jacobs, 1893: "It was endorsed by one of the smaller synods in Ohio,
but everywhere else it aroused intense indignation, as a
misrepresentation and detraction of the Lutheran Church." (426.) Dr.
Neve, 1915: "Only three smaller District Synods in Ohio adopted the
Platform temporarily, the East Ohio, the Olive Branch, and the
Wittenberg Synods. At all other places it was most decidedly rejected,
not only by men of the synods under whose leadership, soon after, the
General Council was organized, but just as decidedly by such as remained
in the General Synod."--Among the facts in the case are the following.
The Wittenberg Synod (organized 1847 in Ohio and led by Ezra Keller and
S. Sprecher, professors of Wittenberg College), claiming to be "wholly
loyal to the doctrines and interests of the General Synod," adopted the
Platform in September, 1855, stating that the General Synod in the past
had given the Augustana only a limited recognition without specifying
the doctrines which were to be omitted, and that now the Platform, in
the interest of truth, had pointed out the five errors of the Augustana
which the great majority of the General Synod had long ago viewed as
unscriptural and Roman. Synod resolved not to receive any pastor who
would not accept the Platform as his own confession. (_L. u. W._ 1855,
319. 336.) In September, 1855, the Olive Branch Synod of Indiana adopted
the Platform unanimously, and, in October of the same year, the East
Ohio Synod, with but one dissenting vote. (350. 381.) In June, 1856, the
Miami Synod declared its allegiance to the Augustana, with the
limitation that they reject as errors contained in this Confession the
approval of certain ceremonies of the mass, private confession and
absolution, the denial of the divine obligation of the Sabbath, the
doctrines of baptismal regeneration and of the real presence in the
Eucharist. (1856, 349.) In September, 1856, the Wittenberg Synod
recommended the Platform for adoption to its congregations, and at the
same time expressed satisfaction and joy that the Platform had been
adopted by the English Synod of Ohio, the Olive Branch Synod of Indiana,
the Northern Synod of the same State, and by the Kentucky Synod; that
the Miami Synod had accepted the Augsburg Confession in the sense of the
Platform; and that the Pittsburgh Synod, through influence of the
Platform, was now immune against "symbolism." (1856, 380.) The Synod of
Southern Illinois (organized 1856, and in 1897 united with the Synod of
Central Illinois under the name of Synod of Central and Southern
Illinois), in October, 1857, unanimously approved of the Platform as a
measure against the insidious tendencies of symbolism. (1857,352.) It
was a sore disappointment to the Platform men when the Synod of East
Pennsylvania, in 1855, at the motion of J. A. Brown (who was in
essential agreement with Schmucker, doctrinally), unanimously condemned,
and "most solemnly warned" against, the Platform as a "most dangerous
attempt to change the doctrinal basis and revolutionize the existing
character of the Lutheran churches now united in the General Synod."
(1855, 337.) The Synod of West Pennsylvania, urged by the Synod of East
Pennsylvania to endorse its resolutions, refused to enter the
controversy or pass on the Platform, declaring that they were satisfied
with their present constitution and unwilling to add new test-questions.
(1855, 320.) It came as a relief to Kurtz and the Platform men when the
Synod of Central Pennsylvania, in May, 1856, unanimously and solemnly,
by a rising vote, adopted the Platform. (1856, 223.) In October, 1856,
the Synod of Maryland declared that every member was at liberty to
accept or reject the alleged errors of the Augsburg Confession,
enumerated by the Platform, provided that thereby the divine institution
of the Sabbath was not rejected, nor the doctrinal basis of the General
Synod subverted. (1856, 382.) In October, 1856, the Allegheny Synod
declared its adherence to the doctrinal basis of the General Synod, but,
at the same time, rejected the doctrines enumerated by the Platform as
errors contained in the Augsburg Confession. (1856, 27; 1857, 156.) A
similar compromise was adopted by the Pittsburgh Synod. The knock-out
blow to the Platform came from the older, larger, and conservative
synods. In May, 1856, the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, then numbering
98 pastors, condemned the Platform and reaffirmed its own basis of
faith. (1856, 224; 1857, 252.) The New York Ministerium instructed its
delegates for the convention of the General Synod in 1857 to vote
against the Platform. Whence the wind was blowing was apparent also from
the fact that representative men of both the New York and Pennsylvania
synods participated in the Free Evangelical Lutheran Conferences
(1856-1859), advocated and led by Walther (1856, 348).

64. Pittsburgh and Hartwick Synods.--In the _Observer_, February 15,
1856, Kurtz suggested with respect to the Platform controversy that a
District Synod adopt a resolution to the effect that the Augustana did
not contain the errors charged with by the Platform, and that respecting
these doctrines every member of Synod was at liberty to follow his own
judgment. In accordance with this advice the Pittsburgh Synod, in the
same year, compromised the differences of the Old and New School men in
a number of resolutions framed by Charles Porterfield Krauth, who then
was still spending his efforts in trying to mediate between the
adherents and opponents of the Definite Platform. Among these
resolutions are the following: "II. Resolved, That while the basis of
our General Synod has allowed of diversity in regard to some parts of
the Augsburg Confession, that basis never was designed to imply the
right to alter, amend, or curtail the Confession itself." "III.
Resolved, That while this Synod, resting on the Word of God as the sole
authority in matters of faith, on its infallible warrant rejects the
Romish doctrine of the real presence of transubstantiation, and with it
the doctrine of consubstantiation; rejects the Mass, and all ceremonies
distinctive of the Mass; denies any power in the Sacraments as an _opus
operatum_, or that the blessings of Baptism and the Lord's Supper can
be received without faith; rejects auricular confession and priestly
absolution; holds that there is no priesthood on earth except that of
all believers, and that God only can forgive sins; and maintains the
sacred obligation of the Lord's Day; and while we would with our whole
heart reject any part of any confession which taught doctrines in
conflict with this our testimony, nevertheless, before God and His
Church, we declare that in our judgment the Augsburg Confession,
properly interpreted, is in perfect consistence with this our testimony
and with Holy Scripture as regards the errors specified." "IV. Resolved,
That while we do not wish to conceal the fact that some parts of the
doctrine of our Confession in regard to the Sacraments are received in
different degrees by different brethren, yet that even in these points,
wherein we as brethren in Christ agree to differ, till the Holy Ghost
shall make us see eye to eye, the differences are not such as to destroy
the foundation of faith, our unity in labor, our mutual confidence, and
our tender love." "VI. Resolved, That if we have indulged harsh thoughts
and groundless suspicions, if we have without reason criminated and
recriminated, we here humbly confess our fault before our adorable
Redeemer, beseeching pardon of Him and of each other," etc. "VII.
Resolved, That we will resist all efforts to sow dissensions among us on
the ground of minor differences, all efforts, on the one hand, to
restrict the liberty which Christ has given us, or, on the other, to
impair the purity of the 'faith once delivered to the saints,' and that
with new ardor we will devote ourselves to the work of the Gospel," etc.
(Spaeth, 1, 378.) A stand similar to the one of the Pittsburgh Synod was
taken in the same year, 1856, by the Hartwick Synod, in declaring, on
the one hand, that they adopt the fundamental doctrines of the Augsburg
Confession, other articles of this Confession, however, only when
rightly understood and interpreted, and in rejecting, on the other hand,
the doctrines enumerated in the third of the Pittsburgh resolutions.
(_L. u. W._ 1856, 349.) On the part of the Franckean Synod this caused a
declaration to the effect that they would not have withdrawn (1837) if
Hartwick had taken this stand earlier. Hartwick answered, 1857, that
they had not adopted a new platform, but merely the General Synod's
"interpretation of the Augustana." (_L. u. W._ 1857, 352; 1864, 314;
1866, 119.)

65. The Pittsburgh Compromise.--The Pittsburgh resolutions, notably the
third (adopted also in 1864 at York by the General Synod, and since
known as the York Resolution), breathe a unionistic and, in part, a
Reformed spirit. Conspicuous among their un-Lutheran features are the
following. With respect to the Lutheran doctrines rejected by Schmucker
and his compeers, the Pittsburgh compromise declares in general: "We as
brethren in Christ agree to differ." The theological attitude of the
notorious union letter of 1845 was thus practically reaffirmed and the
doctrines distinctive of Lutheranism declared irrelevant. Every Lutheran
synod, according to the Pittsburgh agreement, was, indeed, to recognize
the Augustana unmutilated, but, on the other hand, grant complete
liberty to deviate from its doctrines in the manner of the supporters of
the Platform. In addition to this unionistic feature the Pittsburgh
compromise, at least in three important points, makes concessions to the
Reformed tenets of the Platform theology. It does not only fail to
confess the Lutheran doctrines of the Lord's Supper, absolution, and the
Sunday, at a time when these doctrines were universally denied and
assailed also within the General Synod, and when, accordingly, a failure
to confess them was tantamount to an open denial, but itself rejects
them. Concerning the Sunday, Article 28 of the Augsburg Confession
declares: "For those who judge that by the authority of the Church the
observance of the Lord's Day instead of the Sabbath-day was ordained as
a thing necessary, do greatly err. Scripture has abrogated the
Sabbath-day." Over against this plain teaching the General Synod always
held that "the observance of the Sunday is binding on all by divine
requirement." (_Lutheran Observer_, Oct. 1, 1915.) Siding with this
un-Lutheran position, the third of the Pittsburgh resolutions declares:
"We adhere to the divine authority of the Sabbath as the Lord's Day."
Again, absolution by Christians, and especially the minister of a
Christian congregation, was one of the doctrines abhorred by the
Platform men. As late as 1864 even C.P. Krauth regarded the Eleventh
Article of the Augustana as excluded from the confessional subscription
of the General Synod. The Pittsburgh compromise rejects "priestly
absolution" and maintains "that God only can forgive sins" on earth,
thus openly disavowing a specific Lutheran doctrine and coinciding with
Schmucker and Kurtz, Zwingli, and Calvin. Furthermore, the Lutheran
Church most emphatically teaches "the real presence" of the body and
blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper. And in the days of Schmucker, and
later, this doctrine, openly assailed and denied by the leaders of the
General Synod, was generally, though erroneously, identified with, and
termed, "consubstantiation," without as well as within the General
Synod. The _Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge_, of 1854, edited by J.
Newton Brown, describes "consubstantiation" as "a tenet of the Lutheran
Church respecting the presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. Luther
denied that the elements were changed after consecration, and therefore
taught that the bread and wine indeed remain, but that, together with
them, there is present the substance of the body and blood of Christ,
which is literally received by communicants." As late as 1899 Philip
Schaff wrote in his _Creeds of Christendom_: "The Lutheran Church, as
represented in Luther's writings and in the Form of Concord, rejects
transubstantiation, and also the doctrine of impanation, _i. e._, a
local inclusion of Christ's body and blood in the elements (_localis
inclusio in pane_), or a permanent and extrasacramental conjunction of
the two substances (_durabilis aliqua conjunctio extra usum sacramenti_);
_but it teaches consubstantiation_ in the sense of a sacramental
conjunction of the two substances effected by the consecration, or a
real presence of Christ's very body and blood in, with, and under (_in,
cum, et sub_) bread and wine. The word consubstantiation, however, is
not found in the Lutheran symbols, and is rejected by Lutheran
theologians if used in the sense of impanation." (1, 232.) Down to the
present day the Lutheran doctrine of the real presence has been
universally designated by its opponents as "consubstantiation." (_L. u.
W._ 1856, 33. 115. 255.) Respecting this use of the term outside of the
Lutheran Church, compare also Worcester's Dictionary; _Cyclopedia_,
Harper and Brothers, 1894; Century Dictionary, 1906; Heyse,
_Fremdwoerterbuch_; etc. And as to the use made of the term within the
General Synod, S. S. Schmucker, B. Kurtz, B. Sprecher, and the rest of
the Platform theologians always designated the Lutheran doctrine of the
real presence as consubstantiation. As late as 1880 Dr. Helwig wrote in
the _Lutheran Evangelist_: "The Missouri Lutherans adhere as closely as
possible to the doctrines of Martin Luther, even his consubstantiation
theory with respect to the Holy Eucharist according to the words: in,
with, and under the bread." (_L. u. W._ 1880, 246.) Viewed, then, in
its historical context, the third of the Pittsburgh resolutions,
instead of plainly stating and boldly confessing the Lutheran doctrine
of the real presence, disavows it, at least indirectly, declaring: This
Synod "rejects the Romish doctrine of the real presence or
transubstantiation, and with it the doctrine of consubstantiation." To
cap the climax, the compromise proceeds: "Before God and His Church we
declare that in our judgment the Augsburg Confession, properly
interpreted, is in perfect consistence with this our testimony and with
Holy Scripture as regards the errors specified." How Charles Porterfield
Krauth was able thinkingly to write as he did is a problem which still
awaits a satisfactory explanation. Thus, then, though formally
acknowledging the Augustana and denying the right "to alter, amend, or
curtail the Confession itself," the Pittsburgh compromise cannot but be
viewed as a distinctly unionistic and anti-Lutheran document. It was a
surrender, if not to the Platform as such, at least to its theology.


66. Ignoring Platform, But Endorsing Its Theology.--No formal action was
taken by the conventions of the General Synod with respect either to the
Definite Platform itself or its authors, abettors, and endorsers. Apart
from the doctrinal indifference prevailing within the General Synod also
among the conservatives, this was chiefly due to the articles published
by Krauth, Jr., in defense of the General Synod in the _Missionary_.
"Silently," says Dr. Spaeth, "yet no less surely, the brethren gave the
most unmistakable evidence that the views therein expressed met their
concurrence." (1, 409.) However, Krauth himself, in advocating mutual
toleration, merely acted on the old principles of the General Synod. His
policy was in keeping with its unionistic traditions of "agreeing to
disagree and not to settle disputed points, but to omit them and declare
them free--_quieta non movere et mota quiescere!_" Well satisfied with
the course of the General Synod at its conventions in 1857 and 1859, the
_Observer_ wrote: "The convention at Pittsburgh has strengthened the
bond of our union and shown that no question of doctrine or discipline
can disrupt us. We are one and inseparable. Our union is based on
mutual concession. We have learned a lesson which our fathers could not
learn: to give and to take." (_L. u. W._ 1859, 285.) Officially and
directly, then, the General Synod neither approved nor condemned the
Platform. Nor could she consistently have taken a different course, as
Schmucker had but acted on previous suggestions of Synod herself. In
1844 the Maryland Synod had appointed a committee to prepare an
"Abstract," which, in a way, was to serve as a substitute for the
Augsburg Confession. This "Abstract," though not adopted by the Maryland
Synod, was a forerunner of the Definite Platform. Schmucker, says Dr.
Spaeth, "was so much pleased with the 'Abstract' that he referred to it
again and again in his lectures and articles, and even made his students
commit to memory its principal statements. In an article on the
'Vocation of the American Lutheran Church' (_Ev. Review_ II, 510)
Schmucker said: 'With the exception of several minor shades of doctrine,
in which we are more symbolic than Dr. Baugher, we could not ourselves,
in so few words, give a better description of the views taught in the
seminary [Gettysburg] than that contained in his 'Abstract of the
Doctrines and Practises.'" (1, 114.) Also the General Synod, in 1845, at
Philadelphia, following in the steps of the Maryland Synod, authorized a
committee to formulate the doctrines and usages of the American Lutheran
Church. Schmucker, then, in preparing and publishing the Definite
Platform, was certainly not so very much out of tune with the sentiments
then prevailing in, and encouraged by, the General and some of the
District Synods. Consistently they could not rebuke Schmucker without
condemning themselves. Accordingly, the convention of the General Synod
in 1857, at Reading, took formal action neither with respect to
Schmucker, nor the Platform, nor the synods which had endorsed the
Platform. And while the motion of Schmucker that the Board (which had
published Mann's "Plea") should not publish any writings on the existing
controversies was adopted, the motion of Kurtz for a "liberal platform"
found no support. (_L. u. W._ 1857, 218.) But, while painfully avoiding
any reference to the Platform as such, the General Synod more than
tolerated its theology. The convention of 1859 cordially admitted the
Melanchthon Synod, which charged the Augustana with teaching the alleged
errors of regeneration by Baptism, of the real presence, private
confession and absolution, and the denial of the divine institution of
the Sunday. At Lancaster, 1862, Synod evaded a deliverance on the
question whether the Augsburg Confession contains the errors with which
it was generally charged; indirectly, however, it affirmed the question
by electing B. Kurtz as President. (_L. u. W._ 1862, 217.) In 1864 the
Franckean Synod was admitted with a confession of her own making, from
which the distinctive Lutheran doctrines were eliminated. And in order
to conciliate the protesting conservatives, the General Synod in the
same year passed the resolution, adopted 1856 by the Pittsburgh Synod,
which served the contradictory purposes of condemning Lutheran doctrines
plainly taught in the Augustana, and, at the same time, acquitting the
Confession of harboring these doctrines. Thus the General Synod, though
unwilling to commit herself to the Platform as such, directly and
indirectly approved of its theology.

67. Admitting Melanchthon Synod.--In 1857, on the principle of
"elective affinity," and for the purpose of resisting the confessional
trend in the General Synod, and encouraging and strengthening the
Platform men, the Melanchthon Synod was organized in the territory of
the Maryland Synod, under the leadership of B. Kurtz. In its
"Declaration of Faith" this Synod stated: "II. We believe that the
fundamental doctrines of the Word of God are taught in a manner
substantially correct in the doctrinal articles of the Augsburg
Confession: 1. The divine inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of the
Holy Scriptures. 2. The unity of the Godhead and the trinity of Persons
therein. 3. The deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4. The utter depravity
of human nature in consequence of the Fall. 5. The incarnation of the
Son of God and His work of atonement for sinners of mankind. 6. The
necessity of repentance and faith. 7. The justification of a sinner by
faith alone. 8. The work of the Holy Spirit in the conversion and
sanctification of the sinner. 9. The right and duty of private judgment
in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. 10. The immortality of the
soul, the resurrection of the body, the judgment of the world by Jesus
Christ, with the eternal blessedness of the righteous and the eternal
punishment of the wicked. 11. The divine institution and perpetuity of
the Christian ministry, and the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's
Supper. But while we thus publicly avow and declare our convictions in
the substantial correctness of the fundamental doctrines of the Augsburg
Confession, we owe it to ourselves and to the cause of evangelical truth
to disavow and repudiate certain errors which are said by some to be
contained in said Confession: 1. The approval of the ceremonies of the
mass; 2. private confession and absolution; 3. denial of the divine
obligation of the Christian Sabbath; 4. baptismal regeneration; and 5.
the real presence of the body and blood of the Savior in the Eucharist.
With these exceptions, whether found in the Confession or not, we
believe and retain the entire Augsburg Confession, with all the great
doctrines of the Reformation." (_L. u. W._ 1858, 28.) In spite of this
attitude toward the Augustana the General Synod, in 1859, on motion of
Krauth, Jr., passed the resolution: "Resolved, That we cordially admit
the Melanchthon Synod, and ... we would fraternally solicit them to
consider whether a change, in their doctrinal basis, of the paragraph in
regard to certain alleged errors would not tend to the promotion of
mutual love, and the furtherance of the great objects for which we are
laboring together." (_Proceedings_ 1859, 11.) The vote for the admission
of the un-Lutheran Synod, registering the victory of the liberals and
the defeat of the conservatives, stood 98 to 26, the entire delegation
of the Pennsylvania Ministerium and the three Scandinavian delegates
being recorded in the negative. Without further protest on the part of
the conservatives "the credentials of the [Melanchthon Synod] delegates
were then presented and their names entered upon the roll of Synod."
(12.) Confirming their doctrinal position, the Melanchthon Synod, in
1860, by formal resolution, approved of a sermon delivered by B. Kurtz
in which he denounced baptismal regeneration as "a part of papistical
superstition" and the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in,
with, and under the bread and wine as "consubstantiation," and "just as
untenable and absurd as transubstantiation." (_L. u. W._ 1860, 384.)
Considering the Constitution of the General Synod together with the fact
that the Platform synods had not been molested, the admission of the
Melanchthon Synod, advocated by Krauth, cannot be construed as
inconsistent. It must, however, be regarded as an indirect approval, on
the part of the General Synod, of the Platform theology. Dr. Mann
remarked, "he doubted not that there was much good in the constitution
of the Melanchthon Synod; but he would not eat poisoned bread, though
there was much good flour in it." (_L. u. W._ 1859, 196.)

68. Synod's Position Explained.--In 1859 the General Synod resolved that
S. W. Harkey publish, in German as well as in English, the sermon
delivered by him as President of Synod at the opening of the convention.
(_Proceedings_, 48.) Harkey was an opponent of the Platform on the order
of Brown and Conrad. In 1852, in his inaugural address as professor of
theology at the Illinois State University in Springfield, he had
declared that we must take a firm foothold in the Augsburg Confession as
a whole without binding the consciences of men to its unessential
individual determinations; and that the doctrine of the symbols on the
Sacraments belongs to the points concerning which they had agreed to
differ. (_Lutheraner_ 9, 99.) Reaffirming this position in the sermon,
endorsed by the General Synod in 1859, Harkey said: "We want love as
much as orthodoxy, yes, a thousand times more than what some men call
orthodoxy." (6.) "The General Synod cannot and does not require perfect
unity or uniformity in all points of doctrine." (10.) "The General Synod
adopted it [Augustana] as to fundamentals, and to these she requires
unqualified subscription." (12.) "Objections have been urged against the
expression 'fundamental doctrines,' as meaning one thing in the mouth of
one man and a different thing in that of another--that to some
everything is fundamental and to others only a few points. Now I cannot
reply to this at length, at present, but have only to say in few words
that there are fundamental doctrines in Christianity, and everybody not
spoiled by his theory or philosophy knows what they are [the doctrines
held in common by all evangelical denominations]. Indeed, I feel like
sternly rebuking the infidelity which lies concealed beneath this
objection, as if Christians had not been able to determine, in eighteen
hundred years, what are the fundamental, chief, or great doctrines of
their holy religion. Down on all such quibbling! Others have objected to
the words 'substantially correct,' as meaning anything or nothing, at
pleasure. This, like the other objection, is a quibble. None can err
here, unless it be wilfully.... The amount of the whole is, '_In
necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas_.' This is as
far as the General Synod has gone or could go; but it does not interfere
with the liberty of the District Synods. Any District Synod may go
beyond this, and adopt the Augsburg Confession in an unqualified manner;
or it may state the points in which it dissents from it, and if not
'fundamental,' no objection can be made to its admission into the
General Synod; but no body adopting a different Confession, or the
Augsburg Confession less fully than as containing 'the fundamental
doctrines of the Word of God in a manner substantially correct,' could
be admitted into the union of the General Synod." (13.) "Does any one
say doctrinal 'tares' are found in it, growing among the pure wheat of
God's truth, and that he is anxious only 'to pluck up the tares'? I
answer, 'Nay; lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the
wheat with them.' Let the venerable Confession stand just as it is,
especially since you are bound only to receive it as containing the
fundamental truths of God's Word." (14.) "Cease, O! cease from your
controversies and disputes about non-essential points of doctrine and
practise, and labor with all your might for the conversion and
salvation of immortal souls!" (27.) In agreement with Harkey, Dr.
Reynolds had declared in the _Evangelical Review_, July, 1858, that
within the General Synod every one was privileged either to reject or to
accept the doctrines enumerated as errors by the Platform. (_L. u. W._
1858, 274.) And prior to, and in agreement with, both, Krauth, Jr., had
maintained in the _Missionary_, April 30, 1857, that such men as
Schmucker and Kurtz formed a legitimate variety in the General Synod.
(Spaeth, 1, 397.) "The Church in the United States," said Krauth, "wants
neither Symbololatry nor Schism, neither a German Lutheranism, in an
exclusive sense, nor an American Lutheranism, in a separatistic one, but
an Evangelical Lutheranism broad enough to embrace both, and to make
each vitalize and bless the other, and supply the mutual defects of
each. She will abide by the essentials of her Scripture-doctrine and of
her Christian life, but she will use her liberty to adapt herself to her
new position on this continent. She will neither be juggled out of her
faith by one set of operators, nor out of her freedom by another. She
will hold fast that which she has, and those who strive to take her
crown from her will be remembered only by their utter and ignominious
failure. The General Synod cannot take a higher position as to doctrine
than her present one; she cannot take a lower one; therefore she must
remain where she is." (401.) "That Church, then, is not Evangelical
Lutheran which officially rejects the Augsburg Confession, or officially
rejects, or requires, directly or indirectly, on the part of its members,
a rejection of the Augsburg Confession, or a connivance at such official
rejection." (407.) Doctrinally, then, the General Synod, as such, had
not advanced beyond the union letter of November, 1845. The scheme and
dream of the New School men, however, of officially substituting a new
confession for the Augustana was doomed to oblivion.


69. Radical Franckean Synod Admitted.--The Franckean Synod was organized
1837 by four members who had withdrawn from the Hartwick Synod for these
reasons: "1. To license pious, intelligent men, sound in faith, although
they may not be classically educated, or have pursued a regular
theological course; 2. to license or admit none to the ministry who are
unacquainted with experimental religion." The synod pressed "new
measures" and advocated abstinence. In a civil suit, in 1844,
Vice-Chancellor Sandford decided that the Franckean Synod was not
Lutheran, and awarded the property involved in the suit to the two
congregations in Schoharie County, which had refused to follow their
pastor in joining the new synod. ( _L. u. W._ 1864, 187. 283.) The
Franckeans had abandoned the Augsburg Confession and adopted a
"Declaration of Faith," of which Sandford says: "1. It does not maintain
and declare the doctrine of the Trinity, or that the three Persons
constituting the Godhead are equal in power and glory; or even that
there are three Persons constituting the Deity. 2. It does not declare
or admit the divinity of Jesus Christ, or His equality with God the
Father. 3. It does not teach or declare that man will be condemned to
punishment in a future state because of original or inherited sin,
unless it be repented of; or that it condemneth all who are not born
again of water and the Holy Ghost." (Jacobs, 385.) The paragraph of the
"Declaration" on Baptism and the Lord's Supper reads: "9. That Christ
has instituted the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper for the
perpetual observance and edification of the Church. Baptism is the
initiatory ordinance, and signifies the necessity of holiness of heart;
and the Lord's Supper is frequently to be celebrated as a token of faith
in the atonement of Christ and of brotherly love." In 1839, at
Chambersburg, the General Synod had censured both the Franckean and
Tennessee Synods as the two extremes "causing disturbances and divisions
in our churches," and standing in the way of the union advocated by the
General Synod. (_Proceedings_, 17.) In 1857, however, in order to pave
the way for a union with the Franckean Synod, Synod rescinded its action
of 1839 as "not in accordance with the spirit of our constitution, and
not the sentiment of this convention," thus indirectly declaring its
willingness to receive both, the most radical and the most orthodox of
Lutheran synods. (25.) And in 1864, at York, after protracted debates
and subsequent to the declaration on the part of the Franckean delegates
that they fully understood that in adopting the constitution of the
General Synod they were adopting its doctrinal position, _viz._, "that
the fundamental truths of the Word of God are taught in a manner
substantially correct in the Augsburg Confession," the following
resolution was carried, with 97 against 40 votes: "Resolved, That the
Franckean Synod is hereby received into connection with the General
Synod, with the understanding that said Synod, at its next meeting,
declare, in an official manner, its adoption of the doctrinal articles
of the Augsburg Confession as a substantially correct exhibition of the
fundamental doctrines of the Word of God." The credentials of the
delegates were then presented and their names entered upon the roll of
Synod. (12. 17. 18. 19. 23. 41.) Abolition of the "Declaration" was not
demanded. (_L. u. W._ 1864, 283.) Majority men argued: Recognition of
the Augsburg Confession was not required in order to unite with the
General Synod; the principle excluding the Franckean Synod necessitated
the expulsion also of the Platform synods; it was destructive of the
General Synod itself, because its original constitution did not refer to
the Augsburg Confession. (_L. u. W._ 1864, 187.) The minority, among
whom the delegates of the Pennsylvania Synod were prominent, protested
against the admission of the Franckean Synod, declaring "that by this
action of the General Synod its constitution has been sadly, lamentably
violated." And when Synod refused to reconsider her action, the
Pennsylvania delegates, appealing to the conditions upon which they had
reentered the General Synod in 1853, publicly declared their withdrawal.
At Fort Wayne, 1866, the General Synod "resolved, That, inasmuch as the
Franckean Synod has complied with the condition of admission laid down
by the last General Synod, its delegation be received." (17.) In the
same year, however, the Western Conference of the Franckean Synod had
organized as "Mission Synod of the West" in order to "Americanize"
Lutherans in Iowa, Minnesota, etc. Rev. Fair, a member of this synod,
wrote: For what is it (the Augsburg Confession) but a bit of paper and
ink, containing, indeed, some good truths, but likewise also virulent
errors; therefore let it go where finally all error must go--to hell.
(_L. u. W._ 1866, 380f.) The fifth article of the Incorporation Charter
of the "Mission Synod of the West" provided that, since the Augsburg
Confession taught regeneration by Baptism, the bodily presence of Christ
in the Lord's Supper, private confession and absolution, and rejected
the divine institution and obligation of the Christian Sabbath,
ministers who were in favor of subscribing to the Augustana as a test of
membership, etc., should not be received into Synod, nor employed as
teachers in its colleges or as ministers in its congregations. As its
doctrinal basis the Mission Synod adopted the "Declaration of Faith" of
the Franckean Synod as containing all fundamental doctrines of the Word
of God, all that is truly evangelical in the Augsburg Confession. This
radical attitude was criticized by the _Observer_, not, however, as
false, but as too open, unguarded, and unwise. (_L. u. W._ 1866, 199f.)
At Fort Wayne, 1866, the General Synod advised the Franckean Synod "to
dissolve the distant Mission Synod of the West, and direct the ministers
now composing it to apply for admission to those synods within whose
bounds they may reside"; its radical confessional attitude, however, was
not criticized. (35.) As late as 1899 A.S. Hardy wrote concerning the
Franckean Synod: "Both her 'Declaration of Faith' and practise
[revivalism] discloses naught but a firm Lutheran position, though of
Pietistic type." (_Luth. Cycl._, 480.) Self-evidently, the admission of
the Franckean Synod was generally regarded as a further victory of the
liberal element of the General Synod over the conservatives.

70. York Amendment.--After the General Synod, at York, had passed the
resolution to receive the Franckean Synod, 28 delegates entered a
protest against this action as being in violation of the constitution,
and the delegates of the Pennsylvania Synod declared their withdrawal.
Yet the admission of the Franckean Synod was not reconsidered. But in
order to satisfy the conservatives, and to obviate further
disintegration, the victorious liberals, realizing the seriousness of
the crisis, consented to amend the constitution and to adopt the
Pittsburgh resolution of 1856 on the alleged errors in the Augustana.
Accordingly, Art. III, Sec. 3, adopted 1835, was amended as follows:
"All regularly constituted Lutheran synods not now in connection with
the General Synod, receiving and holding, with the Evangelical Lutheran
Church of our fathers, the Word of God, as contained in the canonical
Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as the only infallible rule
of faith and practise, and the Augsburg Confession as a correct
exhibition of the fundamental doctrines of the Divine Word and of the
faith of our Church, founded upon that Word, may at any time become
associated with the General Synod by complying with the requisitions of
this constitution and sending delegates to its convention according to
the ratio specified in Article II." (_Proceedings_ 1864, 39.) This
amendment, constitutionally adopted 1869 in Washington, D. C., remained
the confessional formula till 1913, when, at Atchison, Kans., it was
supplanted by the present doctrinal basis. Inasmuch as it canceled both
the former limitation to the twenty-one doctrinal articles and the
phrase "in a manner substantially correct," the York Amendment was an
improvement on the General Synod's basis. Yet the formula was left
ambiguous, because the question was not decided whether all of the
articles of the Augsburg Confession were to be regarded as fundamental
doctrines of the Bible. The facts are: 1. While, indeed, all doctrines
of the Augsburg Confession are Scriptural, not all of them, _e.g._, the
doctrine of the Sunday, are fundamental doctrines of the Bible. 2. The
leading men of the General Synod, after as well as before 1864, declined
to accept even all of the twenty-one doctrinal articles as Scriptural
and fundamental. 3. After as well as before 1864 they justified their
deviations by referring to, and interpreting, the phrase "fundamental
doctrines" as a limitation of their subscription to the Augsburg
Confession. Dr. Spaeth: "Again and again it was openly declared that a
strict and faithful adherence to the Confession, as fundamental in all
its doctrinal statements, was 'irrational, unscriptural, and
un-Lutheran.' (_Luth. Observer_, Nov. 17, 1865.) The demand was made
that Lutherans should no longer insist upon such points as fundamental
'about which the ablest theologians and most devout Christians have not
been entirely agreed.... Sooner than yield on this point we would see
the Church perish.' (_Lutheran Observer_, Dec. 1, 1865.)" (2, 113.)

71. York Resolution.--Granting that the York Amendment, in a measure,
marked a step forward, the so-called York Resolution, quoted above, was
more than a step backward. It neutralized the Amendment, and practically
identified Synod with the theology of the Platform. Indirectly it
rejected the Lutheran doctrines of the real presence, absolution, and
the Sabbath. In brief, the York convention had betrayed the cause of
Lutheran confessionalism--a fact which only very gradually dawned on the
conservatives. Dr. Spaeth, quoting Krauth of September 10, 1868, who in
the _Lutheran and Missionary_, April 14, 1864, a month prior to the
convention of the General Synod in York, had declared that the Eleventh
Article of the Augsburg Confession "is not fundamental, and never has
been so regarded by the Lutheran Church, in any part of the world,"
says: "The Pennsylvania Synod, with that charity [blindness] which
believeth all things, regarded the subsequent resolutions of the General
Synod [at York] professedly in vindication of the Augsburg Confession as
earnest and the token of a better mind. Taken in the meaning of those
who offered them, they would have been[?] such a token. The after-events
showed that they were designed by the majority as an adroit piece of
thimble-rig. Passed in their earliest form in the Pittsburgh Synod to
counteract the Definite Platform [but not its theology], these
resolutions were so modified [the changes are of no theological import]
by the General Synod as to be, in the sense it put into them
[historically no other sense was possible], the Definite Platform itself
in a new form. Their representative men had made a 'Recension' of the
Augsburg Confession, which made it mean everything it did not mean; and
now the General Synod, moved largely by the lobby influence which was
the power behind the throne, mightier than the throne itself, made a
recension of the Pittsburgh resolutions, which commuted [?] them into
the poison to which they had originally been [?] the antidote." (2,138.)
While the Amendment apparently gratified and conciliated the
conservatives, also those of the Pennsylvania Synod, the York Resolution
more than satisfied the liberals. Dr. Spaeth: "The _Lutheran Observer_
greeted the action of the General Synod on the last day of its
convention in an enthusiastic editorial: 'Now we know where we stand,
and there is no longer room for controversy and the personal abuse of
intolerant exclusionists. We all stand on the Augsburg Confession, with
the qualifications and moral restrictions defined in the accompanying
resolutions, so that we are true Lutherans ... without hyperorthodoxy
and exclusivism on the one hand or radicalism on the other.' And even
the Pennsylvania Synod looked upon the action of the General Synod as
the indication 'of an earnest desire to stand firmly and faithfully upon
the true basis of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and to prevent
forever the reception of any synod which could not and would not stand
upon this basis.'" (134.) Even such out-and-out Reformed theologians as
Schmucker, Kurtz, Brown, Butler, etc., did not find the York Amendment
and Resolution too narrow. (_L. u. W._ 1909, 91.) The General Synod,
they maintained, adopted the Augsburg Confession "as to fundamentals,"
the doctrines held in common by all Evangelical denominations. "We
repeat, this received the unanimous sanction of the General Synod," Dr.
Brown declared in his pamphlet "The General Synod and Her Assailants."
(13.) Rejecting the position adopted 1865 by the Pennsylvania Synod that
"all the doctrinal articles of the Augsburg Confession do set forth
fundamental doctrines of Holy Scripture," J.A. Brown continues: "The
General Synod does not now seek, nor has she ever sought, to magnify
non-essential doctrines, or to make of chief importance those matters in
which she differs from other orthodox" (non-Unitarian) "denominations;
but has aimed at a catholic Lutheranism that might embrace the various
portions of the Lutheran Church in the land, willing to unite on such a
basis, and also bring her into cordial and active cooperation with other
evangelical churches in the great work of extending the Redeemer's
kingdom. To this her constitution binds her, and she can only become
narrow and exclusive by disregarding the very law of her own existence."
(21.) In order to prepare the General Synod for its indifferentistic
attitude, the _Lutheran Observer_ had suggested, prior to the convention
at York, that an unconditional armistice be declared for fifteen years,
or that the questions be discussed on the basis of Scripture only, to
the exclusion of the symbols. "We are all sufficiently Lutheran,"
declared the _Observer_. Not a word, said he, should be spoken,
calculated to offend any brother. In lecture-rooms and periodicals
doctrinal questions might be ventilated. "But," the _Observer_
continued, "keep controversies out of the General Synod! Let this synod
in truth be a bond of unity on its old liberal basis, which is broad
enough, Scriptural enough, and Lutheran enough for the whole Church of
this country to rest upon. We need no better one than the good old
basis. We need brotherly love and harmony, and brotherly comity, and the
Spirit of the Lord in our approaching convention at York. The
sacramental questions are sufficiently discussed in printed books."
(_L. u. W._ 1864, 124.) Thus the General Synod, at the conventions
subsequent to the publication of the Definite Platform, notably the
convention at York, 1864, had once again, by applying its old principle
of agreeing to disagree and unionistically reconciling contradictories,
apparently succeeded in keeping them all in the fold, conservatives as
well as liberals.


72. Southern Synods Withdrawing.--One of the arguments advanced against
confessionalism was that synods subscribing to all of the Lutheran
symbols neither agreed in doctrine, nor succeeded in effecting a union.
But did her unionistic principle enable the General Synod to steer clear
of dissensions? In 1860 the General Synod embraced two-thirds of the
Lutheran Church in America: 864 out of 1,313 pastors, and 164,000 out of
235,000 communicants. But the following decade completely shattered her
dream of a Pan-Lutheran union. In 1868 the General Synod reported 590
ministers and 86,198 communicants--hardly one-fourth of the Lutherans
then in America. At a convention in Chicago, May 7, 1860, the Swedes and
Norwegians severed their connections with the District Synod of Northern
Illinois. The rupture was the direct result of the admittance of the
Melanchthon Synod in 1859, which the Scandinavians regarded as a fateful
victory of the Platform men. In the preambles of their resolution of
withdrawal the seceders state: "Whereas we are fully convinced that
there is a decided doctrinal difference in our synod; and whereas there
in reality already exists a disunion, instead of union, in the synod;
and whereas strife and contention tend to destroy confidence, and to
weaken our hands and retard our progress; and whereas we are liable at
any time, by an accidental majority of votes against our doctrinal
position, to have a change forced upon us; and whereas it is our highest
duty to maintain and preserve unmutilated our confession of faith, both
in our congregations and in the theological instruction imparted to, and
the influence brought to bear upon, our students, who are to be the
future ministers and pastors of our congregations; and whereas our
experience clearly demonstrates to us that we cannot be sure of this, in
the relations we have heretofore sustained." (Jacobs, 449.) The
Scandinavians were followed by the Synods of the South. At Lancaster,
May, 1862, the General Synod passed and, by a committee, presented to
President Lincoln resolutions respecting the Rebellion. Among them were
the following: "Resolved, That it is the deliberate judgment of this
Synod that the rebellion against the constitutional Government of this
land is most wicked in its inception, unjustifiable in its cause,
unnatural in its character, inhuman in its prosecution, oppressive in
its aims, and destructive in its results to the highest interests of
morality and religion." "Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with all
loyal citizens and Christian patriots in the rebellious portions of our
country, and we cordially invite their cooperation, in offering united
supplications at a Throne of Grace, that God would restore peace to our
distracted country, reestablish fraternal relations between all the
States, and make our land, in all time to come, the asylum of the
oppressed and the permanent abode of liberty and religion." (30.) Two
further resolutions were added with special reference to the Southern
Lutherans: "Resolved, That this Synod cannot but express its most
decided disapprobation of the course of these synods and ministers,
heretofore connected with this body, in the open sympathy and active
cooperation which they have given to the cause of treason and
insurrection." "Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with our people in
the Southern States, who, maintaining their proper Christian loyalty,
have in consequence been compelled to suffer persecution and wrong,
and we hail with pleasure the near approach of their deliverance and
restoration to our Christian and ecclesiastical fellowship." (31.) As
these resolutions practically amounted to an expulsion, the five
Southern synods felt justified in withdrawing and organizing, at
Concord, N.C., May 20, 1863, "The General Synod of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in the Confederate States of America." In 1869 the
General Synod appointed a committee to correspond with the Southern
synods on the propriety of returning to their former connection. (64.)
And in 1877 Synod declared: "The action of former General Synods was not
intended to compromise the Christian character of the ministers and
churches of the General Synod South, and is not so interpreted by us;
and if there be anything found therein that can rightfully be so
construed (_i.e._, as compromising the Christian character of said
ministers and churches), we hereby place upon record our belief that
such is not the sentiment of this body." (27.) The result was mutual
acknowledgment and an exchange of fraternal delegates.

73. The Fort Wayne Rupture.--The last and, by far, severest blow, the
separation of the synods which afterwards organized as the General
Council, came as an aftermath of the admission of the Franckean Synod
and the consequent withdrawal of the Pennsylvania delegation, in 1864,
which the General Synod construed as the act of the Ministerium of
Pennsylvania. However, since the Ministerium, reassured by the adoption
of the York Amendment and Resolution, had already resolved to maintain
its connection and to send a delegation to the next convention of the
General Synod, the Fort Wayne schism could have been averted. And
probably the break would have been avoided if the hasty establishment of
the Philadelphia Seminary (as such, an act altogether justified,
especially in the interest of the growing German element) had not caused
suspicion and chagrin within the General Synod. As it was, the
resolution of the Pennsylvania Synod, May 25, 1864, at Pottstown, to
establish a new seminary at Philadelphia, and the subsequent election,
on July 27, of Drs. C.F. Schaeffer of Gettysburg, W.J. Mann, and C.P.
Krauth as the first faculty, was generally viewed as the first actual
step toward a breach. According to Dr. Jacobs both the establishment of
the Philadelphia Seminary and the subsequent disruption of the General
Synod would probably have been avoided, "if the chair at Gettysburg,
vacated by the resignation of Dr. S.S. Schmucker, had been filled by his
[Charles Porterfield Krauth's instead of J.A. Brown's] election." (462.)
Howbeit, at its convention in Fort Wayne, May, 1866, President S.
Sprecher ruled that Synod could recognize the Pennsylvania delegation
only after receiving the report of an act on the part of the
Pennsylvania Synod reestablishing its relation to the General Synod. In
spite of vigorous protests on the part of the Pennsylvania and other
delegates, the chair in its ruling was supported by the majority of the
convention. After a good deal of parliamentary fencing and quibbling,
Synod adopted, with a vote of 77 to 32, as the "ultimate resolution":
"Resolved, That after hearing the response of the delegates of the
Pennsylvania Synod, we cannot conscientiously recede from the action
adopted by this body, believing, after full and careful deliberation,
said action to have been regular and constitutional; but that we
reaffirm our readiness to receive the delegates of said Synod as soon as
they present their credentials in due form." (_Proceedings_ 1866, 3. 5.
9. 12. 25 ff.) Of the alternatives, either practically applying for
readmission or withdrawing from the convention, the Pennsylvania
delegation chose the latter course. At the same time they stated "that
in retiring, as they now do, they distinctly declare that this their act
in no sense or degree affects the relations of the Pennsylvania Synod to
the General Synod." (28.) President A.J. Brown replied in behalf of the
General Synod: "This body has not decided at any time that the
Pennsylvania Synod was out of the General Synod. But having by its
delegation openly withdrawn from the sessions of the General Synod, at
York, Pa., the former President [Sprecher] ruled that the practical
relation of the Synod of Pennsylvania to the General Synod was such that
no report could be heard from that Synod until the General Synod was
organized.... The General Synod hereby extend to the delegation from the
Synod of Pennsylvania the assurance of its kindest regard." (28.) "The
die was cast," says E.J. Wolf. "The prospect of a general Evangelical
Lutheran organization in this country was dispelled." (369.) A few weeks
afterward the Ministerium of Pennsylvania declared its connection with
the General Synod dissolved. The New York Ministerium, the Pittsburgh
Synod, the English Synod of Ohio, and the synods of Illinois, Minnesota,
and Texas followed suit. In 1873 the General Synod, on motion of Dr.
Morris, proposed an interchange of delegates to the General Council. The
Council proposed, instead, a colloquium--a proposition which was
accepted by the General Synod South, but declined by the General Synod
in 1875. The Lutheran Diets held in 1877 and 1878 at Philadelphia,
though temporarily barren of results, helped to pave the way for the
General Synod's revision of its doctrinal basis and the subsequent
establishment of fraternal relations and interchange of delegates
between the two general bodies.

74. Subsequent Separations.--Within the seceding synods the Fort Wayne
rupture also led to various internal separations. A number of English
pastors and congregations, in 1867, severed their connection with the
New York Ministerium (leaving it an almost exclusively German body) and
formed the New York Synod which, in turn, joined the General Synod. In
the same year ten ministers and seven laymen withdrew from the
Pittsburgh Synod, on the ground that, in adopting the Principles of the
General Council, Synod had violated its constitution. The receding party
claimed the name of the Synod, and as such was recognized by the General
Synod. A minority of the Illinois Synod organized the Central Illinois
Synod, which also united with the General Synod. The Pennsylvania
Ministerium, too, lost some of its pastors and congregations, which
united with the East Pennsylvania Synod, a member of the General Synod.
The Central Pennsylvania Synod received a few Pennsylvania Ministerium
congregations. On the other hand, pastors and congregations in
Philadelphia and the neighborhood, hitherto belonging to the East
Pennsylvania Synod, united with the Ministerium of Pennsylvania. The
English Church at Fort Wayne, in which the battle of 1866 had been
fought, entered the Pittsburgh Synod of the General Council. Other
congregations in various parts of the country united with other synods
of the Council. Some congregations were divided, one portion remaining
with the Council, the other entering the General Synod and _vice versa_,
while law suits were carried on by rival claimants for the property.
(Ochsenford, _Doc. History_, 166.)

75. Causes of Disruption.--Though not publicly advanced and pressed at
Fort Wayne, the ultimate reason of the separation was the growing
confessional trend within the Pennsylvania and New York Ministeriums
and other synods over against the confessional and doctrinal laxism of
the leaders and the majority of the General Synod. In 1853, when the
Pennsylvania Synod reunited with the General Synod, the former body
resolved that, "should the General Synod violate its constitution and
require of our synod assent to anything conflicting with the old and
long-established faith of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, then our
delegates are hereby required to protest against such action, to
withdraw from its sessions, and to report to this body." (_Minutes of
Penn. Synod_ 1853, 18.) For confessional reasons the entire Pennsylvania
delegation in 1859 voted against the admission of the liberal
Melanchthon Synod which succored the Platform men. After the admission,
at York, 1864, of the un-Lutheran Franckean Synod in spite of the
protest of 28 representatives of various synods, the Pennsylvania
delegation, referring to the resolution of 1853, submitted a paper in
which they declared that, since the terms upon which the Franckean
Synod was admitted were in direct violation of the constitution of the
General Synod, they would withdraw in order to report to their synod.
(_Proceedings_ 1864, 25.) In the same year the Pennsylvania Synod
approved of the action of their delegates. In 1865 she resolved, "That,
in our judgment, all the doctrinal articles of the Augsburg Confession
do set forth fundamental doctrines of Holy Scripture." At the same time
she reaffirmed her resolution of 1853, but, being reassured by the
adoption of the York Amendment and Resolution, decided to maintain her
connection and wend a delegation to the convention of the General Synod
at Fort Wayne. Accordingly, at Fort Wayne, the Pennsylvania delegates
advanced no further scruples respecting the admittance of the Franckean
Synod, and declared themselves satisfied with the doctrinal basis of the
General Synod. In his pamphlet "The General Synod and Her Assailants,"
J.A. Brown says: "At Fort Wayne and on the floor of the General Synod it
was repeated, again and again, that there were no doctrinal difficulties
between the Synod of Pennsylvania and the General Synod, that all were
now satisfied with the doctrinal position of the General Synod. It was
declared to be entirely a question of order." (11.) Yet back of the
diplomatic technicalities and parliamentary fencing were the conflicting
principles of governmental centralization _versus_ independence of the
District Synods, and especially of liberalism _versus_ confessionalism.
And although the subsequent separation did not proceed on purely
confessional and doctrinal lines, the bulk of the conservatives,
including practically all truly Lutheran conservatives, went with the
seceders, while the great majority of the liberals remained in the
General Synod. (_L. u. W._ 1868, 95.) In its issue of January 30, 1868,
the _American Lutheran_ commented: "Now that the symbolistic element has
been eliminated from the General Synod, for which we may thank God, we
are enabled to speak and write our peculiarly American Lutheran thoughts
without having to fear that we offend those who never were in agreement
with us. Our unfortunate York Compromise with our symbolistic brethren
failed, like all compromises." (_L. U. W._ 1868, 95.)


76. Dr. Samuel Simon Schmucker.--That the actual doctrinal position of
the General Synod, especially during the first half of its history, was
much lower than its official confessional formulas would lead one to
believe, appears from a glance at some of the most prominent men of this
period. S.S. Schmucker (1799-1873), the author of 44 books and
pamphlets, and perhaps the most influential man of the General Synod,
was not merely a unionistic, but a pronounced Reformed theologian,
rejecting and denouncing all doctrines distinctive of Lutheranism, as
shown in the preceding pages of this history. He was a scholar of
Helmuth, and finished his theological studies at Princeton, 1818-1820.
From 1820 to 1826 he was active in pastoral work at New Market, Va.; and
from 1826 to 1864 he filled the chair of Didactic Theology at
Gettysburg, training about 400 men. After his resignation in 1864 till
the end of his life, in 1873, he devoted himself to authorship. His
first larger publication was a translation of Storr and Flatt's
_Biblical Theology_. His _Popular Theology_ appeared 1834 and passed
through eight editions. Schmucker also was the author of most of the
General Synod's organic documents, as the constitution and the formula
of government and discipline for its synods and churches, the
constitution of the theological seminary, etc. In London, 1846, at the
organization of the Evangelical Alliance by Dr. Chalmers, Schmucker,
because of his "Appeal" written in 1831, was lauded by Dr. King of
Ireland as the "Father" of the Evangelical Alliance. The nine articles
adopted by the Alliance were regarded by Schmucker as a sufficient basis
for a union of Evangelical Christendom. They formed the standard
according to which he revised the Augsburg Confession in the Definite
Platform of 1855, which "alienated from him many former friends and
clouded the evening of his days." (_Luth. Cycl._, 433.) According to the
Memorial of the convention of the General Synod in 1875, Schmucker is to
be remembered as "the first professor of theology in the Theological
Seminary of the General Synod, a chair filled by him with distinguished
ability for nearly forty years; a man most successful in the work of
organization, whose wisdom, energy, and devotion to the Church
contributed most largely to the development of the General Synod, to the
founding of her literary and theological institutions, and the
organization of her benevolent societies." (41.)

77. Dr. Benjamin Kurtz.--Shoulder to shoulder with Schmucker stood B.
Kurtz (1795-1865). He studied theology under G. Lochman; was assistant
pastor to his uncle, J. Daniel Kurtz, at Baltimore in 1815; pastor at
Hagerstown, Md., from 1815 to 1831; at Chambersburg, Pa., from 1831 to
1833; editor of the _Lutheran Observer_ from 1833 to 1861. His book _Why
You Are a Lutheran_ had a wide circulation. In 1841, at Baltimore, Kurtz
was appointed by the General Synod to write a "judiciously written life
of Luther," which, however, though later committed to Reynolds, never
appeared. In most enthusiastic manner Kurtz pleaded the cause of the
General Synod, not only in America, but also in Europe, where he
succeeded in collecting $12,000 for the Gettysburg Seminary.
(_Proceedings_ 1827, 29.) In the _Observer_ of July 3, 1857, Kurtz made
the following confession: Originally he, too, had endeavored to teach
"on the benefit of the Sacrament" in complete accordance with the
symbolical books; later, when such was no longer possible to him, he had
explained his own faith into the Catechism; this becoming a burden to
his conscience, he had been on the point of joining the Presbyterians or
Methodists; his older colleagues, however, had held him back from taking
this step; they had advised him not to be troubled about such matters,
as the Lutheran Church was far too liberal mid generous to insist on
agreement with the symbols on minor matters, and that without
compunction they themselves deviated in various points from the
Confessions farther than he did, it being sufficient to adhere to the
great fundamental doctrines; this advice had suddenly given comfort to
his heart and made the Lutheran Church dearer to him than before; and
ever since he had boldly told his catechumens that he did not believe
what the Catechism teaches of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, etc. Thus
Kurtz's Lutheranism, like that of Schmucker's, deteriorated as the years
rolled on. Kurtz was a fiery advocate of "new measures," revivals,
protracted meetings, Sabbath- and temperance-reform, etc., and an ardent
champion of "American Lutheranism" and the Definite Platform. He
violently opposed every effort at Lutheranizing and confessionalizing
the General Synod. Through the _Lutheran Observer_ he wielded a
tremendous influence, weekly filling it with ferocious attacks on the
Lutheran symbols and the "symbolists" who opposed the Reformed theology
of Schmucker and his compeers, and ridiculing in the coarsest fashion
everything distinctive of true and historic Lutheranism. In its issue of
November 23, 1849, Kurtz wrote, revealing the spirit that moved him:
"The Fathers--who are the 'Fathers'? They are the children; they lived
in the infancy of the Church, in the early dawn of the Gospel-day. John
was the greatest among the prophets, and yet he that was the least in
the kingdom of God, in the Christian Church, was greater than he. He
probably knew less, and that little less distinctly, than a
Sunday-school child, ten years of age, in the present day. Even the
Apostle Peter, after all the personal instruction of Christ, could not
expand his views sufficiently to learn that the Gospel was to be
preached to the Gentiles, and that the Church of Christ was to compass
the whole world. A special miracle was wrought to remove his prejudice
and convince him of his folly. Every well-instructed Sunday-school child
understands this thing, without a miracle, better than Peter did. Who,
then, are the 'Fathers'? They have become the Children; they were the
Fathers compared with those who lived in the infancy of the Jewish
dispensation; but, compared with the present and advanced age, they are
the Children, and the learned and pious of the nineteenth century are
the Fathers. We are three hundred years older than Luther and his noble
coadjutors, and eighteen hundred years older than the primitives; theirs
was the age of infancy and adolescence, and ours that of full-grown,
adult manhood. They were the Children; we are the Fathers; the tables
are turned." Down to its merger in 1915 with the _Lutheran Church Work_,
the _Observer_ has always borne the stamp of Kurtz's Reformed and
Methodistic theology, as well as of his fanatical and Puritanic spirit.
In 1858 Kurtz founded _The Mission Institute_, which was declared to be
non-sectarian. (_L. u. W._ 1858, 351.) In 1862 he wrote: "With the
editor of the _Lutheran_ I am an admirer of the Augsburg Confession, but
he must allow me to interpret it for myself, as I allow him." (_L. u.
W._ 1862, 152.) Kurtz and the _Observer_ were never censured by the
General Synod. Moreover, in 1866, at Fort Wayne, Synod resolved, in
memory of B. Kurtz, "that by this afflicting dispensation the Lutheran
Church has lost one of her oldest, most faithful, and successful
ministers; the General Synod, one of her earliest, ablest, and most
constant defenders; and the cause of Protestantism and Evangelical piety
in our country, one of its most enlightened and fearless advocates."

78. Dr. Samuel Sprecher (1810-1905) was the brother-in-law and most
devoted and enthusiastic supporter of Schmucker. From 1849 to 1884 he
was president of Wittenberg College in Springfield, O., which was most
advanced in the advocacy and development of Schmucker's brand of
American Lutheranism. Again and again Sprecher urged the necessity of
making a bold and honest statement setting forth the exact tenets of
American Lutheranism. "I do not see," he said, "how we can do otherwise
than adopt the symbols of the Church, or form a new symbol, which shall
embrace all that is fundamental to Christianity in them, rejecting what
is un-scriptural, and supplying what is defective." (Spaeth, 1, 347.)
Determined in his blind opposition to "symbolism," Sprecher insisted
that the General Synod refuse admission to such as adhered to the
Lutheran symbols and their doctrines, and declined to subscribe to the
Platform. In 1858 the _Religious Telescope_ said in praise of Sprecher:
"He is a Bible-Lutheran and does not cram the heads of his students with
baptismal regeneration nonsense and similar semipapal imbecilities."
(_Observer_, Feb. 25, 1858; _L. u. W._ 1858, 126.) Toward the end of his
life Sprecher receded from his former position. In the _Lutheran
Evangelist_, January 15, 1892, he wrote: "I can now say, as I could not
formerly, that, like Spener, I can for myself accept the symbols of the
Church without reserve.... It is true that I did once think 'The
Definite Synodical Platform' (that modification of Lutheranism which
perhaps has been properly called 'the culmination of Melanchthonianism')
desirable and practicable, and that I now regard all such modifications
of our creed as hopeless. In the mean time an increased knowledge of the
spirit, methods, and literature of the Missouri Synod has convinced me
that such alterations are undesirable, that the elements of true
Pietism, that a sense of the necessity of personal religion, and the
importance of personal assurance of salvation, can be maintained in
connection with a Lutheranism modified 'by the Puritan element.'"
(Jacobs, 369; Neve, 113.) In 1906 the _Observer_ remarked: "It was
Sprecher's fear that true evangelical piety and the certainty of faith
could not be maintained so well under a strict orthodoxy that made him
hesitate to embrace all of the symbolical books of the Lutheran Church
in his system of faith.... This was one of the effects upon him of the
New England theology with which he came in contact largely in his early
life." (_L. u. W._ 1906, 277.) But even after his manly retraction
Sprecher was not completely cured of the virus of Reformed subjectivism.
Sprecher was among the first who, within the General Synod, declared
that "inspiration does not make a book free of ... grammatical errors,
rhetorical faults, and historical inaccuracies in minor and secondary
matters." (_L. u. W._ 1871, 126.)

79. Dr. James Allen Brown.--Brown, born 1821, was licensed in 1845 by the
Maryland Synod; served as pastor in various congregations; as professor
of theology in Newberry College, S.C., from 1859 to 1860; as chaplain in
the U.S. Army; as professor of Systematic Theology at Gettysburg from
1864 to 1879; as editor of the _Lutheran Quarterly_ from 1871; insane
since 1880, he died June 19, 1882. During the Platform controversy Brown
was a zealous opponent of Schmucker and regarded as a conservative. In
the _Evangelical Review_ he charged Schmucker with teaching false
doctrines concerning regeneration, justification, and inherited sin.
Articles against Brown appeared in the _Observer_ and in the _Evangelical
Review_. (_L. u. W._ 1858, 65.) Though an opponent of Schmucker, Brown
shared practically all of his peculiarly Reformed and unionistic views.
"To separate her from the great multitude of God's sacramental host,
degrades the Lutheran Church, the Mother Church of the Reformation,"
Brown declared in his pamphlet against the assailants of the General
Synod. (22.) And when asked, in 1868, in the lawsuit of Hebron
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Leechburg: "Do you believe as Professor
of Didactic Theology at the Seminary of the General Synod that the
doctrines of the Augsburg Confession agree with Holy Scripture?" Brown
answered under oath, "I hold the Augsburg Confession to be a correct
exhibition of the fundamental doctrines of the divine Word." Asked
again, "Do you believe as such Professor that the Augsburg Confession
teaches some things which are not in harmony with the Bible?" he
answered, "In certain points there are, according to what appears to be
its true and original sense, some things taught in the Augsburg
Confession which I do not consider as taught in the Bible or in
agreement therewith." Requested to enumerate fundamental doctrines of
the Word of God found in the Augsburg Confession to which the
constitution of the General Synod referred, he mentioned seven of the
twenty-one articles as fundamental, one as not fundamental, and all the
others as containing doctrines of fundamental character, but not
fundamental in their exact expression. In his pamphlet, "The General
Synod and Her Assailants," Brown wrote: The Lutheran Church has its
confessions, liturgies, etc., "but she enforces none of them upon her
members in the form of rigorous and compulsatory law; ... it does not
lie in the genius of our Church to enforce her utterances, in all their
details, as if they were indispensable, either to Christianity or
herself." (12.)

80. Dr. J.G. Butler and the "Lutheran Evangelist."--Dr. Butler, pastor
of the Lutheran Memorial Church in Washington, D.C., and editor of the
_Lutheran Evangelist_, was among the most liberal of the General Synod
pastors and in every respect a unionistic-Reformed-Methodistic
theologian, who rejected every doctrine distinctive of Lutheranism. (_L.
u. W._ 1908, 321.) In 1895 he wrote: "I have become almost entirely
indifferent to theological and even to denominational differences of
practise and belief." (1895, 251.) In 1899: "The things which separate
us [evangelical denominations] are of a speculative nature and have
nothing to do with the substance of that faith which saves souls and is
the only hope of a lost world." (1899, 124.) At his fiftieth jubilee, in
1899, addresses were delivered by four pastors of the General Synod and
seven representatives of other denominations; 250 men "of every creed,
denomination, shade of religious faith, and political opinion" were
invited to the banquet. (1900, 26.) In 1909 Butler gave the following
advice to the Lutheran Church: "Adopt the name American Lutheran, and we
may make it one of the stepping-stones toward the union of the entire
Church.... The ideal is not uniformity in doctrine and life, but
uniformity in love for Christ and the Kingdom." (1909, 228.) In 1909,
after the death of Dr. Butler, the _Lutheran Evangelist_ was merged with
the _Lutheran Observer_. The last number of the _Evangelist_ spoke of
Butler as "that true prophet of God." And the _Lutheran Observer_ said
in praise of the _Evangelist_: "It has been a power for good in their
[its readers'] lives. Of its records they may well be proud. Founded in
1876, its career of thirty-three years has been one of achievement and
honor. It has made a solid and enduring contribution to the developing
history of the Lutheran Church in this country." (1909, 562.) Dr. Butler
served twice as chaplain in the United States Congress.

81. Dr. J.D. Severinghaus (1834-1905) graduated 1861 in the Seminary at
Springfield, O.; from 1873 to 1905 he was active in Chicago; in 1869 he
founded _Lutherischer Kirchenfreund_ (temporarily called _Lutherischer
Hausfreund_); in 1875 he published _Denkschrift der Generalsynode_; he
established connections with Chrischona, and in 1878 with Pastor C.
Jensen in Breklum, to prepare candidates for the Wartburg Synod; in 1883
he founded the Chicago Seminary. Severinghaus was one of the most
fanatical opponents of Lutheran confessionalism. "The _Kirchenfreund_,"
he declared, "intends to be genuinely Lutheran, hence not in the sense
in which the name after the Reformation was so frequently abused in the
interest of a quarrelsome exclusive faction (_Rotte_). In the Lutheran
Church there have not only been, and have been tolerated, different
opinions on non-essential articles, but it is of the very essence of the
true liberty of the Lutheran Church that such differences must be
tolerated." (_L. u. W._ 1869, 58.) Severinghaus was an implacable enemy
and unscrupulous detractor of Walther and the Missouri Synod. Of his
numerous aspersions in the _Kirchenfreund_ the following has attracted
special attention: "Well, the Missourians are not Quakerish. They
believe in fighting, even against their own Government. For during the
time of war they had raised a rebel flag on their Preachers' College in
St. Louis, a proof that they intended to tread the Constitution of our
country under their feet, in order to enforce their own despotism the
more easily." In Dr. Neve's _Kurzgefasste Geschichte_ of 1915 Geo.
Fritschel writes: "Walther sympathized with the South, and even had the
Rebellion flag hoisted over the Seminary." (247.) However, the
_Lutheraner_ of February 1, 1870, brands "the scribble" of the
_Kirchenfreund_ as an "infamous slander" and Severinghaus as "a
mendacious slanderer." "The truth is"--the _Lutheraner_ continues--"that
during the time of war never a Rebellion Flag, but repeatedly a Union
flag was hoisted over our College in St. Louis." (26, 84. 150. 159; 25,
114. 190.) The General Synod approved of, and repeatedly endorsed, the
_Kirchenfreund_. In 1871, at Dayton, 0.: "The _Kirchenfreund_ has also
proved that our principles are favorably received by a large portion of
our brethren. Outside of our Church the paper is doing a good work in
removing prejudices against the General Synod and in defending our
principles." (21.) In 1873, at Canton, 0., the Committee on German
Church paper reported: "The influence of the paper is seen in many
things, but especially in the growing interest in the German work. There
no longer can be any doubt that our type of Lutheranism commends itself
to the Germans, and that it need but be understood to gain their favor.
It is so clear that it needs no proof that the German and English work
must go hand in hand in the General Synod. The _Kirchenfreund_ is doing
this twofold work of bringing us into closer sympathy with the Germans,
and bringing them into closer union with ourselves." (40 f.; cf. 1875,
50.) In 1879, at Wooster, 0.: "The _Kirchenfreund_ has been published
regularly in 24 numbers per year, since the last convention, and our
report covers volumes IX and X. This has not been the most prosperous
period of its history; on the contrary, we are obliged to report a very
material loss of subscribers and proportionate diminution of receipts.
We believe, however, that this loss is not attributable to any defects
of the paper itself, nor to any circumstance whatsoever under our
control, but rather to general causes, such as the continued and
exhausting depression of the business interests of the country, change
in the habits of our people, increase of good secular papers, and Sunday
editions of local papers, westward removal of our people, etc." (37.) In
the same year, 1879, Severinghaus declared that Missouri showed "all
marks of the antichrist described in the Word of God." (_L. u. W._ 1879,

82. Dr. Milton Valentine (1825-1906), for nineteen years professor of
Dogmatic Theology in Gettysburg, opposed the confessional trend within
the General Synod, and, in important distinctive doctrines, occupied a
Reformed position. In his _Christian Theology_ of 1906, Dr. Valentine
sacrifices the inerrancy of the Scriptures in making concessions to
modern geology, astronomy, and Evolution. He denies the total depravity
of man; charges the Formula of Concord with Flacianism; teaches the
humiliation of Christ's divine nature; denies that the divine majesty
was communicated to His human nature; and questions the penal suffering
of Christ. He teaches that Christ did not pay the full penalty for all
sins, for then forgiveness of sin could not be spoken of; Christ's
atonement merely made forgiveness possible for God, which followed under
the condition that man consents thereto; faith precedes regeneration and
conversion; God does not produce the act of faith, but only the ability
to believe; the Holy Ghost merely enables man to fulfil the conditions
of justification and to convert himself; God restores free choice, but
man himself must make the choice and decide in favor of grace; the will
of man is the third cause of conversion; children cannot believe, and are
saved without faith of their own; Baptism does not work regeneration;
heathen are saved if they follow their natural light; in the Eucharist
Christ's body and blood are not received orally nor by unbelievers; close
communion militates against the unity of the Church; a Church is orthodox
so long as it adheres to the fundamental doctrines held in common by all
Evangelical communions; deviation in other doctrines is no hindrance to
church-fellowship; the government and officers of the State must
acknowledge Jesus as Lord and His will as the highest law; legislation
must be guided by the Bible; divorces not sanctioned in Scripture may not
be granted by the State; the State must enforce the "divine Sabbath"; the
Bible teaches a millennium in which the Gospel shall rule supreme, etc.
(_L. u. W._ 1908, 128.)

83. Dr. J.W. Richard (1843-1909), professor at Gettysburg since 1889, and
editor of the _Lutheran Quarterly_ since 1808, occupied practically the
same position as Valentine, whose _Christian Theology_ he endorsed. In the
_Lutheran Quarterly_ and the _Lutheran Observer_, as well as in his
_Confessional History_, Dr. Richard, following Heppe and similar German
theologians, defended Melanchthonianism, and criticized the Form of
Concord, the Second Article of which he branded as Calvinistic. He
resisted the efforts on the part of the conservatives and the _Lutheran
World_ at revising the doctrinal basis of the General Synod, and ignored
the confessional resolutions of 1901 and 1905. (_L. u. W._ 1908, 84 ff.;
1909, 179.) Following such German theologians as Dr. Hauck and others,
Richard distinguished between "form and substance" of the Confessions, in
a manner invalidating the subscription to the Augustana, and practically
amounting to the old formula: "fundamentals substantially correct." As
to the Lord's Supper Richard regarded the declaration, "that Christ is
present in the Eucharist," as sufficient. (_Confessional History_,
610-618.) In 1909 Richard identified himself with Schleiermacher's
definition of religion, and pronounced this father of modern
subjectivism and rationalism "the renewer of theology and the greatest
theologian since the Reformation." (_L. u. W._ 1909, 421.)


84. Confessional Tendencies.--Apart from a number of minor causes the
conservative movement within the General Synod is chiefly due to the
awakening of confessional Lutheranism in Germany, the increase of
Lutheran immigrants, and the powerful influence of the Lutherans in the
West, especially the Missouri Synod. The rapidly multiplying German
elements which entered the Pennsylvania and New York Ministeriums and
other Lutheran synods during the second half of the nineteenth century
were always farthest advanced in taking a confessional stand with
respect to Lutheran doctrine and practise. Down to the present day the
attitude of the German Districts of the now defunct General Synod toward
lodges, altar- and pulpit-fellowship, and the Lutheran symbols has been
much more conservative than that of the English District Synods.
However, the early conservatives of the General Synod, besides being in
the minority and having no organ in the English language to cope with
the _Lutheran Observer_, lacked the clearness, consistency, boldness,
initiative, determination, and aggressiveness of their liberal
opponents. And even later, when both their number and courage had
increased materially, it was not in every respect the old genuine, but a
modified Lutheranism which also their most pronounced representatives
advocated--not whole-hearted, undivided loyalty to Lutheran doctrines
and practises, but a Lutheranism tainted, more or less, with
indifferentism and unionism, nor absolutely free even from elements of
Pietism and Reformedism. For the cry of the conservative leaders who
later organized the General Council was not, "Back to Luther!" but,
"Back to Muhlenberg!" And the prominent conservatives that remained in
the General Synod after the Fort Wayne rupture, they all, without
exception, were outspoken unionists, ready to tolerate un-Lutheran
doctrines in their own midst and pulpit-fellowship with the sects, some
of them being disloyal even to doctrines distinctive of Lutheranism.
During the Platform controversy some of the most influential
conservatives differed from Schmucker not so much in theology as in
their policy of mutual toleration and the refusal to mutilate and
abandon the venerable Augsburg Confession. The lack of bold
aggressiveness on the part of the most Lutheran of these conservatives
is illustrated by the letter of H.J. Schmidt, already referred to: "If
all open conflict is avoided, our cause, I mean the cause of truth and
of the Church, will continue silently and surely to gain ground."
(Spaeth, 1, 349; _Lutheraner_, April 12, 1852.) Their lack of Lutheran
seriousness is exemplified by the cordial relation existing at
Gettysburg between C.F. Schaeffer, who in his lectures in Catechetics
endeavored to create an interest in, and respect for, the Lutheran
symbols, and his brother-in-law S.S. Schmucker, who did everything in
his power to discredit and misrepresent them. (_L. u. W._ 1884, 357.)

85. Conservatives Unionistic.--In their reports in the _Lutheraner_ and
in _Kirchliche Mitteilungen_ on the confessional awakening within the
General Synod, Walther and Sihler joyfully mention Drs. Morris and
Reynolds as the promising leaders of the movement. (_Lutheraner_ 6, 37.)
"An opposition has arisen against Kurtz and Schmucker such as no one
would have dared to hope for ten years ago," Loehe wrote in 1850.
"Reynolds," he continued, "placed the Confession into the light again.
Ministers ask for the wisdom of old. Students at Gettysburg purchase the
Book of Concord." The _Evangelical Review_ would contribute "to deliver
the children of the Church and her teachers out of the
Kurtz-Schmuckerian captivity." Similar progress was made in other
synods. (_Kirchl. Mitt_. 1850, 57.) In a letter of October, 1847, Philip
Schaff refers to Drs. Morris, Reynolds, Demme, and the two Krauths as
prominent among the conservatives of the General Synod. (Spaeth, _W. J.
Mann_, 38.) But what these men who at the middle of the nineteenth
century thrilled many a Lutheran heart with joy and hope abandoned, was,
at best, not unionism, but Reformedism. The most that can he said of Dr.
C.R. Demme (1795-1863; studied in Halle and Goettingen; came to America
in 1818), who was pastor in Philadelphia and prominent in the
Pennsylvania Synod, is that he was a theologian of a mild confessional
tendency. As late as 1852 he stood for the union distribution formula in
the Lord's Supper. Dr. J.G. Morris (1803-1895; received his theological
training at Nazareth, Princeton, and Gettysburg; founded the _Lutheran
Observer_; wrote _Life Reminiscences of an Old Lutheran Minister_, etc.)
signed the notorious letter of 1845, which later he declared to be the
greatest blunder of the General Synod. Morris approved of the unionistic
practises of the General Synod. As late as 1885 he declared his position
as follows: "I preach the Lutheran doctrine of the real presence of our
glorified Lord in the blessed elements; but when a poor, penitent,
praying, confessing, believing sinner comes and asks for permission to
commune with us, I dare not ask him whether his views agree with mine,"
etc. (_L. u. W._ 1885, 252.) Dr. Charles Philip Krauth (1797-1867;
professor in Gettysburg and editor of the _Evangelical Review_ from 1850
to 1860), though having a strong aversion to the Platform and being more
in favor of a revision of the doctrinal basis of the General Synod than
his son, signed the Pacific Overture and, in the Platform controversy,
was an ardent advocate of mutual toleration. Dr. Charles Porterfield
Krauth (1823-1883), prior to his manly retraction in 1864, was an
out-and-out unionist, and, in more than one respect, infected also with
Reformed views. As late as 1866, at Fort Wayne, he was apparently
satisfied with the confessional basis of the General Synod as declared
in the York Amendment and Resolution. Dr. L.A. Gotwald (1833-1900;
professor in Wittenberg Seminary from 1888 to 1895) was, in 1893,
charged with, and tried upon, charges, among others, of holding "to the
type of Lutheranism characteristic of the General Council," _viz_.,
"that all the doctrines of the Augsburg Confession are fundamental," and
"that the doctrinal position of the General Synod, when rightly
interpreted, is identical with that of the General Council." His
acquittal strengthened the conservative, but unionistic, tendency of
Wittenberg Seminary. (Jacobs, 510.) Dr. E.J. Wolf (1840-1905; since 1873
professor in Gettysburg Seminary) was perhaps the most Lutheran of the
influential English members of the General Synod since the Fort Wayne
disruption of 1866. In the Preface to his _Lutherans in America_ of 1889
he expresses the conviction with respect to our "glorious Church," "that
to know her is to love her, and that those knowing and loving her true
character will consecrate themselves to the maintenance of her purity in
faith and life, and the enlargement of her efficiency in extending the
Word and kingdom of Christ." Dr. D.H. Bauslin, who served the cause of
conservatism within the General Synod both as professor in Wittenberg
College and as editor of the _Lutheran World_ (from 1901 to 1912, when
it merged into the _Lutheran Church Work_), was a champion of the
unionistic practises of the General Synod. The same is true of other
conservatives who contributed to the revision and restatement of the
doctrinal basis of the General Synod as finally adopted in 1913--they
all must be classified as unionists, tolerating, on principle,
deviations from the doctrines and practises distinctive of Lutheranism.
Thus, in the course of years, the unionistic Lutherans multiplied,
while the Reformed radicals decreased within the General Synod. In 1896
the _Herald_ of the General Council, itself a mildly unionistic paper,
wrote: "It is gradually getting better in the General Synod. True, with
respect to some old gentlemen the word of 1815 is applicable: 'The old
guard dies, but does not surrender.' And the younger lordings, who swear
by the Methodistic _Lutheran Evangelist_, exercise themselves in crying
against the dead orthodoxists. But these as well as the former are no
longer strong enough to stop the movement toward the right. 'Toward the
right'--that means the General Council, which, strange to say, is more
obnoxious to the radicals than Missouri." (_L. u. W._ 1896, 154.)

86. Dr. William Morton Reynolds.--Reynolds (1812 to 1875) graduated at
Gettysburg Seminary; served as professor in Pennsylvania College from
1833 to 1850; with an interruption of the year 1835 to 1836, when he was
pastor at Deerfield, N.J.; was president of Capital University,
Columbus, 0., from 1850 to 1853, and of Illinois State University at
Springfield from 1857 to 1860; joined the Episcopalians in 1863;
translated and published Acrelius's _History of New Sweden_ in 1874. In
1842 Reynolds left the Ministerium of Pennsylvania and organized the
East Pennsylvania Synod. In the interest of conservative Lutheranism,
Reynolds, in 1849, founded the _Evangelical Review_, which B. Kurtz
promptly condemned as "the most sectarian periodical he ever read." In
1850, when asked whether he intended to adhere to the doctrinal basis
of the General Synod, Reynolds stated in the _Lutheran Observer_: "Well,
I frankly confess and rejoice in being able to say that within the last
two years I have changed my views with respect to several very important
points. But this change has not cast me out of the Lutheran Church, but,
moreover, led me into it," etc. Reynolds declared that he joyously
adopted "old Lutheranism," "as plainly taught in the Augsburg Confession
and Luther's Small Catechism." (_Lutheraner_, April 30, 1850.) In the
_Lutheran Observer_ of January 25, 1856, Reynolds retracted his former
endorsement of Kurtz's _Why You Are a Lutheran_, a booklet in which
Kurtz affirmed that the present Lutheran Church, with a few exceptions,
believed concerning the Lord's Supper what had been held by those whom
Luther termed "Sacramentarians." (_L. u. W._ 1870, 156.) Walther, in
1850, praised Reynolds as a man of substantial learning and a teacher
true to the Lutheran Church and her confessions. (_Lutheraner_ 6, 139.)
But Walther and other friends of true Lutheranism who staked great hopes
on Reynolds, were sorely disappointed in their expectations. In spite of
his retractions, Reynolds always was and remained a unionist. In 1857
Harkey gave the assurance that Reynolds was not a symbolist, but stood
on the doctrinal basis of the General Synod. When Dr. G. Diehl, in the
_Observer_, designated Reynolds as a strict confessionalist, Reynolds,
in the _Observer_ of October 2, 1857, protested that he was a General
Synod man, whose primary object was not to divide, but to unite. (_L. u.
W._ 1857, 314.) In his Springfield inaugural address, 1858, Reynolds
coordinated the evangelical denominations, and advocated extensive
unionism, maintaining that they all base their doctrines on Holy
Scripture. In order to justify his apostasy, Reynolds, in 1863,
published the statement that, in part, he had been moved to unite with
the Episcopalians on account of the bitter "sectarianism" of the
Lutheran Church and the denunciations of the men of the _Observer_ party
by the _Lutheran and Missionary_. (_L. u. W._ 1864, 25.) Later Reynolds
was reported to have said that he left the Lutheran Church because he
was without employment, and believed every door in the General Synod
closed against himself. The _Observer_ of October 9, 1863, justified the
propriety of Reynold's action by referring to the constitution which
provides for the honorable dismissal from District Synods and the
admittance of ministers from other denominations. (_L. u. W._ 1863,
379.) In 1877 the _Observer_ published an article in which the writer
states: "When a pastor who depends for his support on his office does
not succeed in obtaining a position in our Church and must suffer on
account of this, he may accept a call from another denomination....
Several of such cases have happened, and no liberal-minded man will
censure persons who have left us for such reasons." (_L. u. W._ 1877,

87. Conservative Periodicals.--In 1849 the English Lutherans in New York
declared that the _Lutheran Observer_ was opposed to the spirit and
character of the Lutheran Church, and appointed a committee to bring
about a radical change in the editorship, or, in case this should fail,
to advocate the establishment of a new church-paper at the next General
Synod. "Thus one funeral song after the other is chanted to our friend
at Baltimore, and partly by his own former adherents," remarked the
_Lutheraner_. (6, 47.) It was but another of the numerous symptoms of
awakening confessionalism in the East, when, at New York, June 8, 1853,
a conference of the New York Ministerium, in a resolution, declared that
they were utterly dissatisfied with the unevangelical and unsymbolical
position of the _Lutheran Observer_ as a church-paper, dissatisfied also
with the miserable stuff which it contained, and that, in place of it,
they recommend the _Lutheran Standard_. (_Lutheraner_ 9, 175.)--The
first German paper within the General Synod which occasionally raised
its voice against the apostasy of the _Observer_ was the _Lutherische
Kirchenzeitung_ of Pittsburgh, published from 1838 to 1846 by Prof.
Schmidt of Lafayette College, Easton, Pa., at a great personal
sacrifice. (_Kirchl. Mitt._ 1843, No. 10.) At Chambersburg, 1839, the
General Synod resolved "that we continue to view the _Lutheran Observer_
published by Dr. Kurtz, at Baltimore, Md., and the _Lutherische
Kirchenzeitung_, published by Prof. Schmidt, at Easton, Pa., as able
advocates of the cause of evangelical religion in our Church, and that
we recommend them to the cordial support of our people." (16.) But the
German paper soon proved a thorn in the flesh of the liberals. In 1841
"a Lutheran of Ohio" wrote in the _Kirchenzeitung:_ "It is astounding
that the Lutheran Church should support a paper like the _Observer_ and
nurse an enemy in its midst; the editor [Kurtz] himself ought to be
honest enough to leave the Church whose doctrines and customs he does
not love, but regards as false." Because of this critical attitude the
Synod of the West, in the same year, declared that it was unable to
recommend the _Kirchenzeitung_ to its members. The charges were that the
_Kirchenzeitung_ was directly opposed to the _Lutheran Observer_; that
it revealed an improper spirit with respect to revivals and charitable
institutions; that it had declared the _Lutheran Observer_ to be
anti-Lutheran, and directed its influence against this excellent paper.
The Pennsylvania Synod, however, to which Pastor Schmidt submitted the
resolution of the Synod of the West, decided in favor of the
_Kirchenzeitung_. In 1849, the same year in which the _Mercersburg
Review_ appeared, the _Evangelical Review_ was published at Gettysburg
by W. M. Reynolds, whom Charles Philip Krauth succeeded as editor. Both
Reynolds and Krauth were prominent among the leaders of the
conservatives. What the _Evangelical Review_, however, really stood for
was not unqualified Lutheranism, but unionism. (_L. u. W._ 1858, 272 f.)
On principle the _Review_ opened its pages to both the advocates and the
opponents of the Lutheran symbols and its doctrines. (_Lutheraner_ 1852,
136.) Walther's report in the _Lutheraner_ on his trip to Germany in the
interest of an agreement with Loehe appeared English in the _Evangelical
Review_ of 1853. (_L._ 9, 134.) The career of the _Evangelical Review_
was closed in 1870. It was succeeded by the _Lutheran Quarterly_, first
edited by Drs. Brown and Valentine, both of whom were not essentially
Lutheran, but unionistic and Reformed theologians.--In 1845, Dr. W. A.
Passavant began a small missionary periodical which grew into a large
family weekly, the _Missionary_. Though one of its objects was to oppose
the un-Lutheran tendency of the _Observer_, the _Missionary_ itself was
free neither of unionism nor even of Reformedism. According to its issue
of February 28, 1861, for instance, communicants at the Lord's Supper
partake of Christ's body and blood by faith. The _Missionary_ was a
champion also of the Reformed doctrine of the Sunday. (_L. u. W._ 1861,
123. 350.) In 1861 the _Missionary_ merged into the _Lutheran and
Missionary_, with Drs. Krauth and Passavant as editors--a paper which
took a decided stand in favor of a modified confessional Lutheranism. In
1861 the editors declared with respect to pulpit- and altar-fellowship:
"We do not want to refuse the sweet bond of Christian fellowship to
those who sincerely love our Lord Jesus Christ." (_L. u. W._ 1861, 379;
1862, 19 ff.) The _Lutheran World_, serving the cause of the
conservatives till 1912, when it was merged into the _Lutheran Church
Work_ (established 1911 as the official organ of the General Synod),
always defended the unionistic practises of the General Synod, and
violently attacked Missouri for disapproving of her fellowship with the
sects. (_L. u. W._ 1901, 54; 1904, 564.) In 1901 the _Lutheran World_
wrote: "Perhaps we shall always have three great church bodies, lest
any truth concerning the Trinity be lost. Perhaps there will always be
Calvinists to emphasize the sovereignty of God, Arminians to emphasize
the freedom of man and the work of the Holy Spirit, and Lutherans who
place the emphasis on God in Christ and justification by faith in Him."
(_L. u. W._ 1901, 154.) In 1905 the _World_ defended the affiliation of
the General Synod with the Federal Council, and attacked the _Lutheran_
for criticizing the Federal Council as unionistic. (_L. u. W._ 1906,
32.) Without a word of criticism the _World_, in 1903, published the
news: "Rev. Eli Miller, of St. Mark's church, Allegheny, Pa., recently
addressed the I. O. O. F. in his church on 'We be brethren'." (_L. u.
W._ 1903, 184.) In the same year the _World_ designated the doctrine
that every word of the Bible was inspired as an orthodox exaggeration
and an astonishing assertion, at the same time declaring that it was
time to formulate a theory of inspiration, and that, in this matter, all
eyes in America were directed on the Lutheran church. (_L. u. W._ 1904,
39; 1903, 307.) In 1901 the _Lutheran World_ wrote that one must not
imagine that man cannot do anything toward his own salvation; that grace
must not be viewed as such a supernatural operation which effects a
change in the moral nature of man while his own exertions contribute
nothing; that man must cooperate with God when the machinery is set into
motion. (_L. u. W._ 1901, 234.) The _Lutherische Zionsbote_, the organ
of the German Nebraska and the Wartburg Synods, as well as of the German
congregations in other District Synods, was much more moderate and
conservative than its predecessor, the _Lutherische Kirchenfreund_.


88. Light Coming from the West.--In 1845, at the convention of the
General Synod in Philadelphia, Wyneken, a delegate of the Synod of the
West, made a bold, determined, and consistent stand for genuine
Lutheranism against the prevailing unionistic and Reformed tendencies of
the leaders of the General Synod. Wyneken, who, in his pamphlet _The
Distress of the German Lutherans in North America_, had characterized
the General Synod as Reformed in doctrine, Methodistic in practise, and
Lutheran in name only, demanded at Philadelphia that Synod either
renounce the name Lutheran, or reject as utterly un-Lutheran Schmucker's
_Popular Theology, Appeal, Portraiture of Lutheranism_, etc., Kurtz's
_On Infant Baptism, Why You Are a Lutheran_, and the _Lutheran
Observer_, as well as the _Hirtenstimme_ of Weyl. But on floor of Synod
not a single voice was heard that understood him, and was in sympathy
with him. On the contrary, in _Lutherische Hirtenstimme_, July 1, 1845,
Rev. Weyl began to decry Wyneken as a masked Romanist, an enemy of
Lutheran doctrines, usages, books, and periodicals, and to ridicule his
zeal for true Lutheranism at Philadelphia as a "ludicrous motion
(_spasshafte Motion_)" which the General Synod had tabled
"good-naturedly." (_L._ 1845, 96; 3, 32; 7, 133. 153.) Wyneken was a
strange figure on the floor of the General Synod--without predecessors,
without successors. Down to the Merger in 1918 there was not found a
single prominent General Synodist walking in his steps. In an address
delivered March 10, 1846, Dr. Philip Schaff (Schaaf was his original
name) declared that it was impossible to build a confessional Lutheran
Church (not to speak of the exclusive Lutheranism of the Form of
Concord) on the Reformed English soil of America. It would be easier to
direct the course of the Mississippi to Bavaria and to convert the
Chinese through German sermons. The emissaries from Germany would soon
be convinced of the folly of their undertaking, etc.--This was the view
also of the leaders of the General Synod. But, though fully aware of the
difficulties ahead, nothing was able to daunt the courage of the men of
the West, or shake their faith in the truth and final success of their
cause. And their faith did not fail them. Throughout the United States
and far beyond its bounds the fact of Missouri's powerful rise was felt
as an encouragement and incentive to true Lutheranism everywhere.
Indeed, the confessional influence of the West on the East was much
greater than is usually acknowledged. As early as 1846 Dr. Walther felt
justified in stating in the _Lutheraner_ (Sept. 5): "No doubt but God
has arisen in order to remove the rubbish under which our precious
Evangelical Lutheran Church was buried for a long time, also here in
America." (3, 1.) The _Observer_, reporting on the organization of the
Missouri Synod in 1847, ridiculed: "This new Synod is composed of
genuine Old Lutherans, the true, spotless orthodox ones, whose theology
is as strong and straight as the symbolical books can make it, and whose
religious usages are as stiff as such thoroughbred old-school men can
wish them." (_L._ 4, 30.) But while B. Kurtz and his compeers indulged
in mockery and ridicule, the men of Missouri were clear-sighted,
serious, and determined. The consequence was that a decade later the
hearts of the General Synod's anti-confessionalists were filled with
fear and consternation. Schmucker's chief object in writing the Definite
Platform, as appears from this document itself, was to stem the tide of
the confessional wave coming from the West, and to make the General
Synod immune against Misouri. [tr. note: sic!]

89. Cloud, like the Hand of a Man, in the West.--Admitting the
tremendous influence of the Lutherans in the West, the _Observer_,
February 19, 1864, wrote, in his usual subjective fashion: "There was a
time when our Church had peace. From 1830 to 1840 she enjoyed a
universal peace and flourished greatly. This flourishing condition
extended far into the following decade. In these days, and already
somewhat earlier, the transition from the German into English caused
some friction. Nevertheless, it was a time of revivals and of great
bloom. The number of our churches increased. Our seminary at Gettysburg
was filled with students.... Between 1845 and 1850 a change took place
with a part of our Church. A little cloud, like the hand of a man,
appeared in the West. The Germans came in ever greater multitudes and in
more rapid succession. They no longer joined the American Lutheran
congregations generally. An Old Lutheran in Bavaria [Loehe] turned his
eyes on this country, sending colonies of hyper-Lutherans. These opposed
the revivals. Some of them were pious men, but their religious type
differed from the American. They were surrounded by influences which
hindered their amalgamation with American Christians. They had been
imbued with mistrust against the General Synod. Their system was such as
not to encourage spiritual life and progress.... These children of a
foreign soil had been sent over with a bitter prejudice against the
liberal Lutheranism of America. In the year 1845 there were probably no
more than one or two dozen old-Lutheran congregations in this country.
Now there are perhaps no less than 700 symbol-Lutheran congregations of
the old school in the country, whose preachers--numbering almost 500--
are all symbol- and hyper-Lutherans who profess to believe that the real
body and blood of Christ are orally received in the Lord's Supper, and
that the unbelieving communicant as well as the believing partakes of
the true body and blood of the Savior. They also believe in regeneration
by Baptism, and some of them also in private confession, in exorcism, in
beautifying the church with pictures and crucifixes; some of them also,
in bright daylight, light wax candles at Communion.... This German,
anti-Biblical, anti-American element could have been checked and
absorbed by the American Church if another element had not been added.
But during the rise of the great revivals of the fourth decade of this
century in our own Church unfortunately a class of people arose who are
far more dangerous and more powerful for mischief than the European
preachers. These American preachers became disloyal to the basis of the
General Synod, and began to raise a banner against the revivals and
against a spiritual Lutheranism.... They began a systematic persecution
of the most prominent men of the General Synod. In order to execute
their plans, they began to curry favor with the German symbolists. They
succeeded in adding tenfold bitterness to the prejudice and suspicion in
the hearts of the foreigners, until finally an almost unsurmountable
abyss seems to be fastened between the foreign high-church party and our
General Synod.... Every Lutheran of this country should have endeavored
to lead our foreign brethren to the General Synod, showing them that the
pure spiritual Lutheranism of this land is so much better than the
leather-bound symbolism of the Bavarian autocrat, as our political
institutions are better than those of the old Fatherland. But, instead
of this work of love, our benighted symbolists have strengthened the
prejudices of the foreigners in saying to them that the Lutheranism of
the General Synod is a pseudo-Lutheranism."--The origin, then, of the
confessional commotion within the Lutheran Church of America must be
traced chiefly to such men as Wyneken, Sihler, and especially to
Walther, who since 1839 had been zealous in unfurling the banner of true
Lutheranism, seriously, determinately, aggressively, victoriously. If
the confessional movement was wrong, Missouri, above all, must be
condemned as the great disturber of the peace, but Lutheranism itself
must go down with it. (_L. u. W._ 1864, 59.) The sincerity, seriousness,
and determination of the men of Missouri in applying the principles of
Lutheranism as they saw it, commanded the admiration even of an opponent
like S.S. Schmucker, who wrote in the _Observer_, September 21, 1860:
"Would it not reveal a lack of self-respect if the General Synod were to
receive men who seem to believe that she has departed so far from the
Lutheran doctrine that she could no further lay any just claim to the
name Lutheran? The opposite way of the Missourians is much more
honorable and has won the respect not only of the General Synod, but of
the Church everywhere."(_L. u. W._ 1860, p. 353.)

90. Improved Conditions.--In the issue of the _Lutheraner_ dated August
31, 1852, Walther declared: "Since the last eight years, conditions have
really improved in many respects, and to this end, according to many
testimonies which have been made against us, God has used and blessed
also our humble testimony." (9, 1.) The enmity which Missouri met
everywhere was indeed a significant symptom of conditions changing for
the better. It proved that the leaven of "foreign symbolism," as
Schmucker pleased to style it, was doing its work. Foremost among the
men that witnessed to the powerful influence of Missouri by testifying
against her was B. Kurtz, who again and again denounced all
confessionalists, especially those of the West, as "resurrectionists of
elemental, undeveloped, halting, stumbling, and staggering humanity," as
priests ready "to immolate bright meridian splendor on the altar of
misty, musky dust," men bent on going backward, and consequently, of
necessity, going downward! (Spaeth, 1, 344.) In 1859 the _Observer_
wrote: "It is true that there are some small factions who call
themselves Lutherans, but they are not of us, and there is no hope that
the Missourians, or Buffaloans, and other small communions will ever
become wiser in their generation. But it is to be expected that their
children and children's children will outgrow the prejudices of their
fathers, and become sensible and useful Christians. As said before, we
do not regard these factions as Lutherans; they have stolen a part of
Luther's livery, but they lack his spirit, and would be disowned by the
great Reformer if he were on earth now." (_L. u. W._ 1859, 227.) "The
symbolists have forgotten that Luther had a soul, and that they are only
quarreling over his old hat, coat, and boots," the _Observer_ declared
in its issue of April 1, 1864. It was a great shame for them that they
made the doctrine concerning the reception of the body and blood of
Christ in the Lord's Supper also by the wicked an essential part of the
Lutheran system. "The Lutheran Church of this country," the _Observer_
continued, "moving forward gloriously on the basis of the General Synod,
had gradually forgotten everything pertaining to the old boots, coats,
and hats, until this extreme party [Missouri] rose, gathered the old
rags, tied them to a stick, and now calls upon all Lutherans to agree
with them on pain of excommunication." (_Kirchl. Mitt._ 1864, 56.) In
May of the following year Dr. Conrad wrote, in a similar strain: "The
extreme symbolical standpoint, adopted anew in America and Europe and
demanding an unconditional subscription to the whole [doctrinal] content
of the Symbolical Books, is historically hyper-Lutheran, essentially
schismatic, practically disastrous, and providentially condemned." (_L.
u. W._ 1865, 217.) Referring to Kurtz's tirade on "Luther's old boots,"
etc., the _Lutheran_ remarked: "Is there no one in the General Synod who
will call to account such a blasphemous slanderer?" However, it was but
the language of a foe who began to realize that defeat was imminent.


91. Resolutions of 1895, 1901, and 1909.--Owing to the efforts of the
conservatives in the interest of bringing about a closer union with the
General Council and the United Synod in the South, the General Synod
passed a number of resolutions affecting its confessional basis: 1895 in
Hagerstown, Md.; 1901 in Des Moines, Iowa; 1909 in Richmond, Ind.; 1911
in Washington, D.C.; and 1913 in Atchison, Kans. The resolution adopted
at Hagerstown, June 15, 1895, defines the "Unaltered Augsburg Confession
as throughout in perfect consistence" with the Word of God. It reads:
"Resolved, That in order to remove all fear and misapprehension, this
convention of the General Synod hereby expresses its entire satisfaction
with the present form of doctrinal basis and confessional subscription,
which is the Word of God, the infallible rule of faith and practise, and
the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as throughout in perfect consistence
with it--nothing more, nothing less." The resolution adopted June 6,
1901, at Des Moines objects to any distinction made between fundamental
and non-fundamental doctrines in the Augustana. It reads: "Resolved,
That, in these days of doctrinal unrest in many quarters, we rejoice to
find ourselves unshaken in our spiritual and historic faith, and
therefore reaffirm our unreserved allegiance to the present basis of
the General Synod; and we hold that to make any distinction between
fundamental and so-called non-fundamental doctrines in the Augsburg
Confession is contrary to that basis as set forth in our formula of
confessional subscription." Concerning the other symbols of the Book of
Concord the convention at Richmond declared, June 8, 1909: "Resolved,
That, inasmuch as the Augsburg Confession is the original, generic
confession of the Lutheran Church, accepted by Luther and his
coadjutors, and subscribed to by all Lutheran bodies the world over, we
therefore deem it an adequate and sufficient standard of Lutheran
doctrine. In making this statement, however, the General Synod in no
wise means to imply that she ignores, rejects, repudiates, or
antagonizes the Secondary Symbols of the Book of Concord, nor forbids
any of her members from accepting or teaching all of them, in strict
accordance with the Lutheran regulating principle of justifying faith.
On the contrary, she holds those Symbols in high esteem, regards them as
a most valuable body of Lutheran belief, explaining and unfolding the
doctrines of the Augsburg Confession, and she hereby recommends that
they be diligently and faithfully studied by our ministers and laymen."
With respect to the phrase in the Amendment of 1864, "the Word of God as
contained in the canonical Scriptures," the Richmond convention
resolved, "That we herewith declare our adherence to the satement, [tr.
note: sic!] 'The Bible is the Word of God,' and reject the error implied
in the statement, 'The Bible contains the Word of God.'"

92. Objectionable Features of Resolutions.--Among the weak points of the
resolutions of 1895 and 1901 are the following. First: It implied a
contradiction when the General Synod in her new resolutions, which give
an unqualified assent to the Augsburg Confession, at the same time
declared herself fully satisfied with, reaffirmed and set its seal of
approval on, the qualified basis of 1864. From the very outset the
leaders of the new confessional movement dodged the open acknowledgment
that the doctrinal basis of the General Synod, also that of 1864, was
misleading and un-Lutheran. In the resolution of 1895, Synod expressed
her "entire satisfaction" with the doctrinal basis of 1864. In the
resolution of 1901 she reaffirmed her "unreserved allegiance" to this
basis. In 1909 Synod declared: "We reiterate our firm belief that our
confessional basis [of 1864] is adequate and satisfactory." (58.) Again:
"The confessional resolutions referred to [of 1895 and 1901] are not
alterations of the constitution, and contemplate no alterations; they
are simply explanations of the meaning of the General Synod's
confessional basis. Therefore, it is not necessary to submit them to the
District Synods of the General Synod" (for adoption). (58.) The Report
of Dr. L.S. Keyser, delegate to the General Council in 1907, which was
adopted by the Richmond convention, urged Synod to defend, vindicate,
and maintain her doctrinal basis of 1864. Also the _Lutheran World_, the
organ of the conservatives, maintained that the General Synod's
resolutions of 1895 to 1909 were but "a restatement of its confessional
basis in harmony with all its previous statements." (_L. u. W._ 1909,
370.) Secondly: When the resolution of 1901 declared it contrary to the
basis of 1864 to make any distinction between fundamental and so-called
non-fundamental doctrines in the Augsburg Confession, this, too, was an
unwarranted assertion. The Richmond convention stated: "When the General
Synod says, in her formula of confessional subscription, that she
accepts 'the Augsburg Confession as a correct exhibition of the
fundamental doctrines of the divine Word, and of the faith of our Church
founded upon the Word,' she means precisely what she says, namely, that
the fundamental doctrines of God's Word are correctly set forth in the
Confession. She does not mean that some of the doctrines set forth in
the Confession are non-fundamental, and, therefore, may be accepted or
rejected; she means that they are all fundamental, and their exhibition
in the Confession is to be accepted by those who subscribe to the
Confession." This interpretation placed on the York Amendment by the
resolution of 1901 was unknown to the General Synod and her theologians
before as well as after its adoption in 1864. As shown above, the phrase
"fundamental doctrines" of the York Amendment, historically interpreted,
has but one meaning, _viz._, that some of the doctrines of the Augsburg
Confession are fundamental, while others are not. Besides, while it is
certainly correct to regard all doctrines of the Augustana as Scriptural
and binding, it is theologically false to declare all of them, _e.g._,
the doctrine of the Sunday, fundamental doctrines.--Thirdly: The
convention at Richmond adopted the statement: "While the General Synod's
formula of confessional subscription mentions only the Augsburg
Confession, without specifying the terms 'altered' or 'unaltered,' yet
it is a historical fact that the General Synod has never subscribed to
any edition of the Confession save the 'unaltered' form, and does not
now subscribe to any other edition." (56.) If this means that the
General Synod ever subscribed, _e.g._, to the rejection in the Tenth
Article, an essential feature in the unaltered edition, but omitted in
the edition of 1540, the statement is not borne out by the facts.
--Fourthly: The resolution of 1909, by stating that every member may
accept the Secondary Symbols "in strict accordance with the Lutheran
regulating principle of justifying faith" (60), insinuates that these
symbols are in need of such an interpretation, thus placing them below
par. The self-evident fact that the Secondary Symbols should be tried
also according to the Augsburg Confession and the doctrine of
justification did not justify a limitation, which could be interpreted
as a justification, _e.g._, of the professors in Gettysburg Seminary,
who, from Schmucker down to Richard, maintained that the Secondary
Symbols were not in agreement with the Augsburg Confession.


93. Atchison Amendments.--The resolutions of 1891 to 1909 were not
submitted to the District Synods for adoption, nor subsequently embodied
in the constitution of the General Synod. Instead, the convention at
Richmond, 1909, instructed the Common Service Committee "to codify the
several resolutions and statements explanatory of the Doctrinal Basis of
the General Synod, adopted at York, Pa., in 1864; at Hagerstown, Md., in
1895; at Des Moines, Iowa, in 1901; and at the present session of the
General Synod, and incorporate the substance of the same into one clear
and definite statement of our Doctrinal Basis, and to report the same at
the next meeting of the General Synod with a view to placing it in the
Constitution of the General Synod by amendment in the manner prescribed
by the Constitution itself, there being no intention in this action in
any way to change our present Doctrinal Basis" of 1864. (115.)
Accordingly, two new articles were presented to the assembly in
Washington, D.C., 1911, which were subsequently referred to the District
Synods for action. The articles submitted for approval read as follows:
"Article II. Doctrinal Basis. With the Evangelical Lutheran Church of
the Fathers, the General Synod receives and holds the canonical
Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God and the only
infallible rule of faith and practise; and it receives and holds the
Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a correct exhibition of the faith and
doctrine of our Church as founded upon the Word. Article III. The
Secondary Symbols. While the General Synod regards the Augsburg
Confession as a sufficient and altogether adequate doctrinal basis for
the cooperation of Lutheran synods, it also recognizes the Apology of
the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Small Catechism of
Luther, the Large Catechism of Luther, and the Formula of Concord as
expositions of Lutheran doctrine of great historical and interpretative
value, and especially commends the Small Catechism as a book of
instruction." (_Proceedings_ 1913, 126.) Two years later, all District
Synods having approved the articles, the convention at Atchison declared
"that the said amendments have been adopted, and are parts of the
Constitution of this body." (_L. u. W._ 1916, 6.)

94. A Stride Forward Officially.--Considered by themselves, no criticism
will be offered by any Lutheran on the new articles embodied in the
General Synod's constitution. Even the blemishes still adhering to the
resolutions of 1891 and 1909 have disappeared. Specific reference to the
York basis of 1864 is omitted; likewise the limitation with reference to
the adoption of the Secondary Symbols, etc. True, the new articles
contain a confession of the Augustana only, while in our day, also in
our country, it is certainly of special import for Lutherans to
acknowledge all Lutheran symbols in order to show at the very outset
that they occupy a correct position also with respect to the
controversies after Luther's death, which, in part, have been revived in
our own country. Indeed, the second of the new articles has been
interpreted by some as involving a confession also of the Secondary
Articles. But Dr. Singmaster is right in declaring with reference to the
new formula: "The General Synod does not require subscription to the
Secondary Symbols as a condition to membership in that body. Their
formal acceptance is a matter of liberty with the individual synod."
However, since the confessional formula of 1913 contains neither a
limitation as to the adoption of the Augustana, nor any criticism of the
other Lutheran symbols, the present doctrinal basis of the General
Synod, as stated in the new articles, must be viewed as satisfactory--
_caeteris paribus_. By adopting the Atchison Amendments, the General
Synod in reality, at least formally and officially, did not merely
reaffirm and reiterate, but corrected and changed its former qualified
confessional basis. As it reads, the formula of 1913 is tantamount to a
rejection of all former doctrinal deliverances of the General Synod, the
resolutions of Synod and asseverations of her theologians to the
contrary notwithstanding. Dr. Neve admits as much when he says: "Thus
the General Synod took a great stride forward in the direction of
confessional correctness. The express mention of the 'Unaltered'
Augsburg Confession constitutes an outspoken confession against
Melanchthonianism, that is, against the Definite Platform theology, or
American Lutheranism. And the removal of the old formula concerning the
fundamental doctrines means the removal of an expression which has done
much harm in the General Synod." (158.) In part, this progress was a
result of the testimony of Walther and the Missouri Synod, whose
fidelity to the Lutheran Confessions had been stigmatized for decades by
the theologians of the General Synod, even such men as Charles
Porterfield Krauth (in 1857), as "rigid symbolism," "German
Lutheranism," "deformities of a Pharisaic exclusiveness," etc. Dr. Neve
remarks: "The close unity coupled with its size (for Missouri soon
became by far the largest synod) exercised a powerful influence on those
without, strengthening, especially in the Eastern synods, the already
awakened confessional consciousness."

95. Remaining Contradictions.--Even apart from the actual conditions
prevailing in the General Synod as to Lutheran doctrine and practise,
one cannot maintain successfully that the General Synod, in adopting the
new articles, fully and satisfactorily cleared the situation as to its
doctrinal attitude. For in more than one respect also the official
confessional movement inaugurated in 1891 was contradictory of itself.
First: In a previous paragraph we have already referred to the
contradiction contained in the fact that the General Synod, while
adopting the new resolutions, at the same time reaffirmed and endorsed
the York Amendment of 1864. This endorsement, which practically
invalidates the adoption of the new articles, was not withdrawn at the
subsequent conventions in 1911 and 1913. The York Amendment still bears
the official seal of the General Synod. Dr. Singmaster says in
_Distinctive Doctrines_ of 1914: "The doctrinal basis, as amended in
1866 [1864], remained unchanged for nearly fifty years. Various
deliverances made at the convention of the General Synod during this
period repudiate false charges, and affirm the Lutheran character and
confessional fidelity of the body.... The doctrinal basis as it now
exists, means to the members of the General Synod exactly what it meant
before its verbal amendment. For a generation it has been interpreted to
mean an unequivocal subscription to the Augsburg Confession." (57.)
Secondly: The so-called York Resolution, which, as shown above (No. 71),
rejects the Lutheran doctrines of the real presence, absolution, and the
Sunday, thus openly conflicting with the Atchison Amendments of 1913,
which give an unqualified assent to the Augsburg Confession, was not
rescinded by the General Synod. The report of the delegate to the
General Council, adopted by the General Synod in 1909, states: "In our
address before the General Council [1907] as your representative, we
defended, with all the courtesy, clearness, and positiveness we could
command, the confessional position of the General Synod. This we did by
referring to our official declarations, namely, the York Resolution of
1864, our revised formula of confessional subscription of 1869 [1864],
in which this body planted itself unequivocally on the Augustana, and
our confessional resolutions of 1895 and 1901." (54.) At the same
convention the General Synod declared: "Those official resolutions [of
1895 and 1901], together with the well-known York Resolution, adopted in
1864, bind the General Synod to the Augsburg Confession in its
entirety." (57.) In keeping herewith the General Synod provided that, in
all future editions of the Augsburg Confession published by the General
Synod, the confessional declarations of the General Synod (the York
Amendment and the resolutions of 1895, 1901, and 1909) "be inserted
immediately after the York Resolution." (59.) Nor was the York
Resolution disavowed at the convention at Washington, 1911, as appears
from the following recommendation of the Common Service Committee
adopted by Synod: "With these amendments [finally adopted at Atchison]
there remains only the York Resolution of 1864, concerning alleged
errors, to be disposed of. As this is simply of an explanatory and
apologetic character, it cannot well be incorporated in the
constitution. It seems to your committee that this resolution has served
its purpose, and needs no further repetition, _especially as it remains
on record for reference_. We believe that both the constitution and the
confession will appear more dignified, and will inspire greater
confidence, unbuttressed by subsidiary statements." Accordingly, the
York Resolution "remained on record for reference." (24.) Thirdly: The
amendments of 1913 are in a hopeless conflict also with Art. IV, Sec. 8,
of the General Synod's constitution, reading as follows: "They [Synod]
shall, however, be extremely careful that the consciences of ministers
of the Gospel be not burdened with human inventions, laws, or devices,
and that no one be oppressed by reason of differences of opinion on
non-fundamental doctrines." Accordingly, while the Atchison formula
calls for an unqualified subscription to all doctrines of the Augustana,
Art. IV, Sec. 8, of the same constitution grants liberty in
"non-fundamental doctrines," _i.e._, interpreted historically, liberty
in the articles which distinguish the Lutheran Church from the Reformed
and other Evangelical Churches.--The convention at Richmond, 1909,
maintained: "It is only by her [General Synod's] official declarations
that her doctrinal position is to be tested and judged." (58.) If this
contention, though facts frequently speak louder and much more
convincingly than formulas, be granted--according to which set of
contradictory "official declarations" was one to test and judge the true
attitude of the General Synod?


96. Long Stride from Formula to Fact.--Formal adoption of a correct
Lutheran basis does not necessarily imply actual agreement with such
basis. To pass a good resolution is easy. All Christian sects protest
that they accept the Bible. But they say, and do not. "What you _are_,"
said Emerson, "speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you _say_." In a
measure this also applies when the actual conditions prevailing in the
General Synod before and after 1913 are compared with the doctrinal
basis adopted in that year. In 1866, in a letter to Pastor Brunn,
Walther wrote with reference to the synods then uniting to form the
General Council: "As far as the latter are concerned, it is true that
our testimony extending over a period of twenty years has by the grace
of God cooperated in causing some synods to speak again of the
Confession, and to base and pledge themselves upon it, at least
formally; but it is a long stride from the formal acknowledgment of the
symbols to a true knowledge of them, and a truly Lutheran spirit, and
the consequent discipline of doctrine and life." (_Letters_, 2, 36.)
Now, the General Synod did not adopt its present basis as a result of
any doctrinal discussions of, and subsequent agreements in, the Lutheran
doctrines. The confessional movement was a formal affair, without any
special effort to arrive at a thorough understanding of, and true unity
in, the doctrinal content of the Augustana. But what value is there in
adopting a confession without a correct knowledge of, and agreement in,
its doctrines? Furthermore, the Atchison Amendments were submitted to
the District Synods for approval by majority vote, not to the individual
ministers and congregations. Adoption, accordingly, did not mean
unanimous acknowledgment. Moreover, the liberal party of the General
Synod, as represented by the _Lutheran Observer_, openly denounced the
new confessional resolutions. (_L. u. W._ 1916, 58.) Others who
submitted to the new formula, no doubt felt justified, in accordance
with the repeated approvals on the part of the General Synod of the
basis of 1864, to interpret the former according to the latter.

97. Doctrinal Confusion.--The General Synod has always been a babel of
doctrinal confusion. In it unity did not even prevail as to the
doctrines which distinguish the Lutheran Church from the Reformed. From
1820 down to 1918 the General Synod, in its periodicals and by its
representative men, and in part also as such and officially, defended
and supported indifferentism, unionism, synergism, chiliasm, abstinence,
the divine obligation of the Sabbath, and other un-Lutheran and
distinctively Reformed doctrines. (_L. u. W._ 1917, 471; 1918, 43.)
Doctrinal discipline never has had as much as a shadow of an existence
within the General Synod. Nor did the Atchison Amendments effect any
apparent and marked change in the spirit and attitude of doctrinal
indifferentism. Reformed errorists were tolerated after as well as
before 1913. In its issue of September 12, 1918, the _Lutheran Church
Work and Observer_ declared: "Our body breathes the free atmosphere of
America, and is not so legalistic and Puritanical as to think that every
person who offends must be brought before the judgment-bar of the church
for discipline." After as well as before 1913 some of the General
Synodists continued to indulge in dreams of a millennium and union of
all Evangelical denominations in America. (_L. u. W._ 1918, 87; _Luth.
Wit._ 1918, 373.) The Sabbath-day was declared to be "of perpetual
authority," and its observance as "binding on all by divine
requirement." In 1918 the _Lutheran Church Work_ asked for state
legislation to enforce the Sabbath, because the "Almighty Jehovah is
'the Lord of the Sabbath,' and has given us an indication of the
importance which He places on His holy day by having put it even before
the commandment in the Decalog which says: 'Honor thy father and thy
mother.'" (_L. u. W._ 1918, 336; cf. 1915, 397; 1911, 510.) The same old
Puritanical attitude was maintained by the General Synod also with
respect to the prohibition movement. (_Proceedings_ 1917, 140 ff.)

98. Tolerating Modern Liberalism.--The General Synod never did, nor
intended to, exercise church-discipline with respect to Reformed
aberrations. Nor is there a single case of church-discipline against any
form of liberalism recorded. Yet practically from its very beginning the
General Synod declared herself against Socinianism. And in 1909 the
_Lutheran Quarterly_ stated that the General Synod, though not
exercising church-discipline with respect to Reformed errors, does
exclude Unitarians, Universalists, and Christian Scientists. (15.) In
1917 the _Lutheran_ asserted: The Lutheran Church in America "stands as
a unit in protest against the creed of Reason, known as the
ever-variable 'New Theology,' and presents an unbroken front in loyalty
to the Gospel." (_L. u. W._ 1917, 562.) But is this claim really borne
out by the facts? The theory of evolution, which vitiates every
Christian doctrine when applied to theology, has been defended again and
again in the _Lutheran Observer_, the _Lutheran Quarterly_, the
_Lutheran Church Work_, and other publications of the General Synod.
Endorsing the evolution doctrine, the _Observer_ wrote in 1909: "That a
law of development runs through all nature, life, and history, is one of
the ruling postulates in present-day investigations. That the continuity
of nature, life, and history which this implies is not inconsistent with
theistic and Christian belief is also clearly recognized, and
consequently the impression of a panicky feeling which pervaded so much
of the discussion of evolution which immediately followed the
publication of the _Origin of Species_ [of Darwin], is to-day
conspicuous by its absence." (_L. u. W._ 1909, 279.) In 1901:
"Originally, all was soft and plastic. The granite foundations were
mortar and ashes or cinders and water. Cosmic forces have since been
crystallizing rocks out of the same elements which exist in the soil, or
float in the streams and exhale in the atmosphere." (_L. u. W._ 1901,
185.) In 1917 the _Lutheran Quarterly_ declared that the doctrine of
evolution can be accepted "in so far as it is descriptive of God's
method with the world." (96.) Dr. L.S. Keyser, of Wittenberg Seminary,
philosophizes: "God created the primordial material. Without losing His
transcendence, He became immanent in His creation, developing it through
secondary causes for, doubtless, long eras; at certain crucial steps, as
was necessary, He added new creations and injected new forces; such
epochs were the introduction of life, sentiency, and man. This
world-view should be called 'creation and evolution,' with as marked an
emphasis on the former as on the latter." (_Syst. of Nat. Theol._, 114.)
Furthermore, in 1891 the _Lutheran Observer_ editorially defended Dr.
Briggs, whom the Presbyterians expelled because of his liberalism, as an
innocently persecuted man. (_L. u. W._ 1901, 214.) In 1901 the _Lutheran
Quarterly_ said of Harnack that in his _Essence of Christianity_ he
assigns a position to Christ "which must have made a deep impression on
his hearers." (_L. u. W._ 1901, 370.) In 1909: "Even if we should in the
end have to acknowledge that Jesus had a human father as well as a human
mother, that would simply teach us what we are confessing and believing
even now: Jesus is not alone true God, but likewise true man. His
divinity would not be affected thereby." (_L. u. W._ 1909, 228.) In 1918
the _Lutheran Church Work and Observer_ recommended Dr. James Denney's
book, _The Atonement and the Modern Mind_, in which Denney practically
rejects the authority of the Scriptures and departs from the Christian
doctrine of satisfaction made by Christ. (_L. u. W._ 1918, 482.) In the
_Lutheran Church Work and Observer_, April 4, 1918, Rev. W.R. Goff
maintained: "The writer cannot find one passage in Scripture that
definitely and positively asserts a visible return of the Lord." (_L. u.
W._ 1918, 423.)

99. A Second Edition of Quitman.--For quite a number of years Dr. E.H.
Delk, a prominent member of the General Synod, has been an ardent
advocate of modern rationalism and evolutionism. He denies the verbal
inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, rejects the Lutheran doctrine of
the union of the divine and human natures in Christ, attacks the dogma
that the death of Christ was a ransom and a substitutional sacrifice for
the sins of the world, corrupts every Christian doctrine, and demands
that all of them be restated in order to bring them into harmony with
modern evolutionistic science and philosophy. "The Bible and our
Confession do not ask man to throw away his reason in the reception of
truth and in the _judgment_ of the theological problems," Delk declared
in 1903. (_L. u. W._ 1903, 185.) A number of years ago, Dr. Delk was
permitted to present his radical views to the students of Gettysburg
Seminary; and the _Lutheran Quarterly_ published the lecture without a
word of criticism. At Atchison, 1913, when resolutions were offered
rejecting the doctrines of Delk, the General Synod refused to take
definite action. The _Lutheran Observer_ boasted that Synod was not
ready to sacrifice liberty of thought and speech. (_L. u. W._ 1901, 370;
1902, 136; 1903, 185; 1913, 145; 1916, 67.) In 1916 the _Lutheran Church
Work and Observer_, the official organ of the General Synod, opened its
columns to Delk and his theology. In 1917 Delk continued his propaganda
by publishing his views in a booklet, _The Need of a Restatement of
Theology_. In 1918 the _Lutheran Church Work and Observer_ endorsed and
advertised the book. Identifying himself with some of the views of
modern German liberalism on Luther and his theology, Delk wrote in the
_Lutheran Church Work and Observer_ of November 1, 1917: "We see now in
the light of a fuller history of the man [Luther] that he was a child of
his age and carried over into his Protestant thinking traits of medieval
thinking.... Luther was not the end, but the beginning of new advances
in the political and religious ideals of the world.... We are separated
by a millennium of thought from the critical thought-standpoint of
Luther." (_L. u. W._ 1918, 43.) Also by Drs. Keyser and Voigt, Delk has
been charged with substituting the teachings of philosophy and science
for Christianity, and with propagating heretical doctrine concerning the
inspiration of the Bible and the deity and atonement of Christ. The
advocacy of evolutionistic theology, as tolerated by the General Synod,
however, cannot but be regarded as a return to the rationalism of
Quitman and Velthusen.


100. Unionism Unabated.--In 1917 Dr. Neve wrote in the _Lutheran Church
Review_: "The different Protestant Churches, that is, the leading ones,
are not arbitrary developments with no right to exist, but they
represent the historical endeavors to bring to an expression within the
Church of Christ the truth of Scripture." (167.) This view was at the
bottom of the pulpit, altar, and church-work fellowship indulged in by
the General Synod throughout the course of its history from 1820 down
to its exit in 1918. This attitude of indifferentism naturally led to
the exchange of fraternal delegates with the Reformed and other
Churches. It resulted in a cooperation of the General Synod with the
Federal Council, the Home Missions Council, the Foreign Mission
Conference, the International Sunday-school Association, the
Sunday-school Council of Evangelical Denominations, the Inter-Church
Federation, the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A., the W.C.T.U., The Anti-Saloon
League, etc. And the new confessional resolutions brought no change in
this practise. With respect to the action of the Wartburg Synod,
excluding other than Lutheran ministers from its pulpits and other than
Lutherans from its altars, Dr. J.A. Singmaster, at the convention in
Richmond, 1909, offered the resolution "that the General Synod, while
allowing all congregations and individuals connected with it the fullest
Christian liberty, does not approve of synodical enactments which in any
way narrow its confessional basis or abridge intersynodical fellowship
and transfers." (_Proceedings_ 1909, 128; Neve, _Gesch._, 73.) The
_Lutheran Observer_ remained the same enthusiast for
"interdenominational fraternal cooperation and work in the Federation of
Churches," etc. (_L. u. W._ 1916, 63.) The ministers of the General
Synod continued to exchange pulpits and to arrange for joint
celebrations with sectarian preachers. (_Witness_ 1918, 404; 1919, 14.)
Despite the new basis of 1913, the General Synod remained a member of
the Federal Council, which Dr. Delk in 1912 extolled as the "Twentieth
Century Ecumenical Council." In 1909 the report of the delegates to the
Federal Council was adopted, stating: "We heartily endorse the work of
the Council, and we welcome the opportunity of cooperating with all who
love our Lord Jesus Christ in promoting the work of His kingdom.... We
recommend that nine delegates be sent, and that an annual contribution
of $450 be paid out of the treasury of the General Synod for the support
of the Federal Council." (115.) Again, in 1917, a report of the
delegates to the Third Quadrennial Meeting of the Federal Council was
adopted, which said, in part: "The Federal Council is mobilizing the
forces of Protestantism against any and every foe of evangelical
principles and practises. A committee has been appointed to arrange a
Pan-Protestant Reformation celebration for 1917.... It was a great
privilege to have participated in this historic council. As the
federation idea originated in the United States in the mind and heart of
a learned and devout Lutheran, Dr. Samuel S. Schmucker, it was a great
joy and satisfaction to see and participate in this consummation of Dr.
Schmucker's hope of all Protestant bodies in council and cooperation in
the one common task of propagating the kingdom of God in society and
throughout the world." (27.) Dr. MacFarland, the General Secretary of
the Federal Council, was introduced, and addressed the General Synod.
(131.) In the same year the General Synod appointed Dr. Delk, Dr.
Wolford, Rev. Russell, and three laymen as "delegates to the Federal
Council," and Dr. Bell as "representative to General Assembly of
Presbyterian Church." (372.)

101. Fellowshiping [tr. note: sic] Jews and Unitarians.--Universally
General Synodists, down to the Merger in 1918, have defended and
practised church-fellowship with the Evangelical denominations. Regarding
religious communion with Jews and Unitarians, however, Dr. Neve wrote in
1909: "Such is a rare occurrence and always would meet with the
disapproval of nearly all members of the General Synod." (_Lutheran
Quarterly_ 1909, 12. 19.) According to Neve, then, there are members of
the General Synod who do approve of church-fellowship even with Jews and
Unitarians. Commenting in the _Lutheran Church Work and Observer_, of
October 31, 1918, on a Communion service in which Episcopalians,
Presbyterians, Reformed, Unitarians, etc., united, Dr. L.E. Keyser
declared: "Such a conglomeration of beliefs and creeds would be
impossible in the Lutheran Church. To stand or kneel at the altar with
people who even deny the deity of Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity,
and the need of atonement for sin, is impossible with Lutherans who are
serious in their convictions." But what of the facts? In 1903 the
_Lutheran Observer_ declared: "When, at the great Parliament of
Religions in Chicago, men of all beliefs united in the Lord's Prayer,
who shall say that they had no right to do it, even though it was not
with full understanding of its meaning? God is the All-Father. All men
are His children." (_L. u. W._ 1903, 184.) At the World's Fair in St.
Louis, 1904, Dr. Rhodes of the General Synod celebrated a union
Thanksgiving Service in Festival Hall with Archbishop Glennon, Rabbi
Harrison, etc. (_L. u. W._ 1904, 565.) In 1909 Dr. Delk indulged in
religious fellowship with the Reformed Jews in a Jewish temple. (_L. u.
W._ 1909, 558 f.) On November 28, 1918, Rev. A. Homrighaus united in a
Thanksgiving service, in which a Jewish rabbi and a Unitarian
participated, etc. (_Luth. Witness_ 1919, 14.)

102. Encouraging Lodgery.--The General Synod has never taken a stand
against Freemasonry or any other secret society. To join a lodge was
always viewed as a purely private affair and of no concern to the
Church. Neither laymen nor ministers were forbidden to unite with
lodges. Indeed, for a minister to attain a higher degree in a lodge was
occasionally referred to as a special honor and regarded as a
recommendation. In 1902 the _Pennsylvania Freemason_ said of Dr. Stock,
a pastor of the General Synod: "The Doctor is in possession of the
highest honors of Freemasonry, and enjoys the love and respect of all
his brothers. As indicating his good influence for Freemasonry we
mention of his writings: _What Freemasonry Owes to Luther, The Knight
Templar and the Holy Week_." Copying this, the _Lutheran Evangelist_
commented that everybody has a right to join a lodge as long as he gives
the first place in his heart to the Church. (L. u. W. 1902, 115.) The
_Observer_, March 14, 1902, reported with satisfaction that the
prominent Lutheran Mr. Dewey had become Grand Master of the Freemasons
in Kansas, and appointed his pastor, the Rev. Fuller Bergstresser, Grand
Chaplain of the lodge. (_L. u. W._ 1902, 115.) Lodge-membership, said
the _Observer_ of January 17, 1913, is a non-essential, permitted by the
Augsburg Confession. Reviewing a sermon of Rev. Bowers in which he
defended and recommended the lodges, the _Lutheran Observer_, in 1909,
remarked: "It is a fair and unprejudiced presentation." (_L. u. W._
1909, 227.) In the same year a committee of the General Synod declared
with respect to a resolution of the Wartburg and Nebraska synods,
forbidding their ministers to hold membership in lodges: "The General
Synod as a body has never taken any action, so far as we know, upon the
so-called lodge-question. We deem its position sound and wise, and
especially in view of the fact that the Lutheran bodies in this country
which have indulged in such legislation have by no means escaped
trouble.... We deem it their [Wartburg and Nebraska synods'] synodical
right so to judge and affirm so long as they do not ask other synods of
this body to accept their judgment and affirm their action.... A synod
has a right to voluntarily restrict itself if it so chooses, and impose
upon itself such limitations as it may elect." (_Proceedings_ 1909, 126
f.) Also with respect to this attitude of the General Synod toward the
lodges the Atchison Amendments brought about no marked change whatever.
After as well as before 1913 prominent lodge-men, without protest, were
elected to, or continued to hold, some of the most important offices of
Synod. In 1917 Dr. George Tressler, a 32d degree Scotch Rite Mason and a
Knight Templar, was chosen president of the General Synod. Prof. C.G.
Heckert, president of the Theological Seminary at Springfield, 0., is a
Freemason. Mr. J.L. Zimmerman, president of the Lutheran Brotherhood of
the General Synod, who took a leading part in the Lutheran Merger
movement, also is, and was publicly declared to be, a Mason. Nor did the
practise cease of arranging for special lodge-services and
entertainments of lodges. September 17, 1918, the Masonic Lodge of Camp
Hill, N.J., held its anniversary dinner at the General Synod church, the
women of the church serving the dinner, etc. (_Luth. Witness_ 1918,

103. New Formula Dead Letter.--Though one will readily admit that the
Atchison Amendments signified a stride forward officially and formally,
the actual conditions prevailing within the General Synod till the
Merger in 1918 (the official indifferentistic and unionistic attitude of
the General Synod as such, as well as the teaching and practise of
District Synods, ministers, and congregations) were not in agreement,
but in open conflict with the formula of 1913. In its issue of June 18,
1915, the _Observer_ stated: "The acceptance of this basis, they [the
opponents of the new basis] further maintain, involves certain
corollaries, such as the rule of 'Lutheran pulpits for Lutheran
ministers only, and Lutheran altars for Lutheran communicants only'; the
withdrawal of fellowship with other Christian bodies in general
religious and moral movements, such as the Federation of the Churches,
the International Sunday-school Lesson Series, and evangelistic
campaigns, in which the congregations of a community unite their efforts
to reach the multitudes of the unchurched and the unsaved. It includes
also condemnation of secret orders, such as Masonry and Odd-Fellowship."
(_L. u. W._ 1916, 58.) Such, indeed, was the price of the new doctrinal
basis. The General Synod as a whole, however, was evidently neither
possessed of the power nor even of the earnest will to draw the
consequences of her new articles practically. The fact certainly is, as
shown in the preceding paragraphs, that neither the General Synod as
such nor its constituency did make any serious effort at paying the
price required by an unqualified subscription to the Augustana as
professed at Atchison. However, as long as a religious body contents
itself with having a correct Lutheran basis merely incorporated in the
constitution; as long as it shows no determination in reducing the
principles of such basis to actual practise; as long as it objects to
the discipline which this basis calls for; as long as it declines
responsibility for contrary teaching and practise on the part of its
ministers and congregations; as long as it adheres to the principle of
agreeing to disagree on doctrines plainly taught in the Lutheran
Confessions, and never to settle disputed points, but to omit them and
declare them free,--just so long even the very best Lutheran basis
embodied in a constitution will remain, in more than one respect, a
scrap of paper and its formal recognition "a solemn farce and empty

The General Council


104. Organization of New General Body.--After severing its connection
with the General Synod at its convention at Lancaster in 1866, the
Ministerium of Pennsylvania appointed a committee (Drs. Krotel, Krauth,
Mann, C.W. Schaeffer, Seiss, B.M. Schmucker, Welden, Brobst, Laird,
etc.) to issue a fraternal address to all Lutheran synods, ministers,
and congregations in the United States and Canada which confess the
Unaltered Augsburg Confession, inviting them to a conference for the
purpose of forming a general body of Lutheran synods, in the interest,
especially, of maintaining "the unity in the true faith of the Gospel
and in the uncorrupted Sacraments." Accordingly, in December of the same
year, representatives from thirteen synods met in Reading, Pa. The
synods represented were the Pennsylvania Synod, the New York
Ministerium, the Pittsburgh Synod, the Minnesota Synod, the English
Synod of Ohio, the Joint Synod of Ohio, the English District Synod of
Ohio, the Wisconsin Synod, the Michigan Synod, the Iowa Synod, the
Canada Synod, the Norwegian Synod, and the Missouri Synod. After the
Fundamental Principles of Faith and Church Polity and Articles on
Ecclesiastical Power and Church Government, prepared and submitted by
Dr. C.P. Krauth, and discussed from the 12th to the 14th of December,
had been approved, the resolution was passed that the first regular
session of the new body, "The General Council of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church of North America," should be held, if the Fundamental
Principles had been adopted by ten synods. At the first regular meeting
in Fort Wayne, November 20, 1867, again representatives of thirteen
synods were present, the Augustana and Illinois synods taking the place
of the Missourians and Norwegians, who had withdrawn from the movement.

105. Synods Remaining with the Council.--Of the synods represented at
Fort Wayne the following retained their connection with the General
Council throughout its history: 1. The Ministerium of Pennsylvania, the
so-called "Mother Synod" of the Lutheran Church in America. It was
organized 1748 by Muhlenberg. In 1778, numbering 18 ministers, it
adopted a constitution which formally acknowledged all of the Lutheran
symbols. The new constitution of 1792 admitted lay delegates, but
eliminated the confessional basis. In 1820 it was represented at the
organization of the General Synod at Hagerstown. At the same time it
planned a union seminary and organic union with the German Reformed
Church. In 1823 it severed its connection with the General Synod, which
was followed by a long period of indifferentism. In 1850 the Ministerium
established official relations with the Gettysburg Seminary. In 1853 it
returned officially to a confessional position, adopting "the
fundamental doctrines of the Gospel as these are expressed in the
confessional writings of our Evangelical Lutheran Church and especially
in the Unaltered Augsburg Confession." In the same year, urging all
other Lutheran bodies to follow the example, the Ministerium, by a vote
of 52 against 28, resolved to reunite with the General Synod. In 1864
its delegates withdrew from the sessions of the General Synod at York
because of the admission of the un-Lutheran Franckean Synod. In the same
year the Seminary at Philadelphia was founded. In the organization of
the General Council the Ministerium of Pennsylvania was the prime mover.
At present it numbers about 400 pastors and 580 congregations with a
communicant membership of 160,000, more than one-fifth of them being
German. 2. The New York Ministerium. This body, when organized in 1786,
confessed the Lutheran symbols. In 1794 it adopted the new constitution
of the Pennsylvania Synod, containing no reference to the symbols. Under
Quitman a period of rationalism and Socinianism followed, and under
Hazelius (since 1815 professor in Hartwick Seminary) a period of
Methodistic revivalism. In 1859 the Ministerium acknowledged the
Augsburg Confession "as a correct exhibition of the fundamental
doctrines of the divine Word," and in 1867, having severed its
connection with the General Synod, extended its confession to embrace
all the Lutheran symbols. The New York Ministerium has repeatedly passed
through a change of language. It numbers about 57,000 communicants, 160
congregations, and as many pastors. 3. The Pittsburgh Synod. It was
organized in 1845 and admitted by the General Synod in 1853. Under W.A.
Passavant it became the "Missionary Synod," to which the Canada, Texas,
Minnesota, and Nova Scotia synods owe their origin. It reports 155
pastors and 190 congregations with a communicant membership of 24,000.
4. The English District Synod of Ohio, organized in 1857 and, in 1869,
because of its connection with the Council, stricken from the roster of
the Joint Synod of Ohio, embraces 55 pastors, 86 congregations, and
14,000 communicants. 5. The Canada Synod, founded in 1861, went on
record as opposed to exceptions in the rule regarding pulpit- and
altar-fellowship. Most of its present pastors come from Kropp, Germany.
It reports 42 ministers, 74 congregations, and 14,000 communicants. 6.
The Augustana Synod, which maintained its connections with the Council
till 1918, when it refused to enter the Lutheran Merger. It numbers
about 700 pastors and 1,200 congregations with a confirmed membership
of 190,000.

106. Defections and Accessions.--The following seven synods partly
declined to consummate the union, partly were temporarily only connected
with the General Council: 1. The Iowa Synod, whose representatives
declared before the close of the session at Fort Wayne, 1867, that they,
though their Synod had adopted the constitution, could not unite with
the Council on account of its equivocal attitude toward pulpit-, altar-,
and lodge-fellowship. The privilege of the floor granted by the General
Council to the delegates of the Iowa Synod was accepted and freely
exercised till the Lutheran Merger in 1918. The Iowa Synod thus remained
in church fellowship with the General Council and took part also in its
missionary and other works. In 1875, the so-called Galesburg Rule having
been adopted by the Council, the Iowa Synod declared that confessional
scruples no longer prevented her from an organic union with the Council.
The union was not consummated because the anti-unionistic construction
which Iowa put on the Galesburg Rule was disavowed within the General
Council and never acknowledged and approved of by this body as such. In
1904, Prof. Proehl, delegate of the Iowa Synod, gloried in the Council
as _optima repraesentatio nominis Lutherani_, the best representation of
the Lutheran name, a tribute, however, which President Deindoerfer of
the Iowa Synod refused to endorse. (_L. u. W._ 1904, 38. 516.) 2. The
Joint Synod of Ohio had not adopted the constitution of the General
Council; and at Fort Wayne, 1867, her delegates finally declined to
enter the union because of the non-committal attitude of the Council
with respect to chiliasm, pulpit- and altar-fellowship and the lodges--
the so-called Four Points. 3. The Wisconsin Synod separated in 1868
because of the "Four Points." 4. The Michigan Synod, organized in 1860,
united with the Council in 1867, withdrew in 1887, and joined the
Synodical Conference in 1892. 5. The Minnesota Synod, founded in 1860,
united with the General Synod; in 1867 it joined the Council; in 1871 it
severed this connection and became a member of the Synodical Conference.
6. The Texas Synod joined the Council in 1868, and left it in 1895,
entering the Iowa Synod as Texas District.--The following synods, most
of them founded by the General Council, affiliated with this body after
its organization in 1867: 1. The Chicago Synod, a name adopted later,
organized and joined the Council in 1871 as Indiana Synod. It numbers
about 40 pastors and 70 congregations with a communicant membership of
8,300. Its center is the Theological Seminary located near Chicago
(Maywood). 2. The English Synod of the Northwest was founded by the
Council in 1891 which led to various frictions with the Swedish
Augustana Synod. Pastors, 37; congregations, 40; communicants, 11,000.
3. The Synod of Manitoba, founded 1897, numbers 35 pastors, 62
congregations, and 5,000 communicants. 4. The Pacific Synod, organized
by the Council in 1901, numbers 21 pastors, 18 congregations, and 1,906
communicants. 5. The Synod of New York and New England, organized in
1902, embraces 65 pastors, 67 congregations, and 19,000 communicants.
6. The Nova Scotia Synod, organized in 1903, reports 6 pastors, 27
congregations, and 2,900 communicants. 7. The Synod of Central Canada,
organized 1909, numbers 12 pastors, 16 congregations, and 1,800

107. Statistical and Other Data.--In 1917, a year before the Merger, the
General Council reported 13 district synods with about 1,700 pastors,
2,600 congregations, and a confirmed membership of 530,000. Among the
higher institutions then within the Council were the following: 1. The
Philadelphia Seminary, now located in Mount Airy, Pa., and belonging to
the Pennsylvania Synod. Since its founding in 1864 this seminary has
educated almost 875 pastors under the Professors Drs. C.F. and L.W.
Schaeffer, Mann, Krauth, Krotel, Spaeth, H.E. and C.M. Jacobs,
Hilprecht, Spieker, Frey, Offermann (appointed by the New York
Ministerium), Schmauk, Reed, Benze. 2. The Chicago Seminary, located in
Maywood, Ill., was founded by Passavant and opened 1891. Here about 260
pastors were trained by the Drs. Weidner, Krauss, Gerberding, Ramsey,
and Stump. 3. The Swedish Seminary in Rock Island, Ill. (founded in
Chicago in 1860 and removed to Rock Island in 1875), has graduated more
than 700 pastors. 4. The Seminary at Kropp, Schleswig, Germany, founded
1882 by Paulsen, for years received support from the General Council. 5.
Muhlenberg College, at Allentown, Pa., founded 1867 by the Pennsylvania
Synod, now directed by Dr. Haas. 6. Wagner College, at Rochester, N.Y.,
founded 1883 by the New York Ministerium, Dr. Nicum being one of its
professors and benefactors. 7. Thiel College, at Greenville, Pa.,
founded 1870 by the Pittsburgh Synod. 8. The Swedish Bethany College,
founded in 1881 at Lindsborg, Kans. 9. The Swedish Gustavus Adolphus
College, at St. Peter, Minn. 10. The Swedish Luther Academy, at Wahoo,
Nebr.--Apart from the Augustana Synod, about 160 parochial schools,
mostly Saturday and vacation schools, have been conducted within the
General Council. Judging from Dr. Gerberding's _Problems and
Possibilities_ (115) and similar utterances, the English element in the
General Council, like that of the General Synod, was opposed to parish
schools. Foremost among the numerous benevolent institutions are the
Wartburg Orphan Asylum and the Drexel Deaconess Home. In 1869 the
General Council assumed the support of that part of the India mission
which the General Synod, after the breach in 1866, was about to
surrender to the Episcopalians. In 1841 "Father Heyer had been sent as
the first American Lutheran missionary to India. He returned in 1857 and
began home missionary work in Minnesota. In 1869, seventy-six years old,
he offered his services to the Pennsylvania Synod for the Lutheran
Mission in India, where he labored till 1871."


108. A Star of the First Magnitude.--Charles Porterfield Krauth
(1823--1883), son of Charles Philip Krauth, was educated at Pennsylvania
College and the Seminary in Gettysburg. He was licensed in 1841 and
ordained 1842. He served as pastor in Baltimore from 1842; in
Shepherdstown and Martinsburg 1847; in Winchester 1848; in St. Thomas,
West Indies, 1852 (a Dutch Reformed congregation during the absence of
its pastor); in Pittsburgh, Pa., from 1855; in Philadelphia from 1859.
In 1861 he resigned his pastorate in order to devote his whole strength
to the editorship of the _Lutheran and Missionary_, which in his hands
became a weapon against the excrescences of the American Lutheranism
then ruling the English Lutheran Church of our country. In 1864, when
the Theological Seminary at Philadelphia was founded, Krauth was
appointed professor of Dogmatic Theology. He was the prime mover in the
establishment of the General Council; wrote the Fraternal Address of
1866, inviting the Lutheran synods to unite in the organization of a new
general truly Lutheran body; and was the author of the Fundamental
Articles of Faith and Church Polity adopted at the convention at
Reading, 1866. Krauth presented the theses on pulpit- and
altar-fellowship in 1877, framed the constitution for congregations of
1880, and assisted in the liturgical work which resulted in the
publication of the Church Book, completed in 1891. From 1870 to 1880
Krauth was president of the General Council. In 1868 he was appointed
professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at the University of
Pennsylvania. In 1880 he made a journey to Europe for his own
recuperation and in the interest of a Luther biography, which, however,
did not make its appearance. In 1882, a year before his death, he became
editor-in-chief of the _Lutheran Church Review._ He died January 2,
1883. Besides contributing many articles to the _Lutheran_ and to
various reviews and encyclopedias, Krauth translated Tholuck's
_Commentary on the Gospel of John,_ 1859; edited Fleming's _Vocabulary
of Philosophy_, 1860; wrote the _Conservative Reformation and Its
Theology_, 1872; and published a number of other books of a
philosophical and theological character. The most important of Krauth's
numerous publications is _The Conservative Reformation and Its
Theology_. The _Lutheran Church Review_, 1917: "It is doubtful whether
any other single book ever published in America by any theologian more
profoundly impressed a large [English] church constituency, or did more
to mold its character. As theologian and confessor Dr. Krauth stands
preeminent in the [English] Lutheran Church." (144.) For twenty years
Charles Porterfield Krauth was one of the prominent theologians of the
General Synod, and since 1866 the leader and most conservative,
competent, and influential theologian of the General Council. Krauth was
a star of the first magnitude in the Lutheran Church of America, or as
Walther put it, "the most eminent man in the English Lutheran Church of
this country, a man of rare learning, at home no less in the old than in
modern theology, and, what is of greatest import, whole-heartedly
devoted to the pure doctrine of our Church, as he had learned to
understand it, a noble man and without guile." (_L. u. W._ 1883, 32.)

109. Krauth's Manly Recantation.--During the first half of his
ecclesiastical activity C.P. Krauth was a pronounced unionistic
theologian. He fully endorsed the indifferentistic principles of the
General Synod, whose champion he was till 1864. During the Platform
controversy Krauth was zealous to settle the difficulties on the
accustomed unionistic lines of the General Synod. He framed the
compromise resolutions of the Pittsburgh Synod in 1856 on the Definite
Platform. In the following year he wrote a series of articles for the
_Missionary_ in defense of the General Synod and its doctrinal basis. In
1858 he defended S.S. Schmucker against the charges of unsound doctrine,
preferred by J.A. Brown. In 1859 he offered the motion for the admission
of the liberal Melanchthon Synod. As late as 1864 he continued to defend
the distinction between fundamental and non-fundamental articles in the
Augsburg Confession, and declared that the pledge referred to the
fundamental articles only, specifically excluding Article XI of the
Augsburg Confession from this pledge. In the _Lutheran and Missionary_,
April 7, 1864, Krauth declared: "Let the old formula stand, and let it
be defined." As late as 1868, three years after his public retraction of
former errors, and later, Krauth held that, exceptionally, non-Lutherans
might be admitted to Lutheran pulpits and altars. Dr. Singmaster writes:
"That the Definite Platform caused the secession of the Ministerium [of
Pennsylvania] some years later seems quite improbable, for the chief
promoter of the General Council, the Rev. C.P. Krauth, Jr., was at this
time an ardent defender of the General Synod. He made apologies for his
old teacher [S.S. Schmucker], and probably prevented his impeachment by
the Seminary Board when it was urged by the Rev. J.A. Brown." (_Dist.
Doctr_., 1914, 53.) In the _Lutheran and Missionary_, July 13, 1865,
Krauth published that remarkable declaration in which he, defining his
position as to fundamentals, retracted, as he put it, his former
"crudities and inconsistencies" on this point. Among his statements are
the following: "We do not feel ashamed to confess that time and
experience have modified our earlier views, or led us to abandon them,
if we have so modified or so forsaken them." "In Church and State the
last years have wrought changes, deep and thorough, in every thinking
man, and on no point more than this, that compromise of principle,
however specious, is immoral, and that, however guarded it may be, it is
perilous; and that there is no guarantee of peace in words where men do
not agree in things." "To true unity of the Church is necessary an
agreement in fundamentals, and a vital part of the necessity is an
agreement as to what are fundamentals. The doctrinal articles of the
Augsburg Confession are all articles of faith, and all articles of faith
are fundamental. Our Church can never have a genuine internal harmony,
except in the confession, without reservation or ambiguity of these
articles, one and all. This is our deep conviction, and we hereby
retract, before God and His Church, formally, as we have already
earnestly and repeatedly done indirectly, everything we have written or
said in conflict with this our present conviction. This we are not
ashamed to do. We thank God, who has led us to see the truth, and we
thank Him for freeing us from the temptation of embarrassing ourselves
with the pretense of a present absolute consistency with our earlier,
very sincere, yet relatively very immature views." (Spaeth, 2, 114 f.)
Walther, who had rounded out almost a quarter century of faithful
Lutheran work when Krauth was still a champion of the original basis of
the General Synod, gloried in this frank and manly retraction of Krauth
as "an imperishable monument of the sincerity of his convictions."

110. Endorsing Walther's Views on Christian Union.--In opposition to the
unionistic tendencies of the Lutheran synods in the United States,
especially those affiliated with the General Synod, Walther had
maintained that church union dare not be advocated and effected at the
expense of any doctrine clearly revealed in the Scripture. It was in
complete agreement with this view that Krauth, in his address before the
Pittsburgh Synod, October 1866, declared: "With her eternal principles,
what shall be the future of our beloved Zion in this land? Shall it be
conflict, division, weakness, or shall it be peace, unity, zeal,
unfolding all her energies? It is unity. Every difficulty in her way,
every barrier to her progress, proceeds from the lack of unity. But what
is the unity of the Church? That question was answered three centuries
ago by the Reformers, and fifteen centuries before that in the New
Testament. True unity is oneness in faith, as taught in the Gospel of
our Lord Jesus Christ. We are one with the Church of the apostles
because we hold its faith; one with the Church of the Reformers, alone
because we hold its faith. Outward human forms are nothing;
ecclesiastical government, so far as it is of man, is nothing; all
things are nothing, if there be not this oneness of faith. With it
begins, in its life continues, in its death ends, all true unity. There
can be, there is, no true unity but in the faith.... The one token of
this unity, that by which this internal thing is made visible, is one
expression of faith, one 'form of sound words,' used in simple
earnestness, and meaning the same to all who employ it.... You may agree
to differ; but when men become earnest, difference in faith will lead
first to fervent pleadings for the truth, and, if these be hopelessly
unheeded, will lead to separation. All kinds of beliefs and unbeliefs
may exist under the plea of toleration; but when the greatest love is
thus professed, there is the least. Love resulting from faith is God's
best gift. Love that grows out of opposition or indifference to faith,
God abhors. There can be no true love where there is not also true
hatred,--no love to truth without abhorrence of error.... In Christ we
can alone find unity. Only when we meet in this center of all true unity
will we have peace. And we can be in Christ only in a faith which
accepts His every word in His own divine meaning, and shrinks with honor
from the thought that, in the prostituted name of peace and love, we
shall put upon one level the pure and heavenly sense of His Word and the
artful corruption of that sense by the tradition of Rome or the vanity
of carnal reason." (Spaeth, 2, 162 f.) With respect to the Missouri
Synod Krauth wrote, April 7, 1876: "I have been saddened beyond
expression by the bitterness displayed towards the Missourians. So far
as they have helped us to see the great principles involved in this
disputation [concerning the Four Points], they have been our
benefactors, and although I know they have misunderstood some of us,
that was perhaps inevitable. They are men of God, and their work has
been of inestimable value." (2, 236.)

111. Krauth on Predestination.--In a letter dated February 13, 1880, Dr.
Krauth said: "I have not read Dr. Walther's exposition of the doctrine
of election, but I purpose, as soon as I can command leisure, to write
something whose object shall be to show that the New Testament doctrine,
confessed by our Church, in regard to election, as fully as the most
extreme Calvinism, gives all the glory to God and ascribes to Him the
total merit of our salvation, both as secured and applied, and yet
clearly and properly makes man responsible for his own destruction....
Luther is constantly claimed by the Calvinists, and I have known
intelligent Calvinists who are entirely satisfied with the Formula of
Concord on the 'Five Points.' Yet, the claim and the satisfaction are
both groundless. The truth in the Formula so strictly follows the line
of Scripture thinking that it is hard to get a spear's point under the
scales of its armor. My own conviction about Luther is, that he was
never a Calvinist on the 'Five Points,' but Augustinian, with some
aspects of coincidence and _many_ of divergence, even where he was
nearest Calvinism." In an article found among his papers after his
death, Krauth says: "Why do men in completely parallel relations to this
election move in opposite directions? The one believes, the other
disbelieves. Is the election of God in any sense the cause of the
difference? The answer of the Calvinist is: Yes. The answer of the
Lutheran is: No. The election of God is indeed the cause of the faith of
the one, but it is neither positively nor negatively, neither by act nor
by failure to act, the cause of the unbelief of the other. Hence it is
not the cause of the difference. I choose (or elect) to offer bread to
two beggars. The election of bread for his food and the election to
offer it to him are the proper cause of the reception of the bread on
the part of the one, but they are not the cause of the rejection on the
part of the other. The first concurs in my election, but his concurrence
is the effect, not the cause, of my election. The second refuses, but
his refusal is not the effect of my election, but an effect in spite of
it. As between me and the men the decision must be, that the acceptance
of one is no more than the refusal of the other, the cause of my
election. But between the one and the other the difference is made by
the willingness to receive, wrought by me through the offer, and the
unwillingness to receive, wrought by the man himself in spite of the
offer. Faith is not the cause of our general election. That must be
admitted by all. But neither can it be the cause of our particular
election, for the particular is only possible, and indeed only
thinkable, as the result of the general. But it is the cause of the
difference between the man who receives the benefits of this election,
and the man who refuses them. This faith is foreseen indeed, but it does
not become by that the cause of the election--it is foreseen as an
effect of the election and therefore cannot be considered as the cause;
it is a finality in the work of God in the restoration of fellowship. It
is, as a condition, part of the election, and cannot therefore be the
cause of the whole." (2, 327 ff.) Evidently, then, Krauth was not ready
to solve the mystery of election by assuming that, in the last analysis,
a difference in their respective guilt is the final cause why some are
saved while others are lost.


112. Dr. Wm. Julius Mann (1819--1892) was born at Stuttgart,
Wuerttemberg; graduated at Tuebingen, 1841; active as teacher till 1844;
came to America in 1845, influenced by his intimate friend Ph. Schaff at
Mercersburg, who had left Germany in 1844; 1846 assistant pastor of a
German Reformed congregation in Philadelphia; 1850 assistant to Dr.
Demme, pastor of Zion Ev. Luth. Congregation, Philadelphia, to which H.M.
Muhlenberg had been called in 1742; in 1851 he was received into the
Ministerium of Pennsylvania; served as president of this body from 1860
to 1862 and 1880; from 1864 to 1892 he was professor in Philadelphia
Seminary. From 1848 to 1859 Dr. Mann cooperated in editing the _Deutsche
Kirchenzeitung_, established by Schaff as "an organ for the common
interests of the American German [Reformed and Lutheran] churches." The
_Kirchenzeitung_, of which Mann in 1854 became editor-in-chief, was a
paper for theologians, not for laymen. It bore the motto: "In
necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas." Its object
was "to prepare the way for the Lord, and add a few stones to the dome
of the Church of the future." It served the Lutheran and Reformed
churches by antagonizing revivalism. From 1863 to 1866 Dr. Mann was
editorially responsible for _Evangelische Zeugnisse_, a German homiletic
monthly, also established by his friend Ph. Schaff. In 1856 Mann opposed
the Definite Platform in his _Plea for the Augsburg Confession_, and
1857 in his _Lutheranism in America_. In 1864 he translated the _New
Testament Commentary_ of the American Tract Society into German for this
society. In 1886 he edited _Hallesche Nachrichten_ (Vol. I); 1887 he
published the _Life and Times of H.M. Muhlenberg_; 1891 the same in
German. Apart from quite a number of other books, Dr. Mann wrote
articles for various German and English periodicals. "I always prepare
myself closely," said Mann in a letter of February 14, 1866, "for the
recitations in the seminary, write every week for the _Lutheran_, more
for the _Lutherische Zeitschrift_ of Brobst, continue the translation
of the Tract Society's Commentary on the New Testament, keep up some
correspondence, and at the same time perform my various and burdensome
duties as a pastor and, find yet a little, a very little, time for light
reading." Mann, for many years a bosom friend of the arch-unionist Ph.
Schaff, whom he admired as "the presiding genius of international
theology," gradually became a conservative confessional Lutheran
theologian, opposed also to the unionism as practised by the General
Synod. On April 7, 1892, Schaff wrote to his friend: "What right had the
sixteenth and seventeenth century to prescribe to future generations all
theological thinking? We are as near to Christ and to the Bible as the
framers of the confessions of faith." Dr. Mann answered: "In the air in
which this letter breathes I cannot live.... What right had the framers
of the American Constitution to lay down a basis for the administrative
side of the life of this nation?" As to the General Synod, Dr. Mann's
love for it gradually turned into aversion, because of its utterly
un-Lutheran features. He charged the General Synod with living "in a
concubinage with the Presbyterians and Methodists." In 1853 he wrote: "I
have rejoiced over the union of our Pennsylvania Synod with the General
Synod, and now I rejoice still more." (173.) Mann still failed to see
that no one can truly love the Lutheran Church who despises, ignores,
and denies her doctrines and usages. In 1855 he said of Missouri: "They
have no patience with their weaker sister," meaning the General Synod.
(176.) But in the immediately following years Mann himself began to
attack the Definite Platform and its American Lutheranism. With respect
to the doctrines controverted within the Lutheran Church of America,
however, Dr. Mann never occupied a clear, firm, and determined Lutheran
position. He revealed no interest in the discussions on the Four Points.
Of the Missouri Synod Dr. Mann wrote in 1866: "These theological
scratchbrushes (_Kratzbuersten_) of the West do an important work. They
discipline thousands of Germans ecclesiastically, as otherwise only
Catholic priests are able to do. Most of them lead a rough, self-denying
life. They defy effeminate, sentimental, hazy ecclesiastical
Americanism. There is a firm character here. They will not always remain
as rugged as they are now. The coming generation will be English and
milder in many respects. The Missourians are a power in the West, where
the Germans generally are becoming a power, the longer the more. They
will obtain an ever stronger elementary influence. The German [?] blood
will make its influence felt for a long time." (Spaeth, _W.J. Mann_.)

113. Passavant, Schmucker, Seiss, etc.--Other names well known beyond
the General Council are Drs. Passavant, B.M. Schmucker, Krotel, Seiss,
Spaeth, Weidner, etc. _Dr. W.A. Passavant_ (1821--1894) was born of
Huguenot ancestry at Zelienople, Pa.; graduated in Gettysburg Seminary;
was pastor in Baltimore till 1844 and in Pittsburgh till 1855; published
the _Missionary_ in 1845, which in 1861 was merged with _The Lutheran_,
Passavant remaining coeditor. He established _The Workman_ in 1880,
which he edited in a conservative, confessional spirit, while in the
_Missionary_ he had been a fiery advocate of New-measurism. Cooperating
with Pastor Fliedner of Kaiserswerth, Passavant introduced the first
deaconesses in America; founded hospitals, orphanages, and academies;
presented, in 1868, the ground for the Theological Seminary at Chicago;
organized the home missionary work of the Pittsburgh Synod (whose
founder he was) and of the General Council. Passavant was preeminently a
missionary and philanthropist--the "American Fliedner." Dr. G.W. Sandt,
in _Lutheran Church Review_ 1918: "Passavant was educated in a
Presbyterian college, where revivals were a fixed part of the
curriculum. He prepared for the ministry in a Lutheran seminary at a
time when Lutherans were more 'anxious' about the 'bench' than they were
about the faith. It is not to be wondered at that his early ministry
reflected the fitful and unstable emotionalism of the 'Anxious Bench'
religionism, which he later outgrew and disowned." (442.)--_Dr. Beale
Melanchthon Schmucker_ (1827--1888), though a son of S.S. Schmucker, did
not agree with the Definite Platform. He was secretary of the English
Church Book Committee, a member of the German Kirchenbuch and
Sonntagsschulbuch Committee, and of the Joint Committee on Common
Service. He was regarded as the greatest liturgical scholar of the
Lutheran Church in America and admired as a parliamentarian. He was a
passionate lover of the Reformation and its literature. The _Church
Book_ of the General Council has been said to be "his lasting monument."
Through it he laid the foundation also for the Common Service. "Next to
Dr. C.P. Krauth," said the _Kirchenblatt_ of the Iowa Synod (1918),
"there is no man to whom the General Council owes so much as to Dr. B.M.
Schmucker." B.M. Schmucker published articles on liturgical,
hymnological, biographical, and other themes, and wrote the preface to
the Common Service, first published by the United Synod of the South,
1888.--_Dr. G.F. Krotel_ (1826--1907) studied theology under Dr. Demme;
was renowned as pulpit orator; succeeded Krauth in the editorship of
the _Lutheran_; repeatedly served the Pennsylvania Synod and the General
Council as president.--_Dr. J.A. Seiss_ was pastor in Philadelphia from
1858 till his death in 1904; he also served as president of the
Pennsylvania Synod and the General Council. Seiss was one of the most
prolific Lutheran authors in America. "There was a strength, a
stateliness, a dignity, and an artistic finish to all his greatest
pulpit efforts that compelled a hearing." (_Luth. Church Review_ 1918,
90.) His style is oratorical rather than churchly. His _Lectures on the
Gospels and Epistles_ are the fruit of many years of careful sermonizing
and study. In his lectures on the _Last Times_, 1856, and on the _The
Apocalypse_, 1866, Seiss championed the cause of a chiliasm which the
General Council refused to reject.--_Dr. Adolph Spaeth_ (1839--1910)
graduated at Tuebingen; active in Wuerttemberg, Italy, France, and
Scotland till he accepted a call as Dr. Mann's assistant in Philadelphia
in 1864; served as professor at the Seminary from 1867 till his death;
was president of the General Council from 1880 to 1888, and of the
Pennsylvania Synod from 1892 to 1895. He wrote the biographies of W.J.
Mann, 1895, and of C.P. Krauth, Vol. I, 1898; Vol. II, 1909.--_Dr. R.F.
Weidner_ (1851--1915), president of the Seminary of the General Council
at Chicago since its opening in 1891, reproduced in the English language
a number of modern German theological works.


114. Fundamental Articles of Faith.--At the preliminary meeting at
Reading, 1866, "Fundamental Principles," embracing nine Articles of
Faith and Church Polity and eleven Articles of Ecclesiastical Power and
Church Government, were adopted as a necessary condition of the
contemplated union. The first Article of Faith states that, "to the true
unity of the Church, it is sufficient that there be agreement touching
the doctrine of the Gospel," etc. The second declares: "The true unity
of a particular church, in virtue of which men are truly members of one
and the same church, and by which any church abides in real identity,
and is entitled to a continuation of her name, is unity in doctrine and
faith and in the Sacraments, to wit, that she continues to teach and to
set forth, and that her true members embrace from the heart, and use,
the articles of faith and the Sacraments as they were held and
administered when the Church came into distinctive being and received a
distinctive name." The third article distinguishes general and
particular symbols. The fourth emphasizes that these confessions are a
testimony of unity and a bond of union only when "accepted in their own
true, native, original, and only sense." Those who "subscribe them must
not only agree to use the same words, but must use and understand those
words in one and the same sense." According to the fifth article the
unity of the Lutheran Church "depends upon her abiding in one and the
same faith." Article six reads: "The Unaltered Augsburg Confession is by
preeminence the Confession of that faith. The acceptance of its
doctrines and the avowal of them without equivocation or mental
reservation make, mark, and identify that Church, which alone, in the
true, original, historical, and honest sense of the term, is the
Evangelical Lutheran Church." According to the seventh article the only
churches "entitled to the name Evangelical Lutheran are those which
sincerely hold and truthfully confess the doctrines of the Unaltered
Augsburg Confession." The next article reads: "We accept and acknowledge
the doctrines of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession in its original sense
as throughout in conformity with the pure truth of which God's Word is
the only rule. We accept its statements of truth as in perfect
accordance with the canonical Scriptures: We reject the errors it
condemns, and believe that all which it commits to the liberty of the
Church of right belongs to that liberty." The ninth article declares
"that the other Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, inasmuch
as they set forth none other than its system of doctrine and articles of
faith, are of necessity pure and Scriptural," and that all of them "are,
with the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, in the perfect harmony of one
and the same Scriptural faith." (Ochsenford, _Documentary History_, 178
f.) According to the By-laws of the Constitution "the first two morning
sessions after the opening of the convention shall be devoted to the
discussion of doctrinal points and important practical questions."

115. Articles on Church Polity.--According to the second of the eleven
articles of Ecclesiastical Power and Church Government, the church "has
no power to bind the conscience, except as she truly teaches what her
Lord teaches, and faithfully commands what He has charged her to
command." The third reads: "The absolute directory of the will of Christ
is the Word of God, the canonical Scriptures, interpreted in accordance
with the 'mind of the Spirit,' by which Scriptures the Church is to be
guided in every decision. She may set forth no article of faith which is
not taught by the very letter of God's Word, or derived by just and
necessary inference from it, and her liberty concerns those things only
which are left free by the letter and spirit of God's Word." The fourth
continues: "The primary bodies through which the power is normally
exercised, which Christ commits derivatively and ministerially to His
Church on earth, are the congregations. The congregation, in the normal
state, is neither the pastor without the people, nor the people without
the pastor." This paragraph permits of an interpretation that opens a
loophole for Romanism. According to the sixth article "a free,
Scriptural General Council, or Synod, chosen by the Church, is, within
the metes and bounds fixed by the Church which chooses it,
representatively that Church itself; and in this case is applicable the
language of the Appendix to the Smalcald Articles: 'The judgments of
synods are the judgments of the Church.'" This seems to imply that the
judgments of synods are as such correct and binding. The tenth article
reads: "In the formation of a General Body the synods may know, and deal
with, each other only as synods. In such case the official record is to
be accepted as evidence of the doctrinal position of each synod, and of
the principles for which alone the other synods become responsible by
connection with it." This paragraph, which was embodied also in the
constitution of the United Lutheran Church, opened the door to
indifferentism inasmuch as it made the General Council responsible, not
for the actual conditions within, but only for the official attitude and
deliverances of its district synods.

116. A Legislative Body.--The seventh article of "Ecclesiastical Power
and Church Government" reads: "The congregations representatively
constituting the various district synods may elect delegates through
these synods to represent themselves in a more general body, all
decisions of which, when made in conformity with the solemn compact of
the constitution, _bind_ so far as the terms of mutual agreement make
them binding on those congregations which consent, and continue to
consent, to be represented in that General Body." According to the ninth
article, "the obligation under which congregations consent to place
themselves, to conform to the decisions of synods, does not rest on any
assumption that synods are infallible, but on the supposition that the
decisions have been so guarded by wise constitutional provisions as to
create a higher moral probability of their being true and rightful than
the decisions in conflict with them, which may be made by single
congregations or individuals." In keeping herewith Article I, Section 4
of the General Council's constitution provides: "No liturgy or hymn-book
should be used in public worship except by its [the General Council's]
advice or consent, which consent shall be presumed in regard to all such
books now used, until the General Council shall have formally acted upon
them." That the General Council was not a mere advisory, but a
legislative body, was brought out in the Lima Church Case in which the
judge decided that, according to the constitution and the expert
testimony of members of the General Council, Synod had jurisdiction over
its pastors and congregations, and that hence he could not adjudge the
property to that part of the congregation which had refused to submit to
Synod. Dr. Seiss testified (April 6, 1876) that, according to the
constitution of the General Council, congregations are obliged and bound
to respect and obey all constitutional resolutions of Synod. In its
issue of September 26, 1901, the _Lutheran_ maintained that Christian
liberty did not prohibit the Church from making prescriptions to
individual congregations in the adiaphora; that pastors and
congregations, by joining the Pennsylvania Ministerium, yielded the
right to decide and act for themselves, and agreed to submit to the
regulations of Synod in the points enumerated; that it was not an
infringement of the rights of a congregation to make this a condition of
synodical membership. (_L. u. W._ 1901, 305.) In 1915 the Augustana
Synod adopted a resolution recommending a change in the constitution of
the General Council in order to make the body "both in principle and
practise a deliberative and advisory body only."

117. Conforming to Decisions a Moral Obligation.--In 1866 Dr. Krauth,
defending the polity of the General Council, wrote in the _Lutheran and
Missionary_: "We entirely agree with our friend in the _Lutheraner_ that
the strength of the Church does not depend upon a '_strong government,_'
but on the unity of faith, doctrine, and confession. But 'strong' and
'weak' are relative terms. We want a _real_ government; something which
shall hold in a genuine outward bond, however mild, the true confessors
of our Church's faith, and enable them to work in harmony, and if we
understand the principles which control the government of the Synod of
Missouri, we are sure that we desire nothing stronger nor better in the
government of our whole Church in this country than these principles
would give us. We only ask a church government which shall bind us by
the gentle laws of love and peace, which shall take offenses out of the
way, which shall be an aid in causing all things to be done decently and
in order in the Church--which shall be a safeguard to conscience, and
shall not lay, nor attempt to lay, burdens on it. The decisions of a
synod which shall be such a government representatively will indeed be
merely human, as the decisions of all earthly governments are merely
human--nay, often manifestly wrong; nevertheless, we hold that the
generic governmental principles and the right of representation are as
really of God in the Church as in the State. The obligation to conform
to the decisions of such a [representative] synod is the obligation of
peace, love, and order; and where violation of them (except on the
ground of conscience) creates scandal and offense, there is a moral
obligation to conform to them." (Spaeth, 2, 172 f.) However, the
constitution of the General Council does not contain the limitation:
"where violation creates scandal and offense"; and Missouri holds that a
congregation may ignore a resolution of synod, not only on the ground of
conscience, but also whenever it finds a resolution unsuitable for her


118. Missouri's Attitude toward the General Council.--Originally Dr.
Walther and Dr. Sihler were optimistic with respect to the movements
which resulted in the organization of the new general body. Walther
wrote: "Scarcely any event within the bounds of the Lutheran Church of
North America has ever afforded us greater joy than the withdrawal of
the Synod of Pennsylvania from the unionistic so-called General Synod.
This is a step which will undoubtedly lead to consequences of the utmost
importance and of the most salutary character. The plan to give
prominence and supremacy in this land, by means of the 'General Synod,'
to a so-called American Lutheranism which ignores the distinctive
doctrines of the Lutheran Church, and to compel the truly Lutheran
synods to occupy a separatistic, isolated, and powerless position, is
completely frustrated by this step." (Spaeth, 2, 162.) But the hopes of
Walther and his friends were doomed to disappointment, at least in part.
In spite of its irreproachable confessional basis the General Council
was imbued with a spirit of indifferentism and unionism, though of a
finer grade and quality than that prevailing in the General Synod. In
accordance with its principle that fraternal cooperation and union of
necessity presupposes unity in doctrine and practise, Missouri, instead
of participating in the hasty organization of the General Council,
insisted on Free Conferences in order first to bring about real
doctrinal agreement, the prerequisite of every God-pleasing external
union. In Reading, 1866, however, this request was disregarded, union
being the paramount, true and real unity a secondary consideration. Nor
was there a change effected in this attitude by the subsequent
correspondence between the General Council and the Missouri Synod. At
Reading the delegates passed the resolution: "That the synods
represented in this convention which prefer a Free Conference to an
immediate organization be and hereby are invited to send representatives
to the next meeting, with the understanding that they have in it all the
privileges of debate and a fraternal comparison of views." To this
Missouri responded at its convention in Chicago, in May, 1867: "In view
of the relations we sustain toward different members of the Church
Council, in reference to doctrine and churchly practise, we must be
apprehensive that the consideration and discussion of differences still
existing in the convention of the Church Council might give rise to the
reflection that we intended to interrupt the bringing about of a unity,
and are therefore fearful lest our participation, instead of leading to
an agreement, might be productive of greater alienation. Even at the
risk of appearing capricious in the eyes of the Reverend Body, and less
diligent in our efforts for churchly unity, we beg leave to declare it
again as our conviction that Free Conferences, such as are separated
from officially organized conventions of ecclesiastical bodies, on the
basis of the symbols of our Church, as contained in the Book of Concord
of 1580, are the only proper means for an exchange of such convictions
as are still divergent, and which, by the grace of God, may lead to a
unity on the basis of our beloved Confession." At Fort Wayne, in
November, 1867, the General Council renewed the resolution "that we
sincerely respect the honest preferences of our brethren [Missouri] in
regard to the best means of uniting our Church, and that we are willing
to set apart a time, during the future sessions of this body, when it
will meet them simply as a Free Conference." And, no answer having been
received, the Council, at Pittsburgh, 1868, instructed its secretaries
to bring the Fort Wayne action again to the attention of the Missouri
Synod. In the following year Missouri answered that it was not its
desire to deal with the General Council as such and during the sessions
of the same; that by such a side-dealing justice could not be done the
matter; that they desired and regarded Free Conferences as the proper
means to reach the end contemplated. (Ochsenford, _Doc. History_, 152
ff.) Thus, from the very beginning, Missouri, in the interest of real
unity as a prerequisite of union, urged free conferences and doctrinal
discussions, while the General Council offered discussions "in regard to
the best means of uniting our Church," at the same time insisting on a
mode which involved a recognition of the unionistic procedure adopted in
organizing the General Council. Considering the facts that some of the
synods, uniting in 1866 and 1867 with the General Council, had several
months before belonged to the General Synod; that ostensibly they had
severed their connection on technical grounds; that all along they had
been committed, more or less, not only to a false confessional basis,
but also to Reformed doctrines and un-Lutheran practise, etc., the
Missouri Synod, without sacrificing its anti-unionistic principles,
could hardly have taken a different course of action than it did.
Moreover, the subsequent history of the General Council, down to the
Merger in 1918, has proved conclusively that Missouri's original
evaluation of the General Council's confessionalism was certainly not
very far from the mark. It was, then, the persistent refusal, on the
part of the General Council, of free conferences, such as Missouri could
have attended without an _a priori_ violation of her convictions, that
brought about and prolonged the deadlock obtaining between the two
bodies. As late as 1904, at the time of the Inter-synodical Conferences,
Dr. Jacobs declared that he would not meet Missouri in a free conference
without a preceding joint service of prayer; and to this the _Lutheran_
assented. (_L. u. W._ 1904, 224. 370.)

119. The Primary Difference.--In 1885 Dr. Spaeth wrote: "In no other
Lutheran body of the Old or New World has the question on the great
principles of true church unity received such attention and been treated
in such a thorough and comprehensive manner as within the General
Council." There is certainly a good deal of truth in this assertion. For
the General Council did make repeated efforts at grasping and applying
the principles of true church unity. But it lacked consistency, and in
formulating the rules and theories, their theologians were influenced by
conditions inherited from the General Synod. They lacked the courage or
ability of completely breaking with their unionistic past. This was
essentially the charge of Missouri against the General Council--the
correctness of which was vindicated also by the action taken by the
representatives of the synods of Ohio and Iowa at the first convention
of the General Council, 1867, at Fort Wayne. While Walther and the
Missouri Synod demanded a real, material unity, unity as to the actual
content, that is to say, the individual doctrines of the Lutheran
symbols, the General Council was satisfied with a mere correct formal
acknowledgment of the Confessions. It was the difference between the
form and substance of unity. In the _Lutheran_ of August 22, 1907, Dr.
Krotel declared with respect to the doctrinal attitude of the Council:
It "firmly refuses to occupy the unionistic position of doctrinal
vacillation and tolerance. Contrary to the theological temper of the
age, it maintains that there are articles of faith so definite and
fixed and clear as to demand unqualified endorsement and defense."
(_Doc. Hist_., 138.) But Dr. Krotel's assertions are not supported by
the facts. Judged by the real conditions, the General Council has
always been a unionistic body.


120. Altar- and Pulpit-Fellowship, Lodges and Chiliasm.--Immediately at
its first convention at Fort Wayne, 1867, it became apparent that the
General Council was unwilling to take an unequivocal and decided stand
with respect to Lutheran doctrine and practise. At Fort Wayne the Joint
Synod of Ohio, through its delegates (G. Cronenwett, F.A. Herzberger,
G. Baughman), after stating that, despite the reception of the Doctrinal
Basis, "un-Lutheran doctrine and practise" were still found in some of
the synods connected with the Council, requested an answer to the
following questions: "1. What relation will this venerable body in
future sustain to Chiliasm? 2. Mixed communions? 3. The exchanging of
pulpits with sectarians? 4. Secret or unchurchly societies?"
"Especially," they declared, "would we earnestly desire a decided answer
with regard to the last item, inasmuch as the Joint Synod, for years
already, in view of certain relations in one of its district synods, has
had difficulties in consequence of four pastors belonging to secret
societies, and would not, therefore, again burden its conscience." The
answer was: "That this Council is aware of nothing in its 'Fundamental
Principles of Faith and Church Polity' and Constitution, nor in the
relation it sustains in the four questions raised, which justifies a
doubt whether its decision on them all, when they are brought up in the
manner prescribed in the Constitution, will be in harmony with Holy
Scripture and the Confession of the Church. That so soon as official
evidence shall be presented to this body, in the manner prescribed by
the constitution, that un-Lutheran doctrines or practises are authorized
by the action of any of its synods, or by their refusal to act, it will
weigh that evidence, and, if it finds they exist, use all its
constitutional power to convince the minds of men in regard to them, and
as speedily as possible to remove them." (_Doc. Hist_., 156.) In other
words: Unite with us, and then we shall see what can be done, according
to the "educational methods," with reference to the Four Points. A
similar evasive answer was given to the following petition of the Iowa
Synod: "In order to effect a union of the Church, and that we may all
truly agree in the principles of practise as well as of faith, without
conditions, the delegates [G. Grossman, S. and G. Fritschel] of the
Synod of Iowa propose, in accordance with the instructions of their
Synod, that the General Council shall expressly acknowledge what,
according to the understanding of the delegates of said Synod, is
virtually acknowledged in the 'Fundamental Principles of Faith and
Church Polity' adopted by this body, _viz._: 1. that according to the
Confession of the Evangelical Lutheran Church there must be, and is,
condemned all church-fellowship with such as are not Lutherans; for
example, ministers serving congregations such as are mixed and not
purely Lutheran, receiving such congregations and their pastors into
synodical connection, the admittance of those of a different faith to
the privilege of Communion, the permission of those not Lutheran to
occupy our pulpits, etc.; 2. according to the Word of God,
church-discipline be exercised, especially at the celebration of the
Holy Communion, and be likewise exercised towards those who are members
of secret societies." The answer was: "That the General Council is not
prepared to endorse the declaration of the Synod of Iowa as a correct
logical deduction and application of the negative part of our
Confessional Books, and that we refer the matter to the District Synods,
until such time as, by the blessings of God's Holy Spirit and the
leadings of His Providence, we shall be enabled throughout the whole
General Council and all its churches to see eye to eye in all the
details of practise and usage, towards the consummation of which we will
direct our unceasing prayers." (161.) In other words: Unite with us, and
we shall see what can be done in the future, and whether your position
really is in harmony with the Lutheran Confessions. Hereupon the Iowa
men declared that their Synod could not unite with the Council, because
"in accordance with our deep and sincere conviction, which is at the
same time that of the Synod we represent, we must declare it to be a
necessary precedent condition of an official ecclesiastical connection
between synodical bodies that there should be a complete and hearty
agreement not only in the principles of faith and confession, but also
in an ecclesiastical practise accordant with such faith and confession,
as set forth especially in the first of the propositions presented by
us." (162.) Among the pastors who, at Fort Wayne, also declared their
dissent with respect to the dubious attitude of the Council regarding
the Four Points were the Revs. J. Bading, A. Hoenecke, A. Martin, C.F.
Welden, and C. F. Heyer. (155 ff.)

121. Side-lights on "Four Points" Difficulties.--Dr. S.E. Ochsenford
explains in _Documentary History of the General Council_: "The
difficulty lay in the fact that some synods demanded that that should be
done at once[?], regardless of consequences, which others felt could be
done with much better results by following an educational method,
leading in the process of time all the synods and congregations, among
many of which in certain portions of the Church there existed peculiar
difficulties, to the same lofty eminence of purity in doctrine and in
practise, and so true unity in both. The older synods had difficulties
in this respect, of which the more recently formed synods had no true
conception. These difficulties could not be eradicated at once and by
the fiat of any organization; but as they had grown up gradually, so
they must be removed by a process of education." (164.) Dr. Spaeth gives
the following explanation of the situation, and apology for the attitude
of the General Council at Fort Wayne: "There appeared at this point a
wide difference, especially between the Eastern and Western synods,
which was in the first place the natural result of the historical
development, through which those various sections of the Church had
passed which now endeavored to form an organic union. The Lutheran
Church in the Eastern part of our country, having been founded about one
hundred and fifty years ago, had passed through all the different stages
of church-life, suffering, and death, by which the history of the Church
and theology of the German Fatherland was characterized in that period.
We need not be surprised to find that during this time many things crept
in which were in conflict with the spirit and Confession of our Church.
Over against those things the renewed appreciation of the Lutheran
Confession and the honest return to the same was of comparatively recent
date. It was therefore not to be expected that there should have been on
all sides at the very outset a thorough insight into all the
consequences and obligations of a decided and consistent adoption of the
Lutheran Confession. On the other hand, most of the Lutheran synods of
the West had been founded at a much more favorable season. Out of the
very fulness and freshness of the revived Confession, partly even in the
martyr-spirit of a persecuted Church, have their foundations been laid
and their structures raised. Accordingly, their whole congregational
life could much more easily and more consistently be organized on the
principles established in the Confession, and many evils could be
excluded which in other places had taken root and had been growing for
nearly a century." (164.) However, both Spaeth and Ochsenford fail to
see the real issue; for the grievance at Fort Wayne was not the
inability to abolish immediately all abuses referred to in the Four
Points, but rather the persistent refusal on the part of the General
Council to take, as such, a definite and unequivocal Lutheran attitude
with respect to these questions. Nor was the charge, at least on the
part of Missouri, with respect to the "educational method," as advocated
and applied from 1867 to 1918 by the Council, directed against this
method as such, but against the mutilation of this method by practically
eliminating its eventual natural termination, expulsion according to
Matt. 18, and against the apparent insincerity in the advocacy, and the
lack of seriousness in the application of this method. Indeed, the real
grievance was not that weak members of the General Council were lagging
behind in Lutheran doctrine and practise, but that many of her prominent
leaders and her periodicals occupied an un-Lutheran position and
championed un-Lutheran doctrine and practise.


122. Non-Lutherans Admitted Exceptionally.--Regarding the Four Points,
especially the question of altar- and pulpit-fellowship, the General
Council during its subsequent history never really rose above the Fort
Wayne level. In 1868, at Pittsburgh, the Council declared "that no man
shall be admitted to our pulpits, whether of the Lutheran name or any
other, of whom there is just reason to doubt whether he will preach the
pure truth of God's Word as taught in the Confessions of our Church."
(208.) As though a sectarian minister could preach in accordance with
the Lutheran symbols; or offense and unionism were fully eliminated when
the sectarian minister, preaching in a Lutheran pulpit, proclaims none
of his errors! The same convention held: "Lutheran ministers may
properly preach wherever there is an opening in the pulpit of other
churches, unless the circumstances imply, or seem to imply, a fellowship
with error or schism, or a restriction on the unreserved expression of
the whole counsel of God." (209.) But, apart from other considerations,
the fact is that, as a rule, these conditions were not and could not be
complied with. Furthermore, the same convention declared: "Heretics and
fundamentally false teachers are to be excluded from the Lord's Table."
(209.) But the convention at Chicago, in 1870, explained: "Although the
General Council holds the distinctive doctrines of our Evangelical
Lutheran Church as in such sense fundamental that those who err in them
err in fundamental doctrines, nevertheless, in employing the terms
'_fundamental errorists_,' in the declaration made at Pittsburgh, it
understands not those who are the victims of involuntary mistake, but
those who wilfully, wickedly, and persistently desert, in whole or in
part, the Christian faith, especially as embodied in the Confessions of
the Church Catholic, in the purest form in which it now exists on earth,
to wit, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and thus overturn or destroy
the _foundation_ in them confessed; and who hold, defend, and extend
these errors in the face of the admonitions of the Church, and to the
leading away of men from the path of life." (215 f.) Accordingly, the
fact that a Christian held the Reformed view on the Lord's Supper did
not _per se_ exclude him from the altars of the General Council.

123. "The Rule Is."--At Akron, O., 1872, in answer to a question of the
Iowa Synod referring to the declaration of 1870, Dr. Krauth, then
President of the General Council, submitted the following: "1. The rule
is: Lutheran pulpits are for Lutheran ministers only. Lutheran altars
are for Lutheran communicants only. 2. The exceptions to the rule belong
to the sphere of privilege, not of right. 3. The determination of the
exceptions is to be made in consonance with these principles, by the
conscientious judgment of pastors, as the cases arise." (216.) At
Galesburg, 1875, the General Council declared: "The rule which accords
with the Word of God and with the Confessions of our Church is:
'Lutheran pulpits for Lutheran ministers only--Lutheran altars for
Lutheran communicants only.'" (217.) However, this declaration, which,
for the time being, satisfied the Iowa Synod, admits of the
interpretation: The exceptions are: Lutheran pulpits for non-Lutheran
ministers, and Lutheran altars for non-Lutheran communicants, as was
virtually admitted also by the General Council in her answer of 1877 to
an appeal from the Ministerium of New York against violation of the
Galesburg Rule. (217.) Returning--if indeed a return was required--to
the Akron Declaration, the General Council, in 1889, stated "that at the
time of the passage of the Galesburg Rule, by the General Council, the
distinct statement was made that all preceding action of the General
Council on pulpit- and altar-fellowship was unchanged.... Inasmuch as
the General Council has never annulled, rescinded, or reconsidered the
declarations made at Akron, 0., in the year 1872, they still remain, in
all their parts and provisions, the action and rule of the General
Council. All subsequent action of the General Council is to be
understood and interpreted according to the principles there determined
and settled.... The present position of the General Council is to be
understood and interpreted in such manner that neither the amendment and
further explanation at Galesburg nor the original action at Akron be
overlooked or ignored, both of which remain in full force and mutually
interpret and supplement one another." (219.) Exceptionally,
non-Lutherans may be admitted to Lutheran pulpits and altars--such,
then, was the final official decision of the General Council as to the
question of pulpit- and altar-fellowship. In the _Lutheran_ of May 3,
1917, Rev. J.E. Whitteker, president of the General Council Home
Mission Board, said that it was his custom not to refuse the Lord's
Supper to non-Lutherans. (_L. u. W._ 1917, 463.) Dr. J. Fry, _The
Pastor's Guide_, says: "It is not considered proper to give a general
invitation to persons belonging to other congregations to participate in
the Communion at the time when it is administered. If any public
invitation is given, it should be at the time when the Communion and
preparatory services are announced, and such persons be requested to
make personal application to the pastor, so he may know who they are,
and judge of their fitness to join in the Communion. The door should not
be opened wider to strangers than to children of the household." (54.)
In 1904 Dr. Deindoerfer of the Iowa Synod declared: "We do not see that
in the circles of the General Council, as a whole, the churchly practise
has improved and become less offensive, and that earnest proceedings are
instituted against members who are guilty of offensive practise--a state
of affairs which our Synod never can and will sanction." (_L. u. W._
1904, 516.)


124. Sound Principles.--The doctrinal basis of the General Council as
well as a number also of its later declarations and resolutions as to
church-fellowship and cooperation with non-Lutherans are sound. They
breathe the Lutheran spirit revealed in the manly words of C.P. Krauth:
"The Lutheran Church can never have real moral dignity, real
self-respect, a real claim on the reverence and loyalty of her children
while she allows the fear of denominations around her, or the desire of
their approval, in any respect to shape her principles or control her
actions. It is a fatal thing to ask, not, What is right? What is
consistent? but, What will be thought of us? How will our neighbors of
the different communions regard this or that course? Better to die than
to prolong a miserable life by such a compromise of all that gives life
its value." (_L. u. W._ 1917, 468.) In 1909 Dr. T.E. Schmauk, then
president of the General Council, declared in regard to the World's
Missionary Conference: "We regret our inability, on account of our sound
fundamental principle of unity as a prerequisite to cooperation, to
enter in as one of the active elements in such a meeting." The committee
reported: "We approve of the President's position as to the World
Conference and the Federal Council." In 1913 the General Council
resolved with respect to participation in "The World Conference on Faith
and Order": "While regretting that it is unable to unite with the
Communion of the Episcopal Church in arranging for, and conducting, a
Conference on Faith and Order, yet, nevertheless, it hereby resolves to
appoint a Committee on the Unity of Faith, which shall be authorized,
without participating in organization or arrangement of any conference,
to present and set forth the Lutheran faith touching particular
doctrines, either independently, or when they are under discussion in
any conference or gathering, without, however, granting the committee
any power of association, arrangement, fellowship, or practical
direction, but confining it to the one specific function of witness and
testimony to the faith that is in us, and which we rejoice to confess,
and to have tested, before all the world." In 1915 the General Council
made the statement: "Regarding general movements in the Christian world
which have arisen in the last few years looking to the drawing together
of the whole Christian Church on earth, such as the movement of a free
Protestantism toward a united foreign mission objective, the Federation
of Churches, and other movements of a similar character, we recommend
that, while we cannot at this time [sic!] organically participate, it is
well, nevertheless, to keep fully informed as to their trend, direction,
and development." (467.) In 1917 Schmauk said in the _Lutheran_: "The
Lutheran faith has suffered terribly in the past by attempts of union
and cooperation with various Christian denominations and tendencies.
Usually they have penetrated insidiously into our spirit, and poisoned
our own life-roots, and taken possession of our palaces. But these
damages have been wrought through an attempted unity with men who are
not at one with us in the profession of a _common faith_. As Luther
said: 'They have a different spirit.'" (468.)

125. Facts Discounting Declarations.--Although the General Council as
such has always confined its fraternal intercourse and cooperation to
Lutheran synods (General Synod, United Synod South, etc.), its members
and official boards have not. In 1916 several representatives of the
General Council attended the Latin-America Missionary Conference, its
Mission Board was connected with the "Foreign Mission Conference," a
body composed of Adventists, Baptists, Quakers, Universalists, Reformed,
etc. (461.) In his pamphlet, _Dangerous Alliances_, 1917, Rev. W.
Brenner, a member of the General Council, wrote: "The _Woman's Mission
Worker_, the _Foreign Missionary_, and the _Home Missionary_
[periodicals of the General Council] have published letters and articles
defending Lutheran participation in 'union movements.' In the _Lutheran_
of September 14, 1916, Rev. C.F. Fry lauds federation in 'mission-work'
and 'Reformation celebrations.' 'On Tuesday evening pastors of
non-Lutheran churches presented their greetings,' so the _Lutheran_ of
November 18, 1915, describes in part the 175th anniversary celebration
of St. John's Ev. Lutheran Church at Easton, Pa. Rev. E.S. Bromer, D.D.,
of the Reformed Church, addressed the congregation of the First Lutheran
Church of Greensburg, Pa., on the occasion of its hundredth anniversary.
(_Lutheran_, Nov. 18, 1915.) Emmanuel Lutheran Church of the Augustana
Synod laid the corner-stone of a new church edifice, November 12, 1916,
at Butte, Mont. 'Brief congratulatory speeches were made by Hon. C.H.
Lane, mayor of Butte, and the Rev. J.H. Mitchell, chairman of Butte's
Ministerial Association.' (_Lutheran_, Nov. 30, 1916.) We have also read
of Anti-Saloon League representatives, and Women's Christian Temperance
lecturers, male and female, who delivered speeches in the Lutheran
churches." (463.) In 1915, when the General Council met in Rock Island,
Dr. Gerberding occupied the pulpit of the Presbyterian church. At Port
Colborne, Can., on November 11, 1918, Rev. Knauff of the General Council
fellowshiped with Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans in
a united Thanksgiving service. (_Luth. Witness_ 1919, 14.) Dr. J. Fry in
his _Pastor's Guide_: "A Lutheran pastor may officiate on any occasion,
or perform a ministerial act in which ministers of other creeds take
part, provided the occasion and circumstances are such as will not
violate synodical order, nor compromise his confessional position."
(84.) Again: "Y.M.C.A.'s, W.C.T.U.'s, Christian Endeavor, etc., are
rarely [sic!] to be recommended to our people, as they are generally
conducted on 'new-measure' lines, and their influence is to make our
members dissatisfied with Lutheran or churchly ideas and usages." (97.)
It may be safely said that without the sanction of this species of
unionism openly practised within the General Council, the Lutheran
Merger of 1918 would have been an impossibility. And yet, this practise
admits of but one construction: mutual acknowledgment. "When teachers
and preachers exchange pulpits and chairs, it is an emphatic way of
declaring, not their personal friendship, but their endorsement of each
other's teachings; it is all the same as to infer that they are in
accord in their essential teachings." (Editor of the _Presbyterian_.)


126. Sound Lutheran Principles.--At its convention at Pittsburgh, 1868,
the General Council made the following declarations with respect to
secret societies: "1. Though mere secrecy in association be not in
itself immoral, yet as it is so easily susceptible of abuse, and in its
abuse may work, as it has often worked, great mischief in family, Church
and State, we earnestly beseech all good men to ponder the question
whether the benefits they believe to be connected with secret societies
might not be equally reached in modes not liable to the same abuse. 2.
Any and all societies for moral and religious ends which do not rest on
the supreme authority of God's holy Word as contained in the Old and New
Testaments; which do not recognize our Lord Jesus Christ as the true God
and the only Mediator between God and man; which teach doctrines or have
usages or forms of worship condemned in God's Word and in the
Confessions of His Church; which assume to themselves what God has given
to His Church and its ministers; which require undefined obligations to
be assumed by oath, are unchristian, and we solemnly warn our members
and ministers against all fellowship with, or connivance at,
associations which have this character. 3. All connection with infidel
and immoral associations we consider as requiring the exercise of prompt
and decisive discipline, and after faithful and patient monition and
teaching from God's Word, the cutting off the persistent and obstinate
offender from communion of the Church until he abandons them and shows a
true repentance." (_Doc. Hist._,208.)

127. Practise out of Tune with Principles.--From the very beginning the
official declarations of 1868 were and remained a dead letter. With the
exception of the Augustana Synod, lodges were generally tolerated and,
in part, practically encouraged within the General Council throughout
its history--resolutions to the contrary notwithstanding. Lodge-men were
received with open arms, and no questions were asked. In 1873 the
English District Synod of Ohio, affiliated with the Council, deposed
Rev. Bartholomew because, for one reason, he, in a sermon, had testified
against the lodgism prevailing in Synod. (Report 1874, 45. 47 ff.) The
_Pilger_, a German paper published within the General Council, wrote in
1875: "Testimony against secret societies will bring little result so
long as the Church [General Council] looks on in silence while pastors
of the Christian Church are members of antichristian lodges. Indeed,
many resolutions have been passed against pastors being members of
secret orders; but paper is patient, and those who are rebuked laugh at
Synod's resolutions." _Herold und Zeitschrift_, August 2, 1884, related
of a pastor connected with the Council: "He is a Freemason. He does not
refrain from showing his attitude toward the lodge. Recently, after
delivering the funeral address for a Freemason, he put on his Masonic
uniform before the congregation, and marched out to the grave. Some time
ago he announced a lecture on Masonry in his church. Appearing before a
large audience which had gathered, in the white leathern apron and other
paraphernalia of his order, he, in eloquent fashion, set forth the
advantages of Masonry, etc., making special mention of its great
antiquity and marvelous liberality." In 1886, the _Lutheran_ declared
that excommunication because of membership in a secret society had never
been an official demand of the General Council. The _Lutherisches
Kirchenblatt_, edited by pastors connected with the Council, reported a
meeting of the Pennsylvania Ministerium, held in January, 1887, as
follows: "Pastor Hinterleiter made a motion that pastors ought not
belong to secret societies. Pastor Struntz vehemently opposed this
motion, declaring that it had no place in a constitution, but was part
of a pastor's private life. Dr. Fry expressed it as his opinion that
such a resolution would give offense." In the _Lutheran Church Review_,
April, 1903, Carl Swensson wrote: "I believe the entire stand taken by,
for instance, our Augustana Synod on the secret society question has
been a mistake and a misfortune. Society members, inside or outside of
the Church, should be treated just as any other people." (_L. u. W._
1903, 184.) In the same year a number of General Council ministers
publicly joined the Mystic Shriners. On May 6, 1917, the pastor of the
First English Lutheran Church in Kitchener (Berlin), Ont., held a
lodge-service for the Freemasons and Odd-Fellows. At the convention of
the Ministerium of Pennsylvania in 1917 a petition signed by thirteen
members was presented to amend the constitution _by striking out_
section 51 in Art. 10, according to which "any minister belonging to the
Ministerium who shall, after due admonition, persist in fellowship and
cooperation with any such antichristian society or order [lodges],
whether secret or not, shall be subject to discipline." (_Proceedings_
1917, 182.) No action was taken by Synod.

128. Educational Method a Pretense.--In dealing with offenders also
against the Lutheran principles pertaining to lodge-membership, the
General Council advocated the "educational method." But the fact is that
during the whole course of its history no serious and persevering
efforts whatever were made to enlighten the congregations as to the
utter incompatibility of Lodgism and Lutheranism. Geo. Fritschel: "It
cannot be denied that the General Council as such has done nothing to
bring about a progress in this question" (concerning lodge-membership).
The same, he says, was true of its chief synods. Partly they did not
want any discussions on this question. The officers of the Pennsylvania
Synod remained unconcerned even when ministers joined the lodges.
(_Geschichte_, 2, 322.) The Iowa _Kirchenblatt_, November 24, 1917,
declared that the policy of education as advocated by the Council had
utterly and finally failed. (_Luth. Witness_ 1918, 387.) In the same
year Rev. W. Brenner wrote: "There is an official General Council
declaration which solemnly warns its pastors and people against all
fellowship with, or connivance at, secret societies (_Doc. Hist._, 208);
but from the attitude of some General Council ministers and their
practise no one would ever suspect that they had ever read, or were
aware of the fact, that such a document existed. During their seminary
days little was heard on the subject, and so they are surprised when
they see how other pastors who studied in other seminaries take a firm
stand and refuse absolutely to officiate at any funeral where
lodge-chaplains are permitted to take any part in the service." (_L. u.
W._ 1917, 462.) Dr. J. Fry, professor in the Seminary of the General
Council at Mount Airy, advises in his _Pastor's Guide_: "Ministers
should not refuse to officiate at the funerals of persons who were not
members of the Church, or who died impenitent.... Neither should a
minister refuse to officiate because some lodge or other society may be
present and have its service at the grave.... He should finish his
service, and quietly step back." (64.) Again: "Pastors are sometimes
asked to preach special sermons before lodges.... If there should be any
good reason for their coming as a body, the service should be at an hour
which interferes with no other service." (75.)


129. Official Attitude.--At the convention in Pittsburgh, in 1868, the
following declaration regarding Chiliasm was adopted by the General
Council: "2. The General Council has neither had, nor would consent to
have, fellowship with any synod which tolerates the 'Jewish opinions' or
'chiliastic opinions' condemned in the Seventeenth Article of the
Augsburg Confession. 3. The points on which our Confession has not been
explicit, or on which its testimony is not at present interpreted in
precisely the same way by persons equally intelligent and honest, and
equally unreserved and worthy of belief in the profession of adherence
to the Confessions, should continue to be the subject of calm, thorough,
Scriptural, and prayerful investigation, until we shall see perfectly
eye to eye both as regards the teaching of God's Word and the testimony
of our Church." (_Doc. Hist._, 207.) According to the General Council,
then, while the gross and carnal millennialism of the Jews must be
rejected, there is a chiliasm which should be tolerated and continue to
be the subject of further prayerful research. Pastors Bading, Adelbert,
and Klingmann of the Wisconsin Synod, however, immediately, protested
that they "rejected every form of chiliasm as against the Scriptures and
the Confessions."

130. Kind of Chiliasm Tolerated.--The chiliasm which had always been
advocated by members of the General Synod, and which the General Council
refused to reject, was of a kind with the one entertained by Dr. John
Geo. Schmucker (1771--1854), the father of S.S. Schmucker, and by the
Drs. Helmuth, Lochman, Daniel Kurtz (died 1856), by Loehe and leaders of
the Iowa Synod, and especially by Dr. J.A. Seiss of the Pennsylvania
Synod. According to J.G. Schmucker, the Second Petition of the Lord's
Prayer and, among others, also the following passages of the New
Testament: Matt. 5, 35; 8, 11. 26. 29; Acts 3, 20. 21; Rom. 8, 20. 21;
11, 25. 26, treat of a coming millennium, in which Christ will reveal
Himself in a visible pavilion, take possession also of the civil power,
govern the world according to the principles of the New Testament, bring
about a great temporal happiness, prolong the life of the saints, etc.
These and similar views were endorsed and advocated also by the
_Lutheran_, the organ of the conservatives within the General Synod.
(_L. u. W._ 1861, 282.) In his _Last Times_ and _Lectures on the
Apocalypse_, Dr. Seiss taught: "There is a first resurrection at the
beginning of the Millennium, and a second resurrection at the end of the
Millennium. The one embraces the martyrs and saints,--who are 'blessed
and holy,' 'who have fallen asleep through Jesus,'--the other is the
resurrection of the remaining dead." Seiss also denied that the Papacy
is the true Antichrist. In the _Lutheran Cyclopedia_, published by
Jacobs and Haas, Dr. Seiss states: "That there have been teachings and
beliefs put forth, and usually called chiliasm, which are heretical and
subversive of the true Gospel, there can be no question. That Jesus and
His apostles, as well as the great body of primitive Christians, held
and taught what some call chiliasm, or millenarianism, can as readily be
substantiated. And that there are various open questions touching these
eschatological particulars on which the final word has not yet been
spoken, and which may be considered chiliasm, must likewise be
admitted." (87.) A chiliasm, then, which expects a time of universal
prosperity and glory for the Church on this side of the resurrection, a
time when the whole world will be converted to Christ, a time when peace
and righteousness will be established from the rivers to the ends of the
earth; a chiliasm which believes in a future twofold coming of Christ, a
double resurrection, a conversion and restoration of Israel, a future
personal Antichrist, embodying all antichristian elements,--such a
chiliasm, according to Seiss, the _Lutheran Cyclopedia_, and the General
Council, conflicts neither with the Bible, nor the Confessions, nor
Lutheran orthodoxy. (87 f.)


131. Reformed Tendencies.--In the _Lutheran and Missionary_, April 13,
1876, Dr. Seiss declared that it was an arrogance to make the doctrine
that unbelievers as well as believers receive the true body and blood of
Christ at the Lord's Table an article of faith. Nor was the Puritanic
doctrine concerning the divine obligation of the Sunday, universally
held in the General Synod, discarded by the synods and congregations
constituting the General Council. The Reading _Kirchenblatt_, December
19, 1903, wrote: "On the second Sunday in Advent the Philadelphia
Sabbath-Association celebrated its anniversary in the Evangelical
Lutheran Church (Rev. C.L. Fry) in Philadelphia. Addresses were made by
prominent Sabbath-workers. The leading speakers were the well-known John
Wanamaker (Presbyterian) and the Methodist Rev. Dr. Mutchler.... Pastors
of our own Synod foster un-Lutheran doctrine, and our superiors remain
silent. Do they know of it? Certainly! All the dailies brought the news:
first the invitations, then long reports. And what do our professors say
to it? They keep silence.... But why do so many of our pastors hold a
false, Puritan doctrine of the Sabbath? Because they have learned no
better. If the students in our institutions would learn Luther's true
doctrine concerning Sunday and sanctifying the holy-day, they could not,
after becoming pastors of Lutheran congregations, take part in the
fanatical doings of the sects. But, as it is, they go hand in hand with
the sects, invite them to their churches, and permit them to present a
false doctrine of the Sabbath to their Lutheran church-members." (_L. u.
W._ 1904, 38; 1901, 85.) In his _Catechist_ Dr. Gerberding teaches: "The
law of one holy day of rest: its purpose is rest for the body and
refreshment for the soul. All works of mercy and real necessity are
allowed." In 1816 the District Synod of Ohio refused to discipline a
pastor who did not believe that a child becomes a Christian, and is
endowed with faith, in Baptism. (_Luth. Witness_ 1918, 341. 356.) Rev.
Brenner: "How long ago has it been considered a good policy in the
General Council for its Mission Boards to agitate 'working together with
the denominations about us for the best interest of our fellow-men,' and
to 'agree on a program to lift the world to a higher level' by
'petitioning, demanding, and insisting upon special legislation for
abolishing the saloon,' and doing a thousand other things which is the
business, not of the Church, but of the State.... Individual synods have
passed prohibition resolutions. Individual pastors have gone entirely
too far in this matter. They are fanatical on the subject. Some have
almost gone daft over the liquor problem." (_L. u. W._ 1917, 465.) The
_Home Missionary_, December, 1916, declared that what the Lutheran
Church teaches in reference to the separation of Church and State is
"rot" and "fool" theology. (464.)

132. Qualified Confessional Subscription.--It was an ultrasymbolism, not
countenanced by the Lutheran Church, when the _Lutheran and Missionary_
maintained in its issue of September 27, 1867, that it was false,
dangerous, and inconsistent to declare it the duty of Lutherans to
compare for themselves the confessions received from the fathers with
the Scriptures, and if found erring, to correct them; that this
unbridled and radical theory, resting on the false assumption that
private investigation of the Scriptures is the foundation of our faith,
could not be proved by the Scriptures, and, reduced to practise, would
endanger all purity of doctrine, and finally destroy all ecclesiastical
communion. (_L. u. W._ 1867, 371.) In the _Lutheran_, March 5, 1908,
however, Dr. H.E. Jacobs, defending the other extreme, wrote: "Some of
the difficulties that men whom we esteem have urged against the
acceptance of all our Confessions are due to a misunderstanding of what
is involved in a confessional subscription. They conceive of the
Confessions as an external law that binds the conscience to a mechanical
acceptance of all [doctrinal matter] that may be found in these
documents. What is properly confessional in these documents is their
answers to the questions that rendered the framing of a confessional
statement necessary.... We must study our Confessions as an organism,
and appreciate the relation of each part to the other parts and to the
whole Confession. Where the heart of each confession and of each
doctrine confessed lies, must be the object of our search. To tear
passages from their connection, or to represent isolated passages and
merely incidental statements as having confessional authority is as
unfair to the Confessions as it is to the Holy Scriptures." (Jacobs
denies that all of the astronomical, geological, historical, and similar
statements of the Bible are true.) The _Lutheran World_, commenting on
Dr. Jacobs's statements, remarked: "But do not Dr. Jacobs's declarations
sound very much like a _quatenus_ rather than a _quia_ mode of
confessional subscription? For a long time we have not seen a
theological statement that reminds us so much of the 'substantially
correct' mode of subscription formerly in vogue in the General Synod. It
certainly does not sound as stalwart as the General Synod's resolution
in 1895, when she declared 'the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as
throughout in perfect consistence with that Word'--namely, the Word of
God." (_L. u. W._ 1908, 233.) In his _Book of Concord_, 1893, Dr. Jacobs
declared that only the primary, not the secondary, arguments of the
Confessions are involved in the subscription. "'The primary,' says
Jacobs, 'are the dogmas set forth with the purpose of showing they are
believed and taught by the Lutheran Church, the confutations of errors
whereby it wished to declare that it contradicted them, and formulas of
speech either expressly prescribed or proscribed.' The secondary are
'all those particulars introduced to confirm or illustrate the former,'"
etc. (2, 13.)


133. Jacobs and Haas on Ordination, etc.--With respect to the doctrine
that the public office of the ministry originates in, and is transferred
by, the local congregation, Dr. Jacobs declared: "Nothing can be clearer
than the antagonism of our great Lutheran divines to this position, nor
anything be more convincing than their arguments against it."
(Gerberding, _The Lutheran Pastor_, 73.) Luther's language on this
question, Jacobs maintains, is "not guarded with the same care as that
of the later dogmaticians." (74.) According to Jacobs the right to call
a minister "belongs neither to the minister alone nor to the laity
alone, but to both in due order." (_Summary of Christian Faith_, 427.
424.) Dr. J.A.W. Haas: "The transference theory has been developed in
antithesis to Rome, and in it Lutherans have agreed with the Reformed."
It "makes the ministry an organ growing out of the congregation, which
ill befits the divine origin of the ministry." "In it the main accent is
placed on the vocation, of which ordination is the attestation."
(Gerberding, _l.c._, 77.) Ordination, Dr. Haas declares, is "the
prerogative of the whole Church." It includes "the separation for the
ministry with invocation of blessing and consecration under divine
approval." For this reason "ordination is not repeated." (112.) "This
realism of a divine gift [in ordination] was apparently not held by
Luther.... He declares the right of all believers to the office, because
of the spiritual priesthood, and sees the consecration (_Weihe_) in the
call. 'Ordo est ministerium et vocatio ministrorum ecclesiae.'" (116.)

134. Gerberding and Fry on the Ministry.--In his _Lutheran Pastor_ Dr.
G.H. Gerberding, professor at the seminary of the General Council at
Maywood (Chicago), declares: It is clear "that this transference theory
is not held by our older theologians. Neither have we been able to find
any ground for it in Holy Scripture. Where is there a single proof that
the congregation, made up of believing priests, does on that account
possess the right to exercise the ordinary functions of the ministry?
Where is the proof that the ministry is created by the congregation?
Where is it written that the minister is amenable to the congregation?
If the congregation of laymen alone makes the minister, then it can also
unmake, or depose, him from his office. The whole theory is unscriptural
and unhistoric. Only the fanatical sects, which have a low view of the
means of grace, can, with any consistency, hold such a view." (82.)
Again: "This [the outward call] does not come from the ministry alone.
Neither does it come from the laity alone. It must come from the Church.
But the Church is neither the ministry without the people nor the
people without the ministry.... Christ, then, exercises His power to
call men into the ministry through the Church [ministers and laymen].
The Church may exist either in the congregation or in the representative
Church [synod], made up of ministers and lay representatives of
congregations. Either the congregation, as defined above, not without a
pastor, or the representative body, made up also of pastors and people,
has a right to extend the outward call." (86.) "The transference theory
is unscriptural and not consistent with the Lutheran doctrine of the
means of grace." (110.) "It is unscriptural and un-Lutheran to hold that
the meaning and use of ordination consists essentially in this that it
publicly attests and satisfies the validity of the call." (110.)
Ordination "conveys the special grace needed for the special work of the
ministry." (120.) In his _Pastor's Guide_, 1915, Dr. J. Fry, professor
at the seminary of the General Council in Mount Airy, Philadelphia,
teaches: The call to the ministry "must come from God, from the Church
[synod] and from a particular place or congregation." (5.) "Of all these
qualifications [required for the ministry] the Church [synod] must be
the judge, and in her synodical organization and authority must extend
the call to the ministry." (6.) "A pastor serving a parish of more than
one congregation has no right to resign one congregation and retain the
others without the consent of the president of the synod to which the
parish belongs." (14.) "The call should also specify that either party
desiring to withdraw from the agreement [between the pastor and
congregation] must give three months' notice to that effect to the other
party. This provision will do away with the very objectionable custom in
some congregations of holding annual elections for a pastor." (9.) "The
power to decide and impose penalties belongs to the pastor and church
council." (92.) Dr. Fry regards "the pastor and church council as the
highest authority in all congregational matters." (98.) All of these
tenets are corruptions of the Scriptural and evangelical doctrines as
proclaimed again by Luther. Consistently developed, their terminus is
Rome. However, in the atmosphere of American liberty, where State and
Church are separated and the will of the former is not foisted on the
latter, Romanistic tendencies cannot thrive, nor did they ever to any
extent succeed in practise in the Lutheran Church, a Church whose
fundamental articles are the doctrines of justification by faith alone
and absolute spiritual freedom from every human authority.


135. Synergistic Teaching on Conversion.--In his _Confessional
Principle_, 1911, Dr. T.B. Schmauk rejects Melanchthon's _aliqua causa
discriminis in homine_, some kind of discriminating cause in man.
Schmauk writes: "Several qualities and motives in Melanchthon's nature,
including his humanist outlook on free will, and his tendency to
emphasize the necessity of good works, contributed to inspire him with
erroneous views, when the evangelical doctrine began to be wrought out
more expansively, and led him to find the cause for the actual variation
in the working of God's grace in man, its object. This subtle
synergistic spirit attacks the very foundation of Lutheranism, flows out
into almost every doctrine, and weakens the Church at every point. And
it was practically this weakness which the great multitude of
Melanchthon's scholars, who become the leaders of the generation of
which we are speaking, absorbed, and which rendered it difficult to
return, finally, and after years of struggle, to the solid ground once
more recovered in the Formula of Concord." (611; _L. u. W._ 1912, 33.)
Evidently, this is sound Lutheranism; and similar testimonies were
occasionally heard within the General Council throughout its history.
(_L. u. W._ 1904, 273: Rev. Rembe; 1917, 473: Rev. G.H. Schnur.) But it
was the song of rare birds. The synergistic note was struck much more
frequently and emphatically. For making his anti-synergistic utterances
Schmauk was called to order by Dr. Gerberding. And in 1916 Schmauk
himself opened the _Lutheran Church Review_ to L.S. Keyser, the zealous
exponent of synergism within the General Synod, who wrote: "Faith's
experience always includes the fact that, while the ability of faith is
divinely conferred, the exercise of that ability is never coerced, but
belongs to the domain of liberty.... The same is true of all volitions:
the ability to will is divinely implanted; the act itself belongs to the
sphere of freedom. The ability to repent is from God; the use of that
ability belongs to man's liberty." "The Scriptures never command men to
regenerate; they always put that category in the passive voice, 'Except
any one be born again'; but the Bible again and again commands men to
repent and believe, putting the verbs in the active voice, imperative
mood. What inconsistent commands these would be if man possessed no
freedom in the exercise of repentance and faith!" "God's fiat of the
individual's election unto salvation must have been decided upon in
foresight and foreknowledge of the whole content of faith, including
both its divine enablement and its human element of freedom." (65.)
Similar views on man's freedom and responsibility were expressed by Dr.
Haas in _Trends of Thought_, 1915. In his book, _The Way of Life_, 1917,
Dr. Gerberding explains: "After prevenient grace, however, begins to
make itself felt, then the will begins to take part. It must now assume
an attitude, and meet the question: Shall I yield to these holy
influences or not? One or the other of the two courses must be pursued.
There must be a yielding to the heavenly strivings or a resistance. To
resist at this point requires a positive act of the will. This act man
can put forth by his own strength. On the other hand, with the help of
that grace already at work in his heart, he can refuse to put forth that
act of his will, and thus remain non-resistant." According to Gerberding
man "may be said, negatively, to help towards his conversion." (167 ff.;
_L. u. W._ 1917, 214.) Prior to 1901 Rev. C. Blecher, by order of the
pastoral conference of Connecticut, belonging to the Council, published
a pamphlet which was recommended for the widest possible distribution by
the _Lutherische Herold_. In it Blecher, in direct opposition to the
Formula of Concord, Art. 11, section 60 ff., maintains: Two persons are
never in equal guilt when the one resists the grace of God from
inherited blindness and weakness, like Peter, while the other resists
contumaciously and purposely, like Judas." (_L. u. W._ 1901, 65; 1902,
144.) In 1900 Dr. Seiss had maintained in the _Lutheran_: "Conversion is
largely one's own act. God first makes it possible; but then the
responsibility rests upon ourselves to determine whether or not we will
comply with the truth brought to our understanding." (_L. u. W._ 1900,
243. 246.) Misstating historical facts and revealing his own synergistic
attitude, Dr. G.W. Sandt wrote editorially in the _Lutheran_ of March
27, 1919, concerning Dr. Stellhorn's polemics against the Missouri
Synod: "When the controversy with Missouri was at its height, he
[Stellhorn] could do no other but cast his soul into it and stand for
the defense of the universal call to grace and salvation as over against
the special call as Calvin and others teach it. He resented the charge
of synergism which came from his opponents, and renounced it as strongly
as any Missourian could."

136. Synergistic Predestination.--Synergism in the doctrine of
conversion naturally leads to synergistic teaching on predestination.
Moreover, the doctrine of predestination is, as it were, the
bacteriological test whether one's Lutheran blood is really and
absolutely free from synergistic infection also in the doctrines of
conversion and justification. However, also in these tests as to the
doctrinal purity of the General Council the results, as a rule, were
negative. In his _Summary of Christian Faith_, 1905, Dr. H.E. Jacobs
gives the following presentation of the doctrine of predestination:
"Since God has not predestinated all that He has foreknown ('for all
that the perverse, wicked will of the devil and of men purposes and
desires to do and will do, God sees and knows before,' _ib._), but, in
His inexplicable will, has allowed a certain measure of freedom and
contingency in His creatures, and afforded them a degree of moral
responsibility, knowing from all eternity what will be the result of
their use of this trust, He also has determined how in every case their
decision and activity will be treated." "When, therefore, God has willed
that He will be determined in a certain decision by the free decision of
a creature, that freedom of the creature will certainly be guaranteed in
the result; but what in the exercise of this freedom the decision of the
creature will be, as well as the determination of His will concerning
it, He knows from all eternity, and makes His plans accordingly." "The
fulfilment or non-fulfilment of the proviso or condition is contained in
the foreknowledge which determined the free destination." (556 f.)
According to Jacobs, then, Predestination depends on the divine
foreknowledge of the use that man will make of the freedom with which
God has entrusted him. Plainly synergistic doctrine!


137. Rejecting Verbal Inspiration.--Even the doctrines of the verbal
inspiration and the complete inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures have been
assailed by prominent representatives of the General Council and the
_Lutheran Church Review_. Dr. H.E. Jacobs, in his introduction to
_Biblical Criticism_ (1903) by Dr. J.A.W. Haas, states: "It is,
therefore, the Word and not the words; the divine substance and not the
particular human form in which that substance is clothed; the divine
truth and not the human language, with all its limitations, which, in
accommodation to human finiteness, the Holy Spirit employs, that is
'the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.'" (18.)
"Nevertheless, the subordination of the words of Holy Scripture to the
Word in no way diminishes the need of the most reverent handling and the
most careful judgment of the words themselves when considered in the
place which they are intended to serve." (19.) "A text from Genesis and
one from John, one from the Psalms, and another from Romans, cannot
stand upon the same footing.... Many a precious passage in the Old
Testament can no longer be used as the sincere expression of Christian
faith in the light of the clearer revelation of the Gospel." (21.)
"There are few theorists who would assign the same degree of inspiration
to the statistics and rolls in Ezra or Chronicles as to those parts of
the New Testament for whose reading the dying ask when all other earthly
words have lost their interest. Even the distinction between the Petrine
and the Pauline theology, which the Tuebingen school so greatly
exaggerated, contains within it an element of truth, when the difference
is found to be one of degree, but not one of kind." (21.) "The time has
come when, in antagonism to such [radical] criticism, the Church must
offer a restatement of its doctrine of the Holy Scriptures. The theories
of our dogmaticians are not the confessional declarations of our Church.
The Augsburg Confession contains no statement on this topic." (26.) "It
is only the Formula of Concord that gives an official utterance.... But
it formulates no definition either of revelation or inspiration. It
simply presents to us in the Scriptures an inerrant and infallible judge
concerning all religious truth.... Religious truth, it declares, 'is to
be received only as revealed in God's Word," and for this Word we turn
to the Scriptures." (27.) "For the truths made known by such revelation
we are referred to a record. But that such a certain and indubitable
record should be made, another supernatural act is necessary, and this
is inspiration. This includes everything that is necessary to render the
record an infallible standard of all religious truth." (27.) "If the
verbal theory of inspiration mean that every word and letter are
inspired, so that the writer was purely passive and performed a merely
mechanical office, as 'the pen of the Holy Ghost,' this, we hold, is an
assumption for which we have no warrant.... All we need to know is that
in the Holy Scriptures we have a complete, clear, and unerring record of
revealed truth, that is made the standard, for all time, of religious
teaching." (28.) Evidently, then, Drs. Jacobs and Haas do not believe
that the Holy Scriptures everywhere are inspired and free from error.

138. Bible Fallible in Scientific Matters.--Dr. J. Stump, professor in
the seminary of the General Council in Chicago, supporting Dr. Jacobs,
maintained in the _Lutheran Church Review_ of January, 1904: One cannot
speak of a confessional Lutheran doctrine of inspiration. Quenstedt's
doctrine of verbal inspiration is mechanical and in conflict with all
that we know of the Holy Ghost's activity; it cannot be proven from the
Scriptures, nor indeed is it necessary. Stump considers the Bible free
from error in its religious teachings, but not in its astronomical,
geological, physical, and similar statements. To quote literally: "The
holy writers were not inspired, however, to be 'teachers of astronomy,
or geology, or physics,' and no number of contradictions in this sphere
would shake our confidence in the absolute authority of Holy Scripture
as the infallible test of theological truth, and inerrant guide in all
matters of faith and practise." "The dogmaticians were led to maintain
it [the verbal inspiration] by the exigency of the times and the stress
of their severe dialectics. [The interest of the dogmaticians was to
present the clear doctrine of the Scriptures on inspiration.] And as a
result of their doctrines, they were logically obliged to claim the
absolute impossibility of any kind of error or inaccuracy whatsoever in
the Scriptures, even in unimportant externals; and further more to claim
that the Scriptures are not only the sole and infallible guide in
matters of religion, but also an infallible guide in matters of human
science so far as they touched upon any part of science's domain,
--claims which a careful examination of the Scriptures and the purpose
for which they were written do not bear out." (_L. u. W._ 1904, 85.) It
was in agreement with these views when the _Lutheran_, prior to 1904,
maintained that the Bible must be explained according to the modern

139. Other Symptoms of Liberalism.--As a rule, the inerrancy of the Holy
Scriptures is denied in the interest of the theory of evolution, a
doctrine absolutely incompatible with, and, consistently developed,
destructive of, the very fundamentals of Lutheranism. The evolutionary
doctrine, however, this antipode of Christian thought, which, wherever
digested, has proved to be the beginning of the end of Christianity, was
adopted also and publicly defended within the General Council. Rev.
Brenner says: "I have heard General Council ministers say that they did
not believe everything that is written in the Bible, and as they
continued to explain their views, it became very evident that they were
evolutionists." (_L. u. W._ 1917, 465.) Dr. T.E. Schmauk, the president
of the General Council, declared in the _Lutheran_, April, 1912:
"Evolution is the most wide-embracing, suggestive, and fascinating
theory of things and life that ever has been offered. In innumerable
cases it has been found to be in accord with nature and with history. In
itself it is not a cause, but a process. Evolution as a partial process
may be within Christianity." In 1915, in his book, _Trends of Thought_,
Dr. J.A.W. Haas wrote: "If evolution as a biological theory remains
within its limits and knows its sphere, it will not contradict the
 claims of Christianity. If we avoid a materialistic philosophy in
biology, and if we do not make nature all-controlling, we can accept
evolution as not in disagreement with Christianity." "But, on the other
hand, Christianity must be careful not to demand as Biblical facts old
hypotheses of species. It must differentiate between statement in
popular religious language and the interpretation which tradition has
put upon Biblical statement. In this tradition there are elements of
past science which have unconsciously colored the Biblical account.
Christianity must also treat its document historically, and not be
disturbed if the temporal vessels of its religious truths are not shaped
scientifically. Were they thus shaped, they would fail in their very
purpose. It is general, popular, descriptive, childlike language, which
is universal and lasting. But Christianity must make certain great
reservations over against any theory of evolution. It must demand that
the doctrines of a personal God, of the final spiritual character of
life and its origin, and of the divine nature of man's spirit be not
violated." "Christianity can allow an evolution as the continuation of
creation." (_L. u. W._ 1915, 514.) The _Lutheran_, June 21, 1917,
published an article of L.S. Keyser in which he maintains: "Evolution is
God's method of developing that which He has previously created. The
evolutionary process may have continued for millenniums upon millenniums
until the introduction of life. Whether man's body was evolved or not,
surely his soul must have been created. We should use two terms:
creation and evolution. Together they afford an adequate explanation of
the universe as it is to-day." (_Lutheran Witness_ 1918, 372.) According
to _Lutherischer Herald_, October 15, 1904, Dr. Pick, of the General
Council, declared: "Harnack is all right." (_L. u. W._ 1904, 517. 564.)
"Keeping company with liberals, we are not surprised that some of our
ministers are liberals in both doctrine and practise," says Brenner in
_Dangerous Alliances_, 1917. "What is to be thought of the orthodoxy of
a General Council minister who says: 'God spoke to the Christians of
that day through their experience no less clearly than through the words
of St. Paul'? _Lutheran_, March 29, 1917, p. 7. What about the soundness
of the faith of a D.D. who can recommend _Hastings's Bible Dictionary_
as a reliable work of reference? Rev. M.S. Waters recommends a book that
is full of the worst heresies; but the president of the New York and New
England Synod, Rev. W.M. Horn, when his attention is called to the
matter, bluntly declares: 'I will do nothing in the case referred to.'
On request of the District Synod of Ohio, the president of the General
Council appoints a committee, with Dr. Joseph Stump of the Chicago
Seminary as chairman. The committee investigates. It reports that 'The
General Council at this stage has no jurisdiction in the case.' The
charges were not denied. This question has not been settled, and so far
as we know, no effort has been made since the General Council met in
Rock Island, two years ago, to settle it. On the evidence submitted to
him, Dr. T.E. Schmauk, president of the General Council, stated in his
report: 'I am convinced that the man's views are unevangelical and
thoroughly subversive of the principles on which the General Council is
founded.' Gen. Council Minutes, 1915, p. 23." (_L. u. W._ 1917, 465.)


140. Maintaining a "Wise" Neutrality.--In the controversies of the
Lutheran Church in America the General Council has persistently and on
principle refused to take a definite stand. "The General Synod," says
Dr. Singmaster, "has wisely refrained from making minute [!] theological
distinctions, and has thus obviated much useless discussion. Apart from
the special activities already alluded to, it has made few [quite a
number of false] special doctrinal deliverances." (_Dist. Doctr._, 60
f.) Doctrinal neutrality was the policy also of the United Synod in the
South and of the General Council. The _Lutheran_, April 24, 1902, stated
that, over against the General Synod, the fathers of the Council
insisted on an unequivocal doctrinal and confessional basis, while, over
against Missouri and other synods, they left room for divergence in the
application of certain principles. "Kiss and make up," was the advice
Carl Swensson, writing in the _Lutheran Church Review_, gave to the
disrupted synods of the Lutheran Church in America. (_L. u. W._ 1903,
146.) With respect to the doctrinal differences between Ohio and
Missouri the _Lutheran Church Review_ wrote in 1917: "There are less
clear doctrines which despite the honest, sincere, and persistent
efforts of men to state them in harmony with the divine Word admit of an
honest difference of opinion." (450.) "There has been," says Dr. Jacobs,
"no controversy within the General Council on the subject of election,
and, therefore, no official declaration by the Council on the subject
that has so largely occupied the attention of a number of synods."
(_Dist. Doctr._, 1914, 116.) That applies to practically all of the
doctrines controverted within the Lutheran Church of our country. In
reference to them it has always been the policy of the General Council
to maintain a wise neutrality. In _Lutherisches Kirchenblatt_, December
29, 1900, Rev. Wischan of the General Council hit the nail on the head
when he said: "As to our doctrinal position, we find ourselves in a
peculiar situation. When questioned concerning our attitude toward those
doctrines which have been discussed in the most spirited manner, and
partly have become the occasion for ecclesiastical separations, we are
embarrassed for want of an answer. We know exactly what the position of
Missouri is in the doctrines of conversion and predestination. We know
also what Ohio teaches in opposition to Missouri. But who can tell us
what the General Council teaches on these points? Possibly, many among
us agree entirely neither with Missouri nor with Ohio. Possibly some
incline to the views of Ohio, while others prefer the Missourian
doctrine. But at present there is no clarity in these matters in our
midst, everybody apparently having the privilege of choosing his own
position without fearing that the Church might call him to account. Very
convenient indeed; but surely it is not the ideal. Or do those questions
lie on the periphery to such an extent that an answer is a matter of
absolute irrelevancy to a Lutheran Christian?" (_L. u. W._ 1901, 53.)

141. Not in Sympathy with Missouri.--The unionistic and indifferentistic
position of the General Council with respect to the differences in
doctrine and practise prevailing within the Lutheran synods of the
United States naturally led to a high degree of animosity and unfriendly
charges against the Missouri Synod. Her attitude of certainty and
conviction in the doctrines which she championed was branded and
denounced as "intolerance," "bigotry," "narrow-mindedness,"
"exclusiveness," "aloofness," "pride," "Pharisaism," etc. In his
_Problems and Possibilities_ Dr. Gerberding wrote: "We have often said
that this body of Lutherans, more than all others, has saved the Germans
of the Middle West from being swamped in materialism and rationalism.
Honor to whom honor is due. But the very prosperity of these Lutherans
has made them haughty, self-sufficient, self-righteous. A tone of
Pharisaism and of infallibility seems to run through their utterances.
They seem not only to believe in an infallible revelation from God, but
in themselves as infallible interpreters of that revelation. Every one
who does not accept their interpretation is branded as a heretic of the
same kind and quality as those against whom the apostles warn, and whom
believers are not to receive into their houses nor bid Godspeed. All who
do not accept their interpretation in every jot and tittle are anathema
in the apostolic sense. Their interpretations, glosses, and theses, and
resolutions as to what the Confessions mean also seem to be infallible.
Woe be to the Lutheran who dares even to question their conclusions!"
(162.) Revealing the same animus, Dr. G.W. Sandt published in the
_Lutheran_ of December 12, 1918: "The new and powerful stream of
immigration, which was headed by Dr. Walther, and out of which has grown
the Synodical Conference, with its more than 800,000 communicants and
the largest theological seminary in the land, represents the reaction
against the unionism of the State Church in Saxony. A man of deep piety,
strong convictions, and sound theological learning, he became the
apostle of a sturdy confessionalism, as orthodox as that of
Hengstenberg, as vital and spiritual as that of Spener, and as fruitful
in good works as that of Francke. He and his followers nursed that
orthodoxy so faithfully and fenced it in so securely as to make
Missourianism the synonym for the straitest sect of Lutheranism in the
world. A doctrine of rigid aloofness and separatism was developed as a
wall of defense, as binding upon a Missourian's conscience as almost any
article in the Augsburg Confession could possibly be. It was inevitable
that he and his followers should come into conflict with such leaders as
Loehe and the Fritschels (founders of the Iowa Synod), with Loy and
Stellhorn and Allwardt in the Joint Synod of Ohio, and with Schmidt in
the United Norwegian Church as it then existed. The controversies on the
ministry, on predestination, on conversion and synergism, while
expressive of deep conviction and loyalty to the Truth, do not form a
chapter in our history of which Lutherans can feel proud. When orthodoxy
becomes so strict and strait-laced and legalistic, when it stands up so
erect as to lean backward, both the interests of the Truth and of the
Church are bound to suffer. The cause of unity is harmed, and union or
cooperation is rendered impossible." However, if the paramount object of
the Lutheran Church always was, is now, and ever must be, to maintain
the truth and the unity in the Spirit, then, whatever in other respects
may justly be said in praise of the General Council, her neutral
attitude toward the doctrinal differences of the Lutheran synods in
America, though temporarily it may have proved expedient in the interest
of external union, was in reality neither Christian, nor Lutheran, nor
conducive to the unity or any other real and abiding blessing of our
beloved Church. For while indeed forbearance also with the weak in
knowledge and faith is a mark peculiar to the Christian spirit,
indifferentistic silence as to what is true or false, right or wrong, is
neither a virtue, nor, in the long run, will ever prove to be of true
advantage anywhere, least of all in the Lutheran Church.



142. Synods Participating in the Union.--The United Synod of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in the South was organized June 23, 1886, in
Roanoke, Va., after a doctrinal basis had been agreed upon at a
preliminary meeting in Salisbury, N.C., 1884. The following synods
participated in the union: 1. The North Carolina Synod, organized in
1803, and since 1820 prominent in the General Synod. 2. The South
Carolina Synod, organized in 1824, of which Dr. J. Bachman, who opposed
the confessionalism of the Tennessee Synod, was a member. Bachman
(1790-1874) served the same congregation in Charleston for sixty years,
and became renowned also as a scientist. E.J. Wolf: "Bachman was in the
first rank of ornithologists in his day. With Audubon, whose two sons
married his two daughters, he prepared _The Birds of America_ and _The
Quadrupeds of America_. He was a member of numerous scientific societies
and numbered among his correspondents such men as Humboldt and Agassiz."
(_Lutherans in America_, 475.) 3. The Virginia Synod, organized 1829, in
which S.S. Schmucker, J.G. Morris, C.P. Krauth, J.A. Seiss, and B.M.
Schmucker were active for a time. 4. The Southwest Virginia Synod,
organized in 1841 and adhering to its loose doctrinal basis till 1881.
5. The Georgia Synod, organized in 1860, of which the _Lutheran
Cyclopedia_ remarked: "Half of the pastors are compelled to engage in
secular pursuits for a support." At present the Georgia Synod is one of
the most prosperous in the Southern group. There is no pastor of a
regular parish of the Synod who is not supported by his parishioners.
The members of the Georgia Synod are for the greater part descendants of
the Salzburgers, who, in 1734, founded Ebenezer, twenty-five miles from
Savannah. 6. The Mississippi Synod, organized in 1860. 7. The Tennessee
Synod, founded 1820. 8. The Holston Synod, which branched off from the
Tennessee Synod in 1860.--These synods are almost entirely English. Very
few of its congregations have regular German services beside the
English. The synodical Publishing House and Theological Seminary are
located in Columbia, S.C. Other schools are: Newberry College in
Newberry, S.C.; Roanoke College in Salem, Va.; Lenoir College in
Hickory, N.C. The official paper of the United Synod, the _Lutheran
Church Visitor_, has appeared for fourteen years with the motto, "God's
Word, Our Rule; Christ, Our Pattern; A Pure Faith, Our Watchword." Dr.
W.H. Greever, editor of the _Visitor_ from 1904 to 1914, now edits the
_American Lutheran Survey_. In addition to several benevolent
institutions, the Southern Synods support a heathen mission in Japan
since 1892. In 1886 the United Synod numbered 32,000 communicants,
14,000 belonging to the Tennessee and Holston Synods. The figures prior
to the Merger in 1918 show 257 pastors, 484 congregations, 53,226
communicant, and 73,510 baptized members.

143. Origin of General Body South.--In 1863 the North Carolina, South
Carolina, Virginia, and Southwest Virginia Synods withdrew from the
General Synod because of the Civil War and offensive resolutions adopted
by the General Synod with respect to Southern Lutherans and their
attitude toward the war. In the same year the four synods, uniting with
the Georgia Synod, organized the "General Synod of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in the Confederate States of America." After the war
(1866) this name was changed to "Evangelical Lutheran General Synod in
North America," and subsequently to "General Synod of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in the South." In the interest of union, the Tennessee
Synod, which occupied a truly Lutheran position and stood for an
unqualified adoption of the Lutheran symbols, sent a delegate to the
General Synod South in 1867. Seventeen years later, 1884, at Salisbury,
N.C., a doctrinal basis was adopted, which in 1886 resulted in the
organization of the United Synod in the South, now merged into the
United Lutheran Church in America.


144. From Laxism to Confessionalism.--The secession of the four Southern
synods in 1863 was not caused by any doctrinal differences or
dissatisfaction with, and opposition to, the un-Lutheran confessional
basis and unionistic practise of the General Synod. Nor was it of any
immediate consequence as to the doctrinal and confessional attitude of
the General Synod South, organized in the same year. Moreover, at its
first convention in 1863, the General Synod in the Confederate States,
the liberal-minded Bachman presiding, after animated discussions,
declared in favor of a qualified subscription to the Augsburg
Confession. Unanimously and solemnly the following doctrinal basis was
adopted: 1. That the Holy Scriptures are the sole infallible rule of
faith and practise; 2. that the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and
the Augustana "contain the fundamental doctrines of the Holy
Scriptures"; 3. that, whereas different views concerning some doctrines
of the Augustana have ever obtained and still obtain among the members,
Synod permits "the full and free exercise of personal judgment with
reference to these articles." (_Dist. Doctr._, 1893, 171.) Doctrines in
question were those of the Lord's Supper, absolution, baptismal
regeneration, Sunday, etc., as set forth by Schmucker and Kurtz.
However, already in the revised constitution, printed in the _Book of
Worship_, 1864, the third, the most offensive point of this basis, was
omitted. And soon after contact with the Tennessee Synod and the desire
to draw her into the union of the general body, led to a movement in the
confessional direction. In 1867 the General Synod South resolved to deny
approval to publications supporting principles in conflict with the
Augustana, and to refuse appointment of theological professors holding
doctrines in conflict with this Confession. According to the _Book of
Worship_ of 1868 the candidates for ordination were required to take an
oath of fidelity to the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions based
thereon. The Form of Confirmation contained a pledge of lifelong
fidelity to the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1872
Synod adopted an essay of Dr. Dorsch, in which he declares that the
General Synod South unequivocally confesses the Augsburg Confession in
its true, real, and original sense. According to the Constitution of the
Theological Seminary (1873) the professors acknowledged, and subscribed
to, "the Augsburg Confession, as in all its parts in harmony with the
Rule of Faith and a correct exhibition of the doctrines of the Word of
God." In 1880 the General Synod South informed the Tennessee and Holston
Synods that she adopts the secondary Lutheran symbols "as in accord
with, and an unfolding of, the teaching of the Unaltered Augsburg
Confession." In 1882 the General Synod declared itself ready to enter
into organic union with other Lutheran bodies "on an unequivocal
Lutheran basis." Several years later, as stated, the union was effected.

145. Sound Lutheran Basis.--The confessional basis agreed upon 1884 and
adopted at the organization in 1886 embraces the following articles: "1.
The Holy Scriptures, the inspired writings of the Old and New
Testaments, the only standard of doctrine and church discipline. 2. As
a true and faithful exhibition of the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures
in regard to matters of faith and practise, the three ancient symbols,
the Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds, and the Unaltered
Augsburg Confession of Faith. Also the other Symbolical Books of the Ev.
Lutheran Church, _viz.:_ the Apology, the Smalcald Articles, the Smaller
and Larger Catechisms of Luther, and the Formula of Concord, as true and
Scriptural developments of the doctrines taught in the Augsburg
Confession, and in the perfect harmony of one and the same faith."
Substantially this was the basis of the Tennessee Synod; its adoption at
Salisbury must be regarded as a triumph of the confessional fidelity of
this body. "The strength of the Tennessee Synod," says Dr. E.T. Horn,
"was given to the maintenance of orthodoxy; nor are we able to deny that
their championship was needed and has been effectual." Among the other
factors contributing to this result the testimony of Walther and the
Missouri Synod must not be overlooked and underrated. Dr. A.G. Voigt,
professor in the Seminary at Columbia, S.C., admits: "Lutherans in the
South could not remain untouched by the influences that were at work in
other parts of the country. The increasing appreciation of confessional
Lutheranism which in the middle half of the nineteenth century passed
over from Germany into and through this country also gradually permeated
the South. It served to deepen the devotion of the Tennessee Synod to
the historic Lutheran Confessions, and to awaken in the other synods a
growing esteem and affection for the same Confessions." (_Dist. Doctr._,
1914, 181.)


146. Actual Conditions.--All sectarian churches formally acknowledge the
Bible, yet they reject many of its doctrines. So a Lutheran synod may,
in a formal and official way, accept the Lutheran symbols, and at the
same time ignore or reject its material content. Witness the Lutheran
state churches in Europe and the General Synod in America. In a measure,
the actual conditions also within the congregations and district synods
of the United Synod in the South have always been in conflict with their
truly Lutheran basis. False doctrines, especially pertaining to the
Puritanic observance of the Sabbath, were held and taught within the
Synod. Without a word of criticism, for example, the _Lutheran Church
Visitor_, July 13, 1911, published the following from the _Sunday-school
Times_: "Don't use a public vehicle on Sunday unless you are prayerfully
convinced that it would be sinning against God and man not to do so. Is
not that a reasonable and safe principle? Is any other principle a safe
one? A very limited amount of Sunday travel seems to be necessary.
Probably more than ninety-nine one-hundredths of it is unnecessary and
therefore wrong. To use a trolley car or train to go to church on Sunday
may or may not be right; it is simply a question of God's expressed will
for the individual at that particular time. To walk, or to attend
another church would sometimes be the solution. To make a mere
convenience of Sunday travel, under any circumstances, would seem to be
a violation of the spirit of the day. But God will make each case clear
to each surrendered seeker after the light of God's will, if the doing
of God's will and the avoiding of sin by the widest possible margin are
the only impelling motives."

147. Ignoring Intersynodical Differences.--With respect to the doctrines
controverted within the Lutheran Church of America the United Synod has
always maintained a neutral and indifferentistic attitude. Dr. Horn
writes: "It can be said of the doctrinal basis of the Southern Synods
that it is the sincere and intelligent confession of the churches. By
this I do not mean that the Lutheran churches in the South have pondered
all the controversies in which the symbols originated, and to which they
gave the answer; nor that they have accepted all the inferences which
sincere Lutherans now draw from the Confessions, and even may be
justified in urging." (_Dist. Doctr._, 1893, 183.) Dr. Voigt: "The
United Synod has no distinctive doctrines apart from the distinctive
doctrines of common confessional Lutheranism." (_Dist. Doctr._, 1914,
179.) In other words, the United Synod accepts only those doctrines in
which all agree who claim to be confessional Lutherans. The _Lutheran
Church Visitor_, March 15, 1917, wrote: "The United Synod has the
fundamental doctrines, rests on them, and is satisfied with them. Not,
perhaps, the doctrines fundamental to Missouri, but fundamental to
Christian faith and life." Ridiculing the doctrines of conversion and
election as taught by the Missouri Synod, the _Visitor_ continues:
"These doctrines are the simon-pure, unadulterated, unalloyed Lutheran
doctrines! Missourianism and Lutheranism are convertible terms!"--
Regarding the fact that the United Synod has refused to take a definite
stand with respect to the doctrinal differences within the Lutheran
Church, the _Visitor_, March 15, 1917, remarked: "Still, husband and
wife may live together in peace and happiness although they do not agree
on every point. It may even be understood that some subjects are
altogether taboo." This, evidently, is the spirit of indifferentism,
inherited from the General Synod, with whom, in accordance with the law
of spiritual affinity, the United Synod exchanged fraternal delegates,
and is now organically united in the United Lutheran Church in America.

148. Old Spirit of Indifferentism.--To what extent the leaven of
indifferentism was active also within the United Synod in the South
appears from the following utterances of a layman in the _Lutheran
Church Visitor_: "The spirit that developed this country, and that which
has animated the clergy of the Lutheran Church, are antipodal. This
unprogressive spirit, together with their aversion to innovations of all
kinds, their refusal to deal with present-day problems, their mania for
ramming doctrine wholesale down the throats of their communicants, their
spirit of aloofness from ministers of other denominations, and their
refusal to cooperate with them, has been the chief cause of this lack of
progress in our Church. They have, in their strict and even painful
adherence to dogma and form, taken the spirit and life out of the Church
and its worship. The enthusiasm and warmth of natural religion have
given way to a religion of form and ceremony. They have taken the life
and beauty out of the Bible, and made it a code of dry and inspired
theology. Instead of preaching, they have almost invariably talked
theology, and theology alone. Our Church has never been in need of
would-be theologians, but we have been and are now sorely in need of
pastors and preachers. They have discouraged honest investigation, if
that investigation has the least taint of rationalism. In their supreme
disgust for innovations they have made our Church as inflexible and
unfit for the various conditions of modern life as the customs and
practises of the Middle Ages would be out of place now. They have been
completely oblivious of the fact that there are necessarily change and
progress in theology and religion as well as in everything else. True,
there are certain fundamentals that never grow old; equally true is it
that there are some non-essentials that change with the varying hours.
The non-essential has been made essential, and so strongly insisted upon
that it is almost a sacrilege even to insinuate against its authority."
The _Visitor_, March 15, 1917, referring to this publication, remarks:
"Well, we admit the excerpt from the article is pretty raw. But the
_Visitor_ believes in allowing some freedom even to the religious
press.... Unanimity ere long becomes monotony. _Varietas sine unitate
diversitas. Unitas sine varietate mors_."


149. Lodge-, Pulpit-, and Altar-Fellowship.--Forbearance with all manner
of weakness in doctrine and practise does not _per se_ conflict with
confessional Lutheranism. But a refusal on principle to take the correct
position, also as to Lutheran practise, is indeed incompatible with true
Lutheranism. The attitude of the United Synod, however, toward lodge-,
pulpit-, altar-, and church-fellowship has always been of a kind which
practically amounted to a denial of its confessional basis. Dr. Voigt
confesses: "As a matter of fact and actual practise, Lutheran ministers
in the United Synod do not invite others to occupy their pulpits
indiscriminately; and although in some churches the custom of extending
a general invitation at Communion still continues from earlier times,
the practise is diminishing, and in most churches has passed away with
the introduction of the Common Service. As to secret societies, there is
not much agitation against them except in the Tennessee Synod, and a
number of United Synod ministers are known to be members of such orders;
but the sentiment of most ministers is unfavorable to them." (_Dist.
Doctr._, 1914, 188.) "Discussions in regard to stricter or more lax
practises have never led to divisions nor issued in official
pronouncements of distinctive developments of confessional position."
"Firm as they are in their convictions, Southern Lutherans are
generally adverse to controversy. This is probably the true explanation
of the conservative attitude of the United Synod towards the questions
connected with pulpit- and altar-fellowship and secret societies. There
are differences of view on these questions existing in the United Synod.
But the disposition has always been not to fight the differences out,
but to wait for time to bring about unanimity in regard to them. In the
formation of the United Synod peculiar circumstances thrust these
questions upon the notice of the body; but it declined to legislate in
regard to them because it was unwilling to go through the throes of
controversy which a decision upon them involved. Combined with this
aversion to controversy, there exists an evangelical [?] impatience of
legal constraint, which impels men to act upon principle rather than by
rule." "It has already been stated that the Tennessee Synod is unique
among the synods constituting the United Synod in having rules against
pulpit- and altar-fellowship and secret societies; and the United Synod
has pledged itself not to employ in its general work, in its theological
seminary, in its mission operations, in the editing of its official
organ, any person who would foster secretism or unionistic fellowship."
(_Dist. Doctr._, 1914, 147 f.; 1893, 182.)

150. Attitude toward Non-Lutheran Denominations.--The United Synod as
such did not establish an exchange of delegates with any of the
non-Lutheran churches. However, invitations to preach in their pulpits
on the occasion of synodical conventions were not refused. The _Lutheran
Church Visitor_, March 15, 1917: "Our United Synod ministers are not
ashamed to speak of our Evangelical Lutheran testimony before
Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, _et al., et id genus omne._" But
the fact is that at such occasions the distinctive features of
Lutheranism are, as a rule, passed over in silence; that full fellowship
of prayer and service is indulged in; and that the spirit of
indifferentism as well as the desire, on the part of the Lutheran synods
and congregations, for returning the comity and kindness received at the
hands of Methodists, etc., is encouraged and strengthened. As such,
furthermore, the United Synod did not take an active part in
interdenominational organizations, but, on the other hand, did not
consider it a denial of the truth when its pastors openly and heartily
participated in local ministerial unions, or when its congregations
occasionally joined in union religious meetings. Thus Drs. Horn and
Drach took part in the Interdenominational Conference at Edinburgh in
1910. The _Lutheran Church Visitor_ encouraged participation in
interdenominational meetings; _e.g._, in its issue of April 6, 1916, the
Men's National Missionary Congress in Washington, D.C. "So it has done,
does, and shall continue to do, and not be ashamed," declared the
_Visitor_, March 15, 1917, and explained in defense of this attitude
toward non-Lutheran bodies: "The United Synod believes that the lump
[non-Lutheran churches] cannot receive 'absent treatment,' and that the
Lutheran leaven cannot be placed in the lump from a prohibitive
distance." However, according to the history of the Lutheran Church in
America, in practically all of the interdenominational movements and
meetings participated in by Lutherans, the rule has been not to confess,
but, directly or indirectly, to deny the distinctive truths of
Lutheranism. Speaking of the United Synod, Dr. Voigt remarked: "Rigid
exclusiveness is quite foreign to its spirit."


151. Tennessee Lowering Her Standard.--The Tennessee Synod, whose early
history is dealt with extensively in _American Lutheranism, Part I_, was
the main factor in bringing about the change in the confessional
attitude of the Southern synods. The _Lutheran Church Visitor_, March 8,
1917: "The Tennessee Synod helped the other synods to rise and regain
their Lutheran feet. Since then she has helped them to keep their feet
and to win stronger foothold." "The ministers of the Tennessee Synod,"
says Dr. Horn, "trained as they have been for the most part in the homes
and companionship of older ministers, have not a wide and varied
culture, but possess a profound acquaintance with the writings of Luther
and a ready and genial knowledge of the Holy Scriptures." (_Dist.
Doctr._, 1893, 178.) In the revised constitution of 1866 the original
confessional statement of the Tennessee Synod, adopting the Augsburg
Confession without limitation or qualification, was enlarged to include
also the Apology, the Smalcald Articles, the Smaller and Larger
Catechisms of Luther, and the Formula of Concord "as true Scriptural
developments of the doctrines taught in the Augsburg Confession." In
the same year the Tennessee Synod, following the example of her
daughter, the Holston Synod, eliminated from her constitution the
objectionable features respecting incorporation, theological seminaries,
synodical treasuries, etc. Among the Southern synods the Tennessee Synod
alone adopted rules against pulpit- and altar-fellowship and against
holding membership in secret societies. Her endeavors to induce the
United Synod to take a similar position failed. Indeed, the original
constitution, submitted in 1884 at Salisbury, contained a paragraph
against pulpit- and altar-fellowship, membership in lodges, and
chiliasm. And when this paragraph was rejected, Polycarp Henkel,
representing the Tennessee Synod, refused to vote for the constitution.
In 1886 the Tennessee Synod adopted the Salisbury basis, but added a
declaration which condemned chiliasm, lodge-services, pulpit- and
altar-fellowship, and all church union and cooperation conflicting with
pure Lutheran doctrine, and recommended that the United Synod embody in
its by-laws a paragraph pledging theological professors to teach nothing
contrary to these principles or the doctrines of the Lutheran Church. At
the meeting of the United Synod in Savannah, 1887, Socrates Henkel
proposed a corresponding by-law, which, however, was tabled till the
next meeting. The Tennessee Synod reaffirmed its resolution with the
threat that they would not cooperate with the United Synod until a
by-law embodying the four points had been adopted. However, when the
North Carolina Synod, with equal determination, took the opposite stand,
Tennessee yielded, compromising on, and contending herself with, the
resolution adopted in 1900 in which the United Synod assured the
Tennessee Synod that, in their common work, they would earnestly
endeavor to avoid everything that might tend to burden the consciences
of brethren in any synod, and that all synods were equally bound to
direct their practise and fulfil their duties according to their honest
and conscientious conviction of the true and real sense of God's Word
and the Confessions. Thus the Tennessee Synod, untrue to her noble
traditions, finally did waive her demand for a correct Lutheran position
on the part of the United Synod with reference to the four points.
Tennessee closed her eyes to the fact that she remained responsible not
only for what was done conjointly with the other synods in the United
Synod, but also for the practise of these synods as such. Unionism, once
again, had gained the victory. And now, after decades of fraternal
intercourse with the General Synod, the Tennessee Synod is organically
united with the synods in opposition to which she organized in 1820.

152. Holston Synod.--The Ev. Luth. Holston Synod was organized January
2, 1861, by 11 ministers and 16 congregations (with a communicant
membership of 1,000) residing in East Tennessee and neighboring counties
of Virginia, after having received their honorable dismission for this
purpose from the Tennessee Synod, which by this action was left without
a single congregation or minister in the State whose name she bears. The
step was taken not because of any dissatisfaction with the doctrinal
position of the Tennessee Synod, but on account of the inconvenience and
expensiveness of attending her conventions. However, the peculiar
attitude of the Tennessee Synod toward theological seminaries,
incorporation, synodical treasuries, etc., contributed to the
separation. (_Holston Minutes_, 1861 ff.) In his Quartocentennial
Address, 1886, Dr. A.J. Brown, for more than twenty-five years president
of the Holston Synod, stated: "There was at the time of her formation,
and had been for some time prior to this, considerable dissatisfaction
with the constitution of the Tennessee Synod, and strong efforts were
being made to have it amended. It was contended by the advocates of
reform that that instrument contained features and prohibitions which
cramped and crippled the energies of the Church in the prosecution of
her sublime mission, and that it no longer reflected the views of the
whole Synod." The Holston Synod, then, did not model her polity after
that of the mother synod. (_Minutes_, 1886.) But, while this was
undoubtedly a progress in the right direction, the strict Lutheranism of
the Holston Synod did not prove to be as pronounced and consistent as
that of the Tennessee Synod had been. In 1886 the Holston Synod numbered
15 pastors and 27 congregations, with a communicant membership of 2,000,
compared with 1,800 communicant members at present. The minutes of the
Holston Synod record numerous reports and resolutions with respect to
Mosheim Institute, which, however, proved to be a failure.

153. Sound Doctrinal Position.--As a preliminary basis the Holston
Synod, in 1861, adopted the Augsburg Confession and Luther's Smaller
Catechism, at the same time declaring that "we do not intend to
repudiate the rest of the Symbolical Books so called, and unlutheranize
those who adopt them in connection with the Symbols which we have
adopted, because we are satisfied that they, rightly understood and
explained, contain nothing contrary to our doctrinal basis, and that we
will, therefore, not refuse to fellowship those who adopt the collective
body of the Symbolical Books as their Confessional Basis." (_Minutes_,
1861, 6.) Owing to the unsettled state of affairs in consequence of the
Civil War, the constitution was not ratified till 1865. Its second
article, "Of the Confessional Basis," reads as follows: "1. We
acknowledge the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the
only infallible rule of faith and practise. 2. We acknowledge the
Augsburg Confession of Faith and Luther's Smaller Catechism as a correct
statement of the doctrines of the Christian system of which they treat,
and no minister connected with this Synod shall hold or preach, nor
shall any church connected with this Synod, or any private member of any
Church so connected, hold or propagate, any doctrine which may be
repugnant to these universally acknowledged symbols of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church." (_Minutes_, 1865, 11.) In its revised constitution of
1895 the Holston Synod adopted all the Lutheran symbols.

154. Entering Various Unions.--In 1867 the Holston Synod resolved to
unite with the General Synod South. In the following year A.J. Brown
reported that he had been present at the last session of the General
Synod, and that he was highly pleased with the action of that Synod, and
felt assured that "it would be instrumental in bringing about much good
in our Lutheran Zion." (_Minutes_, 1868, 4.) In 1872, however, a
resolution was adopted to withdraw from the General Synod because "there
is much that is un-Lutheran in doctrine and practise in individual
members" of that Synod. (7.) Two years later a union was effected with
the General Council. (_Minutes_, 1874, 13.) In 1880 the delegate to the
General Council "presented in glowing words the intellect, the breadth
of view, the depth and elegance of culture, the sincere love and burning
zeal for the soul and God's holy truth, of those composing that body."
(19.) In 1885 the Holston Synod endorsed the action of the Diet held at
Salisbury (1884), and declared its readiness to join the remainder of
the Southern Lutheran synods, on that basis, to form a General Union.
(11.) In his Presidential Report, 1886, A.J. Brown stated with respect
to the Salisbury agreement: "I will barely add that the union was
effected without any compromise of principle or proper feeling of
self-respect on either side, and on a basis strictly Lutheran, and with
a unanimity unprecedented in the history of similar movements." (7.) In
1890 the delegate to the United Synod reported: "While united in
doctrine, it is to be regretted that we are not so fully united in
practise, as was made apparent by the action of the United Synod on the
'By-laws, Rules of Order, and Regulations,' and particularly in regard
to work. This section, which is the bone of contention, embraces
substantially the celebrated 'Four Points.' And even here the difference
is not so much in principle as in the practical application of
principles. There are extremes on both sides. An attempt to embody the
Four Points' in our basis of union would have defeated the organic union
of our Southern Church in one general body; the adoption of the
regulation in question would now disrupt it. We advise moderation. The
union of our Church in the South is of too much importance to be broken
up, or even hazarded by the adoption of any measures not clearly
required by our doctrinal standards, or of doubtful expediency." (15.)
Thus also with the Holston Synod union had become the primary, unity a
secondary consideration.


155. A Chief Bond of Union.--The relations of the United Synod with the
General Council and the General Synod were of a most cordial nature,
manifesting themselves in the exchange of fraternal delegates
(established by Southern General Synod in 1878) and in various
cooperations, especially in the preparation and use of the Common
Service. Concerning the exchange of delegates the sentiment was voiced
again and again: "It was the joy of the members of the United Synod to
have present the brethren of those bodies, to dwell together in goodly
fellowship for a little season. Every heart was glad to feel that we
were one in the faith and usage of the Evangelical Lutheran Church."
Also with respect to the United Synod the Merger in 1918 came as a ripe
fruit of the cordial relations which had been cultivated for decades.
One of the chief bonds of union during this period was the Common
Service, for which the United Synod justly claimed to be entitled to
special credit. The first impulse for such a unity in service came from
H.M. Muhlenberg. In a letter of November 5, 1783, four years before his
death, he expressed the desire "that it would be a most delightful and
advantageous thing if all the Evangelical Lutheran congregations in
North America were united with one another by using the same order of
service." Among others who later entertained the same wish was Charles
Philip Krauth. In a letter to his son, April 2, 1857, he said: "Whilst
I am anxious for such an agreement in regard to a doctrinal basis as
will embrace all the wings of Lutheranism in our country, I very much
wish we could agree on forms of worship in accordance with the
liturgical character of our Church, and erect a barrier against the
Fanaticism and Methodism which so powerfully control some of our
ministers and people." (Spaeth, _C.P. Krauth_, 1, 380.) _The English
Liturgy_ (1860), the _Church Book_ (1868), and the _Kirchenbuch_ (1877)
of the Pennsylvania Synod and the _Book of Worship_ of the General
Synod, South, may be regarded as preliminary steps toward the
realization of this wish.

156. Cooperation of General Bodies.--In a letter to the convention of
the General Synod South, at Winchester, Va., 1870, Dr. Bachman of
Charleston, four years before his death, expressed it as the strongest
desire of his heart that all English-speaking Lutherans should have a
common service. Pursuant to, and in accordance with, this request the
General Synod South in 1874 elected a committee to prepare "The Common
Service for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations." In 1876
Synod proposed negotiations on this matter with the General Synod and
the General Council. The General Council, in 1879, resolved to
cooperate, "provided the rule which shall decide all questions in its
[Common Service] preparation shall be: The common consent of the pure
Lutheran liturgies of the sixteenth century, and, when there is not an
entire agreement among them, the consent of the largest number of those
of greatest weight." In 1883 the General Synod declared her readiness to
cooperate in accordance with the rule proposed by the General Council.
The work was completed by a Joint Committee appointed by the three
general bodies, B.M. Schmucker serving as chairman. In 1888 the _Common
Service_ appeared in two editions, one published at Columbia, S.C., by
the United Synod South, the other at Philadelphia by the General Synod.
In his preface to the Southern edition B.M. Schmucker said: "The Common
Service here presented is intended to reproduce in English the consensus
of these pure Lutheran Liturgies. It is therefore no new Service, such
as the personal tastes of those who have prepared it would have selected
and arranged; but it is the old Lutheran Service, prepared by men whom
God raised up to reform the Service, as well as the life and doctrine of
the Church, and whom He plenteously endowed with the gifts of the Holy
Ghost.... This Common Service is in its newest parts as old as the time
of the Reformation," etc. The work of the committee was approved by the
three cooperating general bodies. The General Synod ratified it in 1885
and adopted the Manuscript in 1887. The efforts made at the conventions
in 1880, 1891, and 1893 to rescind this action failed. The Common
Service was adopted also by the Iowa Synod, the Joint Synod of Ohio, and
the English District of the Missouri Synod. But, while every Lutheran
will rejoice at this success, it must not be overlooked that liturgical
similarity dare never take the place of doctrinal unity. In 1873, in a
public letter, the secretary of the East Pennsylvania Synod declared
that similarity of ceremonies in the whole synod was of greater import
than unity in confession (_L. u. W._ 1873, 153.) Perhaps, this was
exceptional. However, it does not appear that the bodies cooperating in
preparing the Common Service developed a corresponding energy and
determination in bringing about a true Lutheran unity in doctrine and
practise. Yet, unity in doctrine is of divine obligation and of the very
essence of the Lutheran Church, while similarity in ceremonies,
desirable and advantageous as it may be, is, and always must remain, a
matter of expediency and Christian liberty.


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