Why won't Grabau now admit to this? Is he ashamed of himself for his scandalous behavior? Or is he afraid that there may be honorable people in his congregation who might condemn such a scandalous deed? It must not rest easy on his conscience, otherwise he would speak the truth and not wish to burden us with the lies he fabricated. He's like the thief you hear about, who's being chased by the police as they scream, "Stop the thief. Stop him!" But the thief screams even louder, "Stop the thief. Stop him!" Grabau also thinks thusly: I'll sound the trumpet to the world that the banished enemies lie; thus I can escape."
It is astonishing how terribly Grabau can deny and pervert the truth. As he said, for example in The Vigilant Church: "Henning, as a so-called trustee and authority figure...let the college be wasted and decayed through the so-called tenants and rabble students he let in." So I was only a "supposed trustee!" Yet he had proclaimed it from the pulpit when I was appointed by the Directory! What does that mean? As a duly appointed trustee I was commissioned with the task of defending the college against swindle and slander and I performed this task vigorously but unfortunately the Synod did not stand by me as I might have hoped. But I have never assumed any power or done anything without the approval of the Synod or the Directory; I never said that I had renters in the college building. And who were they? Some of Pastor Zeumer's family? They were Grabau's tenants. When he was asked how Zeumer had come to the college, Grabau replied under oath that he had given him lodging as a tenant and later evicted him. Our congregation had received permission from the Synod to hold its church services and school sessions in the college because it had been expelled by Grabau from the church.
The wayward adherents of Pastor Grabau have been in part disquieted by the injustice and sworn statements of their spiritual caregiver. For this reason they have gone to him and asked him about the college matter. He comforted them by saying that he would hold the college for the Synod. How could he obtain the necessary funding for repairs that he still wanted from his supporters? We have been told by dependable sources that these disquieted people, before they would hand over the funds, asked Grabau if it might be wiser to sell the college and pay off the debts with the proceeds. Then one could accommodate the few students in other ways. Grabau answered: "You don't own it yet!"
We wish to commend these matters to the one who is the judge of all things.
The Word of God states: "As a man sins, so shall he be punished." These words ring true to us for we have earned such punishment for our earlier transgressions. But we also believe that we have won much. "What help is it to a man if he wins the world and loses his soul?" We have lost our earthly belongings but we no longer have stains on our souls since we no longer have the diluted Word of God from Grabau, and our brothers, who brought us the truth, we proclaim as saviors.
The degree of bias shown by the judge in the college case became clear in a new lawsuit pressed by the Grabau sect against ours for the church property of Marilla. After Grabau had resigned from the Buffalo Synod and established a new Buffalo Synod, a part of the Marilla congregation sided with him and part sided with the old Synod. Each sect registered an Act of Incorporation and when the lawsuit came to trial the Grabau sect was awarded the property because its incorporation contained all the legal regulations, even more than the law required. The act of incorporation of the other sect was dismissed because, through an oversight, witnesses were place where presiding officers should have been. - In the college case the act of incorporation was similarly deemed invalid by the judge because so many ecclesiastic regulations were mixed in with the legal ones that the church laws superceded the state laws. However in the case of the church property in Marilla the ecclesiastic regulations with the act of incorporation were not taken into consideration. They did not invalidate the act and the judge should not have awarded the property to the Grabau sect. - Other judges
and lawyers have assured me that an act of incorporation is legally valid when it contains what the state law demands and the addition of church law does not invalidate it. If the judge had delivered an unbiased verdict the Synod would have gotten the college; according to the law Grabau had no claim to it. It was only through false testimony, delivered contrary to conscience, that the property became his.
During the Marilla trial it was demonstrated how well Wilhelm Grabau had learned to testify under oath from his father. He had sworn that since his ordination he had been assigned to work with his father and that he had been a member of the Synod, of which his father was Senior Minister. It is well known and can be attested to by hundreds of individuals that at the time of the dispute he stood against his father, that he had come before a meeting of the Synod with tears, that he wished to distance himself from his own misdeeds. He resigned from his appointment as minister and took up the carpentry trade. Then he moved to Detroit and earned his bread as a painter. Yet despite all this he could come into court and testify to the above under oath. One can see the truth in the words of Psalm 12,9: There will be Godless people everywhere, who rule among men."
Obtainable through G. Henning, 40 South Division Street
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Reproduction [of the text] by Permission of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Buffalo NY: October 16, 2003
Imaged and translated by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks