Pastoral Letter and Correspondence between J. A. A. Grabau and the Missouri Synod: Pages 53 - 57


Christian ordination. With these two things what is still required is c) internal and external ability.

§ 6. No. 6 is taken from Luther's works on the chapter in Wittemberg, which abolishes godless ceremonies. Here Luther in no way teaches that nothing is important to the office, rather only that the morality of the person in office is not important and he wants people to separate the office from the person in the administration of the sacraments. Thus the office remains Christ's office even though it may not be known that the person is evil and is deceiving us with his hypocrisy. Augsburg Confession, Article 8.

§ 7. No. 7 is taken from Luther's work "To the Councillors and Congregations in Prague." Here Luther states that housefathers may indeed baptise but in their lifetime they may not administer the eucharist to those under their care; thus perhaps even in their lifetime they might have and did receive nothing. This is proper and speaks for our opinion of office but not yours. The basis for this is laid out in Part II § 2.

§ 8. No. 8 is from Luther's answer to Melanchton concerning human laws. Here Luther states: the bishops are servants and householders of the church, but not lords of it, therefore they may impose no teachings or laws without the public or silent consensus of the church; however the church can issue decrees in agreement with the bishops and abolish them, as it wishes, provided divine sanctity does not suffer because of it. Herein you will find proof that there must be no slavish fear or domination of the preacher within the congregation. However this doesn't apply in the least to the pastoral letter: it does not teach about slavish fear or dominiation but rather admonishes to remain in the old church orders and this is appropriate to the profession of the church. Apology p. 152 § 33. The pastoral letter knows of no lords of the church, only shepherds and teachers, and Christian obedience in the church, as is required by God's word in Hebrews 13, 17, is not produced by lords but by shepherds and teachers.

Comment - The 28th Article of the Augsburg Confession, p. 39 merely contains a comparison because the functions of the proper Christian bishop's office, especially the Christian jurisdiction of the potestas gladii or power of the sword, are set side by side and this latter power is given to those functioning as bishops as a human right. However it does not follow that within the confession the bishop's office should have put down the obligations of conscience in each district and made a comparison; the confessors just want to prove that the bishop's Christian jurisdiction was not of the variety which must force the congregations with the sword to get them to accept something. Subsequently the congregations are placed in relation to the proper and the false jurisdiction of the bishops. In order to recognize this, you need to read only from § 19 to § 28, from si quam to sentiunt in context. In this context a) something was denied to the bishops according to divine right, namely the power of the sword and b) something was denied to the bishops according to divine right, besides the power to ordain - the jurisdiction, which is the proper Christian jurisdiction to forgive sins, bind sins, research teaching, reject false teaching, confirm proper teaching from the word of God, excommunicate the publically godless from the church community. c) by divine order and right some things are given to the church, namely the necessary obedience towards the Christian jurisdiction of the bishop, according to the word of Christ in


Luke 10, 16: "Whoever hears you, hears me." d) however, because Christian jurisdiction occurs in the truth of divine word and must proceed from it, it follows that when the bishops teach or establish something which is contrary to the gospel, then the local churchs have God's command from Matthew 7, 17, which hinders obedience to erroneous or misused jurisdiction. Thus the bishops and the local churches with their preachers are set up and it is taught that God's word shall be over the bishops as well as over the local churches; in the case of dispute between the bishops and the local churches things must be directed according to the word of God as to whether the bishops or local churches are establishing something false; now if the word of God shall publically direct and determine, then it cannot appear out of thin air or with quarreling in the houses but in the ordering which the holy scriptures and the symbolic books show us. Apostels 15 Smalkaldic Articles.

§ 9. is from Luther's text "Against the King Henry VIII of England." Here Luther defends the right of all Christians to judge the teachings of their priests (preachers), from Matthew 6, John 10:1, Corinthians 14 and the word of St. Paul: "Test everything;" the spiritual man judges everything. Everything is yours, be it Apollo, Paul or Kephas; that is, you have the power to judge over all words and deeds. — All well and good! In accordance with the universal Christian calling, all Christians have the right and also the duty to distinguish between proper and false teaching; the papist Henry VIII wanted to take that right away from Christians. Luther spoke against it, but he did not discuss the order, in which this right is wholesomely used. The right is not disputed in the pastoral letter, rather it is defended: if a pastor comes to erroneous teaching then the entire congregation will not avoid it in so far as it is credible; and the pastoral letter doesn't just agree to this, it shows the order in which the right may be wholesomely practiced, thereby guarding again all sinful impertinence and resultant confusion. Luther does not say here that for the sake of this right all Christians are equally talented and capable of determining in all cases, especially the difficult ones, and how to base the determiniation without question of doubt from the analogies of scripture and faith. Thirdly he also does not say that along with this right of all Christians comes the right to judge the doctrine of the shepherds and teachers of church, Article 28 of the Augsburg Confession, but it remains with them and belongs to the God-given jurisdiction. Whoever does not believe this is a fanatic and he strays in contradiction to the 28th Article of the Augsburg Confession.

§ 10. No. 10 is from Luther's text "Example, to consecrate a proper Christian bishop." Here Luther teaches that each sheep has within himself the power and the right to flee from the wolves whenever he must. John 10: "My sheep flee the strangers." This is quite correct; however with it we still do not have a healthy ordering, in which the right shall be exercised; we have no proof that Master Roggenbuck, etc. has the sufficient ability to judge preachers and catechism; we also have no proof that with it the jurisdiction of teaching, given by God and bestowed by office, has been taken away from the shepherds and teachers of the church.

For this reason all these allegations from Luther are inappropriately applied to the pastoral letter. —


Second Appendix

Overview of Your Accumulated Errors

I. You treat Luther's writing (unfortunately as the reverse of what they are) as norma fidei; in another place you call them the source of church teaching.

II. You declare the holy ordination of church servants a human precept.

III. You reduce the old church orders to facts and create ecclesiastic disunity and adult independence out of Christian freedom.

IV. You erroneously maintain that the congregation bestows the office upon the pastor.

V. You erroneously maintain that the introduction of one particular church ordering for all congregations will be harmful.

VI. You erroneously maintain that we must allow the old Lutheran church writings to fall here.

VII. You erroneously maintain that in the rite vocatus, Article XIV, the ability of the person is not addressed.

VIII. You erroneously teach that, contrary to God's word, the congregation may make an incapable man a preacher.

IX. You erroneously deny that the congregation is obliged to be obedient to its spiritual caregiver in all things which are not contrary to the word of God; whether it remains obliged to him, according to Hebrews 13, 17, to accomplish and carry out individual tasks such as the necessary building of a school, is another matter. The obedient execution of a matter might often be postponed according to circumstance, yet obedience itself is still not suspended.

X. You commit error when you hold the Christian discernment of teaching within the universal Christian calling equally important to the judgment or deliberation on points of dispute.

XI. You commit error when you maintain that God does not deal with us through the holy office of the ministry.

XII. It is contrary to God's word and the teaching of the church that you would reduce the ministerial office to a means of service to the sacrament and would pound it into words of installation.

XIII. It is false that you declare the old Lutheran church writings as oppressing ministerial guardianship.

XIV. It is false that you turn the shepherds and teachers of the church, who have been installed by God, into mere beneficial friends of the congregations, who should be grateful for this beneficence; it is proof that you do not have the proper concept of holy ministerial office.

XV. It is erroneous and sinful that you do not truly and earnestly refer your congregations to the old and reverent orders of the Lutheran church; instead you disguise them and the congregations have to develop new church orders derived out of their own lives, needs and activities. The old church orders are derived from God's word and they serve the life of the congregations.


XVI. It is erroneous and sinful that you reduce the ministerial and householders office over God's mysteries to judgments of teaching and almost completely deny it its rightful status and deny the congregations God and his word under the pretext that Christians must discern the difference between proper and false teaching; and it is sinful that you would misuse the writings of blessed Luther for this purpose.

XVII. It is erroneous and sinful that you still have not rescinded the new, false church orders of 1841, in which it states: "decisions in matters of conscience belong to the congregations when the application of the word of God is doubtful in certain cases and operations. In cases of dispute, decisions concerning the use of absolution and binding also belong to the congregations and the congregations also have a right to enact public professions of faith and a right to lay down norms for teaching and ordering for services to God." If the congregation is charged with all these things instead of their spiritual caregivers, yet you still prove it with God's word, are you demonstrating that you are still shepherds and guards of the church to the sanctity of the souls or slaves to your congregations? One must be shocked at the prospect of such a newly-developed church order; it is, in fact, born out of folly rather than God's word. What would we want with such rubbish, when we already have the old church orders, firmly established by the word of God! It would be my heartfelt wish that you come to your senses concerning what you're doing!

Finally, I assure you that I cannot recognize you as Lutheran pastors who still seriously hold to God's word and the symbols and I recognize that the spirit, which prevails in your critique of the pastoral letter, is a lax and non-ecclesiastic spirit.

May the Lord have mercy on you again as He did the first time when He drew you from Stephanism; one can not fail to recognize that you currently steep yourselves in a non-ecclesiastic, compliant liberalism, which is the extreme opposite of Stephanism; it is for this reason that your non-ecclesiastic critique finds so much approval with our mutiny-minded members. You will have to answer for the harm you have caused if at some point you do not recognize your confusion with proper penance. God help us, that we may openly and joyously oppose your false, non-ecclesiastic spirit with the power of our holy ministerial office if you do not repent. Then, it seems, we will have to repeat much in public battle against you, which we already carried out against the united, non-ecclesiastic liberalism in Prussia. With this I commend you to the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ and the worthy enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in His word, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

_____

Postscript

To the Pastors Kindermann and Krause in Wisconsin.

Honored and Beloved Brothers in Christ!

I pass this anti-critique on to you with the request that you carefully examine it and with the authorization to condemn it or to strike out anything,


which is not correct within it. Make a copy and forward it to Pastor Löber, Reverend, Altenburg, Perry County, Apple Creek, Post Office, State of Missouri.

                                        Your Brother in Christ
                                        Joh. Andr. Aug. Grabau.

_____

                          Freystatt, Town Nine, August 5, 1844

After receiving the critique of the beloved brothers in office, the reverend pastors of Missouri, and the pastoral letter of beloved Pastor Grabau and comparing the critique with God's word, the symbolic books and Dr. Luther's writings as well as the old true proofs of the Lutheran church, and holding it up to the content of the pastoral letter, I can give my most complete agreement concerning the at-hand anti-critique of Pastor Grabaus and can declare myself totally of one mind with this, his anti-critique and at the same time wish with him, that this as well as all offered debates and instructions by the ministerial brothers in Missouri may produce a nonsectarian reconsideration and a renunciation of their unlutheran point of view. May God dispose!

                          Lff. Krause, Ev. Luth. Pastor

_____

                          Kirchhayn, Town Ten, August 21, 1844

"Long Live Truth and Peace!"

As much as my heart would have peace in the church of God and particularly within the doctrinal profession, for the sake of peace I cannot forget the truth. Since I find pure truth humbly and discreetly expressed in the anti-critique of Pastor Grabau, I heartily agree with it and hope that it may be as instructive to others as it was to me.

                          Kindermann, Ev. Luth. Pastor

_____

A Letter from Pastor Grabau to Pastor Brohm in New York Enclosed with the Refutation

                                         Buffalo, June 26, 1844

Grace and Peace in Christ!

Beloved Brother in Office! I thank you for your kind response of May 30th. You think ill of me that I have not yet sent you the Missouri critique of my pastoral letter. Despite my best intentions this was impossible for me and I bear the guilt in so far as I


Go to pages 58 - 62

Go to Table of Contents


Photocopy of text provided by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks