Clarifications on the General Meeting held by the Synod of Buffalo by Johann An. A. Grabau
Pages 38 - 41

This is decided by the church ministry; the church ministry renders a verdict if the pastor still holds fast to false doctrine. The congregation of the pastor receives a bad name because of the verdict rendered by pastors who were sorely manipulated. The pastor has already appealed to the synod for its decision but he has justified himself before his congregation with regard to teachings. The deacon won't keep still or wait for the decision of the synod, instead without consulting of his pastor, he writes letters to like-minded mutinous church fathers, approachs the church ministry once again against the will of the pastor or the honorable church fathers, holds conference with those charged with hearing the case, brings in mutineering witnesses, and finally suspends the pastor *) [1.], and even sets up an annex or mutinous counter church in opposition to the pastor. The church committee warns the deacon (on April 28th) to cease his activity , whereby he serves this gang and abandons his own church. However he continues in order to ruin the church and the pastor's power of office, while still drawing his pay and lodging fees from the church coffers. This seems to be a public injustice. The church fathers or trustees see themselves placed in a precarious circumstance; should they not protect their pastor. It seems to them that this is happening to the congregation since the deacon is further devastating and ruining the congregation through his service to the gang.

They turn to the church ministry, whose ranks have been strengthened by the deacon and the mutineers. The situation becomes nothing other than one by which the deacon sues the deacon or the church ministry sues the church ministry, and the pastor, the congregation, and the church are delivered into the bondage of the church ministry. What else could they do other than to make good on their option to call for a synod in opposition to such a deacon, who had abandoned his church and had now become the power behind the gang, who now served a counter church, who was relieved of service to the church by unanimous decision of the congregation, thus splitting into church and gang, and yet the congregation should remain under the same pastorate. Under such conditions they must have the right and the freedom to call upon the synod without appearing as though they are acting out of recklessness. The synod should have reasonable and Christian bearing, free of all party ties and certainly not begin with such a view of the church fathers: as though they belonged to a congregational assault force; this would be considered the current state of things because the authorities did not accept the church peace and they most certainly should not have taken the side of the mutinous church ministry.

The synod should give more consideration to the difficult conditions in this land, which bring anxiety and outrage to the congregation. It is a gift of God that the trustees have the power to protect against the unreined powerplays of church ministries constructed by counter churches and mutineers, that they may use the office in their quest to protect their pastors and congregations, that they may find barriers and limits, which stem from the right of authority.

No synod should be recognized when there is the danger of allowing a church ministry to become so dominant and unchecked that the proper appointment of district church councils and trustees to the synod is trampled underfoot a thousand times amid the assertion "excesses must be sought ought and punished." That will not ameliorate the church but devour it. It does not mean the betterment of the church but rather the subjugation of Christians into blind followers, making them nothing more than silent slaves of the church ministry. Here we have the plan of the people from Missouri: fulfill the mission of turning our congregation members into silent servants. This is an issue not only pertaining to the church order, it is a church issue concerning faith, life and confession.


This burning question of life and confession also stands at the heart of the existence of the righteously believing congregation and it is bound up with the ownership of its church property, which in accordance with its building and structuring, is part of that profession of faith, the way in which it serves God and the degree to which the properly appointed pastor conducts his true office. In a situation such as the one described above the Christian church fathers establish the ground floor and attend how the the pastor's deacon conspires together with the church ministry mutineers and the counter church and yet still claims his right to office in the church while planting seed for the dominance of the church ministry within the congregation. This is in opposition to the 2nd Synodal Letter, page 58 where it states


[1.]*) Consult Ecclesiastic Information, Issue III, page 18. Return to text church property is indirectly [and here directly] conscribed to and the responsibility of the church ministry and thus also to the synod [when they hold sway by means of a church ministry which holds a rod over the congregation].

church property is indirectly [indeed here directly] under the care and auspices of the church ministry in conjunction with the synod [when the power players of the church ministry swing a club over the heads of the congregation.] As soon as the church ministry or synod abandons proper Christian teachings, customs and rights, when it no longer watches over and governs the profession of faith but attempts to operate along party lines and publically plots to drive the pastor from the church [as exemplified by the persecutory and unjust suspension and the justification of its causes]. Then it is apparent that the church ministry and to no less degree the synod have exercised thieving greed for church property and are thus no longer proper judges of doctrine and faith. Rather they intend to lead the congregation through despotism and take over its property. This lust for domination and possession indirectly results in the suppression of the free call to the synod and the use of any pretext to introduce and establish executive police and military authority against the pastor, church council and congregation. The goal is nothing other than this: the installation of the muniteering church ministry along with the mutineering deacon at the same time united with the mutineering party within the congregation, as brought together by the deacon whereby he established his own dominance within the church and pits the shepherd and spiritual caregive against the congregation.


Conclusions Concerning This Situation and Doctrine

It is clear that the spirit of these special circumstances becomes manifest and and disguises itself in the costume of church authority and must be judged. It is apparent:
1.) that Christian service in office has lost its way in the darkness of dominating party politics and thus is no longer performing its function as Christianity in accordance with the Word of God. Rather it has become an evil force whose verdicts and declarations of intent shall subjugate each Christian into silence!
2.) It is apparent that this dominating force
   a)Completely extinguishes the true right of property of the faithful congregation,
   b)Completely negates the Christian office of church father and trustee *)[1.],
   c)Puts their proper functioning in danger. Every instance of dominating force will be declared a crime so long as in the execution of its goals dominating force stands in opposition to the proper functioning of the church fathers and trustees.
3.) It is apparent that the real issue revolves around the 2nd Synodal Letter, page 58: that church property, when we are brought under such dominating force, is in deed and truth indirectly conscribed and delivered to the church ministry by virtue of its external authority when in fact it should state that a church ministry may also have the power, when a public call is made to the synod, to arbitrarily suspend people and during the suspension install a ministerial gang and establish a counter church and then whenever possible swallow up the church property along with the gangster ministry. — It is clear that the corrupted synod in service to the gang is not just ruling over faith or questioning faith, it wishes to bring the ownership of church property under its jurisdiction. (2nd Synodal Letter, page 58.)
4.) We lived in an era in which the 1st Synodal Letter, page 5 (right column, number 7) indicated that the sinking church ministry along with the synod should "oppose the worldly police spirit, from which the Lutheran Church should conscientiously cleanse itself." [ See translator's note ] We now live in an era when people wish to stay under the cover of the old Christian Church Order and to change this cover into a police regime; as they do this they are pushing themselves away from its sense and spirit. In going this way in order to discipline the old church order, they resort to police-like suspensions and in order to prevail they actuate the destruction of the congregation. They will convert the rubble of ministerial congregations into ministerial slaves.

Wednesday Afternoon, June 13th

1.) This afternoon the evidence was heard concerning Brother A. Stiemke's "not-guilty" in the death of the boy Garbisch in Kirchhayn


[1.]*) Which should be the pastor's assistant in all temporal matters. P.O.[Pastoral Order?] Never should it stand over the pastor in its authority but rather it should stand within the church as a protector of the pastor and congregation including during times of visitation. P.K.O. [Pastoral Church Order?], page 79 - in accordance with this it was asked whether the people in office in the district should also loyally abide by the pastor and protect him from mischief. The trustees also have this duty because their office of protection stems from authority granted in Isaiah 49, verses 17 and 23: This promise made by God was completely taken away from the Christian church by the dominating efforts of the church ministry and the synod and a truly independent pastoral curate was established.

We also reject the other extreme, miserable pietistical oratory. One should avoid the dangers presented by this. This appears to be indulgent and holy piety but rather it is untruth in office and a crime against the congregation and its pastor, whose assistants should be the church fathers. Such people in church office resemble Judas, who sold Christ himself. Return to text


Translator's Note - The sentence is "sich dem weltlichem Polizeigeist wieder anfüge, von welchem doch die luth. Kirche sich gewissenhaft reinigen sollte." The phrase "wieder anfüge" would mean to rejoin, but I believe the "wieder" should be translated as "wider anfüge", which means join against or oppose. Return to text

in Dec. 1861, which was confirmed on the basis of reports still at hand.

2.) It was discussed what this corrupted synod originally had done and should have done concerning the verdict on the teachings and practices of Pastor Grabau as Senior Minster but with the greatest of injustice the matter was pushed back to last place, based on erroneous grounds and conclusions. Because they still maintained the opinion that they should begin with the current issues and not reach back to the original causes, they considered it a victory.

of June 11th at 4:30 in the afternoon, Monday

Thus far we have discovered through Father L. and R., who were in the audience at the false synod, that it was announced that their party was the Trinity congregation and ours was the mutinous gang. This is quite erroneous since they were the ones who had left the Trinity congregation on April 22nd under the direction of Pastor Wollaeger and Hochstetter and the others and on April 29th set up their own counter-church services, baptisms, funerals, betrothals, etc., after having run from the church at the beginning of the aforementioned sermon. They commenced their separate church services on Sunday, May 6th and again held them on Sunday, June 10th, II p. Trin. [second Sunday after Trinity Sunday?]

Furthermore Wollaeger is the founder of this gang as Senior Minister pro temps because under his administration the ministry united with the Henning gang under the leadership of Grollmitz and Becker. Hochstetter became their gang preacher in April 22nd *) [1.] assuming the name of pastor, having allowed himself to be installed in that office! Hochstetter abandoned the church to which he was appointed and served this mutinous gang in the College and he reestablished himself in the mutinous existence yesterday, Sunday June 10th. It is especially noteworthy that Hochstetter commenced this mutineering on April 24th, early Tuesday with the kidnapping of about 10 children, under instruction for Confirmation. Like a thief he absconded with them to his lodgings, gave them separate instruction and confirmed them at his counter-church in the college. It is further apparent that they are a gang based on the fact that they intended to rob the church. They have chosen a committee, which is charged with the task of considering whether they may come onto the church property and make use of it. [2.] *)

Buffalo, June 12th

Yesterday evening they discussed their mutinous plans at an assembly in the College. They wished to place an injunction on the church in order to commence the fight and much more. They hereby prove that there is mutinous larceny in them. They deceive their people with the Declaration of 1849, which they contend is the church's Act of Incorporation. This happened in the Act of 1839 under the Trustee Laws of the State of New York.

It is apparent they are a gang in that they trampled underfoot all the evidence of the truth, including the final protest of Pastor Graetz, whom they insulted by calling him a liar. They will soon reveal their sins in full measure and eventually prove themselves thieves of the synod.

Comment - It is especially worthy of mention that Hochstetter is truly a disloyal minister in opposition to the pastor and the Trinity congregation because he broke the vows of his office given on July 1, 1857 in which it states that as deacon he was not the special leader of a portion of the congregation. He should not have acted as a servant to a splinter group nor should he have served as the pastor of that church. This is precisely what he did starting on April 22nd; he siphoned off a portion of the congregation through persuasion and conscription, began his own counter-church services in the Martin Luther College on Maple St. and established himself in opposition to the church, pastor and church administration and has thus become a disruptor of the congregation.

The Synod of the Prussian Immigrant Lutheran Church:
                                    J. An. A. Grabau, Senior Minister
                                    J.G. Hahn, Pastor
                                    M. Burk, Pastor
                                    Joh. Grabau, Pastor
                                    Ch. Schmelzer, Synodal Deputy
                                    Gotthilf Ziemer, Synodal Deputy
                                    Joh. Tiews, Synodal Deputy
                                    A. Vermehr, Synodal Deputy


[1.]*) Hochstetter had already abandoned the church on Saturday evening, April 14th, and left the city without telling the pastor. He went to Batavia and returned Monday, thus leaving the pastor alone in the church on Sunday, April 15th. Since that time Hochstetter had not come back into the church and he commenced his counter-church service in the College. He abandoned the church under the miserable pretext "that he should not preach or do the readings until he had the decision of the synod." Return to text

[2.]*) Later they appointed their own trustees and have taken legal measures to separate from our church while at the same time dragging the issue of church property before the lawyers. Return to text

The Vindication

of  Pastor

J. An. A. Grabau against the Charges of False Teachings


To all Lutheran Christians!

                                  "What I say to you, I say to all: Watch! Watch!"
                                                                                            Mark 13, 37.


Concerning the Sermon on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, January 25, 1866

No. I

The Hochstetter accusation states:
"that he (Pastor Grabau) on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, January 25th, may have brought forth teaching not based on the Word of God. Concerning this he stated that it was pure preaching which may be proven with lines from Holy Scripture.
"When one preaches loudly and clearly but does not provide proof for it, he may be damned according to 1 Galations 8, 9."

No. II

This alleged teaching however was not included in the aforementioned sermon of January 25th. Rather this was the teaching in the third part of the sermon:
"In Acts of the Apostles 9, 1 - 22 after his conversion, St. Paul began his apostolic office of preacher (verses 20 - 22):
      1. In the schools of the Jews in Damascus, et. al.
      2. There he preached Christianity, namely that
         a. Christ was the Son of God.
         b. it was also established that Jesus was the Christ (that is, the Savior of the World).
         c. the crowd was upset by this — (as stated in Matthew 7, 28 & 29) This was rumor!
         d. there was an ever increasing effort by the Jews for proof of God's Word (the Holy Scripture).

The Application of the Teaching for Us.

Here we learn that the main force behind the Christian sermon (in so far as it bears fruit for the listener) rests in the following:
      1. the meaningful presentation of Christian truth, which one will preach. (Propositio)
      2. the establishment (or proof) of it through the Word of God. This is established through
         a. the Holy Text itself. (Such as that seen in examples of Christ's sermons - Matthew 22, 31 - 33.)
         b. internal and external connections. (Such as seen in examples of Christ's sermons - John 2, 16 - 22.)

Go on to Pages 42 - 45

Photocopy of the text provided by the Yale Divinity Library, New Haven, Ct.

Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks,