[N.B. without first taking into consideration the horrible points of contention raised by the contrary-to-teachings church ministry.] It was completely forgotten that we must first examine the current foundations for the misconceptions and sins. Just about everything is bitterly placed upon our trustees and Pastor Grabau. Rohr lies that along the way the trustees told him they had sinned. Not a word of it is true. It's completely forgotten that this church ministry must be brought to awareness of its dreadful injustice, which began in Buffalo with the insane activities of April 19th through 23rd. It was said: Discipline must be exercised; the synod must render judgment over the trustees [but it was not necessary to deliberate over doctrine and the course of events which followed.] Rohr represented the entire matter as a case of ecclesiastic discipline! What other option could such a master of discipline propose? Almost everyone shouted: The trustees broke the peace since they would not acknowledge their sins! But it was just the opposite. The synod broke the peace since they called for discipline without examination of the sins and injustice and wanted nothing other than discipline. What kind of papist course had been chosen.
Repeated discussion and questions over what was justice here? To begin with the previous events or what followed? Maschop expressed that in doctrine there were no differences! There was only Pastor Grabau's unfortunate attitude that he was being called to task by a younger man! [And it was, of course, not permitted for him to bring countersuit against the young man for his guilty false teachings and practices.] People should acknowledge Pastor Grabau's efforts and honor him as a man who had suffered much in the name of Jesus. It was viewed however not as sickness but as the order of God that he should be brought to answer for himself. [All well and good, but people should have started at the initial causes rather than the subsequent events.] I declared that I could not admit to anything until the entire body of doctrine had been considered. However Peter Brandt, the greatest of the conspiratorial brethren, would not consider doctrine first; he wanted to deal with the acts of hostility. Rohr continued to lie and put words in the mouths of the trustees, which had not been spoken. He deceptively employed the Pommeranian Church Decree: the dismissal of a minister must be handled in the first session; there was no pertinancy here since Hochstetter had not been dismissed, but rather by decision of his church ministry he had run away, thus abandoning his church. It was only after this that he was banned. Furthermore the rules of ecclesiastic order teach that in synods and visitations, doctrine must always be considered first. The most pedestrian opinions were brought forth by the young ministers, who considered themselves radical. For example, from one came: He was a representative of his congregation, a representative of the Lord Christ, and a representative of the entire Luthran Church. No one was punished for this nonsense. The prospect for peace grew ever darker; ever greater hostility towards Pastor Grabau and the church administration became apparent. Nothing specific could be arranged or accomplished. The Peace Commission would remain but the courtiers had no faith in it and said so. The same sentiment pervaded the synod. It was finally deemed worthwhile to consider doctrine and the Hochstetter matter would be examined by the Peace Commission.
The Schism in the Synod
Today at 9AM the undersigned assembled for a synodal session in the college. After Pastor Grabau delivered his response concerning doctrine, in which he listed eight points, and after clarifying these points, citing examples of human conversation or gossip from the pulpit and a couple examples from Hochstetter's sermon, there arose terrible, loud and general distain (just as had occurred previously with a reading of a passage from Luther, which was not permitted.) Examples of Hochstetter's conversations and gossipy false teachings had been cited in order to clarify what happens to the Gospel when it is obscured and covered up by human gossip.
Hochstetter exclaimed, "I must protest against this, it is contrary to the 8th Commandment. Pastor Grabau is morally and physically incapable of transcribing my sermons." Döhler shouted that he protested against the reading of the statement and said to Pastor Grabau, "You are the self-proclaimed pope in the church." There was general noise throughout by those who supported Hochstetter and Döhler.
Thus the 2 bombs of Hochstetter's pulpit gossip exploded in conspiracy! It was immediately clear that no pulpit gossip proceeded without false doctrine.
Pastor Grabau complained about this rough treatment. Rohr warned Döhler to take back this insult. Döhler maintained it in protest! Pastor Johannes Grabau took exception to the treatment of his father using the same words Rohr had used against Döhler, as though he still supported his father, but reluctantly. Amid this clamor the noisy gentlemen of the synod went outside and after a recess returned. After all retook their places Pastor Grabau uttered these words:
Besides Pastor Grabau, Pastor Burk and Pastor Joh. Grabau declared that that they too were in agreement and Pastor Hahn silently left the synod, as did synodal deputies Christoph Schmelzer and A. Vermehr of Buffalo, Gotthilf Ziemer of Kirchhayn and Johann Tiews of Milwaukee. Each declared he was withdrawing.
On this day the pastors and deputies, who had withdrawn, assembled with the intention of remaining united with each other. When it came to the question of what type of union should be formed, all the members of this assembly were convinced that the synod, to which we had belonged, had not only allied itself with a mutinous force but had fully united with that gangster-like ministerial authority and had fallen from the Lutheran Church order into false (quite anti-Christian) tenets and doctrine. In consequence it became apparent that we would need to convert our membership in the Body of Christ and the synod from subjugation, which human volition and meddling had brought to bear up to this 11th day.
The current situation testified to the horrid permeation of the synod with false doctrine, perpetrated by the church ministry as it assembled and exercised unchecked manoeuvres, imperious force and arbitrary executive and coercive power (that is, an aggressive regime of subduing force) against the pastors, church administrators and congregation and sold it to us all under the beautiful name of "the right and proper church court."
In the name of "the freedom of the Council" the docket of cases was established (according to majority vote). We were presented with the most horrible option whereby the latest events would be handled first and the reasons behind them would be handled sooner or later as were seen fit. This is the deceptive way in which contingent facts were torn apart and cast into darkness. In this way the light of one fact would not shine upon the other, all the better for going on a fishing trip in muddy waters! The historic evidence would be furnished through it that what happened in days 1 through 9 was beaten down and suppressed, Hochstetter's removal from the church was considered first and the synod was pulled this way and that with all craft and power; in the end what good was the properly appointed peace commission. Starting on the ninth day a small amount concerning doctrine was considered. On the 11th day a larger amount was taken into account, but not everything concerning doctrine was considered. The justification of the accused, Pastor Grabau, concerning his behavior in office as Senior Minister was shoved back into its current place. Thus the fields have been skillfully ploughed since the 13th of June with mischievous hands burying things in the furrows behind the back of Pastor Grabau. The tissue of lies was sold as the silk of information.
Thus it was established in all minds and it is apparent that our congregations needed the support of a synod so as to defend itself from this totally corrupted group. It was deemed wise not to to hold the proposed conference but rather to convene the synod, which consisted of the immigrant Lutheran churches from Prussia, without taking into account the dreadful cover-up of false doctrine and practice, thereby giving aid to our congregations inasmuch as their members were aware of these falsehoods.
The name of the synod remained the same as before. We called the other synod, which had been called April 11, 1866 *) [1.] a false one and proof will be provided.
It was further decided that Pastor J. An. A. Grabau should take the position of senior advisor to the established ministry and chairman of the synod. He declared himself ready to do so since he had resigned from the corrupted synod on March 5th due to its false intent and acquitted himself. But he had no intention of assuming the role if true doctrine was bound to church regime as had been put forth in the booklet of 1860 whereby Christian practice gave way to domineering force and the Christian membership in the body of Christ and the synod were subjugated. The matter was decided with a prayer of thanksgiving.
The Verdict concerning the secession of the German Lutheran Trinity Congregation from the false Synod.
For the above stated reason we acknowledged and declared before God and the entire Christian community that by awakening from its previous carelessness the German Lutheran Trinity Congregation had acted properly in separating itself from the doctrine and practice of this false synod, for it could no longer in good faith follow such minsterial and synodal existence as exemplified in the Words of the Lord in 2. Cor. 6. 14: What does justice have to do with a yearning for injustice,
[1.]*) Comment - This is the day on which Wollaeger declared before the assembly of pastors in Milwaukee: The ministerial brothers of Wisconsin need not further judge the 4 or 5 pastors. There was no talk of expulsion, only judgment. He said that he recognizes that such decision-making was not permitted. He had privately written of this to Pastor Grabau on March 27th: He could not allow him to dispute the decision of the ministerial court or call it an erroneous one. Thus privately and publicly we have the spirit of the Roman curate. Return to Text
what does light have in common with darkness; does Christ live in harmony with Belial? etc. Depart from them and separate yourselves, says the Lord, and abide not the unpure: thus I will accept you and be your Father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says Almighty God. The shepherds, who had assembled here, had not tended God's people but rather had torn them away from Christ's flock, had destroyed them, alienated them, strewn them about and left them with no support through their courtier insanity since April 22nd. See the words of the Lord in Jer. 23: "I will punish you for your evil," and verse 10, "Your life is evil and your regime is worthless; your prophets and your priests are villains and I even find your evil in my house, says the Lord. You will follow and fall from your slippery path into darkness." And verse 14: "You strengthen yourselves with evil from which no one can return." And verse 16: "You deceive yourselves when you preach from your own hearts rather than from the word of God and everything is perverted to darkness from your hearts. You say no misfortune will befall you!" And verses 13 and 14: "I saw insanity in the prophets of Samaria, for they uttered the words of Baal and seduced the people of Israel; I see horrible things in the prophets of Jerusalem as they break their pledge and steep themselves in lies, and strengthen themselves in evil, from which no one returns.
What follows is a clarification of the part of the declaration of secession by the Buffalo congregation, in which it is stated: "These individuals, moreover, (namely the pastor and our trustees) have been threatened with ecclesiastic judgment and church discipline by the appointed peace delegation in order to confuse and intimidate them."
A Christian verdict concerning the relationship of a public peace accord and church discipline. In order to properly consider the relationship between a Christian peace accord and church discipline we proceed from the words of Christ from Matthew 5,9: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. We understand the term peacemakers according to Dr. Luther in Thesis VII, page 582 (Walch text) as: "Those who diligently apply themselves so that they create a welcome peace for themselves and other people, those who help to unify evil and erroneous matters, tolerate quarrels, hinder war and bloodshed and work towards a virtue, which exists in a state of false salvation." If these are the peacemakers and they are the children of God as Christ has described them (that is, they prove themselves proper children of God), then doesn't it stand to reason that they should first prove that they are children of God, that they hold to the same dictates of church law and church discipline. Under such circumstances they would see that they are persecuting others among them for the sake of their own sense of justice.
Furthermore it's difficult to comprehend how there can be two separate parties in the body of Christ's church, which stand opposed to one another, bring about strife and conflict, then make peace by wishing to hold fraternal conversations of reconcilation and in turn to use these brotherly discourses to impose their version of church discipline. This is pietist doctrine, which strenuously sweeps the sins of all people out of the corners and imposes stiff punishments and church sanctions in order to make these people holy. In pietist doctrine practitioners believe that they has something to forgive in their sanctity and their consciences when amid a peace the sins of other people should not be brought out into the light of day while they do not perceive the horrible outrage of their own sins *) [1.]
Further: We find in the Holy Scripture
[1.] *) Comment - See Apologetics Article III concerning Col. 3,14 and 1 Peter 4,8: Once a course of action is decided by the church court and imposed as church discipline, then all discussion must cease.
It was truly unchristian and intentional falsehood on the part of Pastor Rohr and the many others when we made peace, retracted all the steps taken and the reasons behind them, offered forgiveness and strived for unity; there was fraternal discourse and recognition of injustices on both sides and supposedly we had the ordeal of church law and discipline behind us because we were united and there were no more factions. But here is the deception: Although the time of judgment and discipline should have been over, it started up again. The new united party presided in judgment over the other one with the one imposing discipline upon the other. In consequence the two parties reemerged and we had been betrayed for the sake of peace and unity. Our symbologies went no further than to state: our reciprocal love for non-obstinancy, non-harshness and unfriendliness, the attitude of "prove yourself or don't" - these things will be tested through the church court and the church discipline. Return to text
concerning the peacemakers in Jac. 3, 18 and Isaiah 32, 16 that they not only make peace but also abide by it. But the peace was not maintained, as it stands in 1 Peter 4,8 - for they have such ardent love, which covers a multitude of sins. This means anything is borne and gladly overlooked, contingencies are smoothed over and nothing is examined to its finest aspect. Rather crimes against each other were calculated on the scales used to weigh gold and either the spiritual church or the worldly ordering of it must be expelled with the washwater. It was inconceivable how the 2 things could be brought together and for there still to be church discipline whereby it was supposed that the crimes against each other would be measured on the scale!
Furthermore: It is quite different when individuals within the community of Christ sin again each other, as in Matthew 18. In cases of steadfast unrepentance when things are in good order, the congregation or the church can be impartial judges. But it is hard to reconcile where there are two ecclesiastic or worldly forces, which should be brought in line under the rules of church discipline and at the same time should act as impartial ecclesiastic judges. The books of our Christian faith warn against such an erroneous path in that they speak of two factions: "Much heresy may arise, which will embitter one minister against the other and by which resorting to church discipline may not be advisable. In this case return to the spirit of reconciliation, whereby one yields to the other. There is much good within the church and the worldly order of things, which will bear the fruit of justice and in turn being about peace." (Jac. 3,17). This means that when they can live together in peace their ardent love of one another will create a just and true peace. See Apologetics Article II on love and fulfillment of the law (Rechenberg 106). Thus we must condemn it as false doctrine that Rohr, Zeumer, Hochstetter and just about all the young, furiously ignited pastors conducted a peace proposal in such a pietistical fashion and commend the commission of that peace to the rigors of church discipline. This is nothing other than the fruit of vital justice, which should come forth from peace, which should be plucked from the tree of peace, cut into with the knife of examination and then one should say: it is a bitter fruit; let us make it sweet through the application of church discipline.
Buffalo, June 11th, Monday Morning
of our Synodal Letter!
(by this false Synod)
As an example of such gross misuse the 7th Synodal Letter, page 49 will be introduced. A proposal was made by which they wished to avoid the confusion in the meaning of the text by citing possibilities - for instance the relationship between the Senior Minister and the Chancellor or that of the ministerial body and the chancelry, as seen on pages 76 through 78. With regard to these matters it was said on page 49, No. 4 that the Senior Minister only has limited authority for delivering judgment. He may act as visitor and supervisor over doctrine and church life (just as it was stated in No. 3 concerning the chancellor) and he may deliver his verdict and findings to the Synod (according to No. 5).
Here let it be mentioned that Pastor Wollaeger did not announce that he was conducting an official visitation on April 16th through 19th in 1866. Rather an investigatory ministerial assembly would be held because Pastor Grabau would not acknowledge the verdict of the church ministry. And this happened after we had already called for a synod along with the 5 wayward pastors. Was it not proscribed that he had come here merely to attend the synod on a visitation and to deliver his verdict? Instead he assailed us on the 19th through 23rd of April along with this same church ministry, which had delivered the false verdict concerning the doctrinal teachings of Pastor Grabau.
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks,