The settlement in Freistatt, Wisconsin and the city congregations in Buffalo, New York and Milwaukee.
Growth of the congregations. Establishment of the famous learning institute known as the Martin Luther College. The period between 1840 and 1843.
The emigration and settlement of the congregations of Pastors Kindermann and Ehrenström, the former in the City of New York and the latter in Wisconsin, 1843.
Ehrenström's fall and the establishment of the Synod of the Prussian Emigrant Church, 1845.
The commencement and continuation of the persecution of this synod by the earlier Stephanists, now known as the Missouri Synod.
Negative reactions to the Synodal Letters of 1845, '48, '51 and '53 and other writings as well as the Informatorium
Sending two deputies to the Lutheran churches in Germany with the request that they issue a warning to the Missouri Synod to cease persecuting us by constructing counter-altars in our congregations.
Two written works belong here: Our Church's Situation and Tell It to the Church.
The journey of the deputies, their reception, result of their testimony and description of the erroneous teachings and persecution by the Missouri Synod.
Further persecution between the years 1854 and 1859 by the synods from
Missouri and Iowa. Protest against this from our Synodal Letters of 1856 and 1859.
The fall of Pastor Habel with the portion of the congregation he led astray in Kirchhaun, Wisconsin.
Protest against him from our Synodal Letter of 1861 and the censure placed against him in Milwaukee at the church convention of 1862 and the synodal session of 1864.
The synodal session of 1866. The fall of Pastor Grabau and three pastors with the establishment of the first opposition synod in Buffalo.
The Buffalo Colloquium. Attempts to completely annihilate our synod by the incorporation of the fifth district synod of the Missouri Synod. The establishment of a second opposition synod in Buffalo by 12 fallen pastors.
The synodal session in Roseville in the year 1867.
So God wills and thus we endure: concerning the continued holy existence of the Buffalo Synod and the fulfillment of our hopes. The return of confused individuals and a final Christian understanding with the Missouri Synod in truth and justice. Amen!
d. Correspondence between Pastor Grabau and Dr. Scheibel, Dr. Huschke and others concerning emigration from the years 1837 to 1839. Accompanied by the circulars distributed to the congregations.
e. List of emigrant Lutheran families for the years 1839 to 1843 along with notation of the contributions they made towards the travel expenses of their poor brethren.
The origin and persecution of the Evangelical-Lutheran congregations in Erfurt, Magdeburg, the Uckermark and Pomerania.
Throughout the first three decades of the 19th Century a battle raged in Silesia over the autonomy of the Lutheran church. Dr Scheibel, Pastors Kellner, a few other pastors and congregations, who refused to accept the United Church and the Union Agenda, raised the battle cry and made faithful Christians in other provinces of Prussia aware of the differences in teaching between the Lutheran church and the reform churches. They were happy if they had a minister who seemed faithful and preached repentance. When they could not find such things within the United Church they sought spiritual edification within the conventicle existence of the Moravian brethren and the pietistical Bible study groups. Of course in these circles only the devotional works of pietist ministers such as Schubert, H.A. Franke and Rieger were read.
In Pomeranian many souls left the United Church because they had rationalistic ministers without faith. They held private devotional sessions without fully acknowledging that the United Church was false.
It became known through Dr. Scheibel and Dr. Geuriken's writings that Lutheran ministers were being dismissed from office and even imprisoned for serving congregations. In some cases churches were taken away from their congregations by force as was the case with the congregations in Höningen and Herrmannsdorf, as described in the work The most recent church uprisings in Silesia by M.A. Blüher and published in Nürmberg by Rausche Buchhandlung in 1835. There is also The Ultimate Fate of the Lutheran Parishes in Silesia, self-published by Dr. J.G. Scheibel in 1834, which aroused a great number of souls in the northern provinces of the Prussian empire and explained their reasons for leaving the United Church.
This latter work in no small way prompted the emigration of Pastor A.L. Christian Kavel with 700 souls from Klemzig near Züllichen to Australia in 1838.
Tiny congregations sprang up in the Uckermark, Pomerania and the Dukedom of Prussia and these were joined in 1836 by groups in Magdeburg and Erfurt. The synodal committee of Breslau offered them counsel through correspondence and ousted Lutheran ministers visited them secretly. There were police warrants issued for these ministers, who traveled from one congregation to another in the middle of the night and held services in various houses, barns, cellars and forests in order to baptize, preach and administer the sacraments. Among these ministers were pastors Lasius Ehrenström and Keyl, Deacon Kaul and later even Pastor A. Kindermann.
Joh. Andreas Aug. Grabau had been pastor of the St. Andreas and Moritz churches since 1834. He was born of Lutheran parents in Olvenstädt near Magdeburg on March 18, 1804. His father enrolled him at the cathedral school in Magdeburg and later he studied in Halle.
He obtained his first teaching position at the cathedral school in Magdeburg and a spent a few years until 1834 in the chancellor's office at Sachsa in Hohenstein. By the year 1835 he was troubled by the contradictions between his duties as an ordained Evangelical-Lutheran minister with his installation as a Lutheran pastor of the St. Andreas church and the duties imposed upon him under the United Agenda, such as upholding the common values of the Lutheran and Reform faiths in his sermons. At the Thuringian Synod held in 1835 Bishop Dräsike praised Pastor Grabau but mixed in some criticism by stating that "Grabau's preaching is full of truth and life, however it's all too Lutheran."
Then came the reports of the suffering and persecution of the Lutherans in Silesia by the authorities of the United church. It came to Grabau's attention that Pastor F.L.E. Krause had been banished from Silesia and placed under arrest in Erfurt. It was here Grabau met him. In September 1830, the 15th Sunday after Trinity Sunday, Pastor Grabau delivered a sermon about the gospel passage that no one could serve two masters. He was bound by oath to the Augsburg Confession yet bound by duty to employ the new agenda because of his posting. He was supposed to serve two masters and two sets of Christian principle, the old set of the Lutheran church and the new set of the United church. He disavowed himself of the new United Agenda, which he had accepted through personal weakness, and returned to the old, pure doctrine of the Lutheran Agenda, which taught one Lord, one faith and one baptism.
|At the end of the week he received a Christian suspension from office from the Royal Prussian Government delivered to his house by a member of the police commission. He was forbidden to enter the church. A United Consistory councilman preached to the large congregation on the next Sunday. Police were stationed inside and outside the church. The alarmed congregation members sought advice and instruction from their pastor at the parish house deep into the night. He told them to stay calm but to remain steadfast to the Lord Jesus and His truth. Most of the congregation no longer took part in the United Church service, preferring to attend services with their pastor although this was forbidden. In October Pastor Grabau was rushed off to the Consistory in Magdeburg where he was interviewed for two days by Bishop Dräsike, who tried to convince him to return to the United Agenda. The dispute centered on four points:
No agreement could be reached. Pastor Grabau stated that the bishop had talked of many things but convinced him of nothing. The Bishop said, "We shall see how much misfortune you are willing to accept." Pastor Grabau responded, "Nothing can befall me
|"for which God has not provided His blessing."
To lend support Pastor Grabau visited the small congregation of Lutheran Christians which had left the United Church in Magdeburg in 1836. Church services were held in the home of Captain von Rohr. Grabau told the congregation it was necessary to make a public and legally binding declaration of withdrawal from the United Church. This was done immediately.
Pastor Grabau's wife anxiously asked him, "Have you decided not to accept the new agenda?" As soon as he returned to Erfurt he wrote a letter of withdrawal and sent it to the Consistory of the United Church. A large portion of his St. Andreas congregation along with other Lutheran Christians in Erfurt, who became aware of the truth through his sermons, followed his example. Thus came the establishment of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Erfurt.
They began to hold their church services at the so-called Stork's mill before the St. John's Gate. The mill belonged to miller Heinrich Fils. This resulted in seizure of property and prison terms for holding services forbidden by the United Agenda authorities. They called it conventicle activity. People were also punished for refusing to send their children to United schools. They started holding their church services at night in various houses mostly in the Brühler suburb. Despite the persecution the size of the congregation grew, much to the shame of the police officials.
At the end of February 1837 Pastor Grabau was arrested on a warrant issued by the government and carried out my the provincial magistrate's office. He was brought to Heiligenstadt in a wagon surrounded by armed policemen and placed in a criminal prison. He scarcely had time to
|say goodbye to his wife and their one year old child, which he had to do in the presence of the magistrate.
The harshness of prison life was tempered somewhat by the charity of the prison supervisor Potz, a former lieutenant in the Prussian military. God the Lord opened his heart in the same manner as he had the prison master of Philippi (Acts 16). Potz and his entire household became members of the faithful and he openly acknowledged the persecuted church. Through this family's influence a small Lutheran congregation developed in Heiligenstadt.
Robbed of its pastor, the congregation in Erfurt sent a letter of protest (at the beginning of the appendices) to Justice Mühler on March 19, 1839. The letter was signed by 70 family fathers and 20 single people and widows.
between Prof. Walther, Pastor Grabau
However in 1859 Walther accepted banned church trustees and their cohorts into the Missouri Synod and sent them the opposition-minister H. Hauser, with whom they communicate to this day.
| In the end the teaching body confirmed the rightness of this action because our synod had false teaching concerning the ban. It forgot the facts that the trustees expelled their pastor and school teacher without legal writ or church court approval and that Professor Walther made himself a guilty party in their sins.
Pastor Grabau condemned this deed with similar words in his writings, The St. Johnsburg Trial and the 6th Synodal Letter.
In 1866 he took similar action by dismissing his deacon from office and expelling him from the church by means of brutal trustee authority without writ or approval of the synod, which was scheduled to meet in the near future at his request. After this he withdrew from the synodal court and robbed the remaining members of the Buffalo Synod of its property by holding onto the recorded deed, justifying his actions under the pretense of necessity. In personal outrage he built an opposition congregation and synod, a counter altar following Professor Walther's teaching and practice, and rebelled against our teachings concerning church, office, proper vocation, the ban and church discipline.
Pastor Hochstetter and his cohorts now follow in the path of their two predecessors.
Before, during and after the colloquium he incited fanatical hatred in a portion of the congregational membership of New Bergholz against its pastor, whom he characterized as a single-minded old man who would willingly hold onto the false teaching of the Buffalo Synod. Hochstetter maintained that he was a false prophet whom they had to replace. Upon his advice and that of his cohorts 3 trustees in New Bergholz, as commissioned by 51 congregation members, went against the advice and consent of 2 trustees,
|6 church administrators, 36 loyal families, the pastor and the church to issue the pastor a letter of dismissal from office on February 13th for the reasons cited above. They did this because the pastors who had advised them, Hochstetter, Brandt, Weinbach, et. al., would not be ministers to them until they had completed this task. Thereafter Pastor Kanold preached and administered the sacraments to them before the opposition synod was assembled. Pastor Wolläger was their minister at the beginning of the synodal session and Pastor Brand was there as the synod concluded. Under the guidance of these men the church was taken from its legitimate brother in office. They organized the church children and prompted them to commit shameful deeds to make them members of the opposition synod under the opposition senior minister Zeumer with his pastors, Hochstetter, Lehmhuis and Weinbach. Sunday after Sunday they came to the church they had robbed from their brother in office.
In their so-called Tenth Synodal Letter, which appeared as a supplement to their third issue of the Informatorium they mentioned nothing about Missouri teaching or the truly shameful deeds they committed under the teaching of Professor Walther.
All this happened due to their covetous urges right around the time that the Synod was supposed to meet on March 13th in Roseville under the senior minister, Pastor Maschop. That synod was supposed to render a decision on the results of the Buffalo Colloquium.
In order to see this deed in its proper light it must be noted that the exiled pastor had peacefully separated himself from his ministerial brothers after the conference of December 5th. He had given a piece of advice, which was placed into the written record. He said that to avoid further disaster they should not usurp pastors, use the ban or upset other congregations until the synod had reached a decision. In this way each individual could leave if his conscience so dictated.
Go to Index
Microfilm provided by The Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
Imaging & translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks