Continued in the Unchanged Profession of the Lutheran Church of the Prussian Congregation, which immigrated between 1839 and 1843
"Fear not, little flock"
Published by order of the Evangelical-Lutheran Synod of Buffalo. Under the editorship of
Volume 15 Detroit, April 15, 1867 Issue 1
appears monthly at the price of $1.00
per year in advance.
This "Informatorium" began in the year 1851 when our synod consisted of only 4 pastors. Since 1843 our synod had been persecuted by the Saxon pastors and in 1847 we suffered more persecution with the Saxon pastors' establishment of the Missouri Synod, which constructed counter altars and sent opposition or gang preachers. We needed a public forum to testify against these actions. In 1846 the Missouri Synod began publishing The Lutheran [Lutheraner] and the Synodal Letters in order to justify its actions. In these publications they called us their closest living brothers. At the 1849 session of his Synod, Professor Walther had wanted to provide justifications for the Synod's actions. Indeed, he had made a promise. Instead he published his 9 theses on the church and later he published the book The Consensus of the Missouri Synod on Church and Office. In this book it was supposedly proven that the one, Christian church was only an invisible entity comprised of all sects and all opposing congregations and gangs. As such each group would have all the authority and power of the true church, including the right
to ask for ministers; in turn the Missouri Synod had the right to send ministers to any group.
With these two publications began the public doctrinal dispute concerning church and office. It was a continuation of the doctrinal dispute between our orthodox church fathers, the Wittemberg theologicans, and Spencer's pietistical teaching on one, merely invisible and true church composed of a spiritual priesthood of all Christians with the holy office of minister added into the mix. It continued a battle carried on by Valentin Löscher against the pietists and C. Neumeister against the efforts to unionize the church in his time. Now it is the teaching which fortifies and justifies the United Church.
Until 1866 our synod was united in spirit in its 23 year battle, and although 5000 souls became opposition congregation members of Missouri 7 to 8 years ago, our synod grew to include 27 ministers with about 30 congregations due to the maturation of the current generation, continued migration from the old homeland and the acceptance of new members.
In this year came the tragic fall of Pastor Grabau as truly and accurately described in our 9th Synodal Letter. He would not allow himself to be judged for the persecution of his deacon by means of trustee authority. He left the synod due to illness
and distrust. With the 3 pastors who followed him he set up an opposition congregation and then an opposing synod. He robbed the members of our synod of its church property. He took with him the synod's hefty bank accounts and the college, claiming that it was his personal property thus committing a breach of his oath in public.
Soon after a second schism took place. Lacking faith and the support of pure teaching, the younger pastors sought human assistance and joined the Missouri Synod. This occurred even though they acknowledged at the Synod of 1866 that our teachings were pure except for erroneous teaching on trustees and on the power of God, which had led to much sorrow and many exercises in self defense under Pastor Grabau. They had only wanted Grabau to abide by the pure teaching of the Synod, to consider his authoritative views concerning conduct in ministerial office and to allow himself to be judged for past injustices. If this had happened, they would have been content to stay with him. It now comes to light that they allowed themselves to be led astray by offers of help and reassurance from the opposition preachers of Missouri. They quickly succumbed to Missouri teaching. Missouri spokesmen persuaded our younger churchmen to hold discussion with them. They went behind our backs to arrange an inpromptu colloquium before our synod could hold a session. They did this to lure our congregations into joining Missouri and leaving their pastors. They did it so they could build opposition congregations, chase off the pastors, rob them and their congregations of their churchs and in the end establish
|an opposition synod with an opposition senior minister. Their plan to build a the Fifth Synod District of Missouri was acceptable to Pastor Walther.
Now they want to restore their honor by saying they had thought for years that Missouri teaching was correct.
Only a few old and a few younger pastors stand by the synod along with some righteous Christians. These people truly sought discussion, but not for the sake of their own interests or to keep their stomachs full or to hide their own decline.
All this will be irrefutably proven in the 10th Synodal Letter, scheduled for publication in the next few weeks, even as the true heart will encounter some incredible facts.
As it was 22 years ago, our synod now consists of a few loyal pastors and Christian congregations, who will not seek human assistance at the cost of truth and righteousness. They would rather hold to pure teaching and sanctified existence up to the end for the sake of their souls and those of their children. They will hold to the established truth for their children and for future generations.
On the morning of December 5th after the colloquium was concluded, Pastor Hochstetter declared that as editor of the Informatorium he would not publish any article which did not agree with the resolutions passed by the Buffalo contingent. Thus it would reflect the unified teachings of Missouri and become a partisan newspaper of the Missouri Synod. Our small synod decided to continue publishing the Informatorium ourselves, holding to the tenets of the unchanged profession of faith of the
Lutheran congregations which emigrated from Prussia between 1839 and 1843 along with the undersigned [Heinrich von Rohr] as editor. For now it will be the task of this newspaper to point out the erroneous teaching of Pastor Walther as elucidated by the colloquium, to discuss the differences in teaching and demonstrate the Synod's desire for reasonable, honest and Christian dialog, which does not violate truth but which does not produce indifference or fear. It will not abandon the hope of coming to an understanding with Missouri concerning the truth in our symbolic books.
On the other hand, the Informatorium will oppose rogue synods and congregations which bear the name our synod. It will point out their injustices until they return to the pure teaching of our synod by desisting with all hostility and wrong doing. They don sheep's clothing and impugn pure teaching, to the extent that they still recognize it. They tolerate and even condone hostility and gangster-type activities.
Additionally the newspaper will perform the following tasks:
May the merciful God send his blessing and the Holy Spirit to serve all righteous Christians. May there be enlightenment, fortification in the truth amd justice. May love preside where there is hatred. May truth and justice prevail. H. v. R.[Heinrich von Rohr]
Elucidation on the Buffalo Colloquium
There were several ongoing investigations and opinions discussed at our tenth synod in Roseville on March 13th through 14th of this year concerning the colloquium, which yielded several points of agreement between the Missouri and Buffalo Synods. In a few weeks the results will be published in our 10th Synodal Letter and submitted to the Christian church. It is hoped that Missouri will do the same so that, with God's help, there may be further light and understanding concerning the disputed teachings on church, ministerial office, vocation and the ban.
Our synodal letter will cover the events of the Buffalo Colloquium and the manner in which it was conducted, highlighting of the most important points and discussing what has occurred as a result of it. It will contain the decisions of our synod on each point of teaching examined and the reactions of the participants.
The colloquium itself dealt with 6 primary issues:
As an addendum, the slanderous public accusations of Pastor Döhler against his synod and ministry.
No. 1 - Concerning the Church
For now we will only present the charges by the colloquium participants from the Buffalo Synod and their responses. This came after an article had been written by Pastor von Rohr based on an outline from senior minister Pastor Maschhop. Pastors Hochstetter and Wolläger recognized it as the true teaching of our synod and it was verified by the assembled synod in Roseville that it properly represented the doctrine taught in our synod.
Any reader will be able to see how, from the following three congregational declarations, there was a sense of agreement with the symbolic books of our church. This was before the 11 participants in the colloquium generated all their doctrinal disputes and mounted a protest in an attempt to establish variations to the main precepts of the church, ideas which found no concurrence among the church [fathers? teachers? Text cut off]
Matters of teaching by the Missouri Synod concerning the Church with which the Buffalo Synod finds fault
From all this we necessarily derive the concept of three distinct churches.
|"The Apology teaches this (nonspecific) catholic church since it was understood among its scholars that the universal catholic church was none other than the one, holy Christian church of the apostles."
A final declaration concerning Point 1:
A final and general declaration on Point 2:
The general declaration regarding Point 3 with reference to the 6th Thesis:
|children of God possessing His grace. The Roman, reform, methodist and other communities are not particular churches to the extent that they all have the word of God. They all belong to the universal (catholic) church but only to the extent that they possess those qualities which make up a church."
Concerning Point 4:
of the origin, emigration, settlement and ecclesiastic development of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church or Congregation, which emigrated from Prussia between the years 1839 and 1843, now known as the Buffalo Synod.
"Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. "
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Microfilm provided by The Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
Imaging & translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks