The Fourth Synodal Letter, Pages 48 - 52

the church ministry had proposed it be settled were laid before the synod, all synodal members present were unanimous in its decision as follows:

1) Brother Kröning was at odds with Dornfeld over the buying and selling of discount lumber and he was unhappy with the situation.

2) During the course of events the situation came to the attention of the church ministry and in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6 it showed both Christian brothers the proper path to take, namely seeking proper reconcilation with each other through a Christian church arbitrator.

3) At the court of arbitration two witnesses were brought forth against Kröning, however he denied their testimony so the arbitrator was unable to render a verdict.

4) The matter came before the church ministry, which then pronounced that Kröning had sinned since he rejected the testimony of two witnesses, from whose mouths the truth was supposed to issue according to Christian teaching in Matthew 18. Therefore he was responsible for reconciling himself with Dornfeld.

5) The synod decided and showed to Brother Christ. Kröning that our church ministry had shown him the proper Christian path established by God's word and he should follow this path since he was still the guilty party. Then he must reconcile himself with the two witnesses he had insulted and no longer interject his opinions on their testimony. Thus he would attain peace as a modest and humble Christian. If however he continued to reject the testimony of the two witnesses, then he would be setting himself up as the judge.

6) It was also not right that Brother Kröning wanted to force these two witnesses to swear an oath before the church committee in the hopes of bring all quarreling to an end and confirming it before all men as it states in Hebrews 6, 16. It is good to consider that in 1 Corinthians 6 St. Paul spoke of the angels and the faithful letting disputes concerning earthly matters be decided by Christian arbitrators (without an oath) and our Lord, Jesus Christ says, "Let your discussion be yes, yes, no, no. What it was about comes from evil. It is only dire circumstance which makes us sin in the world and a thing originating in evil when a man must approach the court and demand a oath and sworn witnesses to settle a quarrel. It follows that Kröning was wrong to desire such a thing stemming from evil and we warn him to abstain from this desire, to believe the testimony of two Christian brothers and reexamine his conscience so he may come to understand his own error.

8) Kröning declared he was convinced of the rightness of the path the synod had shown him and he would follow that path as advised by the church ministry. He asked the pardon of the church ministry and the synod for having brought this matter to them out of his personal weakness.

It is worthy of mention that the eastern division of the church ministry, which had been involved in the incident and was questioned at the synod,

did not take part in the inquiry or the verdict. This was done by the western division with all deputies who were present.


The True Path to Peace sought with the Honorable Synod of Missouri

On the afternoon of May 27th the assembled synod heard a report that Pastors Kindermann, von Rohr, and F. J. Müller had met the previous evening to draft a letter seeking a proper reconcilation with the honorable synod of Missouri (after receiving this commission from the synod.) Pastor von Rohr reworked this draft into a formal letter to the aforementioned synod and submitted it to the Senior Minister the next morning, who read it to the synod after making a few small changes. There was deliberation on whether this letter should be sent in its present form. The synod unanimous voted yes and all acknowledged that this letter indicated the proper road to reconcilation, gave sound advice and tended a loving invitation. All synod members and especially our congregational deputies hoped for God's blessing. Let it be known that this letter was a true compilation of all votes held yesterday, May 26th in the synodal assembly. All hoped that God would grant his blessing and incline the hearts of the Missouri Synod towards this true reconciliation just as we have been inclined through His mercy. *

The senior minister was commissioned to write a letter which would accompany the proposal, requesting that an answer be submitted within the next week. All hoped that our current group of synodal deputies would be able to take home the answer by the time they left Buffalo.

On Saturday evening, June 4th a cold, highly formal and intractable response arrived from the Missouri Synod. It was read before the synod and all saw that the spirit of Jesus Christ was lacking in it. On Monday, June 6th at the last session (the 22nd) our letter of May 27th to the Synod of Missouri (currently assembled in Cleveland) was presented again along with the its letter of response dated June 3rd. We considered its tone and import. The senior minister requested that the synod deliberate on this letter's wording and interpretation and decide on whether to respond with a long theological list of all the faulty arguments we found in it or simply to give a brief and concise answer


* Note: See the letter and the entire body of correspondence with the Missouri Synod in No. 16, Volume 2 of Kirchliches Informatorium. Return to text

and then at a later time tell the Missouri Synod about
1.) the blatant injustice it has perpetrated on us over the past few years in a short historical summary with new proof that each synod is responsible for retracting and cancelling out the offense.
2.) Let it be added that the dispute concerning teaching which has gone on between us these many years was the result of our persistence in defending the word of God.

Upon deliberation the synod unanimously decided:

1.) It concurred that the response to be given by our church ministry would be in the name of the synod according to the deliberations tended here and first of all to show the Missouri Synod how it had improperly received our excommunicated mutineers as accusers, self-appointed judges and sound witnesses to the truth. This synod assumed the role of a judging body when it was not appropriate for it to do so and our first demand must be to request that they cease acting as judges. We must demand that their synod release our mutineers from their custodianship and refer them back to their true and proper church court so that they no longer have rogue preachers building foreign altars to counter us. It is no excuse when they say at present that as witnesses to the truth, these mutineers accused us of false teaching and conscience-burdening practices, therefore they must continue to take in our mutineers. In itself this is an admission that they want to continue on this reckless and tyrannical course of action merely based on accusations against our pastors and congregations. These accusations may well have come from mutineers and excommunicants however these people are certainly not witnesses to the truth and the Missouri Synod became a sinning second party by bringing these mutineers together and sitting in judgment.

2.) As to the discussion concerning Christian teaching on church and ministry and the teaching on church regime - the Christian is free to deal with matters of dispute in writing or through discourse, however when people are discussing matters of dispute is it not to be expected that they are seeking the truth? Discussion is useful since people may notice the intentions of opposing parties within the church not evident in the written word. However church history also shows that discourse is of no use in dealing with superstitious papists, disbelieving reformers and apostates (the same Colloquia which the Synod of Missouri cites;) holy Ph. Melanchthon rightly states, "Disputes remain within the church for all time." But in our case things are not handled as a colloquium on teaching between two parties but rather as a means to proper reconcilations because of the shameful injustices perpetrated against us beginning with the reception of our excommunicants. The word of God demands that we have nothing to do

with blatant and unrepentant sinners who have been placed under the ban or with those who set themselves up as illegitimate judges, lift the bans and throw them back at us thus making themselves guilty of the same sins as those originally banned.

3.) The Synod from Missouri declares those who were banned were witnesses to the truth and could testify that we wanted to force our (supposed) errors upon them and had burdened their consciences with practices based on those errors. This required the Missouri Synod to launch its first righteous and brotherly inquiry such as the one they had before the hostilities of 1841; this was no reason to charge us with such tyrannical errors.

One might especially consider that our 2nd Synodal Letter sufficiently and candidly set down the historical course of events which resulted in the Missouri preachers making no more allegations because their questions had been summarily addressed until they believed a new series of slanders issued by the gang preacher Bürger. When Pastor Keyl was still in Missouri he made this declaration: In the 28th Article of the Augsburg Confession there is only a seeming connection between bishops or pastors and obedience by the congregations for their teachers and spiritual caregivers in all church matters which are not contrary to the word of God, for the Confession clearly states "that the bishops have no power to institute and establish anything which is contrary to the gospel." The Bmg edition, pages 113 and 111 states: "Wherever something is taught, instituted or established which is contrary to the gospel we have God's command not to be obedient." - Matthew 7. On page 112 it states, "People should not follow even properly appointed bishops when they commit error or when they teach or order something which is contrary to holy scripture."

Since that time the tone and opinion of the Missouri preachers turned against us and we could not come to an understanding with them. On his trip through Buffalo to New York in 1843 Pastor Brohm declared that seeing the church in Buffalo and hearing things for himself he saw thing differently than he had before when he had only heard about them. We mention this to remind people of the historical origins.

4.) In conclusion the entire synod would stand united if the Synod of Missouri does not listen to these repeated reminders and warnings; as they have already demonstrated in their written works, they consider our warnings mere accusations of unrepentance and have no desire to give them further examination. Thus we will tell the entire Lutheran church and show it the sins committed against us over the years, as it states in Matthew 18, "Tell it to the Church."

Some Addenda of the Church Ministry given by Order of the Synod.



How Our Church Children may seek Advice from Neighboring Pastors of Our Synodal Band

If a church member can not be in agreement with his spiritual caregiver on a certain issue and he has reservations of conscience, the pastor himself shall offer to discuss the matter in the presence of two Christian people from the congregation; it is especially recommended that the church administrators discuss the matter with them. If they still cannot come to an agreement, then they shall decide in friendship and humility to seek advice from a neighboring pastor. If this does not lead to an agreement, the matter may be brought by the parties jointly to the church ministry.

However if a church member does not wish to discuss the matter with his pastor before two Christians, then he may seek counsel on additional procedures from a neighboring pastor, provided he lets his pastor know beforehand. We hope that by this the individual will know from Christian wisdom how the matter should proceed in order to produce a good outcome.



Why Our Parochial School Teachers will not be consulted as Members of the Synod

1.) Because old Christian Lutheran church practices give no indication that this should be done; also is has not been a custom in the Lutheran church.

2.) Because the interests of the schools and the school teachers are already sufficiently represented by the pastors and the congregational deputies.

3.) Because it is not advisable for those attending to the school and the church grounds for the congregations to be absent for weeks at a time when the pastor is already going to the synod and must be away.

4.) Parochial school teachers should humbly allow their pastors to bring any matters, which they would like to see handled, before the synod. Pastors are their supervisors and school teachers must render to them their respect and their Christian obedience, as it states in our church orders.



The Office of Church Father

Under this title there is an instructive except in our 3rd Synodal Letter of 1851, printed in 1853 on pages 37 - 39. Here it states that Lutheran church fathers are not authorized agents who may deal with church property as they wish; also stated is a definition of the office according to holy scripture and verified by our old Pomeranian and

Go on to pages 53 - 55

Copy of text provided by the A. R. Wentz Library, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, PA

Imaging and Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks