entire American and German church, might be determined by these important and serious events!
Our former Senior minister has "unconditionally and forever" resigned from his post. Perhaps you've already put together the well known causes and precedents with this decision. Listen! Our year-long battle against Pastor Grabau's encroachment *) [1.] has been made known to you undoubtedly by Wollaeger **).[2.] In the past haven't you had enough reason to sigh about this man ***).[3.] Despite the advice and decision of the senior ministry vocations are down due to the list of casualties and this has placed the pastors in difficult circumstances †.[4.] According to our advice Grossberger should have undergone lengthy examination and been put in his place (Kewaskum [a township in Wisconsin])††.[5.] Wüst, who was banished from Holland, was properly appointed to Granville but was halted on his journey to Milwaukee by police warrant in Cincinnati †††[6.] because the senior minister wanted him in Toledo. Ph. Rohr's appointment to Winona remains in limbo until the congregation in Toledo decides. For now they want to to keep him there *}[7.]. According to reports Winona has only 5 families; **}[8.], and so on.
O.B.! How often over the years have I sighed with Hochstetter about this man's obstinacy! ***}[9.] Unfortunately we have been too weak over the years to oppose him as should have been done for the Honor of Christ. *)[10.] Often we have protested but unfortunately we've often let ourselves be intimidated. **)[11.] Now Grabau brings himself out into the open ***).[12.] Perhaps it would have been better for his soul if people hadn't become accustomed to his terrorism *} and practically idolized him. (!!)
Two accusations were made last week before the assembled at the conference (of Feb. 26th through March 2nd), one from Deacon Hochstetter and the other from Pastor Rohr in Bergholz. **}[14.]
1.)A sermon on the day of St. Paul's conversion in Acts 9 (misinterpretation of the passage of Galatians 1,8.) Here he said: If there's been much boasting about pure teaching yet it hasn't been verified with written proof as occurs with the sermon on Galatians 1,8 — then they shouldn't heed it. Zeumer, Winkler, all listeners (!) in Buffalo have heard this sermon as referred to by Hochstetter ***![15.] Be that as it may, the ministry (that is, those somber fellows B. and his kind) will have to decide whether Grabau gave such documentation. †[16.]) How horrible! All preaching should be damned which contains the pure teachings taken "from Christ's words and parables" ††[17.] yet lacks written proof.
In our hearts we all said later when we were standing together, Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy on us. *) [18.]) Grabau declared that such sermonizing may have been heard during his visitation journey and concluded: Whosoever preachs thus, from what I've heard, may be damned." — God's Word shouldn't be an added flourish but the truth behind the preacher's sermon **)[19.] It all became terribly clear to us during the entire proceedings: Grabau allowed himself to be guided by his own arrogance in this situation.***)[20.] So much light and so many shadows!
[1.]*). Everyone knows how I have asked and hoped at every meeting of the Synod to be released by the senior council and the committee. But these gentlemen have never agreed to it. I have letters in hand written by them to others in which they expressed their confidence in me and in which there is no mention of battle. But now — Rohr and Hochstetter! Return to text
[11.]**). Comment - Now these gentlemen may be at peace for they no longer have anyone to teach them and to contradict their foolishness and therefore they will no longer feel intimidated. Return to text
2. Another sermon, in which he said: I am answerable to God alone for my sermon, and in more words, which everyone could understand, he said that he would stand before no one concerning his sermon.*)[1.] He also spoke against Hochstetter and Zeumer: A hundred ministers could not assist me, I will tolerate no one's interference!**)[2.] etc.
3. The long-standing oppression of Hochstetter by Grabau and the numerous occasions of injustice unfortunately indicate open hatred.***)[3.]
4. Grabau's far-reaching grasp of other ministerial offices. He declared in opposition to Hochstetter and Zeumer†[4.]: The Synod is "a united parish." The way in which he saw himself with regard to the united parish (Bishop, and much more) was supported in the accusation with examples! Grossberger, Wüst, Toledo, Granville, the introduction of an ecclesiastic breeding program behind the backs of the pastors, and so on. a)[5.]
He should have defended himself against this accusation but through advocate-like cleaverness he turned the matter around so that he became the accuser in the accusation. b)[6.] His defense was taken down word for word in the record c)[7.], a deed, which had our ministerial brothers in the West clasping their hands over their heads, d)[8.] and which had Zeumer so aggrevated that he almost screamed, indeed all of us! e)[9.] Hochstetter's crude insults, lawyer's cunning, insincerity, lies. f)[10.] During the time of the dictatorship I thought, "I never had the opportunity to consult an attorney." So now it must be heard that this pettifogging lawyer is attempting to negate the accusation on the grounds of false motives by hacking away at each individual point, then pressing for the punishment of the accuser by charging countersuit. Trying to bribe the judge with flattery, finally declaring the physical incompetance of the accused and thereby discontinue the proceedings. f)[11.] Grabau is weak but we see how he is consumed by the fire of his hatred and rage, even when no one contradicts him because he dictates, as seen during the second day of the proceedings when he was given room to defend himself. g)[12.]
Rohr says: For years he has been punished by the hatred, the deceitfulness and the obstinacy of the Senior and he has born it with love, but now with one foot in the grave he can no longer remain silent, although at one time he was Grabau's greatest friend. h)[13.]
We have appointed Wolläger temporary chairman during the handling of the complaint. May God grant him strength and wisdom.*)[14.]
It remains to be seen if Grabau would allow himself to be judged (for false complaints). If he's ready to repent with my help within a year he may again have his ministerial post; i) he has the wondrous gifts of God; none other come close to him, not even the elders. Perhaps we should no longer choose seniors for life k)[16.] but rather appoint them from synod to synod. Live well."
That may be sufficient to demonstrate the spirit in which this fellow B. attempted to collaborate with Hochstetter, Wolläger, Rohr and the other Christian ministerial brethren. It is the spirit of lies, evil and ridicule, namely the spirit of all conspirators —
***) Comment - No one has loved more generously or unreservedly as this garrulous Hochstetter; he stands alone. I never placed any obstacle in his way. He often flew off against others; he either had too little or nothing to do! He agitated through his sermons. Return to text
[11.] f) [sic] Who does not hear in this the prevailing spirit of the world! Who does not see how adeptly this B. was linked to the other B. in his testimony. The manner in which this happens seems spiritually rich in evil! Return to text
[12.] g) Such deeply commissioned lies about other pastors must have been implanted when the depositions were taken that they came to the Synod with the most profound hatred for me. May these people beware God!
[13.] h) Thus steeped in his own sins he must admonish me in vain; this arrogant, pietistical hairsplitter Rohr will now do his best work before he dies! Standing there humble and pious so that people believe his sovereign lies, which are the product of his soldier's thirst for revenge. Return to text
[14.]*) Comment - What kind of wisdom it turned out to be was proven from March 27th through April 23rd. It was the wisdom of a fellow conspirator, who could speak like a lamb. He seemed to have several bouts of repentance but he rescinded those again in the Court of God. Return to text
mean-spirited insinuation; thus in this spirit the collaborators came to the synod.
We stand at a point in time, 15 days before the Synod, when Hochstetter had already been the assistant preacher of the ministerial gang since April 22nd - and we were harangued on all sides by his cohorts.
From this period in time (Monday, May 10th) here is an except from a letter from D.
"The congregational assembly with Pastor S. began. He recited a short prayer. He asked the congregation whether they wished to know why a Synod would be held in Buffalo on May 28th? The congregation remained silent, saying neither yes nor no! Now the pastor said that a delegation would have to be chosen. Then he reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a piece of paper and said to the congregation he wished to tell them why the synod would be held in Buffalo and why it was necessary to have a delegation.
He began to read a scandalous letter against my former spiritual caregiver, namely you, My Senior, and it was one-sidedly and shamefully presented (behind your back) and it rendered 7 articles of complaint. I will list some of them: You are accused of false doctrine, breaking your ministerial oath of office, maltreatment of the church ministry, and other things. When this shameful reading was over I asked, 'Where did this letter come from?' The pastor answered, that's none of my business; I responded, 'My pastor, tell me where this shameful letter came from?' He said, 'Döhlar wrote it and Wolläger affixed his signature to it.' I asked whether the letter had gone out to all the pastors. He called me a rabble rouser and told me I should keep my mouth shut. He further said, 'I am the shepherd of my flock, and where I go my sheep shall follow!' Then other brothers spoke but he told those, who called the letter accursed, to shut their mouths." etc.
(Here we have proof of how the congregations were agitated, poisoned and aggravated.) The same person wrote: "Yesterday I came upon a slip of paper upon which was written, that this evening there would be a committee meeting and I was urged to attend. I went and much was discussed. At one point Pastor S. began, yesterday at the assembly I was accosted by him and the legitimate church ministry in the most unchristian manner. He wanted to ask me whether I recognized the legitimacy of the ministry or not, otherwise he would dismiss me from my ministerial duties. I said that I wished to let the matter rest until the Synod had decided. I will not mention all the slanderous remarks issued against you." etc.
Here one may see how and on what basis the authority of the church ministry has grounded the new doctrine! Simply due to the fact that it is amassed!! just like a united sermon from 1836 in which it was said by his church ministry, alone we are nothing, but "together we are strong!"
Finally here we have the life work of the Henning gang (the Grollmitz-Becker-Hochstetter group) in Buffalo. Thus wrote an honorable Christian of this city:
(June 7th in the General Assembly read by Fr. G.)
Does one find grapes in the thorns or figs in the thistles?
It was at the end of April that I came on business to the worksplace of Br. H. S. D. St. and heard of the dispute between our pastors Grabau and Hochstetter, etc. At the time I took it to be nothing more than family quarrels, originating from gossip and discord and I said very little about it. Henning said terrible things about Grabau and his dreadful teachings, etc and among other things he said: it would be worth it for him or somebody else (I don't remember the exact words) to hit him over the head. I no longer remember whether or not I said anything about that.
I just went my way and didn't give it another thought until a couple of weeks ago when Deacon Hochstetter and R. from Marilla were with me on another matter where the conversation arose that Brother Heilbronn had made a certain declaration at a certain place here in Buffalo, which was substantially the same as a statement made by another church member. To this Mr. Rosenkrantz in the presence of Deacon Hochstetter answered: If Heilbronn said that, somebody should shoot him. Another participant in the faction, Student T., was with me eight days ago, talking in a similarly slanderous manner and among other things he said he would sharpen his knife, whittle a cudgel, and if someone came to his house because of these disputed matters, he would thrash them out the door, but if Pastor Grabau himself approached he would hit him over the head. If this is the fruit of the teachings of this new faction, then God protect us from it." [see Translator's Note]
What is this if not an overall spirit of conspiracy!
There is another letter from H. v. R. It's a personal letter, which takes up a full sheet of paper and is unfortunately too gossipy and long to communicate here. Its purpose was to excuse and justify the Godless letter of the above mentioned B. It was apparently executed in finely appointed conscientiousness. In a feigned love of truth it used falsehood and deceit to disseminate the most intense pack of lies against Pastor Grabau! This decorous conscientiousness of H. v. R. emanated its standard variety of homemade insight and self deception concerning other people whom he appraised and marked. These he would importune with artfully executed pietistical zeal and turn into believers. This is the dangerously pietistical, lying character of H. v. R., whom I and other Christians have known and complained about for many years. There's also his practice of persecutory hatred for his brethren, which he alternates with the most base kind of flattery in order to turn these people into friends aligned with his way of thinking. Yet such a horrible and fallen man should be considered a highly enlightened teacher of the church! No Christian could become sanctified by this self-appointed pietistical, self-diluting conscientiousness without resorting to invectives and insults, — furthermore this base flattery, by which he creates friendships and situations, is easy to see in the gossipy, totally dreadful letter to Pastor B. One sees the life of the courtier when one compares the letter to the man and his life. H. v. R. is a man, who believes he has warned, counseled, won over and conquered everyone, with whom he has discussed his learning and insight, or at least forced them into it with the kind of conscious consideration he is selling. He's acted like a pietist for 20 or 30 years and many simple Christians have been tortured by it; and this is what he wants to perpetrate on me. For example, he came to me in order to ask advice on a certain liturgical matter and took the time to gossip about one of his insights. He talked about what other people had said and written and he gave me a warning. No one lies more comfortably in the name of conscious consideration and admonition. Now he is 70 years old and has one foot in the grave. He should give up such lying and rudeness by which he spurns the loving God and attempts to subjugate his fellow Christians to his so-called tenets. He has such a dreadfully swift and deceiving tongue that it's often confusing to figure out what he holds for true. He tries to force Christians to accept whatever his so-called conscience deems truth. May God send him penance! *) [1.] Here and there among the congregation
[1.]*) So he also maintains: he has long recognized my hatred for Hochstetter and has warned me about it - there's not a word of truth to it! And so to that end: one must now think that the man has done absolutely nothing other than warn me! and there's nothing to it. One could scarcely comprehend who wouldn't recognize this self-sanctifying and ambitious manner for what it is. Furthermore he lied three times to E, the last time in front of witnesses: In a sermon I called the entire congregation Herodians and bloodhounds! I know of no greater hatred for the man next to you than when one lies so freely about him. For this reason it is with his great love of Pastor Grabau that he carries on in this courtier manner! Return to text
Translator's Note: This same text appears almost word for word in the Henning text, What Grabau Teaches and Professes, on pages 9 and 10. One difference is probably a typo - the word "Kirchgliedes" (of the church membership) is printed in the Grabau text while the Henning text has "Kirchengliedes". There is no difference in meaning.
a certain saying was issued by him and came back to him: "He spins a group of words *) [1.]around in his mouth three times until he can justify himself!" Unfortunately I had to endure this experience after I had been quiet for quite a while.
His incitement of B. is exemplified among other things in the following words:
Amid this persecutory activity (since the month of March) during which time the ministerial gang had separated from this church, we held the feast of the Pentacost on May 20 - 22. In the interim I brought forth my response concerning teachings and my Christian duty as senior minister.
From May 24th onward excited preachers and congregational deputies traveled here. From the time of their arrival at the train station they were met by the ministerial party (the Hochstetter group) and escorted to the homes of other party members in my congregation, where they would be lodged. Only 3 preachers and a couple of deputies stayed with our unimprisoned congregational memebers. One saw here how the words of St. Paul in Acts 20 came to fruition: There will be men among you who pervert the teachings in order to draw the youth to themselves. Here was the new perverted teaching of obedience to the church ministry!
On May 28th the synodizing began! I had never thought it could be so deceitful and worthless. It had something of Costnitz to it! Here is a small sketch of the proceedings from the first to the eleventh day.
I came on May 28th (Wednesday) with our two synodal deputies, Fathers Chr. Schmelzer and A. Vermehr, in the belief that I should respond 1.) for my teachings and 2.) for my comportment as senior minister. Instead of this however the Synod had as its business first the investigation of who had the right to give judgment about doctrine, that is, who here had a place and a vote! What nonsense! — as if for this reason matters of doctrine could not be taken in hand first! If Deacon Hochstetter (running from the church) had been expelled from the church by the trustees, did it follow that he had no place or vote and therefore could not pronounce judgment on doctrine! Hochstetter must first be reinstalled, then he could judge the teachings (N.B. as my accuser] since he was at present not a member of the Synod. This sophism was intended to prevent me from offering defense for my teachings and comportment and to pulverize me in the Hochstetter case.
Hochstetter, as plaintiff, was called upon to hear my testimony concerning teaching and comportment and to answer for himself concerning his allegations. He wanted his dismissal from the church to be overridden and thus he, the plaintiff, could be the judge over me!
This reversal of things, which destroyed justice and the appointed path, forced me to present a case, and this was so done *)[2.]
I. Hochstetter's separation from the church [called a dismissal from holy office] on the 7th and 13th (Compare this with 7th Synodal Letter, page 7b and page 7, line 5 and forward.
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks,