Kirchliches Informatorium Volume 18, May & June 1870

May 1870: pages 3 - 5


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.

Continued from Volume 17, page 181

However at Missouri's 5th Synod in 1851 no report introducing proofs was delivered as had been promised in their 1850 report on page 34, which would have supported their claim that their synod was justified in its acceptance of our fallen

and excommunicated members and in its sending preachers to construct counter-altars in Milwaukee, Watertown, Freystadt, Kirchhayn, Cedarburg, etc. Instead Professor Walther delivered 18 theses, 9 dealing with the church and 9 dealing with the preaching office, to provide his proofs. Their synod was happy with this and decided that the theses fulfilled the promised statement of justification. There was no more discussion of rectifying the injustices committed in Detroit and Macomb County and no mention of repentance as had been preached to them by pastors of their own synod.

There is a similar snub to our request for the withdrawal of gang preachers from our congregations on page 99 [footnote 10] of the book The Pastoral Letter published by Pastors Walther, Löber, Gruber and Keyl in 1849. It states word for word:

"However if the Christian reader wants to know why we yielded to the urgent call of the congregation in Watertown and proposed then-candidate Geyer for the calling to the preaching office, the reasoning and the context are already well known from much, which is put forth in this current text. We need only refer to the similar circumstances which were substantiated in our synodal report of the previous year (1848) concerning the congregations of Freistatt and Milwaukee." Wouldn't that be called a dodgy response when someone has been promised a justification for a particular course of action?

To this day the Missouri Synod still owes us the promised explanation for its construction of counter-altars!

There is a concise and fundamental examination and refutation of these 18 theses on page 17 of our 3rd synodal Letter of 1851.

In 1852 in Erlangen Professor Walther tried to

embellish upon his response with excerpts from texts of previous scholars along with self-serving proofs from scripture and the symbolic books. We will provide an example here of the dice game he played with God's word through his deceptive and false use of the scriptures, the symbolic books and the testimonies of previous scholars.

The book was printed in Erlangen in 1852 with the title The Opinion of Our Church regarding the Questions of Church and Office. The principles therein were adopted by the Missouri Synod.

Proof of the deceptive dice game played with God's word appears in the 6th thesis on pages 70 and 71 where it teaches:

In scripture the universal (catholic) church, which is the visible assembly of all those called to it, is only a "church" in the figurative sense of the word. All congregations (or sects as shall be explained later,) in which God's word is preached and the holy sacraments are administered, are individual churches.

In order to prove the existence of this figurative church containing all sects united through baptism, we cite Christ's statement in Matthew 13: 47, 49, "however the kingdom of heaven is like a net" etc.; Matthew 25: 1,2, "Then the kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins; and Matthew 22: 2-11 concerning wedding dresses.

These passages concerning the kingdom of heaven, that is, concerning the one holy Christian church which the Apology calls the universal catholic Christian church in its proper interpretation and profession, are deceptively applied by Professor Walther in his concept of a universal catholic church in the figurative sense of the word.

Indeed, this dice game becomes even more dangerous

when we find more on page 72 under the heading "Evidence of the Church in its Public Profession." Six passages are taken from the symbolic books to support Walther's invention of a figurative, universal, catholic church encompassing the complex of all sects; - taken from the section dealing with the universal, Christian, catholic, true church of the Apology. Thus it is professed:

"Thus the consoling article is established in faith: I believe in one catholic, universal Christian church in which no one may think that the church is like an external police force attached to one country or another as the pope in Rome would state. Rather it remains true that the multitude and humanity are the proper church existing around the world and truly believing in Christ from sun up to sundown, partaking of one gospel, one Christianity, one baptism and the sacraments, directed by one holy spirit even though they may have different ceremonies."

Even in the glossary of the Decret Gratiani it's clearly stated that in the largest sense of the word church encompasses good and evil. Evil may be associated with certain individuals within the church but not with the church's works whereas good can be found in both individuals and works. So now, as previously stated, Professor Walther takes 6 passages concerning the catholic, universal, true Christian church from the symbolic books and uses them for his supposed proof of a catholic universal church in the non-specific sense of the word or a non-specific, visible church. He professes this same belief at the Buffalo Colloquium, page 3 referring to "7 ad. 4 of thesis 6, first part of the book on church and office,

"which describes doctrine concerning one catholic visible church in the non-specific sense; a similar declaration is made by Missouri in the work concerning "the church of those called *. this church is designated as nothing other than what other righteous-faith teachers call the entirety of christendom as opposed to the realm of heathens, Jews and Turks."

Thus he has subscribed to the concept of the so-called Christianity of all sects described in Thesis 6 as the catholic, universal, christian church of the Apology. He wants to use 6 passages from the symbolic books and the testimony of old teachers to provide his proof that the 3rd, 7th and 8th articles of the Apology and the Augsburg Confession deal with one, true, christian, catholic church, which we believe is the One, holy, christian, visible and invisible church.

If this isn't a dice game with God's word and the symbolic books, there never has been one! In Fall 1869 at the general assembly of the Missouri Synod the declaration of their participants at the Buffalo Colloquium confirmed that they had unknowingly and unintentionally rescinded the 6th thesis in part 1 of the Opinion which supposedly taught the doctrine of one non-specific, universal, catholic church in accordance with the scriptures, the symbolic books and the Apology in particular. Consequently shouldn't Professor Walther, the General Synod of Missouri, the Synods of Ohio and Wisconsin be clear on the teaching


* The church of those called is not the so-called realm of Christianity but the holy, struggling-faith church according to Hunnius and all, true, old teachers. It is the apostolic, catholic, Christian church of the Apology and the 7th Article of the Augsburg Confession. Return to text

concerning the holy christian catholic churcn of the apology in which we believe?

In Chapter 9 we will bring forth other events from the years 1852 and 1853.

         To be continued

June 1870: pages 17 - 20


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.

Continued from Volume 18, page 5

Chapter 9

Sending two deputies to the Lutheran Churches in Germany with the request that they join with us in warning the Missouri Synod to cease its persecution by constructing counter-altars in our congregations.

In publishing the book The Opinion of Our Church in 1852 the Missouri Synod ascribed to Walther's heresy concerning church and office. The dispute was at first carried on through the 2nd and 3rd volumes of the Informatorium and volume 8 of the Lutheran. The Missouri Synod had to attach a Side-Car [Supplement] to the Lutheran

to defend itself against the Informatorium, in which the lies and slanders of our rebels and their servants were printed. Later the synod used Lochner's Newspaper in Self-Defense and finally Doctrine and Defense.

The end result to all these works were found in the Buffalo Colloquium of 1866. This is where Walther conceded to Point 1 to our teaching concerning the church and partially rescinded his teaching concerning the transference of the preaching office.

Consequently, as happened in most of his works, he contradicted himself while trying to maintain the old heresy along side his new stance.

In 1852 Walther produced an entirely new heresy: "An improper ban makes the church false." It seemed he wanted to drop this too at the time of the Buffalo Colloquium * even though he had reiterated this blasphemy in the December 1, 1857 issue of the Lutheran, reprinted from the Letters in Self-Defense.

Luther's teaching (in the sermon concerning the ban, 1519 and 1520):

An unjust ban does not make the church false, and


* He admitted in Fort Wayne that even in a true church an improper ban could result due to heresy. Return to text

it should be endured by christians; it is "antichristian, papist and devilish."

The dispute carried on concerning this topic can be found in the 2nd volume of the Informatorium in issues 11 and 12 under the title, "Another sound victory for truth in the Informatorium over the Donatic heresy concerning the ban found in the Lutheran.

In 1853 our deputies went to Germany and presented the 3 theses with which we were in dispute. All responded "no" to the question in Thesis 1:

Whether an unjust ban enacted by a properly established Lutheran district or rural church made the church false?

And although Walther himself later admitted that this thesis could only be answered with a "No," he still permitted his blasphemous interpretation of Luther's teaching in the second sermon concerning of the ban to be republished.

We asked the Missouri Synod to place a sanction for this blasphemy but we only received a scornful reply. This was after we had reminded them that they themselves had attested to the validity of Luther's teaching in the sermon concerning the ban and had taught it in the 6th volume of the Lutheran on page 123.

Walther responded that at the time they fought with us over this. Did they know better now?

Herein lies proof that Donatic heresy had resulted from Missouri's sinful deeds. They used it to justify their acceptance of our excommunicants and their construction of counter-altars.

The ultimate outcome of this dispute concerning teaching of the ban is this - At the Buffalo Colloquium the Missouri participants

declared that the Buffalo Synod was a false church because it did not allow the local congregations to judge whether bans should be enacted. In 1869 the Missouri Synod confirmed this decision and declared that the Buffalo Synod was heretical.

Thus they had fallen from the tenets of our symbolic books contained in the 28th Article of the Augsburg Confession, the Apology, the Smalcaldic Articles and the Potestas Jurisdictiones where the power to decide in cases of the ban was given to the bishops and the pastors because it had been given to them by Christ.

Furthermore this synod had fallen into Schwenkfelder heresy as decribed at the conclusion of the Declaration of the Formula of Concord.

Erroneous Article of the Schwenkfelders.

"It was not a righteous Christian congregation because no public hearing or formal trial of the ban was held."

This established the case (but not the admission) that the Buffalo Synod had committed error in saying that according to the symbolic books the bishops, pastors or ministry were permitted to act as judges and in teaching what Luther stated about Joel 3 in "Concerning Excommunication", that the power to pronounce sentence or verdict concerning the ban should rest with those in ministerial office.

The Formula of Concord and even the Schwenkfelders would call those groups such as the Missouri Synod, a Christian synod which according to its own erreoneous interpretation has no formal court procedure for the ban, false and heretical!

Shouldn't any group such as Missouri, which calls itself a righteous-faith synod yet proclaims that its symbolic teachings on the eucharist and the ban are heretical, necessarily be considered heretical?

We come now to our 4th Synodal Letter dealing with our

4th general assembly, which took place in May and June of 1853 in Buffalo. In the time between the 3rd and 4th assembly 7 pastors had entered our synod. The members are:

1. J.A.A. Grabau, Senior Minister, Buffalo, N.Y.
2. G.A. Kindermann, Pastor to Kirchhayn and Watertown, Wisc.
3. J.F. Winkler, Pastor to Detroit and Macomb County, Mich.
4. H.C.G. von Rohr, Pastor to New Bergholz and New Wallmore, N.Y.
5. F.J. Müller, Pastor to Freystatt, Wisc.
6. W. Wier, Pastor to Martinsville, N.Y.
7. C.A. Schroer, Pastor to Humberstone, Canada West.
8. A.H.D. Lange, Pastor to Eden, N.Y.
9. Geo. Turk, Pastor to Milwaukee, Wisc.
10. J.G. Böhm, Pastor to Grafton and Cedarburg, Wisc.
11. Conr. Kühn, Pastor to Warren in Warren County, Pa.
12. G.F. Maschop, Pastor to Newark, N.J., absent due to illness.
13. J.G. Hahn, Pastor to Denegal Township, Butler County, Pa. was invited as a guest.

Congregational appointees:
C.G.B. Wehser of Buffalo.
F. Heidke of Kirchhayn.
F. Reh of Detroit and Macomb County.
Chr. Köhn of New Bergholz.
Martin Taute of Freystatt.
Daniel Page of Martinsville.
Phil. Rauch of Eden.
H. Stäger of Milwaukee, Cedarburg and Grafton.
Joh. Laible of Newark.
Christ. Haseley of New Walmore.
Phil. Müller of Humberstone.

In this synodal letter one first finds a refutation of Missouri's 6th Synodal Report, which contained a large number of

lies. All the deputies testified it was untrue that they had been granted no power to pass judgment in the synod.

Furthermore the 4th Synodal Letter contains verdicts and testimony in refutation of the Lutheran's "Sidecar" and Walther's "Synopsis." In the first column there are articles from the old teachers used to support Missouri doctrine. In the second column there are articles from the Informatorium, often taken from the appendix. In the third column there are writings from the papists and the Jesuits, which sound somewhat similar to what was said in the Informatorium to delude the simple minded into thinking that our teachings are papist. Walther still owes us the proof he promised that our teachings are papist. However he did achieve this goal of casting suspicion on our teachings for years with his clever tricks.

It was decided to build the Martin Luther College and Grabau, who was Senior Minister at the time, was commissioned with the task of purchasing a piece of land and placing the deed in the name of the senior minister and his successors in office. He abused the commission and placed the deed in his name only as senior minister, omitting the part about "and his successors in office." Without the knowledge of the ministry this also occurred with a second deed but he informed the ministry of the omission and promised to have it amended. He made the existence of this second deed known at the 1866 synod and offered the promise of having it made over to the newly elected Senior Minister, Maschop, and his successors in office after the close of the synodal session.

However at the trial in 1867 he presented himself as the sole owner of the deed to the property for the Martin Luther College, consequently he won the property in that case.

In the early part of 1869 he allowed himself to be persuaded to sign the deed over to his own opposition synod rather than giving the deed to our synod as he had promised.

Even though he no longer had personal ownership of our property, which could be transferred as part of his personal estate to his heirs, the situation was still unfair because he turned the property over to his followers instead of the true Buffalo synod.

Our 4th Synod occurred at the same time as Missouri's meeting, which was held in Cleveland. We published a response to Missouri's 6th Synodal Report written by Pastors Brohm, Gruber and Secretary Habel, which sought reconciliation with the Buffalo Synod.

Our response was titled, The True Path to Peace," and our synod was prepared to follow this path.

The correspondence containing Missouri's refusal to follow this path is printed in the 2nd volume of the Informatorium in No. 16.

Missouri's responses show that they did not want to cease their unjust deeds and plans until we had joined with them in a colloquium. They continued to build counter-altars for close to 20 years, secure in their conviction that it was first necessary for them to be united with us in teaching, or as it turned out, until they had been willing to declare that they had been won over by teaching! For that we may well have to wait until Judgment Day when we all stand before the court of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

It was decided to send two deputies back to Germany first of all to tell the Lutheran churches there

about Missouri's deeds and plans and to request that these synod join with us in warning Missouri to cease their operations against us in accordance with Christ's words, "Tell it to the Church."

The second task was to ask for financial support for the construction of the Martin Luther College.

The travel plan depended upon our congregations' willingness to donate between 7 and 8 hundred dollars. The congregations collected $1000 for travel, so the deputies were able to leave within a few weeks after the synodal session.

Pastors Grabau and von Rohr were elected synodal deputies.

         To be continued

Go to July & August 1870

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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