Kirchliches Informatorium Volume 15, pages 11 - 16


Perhaps a small portion would stand fast to the old teaching and a larger portion might accept Missouri doctrine, joining one synod or the other or even forming a new synod which established doctrinal unity with Missouri.The six pastors who were present said this was a fine and conciliatory proposal but, as shown above, they went behind their ministerial brother's back without ever seeing or speaking to him again!

The current opposition minister, W. Weinbach, acknowledged before three witnesses that not only had 6 pastors wanted to hold an opposition synodal session in Walmore during the middle of January for the purpose of establishing a 5th district of the Missouri Synod but that an announcement concerning the formation of an opposition synod in Buffalo by 9 pastors was ready to be printed up in the Informatorium. This was before the letter of invitation from Pastor Maschop was to appear in the Lutheran newspaper on January 27th. They withdrew the announcement and then published it after the invitation appeared on February [January?] 27th, making it seem as though the announcement from these 9 pastors came as a result of the invitation. The names of two distant pastors, Runkel and Grossberger, had been edited from the announcement since they could not be consulted. The issue came out on February 1st.

It is an false assertion that all those not in agreement with the results of the colloquium were excluded from the synod in Roseville. The text of the invitation clearly stated, "The pastors and deputies of the Buffalo Synod, who have not yet publically declared their allegence to the Missouri Synod or its teaching, are invited," etc. etc.

Each pastor of our synod received the invitation and thus each

was summoned to his church court to ascertain whether, according to public gossip, he had already committed himself to the establishment of a 5th District Synod. Therefore the two colloquium participants, if they still wished to belong to our synod, had been invited. They could have brought their complaints concerning the form of the invitation before the synod if they hadn't already decided to establish an opposition synod.

This same road to peace was announced to the congregation in New Bergholz as it appeared in issue 3 of the Lutheran newspaper since Pastor Hochstetter refused to print it in the Informatorium and Professor Walther refused to publish it in the Lutheran. Furthermore the proceedings of the colloquium were read to the congregation in 4 congregational meetings, after which individual points from scripture and the symbolic books were read aloud and they affirmed that our teaching was correct. Even at the time of the last meeting before the church was locked up it was declared through their foreman, Mr. Plaster, "if the pastor would only admit that the teachings concerning secondary matters were incorrect and that these matters were handled incorrectly then they would gladly keep him as their pastor."

The pastor responded that neither he as pastor or nor they as an evangelical congregation could sit in judgment over the three synods since these matters were still under investigation since the last synodal session of 1866 and would be dealt with further in the upcoming synodal session.

Furthermore, four or five times these men met with my poor, confused church children, giving them permission to leave their pastor, their church administrators and their congregation and to seek legal means to confiscate church property. In this way they would not sin against their consciences by resorting to trustee authority, church robbery, and expulsion of their pastor


or be guilty of shameful acts. In their counseling and invitation meetings they read the entire article written by their teacher, Professor Walther and published in issue 9 of the Lutheran with the title "Expulsion of a Deacon." They allowed themselves to be persuaded to do what was required since Pastors Hochstetter and Weinbach would not serve unless certain conditions were met. Pastors Hochstetter and Weinbach along with opposition minister Ruhland visited our church administrators and deputy John William on Monday, February 11th to discuss my immediate dismissal in the house of one of my church children, who gave Hochstetter a stern warning.

Thus the students outdid their master. Here we see the fruit of Missouri unity teaching and the fruit of Missouri intellect - opposition congregations, opposition synods, church robbery, expulsion of pastors and school teachers, the same spirit of stubborn willfulness causing dissent and schism in all pure teaching concerning the universality of the church. All pure teaching concerning ministerial office and vocation dissolved by illegal and unconscionable expulsion, ministration without proper calling, formation of opposition congregations and synods, and contempt for church court decisions. Proper teachings on suspensions, dismissal from office and the ban were corrupted and trampled upon, making church discipline and order impossible.

All three named gentlemen want pure teaching and will reprimand anyone who teaches or practices differently. They stand in the same spirit and point to the same path given in Romans ??? by declaring their opponents sinful. They tread parallel paths to eternal

corruption and they must repent in time and cease their devastation of the Christian church. All true Christians pray for them before God. Amen.

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Concerning the Teaching of the Church

Pastor Grabau has published an article in the March issue of his Wachende Kriche [vigilant Church] which gladdens our Christians because it shows that God the Lord has not completely taken away the wondrous gift of teaching which He had given him.

Many good hearted Christians have not given up hope that he will turn from his erroneous path.

In Christian circumspection however, we must remember that one swallow does not mean that summer has arrive.

One cannot completely discuss pure teaching on the church unless one also teaches about its universality!

Previously Pastor Grabau taught along with us: "Whosoever would separate himself from a righteous-faith part of the true church, a synod or regional church because he presumes there is error, separates himself from the entire church and the body of Jesus Christ!"

Our former senior minister, Pastor Maschop, suspended Pastor Joh. Grabau for his teaching.

Professor Walther openly declared this teaching false at the colloquium and stated (along with Pastor Dietrich and Habel) that Pastor Grabau had the right to leave his synod due to his questions concerning constitutional procedure. At most one might say to him: You exercised your right but you sinned against charity!

Does Pastor Grabau also approve of Professor Walther's teaching on the universality of the church?


If not, then mustn't he acknowledge that this is against pure teaching, proclaim it with word and deed, and return to the synod he left to right this wrong? Certainly he cannot deny the pure teaching of the synod based on a few ministerial failures.

In order to rejoin us in the pure teaching concerning office, vocation and church order mustn't he also acknowledge that since his dismissal from office and his building of an opposition congregation and synod he has not held God-given office, he has not had divine vocation and he has not partaken of the sacrament of the altar to any degree greater than that of any other expelled man or opposition preacher?

Shouldn't he consider that even the merciful and patient God may only give him a certain amount of time. "Perhaps I will consider returning to the synod in a year." What if he doesn't have a second year?

Shouldn't he come back in true repentance as David did and admit, "I have sinned against the Lord and His church among us."

Oh, how the angels of God would rejoice with us, His poor and tiny flock! How great would be the love and esteem as he was greeted and taken back in. But before he would be forgiven, he would have to perform true penance and publicly renounce all hostility before God and all true Christians for the shame and scandal he has borne. Thus in the face of our enemies under his guidance we would proclaim our thanks to the merciful God and savior, Jesus Christ, who bestows gifts even upon the exiled. We would wage the battle for the Lord and proclaim our victory in His truth. Oh, what an overabundance of God's grace there would be for his poor old friend and confessor,

if he could be his Nathan and say, "Since the Lord has taken your sins away, you shall not perish."

If it pleases God, the convictions of our true Christians will be shown in the upcoming synodal letter in answer to the call for help from Milwaukee. It is our hope that our synod will reconcile with Pastor Grabau and be reunited with this reply:

"It is the unanimous hope and prayer of all the members present at this synod that this may happen in the one manner pleasing to God - true repentance and public renunciation of all hostilities by Pastor Grabau."

Indeed, the dismissal from office could be withdrawn and the true understanding of the teaching concerning the power of God's word as based on the unity with the pure teaching in the Formula of Concord would be rediscovered. Christian deliberation concerning the ministerial conduct of Pastor Grabau would resume in the ministerial assembly of brothers or the synod as it was proposed from the beginning. There is no need to discuss a personal reconcilation between Pastor Grabau and me but all members of the synod must be convinced that we have come to terms with the public aspects of our lives. Up until those last days before his withdrawal there was a fraternal relationship between us and we met at a family gathering. Since that time we have neither spoken nor seen eachother - sadly I was compelled to stay away because of my office, my duty and church regulations after he established an opposition congregation and synod. I could only act in an official capacity.

May the merciful savior, Jesus Christ, bless these true words,


and may the Holy Spirit perform His work on Pastor Grabau's heart, which is still a precious entity among all Christians, so he may once again be used as a sacred tool.

Despite all the derision and scorn concerning our pure teaching and faith we have experienced from our fallen foes, I retain the hope that after Pastor Grabau's repentant return even Prof. Walther might have his own awakening of conscience (his own words) along with many of the other truth-seeking pastors and Christians of the Missouri Synod. Then a truly blessed colloquium could be held in proper fear of God towards the establishment of complete doctrinal unity in Lutheran symbolic truth or at least there might be peaceful coexistence whereby doctrinal differences might be brought before a properly established court of arbitration so that Christians steeped in false teaching might be made aware or their errors and prompted to seek true reconciliation with their fellow Christians and regain sanctity.

May God grant this. Amen.

               H. v. R. [Heinrich von Rohr]

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Notice

By commission of our church ministry and those attending the synod in Roseville, on Monday, March 25th the undersigned performed a church visitation as requested by one of the congregations in New Walmore. Pastor Wilhelm Weinbach was informed beforehand.

The pastor received a written copy of the notice and an invitation to a Christian discussion before the event in the parish house in New Bergholz. He was warned by Pastors

Heinrich and Philipp von Rohr to examine his conscience and either quit his current path or accept a quiet dismissal. His final comment was that he would do everything he could to hinder the church visitation.

Monday at 7:30 AM the warning was repeated in the parish house in New Walmore in the name of and by the commission of the ministry. When asked again to accept a quiet dismissal because he could not force his congregation to abandon its faith and profession, he replied that he had asked the congregation to come to an understanding. The undersigned sent 4 members of the church administration to him in the schoolhouse to ask him for a formal declaration on whether he wished to leave quietly and what he meant by the words he used above. The reply was, "No." He would remain pastor in New Walmore and would preach for the next 4 or 5 months until the congregation was convinced to accept Missouri teaching. When the trustees asked for the keys to the church to open it for the congregational meeting and the visitation he refused to turn them over, thus he closed the church to his congregation and its senior minister.

Subsequently meetings of the administrators and the congregation were held in the home of Friedrich Haseley.

Herein lies the proof to all the charges, especially concerning the gangster operations of the pastor. For months the Christian congregation waited with patience and charity. Warnings were given several times by the Christian church administors in deference to the pastors youth and in hopes of his repentant return.


If he accepted he could be reclaimed and he would be reconciled with his brothers in ministerial office for having seized the office in gangster fashion, provided he no longer serve the Missouri congregations in Martinsville and the opposition synod in New Bergholz. He would be able to go to the synod in Roseville. Instead of taking this opportunity he turns to the opposition synod in Buffalo and creates greater trouble than he had before.

The unanimous verdict of the ministry was read to the congregation. The reason cited for dismissal from office was the sin of unrepentance. Several individuals asked questions and in the end all recognized the rightness of this decision. The congregation agreed with the verdict and the dismissal was adopted. On the following day the verdict was delivered to him in the following document along with a letter from the church administrators, which was delivered by the trustees.

To the Right Reverend Pastor W. Weinbach
         New Bergholz, March 25, 1867

Since you oppose the church visitation to our synodal congregation in New Walmore as ordered by our revered synod and its church ministry, since you will not accept the warning of the senior minister given in the presence of Pastor Ph. von Rohr or the request to leave peacefully, our honored church ministry is empowered to take certain steps. Ongoing discussions have been held in previous church visitations with our synodal congregation in New Walmore and upon investigation these facts have been verified. Thus the synod renders its verdict and the Christian congregations and their administrators have

unanimously accepted this verdict as right, necessary and moderate.

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Verdict of the Church Ministry

Accusations have been made by the congregation of New Walmore against its pastor, W. Weinbach, that he had fallen from the teachings of our synod, which he promised to preach by his vocation in our synod in accordance with our Lutheran symbols, that he had accepted the teachings of the Missouri Synod, joined an opposition synod, no longer recognized our synod and its senior minister, and that he had asked his congregation and church administration to follow him in forming a 5th district Missouri synod even before our senior minister had announced the invitation to our synodal session in Roseville. Further accusations have been made that the congregation's pastor presently serves as interim pastor to the Missouri congregation in Martinsville, that he preaches Missouri teaching to it while promising his congregation members that he still preaches the doctrine of the Buffalo Synod to them. Thus he is a hypocrite and a mercenary serving three masters (synods) with two different sets of doctrine. With words and deeds he has participated in the expulsion of his ministerial brothers and the theft of the church in New Bergholz even though he promised the church administrators, after their repeated warnings, that he would cease such activity, demonstrate his remorse, come to our synod in Roseville and reconcile with his ministerial brother in office, P. von Rohr.

These facts are openly known and and substantiated through testimony. The church ministry hereby decrees his dismissal from his preaching post in New Walmore.

Should he decide to accept the Christian warning of the senior ministry or


request the opportunity to leave voluntarily, this formal discharge from office will not take place.

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Verdict of the Synod, Thursday, March 21, 1867

This morning the above verdict from the church ministry was read before the Christian synod for its consideration.

Upon deliberation it was unanimously decided that this verdict was right, necessary and moderate and the Christian congregation in New Walmore shall receive justice and assistance in their time of need.

I send this verdict to you in the name of our revered synod and by its commission.

Should you decide before next Sunday to quietly leave, I am empowered to retract the dismissal from office, which was announced yesterday at the congregational meeting.

      Respectfully yours,
      H.von Rohr, Pastor, Senior Minister

To Pastor W. Weinbach.

The undersigned church administrators, apart from the church fathers and the trustees, hereby announce that you are asked by us and the Christian congregation of New Walmore to cease all ministerial duties to the congregation in New Walmore and leave the church and school because of the verdict rendered by our Christian synod. Furthermore we ask that you turn over any church property in your hands, namely the keys to the church and school, to the trustees. Failing to do this, the trustees

in accordance with the resolution passed by the congregation will commence legal proceedings against you. Should you be willing to leave voluntarily and thus respect its wishes, the Christian congregation will allow you to stay in the parish house a little longer.

   The Church Administrators of New Walmore,
   H. V. Rohr, Pastor, Interim Minister
   Friederich Haseley,
   Karl Haseley,
   Fred. Pfuhl,
   Fred. Fehrenwald,
   Christian Wendt.

Upon receiving this request former pastor W. Weinbach turned over the keys and quit his post in New Walmore. However as of now he has not accepted the request to leave peacefully. Instead on Sunday, March 31st he presided as minister to the opposition congregation in New Bergholz, thereby forcing the enactment of the above verdict [of formal dismissal from office.]

   New Bergholz, April 5, 1867.
      H. V. Rohr, Senior Minister.

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Announcements

All communiqué and letters concerning the contents of the Informatorium and all correspondence should be addressed to:
      Rev. H. v. ROHR,
  New Bergholz, Niagara County,
         New York

All business letters and money should be sent to the Secretary of the Synod:
      Rev. C. SCHADOW,
  Congress Street, corner of Rivard St.
         Detroit, Mich.


From here on this project will follow the History of the origin, emigration, settlement and ecclesiastic development of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church or Congregation, which emigrated from Prussia between the years 1839 and 1843, now known as the Buffalo Synod. Go to History, part 2: pages 20 - 27

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