The Life of the Reverend J. An. A. Grabau, Pages 12 - 16


the explanation of the accord with the alleged congregation is to be understood? etc.

To this Pastor Grabau answered on September 1, 1836:
      1. That he could not serve under the united agenda in the administration of the Holy Eucharist because he acknowledged that the formulas of faith of the Lutheran Church and their symbolic books, to which he was duty-bound, were not properly observed. The faith of the symbolic books was in accordance with scripture and this took precedence over the Berlin agenda.
      2. That he could also not serve the united agenda with regard to holy Baptism because Lutheran faith in this sacrament had been stifled and enfeebled by contemporary modifications.
      3. He could not serve the united agenda at funerals, for the scriptural faith in the power of salvation through Jesus' death and his wonderous resurrection was enfeebled through the prayer of the united agenda - 1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3, 21.
      4. Also at weddings he must hold to the old Luther Church Agenda because in the united agenda wedding ceremony there are vows, which are not in accordance with Matthew 5, 37 and the simple "I do," which is afforded the bride and groom at the the altar of God, is sufficent as the desired oath.
      5. He still had not used any church prayers, which had been proscribed by the united agenda, because they were quite insufficent and he must extend to the congregation the right to use the old church prayer in the church service after the sermon, as given by the old Lutheran church order of the Reformation era and befitting its proper place in God's service; additionally the confession of sins with absolution belongs not before but after the sermon concerning repentance and forgiveness of sins. Pastor Grabau based this on 2 Samuel, 12: 1 - 13; Esra 9; Matthew 3: 2 - 6; Matthew 6: 9 - 12; Luke 24: 47; Acts of the Apostles 2: 37, 28, and other places.
      6. Concerning the question, "What understanding Pastor Grabau had with his congregation," it was answered: "This is not a witless mob, which will tolerate decisions not based on Holy Scritpure in its church service, as once the pharises said; "The people who know nothing of the law are damned."


The holy apostle exhorted the congregation at Thessalonia with regard to their service to God not to smother the spirit but to prove everything; and to the congregation at Corinth he stated: It is everything to you and you should see that all things proceed orderly and honorably. And Our Lord Christ said that the Father also revealed such things to the children. And the symbolic books say in the Formula of Concord, Article 10: "We believe, teach and profess that at the time of persecution, when the true profession of faith will be required of us, in such matters (and even more when it concerns doctrine and religion as is here presented in the battle with the united agenda) we will not shrink from the enemy, as the apostle has written: here is the freedom through which Christ has liberated us, and let us not again return to the servant's yoke.
Also: Do not put on the foreign yoke; what does light have in common with the darkness?
Also: Since the truth of the gospel stands by us we will not submit to an hour of servitude. Thus in this case it is not just concerning lesser matters but the truth of the gospel concerning Christian freedom and the establishment of public idolatry (that is, false teachings) etc. On this point we have nothing to forgive, rather we must fully recognize it and suffer for it as something God has sent to us and cling to His Words in the face of the enemies. And in the Schmalkaldic Articles: No one should swear allegiance to the church with mere sentences but rather in full knowledge of their meaning - that no power or authority is greater than the Word of God. "Unless it is based on the Word of God, the congregation may freely reject decisions in matters of its church service; however matters, which are based on the Word of God, must be observed; the congregation should have the right to reject false church service and the right to recognize it as such. Herewith question 6 may also be answered."

Pastor Grabau responded to question 7 that the instruction of the congregation had been accomplished through alternating statements after the sermon, not in the spirit of heresy but with reference to the holy scripture; and in response to question 8, through what form did he come to an understanding with his alleged congregation, Pastor Grabau answered:
a) that he did not have a mere alleged congregation.
b) that his Christian congregation was in accord with all things grounded in the clear Word of God. In this letter of response Pastor Grabau concluded:


"Above all else it is a difficult task to conduct the full range of ministerial office in the one true faith, to lead the congregation in accordance with the promises spoken at the installation into the ministry, when another faith is proscribed by human invention through the agenda. The Lord has proclaimed it impossible to serve two faiths and two masters, to serve Him and the spirit of the age. It is also difficult to unite the firmness of faith and volition with humility without intermixing them with something evil. Whenever we recognize something as human invention and cannot abide it for the sake of God, external pressure is useless to convince us of the justness of that human meddling. In this case I cannot follow the instructions of His Ministerial Eminence. I will continue to perform the church service in the pre-established manner and way but with regard to the sacraments, in their distribution I will serve the old agenda, with which my congregation is familiar in its faith and way of life.
                  A Reverend of the Eternal Ministry
                                                          most humbly yours,
                                                                                    Grabau.

Then came the 15th Sunday after Trinity in the year 1836. On this day Pastor Grabau delivered a sermon on the gospel: No one can serve two masters, etc. From this gospel he brought out three parts:

I. The church, which is assembled under the leadership of Christ, should correctly hear the commands of the One Lord and correctly understand them: the entire Word of God from Moses down to the Revelation of St. John; the church should not hear from others. As soon as the church turned from the Word of the Lord and turned its heart and ear to others, it no longer serves the One Lord, Jesus Christ and it falls into disbelief, doubt and uncertainty. It must in and of itself fall to error when matters of faith and doctrine are one thing from the pulpit and another from the altar; when error is upheld completely from the pulpit and partially from the altar, uncertain faith and doubtful recogitions emerge.

II. The church, which Christ assembled on earth, should correctly practice the commands of its Lord, for otherwise it cannot serve Him.
      1. Is Christ's command being executed in the holy ministry


through the pronouncement of pure teaching of divine truth, which has envigorated the church for hundreds of years. When one pronounces religious opinions from the treasury of scholarship and no longer uses the name, person and work of Christ, as it is acknowledged by the members of the church, then one no longer obeys the command of the Lord.
      2. Is Christ's command being followed through the proper use of the holy sacraments? If it is not or it is being abridged, then faith in the keys of office (the ministry), as given to us by Christ, becomes enfeebled and Christ's command is no longer being followed.
      3. Is Christ's command followed in holy Baptism? This is not mere water but the bath of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit; it imparts sanctification and meaning to all who believe in it - this means, it exerts a mighty force throughout existence in the same way as Christ was risen from the dead through the majesty of the Father, thus we too shall be transformed into a new life. The current spirit of the age does not allow us to regard it as such.
      4. Is Christ's command followed in the holy sacrament at the altar, which is the true body and the true blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? Until now the church stood firm in its recognition of this truth but no longer. The spirit of the age has deliberated much over this and it has established a great confusion in faith whereby it has destroyed the sacred community of faith yet still would maintain that the congregation is one body; it is confusion whereupon one speaks of the Eucharist as a gift of God but not an inheritance from Christ; and when the spirit of the age appears to speak of it, it is belied with other words until one no longer knows that it is a celebration of the Last Supper. Thus Christ's command is no longer obeyed. However Christ declares that it would be impossible for such a service to be without sin. Rather it will hate one and love the others, cling to one and despise the rest.

      III. The Church must find in its service to this one master all its joy and comfort.
      Striving for the kingdom of God and his righteousness


should be the primary and the highest endeavor and it carries the promise that you should cast all other considerations aside. God's omnipotence provides for us; take care that you primarily prepare for the heaven. Take care, that you maintain God's Word and Sacrament purely and clearly. Take care as you will receive a tally of all things, what malice was done to you and what good was neglected. I, your God, prepare your food and drink. Thus speaks the Lord to his church with great loving promises, thus it shall find all its joy and all its comfort in serving Him alone.

The following prayer concluded the sermon: O Lord, forgive us whenever we sin, whenever we forget you or do not serve you alone. Forgive, forgive when we do not listen to you alone, when we do not properly understand you, when we do not obey your command and when we do not seek all our joy and all our comfort in your service. Lead us in the righteous path. Amen.

After the sermon Pastor Grabau made the following announcement:

I am urged by the congregation of Sts. Andrea and Maurice to make the following proposal:

Since the Christian congregation chose me as its minister and spiritual caregive as of March 2, 1834 and I took up this office on June 24th of the same year, I was handed a new church agenda for the holding of church services, for the administration of the holy eucharist, for the performance of baptism and the treatment other church functions. At the time I did not know the complete contents of this book. Now through God's Word and Grace I have come to the point where I see that this new church book is not pure or true in its faith as was the old evangelical-lutheran agenda; rather faith is placed on unknowing and indecisive footing and made with the intentions of amicable compliance with the spirit of the age. I have also seen that the old agenda, delivered to us at the time of Luther, contains the pure faith of holy scripture and is not caught up in various non-distinct interpretations; so as it was expressed by the apostles, it has only one master, one faith, one baptism, etc. It acknowledges no other faith as that which our Andreas Church has professed since the Augsburg Confession.

Having promised at the beginning of my ministry to abide by this faith in the commission of my office,


Return to Table of Contents
Continue to Pages 17 - 21


Text provided by the Reu Memorial Library, Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa - Call No. BX8080.G72 G7
Imaging and Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Edited January 16, 2006